Thursday, October 1, 2009

We interrupt the dearth of blogging . . .

So it happened again. Yep. Too many technological options to choose from; too little time. Plus that whole "actually getting work done during the work day" thing. At least I'm not tweeting yet.

Anyway, I saw this today and, since Facebook isn't loading for me (anyone else having problems lately?), I thought I'd post it here. Regardless of where you stand on the health care debate (where do you stand, by the way?), this is a pretty amusing poke at our celebrity-obsessed culture. And by "celebrity-obsessed", I mostly mean celebrities who are obsessed with themselves and their own self-importance.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Spring Break - Homeschool Style . . .

So I'm a little tardy talking about Spring Break here the day after Memorial Day, but oh well. Sometime around July 4th I'll mention how we celebrated Memorial Day. (OK, so as to keep the suspense levels down, I'll just mention that it was rainy all weekend and we mostly cleaned house and had friends / family over to eat. Sounds exciting, huh?).

Anywhat, the Mountainside Homeschool Academy DID take a Spring Break this year (as per usual). Last year we went to California for a family wedding and did all kinds of cool stuff like visit Sequoia National Forest, Muir Woods, and the Jelly Belly Factory. We did NOT do other cool stuff like visit a vineyard. As educational as it would have been, we couldn't quite bring ourselves to take three children (ages 8 and under) to tour wineries. Maybe next time!

This year, we stayed closer to home. However, we did want to do something educational AND something fun. Introducing the Burton 4-H Center on Tybee Island! A part of the Univ of Georgia Extension Program, Burton offers educational programs on sea and tidal eco-systems to schools across Georgia (and presumably beyond). This year, they held a "homeschool program" week for the first time, opening the camp up to any homeschool families who wanted to attend. It was the first time they had tried something like this, and I'm pleased to say that it was quite a success.

The "campers" were divided up into age-appropriate groups. Parents could go with whomever they wanted. The classes included "Crabs & Critters" (including crabs, turtles, fish, snakes, lizards, etc), "Marsh Ecology", "Beach Ecology", and the ever popular "Squid Dissection". No really. Tinkerbelle was more excited about getting to dissect a squid than anything else. It was awesome! Each kid took turns holding, cutting, squishing, and pointing at the various parts.

All of the units were a big hit. The camp seemed really pleased with the response (they turned away over 100 people, so apparently there is a definite demand for such a service) and with our feedback, so my guess is they will offer the program at least twice a year going forward. This was my first experience with anything associated with 4-H, and I was impressed. OK, the lodgings were pretty rustic (think summer camp), and we all agreed we would willingly pay more for better food (see previous parenthetic statement). But all in all, it was a big hit.

For all you homeschoolers lurking in the blogoshere, check into similar programs in your home state. If the 4-H camps don't offer them, point them to the Georgia system, where the beta test went swimmingly well.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How did that happen?

OK, so when I started playing around on Facebook (see previous post), I didn't think it would trigger a 3 month hiatus from this humble blog. I'm not quite sure how that happened. Life? That's certainly been happening (in spades). Work? I'm hardly traveling at all now, which has actually diminished my "bored in a hotel room I think I'll post something on my blog" time. Who knows.

In the interim, I've missed out on blogging about:
  • Spring Break / Science Camp

  • the Spring recital / concert blitz

  • Springtime in the mountains

  • administering the Iowa Basic Skills Test (I can hear the collective groan from my readers from here!)

  • catching up with long-time friends from my high-school choir (thanks, ahem, to Facebook)

I'll try to take each of those in turn over the next few weeks and, maybe just maybe, insert a few cogent thoughts on how our 3rd year of homeschooling has transpired.

In the meantime,
  • blessings and prayers to Tim and Tonya

  • welcome back Arby

  • hello to Wendy (and here are some pictures - your Dad gave me your message)
Later . . .

Friday, February 6, 2009

I've found someone else . . .

It's not that I meant to. I wasn't looking. It was just an innocent email from a fraternity brother of old, mentioning that there was a "group" for our fraternity now, up on some newfangled thing called "Facebook".

I got sucked in. I just wanted to see who had signed up. But first, I had to get my own page on FB. Then, I found out that I could be "friends" with people. People I hadn't seen in years. People who were posting little snippets about their lives, their families, even photo's. (note: some of them haven't aged very gracefully!).

The next thing you know, I'm FBing like a man possessed. "How many friends do I have?" "Can I get to 100 by the weekend?" "Ooh, I remember him!" "Hey, there's that girl I went to the Homecoming Dance with my senior year in highschool. (yikes!)"

And thus it happened. I became a Facebook junky. I'm still wrestling with the balance. Oh, I still check in on my favorite blog buddies (Hey, Tim!). But it's so much easier to just finish the sentence "Chris is . . ." then to actually compose a whole essay.

I'll keep you posted. Meanwhile, I think I just became friends with the kid from down the street who laughed at my French Horn in Junior High.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

In case you were wondering . . .

1) Playing Wii Mario Cart for an hour right before bed is not conducive to falling right to sleep (but it does generate new aches and pains!)
2) Watching a few episodes from Season 1 of 24 right before bed is also not conducive to falling right to sleep (but it does generate some mighty interesting dreams!)
3) Doing both of those in the same evening can lead to a long, sleepless night indeed!!

Happy New Year!! Apparently, not traveling does not lead to more frequent blog posting, since I have been in town every night since my last post and yet three weeks have passed. Hmmm. Apparently, a new Wii (family Christmas gift) and 24 (we're trying to finish Season 1 before the new season starts on Sunday) are not conducive to blogging, either.

