Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Hymns to Fireworks: (Indiana Journey, last day)

Sunday was kind of an incredible day all round. It started with hymn singing in Indiana and ended with fireworks in Toronto.

Image from the Toronto Star, because my photos weren't nearly that good. You can see a video at this link.

The hymn singing wasn't technically part of the retreat--it was just how those of us hosting (plus a couple of friends) spent the last while together. (Reminiscent of the big carol sing in A Muppet Family Christmas.) Highlight of the goodbyes (you need there to be a laugh when you are asunder parting): one of the moms was doing her usual silly-deep-voice dog-to-English interpreting for Ronan the Giant Dog, and her toddler started mimicking her. She really nailed the deep voice.

A small group of us got dropped off at the Chicago airport mid-afternoon, and I had the option of taking an earlier flight than my ticket said. That was fine by me, so after we shared pizza and goodbyes, I headed off to my gate and got on a packed flight for Toronto. (They must have sold me the last ticket.)

When we had landed and were waiting for the ferry boat to get us the 400 feet to the mainland, there was one of those news-TV things on the wall in front of us that said there were going to be fireworks shot off from the CN tower that evening, to mark the closing of the Pan Am games. I got to the Apprentice's place of residence (I planned to stay there and get home by bus the next day), and mentioned the fireworks. When it got dark, sure enough, there they went, three minutes of you-aren't-going-to-see-this-often firework art. We could see them from her back deck.

And the morning came, and the bus ride, and Mr. Fixit was there to pick me up at the terminal. How else would I want to end the story?

But if I've forgotten anything, you can just ask.

The Retreat (Indiana Journey)

The retreat was held at a church, Friday evening and all day Saturday. What it was about, for most of us: celebrating friends and exploring the possibilities of family-oriented, lifelong learning. That was underscored for me by the presence of several babies, a few brave husbands (who were not just there to hold the babies), several older offspring who were there in various roles (playing music, working in the kitchen, packing boxes into vehicles, minding the info table, or just being themselves). When one of the speakers exhorted everyone to "love their children," that seemed to be  given.

And yet a lot of it was still "eek, my online friends!" Even dedicated moms need a break to hang out and enjoy some girl-time.
We had plenary talks and breakout sessions. If you wanted, you could learn how to do Swedish drill and nature study. There were children's notebooks on display, and also some book signings going on. (Not to be confused with one person's totebag signing.) There were serious points made, and some important stuff discussed over cucumber sandwiches and pie. I helped one person do a Google search for the essay where Plutarch mentions child sacrifice to Moloch (who knew?). This was a weekend to make whatever you wanted it to be.

And as the closing speaker quoted from Mary Poppins, it was (too soon) Time To Go Home. For those of us on the hostessing team, it was more like Mary Poppins' game of Tidy Up the Nursery, but we had a lot of hands helping, and also enough willing drivers to get everyone back to "Ma Bear's house."

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Tripping Over the Hodgepodge Edition

1.  I recently read here about four secrets to happiness from around the world. They were-Overcome your fears by facing them head on, allow yourself to relax and reset, work to live versus living to work, and find the good in life. Not sure if these are the actual secret to happiness, but which of the four do you struggle with most? Which one comes most easily to you?

Struggle with: overcoming fears; but when you "see things for what they are" (Marcus Aurelius, courtesy of Father Tim), they sometimes shrink to manageable size.  Not as hard: finding the good in life. One of my daughter's favourite kindergarten books was Good Times on Grandfather Mountain, and it was a good lesson in bad-turned-to-good.

2. How would you spend a found $20 bill today?

I'd get a pizza for dinner. It's too hot to cook.

3. Ego trip, power trip, guilt trip, round trip, trip the light fantastic, or trip over your own two feet...which 'trip' have you experienced or dealt with most recently? Explain.

Round trip. See #5.

4. If you could master any physical skill in the world what would it be, and how would you use that skill?

Driving. Enough said.

