Looking For a Secular Florida Umbrella School?

Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year

We spent the weekend in Fort Lauderdale visiting the King Tut exhibit and various family members, fixing various family members' computers, seeing a movie, and dropping in on some friends and celebrating the New Year with them whether they wanted to or not.

King Tut was disappointing, sorry to say. Unlike Concierge's visit (I couldn't find the link, but I'm pretty sure it was her post) there were no hands-on activities for the younger set. Not a one. And no mummy! I understand that the famous funerary mask, the one being intentionally misrepresented in all the advertising, "bait and switch" I think they call it, is too fragile to travel, but where was Tut? Only two of the eight or so rooms contained items specifically belonging to the boy king. His mummified remains were only seen on a video, something I could have stayed home to see, well, maybe if we had cable. The other items were from his royal relatives' burials. Howard Carter had only the briefest of mentions. I would have loved to see more on the task of excavating the tomb and the cataloguing of the contents. Unfortunately, the museum is just too darned small. The trunks and other storage pieces were incredibly beautiful and well preserved, and I enjoyed seeing them, but the highlight of my day was observing the hordes who have apparently never been to a museum before. I suspect they have all been to Disney World though, something that occurred to me as they all passively shuffled en masse from one case to another, stuck to the person in front of them. Mix it up people, move around! The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has a great collection and we couldn't see enough of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection. I can't wait to one day visit the British Museum, or better yet, Egypt.

Blast From the Past Department -- I once sniffed the inside of a mummy case in a touring exhibit that came to Miami. Jorge is just learning of this now. We were only dating at the time, and, well, he might have thought I was weird. It smelled like Grandma's closet, minus the mothballs.

If you remember my Ancients plan that should have been in place this year before we spun off in another direction, it looks a little different now. I have finally found the spine for our studies and fashioned my list of preferred titles into a nearly chronological, basically comprehensive study thanks to The Learning Company. The courses on Ancient Greek Civilization and History of Ancient Rome were WAY too detailed, fabulous, but more in depth than I wanted. Good thing they have an incredibly liberal return policy, although with the ease of illegally duplicating media, I always feel a certain amount of concern that my motives are being questioned, much like the people who end up on department stores' secret list of multiple returns. (A friend who couldn't bear to use dressing rooms and would try endless amounts of clothing on at home ended up on Filene's blacklist, a fact revealed to me by my cousin, an employee of that department.) Instead we will use Great Authors of the Western Literary Tradition which we already have and works for all four cycles of historical study adequately covering general historical and autobiographical background, analysis of major works, and explanations of major themes. In addition, the short twelve lecture courses for Homer's Iliad and Odyssey will accompany our reading of those books, all with an eye toward streamlining and being completely mobile (hint, hint.)

The kids stayed with my parents for a few days over the school holiday while I worked, and when I arrived late Friday evening Elle gave me a start. She couldn't find her little "body of Christ" Nanny gave her. That's what I heard, anyway. Flashback to the time when my mother threatened to secretly baptize any children my brother might have with his Jewish (ex)wife, and to the time in the hospital after Elle was born and I was deathly ill with an antibiotic resistant alpha strep infection and my mother offered to share her Father McDonough holy water with me. (I told her thanks, I would put it in my peri bottle.) So I suspected Nanny was up to her old tricks again. Elle was digging through the bathroom drawer when I asked her what was the body she was looking for.
"It's a bot-tle, Mama, not a bot-tee."

"Oh. Okay. Well what's in the bottle?" Seemed like I was on the right holy water track after all.

"Christ, I told you! Here it is!" She proudly pulled out her very own sample sized tube of Crest toothpaste.

Jorge's mom kindly watched the kids New Year's Eve so we could see Brokeback Mountain and then visit some friends. Heath Ledger is my bet for Best Actor. I found E. Annie Proulx's short story online and knew what was coming so the last few minutes of the movie I chanted, "I will not cry, I will not cry..." And then I wanted to smoke a cigarette. Jorge didn't see the big controversy, one of his favorite movies is Midnight Cowboy, and Heath Ledger even reminded him a bit of Jon Voight. Afterward we chased away all lingering traces of sadness with two of the funniest people we know. It was a great way to start off the new year.

Happy '06, everyone.

No comments: