Notes on June 2010 (First Half)

June 16, 2010 @ 9:05 am | Filed under: , ,

So I’ll remember, and since you asked…

Various interests swirling here:

The orthodontist’s office is holding a contest. The person who comes up with the best name for the betta fish on the counter wins the fish. Rose’s entry: Kalliope. (Get it? A Greek name? Betta sounds like beta, a Greek letter?) She has high hopes of winning. This has spawned (ba dum bum) discussions on odds/probability, subjective vs objective criteria, and breeds of fish. The latter necessitated a library trip yesterday, and this morning I have been regaled with tidbits about various breeds of freshwater aquarium fish.

The orthodontist and his assistant were greatly intrigued by Rose’s account of the middle-grade graphic novel, Smile, Raina Telgemaier’s award-winning account of her personal orthodontic ordeal in junior high. This came up when Dr. G mentioned bonding as the final step in Rose’s treatment plan (two years from now), and Rose volunteered that she had learned all about that in “this really great book I read.” She continued to explain that she had been “terrified about getting braces, but after I read Smile I was reassured.” Dr. G got quite excited and had his assistant write down all the information about the book.

We’ll be spending most of July at Dr. G’s office: two of the girls are getting braces.

So: fish, orthodontia, what else?

Jane is absorbed with practicing for piano guild and Shakespeare Club. (Reminds me: we need to create a human thumb out of Sculpey.) Recent reading has included Dorothy Sayers mysteries; Musashi (a manga series); L. M. Montgomery short stories; a collection of Best American Short Stories; Betsy and the Great World (again); various Caroline Cooney novels; Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, Othello, and a bit of Henry IV, with corresponding sections in Bloom’s Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human (which we are grateful to Mental Multivitamin for bringing to our attention). Oh, also the book she got for her birthday: A User’s Guide to the Universe.

Jane and I are going to work through Memoria Press’s Classical Rhetoric course together. Readings from: Aristotle’s Rhetoric; Adler’s How to Read a Book; Cochran’s Traditional Logic; and Figures of Speech. We’re going to start in a leisurely way this summer. Both of us are excited. Looks like some excellent discussion fodder.

Scott and Jane have been doing a kind of informal Film Club in the evenings. Recent viewings include: Men in Black, In the Line of Fire, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, A Few Good Men, The Natural, The Sixth Sense.

Bean and Rose spend a lot of time scootering in circles on the back patio, narrating adventures in a long-running fantasy story they play. Then Rose will disappear to the back room to write up the latest chapter on the computer. The subject matter shifts every week or so: sometimes a Warriors-inspired cat saga; lately the dramatic doings of a pair of princesses, one an ancient Egyptian and one Japanese. A set of Dover costume coloring books have provided necessary reference material. Beanie very earnestly desires to learn Japanese. Our library used to have a partnership with Rosetta Stone, but no longer, alas. I’m sure there must be some good resources online, but I haven’t done the homework yet.

Current favorite Wii game: Spectrobes (the older girls); Mario Kart (Wonderboy and Rilla).

I haven’t spent as much time in the back yard as I usually do this time of year. I think it’s because I’m sad about the absence of Monarchs. Everything else is lovely out there, though. A zillion bees (including honeybee and native species). Mourning cloaks, goldfinches, hummingbirds. A profusion of bloom. Jasmine breezes. Tomatoes in abundance. A great many weeds needing my attention.

Wonderboy has a new watch which affords him great delight. If you need to know the exact minute everything happens, every day, every minute, he’s your man.

Rilla lost her pink parkly shoes, we thought. This was high tragedy. Yesterday, oh the joy!, a friend kindly dropped them off—they had been left in her yard at last week’s Shakespeare/choir practice. Of course they had!

This missive just in from Rose:

Mommy, can you send me information and pictures about the Rosy Red Minnow?
Thanks, and love.

Gotta run.

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4 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. sarah says:

    You really are the poster family for homeschooling! I often think of the literary and daily adventures you enjoy and wrack my brains as to how I can replicate even a shadow of them in my teeny tiny family. I don’t think it can be done. You have such an air of Ingleside magic about you.

  2. Penny in VT says:

    Looking forward to seeing photos of the new aquarium (you do know that’s where you’re headed, right?).

    The rhetoric sounds great – I’ve thought about doing that course myself.

    I’ll be catching up on your posts – I’ve been gone for awhile…

  3. Melissa Wiley says:

    Penny, I’ve missed you!! Great to see you. 🙂

    Sarah, that is a lovely compliment but quite undeserved. 🙂 *Maybe* I could come close to creating an Ingleside vibe if we had an Ingleside…a house with enough room, and lovely fields and meadows all around…and most of all a Susan! THAT is my problem, really. Montgomery raised me to be an Anne, but I’ve no Susan to do the cooking, the cleaning, the bathing of the small fry…

    And also? It occurs to me: Anne predated cars. No driving all over tarnation. I struggle endlessly with the challenge of enabling the older children to do all the things they want to do without utterly sacrificing the carefree home time the younger children crave. It’s a ferociously difficult balancing act. I think back to 1998, when I passed up a chance to move to a bigger apartment because the new neighborhood was an area where I’d have to do the shopping by car, and I couldn’t bear to do that to poor baby Rose. With Jane (and Rose, because of this decision), we lived in a city neighborhood and did all our errands on foot, baby in sling. I couldn’t comprehend, at the time, relegating an infant to a carseat for (cumulatively) several hours a week. But by the time Beanie came along, the desire for a wee garden had overpowered those concerns, and we left Queens for a small house rental on Long Island, with a nice backyard. (Which the children NEVER played in. So go figure.) Beanie abhorred her carseat, but Jane, at the grand old age of 5, had a wonderfully busy social life (I mean, come on, we lived 20 minutes from Alice in those days!) and so poor baby Bean had to cry in the carseat en route to homeschooling fun. I used to pull over and nurse her halfway between my house and Alice’s: that’s how miserable she was!

    That was a long tangent, unrelated to Ingleside Magic. 😉 Just funny to remember how fiercely I guarded Jane and Rose’s in-arms time. My 3 younger children are packed into the sardine can every day, practically, for taxi service to Jane’s this or Rose’s that. Or the neverending jaunts to Wonderboy’s doctors…ha, there’s another advantage Anne had over me. A doctor in the family. NOT THAT I’D TRADE YOU FOR A HUNDRED GILBERTS, HONEY!

    Anyway, all this to say—when you’re cataloguing the interests of six interesting people, you may give the impression of a collective awesomeness that fails to convey the magnitude of friction and mess that is generated by a group this size. I adore your accounts of days at the shore and Rose’s windsurfing progress. Your home sounds so peaceful and calm. 🙂 I suppose we have what Sandra Dodd calls “Big Noisy Peace.” Emphasis on the noisy!

  4. Hannah says:

    Love it — thanks for indulging us and letting us be sort of flies on the wall. 🙂

    Thanks for visiting me, by the way. The story is now posted if and when you’re interested. After this I will be ever more grateful for being able to post about books and normal life!