5. As July draws to a close, let's take inventory of our summer fun. Since the official first day of (North American) summer (June 20th) have you...been swimming? enjoyed an ice cream cone? seen a summer blockbuster? camped? eaten corn on the cob? gardened? deliberately unplugged? watched a ballgame? picked fruit off the vine? taken a road trip? read a book?  Are any of these activities on your must-do-before-summer-ends list?

Swimming, no. Corn on the cob, yes. Read a book, yes, several. Over the last week I took a road trip/400-foot ferry trip/air trip/road trip to the U.S. and back, so that would include several of the above and some you haven't even mentioned including Cameroonian coffee, Vegemite chocolate, and Chicago airport pizza (I don't think it was deep-dish though).  And fireworks from the C.N. Tower in Toronto. In a way I did "unplug" during that trip since I misplaced my watch (found when I was repacking to go home).

6. The Republican Presidential candidates will debate on August 6th. What's your question?

I'm staying out of that one.

7. What's your most listened to song so far this summer?

Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers with Thelonious Monk. That's a whole album, not a song, but good enough.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I'm sad that my praying mantises never hatched. But we can't have everything.

Wednesday Hodgepodge comes courtesy of This Side of the Pond, where you can find the linky and add your own thoughts.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Pre-Retreat (Indiana Journey)

Of buses and airplanes, I don't need to say much. Every trip has its quirks, but this one did go pretty smoothly, at least until I got to Chicago. I've only taken one other flight to the U.S., and that time I had a connecting flight in Detroit, our arrival from Toronto was late, and I barely remember anything about that except rushing through the airport. But squeezed in there somewhere, I must have gone through Customs, and so that second flight was a domestic one--no Customs.

This time I was flying nonstop to Chicago, and (of course) forgot about the fact that when you go through Customs, by the time you've been x-rayed and screened and everything else, you're sort of booted out a side door into the non-security part of the airport. The trouble was, I was supposed to meet someone from a domestic flight (you see this now?) at a pre-arranged spot in the security area, and I didn't have a phone, or enough American coins to use a pay phone to call either her or a third person who was picking us both up. The other tiny problem was that I knew her only by a photograph, and real live people can look quite different, so I wasn't a hundred percent sure who I was watching for!

I tried to think on my feet (literally, as I was dragging around my luggage), and tried a couple of different approaches to get an escort pass or at least a little help in connecting with my friends. Nope, I was not getting back in there and nobody very official seemed much interested in helping Find My Party. (I am not blaming airport employees, they have to do what they have to do.) Finally I asked an employee working in the baggage area of My Party's airline, and she got it right away. She let me use the phone in their office to call our Third Person, and it turned out that she was parked almost right outside the door. So we all connected up and, really, it hadn't been that long a delay--it just felt like it at the time.

So...over the next day or so, everyone on our team finished arriving.
Emily 'Ma' Bear: I'm afraid we're running out of room. Two of you will have to sleep on hangers on a hook on the wall.
Gonzo: What a fabulous idea!
Animal: Love hanger! Love hanger! (Muppet Family Christmas, 1987)
No hangers, but we were kind of all over the place.

Janice: [bringing out a basket of Christmas cookies] Hey, everybody, look what I've got: Christmas cookies!
Cookie Monster: COOKIE!
[gobbles up the whole basket, as Animal watches in amazement]
Cookie Monster: Oh, thank you!
Janice: Who was that strange blue creature?
Animal: Dat my kinda fella! Ahahahahaha!
Our charming hostess
Some of us made cookies. Some of us cut flowers. Some of us wrote names on calling cards name tags. Some of us cooked meals. Some of us cleaned up. We all ate chocolate.

Next post: The retreat!

(All images from A Muppet Family Christmas, 1987)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Quote for the day: Life shouldn't always be so serious

"Oh all this endless thinking, it's very overrated. I blame the war, before 1914 nobody thought of anything at all.." - Violet Crawley (Maggie Smith), Downton Abbey (to the family about leaving Edith to think while the rest of them have a picnic).

