Saturday, August 30, 2014

"It's Her First Game..."

My affection for my Palm Beach Atlantic undergraduate experience is deep--as you know from my recent "Of Sailfish and Bulldogs" post.  However, it did lack a little something--a football team.  My leather-head roots go deep, back to days of sitting on my Daddy's lap, watching 'Phins games, wearing my size 3T aqua and orange #12 jersey (Bob Griese's number, if you must know). I was a fan of the Blackwood Brothers (Lyle and Glenn) and of course, the Marks Brothers--Duper & Clayton.  And, in my book, the number 13 will always be lucky.

Fast forward to Fall 1996.  Yes, we did choose FSU (The Florida State University) because of their quality graduate programs in our respective fields--and the lovely stipends that were attached to said programs.  However, there was another tangible benefit about which we learned upon arrival in Tallahassee--free football tickets for all students.  Free tickets.  NCAA football.  The Seminoles. Garnet & Gold. Bobby Bowden.  I started practicing my chop--tout de suite.  September 7 couldn't arrive quickly enough for me.

Dressed in the first of many 'Noles game-day shirts I would eventually acquire, I was psyched.  As we approached Doak Campbell Stadium (affectionately known as the Bobby Bowden Chapel), you could smell the barbecue and feel the excitement.  The parking lots, now tailgate havens, were awash in all things garnet and gold.  And, of course, as you entered the hallowed place, FSU Spirit Girls were there, face-paint tubes in hand, to complete your 'Nole ensemble with a perfectly-placed arrowhead--or whatever you chose.   Of course, I was a willing participant.  Honestly, I can't recall if my favorite Philosopher indulged in the "make-up".  Likely, he didn't--he's rather understated like that.  We balance each other out, you know.

To me, it seemed like thousands of folks were making their way up the spiral inclines that would take us to Saturday "church"--football is religion in the South, y'all.   And, there would be thousands--82,300 to be exact.  And, then, I heard it.  The sound of the world-famous Marching Chiefs making their way into the stadium.  It started with the drum line.  Then, the brass made their presence known. If you've heard the Chiefs play, you know exactly what I mean.  Goosebumps.  Seriously.  Yes, I love college football.

Now, most adults would simply look in the general direction of the music, nod approvingly, and make their way to their seats.  Not this girl.  Instead, I threw my program into the unsuspecting hands of my dear Philosopher, ran to the guardrails, squatted down, peered through the metal, like a kid at a candy counter.  I couldn't quite see it all; so, I just laid down (yes, I laid down!) on the ramp, gazed delightedly at the 400-member marching band striding through the stadium innards, with an enormous grin on my face.  People were walking past me, giggling a bit, and looking quizzically at my ever-patient Philosopher.  "It's her first game," said he.  And, that explains it all.

Several years later, I would have an office in that very complex, a view of the baseball stadium across Woodward Avenue, and share a parking lot with the now-retired Coach Bowden.  My buddies and I would sometimes find ourselves lunching in the stadium, bringing our brown-bags or food court yummies to the bleachers, and watching the crew paint the end zone for that week's game.  Once a fan, always a fan. 

Many years have passed since those days--and since my first NCAA football game at Doak.   My allegiances have changed a bit.  For the most part, I am an SEC girl.  I will make no apologies for the quasi-acrobatics and "Go, Baby, Go!" that accompanied Chris Davis' 109-yard game-winning touchdown return after a botched field goal by Alabama, in the last seconds of the Iron Bowl to give Auburn the win.   And, yes, it's a family affair.

Praise the Lord and pass the dip!  I'm ready for some football.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hump-Day Hilarity

Some Bat-puns for your enjoyment:

"Cat got your tongue, Catwoman?"

"You're quite a puzzle to figure out, Riddler!"

"Any aces up your sleeve now, Joker?"

"Ever hear of turn the other cheek, Two-Face?"

"Let's wing it, Robin."

