Thursday, September 21, 2017

Awesome American History Returns! 1858-1870

We actually started two weeks ago, but did I remember to take pictures during the first class? No, I did not.

But I can tell you about it!  That class was 1858-1863 and covered Abe Lincoln, the Civil War, and Abolition.  We did a fun Underground Railroad activity in which the kids were escaping slaves (or conductors/guides) and the adults were slave catchers.  They all made it safely to Canada!

We also had a nice art activity with quilt squares.  Quilts were sewn by slaves (from scrap fabric) and often had symbolic references to freedom and escape advice.

Our snack was gingerbread men, a popular treat at that time.

These two weeks covered 120-140 in The American Story by Jennifer Armstrong.

The second class was 1867-1870, Cattle, Railroads, and John Henry.

We did a neat "Cowboy Moon" art project with coffee filters and liquid water colors.

They dropped colors onto the filters, then we dried them with a hair dryer and glued them to construction paper with silhouettes.
This was a quick and easy project with beautiful results, and I'm already thinking of how it could be adapted to other projects (Halloween Moon?).

Our active activity was roping.  I learned how to make a lariat here, and the kids practiced roping water bottles.

The key here is to success with a wide age range is to start right next to the bottle so you can see how it works, then gradually move back.

I wouldn't say we got good at it, but, by the end, some of the kids weren't bad at it.  And everyone had fun!

Our snack was Cowboy Cookies.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Poem of the Week: First Anniversary, With Monkeys

First Anniversary, With Monkeys

Periyar Nature Preserve

There is no crumbly frozen cake to thaw.
Today, we are in the jungle. I mean mosquito. I mean
tigers and elephants sludging their way
to the lake for a drink and Don’t make sudden moves
or snakes startled from an afternoon nap
will greet you fang first. I think we are lost. Too hot
for any cold confection to survive. Even my tube
of sunblock is as warm as a baby’s bottle. You get
to those places I can’t reach, those places I dared
not even whisper before I walked down the aisle
in white. You never worried if our families
would clash, if they would clang like the clutch
of pale monkeys clanging the thin branches of the treetrops,
begging for our trail mix. You never worried
about my relatives staring at your pale, muscled calves—
things not usually seen outside of the bedroom. You wore
hiking shorts anyway. And still, they lavished ladle-fuls
of food on your plate. I think we are lost. My eyes are dark
and wet as that wild deer that walked right past us,
a little off the trail. I think we are lost, but for once
I don't mind. Eventually you turn us back to a place
not on any map, but I know I can trace it back with my finger
if we ever need it again. We made it one year
without a compass and we’re not about to start now.

HT: Poetry Foundation
Being away all weekend (working on the retreat) with my husband reminded me how many unexpected places in life he's taken me. I guess my poem would be 27 1/2th Anniversary, With Dominicans!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Poem of the Week: Difference


My mind’s a map. A mad sea-captain drew it   
Under a flowing moon until he knew it;
Winds with brass trumpets, puffy-cheeked as jugs,   
And states bright-patterned like Arabian rugs.   
“Here there be tygers.” “Here we buried Jim.”   
Here is the strait where eyeless fishes swim   
About their buried idol, drowned so cold   
He weeps away his eyes in salt and gold.   
A country like the dark side of the moon,   
A cider-apple country, harsh and boon,   
A country savage as a chestnut-rind,
A land of hungry sorcerers.
                                              Your mind?

—Your mind is water through an April night,
A cherry-branch, plume-feathery with its white,   
A lavender as fragrant as your words,   
A room where Peace and Honor talk like birds,   
Sewing bright coins upon the tragic cloth   
Of heavy Fate, and Mockery, like a moth,   
Flutters and beats about those lovely things.   
You are the soul, enchanted with its wings,   
The single voice that raises up the dead   
To shake the pride of angels.
                                                 I have said.

HT: Poetry Foundation

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Short Version

...of the last month: sick, recovering, family visits, start of school, family health problems, running the regional Lay Dominican Retreat next weekend...  I'm hoping to catch up some this week, but I'll be back to regular blogging around Monday the 18th.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Sisterly Visits

 One of the best things about this summer was that I got to see both of my sisters, even if it wasn't at the same time!

