Saturday, April 28, 2012

Some More Old Pictures

Before ML was even out of the car at home for the first time--

Picture below was on a very nice family vacation we took to Edisto Island in the summer of 2000.  I had had neck surgery earlier so was a little limited, but was recuperated enough that it was still a lovely time.  By the end of the week the kids were expert crabbers, as you can tell.  The dock they are on rose and fell with the tide.  We'd sit out on it every night, playing at crabbing, fishing, and birding, until the bugs ran us inside.  Then we watched TVLand reruns of old, old sitcoms until about midnight every night.  Sweet memories--

Andrew and cousin Bill, whom he absolutely idolized at that age.

I always thought this picture of Mary Lee captured how much she loved life in her elementary days.  She really did enjoy the journey.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Whole Week Has Gone By?

Kinda pitiful, not posting anything for a week. For once I just haven't had anything to say...

It's the busy season. ML comes home next week for the summer, she's hosting a wedding shower here next weekend, I've got junior/senior banquet tonight, and a big few weeks at school.

I'm much farther ahead than last year in teaching and couldn't figure out why. But last year we had a fall retreat (two days) and an unexpected spring retreat (three days), plus three snow days in January. That makes a big difference in how far in the curriculum one may get with a class. Regardless, I've got to fill three more weeks of classes, and that will mean studying some new stuff. Guess I'll do light and sound with the physical science group. Haven't taught that in twenty years, so I will be re-learning it this weekend and the first of next week.

We will be introduced to our new administrator next week. He has very good credentials, which is reassuring up front, and I have a positive outlook to start with. This whole issue of leadership turnover, however, both in work and church settings, has been something I've grappled with lately. It's not easy to have leadership come in, change things, innovate--then leave, and others come and implement their own style and ideas. And the rank and file then have to get used to a new person's choices, personality, and ways of doing things. Not to mention the "feeling out" process of determining what the new person's judgment and people skills are going to be like. Sometimes it seems like it's the teachers, or the people in the pews, who maintain the stability, while the leadership comes and goes. I know that's not always true, but we've had a lot of major change in recent years (and this is coming from a person who actually likes change and innovation), and it does seem a little wearisome, or at least cause some apprehension, after awhile.

That may be too much soul-bearing, but so be it.

I'd like to get my Amish books reviewed on here this weekend and may strive for that.

Friday, April 20, 2012

100th Anniversary of Fenway

This weekend is the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park in Boston. The Red Sox will play the Yankees - always an occasion in itself - and there will be a big party as well. This article on Fox News gives more of the details of the occasion.

Mike and I visited Fenway on our trip to the northeast in 2010. These two pictures were taken on my phone - we didn't want to bring the camera with us because we were traveling on the subway and wanted to have as little as possible with us for possible pickpockets. Watching the scores be manually changed, just like a hundred years ago, was a cultural experience everyone in this electronic age ought to see. We watched David Ortiz blast a homerun across the Green Monster, and we squeezed into old wooden seats designed for the shorter people of a hundred years ago. Mike's knees touched the back of the seat in front of him. It really got interesting when people wanted in and out of the middle of the row. There wasn't any room to back up for them to get past, even with standing and putting up the bottom of the wooden seat to get as far back as possible.

The news article on Fox says that a few years ago the possibility of building a new stadium was explored - and then rejected -- due to the public outcry. I can see why. This place is an institution.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Science Night

A friend posted these on Facebook. I was way too busy to take pictures that night!
My assistant Alex - right before the "bomb" explosion--
And this is the "bomb" at its best--I even got a Facebook message from a much-loved student who was in the 7th and 8th grade back when we used to do these at BJJH, remembering how this was one of his favorite memories of junior high.

The "blob and bomb" lady.
And this is what the "blob" looked like as it rose out of the beaker.
It was a good evening, but after doing the demonstrations seven times, I was ready to call it a night.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Note to Self

Note to self: It is not a good idea to use the side of a sharp knife to flatten a garlic clove, then use the same knife to cut a pat of butter for the sauce you are making.

A pop-tart, late at night, with a swipe of butter off of a garlic-tainted stick, does not taste very good.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Mike's Hard Hat

ML took Mike's new hard hat to school with her, and in her spare time painted it for him. This is not a decal.
The USC on this side is not a decal either.
Very pleased with his new hard hat!

Knockout Roses Three Years Running. . .

Two years ago - the first year of the knockout roses.
Last year's knockout roses:
And this is the display we are getting this spring!

Update 2013:  They still grow big and beautiful; however, #2 from the left has died.  Don't know why but it's possible that it accidently got hit with Round-Up.  Mike still prunes them regularly.  They are prettiest in spring and fall.  They seem to be impervious to most diseases; planting is easy; they do not like shade but are happiest in full sun.  They are prettiest in spring and fall.  And I think that we have the prettiest of the colors!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Honor Society Inductee

Our daughter ML was inducted into the education honor society at her college last night. Anyone inducted had to have a 3.5 GPA so it is quite an accomplishment. Here she is at the left after having signed in to the "official" book.
. . .and with her proud dad. . .
. . .and with her proud yours truly. . .
We left the building where the ceremony was held and discovered that the water from the coolant system in our van was rapidly pouring out onto the pavement - so our plans to take her out to eat, and possibly surprise Andrew at his weekday/night job, were shorted out. We had to get the van back home before dark--fortunately our mechanic's shop is very close to the house. Mike thinks it's the water pump. So that was a little disappointing, but so glad we could get over there to see the ceremony and spend a little time with her.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Monday Morning Misc.