I trust that each and every one of you (ie "both of you") had a great Christmas. Ours here at the Mountain Homeschool was great. No overnight trips; lots of playing with family. Work-related angst increased ("oops, I don't have the head-count for you afterall!") and then subsided ("hey, can I get you on my team?") Details and exact job description TBD, but it looks like I'll be traveling a good bit less than last year. Yeah!! I've been working on my home office (pictures to follow once I'm done); now it looks like I'll be able to actually use it.

That's enough for now; I'll start blogging about more substantive issues in the near future. Or not. Maybe just link to some fun video's. Regardless, I'll try to be around more often.

Note to Tim: I LOVED Dr. Horrible; sorry I didn't link to it when I saw it last year. We would have had yet one more subject in common to discuss over dinner last month.

Note to everyone: Here's here's a new site for you to check out at your convenience. Dirty Harry, from one of my previous favorite clicks, is now the Editor in Chief at Andrew Breitbart's newest venture, Big Hollywood. Looks like it's going to be fun.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Memories . . .

I've blogged in the past about how powerful memories are. That point is driven home regularly during the Advent and Christmas seasons. (soapbox warning . . . I refuse to call it the "Holiday" season here. I'll be PC at work, but this is my blog, dadgummit, and I'll call it what I want!!!!).

Ahem, where was I?

This time of year is filled with triggers that bring back vivid memories from Christmas' past. Stringing lights on the tree; singing those great Christmas carols; hanging stockings with care; etc etc. Many of my memories are musical in nature. One was triggered last night.

Blockus and I were up late wrapping Christmas presents. Did you see what I just wrote?!? On December 17th, we were WRAPPING PRESENTS!!!!! This did NOT evoke a vivid memory as we have never wrapped anything this early. I'm so proud. (it was either that or clean the house and that clearly wasn't going to happen). Anywhere, we were still going strong at 11:00 when A Christmas Carol ended on TNT. As I was reaching for the remote, I saw the promo for what was on next - Christmas in Washington. Now, the annual spectacle that I remember was just that - a spectacle. President and Mrs. Reagan sitting on the front row listening to a mix of singing stars broadcast during prime time on one of the big three networks. Over the past few years I've caught glimpses of the show on a seemingly random array of networks (CMT, Lifetime, the Food Network maybe?). And the "talent" seemed to have fallen off a bit. Lot's of pop; not much culture. Maybe I'm just getting old(er).

Last night didn't start off much better. I don't know who the first singer was (bless her heart), but we promptly hit "mute" while she gyrated around the stage in a gold lame mini-dress. "Merry Christmas!" I was going to give them one more song; if things didn't improve we were moving on.

Good news! Next up - Kristin Chenowith. Loved her in West Wing; can sing along to most of the soundtrack from the original "Wicked". (yes, I love Broadway; you gonna make something of it?).

Well, it wasn't her best performance, but it was enough to keep us watching. Next Darius Rucker (ne "Hootie") singing an absolutely lovely song that neither of us had ever heard before. I was starting to really enjoy myself! And I suddenly realized that, despite everything, I was still watching Christmas in Washington. Not "Holiday" in Washington or "Winter Solstice" in Washington. These people were right up there on stage singing about the Baby Jesus and everything! Out loud! On TV! Well I'll be!

The next act (that I remember, at least; remember that by now it's 11:30 and we're wrapped out) sealed the deal. I remember Blockus calling me to the kitchen to see some acapella group on YouTube singing the Twelve Days of Christmas. Just some guys from Indiana University singing at their annual Christmas / Holiday concert. They were amazing! Talented, funny and yes, talented. Well, that video went viral and now they are living the dream of every college-age music group. Major contract with a major recording label; performing on national TV (albeit TNT) in front of the First Lady. (FYI, this was recorded while the President was dodging shoes in Iraq earlier in the week). "Straight No Chaser" is the name of the group and they are darned talented. Enjoy.

Anyway, the whole show ended on a high note. Lot's of beautiful carols sung beautifully; unashamed celebration of the birth of the Christ Child. It was an awful lot like the olden days.

Merry Christmas,

Saturday, December 13, 2008

On Being Celebrated . . .

This past week marked my final week of travel for the year. Yippeeeeee!!! As previously noted, I journeyed to Seattle and Sacramento. Amazingly enough, I found Seattle to be gray, cloudy, rainy, and cold. Imagine that!

Sacramento, however was enjoying a nice warm-up after a frosty beginning to the week and it was wonderfully sunny. My raincoat stayed in the hotel the whole time.

The best part of Sacramento, though, was dinner on Thursday night. I was priviledged to be invited to dinner at the home of my western doppelganger. How cool is that!?! I've never actually met any of my blogger buddies yet.

(Humorous aside - - - one of my colleagues asked me if I wanted to have dinner with him that same evening. I had to figure out how to decline without making it sound wierd. "No thanks, I'm meeting some guy I met on the internet." Hmm, no that won't do. "No can do, some total stranger who either has a lovely family much like mine OR a raging imagination is picking me up and driving me off into the darkness." Nope, that won't work either. "Sorry, I'm having dinner with some friends." That worked!)

Anywhich, Tim picked me up at my hotel (no short haul from either his office or home) and took me home to meet Tonya, PFF, AJ, and Happy Boy. We had a great time getting to know one another, eating some amazing homemade soup and cornbread, listening to Tim play "Moonlight Sonata" on the piano, reading books to the kids while cozied up on the sofa, and in general laughing and enjoying one anothers company. (at least, I was; hopefully they were too).

So, many thanks to Tim and Tonya for opening their home to a cyber-friend but otherwise total stranger. It was a priviledge to be welcomed by your family. Besides (inside joke), after umpty-leven weeks of travel, I was REALLY tired of hotel and restaurant food!!!

(Oh, and Tim really does have a lovely family much like mine, and he did return me safely to my hotel. No worries at all!)

Happy weekend,