Sr. Rejoice made it home at the end of July (she flew in from Italy earlier in the month, but I was too sick to travel), and we all went up to see her.
 We had a great, but too short visit!

Fortunately, we're all on What's App, so we can text even when she's in Italy or Ghana.

She's setting up her convents in Ghana and finishing up her doctorate in Rome, so it was wonderful to hear all the news about how everything is going!
 And then Sr. MaryAnn made it back in early August.  She flew in to our local airport, and then I drove her up to see our folks.

Curiously, she and Sr.Rejoice went to the Assembly (the big annual meeting of their order) in the Middle of July, so they got a chance to hang out together as well!
After my and Mumpy's experience with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, we were all a little paranoid about ticks!

This is Sr. MaryAnn standing on the pavement near the field of sunflowers, but far away from any possible ticks!

She also spent some time with us back in Maryland, more on that in another post!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Poem of the Week: The Day of Gifts

The Day of Gifts

Translated from the French by Jonathan Monroe Geltner
It’s not true that Your saints have won everything: they left me with sins enough.
Someday I’ll lie on my deathbed, Lord, ill-shaven and yellow as a lifelong drunk.
And I’ll make a general examination of myself, looking back over all my days,
And I’ll see that I’m rich after all, ripe and rich with evil in its unnumbered paths and ways.
I haven’t lost one single chance, Lord, to make matter for You to pardon.
Now I hearten myself with vice, having long ago sloughed off virtue’s burden.
Each day has its own kind of crime, plain to see, and I count them like some paranoid miser.

If what you need, Lord, are virgins, if what you need are brave men beneath your standard;
If there are people for whom to be Christian words alone would not suffice,
But who know rather that only in stirring themselves to chase after You is there any life,
Well then there’s Dominic and Francis, Saint Lawrence and Saint Cecilia and plenty more!
But if by chance You should have need of a lazy and imbecilic bore,
If a prideful coward could prove useful to You, or perhaps a soiled ingrate,
Or the sort of man whose hard heart shows up in a hard face—
Well, anyway, You didn’t come to save the just but that other type that abounds,
And if, miraculously, You run out of them elsewhere . . . Lord, I’m still around.

And what kind of a man is so crude that he hasn’t held a little something back from You,
Hasn’t in his free time fashioned something special for You,
Hoping that one day the idea will come to You to ask it of him,
And maybe this little that he’s made himself, kept back until then, though horrid and tortuous, will please Your whim.
It would be something that he’d put his whole heart into, something useless and malformed.
Just like that my little daughter once, on my birthday, teetered forward with encumbered arms
And offered me, her heart at once full of timidity and pride,
A magnificent little duck she had made with her own two hands, a pincushion, made of red wool and gold thread. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Summer Vacation

This year we went someplace completely new: an old manganese mine! 

The mine itself closed years ago, and as soon as they stopped pumping out groundwater, the mine flooded, turning into a small (deep!) lake. 

Someone bought the property and decided to build a vacation home near the lake.

And then they added a boathouse with kayaks!

 And a firepit!

The interesting thing was that, unlike a beach trip where there are a lot of things to do away from the property, there was almost nothing to do away, but lots of things to do on the property.

They billed it as a "retreat" and it really was.

They were well stocked with games and puzzles, and they had a foozball table and two pool tables!
Best of all, because it was away from everything, it had a beautiful view of the stars and Milky Way!

We really had a great time, although I was still sick while we were there, so I didn't get to explore the woods and trails as I would have liked.

Although I did reread  six Jane Austen novels in three days, so I did enjoy myself quite a bit!
And we saw a lot of wildlife, including this fellow coming across the road... He turned out to be a rattlesnake, the only one I've ever seen in the wild!

It's not a great picture because I didn't want to get too close (as in, I stayed in the car!).

Hopefully we'll go back next year!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Back and Catching Up

So, yes, I'm finally back and I'm finally well!  It just really took a few months to recover.  My advice: don't get bitten by a tick!

I have lots of photos and things to blog from the summer, and I am gearing up for the new school year (actually, my Anatomy and Physiology class starts today!), so I'll have lots to blog about.

In the mean time, here are a few pictures from the summer: