Crazy. I thought about going to Rome next week. Thought about it really seriously when I looked up the apartment we stayed in last November and saw that it was available 3/14-22. I took it as a sign. Airfare wasn’t hideous at that point (late last week), even from Birmingham – the only glitch being Those Darn Cardinals – who have been in absolutely no hurry to set a Conclave date. Would they jump right in and schedule it for the 11th? Or wait the traditional amount of time and go for the 15th? If the latter, this would work out. So I dithered and studied airfare some more. Then I actually wrote to the owner of the apartment who answered me that yes, it was vacant for those dates but the preceding guests were journalists, arriving the 7th..and they might want to extend their stay beyond the 14th. Well, I said, of course they will if the Conclave doesn’t happen until the 15th…but go ahead and check anyway. And of course, they’re staying for as long as it takes.
The owner offered me another apartment about a mile away from the Vatican, but that would mean walking that mile to get to St. Peter’s, squeezing on buses to get to St. Peter’s or sitting in a cab in traffic on the way to St. Peter’s, when the point of the original place is that it’s 3 blocks from St. Peter’s. Making it, you know, very convenient. For journalists.
Well, that’s okay. It was just a spur-of-the moment crazy thing, anyway.
The only value that papal prognostications have is the entertainment they produce after the conclave.
The other travel that I thought might be happening of late was a short trip to New Orleans this week with my daughter, home from college on spring break. Then I looked up hotels on Kayak and wondered why the only hotels coming up were 1-star places in Houma and such. Going to hotel websites turned up “no available rooms” time after time. Finally figured out that there was a huge convention happening. Bill Clinton speaking and everything. A friend suggested we go anyway and stay outside the city, but I said that I wasn’t interested in sharing New Orleans with 50,000 drunk health care managers. So we’ve stayed put.
It’s always nice when she comes home because I have someone to cook for. That is someone to cook for who will eat food that is a color other than beige. Gives me a good chance for some Pinterest-ing culinary excursions. I’m also pleased to report that at long last, I think making pizza has entered the “routine” category for me. I finally figured out that if you just make the dough at least a day ahead of time – I use this recipe - it handles much better, and the simple fact that the dough is done by the time it comes to fix the pizzas makes it all less daunting.
Watching House of Cards. I’m enjoying it, and could easily binge-watch it, but am restraining myself. It’s cable -ish, which means there’s profanity, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. It’s not a documentary about politics, so don’t look for complete, careful and thorough excavation of life in D.C. But Kevin Spacey is mesmerizing, to be sure. His picture is next to “inhabit a role” in the Big Encyclopedia of Acting for this one. I’m five episodes in, and what I’ll say is that I’m sensing some unspoken, complex backstory – mostly in the relationship between Spacey’s character and that of his wife, played by the alarmingly and aggravatingly skinny Robin Wright – but if it’s not delivered (whatever it is) - the absence of that layer is what will keep this series from reaching first-level quality.
Current reads in our house: Swallowdale (11 year old) , The Castle in the Attic and Emil’s Pranks (8 year old), and all of us together, The Enchanted Castle and Into the Unknown: How Great Explorers Found Their Way by Land, Sea and Air. The last is a simply great book. There is no dearth of books on explorers and exploration out there, but this one is really special. It’s well written – substantial, but not too overlain with detail – and the illustrations are marvelous. In particular: each chapter includes a fold out section that incorporates a map and some other illustration – of the structure of a boat or other craft, and so on. This one is worth seeking out and even purchasing.
Over the past week, for history/religion, Joseph has been reading St. Benedict: Hero of the Hills. After he reads a chapter, I have him narrate it back to me in some way, and I try to change it up. So some chapters he simply tells me what happened (he takes notes and the point of the exercise is to teach him how to summarize and present), but then other chapters I have him draw using the whiteboard, and for the chapter in which St. Benedict dies, I had him pretend to be a monk come to give us the news.
Speaking of homeschooling, while I still generally try to not read homeschool blogs (agitates the soul and tempts one to anxiety), there are a couple of Facebook pages I find really helpful. One is The Libertarian Homeschooler - in particular check out the lists she’s recently posted here and here. The other is Kicking it Unschool. I really appreciate the discussions and resources offered at both.
I may have recovered from house-shopping fever. Not sure. But I think that I’ve figured out a spot for a basketball goal. That, combined with the feelings I get when I walk from my car, stop on my front porch and open the door to enter into the small, warm space of my living room – and then listen to the boys playing outside with the boy down the street or chatting with the older lady next door – I don’t think it’s time to leave that yet, especially with warm weather coming – I’ve seen some great decks and a fabulous back yard. But none of it beats that front porch, not right now.
(This week, that is)
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