Bert, the Teenage Years

Welp, I’m officially a teenager. You will be surprised (relieved) to know that I still don’t roll my eyes that much or yell, “I wish I’d never been born!” at my parents. I know my parents are.

Here’s my 11th annual birthday interview:

I’ve been doing these interviews for 10 years now. Here’s my first one.

Here’s what my life is like now:

  • I get up at 5:45 every weekday morning. That gives me just enough time to get dressed, do my hair, empty half the dishwasher, eat breakfast, and brush my teeth before my dad drives me to school at 6:40.
  • I don’t make my bed, mainly because it’s a loft bed but also because “nobody sees it.”
  • I still play hockey and soccer (two teams) and love them both. I do not like running.
  • When it comes to eating, I’m generally more like my dad (eat to live) versus my mom (live to eat), except when it comes to my Opa’s cooking, in which case I can and will eat as much as he’s willing to make.
  • I started at Boston Latin Academy, one of the top ranked middle/high schools in Massachusetts this fall. At first, I didn’t totally dig it, but now I really like it. I’ve made a bunch of new friends there, plus I’m lucky my old friends Evie, Beatrix, and Anjuli are all there with me. I earned all A’s and A+’s this year. My mom says nerds are cool so there’s that.
  • I love Latin and Math class the best.
  • I can whistle loudly enough to be heard across a crowded soccer field.
  • My Spotify mix, HAZY: The Complete Record, is 27 hours and 51 minutes long. It has everything from Dua Lipa to AC/DC, Ace of Base to Weird Al Yankovic.
  • I’m learning to play piano and recently learned “A Spoonful of Sugar” because my Dad is a Mary Poppins superfan.
  • I love dogs, especially mine, and keep begging my mom to let us adopt a third dog, preferably a puppy.
  • I spend my weekends watching movies with my family, playing sports or watching George play, playing Minecraft or Roblox on my laptop, or at the occasional bat mitzvah or birthday party.
  • This summer, I’ll go to day camp at this sweet place in Dedham that has a water park and laser tag, a week at hockey camp at Warrior Arena (where the Bruins practice!), a week at soccer camp, and a week in Colorado with my mom, visiting my Uncle Marco and Auntie Jamie.
  • In the fall, I”ll start 8th grade. Gulp.

-Hazel (Bert)

The pandemic has aged me.

So much so, that I’m a decade old now. Remember when I was 3 and I wanted to be Hazy when I grew up? Haha, so young and naive. [Don’t tell anyone, but I still want to be Hazy when I grow up.] Here are the answers to all the burning questions I know you wanted to ask me:

I know what you’re saying: that’s it? That’s all the George we get? Have no fear, here are 25 other things you didn’t know about me:

  1. I’m a piano prodigy. I’ve taught myself to play the themes from Star Wars, Minecraft and Among Us.
  2. I don’t like being alone upstairs. I will go upstairs alone, but I don’t *like* it.
  3. I could spend all day bobbing in the ocean.
  4. I love dogs, especially my two.
  5. I want my own pet, preferably a monkey, a snake, or a bird. Mom says maybe I can get a fish.
  6. I scoff at the idea that there are 90 servings of parmesan cheese in a family-size container. There are 20 max.
  7. I’ve been known to polish off a bottle of “kid wine” (sparkling cider) in one sitting.
  8. I sleep 10-11 hours a night but still have a hard time waking up in the morning.
  9. I have (self) published several books, including, “Dada, The Super Farter” (a semi-biography) and “Terror in New York City” (in which I play a secret agent-in-training with a British accent).
  10. I wear athletic pants and a t-shirt pretty much every day in the cold weather months.
  11. I’m meh on pizza.
  12. My favorite vacation ever was going to this place called Grand Oasis in Tulum because it had all my favorite things: a pool, the ocean, and an all-you-can-eat buffet. They also had a swim-up bar in the kids’ pool where I ordered a “pina colada, no boobs.” I may have misheard something. Also, I was like 6 at the time.
  13. I leave my socks all over the place – on the dogs’ crates, on the coffee table, on the living room floor.
  14. I love board games, in theory.
  15. I get really, really mad when I lose at board games.
  16. I almost always forget something. There’s a sign on our front door that says, “George, wear a mask!” but I still often forget my mask.
  17. I’m so over Covid.
  18. I always order the same thing at Dudo’s (Dunkin): two bacon, egg & cheese wake up wraps and a sixer of munchkins.
  19. My favorite avenger is Tony Stark, hands down.
  20. I rarely make my bed.
  21. I would like to get my ears pierced.
  22. I ran my first ever race this year. It was a 5k, the longest I’ve ever run. I got a cramp at one point and had to walk a bit with my dad, but I finished (and I beat my sister).
  23. I love the poems of Shel Silverstein.
  24. I’m learning Italian on Duolingo.
  25. When I was around 5, I asked a beautiful woman on the subway, “Guess what?” When she replied, “What?” I said, “I love you.” I’m a charmer like that.

