Thursday, January 31, 2013

Making Plans and Finishing Others

Everyone is busy after "school"....
   The boys finished up a 75-page workbook for the Boy Scout Catholic Religious Emblem! This has been our goal ever since Dorito finished up his Eagle Scout over a year ago.
    Happily, enough judges have been signed on for the Science Fair, and I've secured a Chemistry professor to come and give a demonstration. I still need to buy a few more prizes, but the certificates are printed and ready for calligraphy. Almost all set with three display boards and projects too.
    Prom plans are already rolling. I found a different ballroom which has cheaper rental fee. We will decorate the Benton Club (under the membership of Mr. Schultz) and likely have an island/beach theme. Voting on themes will be held next week when Homeschool Choir resumes.
   Eli's parents have asked us to host him for a few meals in order to learn social etiquette outside the home. I think our lunch-time routine with read-alouds might work nicely for this autistic friend/Boy Scout. Perhaps on Fridays?
  Yesterday we made a trip to Snow Creek before hockey practice to take advantage of the "real" snow.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fruits of the Holy Spirit - 2

(Confirmation Prep #2) 
Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for JOY and I will give thanks to him in song.”
We have so many joyful times together especially when we choose to love one another. I know that God has a special family planned for each of you to love. (And it is worth saving yourself for marriage.) I think you will agree that the happiest times in our family are when Dad is joking with us.  He has taught me to have a good sense of humor. At first (27 years ago), I thought he was teasing me, and it almost hurt my feelings. But then I saw that he was loving me and sharing his love in funny comments and jests. Joy for me is defined by the memories of laughing and giggling and chuckling and smiling!! These are the best parts of our family times together. Open your heart to see how God wants to bring JOY into your life.
Some of the most joyful people are the ones who have suffered a lot.  They have accepted or embraced their suffering or difficulties.  Mother Teresa lived joy even though she did not feel God’s presence for a long time.
--Uncle Clint

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Everything in Threes

We started biology lab for the homeschool semester today with three sets of porcine lungs and heart. Captain is a great help and was eager to help with dissection, because he remembers taking Human Anatomy class at K-State.
Dorito said, "Turn on a fan!"
Polar Bear said, "Get me a pair of gloves first."
Winger said, "Yuck."

By the end, they thought it was pretty neat.

Friday, January 25, 2013

If You Build It, Then...

Pro-Lifers will come! Every year (thanks to Nellie Gray) for the past 40 years, hundreds of thousands of pro-life witnesses have marched on Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C. near the Jan. 22 anniversary of Roe v. Wade. This was my third trip, and the third time it has snowed during my trip, but the first time it was snowing and blowing DURING the actual March. Following our family tradition, this was the year that Polar Bear and Winger went along with me! We joined the 650,000 people who were not on NBC, ABC, CBS, nor in The New York Times. But our voices were heard by our Congressman, by EWTN, by Fox News, and by the angels. We went to the steps of the Supreme Court and prayed for all victims hurt by this social tragedy.

Plus we crammed as much sight-seeing
as we could into three days: Declaration of Independence, buffalo pot roast at the Indian Museum, "David" at the National Gallery of Art, Twins Jazz Club, Youth Symphony at the Kennedy Center, monuments at night, Ford's Theatre, Air and Space simulator ride, Chinatown, Portrait Gallery with Benjamin Franklin, Library of Congress, White House, Willard Hotel, We the Pizza, First Ladies Gowns, and.... Starbucks (that great cultural equilizer).

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Apartment Rental Fraud

Do NOT rent lodging from Essential Homes nor Essential Home Management nor Romney Willoughby nor Margie Trotter. Fraud Alert! Text me if you need more details: 816-261-9852.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Bob Calls Them Less Miserables

I did a little poking around on Google today. Happy to discover that I was "there" when history was in the making... The current edition of "Les Miserables" turned out to be the same music as in the original play. I actually expected Hollywood to change/corrupt it.
In 1978 Claude-Nichel Schonberg dedicated his attention to musicals when he and Alain Boublil conceived the idea for a stage musical version of Victor Hugo's novel Les Misérables. The original production was staged at the Palais de Sports in Paris in 1980. In 1985 and 1987 respectively, the musical opened in London and on Broadway, to acclaim in each instance. The Broadway production was nominated for twelve Tony Awards in 1987 and won eight, including Best Musical and Best Original Score.

