Monday, March 29, 2010

It was a big week......

Field trip on how maple syrup is made ( the real kind). We had many warm days last week, but Friday was NOT one of them. :)
Interesting stuff but BRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
Our docent explaining photosynthesis. :)
A nice, elderly man gave Manny a dollar at the dr's office.
Naomi Grace Cecilia's confirmation. Everyone sans Al. ( who had to work)
A year or so ago Jed thrilled to wear a suit and tie. Not so much now. :(
G is ready to party!
Anne ( sponsor) Naomi and Monsignor Zenz who confirmed the group. Shiny forehead is from the chrism ( women must explain these things!)
Charlito in one of his "bright" ensembles.
A Sissy face. Our beautiful daughter. We're so proud of her! And the lovely Anne, both physically and a great choice for a spiritual sponsor.
The confirmands at San Francesco

Of course I forgot pictures of Sunday's shin dig. It was a nice gathering. Dyl made lasagna with sausage and peppers on the side. Garlic toast and salad with homemade creamy garlic to round things out. Cakes and pies galore from Neana and co. The Michigan State game overtook things for awhile ( I must say, an exciting one, this said from a non sports fan :) We embarrassed Naomi with some cute videos of her in younger years. Anne got to meet the family and then some.

Outside my window: Did I hear 70 this week!?!?! Even Easter Day is supposed to be in the 60's. I honestly can't remember a warm-ish Easter in recent history. We might actually be able to wear an Easter outfit to mass instead of parka, books, and a balaclava!

I am thinking--about how to make this week especially thoughtful.

From the schoolroom: Well, we found some laminating sheets and the kids had no end of fun laminating pictures they colored. Funny how such simple things can bring lots of good times. Jed has really been inspired to read "Fantastic Mr Fox" ....well, mostly we read it to him, but it is nice to see him so interested in a book. I guess I will give the film industry a high five for that ( even though we have yet to see the film :)

From the kitchen: One of the more memorable meals of the week was some Salmon I found for less than 7.00 a lb (gasp!) and fettuccine Alfredo that Dylan made. Not sure it was a penitential meal, but it oh so yummy.

I am reading and watching:

Watching season 2 of "Lark Rise to Candleford" What WILL we do when we have to wait for season 3 to make it's appearance, gosh knows when? (Only one more episode to go.....wahhhhhh!)

Found the book at the library and it is wonderfully charming, besides being a very interesting glimpse of rural English life before the Industrial revolution.

Listened to: On Agate Hill by Lee Smith

This one was set in South Carolina post Civil War. It got me to thinking about how so many novels I read or listen to have an irritating common theme. Whatever interesting sub plots there are going on, the stories usually focus on one or more of the following:
A) A spirited, independent minded girl/woman who is adored by the common folk but not by the powers that be. No matter what era it is she is always the feminist or pre-feminist, going against the oppressive grain of society.
B) The fact that she usually falls in love with with a likewise free spirited man who sweeps her off her feet and she is so taken with him she doesn't mind his free-wheeling ways or even infidelity! I suppose there could be women like that but anyone I've known who has dealt with such in a relationship find it to be an earth shattering, gut wrenching experience.
C) Generally she is impoverished but by some benevolence of providence she comes into a terrific fortune.


Finishing my thought. It's not that there is anything objectionable about any of those scenarios per se. It's mostly the redundancy of them. You can't categorically "dis" modern authors for this either, because Jane Austen is as guilty of it as Laurie R. King. I was recently browsing a list of Modern Library's "100 Great Novels" and I thought about the fact that most of the women characters in said books ( the ones I've read) haven't necessarily fit into these categories. Maybe that is the difference between a great novel and one that is a pleasant diversion. And as I can't bring all my thoughts about this subject into a coherent paragraph, I will leave off. :)

Around the house: Did some spring cleaning. There are still some big jobs in the basement and garage. ( Did I say "some"? :)

Cute kid sayings and doings:
I was helping Gabriella get dressed for the day and handed her a clean pair of underwear. Jed drolly commented "I don't change my underwear everyday! What is the point?"

Grade for mom on teaching her kids proper hygiene. F. A. I. L

Jed (7) to Gabriella (3) while she played with her doll. "You are talking to a plastic, inanimate object?!?"

What we will do this week: Prepare our hearts and minds for Easter! Easter Egg hunt with an old friend on Saturday. Lots of shopping and planning for the weekend. If the temperatures will be as they say they will, I'm sure we will be out and about. We found the most charming nature park right near our house. A nice play scape and lovely trails to bike and walk on. The added bonus was that there was almost no one there. Not that we like to avoid all contact with other humans :) but it helps to have the road to yourself when there are wild and woolly bike -riders in your pack.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Last Station

Photo of Countess Tolstoy peering in the window of the train station where her husband lies dying. A picture I find particularly poignant.

