10 July 2004
I'm trying to load this picture - Sarah's ballet teach took it in June when she let the girls try on some old costumes she had. Let me know if it works!
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26 May 2003
Emperor's New Clothes, Knockaround Boys, Winged Migration, Catch Me If You Can
For over a year, I’ve been thinking of keeping a log regarding the books I’ve read. I thought I’d try keeping it here, along with some movie reviews. So, here’s the first set - all movies!
“Emperor’s New Clothes”: Saw this a few weeks ago. Napolean is exiled to St Helena (I think? it’s the second time, anyway). He and his advisers execute a plan in which a double takes Napoleon’s place and Napolean escapes to reclaim France. The double is proclaim himself a fake and Napolean can ascend to the throne.
The twist of the plot (which is on the movie box, so I’m not giving anything away) is that the double decides this is a good life and refuses to proclaim himself a fake.
This is a great, gentle movie with a moralistic ending. Also, the cinematography is great. Sarah watched it with us and actually got a lot of it, knowing nothing about Napoleon.
“Knockaround Boys”: Kids of mafiosi try to recover the glory of their fathers and end up in Montana. One of Vin Diesel’s earliest. Don’t see it.
“Catch Me If You Can”: Much better known, but I only just saw it. Really enjoyed it (Sarah saw a lot of this one, too, and got most of it). What we missed after we returned the DVD is that there is an interview with the real Frank Abegnale on the 2nd disk that Roger Ebert says is fascinating.
“Winged Migration”: Ah, one of the beauties of living in a movie town - we get all the art films! This is a pretty amazing film about bird migration in which they use ultralights, hot-air balloons and other things to get close to the birds as they migrate. The cinematography is stunning - they get so close to the birds that you can marvel at the biomechanics. And yes, I made it through the whole 90 minutes even though it was birds. Sarah saw and enjoyed it, but it was a bit long for her.
Let me know what you’ve seen lately - I’ll add some books later today or tomorrow, so I’ll be anxious to see those, too!
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13 May 2003
It’s been so long since I’ve done this, it may not work.
One of the great things about getting the LA Times is that they have a pretty decent selection of comics. One of my top-ranking favorites is “Get Fuzzy”.
The one from yesterday (May 12) is now taped to my monitor to serve as a reminder when my head is bruised. To see it, go to www.comics.com, select “Get Fuzzy”, and pick 5/12 from the calendar. Do it soon, as they only have the archive for 30 days.
I’m going to have to get one of my other favorites another way (hint, hint). Bucky the Cat is trying to tell Satch the Dog a joke. Every time Bucky says “Knock, Knock”, Satch starts barking and looking at the door.
OK - so it’s a visual thing - and now we know why I’m in a profession that requires little creative writing. Well, at least all you dog lovers out there can get a chuckle … . .
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4 December 2002
Advent with Sarah
The first week of Advent always catches me unprepared. I know it’s coming, but I just can’t make the transition from Thanksgiving fast enough. So, of course it means we don’t have the wreath or calendar out yet. Nonetheless, the church we went to on Sunday had the Hanging of the Greens and I wanted Sarah to begin to understand what Advent was about.
So, I decided while I get my act together with the props, we’d still do an Advent activity every day. I’ve realized that kids get exposed at later ages to Advent and Christmas hymns because of the movement to remove religious content from public places. I’m completely in agreement with these changes (such as not teaching carols in school), but just realized that it makes my responsibility as a parent more explicit.
So, I decided we’ll learn a Christian carol each week of Advent. We always have our time in the car going to and from school, as well as other errands, so what a great time to learn a phrase at a time.
I started with “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”. I love that hymn, it has Judaic roots, and expectancy is the central theme of Advent.
So, we started. I could only remember the first line and the chorus, but of course that was enough to begin with. I was explaining that Emmanuel meant “God with us” (at least, that’s what I remembered!). Then, Sarah asked what “rejoice” meant, so I said that it meant to be happy and joyful.
So, she has learned the chorus, but has added a line of her own (sung to the same notes as “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel”): Be happy! Be happy! God is with us
Isn’t 5-year-old insight great!