Since I was a slightly naive graduate student from rural Kansas living in London in 1988, I took advantage of as many student tickets rates as I could afford -- probably viewing 6-7 musicals and plays on the various London stages for $5-15/ticket. I didn't realize that it was only the second or third year of "Les Miserables" at Leicester Square. Since it was the most "posh and expensive" theater, I made reservations to take Dale there when he came over to visit me at Christmas time. It was brilliant on the stage :-) and I totally enjoyed the recent movie-musical with girlfriends this weekend too. Here's some eye candy from the Leicester premier of the movie.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Vocal Music Class

Meggar has voice lessons and vocal class instead of Choir this semester. Here is one of the songs she is preparing:  I think you will enjoy the poem by Klaus Johann Groth, which was put to music by Brahms.
Your Blue Eyes
Your blue eyes hold so still,
       I look into their depths.
You ask me what I want to see?
      I see myself healthy again.
One blazing pair of eyes burned me;
     the feeling from it still hurts.
Those - yours - are as clear as a lake
    and, like a Sea, so cool. 

Dein blaues Auge
Dein blaues Auge halt so stillen
     Ich blicke bis zum Grund.
Du gragst mich, was ich sehen will?
     Ich sehe mich gesund.

Es brannte mich ein gluhend Paar,
    Noch scmerzt ds Machgefuhl:
Das deine ist wie See so klar
    Und Wie win See so kuhl.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pro-Life Witness

There were 48 crosses installed today by Dorito and Leeds on the Newman Center lawn to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade next week. 1 cross = 1 million babies who died in abortions in the US since 1973 Supreme Court decision (making the procedure legal all nine months).

Thursday, January 17, 2013

National Tea Month

Although scones are my favorite tea time treat, this recipe from "Tea Time" magazine caught my eye. And I have "rose water" which is actually the main reason I might make these cookies.
Lemon-Rose Bonbons

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon rose water*
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons finely ground almonds
1/8 teaspoon salt
Garnish: lemon-zest curls 

Beat butter and sugar with mixer at high speed until light and fluffy. 
Add lemon zest, lemon juice, and rose water, beating until well combined. Set aside.
In another bowl, combine flour, ground almonds, and salt, whisking well. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until combined.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Roll balls of dough into equal portions on place two inches apart on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheets. 
Bake at 325' F until lightly golden, but not brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
Garnish with lemon-zest curls, if desired.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Poetry Out Loud" Contest

Like last year, I am forcing my sons to enter the "Poetry Out Loud" contest. Today is the local qualifier only, but we study poetry anyway for our homeschool curriculum and so we've memorized these below. It is a great teacher for enunciation and finding meaning in lines we don't initially understand and maintaining eye contact, etc.
Winger's selection: Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind

Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
   Thou art not so unkind
      As man’s ingratitude;
   Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
      Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
   Then, heigh-ho, the holly!
      This life is most jolly.

   Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
   That dost not bite so nigh
      As benefits forgot:
   Though thou the waters warp,
      Thy sting is not so sharp
      As friend remembered not.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
   Then, heigh-ho, the holly!
      This life is most jolly.
(William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII)

Polar Bear's selection: Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.
(Robert Frost)

Dorito's selection: Eagle Plain
The American eagle is not aware he is
the American eagle. He is never tempted
to look modest.

When orators advertise the American eagle’s
virtues, the American eagle is not listening.
This is his virtue.

He is somewhere else, he is mountains away
but even if he were near he would never
make an audience.

The American eagle never says he will serve
if drafted, will dutifully serve etc. He is
not at our service.

If we have honored him we have honored one
who unequivocally honors himself by
overlooking us.

He does not know the meaning of magnificent.
Perhaps we do not altogether either
who cannot touch him.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fruits of the Holy Spirit - 1

For Confirmation prep, the twins are examining the 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit. The first is LOVE...
Jesus told us how to love in Matthew 22: 37-39. St. Paul explained what love IS in 1 Corinthians 13: 4 - 8.
(From St. Padre Pio)
LOVE is a message from God through Jesus.
When we live in LOVE our life is simpler. We can focus on the ones we LOVE without too many distractions.
God doesn't want us to be stressed, but to feel LOVED.
Our first decision should be to live for Jesus, to give him your life totally and completely, with all your strength.
Live for heaven and not for earth, and you will not be as stressed over your daily life.
Concentrate on how Jesus is LOVING you. Jesus LOVES you enough for everyone on the whole planet with you at this point in time!
Concentrate on how Jesus is able to flow His LOVE through you to others.
This is the renewal.
This is the process of the Second Coming, which has already begun.
Jesus returns to earth through each one of His beloved Apostles.
If you are thinking that perhaps you are not called to be His apostle, let me clear that up immediately and state with all certainty, that Jesus is calling you to live in His LOVE.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Heroics at Home

