Sunday, June 27, 2010

Paul's Confirmation

We were very blessed to have Bishop Murphy celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation in the Extraordinary Form! Paul took the name Thomas, and my brother Tom was his sponsor.
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Friday, June 25, 2010

Wishing for Wizard World

The NY Times highlights the new Wizarding World at Universal Studios in Orlando, the Harry Potter themed experience, with a brief article. The article, as one might expect, highlights the economic crisis that has hit the theme park industry (ticket sales are down), and the hopes Universal has for the Potter park to draw crowds. But what caught my attention was this passage:

Blythe Passantino, 21, followed with a tearful admission of her own: “I really wanted to live here; it was so much better than our real lives.”

Really? Let's consider the problems Harry encounters. His parents are killed by a demonic entity. That same demonic entity hounds him throughout the story. Other wizards plot to hurt him in horrific ways. Harry and his friends get hurt; some die. Die! Harry gets himself into all kinds of trouble--very frightening trouble, if it were all real. Is Blythe's life really worse than that? I doubt it.

What Blythe really wants is what only a fictional character can have: Control. Whatever is so bad in Blythe's life (and it is possible that her life is really quite dreadful, or just common and humdrum) cannot be wished away with spells. Ultimately, she will have to make decisions that change the bad things in her life, seeking real life help if she needs it. No magic will help her, but a good grasp on reality might.

Or maybe I am missing her point, and she just wants to work in a theme park?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Books, Mother's Version

Here's my personal summer reading list. At least, I hope to get through much of it, though the plan might change.

Right now, I am in the middle of The Brothers Karamazov, but, keeping with the rule of alternating some heavy reading with some lighter fare, I am also reading Heinlein's Time Enough for Love, and revisiting Malacandra in Lewis' Out of the Silent Planet for refreshment of the spirit.

For the rest of the summer, I have Evangelical is Not Enough, The Mote in God's Eye (recommended by Jimmy Akin), Drood, and The Intellectual Life (which will, no doubt, lead to a longer reading list).

Summer Books, Originally found at MacBeth's Opinion

Trip at sunset, Martha's Vineyard

Summer is traditionally "time off" from school. But of course, learning takes place all the time. Here are some suggestions for summer learning without worksheets or burdensome lessons:

New! Have a Moominsummer with the Moomintrolls!

  • Visit unusual places

Storybook Travels will take you on a virtual tour (or a real one if you like) to places like Hannibal MO, London, NYC, California's Channel Islands, and more--over 30 destinations from your favorite stories.

We found Gepetto's workshop in Italy with this book!

Also: How the Heather Looks: A Joyous Journey to the British Sources of Children's Books Like the title says...beautiful narrative. Read how the author tracks down the elusive Arthur Ransome and finds out where Swallows and Amazons really takes place.

  • catch frogs or toads

Read about a famous literary frog!

  • pick berries (be careful of bears!)

Sal finds blueberries, and her mother, in Maine

The famous pig gets back to nature

  • grow a bean teepee

  • climb trees (maybe a famous tree!)

  • sit under a shady tree on a sunny day

  • hike (bring water)

  • look under a rock

  • catch fireflies

  • listen in the evening--what birds sing last?

East, Central: West:

  • wade

  • hike to an island at low tide

Libby and Annika with cousins Kelsey and Brianna on "private" island

  • dry seaweed/pondweed on blotter paper and frame it...or eat it!

  • visit a lighthouse

or spend the night in a lighthouse!!

  • race snails, feed snails, eat snails!

  • watch a spider spin its web and catch dinner

  • run under the sprinkler (plain or fancy)

  • look for rainbows

  • walk on dew-covered grass in bare feet

  • roll down a hill

  • learn to sail

  • walk along a railroad (carefully!) or stone wall

  • look for geodes

  • Imagine! (Finnish Troll Tales are the best for any season!)

Looking for more traditional games? Try these:

  • build a ropes course

  • Camp!

Non-fiction and reference books for summer learning and activities:

The Complete Book of Decorative Knots includes lanyard knots (remember summer camp?) and much more! Great rainy day activity.

Cooking in the Outdoors A good, basic guide.

The Field and Forest Handybook Follow up to the Boys' Handy Book

The Outdoor Handy Book: For Playground Field and Forest More from Dan Beard

Need Field Guides? Click here!

More Summer books? Click here!

Thinking of camping? Click here for MacBeth's Equipment opinion.