Monday, January 31, 2011

Doctor's Update on the Concussion

Dorito seems to be improving now that it's been 12 weeks since his concussion.  No more numbness in either leg, for instance.  So the neurologist gave him a computer test today called IMPACT, but he failed all the sections (scoring 0.2 on a scale of 0.0-7.0).  Too bad because she prescribed more rest.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Like a Classic Car Never Goes Out of Style

Grandpa Don celebrated his 80th Birthday this weekend with stories of car racing, cars with illegal plates for his farm kids, and car-shopping ad infinitum with Dorothy.  Many friends and family gathered from far and near for Saturday night's buffet at the Eagle's Lodge in Leavenworth.  More than 100 visitors came, some of them meeting my children for the first time!  Captain missed the big party, but he is going over for lunch this afternoon at his dad's house with the Nebraska cousins who stayed over.   Happy Birthday, Don!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Quiz Bowl Competition

We were short a few team members this year, but still competed in the Highland Community College "Scottie Scholars" Bowl. Top 10 teams received a trophy, and our Homeschool Team won 6th place.  Jonathan keeps the trophy as our only senior.  Dorito is standing on his left.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sump Pump is Still Running?!

We have 12+ inches of snow on the ground, and I still hear our sump pump running a couple of times each day!?  Unbelievable.  Just told the boys they might have to mow those three square feet of prairie hay in the middle of our drifted front yard. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday Night Talks - Main Stage

We flew home just in time to perform at the Pony Express Museum's winter lecture series about the Civil War.  The "Tuesday Night Talks" stage featured our own "Fiddlers Three,"
who played 13 songs from that historic period mixing in tales and anecdotes of cowboys, soldiers, and spirituals from Missouri.  Polar Bear told about Pa Ingall's fiddle before playing "Irish Washerwoman," and Winger acted like Bronco Charlie with a bull whip before "Buffalo Gals."  The grand finale was "Orange Blossom Special," which is always a crowd pleaser--especially when Dorito doesn't slow down nor miss a beat!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 3 -- The March

Every year near the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the "March for Life" gathers a HUGE crowd in D.C. to witness to the executive, legislative, and judicial branches that unborn babies deserve the right to life, too.  This year 332,000 people plus Dorito and I were freezing marching on the Mall.  Prior to the noon rally, we attended Mass with 10,000 of our friends in the DC Armory. 
Another 18,000 had tickets to Mass at the Verizon Center.  It was an inspiring day. Especially since more than 20 pro-life freshmen came to speak at the platform.  Afterward, we avoided the Mall crowds and took the Metro out to Arlington National Cemetery at dusk.  What a view from the hillside! 
When in Washington, you must try to get to the hockey game.  Especially when you have an Ovechkin jersey that your dad bought in Moscow last year.  Kristen was a quick study in blue lines and penalty minutes.  Ovechkin put on quite a show in overtime.  But he missed on the shootout?!
Here is Dorito cheering for Backstrom's goal in the shootout.  (Caps lost to the Rangers.)   
This has been a wonderful trip, continuing the tradition I started with Meggar.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 2 -- Sightseeing Near the Hotel

More walking today.  First, the White House Visitor's Center with video news reels of the past nine presidents. 
Then the Archives - a real national treasure.  Followed by Ford's Theatre for an in depth look at Lincoln and his political life.
We also spent time at the Museum of American History and the National Portrait Gallery (more presidents and Elvis).  Later, Kristen met us at the Kennedy Center for a free concert by the U.S. Navy Band, Brass Quintet, and Sea Chanters.  There were several show stoppers in the series honoring JFK's presidency 50 years later. 
We ate dinner at an Irish pub with an authentic waiter and menu.  Then, Kristen drove us around to see the D.C. monuments illuminated at night.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Supreme Court, Shakespeare, and Supper

We stopped across the street at the Supreme Court to pray on the steps with other anti-abortion activists.  It was not open for tours today, so
we walked on to the Folger Shakespeare Library, which features a theatre replicating The Globe in London.  They were having a dress rehearsal for "Comedy of Errors," which we felt fortunate to watch for free! 

Lastly, we walked to Kristen's house for supper in front of her fireplace.  She and I were Rotary fellows in Great Britain in 1989 and have remained friends ever since.  I am still somewhat envious of her DC lifestyle.
It felt great to rest our cold and weary bones.

