Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

Well, the bunny came this morning. Apparently he is as much a creature of habit as my children. For all they have grown so tall, they still get pretty excited about finding a basket of candy & silly treats!


And they did their thing at the pre-service breakfast. Actually, we were very lucky, in that we weren't asked to do the breakfast for the sunrise service! The second shift didn't require us to be there until 9:00. There wasn't a big crowd, but I was told a respectable amount was raised for the mission trip. Four pans of sweet rolls, plus the coffee cake, turned out to be more than was needed, but the Powers That Be promised she would find something good to do with the leftovers.
 And, I didn't have to do dishes!!!!

(If you can see, way in the back of the room, we had a pianist to provide music with the breakfast!)

There was an egg hunt. Apparently the egg-hiders were inspired to hide quite a lot of eggs high up in the branches of the tree all the kids are looking at. One boy climbed up and tossed eggs down.

 We had really lovely weather!

And our egg-hider hid eggs after we got home. Because the kids wanted to find them, but I didn't want them to spend long out of the fridge, since I plan to make them into colorful egg salad for next Sunday.
 Some things just keep being entertaining, year after year. But Ed says this is the Last Year. I think he said that last year, too.

The service today included the baptismal service for a baby who was born a few months ago, two months before he was expected. It was touch and go with him for a while, but he's come on nicely and is now quite adorable! Between the twice-a-year church goers and the friends-and-relatives of the baby, the church was packed to the gills. Fortunately I saw it coming and spread my cat-hairy jacket across an adequate stretch of our pew, so, though both Ed and I were snuggled up more closely to strangers than we are accustomed to being, at least we were in our spot and could enjoy the service without that uncomfortable Christmas/Easter dilemma of resentment at the people who have stolen one's pew in conflict with the knowledge that one should be glad that the slackers have decided to show up. 

This past Friday I was really struck by how "altar-like" the altar looked, stripped of all its usual dressings. Maybe a result of a year spent studying ancient history. Anyway, today's service was beautiful, and Donne's "Death Be Not Proud" kept running in my head.

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou are slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

Alleluia! Happy Easter!

And here is where I plan to spend the rest of the day (until I start hearing rumblings about Dinner, for which I actually do have a plan -- cooking chicken and heating up yesterday's stuffing and sweet potatoes. Slightly more ambitious than spaghetti-out-of-a-box, but not much!).
If the wind lets up, I may even wipe off a deck chair and enjoy the first outdoor read of the year!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Wanted: A Cook

All cooking and no reading makes Melora a dull girl. Sigh. 
The "Youth" are hosting a pre-service breakfast tomorrow, as a fundraiser for the Maine trip. Youth my foot. 

We did have a lovely pre-Easter mid-day dinner today with my parents. Turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, salad, and a not-too-shabby orange-rum cake (drizzled in chocolate-orange sauce for those who didn't give up chocolate for Lent!). Ed is turkey master, my stuffing was pretty terrific (the sweet potatoes, topped with Peeps, were good too), and Katie made a fine salad. And then we played Bananagrams. Almost everyone won at least a round, and I (the non-winner) invented some words that amused me, anyway, so that was okay. And, as you'll notice, the cats took the opportunity to snuggle up just as close as they could to my dad. Isn't that sweet? They plan to go back to Maine with him this spring. We'll miss them, but who can stand between a man and (what are clearly destined to be) his cats? My parents are currently reading (really, listening to) The Aeneid, so they will understand that sometimes destiny is difficult and maybe even a bit hairy, but there is no point in fighting it!


 Awwww! If, by chance, my dad does manage to avoid his cat caretaker destiny for another year, I guess we won't mind much. Hairy and demanding they may be, with some truly repulsive little ways, but they are so cozy!