I don't often go to the theater to see movies. Pretty rarely. But I was intrigued by this rendition of the last year of Tolstoy's life. I am no expert on Count Tolstoy, but I think he is an interesting man, and of course, one of the greatest authors of all time. It was an enjoyable film in many respects, lush scenery, gorgeous costumes, outstanding acting performances by some theatrical heavy weights. Unfortunately, there was a lot about it that was aggravating. I love it when I find a reviewer who agrees with my assessment of things. :)

"The Last Station falls between two stools: neither cerebral enough to unpack Tolstoy’s legacy, nor involving enough to satisfy frock-opera fans. But taken as an acting showcase, Michael Hoffman’s film does deliver some treats."

Yep, what he said. It seemed to me they were trying to take a very complicated subject and market it to the masses, which is strange because it was playing at the local "art house" theater and no other in the area. Not to mention it was a vignette from a very long and involved life (lives).....probably the most dramatic one, but nonetheless, unless you know the history of these two folks it makes it very difficult to understand and appreciate the "forces that be" which brought them to this point. Therefore almost none of which was depicted in the movie was very moving or even understandable....except on a very basic level. ( And even knowing some of the story myself I felt a certain level of confusion or frustration at the fact that so much of it was glossed over, although I appreciate the cinematic difficulty there :)

So, there you have it. A bit of a disappointment. In retrospect I would have saved this one for the Netflix que. But it was a nice date with my oldest son, so not a bad way to spend an evening in the least! :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

March 21, 2010

What am I thinking? About many a heavy subject.
Outside my window: Cloudy and cool but what a week we had!
Weren't we just ice skating on this pond a couple weeks ago?
Rochester ducks have very specific dietary restrictions. ;)
Manny took this picture!
Manny on his new bike. His first run other than around the house and he did pretty well. I am pleased to say no fellow pedestrians were injured while we were out, although there were a few hair raising moments. I need to make a new rule for myself. Only one bike-rider under 10 when we are out on walks. :)
Jed. I really DO have 10 children. It seems like only these three make it into most of the pictures. :)
Gabriella looking sunshiny and springy!

rom the schoolroom: Only 55 more calendar days of school. This nice weather is not helping matters!

From the kitchen: Had a nice spaghetti dinner last night made by Dyl AND Zak. Zak always has to improve on whoever is making the spaghetti sauce. :)

I am reading and watching:

Watching season 2 of "Lark Rise to Candleford" What WILL we do when we have to wait for season 3 to make it's appearance, gosh knows when?

Found the book at the library and it is wonderfully charming, besides being a very interesting glimpse of rural English life before the Industrial revolution.

Love and Hatred: The Stormy Marriage of Leo and Sonya Tolstoy ....What a title! :) But it is an interesting book about the great author and his wife. I am hoping to go see "The Last Station" this week with Al!

Around the house: I actually was inspired to start rummaging through the bins of summer clothing. Now there is a laundry back up, but at least I am somewhat ahead of the game.

Cute kid sayings and doings: My mind draws a blank.

What we will do this week: Naomi ( God willing :) will finally be confirmed this week. That brings a few practices, retreats and the like.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Last week was a gift! 3-14-10

One of my painting projects.
Little white table with a swath of contact paper. A cute combo.
The snow melted away, a family soccer game and kids in their shirt sleeves~! Yes, even big bro Al joined in!
Warm enough even for the first trip to the zoo of the season!
Jed, glorying in the fact the he only needs to wear a sweatshirt outside.
Gabs and Manny being transported about by the ever faithful George. He wouldn't let me pull the wagon the entire time. What a chivalrous fellow. :)
I think the monkeys *were* doing something cute....but obviously it wasn't caught in this shot. ;)

Outside my window: Rainy and a bit chilly, but the good stuff can't last forever. Especially in March.

I am thinking---it seemed only a week ago there was one lone bird singing when you went outside. Now there is a perfect chorus of them.

From the schoolroom: Only 60 more calendar days of school. Enough said!

From the kitchen: Grilled our first hamburgers and chicken this year outside due to the stunning weather.

I am reading and watching:

Watching season 2 of "Lark Rise to Candleford" What WILL we do when we have to wait for season 3 to make it's appearance, gosh knows when?

Found the book at the library and it is wonderfully charming, besides being a very interesting glimpse of rural English life before the Industrial revolution.

Listening to: Got hooked on a series of mysteries by Laurie King about Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. Funny, because I've never read a "true" Sherlock Holmes story. They are very well written and mostly devoid of anything too torrid, so I like them.