--It is sure interesting that you can walk through any store that sells sports clothing, and most of the shorts and other items for girls/women/ladies are, shall we say, lacking in modesty; while the shorts for men and boys are knee-length and the tops cover far more for them than those designed for females.

--Made it through the wedding fine. Would not have, if our music teacher at school hadn't volunteered to take one song (that someone else was supposed to play but backed out the day before, which was when the bride asked me to try it). It was not easy and was more than I could sightread. It was a lovely wedding and was bilingual. Everything was done in first English and then Spanish (sometimes the reverse).

--Always good to see wonderful old friends, this time at Easter dinner at their home. ML and I would have been alone for dinner had they not invited us, and it made the holiday special for us. Thank you Gretchen and family!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Wednesday Pic. on Saturday

I know a similar picture has been posted on the family blog and on FB, but I really like this one also. Plus, it's a busy day, not much time for a "thinking" post. I'm playing piano at a very involved wedding so had better go over the music one more time. Nothing like doing the wrong thing in a wedding no less.

Anyway, Wednesday was a big day for ML and her daddy. :-)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Amish

Over the past few months I've been reading some books by former Amish members. Every few years I get the bug to read and study things about the Amish. About five summers ago I studied several public library books with encyclopedic information about the group, and every now and then have read/looked at other things. The influx of Amish fiction, which for some reason has a huge grip on Christian female reading, keeps the topic in the forefront, although I have no interest in reading any of those books.

For one thing, it has become very apparent from reading these recent nonfiction works (two on Kindle) that the lives of the Amish have been hugely romanticized, and that people who have grown up in the Amish life have other, less positive, things to say about it. While Amish attempts to encourage family ties and to be separate from the world have some merit, they are no different from any other people, and they have sin natures just like everyone else. And they place so, so much faith in following their "Ordnung" (rules) that if there is any salvation by grace preached, it appears it is very thinly done so.

Furthermore, just in considering the practicality of their lifestyle, it's easy to forget that one of the main reasons electricity and motors became so widespread so quickly among the general public is because they helped greatly to reduce the amount of backbreaking work, particularly on farms. An author can put a soft edge on the Amish lifestyle all she wants, but the fact is that these people have to put far, far more effort than those who espouse modern conveniences, into just accomplishing basic life jobs.

Also, the more a person looks at the world of the Amish, the more it is revealed that it is not easily defined. Just in the past few days I have read about Old Order Amish, Old Order Mennonites, Beachy Amish, Swartzentruber Amish, Hutterites (many groups of them as well), many other named groups, and just an unbelievable number of different varieties of what is generally called "Amish." I was also surprised to see just how widespread all these groups are dispersed. There are a lot more of these groups out there, in many states, than is generally known.

I found several websites such as Amish America that are just loaded with information.

I've also seen that these groups that stem from the Anabaptist history, although there are many that are completely modern and are nothing like Amish (including Mennonites other than Old Order, and others that include my own heritage), there are also some similarities that run throughout any group that has the Anabaptist history.

In another post I will review the books read recently and have more commentary.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Two Very Different Spring Break Pics

The fruits of my labor last night and this morning. Four boxes of Sure-Jell, 28 cups of sugar, 3 gallons of strawberries, resulting in 39 half-pints of strawberry jam. Never have strawberries been in season during spring break before this year.
We ran out of jam in February, a first. We've always had enough to last until the next jam-making session. My family thinks they are deprived if they have to eat peach jam instead, or maybe even grape jelly from the store.

And this is a crummy picture, but so far it's the best I've been able to do. Want to be able to sneak outside the next time she is around, but the garage door was shut, and opening it would have spooked her for sure. She's center left, but the picture may be so bad it's not even worth trying to see her. It's quite a sight to see a turkey in our yard.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday Morning Misc.

--I did laundry Friday night, and forgot that one of the tops in that pile of dirty clothes needed special care because it is covered in sparkles. It went through the dryer. It isn't covered in sparkles any more--about half are gone--and everything else in the load now has sparkles that have to be picked off by hand. FORTUNATELY, it was a load of towels and my things. Wouldn't Mike's clothes have looked cute?

--Strawberry season began the last week in March. We've lived in this area for 21 years and I've never known strawberries to come in this early. Since we ran out of jam in February this year (another first), after making a triple batch last April and May, I guess I'll be making a quadruple batch. Since it's stored in the freezer in the garage, and with household members living in a dorm, an apartment, and traveling to a plant to work night shift where they often cook on weekends, I suspect that more jam than usual walks out the door with various people. . .

--Two words: SPRING BREAK!