And, having picked the turkey off the carcass and turned it into the basis for a nice soup tomorrow, and cleaned up the mountain of dishes in the sink, I have big plans for not cooking tomorrow. Spaghetti is undoubtedly a traditional Easter dinner somewhere, and between that and whatever chocolate and jelly beans may show up tomorrow, I plan to call it good enough. After church (and washing dishes for the Youth's breakfast, of course!) I intend to snuggle up on the couch with a couple fat cats and read!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tradition

I suggested recently that maybe the kids had outgrown decorating eggs. (Also, that they might consider it beneath their dignity to be given chocolate bunnies and jelly beans.) They disagreed with both these suggestions, and since I was planning to serve egg salad sandwiches at church coffee hour the week after Easter anyway, and also since they are very good about sharing their chocolate and jelly beans with their mother....


(The Easter demon. At least he dresses up nicely and smiles sweetly!)

Bad-Nose Bill and the sheriff. You may remember them from What Do You Say, Dear?


Travis.  Always intense.

I wouldn't have minded seeing a few more flowers and happy bunnies in Katie's art. If it is any excuse, she's been sick the past couple days.


 And she did make a special "chocolate cupcake" egg, just for me! I think she is more excited about my resumption of chocolate than I am, which is saying something!

And here are Travis's. Kermit the Frog looks a bit dazed.

And, of course, the Box Fox egg and the Unity symbol egg.

And this is nothing to do with eggs or chocolate, but Katie had her last book discussion meeting at the library on Tuesday for Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. I didn't read it, but she enjoyed it, and she really enjoyed getting together with other kids and discussing it over pizza! She says the young woman who led the group suggested they might do something similar, with another book, this summer. I hope so! The last meeting was longer than usual, and they got to make paintings (oil on canvas!) and these nicely framed sayings...

Isn't that nice?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Venerunt, Viderunt, Vicerunt

We're back from the North Carolina Junior Classical League Convention at UNC in Chapel Hill, and the kids, like good little Homeric heroes, covered themselves in Everlasting Fame and Glory. I'm so proud, and we had Such fun!

The convention started Friday afternoon. There were around 700 kids, and the "spirit event," in which the various clubs competed with their various cheers was very loud. But despite the noise, I enjoyed it. After spending so long with our little group, where the oft expressed attitude is "this is boring," or "I don't care about Latin/history/writing/etc.," it was lovely to watch a gymnasium full of kids just overflowing with excitement at the prospect of competing in Latin related events.

 (This isn't the group, but one group had a giant blow-up penguin mascot, and their cheer seemed to involve penguin moves. It was quite entertaining.)

 Ed did not enjoy driving on the streets around UNC, but he did enjoy this pizza place!



Getting around the city was... well, we got lost a lot! But once we figured out where the Student Union was in relation to the gym, the kids and I did very well finding the other buildings. What a gorgeous, gorgeous campus! Katie insists she is going to go there some day.
 Love. Sigh.

I offered to help out with the Impromptu Art event, which involved the kids being handed stacks of assorted craft supplies and a written prompt and being given a certain time to make something brilliant. Travis won first in this contest, but I was busy judging the middle school projects and didn't see his Leviathan.



 We missed the chariot races, but we did see a catapult. Ed wanted it to be quite a bit bigger. Maybe next year!

And Katie came in 3rd in two different art categories! She entered a jewelry set (Roman beaded jewelry), and a greeting card. Given the short notice she had to make something, I thought she did very well.
(These first ones below are not hers.)

The one awkwardly mounted on foam is hers. Poor kid. Clearly a good mother has things like fake necks lying around the house, so that her daughter's jewelry projects can be shown to best advantage! Fortunately, presentation clearly didn't count here!

And Katie's is the cute little mouse in a toga. The saying is "Carpe felem" (Seize the cat!).

And Travis entered our club shirt, which he designed the logo for, and won 2nd! Some of the shirts were really terrific, so that was particularly gratifying.

I don't know who made this map, but it shows the birthplaces of various Roman authors, and I thought it was very cool! There were just scads of wonderful, imaginative projects.