Still not enough George?

Here’s 4-year old me, who restated the question, “What is the meaning of life?” as “You mean, what is my favorite drink?”

And 5-year old me, who did a sweet rendition of “Shut Up and Dance.”

6-year old me told truly horrible jokes.

When I was 7, I debated the merits of Paul Blart Mall Cop vs Paul Blart Mall Cop II.

Titanic was “close enough” to my favorite movie when I was 8.

At age 9, kids were not yet off the table.

Here’s to double digits –

-Duke

I’m 12 (and a 1/4)!

Another year of tweendom, another year in this pandemic. Sigh. This was my second year missing out on a real birthday party and believe you me, I am saving up all my party karma for an epic double birthday bash the second this trash pandemic is over. We’re talking an epic dance-slumber-bounce house-sundae bar-baking party.

Hey, at least I got a strawberry roll.

I still turned a year older, and you know what that means, it’s annual interview time. I indulged my mom with this interview even though it’s totally embarrassing and I hate the sound of my own voice.

I do it for posterity.

I guess I’ve grown since my first annual interview:

Here’s a snapshot of me at age 12:

I love my family: girls’ nights with my mom, making album covers (if not actual albums) with my dad, and cracking up with George (Duke). I try to do little acts of kindness for them all the time, like making my mom tea or bringing her snacks, helping my dad clean out the closet, and helping George settle down when he’s upset about something.

Speaking of family, I love my dogs and they love me. I’m in charge of feeding them dinner every night and making them pup-mobiles.

I love sports, especially soccer, tennis, hockey and snowboarding. I didn’t get much snowboarding done this year (thanks, Covid), but I played JP Youth Soccer on the Firefox team, play tennis with the Tenacity program, and got back into skills & drills this year with Brookline Hockey.

My hobbies include cooking, baking, and fashion. I integrate them into my businesses: Loop to Loop accessories and Sweet Tooth Bakery. (Prices available upon request.)

I also like hanging with my friends, drinking kid wine straight from the bottle, Maine life, activism and winning giant checks.

It was a rough school year. I didn’t go back to in-person school until pretty much my 12th birthday at the end of April, but I did crush it nonetheless, getting all A’s and A+’s the last two terms.

This year, I learned piano, got a second dog, and got to go to Maine for two awesome vacations. I ran home to get help when my dad got stung by an army of bees and took care of my mom and brother when he had to get triple bypass surgery. I made Chinese bao, my Oma’s famous strawberry roll, a classic New York cheesecake, and a really bad TNT cake for George. I spent basically an entire year hanging out with just my mom, dad and George. It was a crazy year and I’m ready to see what the next one brings.

Yours,

Hazel (Bert)

9: More Challenges, More Questions, Funner

Hey guys, guess who just turned 9? If you guessed George, G$ or Duke, you’re correct. If you were like, what? Weren’t you just a baby like a minute ago? You’re also correct.

What’s it like turning 9 during a pandemic? Let’s just say when my mom asked where I’d go if I could go anywhere in the world, I said, “Someplace without Corona.” Waaaa, waaaa. It’s not all bad news though. Here’s what I had to say about a few other things, including my favorite color (it’s a rollercoaster ride, peeps, strap in), my future career, and how great my life is (spoiler alert: really, really great).

Here’s a little snapshot of things I like, not necessarily in order*:

  1. My Mom
  2. My Dad
  3. Rosie (just kidding, Hazy, or am I?)
  4. Hazy
  5. Parmesan cheese
  6. Candy
  7. Minecraft
  8. Talking about Minecraft
  9. Roblox
  10. Pasta
  11. Hockey
  12. LEGOS
  13. Cuddles
  14. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  15. Movie Night
  16. Playing “I love you,” “I love you more,” “I love you more more,” etc with Mom either via hand squeezes or verbally.
  17. Dunkin’ Donuts
  18. Recounting forgettable moments from movies and HISHE clips with, “Remember when…” a la Chris Farley.
  19. Playing games with my family (Uno, Connect Four & Monopoly)
  20. Ice Cream
  21. Koi (my friend’s guinea pig)
  22. Remote-controlled things
  23. Not wearing pants

Yours, George (Duke)

*if you’re a narc, but pretty much in order

p.s. Jennifer Waddell took those photos of me.