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29 November 2002
Thanks to all of you who provided ideas for our Thanksgiving discussions. We received some others by e-mail & phone - I’ll try to get those posted in the next few days so that we’ve got them handy when we need them again (beware of when 2 or 3 of these groups are gathered together …).
Anyway, thought I’d give you the report of things, as it’s some fun family history. You’ll probably all chuckle at the varied results we got:
1. What was Thanksgiving like when you were 5? (Served with the ginger-carrot soup from a jar by Walnut Acres)
This really turned into a discussion of what life was like when folks were 5, as no one could specifically remember Thanksgiving.
Vel: When Vel was 5, they were living on the farm. She was the baby of the family, so this was probably one of the last years all her siblings were still at home. When Vel was 5, Ruby was 10, Ed was 15, and Art was 18 or so. Vel’s mom probably cooked the entire dinner, including pumpkin pie from scratch, probably something with apples (it being eastern Washington), and turkey. The turkey might have been one they raised, but she wasn’t sure.
Jo: They were living in Marietta and we determined Aunt Ruth would have been about 2.
Heather: Our family would have just moved into the house on Fullerton. David would have been about a year old and I suspect we went to Hamilton to have Thanksgiving with Grandma & Grandpa McCreath.
Kim: They were living in Bay Park, an area not far from where Vel now lives. This was the first house they had in the San Diego area. Greg would have been 8 and Candy would have been 6. Vel and Kim agreed they probably went to Costa Mesa to have Thanksgiving at Keith & Flo’s - Keith was one of Kim’s dad’s older brothers. Kim remembers always having fun at their house. He recalls Keith was good at slight-of-hand magic, so was always pulling coins out of your ear or pulling kleenex through your ears. They also remembered that Flo & Keith were huge LA Rams fans.
2. What was the funniest thing that ever happened on Thanksgiving? (Mixed greens salad with mandarin oranges & sliced almonds, sourdough dinner rolls)
Vel & Jo both said nothing funny ever happened - it was always just a nice occasion.
Kim couldn’t remember anything, so I had to trot out the Brian and punky pie story (accompanied by groans from Kim). Sarah enjoyed the story, though :). I also recalled the Thanksgiving weekend when Mom & Dad visited us in Birmingham and we raked up 78 bags of leaves and pine needles.
3. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? (Herb-roasted turkey breast, fresh cranberry sauce from Whole Foods, red rice from Trader Joe’s, boiled new potatoes with basil, squash and sweet potato rings (you need the recipe for this!!))
Sarah: Texas to see the cowboys and then to Denver to see her buddies
Jo: No answer, as she hadn’t had time to think about it
Kim: Incan ruins in South America (it seems like he suggested another place, too, but I can’t remember!)
Heather: Incan ruins and St. Petersburg Russia (where the Hermitage is)
4. Who is the relative you remember who was the most older than you? (Homemade pumpkin pie and punky pie (Cool Whip))
Sarah: Grandma Jo (she was really plowing through her second piece of pie by the time we got to her, so I answered for her)
Vel: Her dad’s parents, who we figured out must have been born in the 1840s.
Jo: Unclear, but perhaps Grandpa’s parents? We figured they’d been born in the 1890s. We also determined that Grandma remembered parts of WW I and remembered knowing about Woodrow Wilson. However, when Kim asked what her parents thought of him, she said she would never have thought to ask them.
Kim: His maternal grandparents, although his paternal uncles were also much older than his dad.
Heather: My great-grandmother Stalder (Grandma Jo’s mother)
We think this is a fascinating question, because you only have to go back 3 generations or so to have someone who would remember parts of the Civil War and one further generation to have folks who remember the Revolutionary War. Now there’s an American history lesson for you!
We hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving, regardless of whether you ate at home or out and whether you prepared the food or not. It was a beautiful SoCal day (high around 80) and we had a table nicely decorated with placecards from Sarah (did the spelling herself, except for help with “Vel”) and flowers from Aunt Jean and Mom (many thanks!). We are so grateful for all we have, but we are particularly grateful to have all of you in our lives.
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