Today Travis had a couple meetings, both kids did academic testing (where they didn't cover themselves in quite so much glory -- we need to spend a little more time on Roman culture and mythology next year), and we went to a couple lectures by professors from the Classics department. Also, there was a series of short, "Latin-y" plays put on by students in the drama department, which was fun but made me realize how much pop culture I don't know. Still, we had a great time!

Did I mention how beautiful the campus is? Oh my!

 And then there was a closing "spirit" contest, and winners in all the various events were announced, and the new officers were sworn in. I'm not sure exactly what Travis's responsibilities will be as Technology Coordinator, but he liked the other officers, and all the people I talked with in the group seemed very nice, so I'm sure it will be interesting and a good experience!
 (New officers looking at the new president. Aren't they just sweet and sincere looking?)

And now, of course, we are completely unprepared  for co-op on Monday -- papers are not written, history is not read, Latin is not completed -- but I expect we'll get enough done, and we had Such a good time!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Bit Frantic

I meant to post a week ago, with some very lovely pictures of olive bread I baked in my new cast iron pan. And also the homemade pasta that I've finally got the hang of making (the drying rack makes All the difference!). Except... that was actually two weeks ago. Things keep getting away from me.

Last week I was going to post spring flower pictures. They are lovely, though the temperatures are still a bit chilly for my taste. And these are from last Saturday. Katie's G-Force group (a fitness group for girls) went for a hike at Stone Mountain. My parents came, and we poked along behind the girls and their young, athletic parents. Katie was with the girls, and she had a marvelous time. We admired wildflowers and had a pretty fine time too.
After the hike, the girls played on the rocks at the base of Stone Mountain.



 And here is a peek at the Homestead.

In other news, co-op is winding down. We have three meetings left. We finished The Aeneid two weeks ago. Sniff! The first time I read it, last winter, I didn't love it. This time I really did. Enough to resolve to really apply myself to Latin again this summer, in the hope that someday I'll be able to read the Aeneid in Latin. Of course, since our co-op will be no more next school year and I will once again be in charge of my children's Latin education, I have to spend the summer studying Latin anyway.

More on the Latin front, and this is a shameless brag. Travis won the North Carolina Junior Classical League Website Contest! He created the website for our Latin club, and entered it in the contest, back when our club was planning to go the the convention in Chapel Hill. When the plans changed due to lack of interest, I forgot about the contest, but then we got an e-mail that He Won! So now, since Travis has to attend the convention for his win to be legit, we are off to Chapel Hill tomorrow for the Junior Classical League Convention. We are all a bit intimidated by the idea, but it will be an adventure! Katie has made some lovely jewelry to enter in the crafts contest, and Travis has high hopes of visiting a Dunkin Donuts.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Et tu?

Wednesday was Latin club, and the kids solved the murder of Julius Caesar. Casca did it, the rat! 

(Here a centurion helps Katie with her toga. Katie's personal centurion is incapable of properly wrapping a toga.)



 In fact, I make a lousy centurion in every regard. No wonder my subject peoples keep rebelling.


The senators enjoying a good feed. With Vivaldi playing in the background. Time does funny things in our empire.


No pictures of the death of Caesar, since I was working the lights (Travis points out that flipping a single switch should not have taken all my powers, but I had to flip it at Just the Right Moment in Caesar's speech and... well, I just couldn't do both.). Caesar was speaking, the lights unexpectedly went out, and when they came back on, Caesar was Dead!
 Katie picked up a bloody dagger only because it was lying on the floor and she didn't want someone to trip on it.

The senators, on questioning, admitted to various ambitions, opinions, and degrees of affection (or loathing) for Caesar. It didn't take long before Casca was outed.

  Her utterly ruthless nature is pretty apparent.

 Having solved the mystery early, there was time for a rousing game of Ninja. We are nothing if not even-handed in our cultural studies.