I’m officially a tween.

I guess I’m supposed to be rolling my eyes more now? To be honest, being 11 doesn’t feel that different than being 10. I still have the same best friends, favorite foods, and favorite movie. (This is an affront, btw, Rotten Tomatoes.) I don’t go around yelling, “I hate you! I wish I’d never been born!” to my mom* and I’m not embarrassed to hold either parent’s hand.

Of course, some things have changed. Here’s a breakdown, complete with visual aids.

Every year (except for when I was 4 and she was a total hot mess), my mom asks me how great my life is on a scale of 1-10. This year, I’m at a solid 8 3/4, but I guess I’ve had better years. Namely, when I was 7, but then again, I also said farting was the meaning of life at that age. Of course, I’ve also had worse. Let’s not even get into age 5 when life was “so bad” that it only rated a 1-2 by George’s estimates.

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Is it bad to peak at age 7? (chart not too scale)

My taste in music remains eclectic. I wonder how many other playlists include the Mickey Mouse Club and the Misfits?

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I’ve had a lot of career goals over the years. The most consistent ones are dentist and teacher, but I think worm still has real potential. It’d certainly be an easier life than cleaning lady or astronaut.

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Already checked “Big Kid” off the list.

Congrats to Wontons and Tofu & Rice for being 4-peat champions in my favorite foods category. download (3)

Not that much has happened since mom was embarrassingly late with my 10-year old update, unless you count being stranded with my family 24/7 due to COVID-19. (Mom and Dad are doing their best though.)  I’m really bummed about not being to play soccer or have a real birthday party, but other than that, not too much has changed.

I still had a pretty good birthday, all things considering.

Without further ado, here’s me at age 11:

I hope you enjoyed the special guest appearance by the second funniest person in our house.

Yours in tweendom,

Bert (Hazel)

 

*as of press time

8 is Great

Oh, hello. I didn’t see you there. It’s me, George (Duke). I’m 8 now. Yes, you read that correctly. You might remember me from such posts as Life as a 7-year Old (I’m the 7-year old) and Guess Who’s Six (spoiler alert, it was me). You probably can’t imagine, but I was once just a naive little kid.

How do I compare to Hazy when she was 8?

Anyway, here’s a little update on 8-year old me:

If you think I’ve grown out of my cheese addiction, 1) you clearly haven’t met my mother, and 2) you’re wrong. I eat shredder cheddar every day and I have almost made a grown man cry with that “tell me when to stop” game with the parmesan at restaurants.

I still like Titanic. I’m also experiencing a Star Wars renaissance. Attack of the Clones is the best Star Wars movie. Don’t @ me. My mom already tried the whole “the original trilogy is the best” thing and I disagree, mainly because I don’t know what she means by “original” or “trilogy.” The funniest movie I’ve ever seen is Jumangi: Welcome to the Jungle. The second funniest movie I’ve ever seen is Jumangi: The Next Level. Keep in mind, the bar was set by Paul Blart.

I’m super into hockey, soccer, baseball, and Gaga Ball, which has nothing to do with Lady Gaga except that both can get pretty intense. One time, I jammed a finger pretty bad! #badromance

I’m also really into reading. I read the Dog Man books by Dav Pilkey almost every day, and I’m working on reading the Harry Potter books. My mom and I have invented a dog version of Harry Potter (Dogwarts, of course) and we’re open to new character names besides Albus Doggledore and Rubeus Dogrid. I was pretty psyched to find out I’m a Gryffindor, especially with parents from Ravenclaw and Slytherin (you figure out which is which).

I enjoy jokes (especially puns and knock knocks), laughing, and the occasional cry. Mom said it’s okay to cry when you’re sad, which I remind her about all the time, as she and Dad seem to have a different idea of what “sad” means than I do. Sure, the death of a loved one is sad, but so is not being able to have candy when you want it.

I collect quarters from different states. I love my dog, Rosie. I like cheese. Did I mention that already?

Dou-ble Di-gits!

That’s right, peeps, I’m 10. Technically, I’ve been 10 for about 7 months now, but who’s counting? (I AM, MAMA. I AM.) Apparently, my mom’s been too “busy” to edit my annual interview in an even remotely timely manner, so here it is before I’m 20 and applying to dental/space school:

 

I’ve really grown up since the days I wanted to be a lion or a fairy, and thought farts were the funniest thing in the world. Wait, scratch that last part. In the meantime, here’s what’s been going on with me since you last heard from me.

I’ve played two seasons of soccer, one with the Bobcats where we finished first in the league, and one with the Tigers where we came in last-ish. I had a blast both times.

