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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Floating along

Not completely slacking, contrary to the prior post, as a little time travel through my calendar and email accounts shows that we actually have had a few quality lessons lately...

Grice had to attend and critique a live concert performance for her dual enrollment music appreciation course. Fortunately for us, our local symphony had one last show, "Classical Spice," before the end of the season, featuring Bizet's "Carmen," Ravel's "Bolero," Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez," and, what turned out to be our favorite, Gershwin's "Cuban Overture." We arrived an hour early for the pre-show lecture where we were introduced to several of the unusual horns used in "Bolero" and the 19-year old special guest harpist, Greta Ásgeirsson, whose instrument was once owned by Harpo Marx and used in the movie A Night at the Opera (Becky, I thought of you!) The best part was that our little local symphony has free admission for children with a paid adult, not one child per adult either. I took my three girls and the older two's best buddies for the price of my ticket alone, a very reasonable $30.00. I will definitely be supporting this cultural gem next season.

Another great night, and school-based event, was a picnic under the stars. The Parent Teacher Organization invited the collegiate high school students and their families to enjoy some food and games and then a telescope viewing and highly entertaining lecture from the astronomy professor at the college's observatory.

The next bit of 'accidental' learning came by way of this terrific resource, BANG! The Universe Verse Book 1. Author Jamie Dunbar explains the origins of our universe with comic book-like illustrations and Seuss-like verse and has graciously made it available for free. Anything that makes science so accessible and fun for the kids while helping science-challenged me get it as well gets two big thumbs up. I'm looking forward to enjoying Jamie's other titles.

Jorge traveled down to Haiti. I'd like to say it was for purely humanitarian reasons, but that's only if you count trying to keep our own head above water altruistic and charitable. He headed down looking for work and to try and help, stimulating the economy as he went. We've always been interested in Haitian art and he just could not refuse this strange post-earthquake canvas from the poor artist who chased him down the street. It was only later Jorge's traveling companion looked at the painting more closely and noticed the bodies. Like a tragic Highlights hidden picture, we've found three so far.


Plans were to return soon with Elle -- we both think a dose of third world reality will make her less susceptible to any princess tendencies; unlike her sisters she was too young to remember Belize -- after determining the risks involved (it is both very safe and terribly unsafe at the same time.) Instead Jorge is being redirected to Nashville where one of his brother's real estate investments is currently under the Cumberland River.

And I overcame my hesitation about gun-toting crazies and stopped in at our town's Tax Day Tea Party for a little education of my own. Because, really, who could resist rubbing elbows with the likes of these people?

The fun began with an introduction disavowing the evil left's charges of racism, an introduction met with hearty cheers and lots of flag waving (including one from the oh, so obviously not local, Culpeper militia), but as the first guest began to speak, a heavily accented Cuban immigrant campaigning for a spot on a future ticket testifying to his firsthand account of the horrors of socialism and communism, members of the group next to me murmured, "Is he even a 'Merican citizen?!" and when the second campaigner got up there, a black man from Miami, they stomped off in disgust.

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