Around the house: The nice weather afforded me the opportunity to paint some badly nicked up furniture. Hoo boy, once you move furniture and see it out of it's usual context, there is a stark reminder of some sprucing up needed. I also found some cans of a nice color of green spray paint ( can't think what I originally bought it for) that I did a couple pieces with and am very pleased with. :)

Cute kid sayings and doings: Jed commented one day after school "Math is fun!". I think I need to tape record that and play it back once he starts algebra. ;)

What we will do this week: Soccer stuff (physical, notarized papers) for Naomi, and the girl's confirmation looms quite near now, so no more skipping catechism this month. :) Over due dr appt for me. Meal to a new mom. St Patrick's day!
Maybe a visit with a friend coming into town for a couple days.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

March 7, 2010

Manny was down with the stomach flu. Are you feeling a little queasy looking at that crazy mixture of prints and colors?
I really gave some thought as to why I love dishes so much. What I came up with is that it is probably because there are so many colors and patterns available. Like fabric. And probably why things like electronics and cars and computers bore me. Not that I don't appreciate the services they provide. I suppose I am a person who is visually stimulated by things.

Well, I didn't put these pictures in order. This was supposed to be an "after".
Pile # 2 of junk.
Goodwill pile.
Pile 1 of junk....the "before" shot.
My twin working crew.
Yes, we actually got a dumpster to deal with it all!

Outside my window: It is dark, but I've noticed it is getting light much earlier. Of course that happens every year.... LOL..... but it's always exciting once you notice it for the first time. Highs in the low 50's coming up! Ya-HOO!
(The LOL is for you, Sissy!)

I am thinking---about how to arrange our week. There is one more day of work cleaning out the old house. Should I take a chance and send Noah over to finish up or are my services ( ie: supervision ;) necessary?

From the schoolroom: Meh.......

From the kitchen: Well, how about from the shopping cart? ;) I made a little visit to "Trader Joe's" yesterday. There are all sorts of interesting stores around here. Trader Joe's, Papa Joe's,"Joe Randazzo, Vince and Joe's .....the kids and I were musing why so many "markets" include the name "Joe" here in the Detroit area. They are lovely places with fun items, but way out of my budget for everyday shopping. Thank goodness there is a Kroger nearby.

I am reading and watching:

Naomi and I finished the first season of "Lark Rise to Candleford" and are eagerly awaiting a netflix delivery of season 2!

Trying to chew through "Alexander II". I don't seems to jump around a lot. I think I say that about books a bit too often. Maybe it is my problem. :) It is quite a window into Russian history, so I feel it would be beneficial to finish it.

Cute kid sayings and doings: Manny "I just LOVE being nutty!" "Will everyone keep it down in here, I'm trying to do schoolwork!" I guess you'd have to know Manny to appreciate that statement. He's only 5 and schoolwork (what little he has) generally seems to be the least of his priorities most of the time. ;)
Last night I had 3 yo Gabriella going through my closest and picking out outfits for me ( the pieces she could reach:)
Probably there are any number of 3 yo girls who would do this, but I just can't get over it! :)

What we will do this week: Well, what we did LAST week was clean out the old house. It was time. And as we were waiting for warmer and less snowy weather we were very much blessed to have both. I felt like I had a full time job....leaving the house every morning and coming home at dinner time every night, supervising a work crew, lifting and hauling this, that and the other. Thankfully, Tim got Friday off and was able to step in. The funny thing is that he said the old homestead was a buzz with people checking out our castoffs and even what was in the dumpster! I felt like posting a sign saying "Beware! This is what got ME into trouble!" :)
This week looks to be a bit saner and even warmer. I am wondering if we can sneak in a trip to the zoo!

Monday, March 1, 2010

We made it to March!

Room re-arranging
A little sewing
More flowers
Waiting for the snow to melt along with you, St Francis!
Trying to come up with new and exciting ways to curb cabin fever.
Think Spring!

Outside my window: Dark, but yesterday it was sunny and over 40.

I am thinking... I miss San Francesco. We went yesterday because we were in the area. I love that little parish.

I am thankful ....Helpers of all sizes and shapes.

From the schoolroom..... Just chugging along.

From the kitchen .....Hmmm, nothing new there, either.

I am reading and watching and listening to:

Listened to:

Started "Shannon" Did not finish before I had to take it back to the library.
Trying "The Secrets of Bees" by Laurie King
Finished "The River" by Tricia Westvadt which was terrific.


Alexander II; The Last Great Tsar

Watched: The winner of the week was finding "Lark Rise to Candleford" a BBC miniseries based on the book of the same name. Very heartwarming.

One of my favorite things: Clearance flowers!

What will we do this week: I finally tried out a branch of the "Paint Creek Trail" yesterday. It was certainly lovely, but snow covered. I found myself musing the whole way how nice it will be to travail it once it is spring/summer. Wonder if it gets crowded then. There were a few people out...some jogging (?!?) I'm sure walking (trudging :) in the snow means extra calories burned. I made it 2 miles but also kept thinking I could've gone farther if not for the snow. :) We'll see.
The bulk of the week will be cleaning out the old house. Enough said or I'll start with the moaning and gnashing of teeth. And who do I have to blame but myself? :) Dentist appts for Manny and I.

Streams of consciousness from a mother of 10 who usually can't collect her thoughts and finds commas a nuisance.