~compliments of the Ninja and "He-who-is-now-taller-than-I"

Monday, August 25, 2014

Back to School (Or Walk Like An Egyptian)

The last of the Black Cherokee tomatoes have been picked.  The pool bag has been put away.  And, the lightning bug population has significantly decreased.  All of these things point towards a reluctant admission on my part--summer break is over.  And, Barnard Academy has resumed.

I must confess, I geek out this time of year.  We are back in the Ancient World.  (And, no, this has nothing to do with the fact that my phone is an outdated Motorola Razr Flip that only makes and takes phone calls).  The world of Ancient Egypt, to be exact.  We study about the Nile River, Egyptian gods and goddesses, pyramids--all that fun stuff.  And, the “cool things to make and do” possibilities are endless--with special thanks to Pinterest.  Mummified Barbie dolls, cartouche hieroglyphic necklaces, and yes, a papier-mache of King Tut’s mask.  

This year, I hit the jackpot in my search for curriculum complements!

Marshmallow Pyramids--or tetrahedrons.  Sort of.
"He-who-is-now-taller-than-I" had greater success.

This is my nod to the iconic Louvre landmark.   Abstract toothpick art.

Farewell to salt maps--hello, cookie dough maps!

Ancient Egypt, Nile River and the Red Sea. 

Of course, there's a LEGO mummy.

Giving credit where credit is due:

Cookie Dough Maps:
Marshmallow Pyramids:

Friday, August 22, 2014

Of Sailfish and Bulldogs

“You wish, you wish, you wish you were a ‘Fish”.  Yes, that lovely sentiment from my alma mater’s Sailfish Salutation Celebration (otherwise known as Welcome Week) echoes in my mind, particularly this time of year.  As our students return to campus, bringing their energy and vibrance back to this neck of the woods, I am reminded of those days.  Late-night roomie chats about “various topics”, making a “Run to the Border” just for the fun of it, or enjoying the view from our balcony (no, we were certainly not spying on anyone sitting on the sea wall) were all part of the Palm Beach Atlantic experience.  

 Yes, we went to college on Flagler Drive, a mile away from the Atlantic Ocean.  Our residence halls overlooked the Intracostal Waterway and the temperatures rarely dipped below 70 degrees.  Oh, and did I mention, the island of Palm Beach was just across the bridge--home of the Breakers, Worth Avenue, and Mar-A-Lago?  Life was rough, I tell you. 

During my sophomore year, a Director of Student Life was hired who would revitalize campus activities--and yes, bring “LIFE” to Student Life!  She brought with her a wealth of experience, a contagious vivacity--and a fabulous Assistant Director, too.  And, she just happened to be the wife of one of my favorite professors.  Ka-ching! 

And, then, there was that one Economics professor who, together with his adorable Texan wife, opened his heart--and his home--inviting us in for a “piece of pie”.  And, some of us never left. 

And, they poured into us, investing in our lives, loving us when we were rather unlovable, challenging us when we needed a push, teasing us when we were taking ourselves much too seriously--and taught us the importance of seeing life, with a broader perspective.  A divine dot-to-dot picture where you may not fully comprehend what is being crafted right now; but, when you look back, you will see the picture in clearer view.

I wanted to grow up and be just like them.  Just like them.  And, guess what?

Here I sit, twenty years later, married to my very favorite Professor-Philosopher, having the privilege of sharing our lives with students--who become part of our family.  We have the unique opportunity of “paying it forward”--to open the door and welcome “our kids” into our world.  And, they bless us more than they will ever know.

For the past few years, just about this time, I have written a note to those mentioned above, letting them know of my appreciation, my affection, and my gratitude.  Here’s my note, dear ones.  You know who you are.

“I thank my God each time I remember you” ~  Philippians 1:3

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Quick Take--From Some Mixed-Up Files

"...But, Mrs. Frankweiler, you should want to learn one new thing every day.  We did even at the museum."

"No," I answered, "I don't agree with that.  I think you should learn, of course, and some days you must learn a great deal.  But you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up inside you until it touches everything.  And you can feel it inside you.   If you never take time out to let that happen, then you just accumulate facts, and they begin to rattle around inside of you.  You can make noise with them, but never really feel anything with them. It's hollow".