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I think I’m pretty good, or at least I look like I am, thanks to my cousin Ryan, semi-pro photographer.

George and I have been playing hockey every Saturday. We spend most of our time fighting on the ice. I can’t wait until we learn how to check.

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I help him secure his helmet so I can ring his bell guilt-free on the ice.

I got to go to Florida to visit my grandparents, Oma & Oma, and again to visit my adopted grandma, Grammy Lynn. We discovered kids’ rosé in Florida so now I can be just like Mom.

 

We also got to watch my cousin Cassidy graduate from college.

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Does my cousin look like Daenerys Targaryen? Sure, but she’s way more badass, I assure you.

Some lady named Oprah spoke at her graduation ceremony and Mama was all, “OMGGGGGG,” but I’m pretty sure this Oprah chick wasn’t in any of the Descendants movies nor is married to a Jo Bro, so whatever.

And as the pièce de résistance, which I believe is French for “Greek piece of resistance” is that I got to go on my first overseas trip this year when we went to Greece. I tried octopus (didn’t like) and fried cheese (very much like) and learned to say please and thank you in Greek.

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I also went to my very first wedding (not mine, obvi) while in Greece.

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Mom says to always wear a fascinator to a wedding. #lifelessons

While I didn’t spend as much time on ending slavery this year, I did start PEP (the Panda Extinction Project) at my after-school program.

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BTW, we’re ANTI panda extinction, in case there’s any confusion.

I’ve been really into fashion, science, and reading this year. I walked in a runway show (unofficially), made my own robotic grabber hand, and read a ton of books. My favorite authors are Reina Talgameier, JK Rowling, and Rick Riordan.

 

I’ve been really into both cooking and baking. I’ve been feeling pretty confident about my cooking skills ever since I beat my mom in a tofu & rice cook off. (Big thanks to the totally impartial judges, Dad and George.) As for baking, I just like that you get to eat what you make. Activity + built in snack = win/win.

 

I keep trying to get my parents to fund my business, Sweet Tooth Bakery, but so far, it’s a no-go. I helped frost one of my birthday cakes and baked the other one all by myself. (Venture capitalists, please see photos below and contact me with any offers.)

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A Hazel O’Rourke original

 

Overall, life is pretty, pretty, pretty good. An 8 3/4 out of 10 to be exact.

 

Until my next post, when I’m around 11 3/4 years old if my estimates are accurate,

Hazy (Bert)

Life as a 7-year old

Hello, my long lost friends. It’s me, George (formerly Duke). Last October (seriously, Mama?), I turned 7. And even though technically, I’m closer to 8 now (I mean, really, Mama), this post is about my 7-year old milestones.

Here are some exciting developments in my life:

  • I’ve lost a bunch more teeth. A couple the normal way, one via head butt (not self-inflicted, cough cough, Hazy), and one via basketball to the face. And guess what? The Tooth Fairy doesn’t give you extra for forced tooth losses. I mean, what the? Check yourself before you wrickety-wreck yourself, TF.
  • I’m over Star Wars. Titanic is the new Star Wars. The night I saw Titanic, I also lost a tooth, and it was the best night of my life. I have a Titanic model, Titanic tickets, a replica Titanic menu, and I’ve asked for Titanic Legos, but Mama claims they don’t make them, at least not for less than $2,000. Worth it.
  • Way back in October when I filmed my interview, I had a different favorite movie. Spoiler alert: it’s Paul Blart Mall Cop. I know what you’re thinking, Paul Blart Mall Cop II is arguably better. But what can I say? I’m a stickler for the original.
  • I now play soccer, baseball, and hockey. I think I’m pretty great at all of them. Dad says I need to practice, but I reminded him that Mama already said I’m good, so I’m good. Also, I beat Mama at H.O.R.S.E. more than half the time, and I’m pretty sure she’s actually trying.
  • I’ve also been working on my cooking.

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    If you liked Opa Eggs™, you’ll love Designer Impostors George Eggs.

  • I’ve been getting into dancing, mostly hip hop. I can floss, I can dab, I can do other moves you (my mom) don’t even know the names of. Did you know there are over a dozen instrumental versions of Justin Timberlake’s SexyBack? My Spotify does!
  • I’m really into reading. I’ve even been known to quote literature. And by literature, I mean Dog Man books.
  • Some things haven’t changed. I’m still very strongly Team Cheese, and I’m still pro-tablet and office supplies. 

Here’s a little taste of my 7-year old wisdom, including the meaning of life, a hilarious flag anecdote, and a glimpse of some of my favorite things.

Pretty mature, eh? Wonder what this little guy would think of me now.