Home at last (Indiana Journey)

I will be posting some thoughts about the AmblesideOnline AtHome Retreat over the next day or so. In the meantime, I'm unpacking.
I am now officially airing my dirty laundry on the blog.
A magnet from the Ukraine. (Thank you!)
A new book by an AmblesideOnline Auxiliary member. (Review to come!)
A couple of retreat "specials!"
These came all the way from Poland. Again, thank you very much.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Doing some travelling

(The photos are for the benefit of those of you who like to talk about packing and purses. The purse actually came from a yard sale last weekend. The bigger bag I've had forever.)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1.July 15th is National Give Something Away Day.  What can you give away? Will you?

I'll probably put some things in our ongoing to-the-thrift-store box.

2. Do you have a mantra? Please share with the class if you feel comfortable doing so.

This week it's "I get enough," courtesy of A Holy Experience.

3. Who does the grocery shopping in your house? How many times a week do you shop? Do you make a list or pray for inspiration in the produce aisle?
Whoever's home shops together, usually on Saturdays. I usually have a list of what we're out of, and sometimes also a list of things to get for specific meals.

 4. Is there a TV show you're embarrassed to say you watch? You're going to tell us what it is, right? 

We just watched a whole season of Hill Street Blues.

5. A recent article listed fifteen words we should eliminate from our (written) vocabulary in order to sound smarter- that, went, honestly, absolutely, very, really, amazing, always, never, literally, just, maybe, stuff, things, and irregardless. Of the fifteen, which word is yourmost overused?

Really. It is, really. Just is a close second.

6. So apparently dying your hair gray (in your youth!) is a thing right now. It's called 'The Granny Hair' trend. Your thoughts?

Why would I want to pay to do that when I could do it for free?

7. A while back Buzz Feed asked members to share the most beautiful sentence they've read in a piece of literature. A hard thing to narrow down, at least for me, but let's try. What's one of the most beautiful sentences you've ever read in a piece of literature?

"The mouse hurried to his safe home.
He lit the fire,
he ate his supper,
and he finished reading his book." Mouse Soup, by Arnold Lobel.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Too much random already going on today, sorry!

This blog hop comes from Joyce at From This Side of the Pond. Feel free to create your own answers and post your blog to the link-up

Sunday, July 12, 2015

What's for supper? Summer things

Tonight's "Sunday dinner" menu:

Leftover beef and potato stew
Hot dogs
Cole slaw made with kohlrabi and carrots
Yellow zucchini sticks (summer squash)
Corn on the cob

Vanilla ice cream
Fresh cherries and strawberries

Good reading for today

Something good to read today: Understanding Poetry, at Bent Leather.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

What's for supper? Turkey-vegetable tortillas

 Tonight's dinner menu:

Tortillas with turkey-vegetable filling and shredded cheese
Frozen corn
Banana-maple muffins

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Saturday Yardsales

Watch set with interchangeable bands and bezels (rings). Go ahead, admit it...didn't you circle one of these in a Christmas catalogue at least once in your life? ($2)
Three verrrry sharp knives, new in the package. ($4).(Everybody here has been warned.)

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

What's for supper? Canada Day

The Boy's Smack 'n' Cheese (one-pot macaroni and cheese)
Hot dogs on the barbecue
Chocolate microwave cake (the black dots are chocolate chips)
The other package of German/Italian mini chocolate bars 
Watermelon (the best red thing to eat on Canada Day)

Your last, your very last chance to sign up for this summer's AO Retreat

Important Notice to Charlotte Mason Homeschoolers and AmblesideOnline Users: If you had at all considered the possibility of going to the AmblesideOnline Retreat in Indiana, July 24th to 25th, this is the very last chance to send in a registration.

(I would love to meet you there.)