School resumed last week, and it was a bit too overwhelming for me to write any blogs. Meggar is back to Truman, Dorito is back to Hillyard half days and doing three courses for dual credit at Missouri Western. He is also receiving many scholarship offers in mail. Some larger than his sister received from the same school?! Very exciting and confusing about which college decision to make. The twins are preparing for many January deadlines: Poetry Out Loud contest, Science Fair, March for Life, and the Catholic Scouting emblem submission. And they are without a head coach for the rest of the season, so gathering information about other teams.
Happily, this weekend was not full of travel for hockey. They had "home" games in KC. Their violin teacher came:

and their hero strength and conditioning coach came:

and Scout friends came (Jamison, Ben, and Justin)
and Schmidlings (Terry and Kathy).

Lucas, Chris, Adam, Jacob, and Dorito had a fun time together before Adam goes back to college.
Megan and I watched last Sunday's season 3 premier of "Downton Abbey" at Constance's place. She had full tea service set out and were were enchanted all the way through. Captain and I are looking forward to tonight's episode two to take our minds off all the busyness.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pond Hockey and Snowboarding

The biggest news of the Christmas break was the end of the NHL lock-out playing REAL pond hockey. The boys were so excited when a friend invited them over two days in a row.
Mac's grandma even made them lunch so they could stay and play longer!

And they went with Meggar to Snow Creek. Just like old times! The homeschool passes mean you can ski or snowboard all afternoon.
Meggar even tried a grinding rail in the Terrain Park! And Dorito said his new Burton board is better than he expected! We think he is done growing and can keep this one for many years.

Monday, January 7, 2013

What Does Mentoring Mean?

At the Eagle Scout ceremony, the new Eagle is allowed to give out one or two mentor pins. In our Troop, this golden pin nearly rivals the actual Eagle itself.
Back a year ago, Dorito did not give out ANY mentor pins, and that was alright. He had blazed his own trail to the top--largely by himself. When he had struggles, there were no adults taking his side. I know because I was there to watch and listen and advocate for change. Yet Dorito is so giving in return to Troop 216. He was a Troop Guide--the job no one likes--TWICE. And he was the first one that Polar Bear and Winger wanted to honor as their mentor. He talks to them, advises, listens, assists, reminds, coaches, and BEST of all, he sets a fine example of all 12 points of the Scout Law in his daily life.
Secondly, Polar Bear chose young Colton Zirkle as his other "mentor." Colton is already 21, and he could look down on Braves as being uncool and not worthy of his time. And yet, he stays around to help with costuming and remains active in many of the Troop's activities. I admire his convictions, especially as society encourages college boys "to sow their wild oats."
Lastly, Winger took the opportunity tonight at the regular Scout meeting to give his other mentor pin to Mr. Bob Brown. Bob is a family friend whom we see in many circles the past three years: homeschool, Hillyard, violin, and church. But it is the Scout side that the twins admire the most. Bob has been active in the Tribe of Mic-o-Say for more than 50 years! He loves to share his expertise, his collection, and his time with Scouts through PowWows, tapping fires, and camp-outs. He is also a counselor for more merit badges than anyone else in the Troop, which means he donates a lot of time one-on-one with Scouters. I'm so pleased that this honor went to a deserving gentleman.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Lost and Found

My cell phone went missing on Dec. 19. I know the last time I talked on it, so I figured it would be in the car or in the house. I was carrying a load of things when I came in. Winger found the phone today! In the box of granola bars in the pantry. I guess that's why we couldn't hear it vibrate when we attempted our first two days of hunting. *relief*

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Conclave Meeting

The Tribe of Mic-o-Say held its Winter Conclave all day on Saturday with a Hollywood theme "Planet Mic-o-Say." The twins attended Brave Block and received a beading loom from the Council Elders. Then there were games and costume workshops. Best of all were the Dance Competitions during the afternoon. Polar Bear and Winger did well, which they credit to having new dance shirts with fancy ribbons hanging off the shoulders. They purchased these with gift money from their recent Eagle Scout award ceremony.
Polar Bear won first in the Braves Fancy Dance and got an Oscar trophy. He also won second place in Braves Fancy Costume. Winger won third place in Braves Fancy Dance. Dorito participated in both but was more focused on the scholarship contest. The three winners chosen were college upperclassmen rather than entering freshmen. So, he can try again next year.