Thanks for reading/watching!

-George (formerly Duke)

Oh, Hello

It’s been a while. Quite a while. It’s me, Bert. I’ve been busy, guys. I know, I know, too busy to write on your own blog, Haze? Here’s what I’ve been up to since June 3, 2017 when you last heard from me (What? Enough with the judging.)

  • Spent another glorious summer at home with my Mom and Duke, aka George.
  • Lost a bunch of teeth. Including one that I pulled out myself so George wouldn’t be the only one who got a visit from the tooth fairy.

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    Helped this tooth “get lost,” if you know what I mean.

  • Got a bug bite that swelled up my whole face so much that my Dad couldn’t look at me without crying. He previously hadn’t cried since the Sox won the World Series in 2007 (and before that in 2004).
  • Got a dog/sister! Her name is Rosie and we are in love.

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    She annoys me way less than George does and that’s with her peeing on my rug sometimes.

  • Tackled third grade, and if you don’t remember third grade, the girls are a combination of Regina George, the pre-Torrance cheer captain from Bring It On, and the Heathers.

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    Fortunately, I didn’t have to murder anyone.

  • Went to my first concert (Katy Perry) and my second (Taylor Swift). I haven’t taken sides on their feud yet.
  • Discovered Elvis. Don’t think Dad will be able to get us tickets though.
  • Got super into Harry Potter.

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    Costumus awesomus, am I right?

  • Won a spelling bee, NBD.

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W-I-N-N-E-R

  • Threw myself into soccer. The JP Lynx could best be described as un-undefeated.

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But we did it in style.

  • Learned to snowboard with Duke.

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Or at least learned to look like snowboarders.

  • Marched in my first (anti gun violence) and second (anti family separation) protest march. 

    And a whole lot of other stuff, like advanced level math, writing two books (look out for the Lonely Book in bookstores in the toy pit), trying to put George in his place, and opening up several pop up restaurants and toy stores within Jamaica Plain (mostly specifically in my house).

 

So without further ado, and even though I’m practically 9 1/2, here’s my 6th (!) annual interview with mom:

 

I think you’ll see I’ve grown up quite a bit since I wanted to be a worm.

Remember to work on being happy and to end slavery (now) –

-Bert

 

 

 

Guess Who’s Six?

Guys, it’s been over a year since I turned 5, and you know what that means: cheese! (I celebrate everything with cheese; see the tablecloth for evidence.) Also, it means I just turned 6. And by “just,” I mean two and a half months ago because my ghost writer is slower than me putting on my shoes on a weekday morning.

Anyway, I’ve really matured as a young man, as you can see by this year’s interview:

 

Just kidding, I’m 6, guys. Here are a few things I feel pretty strongly about:

Pants. I know I’ve asked this before, but why do we have to wear them?

Star Wars. If the Imperial March isn’t the soundtrack to your life, then maybe you need to reexamine things. Think of how much more powerful you’d feel coloring, playing with Legos, jumping off the third stair, or (not) brushing your teeth with “Dun dun dun dun-ta dun, dun-ta DUN!” playing in the background. You’d probably be president by now instead of Dumbhead McPoopypants. Besides Star Wars’ music, I also like light sabers, my mini Darth Vader, Star Wars books (I can “read” Star Wars Rebels without even looking at the pages), and Star Wars themed foods, even though Mama insists they taste the same as their non-Star Wars themed equivalents.

Cheese. You know when the server at a restaurant is grating parmesan on your pasta and asks you to tell them when to stop? I STILL HAVEN’T TOLD THEM TO STOP.

Rosie. Rosie’s my dog and she’s the CUTEST. You have to say “CUTEST” in your highest voice because that’s how we talk about Rosie. She likes giving me kisses, right on the mouth. She also likes when I shriek, “ROSIEEEEEE!” and listening to the Imperial March, or at least, she hasn’t said otherwise.

Post Its. This is the #1 item on the Christmas wish list I sent to Santa. That and paper and tape. I like writing love letters (really short ones), drawing pictures (really small ones) and making books (really hard to read ones) on them.

Tablet Time. Tablet time is everything. I play Subway Surfer, Rolling Ball, and Candy Crush Saga. You know, educational games. Mama makes me read before I can have Tablet Time, so now I am pretty much Doogie Howser, only instead of being a doctor, I’ll be a Jedi, because all I read are Star Wars books. I have a Kindle but Hazy has a Leapfrog so she’s jealous, which is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me.

– Duke (George)

p.s. It’s me. I’m six.

p.p.s. Here’s what I was like when I was a little 4-year old.

p.p.p.s. And look at this drooling baby 3-year old me.