Day One - Library of Congress and Capitol

Kristen picked us up from the airport and treated us to "We the Pizza" before dropping us off at the Library of Congress. Beautiful interior paintings and Bibles!
then Thomas Jefferson's original circular library, where we found "The Iliad," "The Odyssey," and a catalogue of Popes along with Italian and French dictionaries.  Delightful! 
We took a guided tour of the Capitol and marveled at its statues, rotunda, and whispering acoustics.

plus he bought a souvenir T-shirt.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Making Plans

Dorito and I are packing for Washington, D.C. and the March for Life (leaving home tomorrow at 4:45 am!) but there is much to do.  Before I go, there are chores and grocery shopping and lesson plans.  We took a quick field trip to the travelling exhibit from the Library of Congress at our local library, plus I practiced "Amazing Grace" with the twins because they are playing at Uncle Tony's funeral tomorrow.  Meggar is coming home to be their accompanist, and Captain is re-arranging his schedule to attend -- so we will pass in mid-air.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Back to the Suite Life

With Meggar back to college, all I can think about is how she should text me more!  Here is a photo of her "studying" with a new laptop skin from Vera Bradley that she got for Christmas.
Meanwhile, Captain cannot text or email me because of lousy service in Las Vegas. He is certain that their cell service is weak on purpose, to keep guests out of their room and on the casino floor.

Dental Insurance

For the first time in his career, Captain has been provided with dental insurance.  That's like getting a $2,500 raise for our family this year.  And next year when the twins need braces and Meggar needs her wisdom teeth extracted, it will be an even greater benefit!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Book Club Admires Condoleezza Rice

I recommended the book for last night's meeting, so I was also the discussion leader for "Extraordinary, Ordinary Family."  I had seen Condoleezza Rice on her book tour and wanted to know more about her, such as her interesting name.  Her mother (drama and music teacher) chose it from the Italian musical term con dolcezza meaning "with sweetness."  Then to learn that her grandmother taught her piano at age 3 (before she could read) had me fascinated.  Her first concerto with the Denver Symphony Orchestra came at age 15, followed by a college scholarship for piano.  We listened to a performance on You Tube of the Dvorak Piano Quintet with students at the Aspen Music Festival in 2008.  Also impressive was her dedication to figure skating, early graduate work, and high level appointments in academia and politics.  She is connected with many of the most important political events of the past three decades.  We enjoyed drawing parallels with her leadership skills and those of Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

British Actor is a Winner

On Sunday afternoon, I went with a friend to see "The King's Speech" about King George VI and his stammering problem.  Enjoyed it immensely! By Sunday night, I learned that Colin Firth was nominated for best actor, and yesterday's email headlines confirmed that he won the Golden Globe award for his dramatic portrayal.  Firth is still Mr. Darcy to me, and I love that Lizzy was "admiring him" in this film, as she played Mrs. Logue.  (She was also great in "Possession.")  As I am enthralled by history and British literature, this plot captivated me with its Shakespeare recitations and WWII news reels.  Moreover, it was a touching tale about families, difficult relationships, and duty if not forgiveness.  Of course, it was more fully appreciated since I'd already seen "Bertie and Elizabeth," a 2002 film which sheds more light upon his romance and marriage, and the politics of his brother's ascent and descent from the throne.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday

There is an interesting connection between the Civil Rights Leader and K-State.  Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at K-State in 1968 and the note he wrote  for his speech was found in his suit coat pocket three months later on the day he was assassinated.  The note's existence became public in 2009.  The visit was King's last to a university campus.  K-State is working to create an exhibit with the photos from that speech on campus and the note, which reads:  "Nothing worthwhile is gained without sacrifice."
The article prompted me to call my dad (KSU alum in '64) and see what he could remember.  He was already a high school basketball coach with two little children by '68.  He recalls the violence in Kansas City causing a curfew of 9 pm.  "The ball games were moved up to 2:00, and when we played Rosedale School, they only let in the coaches, players, and cheerleaders.  Our buses were hit by rocks, but not while we were in them."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rest in Peace Uncle Tony

The text came through at 4:38 pm stating that Uncle Tony had passed away.  We knew that Captain's godfather wouldn't last much longer due to complications from pancreatic cancer, but it is still sad because he wasn't very old and his battle ended in a relatively short time.  My phone alerted me just as I was finishing a little "Hail Mary" for him because the funeral wreaths at the craft store had caught my attention.  The Holy Spirit is our powerful ally.  I regret this post lacks his photo, since I didn't get any pictures when we were all together at Thanksgiving.  Prayers for his widow, children, and precious grandchildren!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Man v. Food in Schmidling Style