~ From The Mixed-Up Files of Basil E. Frankweiler,  E.L. Konigsburg

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hump-Day Hilarity

A monkey walked into a store and said to the clerk, "Gimme a soda."  
The clerk said, "We don't serve monkeys.  Now scram!".  
The monkey came back the next day and said, "Gimme a soda."  
The clerk said, "We don't serve monkeys and if you come back, I'll nail your tail to the floor!"  
The next day, the monkey returned and asked, "Got any nails?".  
The clerk said, "No."  
"Good, " the monkey said.  "Then gimme a soda!"

Back by popular demand, the comedic stylings of my favorite Ninja.  It goes without saying that we neither advocate cruelty to monkeys or store clerks.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Most (Un)Likely to Homeschool

Please excuse the mess we're Busy Making Memories 15" x 19" hand painted wood sign on Etsy, $26.00

As we enter our eighth year of homeschooling--wow, eight years have flown by--I am amazed (and amused) by how we arrived at this point.  Our route to this destination included various "stops" along the way --observing my future in-laws (sister and mother, respectively), and thinking, "Oh, that's sweet.  I'll never do that,"; getting past the stereotypes; meeting fun, bright, godly women who just happened to be homeschooling mamas; and finally, that Kindergarten classroom visit where my visions of being the ultimate Room Mother and PTA President of the Millennium were shattered--and I came to the realization that I was the one best-suited, and frankly, most enthusiastic about teaching my kiddos. 

In our neck of the woods, homeschooling is not unusual.  Although some may not understand the how's and why's, most folks express appreciation and/or nearly-embarrassing levels of admiration for embarking on this adventure.  While it's easy to become falsely modest, to lower my head in saintly acknowledgment of my lofty pursuits (not), I do recognize that the call to the home education lifestyle is not for everyone.  My hope has always been that I would be supportive and affirming of whatever educational options my friends choose--and I trust that those who know me best would call me on that, if my attitude were to ever reflect anything contrary to that position.

And, believe you me, we take each year, one at a time, evaluating, preparing, and reflecting, seeking the best for the students at Barnard Academy.  

Ann Voskamp offers one of the most winsome and "yes, that's it!" responses to all of the standard homeschooling inquiries.  Written in 2012, as I read her words, it was as though she had read my mind--and my heart.  Perhaps that was also true for some of my fellow sojourners on this path.  Below is an excerpt from that timely post.

"Because homeschooling is this magnificent crucible, to reveal impurities and sinfulness and brokenness.
It keeps us on our knees. Homeschooling often hurts and disappoints.

You cry and wonder if you are insane to try to educate these children, to disciple these little hearts, while laundering, cooking, cleaning, managing a household, and still being a wife, a sister, a daughter, a missionary in your community, a servant to Christ and in your faith community. And He smiles and say that He walks with you, has grand and glorious purposes, and He understands radical and crazy!

Homeschooling is about going higher up and deeper in, for you learn to sacrificially love in ways you have never loved before. You come to know your own heart in ways you never imagined, the souls of your children in intimate, very real ways.

For you will be together, making memories together, laughing together, crying together, praying together, and asking forgiveness together. Throughout your day, you worship God, together. And you learn to die-to-self together. It’s about doing hard things… together. And there will be no fragmentation of learning, home-life, friends, work, God.

We keep homeschooling to weave a one-piece life – hallowed threads of parenting, love, pain, education, growing, stumbling, creativity, forgiveness, wonder, sacrifice, and God all woven together.
We wear it, and it’s not perfect and it’s messy — but oh, it’s a good fit for us!

Grace, Joy, Gratitude."

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Hump-Day Hilarity

Why are there no knock-knock jokes about freedom?
Because freedom rings.

What is at the center of gravity?
The letter "V".

What do you call a tree that can fit in your hand? (Floridians, don't give it away!)
A palm tree.

This week's Hump Day Hilarity brought to you by the comedic stylings of my favorite Ninja.