Friday, January 4, 2013

More Scout Photos

There were many special moments at the Eagle Scout ceremony which Meggar captured on film.
Walking up...
12 Points of the Scout Law...
4 charges told by Eagle Scouts...
(oops!) dropping the Father's pin...
Dave reminds him to sew on his patch himself...
special rose for the mother...
 empty award box is full of memories...
 both gave a Mentor pin to Dorito...
and mentor pin to Colton...
We were most proud of the fact that each son gave an Acceptance Speech. Not many Scouts speak at their own Eagle ceremony. Their words were heartfelt and mature.
 There were 19 Eagle Scouts in attendance!! (That might be a record.) Dating from 1949...
 luncheon for 75 people...
 display for Polar Bear...
 and Winger... followed by violin music for everyone.
 and cake...
 Justin gave them a great gift -- statue of twin Eagles!! so neat!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Learning About Tea

There is always time for a tea party whilst Meggar is home. This week, we invited a few mothers and daughters over on New Year's Day and served up gingerbread, scones, blackberries, and a special tea. The loose tea was a gift from Constance last year and has been stored in my freezer awaiting a special brewing. We were pleasantly surprised by the Ceylon Kenilworth Orange Pekoe--it was delightful! Rich-brown in color, meaning it was strong enough to be considered a British afternoon tea, but there was not any harshness to its flavor. Its name reveals that it is only grown on the Kenilworth Estate (famous in Sri Lanka, which was formerly called "Ceylon" when it was a British colony). I also just learned that the orange pekoe is the leaf just below the bud; orange is the second or larger leaf when only the top two or three leaves are harvested anyway. It takes 2,800 leaves to make a pound of tea. The Kenilworth OP package says:  "This tea is a treat for the eyes, nose and palate. The long, crisp, dried leaves are dark brown with beautiful tawny tips; the infusion has a soft, almost rose-like scent that imparts a pleasing taste that is free of astringency. A very likable, elegant breakfast or afternoon tea."

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How Long is Christmas Anyway?

Here is a Liturgical Christmas Cheat Sheet (from Catholic Icing website)
~December 24–Christmastide or Christmas Season, begins at the first Christmas Vigil Mass.
~December 25–Birth of Jesus.
~December 25 to January 1–(Octave of Christmas) the 8 days of Christmas when we feast and celebrate most.
~January 1–Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God (Holy Day of Obligation). Also the Feast of the Circumcision (Jesus’ circumcision and naming 8 days after His birth –Genesis 17:10-12).
~December 25 through January 5 –“Twelve Days of Christmas” that lead up to Epiphany.
~Twelfth Night–night before Epiphany.
~January 6–Epiphany. Three Kings arrive to see baby Jesus (usually moved to the closest Sunday in U.S.).
~January 13–Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Octave of Epiphany).
~The day after the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the Church returns to ordinary time.
~February 2–Presentation of the Lord, also referred to as Candlemas, is about Mary’s presentation in the temple for Purification.  Presentation of Jesus to Simeon (and profecy of Simeon) also occurred, but ritual was about the mother.  (The Vatican leaves its tree and nativity up until February 2nd.)  Many families celebrate Christmas up until this date.  Note that December 25 through February 2 is a period of 40 days.  (Also, see “Churching of Women” for more information on blessing for new mothers)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Movie is Extravagant

Meggar and I went with Caroline to see "Anna Karenina" at the artsy theatre in Westport this afternoon. WOW--we were amazed how good it was! The theatricals were CLEVER--such staging and interactions were carried out in such a way that was unexpected. The script also stayed very true to the book, which I highly approve of.
There were curious (?) Russian accents as well as the fun of seeing old favorites among the cast. The gowns and hats and furs and jewelry were opulent. The wallpaper and chandeliers and horses and trains filled the entire stage or screen. I have always disliked Keira Knightley, so she was actually a good choice for the "villainess" for this drama.
Best of all, I loved the "Stiva Smile" by MacFadyen.