We love watching episodes from the show "Man v. Food" via the watch-instantly function of NetFlix.  More accurately, I should say that Dorito and Captain like to watch them.  Today, Captain sent me this photo from the Travel America Truckstop (he's on a hockey trip in St. Louis with all three sons).  Dorito ordered a Dakota Double Burger and had a smile on his face as wide as the full pound creation! Yikes!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fun at the Food Kitchen

I signed up our EDGE youth group to work tonight at the Southside Food Kitchen.  The boys had awesome teamwork making spaghetti, sweet green beans, garlic bread, dessert, and drinks!  There was just enough left over that they could eat before washing the dishes.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mulberry & Mott with Meggar

Now that she is back to college, I am fondly remembering Meggar's time at home over the holidays.  We did our usual girly things together, and I'm glad that she still likes me!  Movies: including "Julie & Julia" while eating Brie and sipping Pinot Grigio.  Knitting: a soft, chartreuse green scarf (she completed more of it than I did).  Shopping: vintage stores and World Market in St. Louis.  Foods: Luckily we found the "Eat Pray Love" tea which was sold out online and in Kansas City.  We also bought European Christmas foods on clearance such as Panettone bread, gingerbread Lebkuchen, French sparkly lemonade, and hazelnut stollen. 
Best of all, we visited a French Bakery in KC because of a Groupon.  We had not been to Mulberry & Mott in Leawood, although it has been open since 2008.  Operated by a mother-daughter chef team (with French Culinary Institute credentials), the patisserie is as beautiful as its goods are delicious.  We started with a Paris Brest (hazelnut cream puff) and two cups of tea (served in lovely French yellow china with beehive patterns).  We took a To-Go box with macaroons to fortify us after more shopping on the Plaza.  Kathryn would just love the Tiffany blue box they came in.  Can I tell you how delightful the macaroons were?!  We liked the raspberry one, but the pistachio was better.  Then the espresso one was quite excellent, but the dark chocolate one put us over the top!  I've never made macaroons, but coach J.F. says the technique requires a meticulous baker.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Catholic Retreat for Junior High

Our youth group sponsored the NET team to come and give a retreat for 7th and 8th graders.  We invited all the parishes in our city and had a good turnout (despite cold temps and school cancellation/snow storm).  Tonight, Captain and Dorito helped me cook enought spaghetti and side dishes to feed 67 teens and leaders! 
We also fed and housed six of the college-aged speakers for two days at our house.  It was an inspiring and fun chance for my boys to see the life of a Catholic missionary up close.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Getting Some Credit for Hockey

The twin's hockey team moved up in the MHR ranking sheet today--they are now seated #17 among 380 Pee Wee travel teams in the country. Very good for the AA level.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Priceless Victory for Hockey Team!

The twins' hockey team has been winning games and improving all season. The test of their mettle came this weekend against two nationally-ranked teams.   First, they defeated the AAA Blues (ranked #6) on Saturday and then they beat the St. Peters Selects (ranked #14)!!  How exciting.  The twin's leadership on the first line was fun to watch as they both scored.  Polar Bear had 8 goals total this weekend, and Winger had just as many assists.  Meggar caught some of the goals with a new zoom lens.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Winter Conclave for Scouts

Dorito won 4th place with his Mic-o-say costume in the fancy category for Warriors.  He worked very hard to add a neck bustle (but you can't see it on his back) before today's events.  The Scouts who are tribesman gathered for workshops, competitions, and speakers in the Chiefs Training Camp facility.  Hooray for Troop 216 winners! Dorito is third from the left.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Scouting for Flagstones

Part one of the the Eagle Scout project:  collecting a load of flagstones for the foundation of the one-room schoolhouse at the Pony Express Museum.  Thanks for helping out boys!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

NHL Winter Classic

Happily, our friends always invite us over to watch the NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day.  The match up was a hefty rivalry between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitols.  Our family was evenly divided in our loyalties (except Meggar, who spent the weekend with a bunch of AGD girls in St. Louis and didn't even catch a glimpse of Sidney Crosby on the ice).  But the Penguins lost, and the NBC camera crew was so pathetic that it felt like I was sitting in the nose-bleed section.  I'm not a hockey player so I need a little help seeing the small black puck that slides so quickly across the ice. Next year, Captain wants to build us an outdoor rink for a father v. son version of the Winter Classic.

Christmas Shows

Today was the seventh and final Christmas concert by "The Fiddlers Three" for this season.  The boys were relieved, I mean quite proud of their new descant parts which we added to "Away in a Manger" and "Silent Night."  Plus their finale was a special arrangement of "Carol of the Bells" in 4-part harmony.  I like their matching red shirts and my own quick thinking when quirky things happen like feedback with the sound system, changing voices, and spilled drinks.