I almost got away without doing pumpkins this year. I just didn’t mention it, and I also sort of forgot about it, and then Friday evening I started feeling guilty, so I posed the question, “Um…do you all want to carve pumpkins?”
Tragically, they nodded.
So Saturday morning, I set out to see what I could find. Wal-Mart was all Christmas, with not a pumpkin in sight. Nothing at Aldi. Then I swung by a local super-cut-rate grocery store that I drive by all the time, but have never actually entered – saw a box full of pumpkins outside the door, grabbed three, went inside and found that the store was actually pretty nice. So. There’s that useful discovery.
We don’t have an ample front porch, so someone came up with the genius idea of perching them in this tree-that-should-probably-be-cut-down-before-it-falls-on-my-car.
Then trick-or-treating in the rain – one Indiana Jones, one Mayan warrior king.
Lots of candy.
Last Friday, Homeschooled 10-year old and I headed back over to Atlanta. The main objective was a Shakespeare for Kids performance of some iteration of Macbeth.
I had, if not high, then at least not low hopes for this, since I’d been told it was geared to K-5th graders.
Well, when we arrived, they announced from the stage that they were psyched to present this for an intended audience of K-3rd graders. Which was too bad, since most of the audience was definitely older than that.
Oh well. It was amusing, although my 10-year old who saw not one but two productions of Macbeth last year on stage (one at this theater, the other in town at Samford University) was obviously a little insulted at being talked down to in such a manner.
Then afterwards to the Aquarium, which…damn. Why can’t I ever remember that the Georgia Aquarium is really not a good value for the $$$$$$$$$$$$ you pay? I don’t think I’ll forget now – but remind me in three years when I start thinking we should go again.
(If you are aquarium-hankering in the Southeast, go to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga instead. It has a lot more exhibits and is far more educational – in a painless way – than that obviously tourist-baiting Georgia place is. Even the Charleston Aquarium is better, I’d say.)
Well, I do like ginormous sea anenomes, so there’s that.
And then some time in Centennial Park.
A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about some of the interesting concerts happening around here – OF COURSE I didn’t make it to any of those (I almost got to the pop-up-opera-at-the-brewery thing but one of my older sons called just as I was circling the block looking for non-existent parking, and so I kept talking to him as I circled and circled…and then finally gave up and went and bought tissues and toilet paper at the Dollar Store.)
But this week I did make it to a performance of a new local early music group called the Highland Consort.
The performance was free, and held at the Episcopal Church of the Advent downtown.
The program was a November-suitable, requiem-ish, All-Souls-reminiscent program of pieces including “When David Heard” by Thomas Tomkins, Burial Sentences from the Book of Common Prayer composed by William Croft, “O Quam gloriosum” by Tomas Luis de Victoria and the Missa pro Defunctis by Eustache du Caurroy. The last was composed in 1590 for the funeral of Henry IV of France and then performed for the next two centuries as the official Requiem for the kings of France. (from the program notes).
It’s super great that now we can fully, active, and consciously participate now and sing Gather Us In instead.
There are lots and lots and LOTS of homeschooling blogs and pages and thoughts out there. You really shouldn’t read too many of them, or else you will end up feeling very badly about yourself.
One of the few exceptions to that rule that I’ve made is the Libertarian Homeschooler – there’s not blog, but “only” a Facebook page, and it’s great. The posts are well-written and deeply considered, as, you can tell, has been the family’s entire homeschooling experience. This is the sentence that made me go “yes!” today, related to a search for a perhaps-transitional-to-college-school:
“I think they would do very well but I don’t think I could do it to them. Giving them a superficial glance after we’ve spent so many years digging deep. We have tailored their experiences to meet their interests, needs, and capacities instead of state standards and grade requirements.”
If you want to understand the homeschooling movement, and why it’s taking off, especially in the context of test and achievement-obsessed schools….read this.
In honor of today, November 5, Guy Fawkes Day…here’s a related book review I wrote ages ago for First Things:
As Hogge traces the slow, agonizing path by which the Jesuits were unjustly implicated in the Gunpowder Plot—a path strewn with seemingly minor decisions like hearing a confession, writing a letter, or delaying a journey—the question of equivocation came to the fore. This was the point at which the government’s case against the Jesuits gained its popular force: the accusation that the Jesuits advised and approved the art of “equivocation,” answering questions in a way that would satisfy interrogators but at the same time preserve interior honesty. Being asked, “Are you a priest?” one could answer “No,” meaning, in one’s own mind, “No, I am not a priest of Zeus.” Equivocation was debated among moral theologians, and Garnet himself wrote a treatise in cautious support of it.
The question, answered equivocally or not, that caused the most problems was one that came to be known as the “Bloody Question”: If the pope were to invade England, whom would you support, the pope or the queen? Over time, the Bloody Question took slightly different forms, but the essence remained the same: Whose side are you on?
The truth was that most English Catholics wanted to be on both sides. They were loyal to their country and their monarch, and they also wanted to practice their religion in peace. In the sixteenth century, this was not thought to be possible, of course, as religious toleration was the ideal of neither Church nor state. But as the decades progressed, it became the last best hope of English Catholics. James I manipulated this hope in his effort to cement his succession—and then dashed it with even fiercer enforcement of the Penal Laws, a frustration and turnabout which ultimately inspired the Gunpowder Plot.
Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, who likes Flannery O’Connor and is great for other reasons as well, delivered a brainy speech on religious liberty this evening at Notre Dame. Y’all should read it:
The Church cannot abide quietly while the eclipse of man is presided over by an impoverished temporal order. Thus, the Church understands that the divine mandate to teach includes a service to a society that has shoved aside its own best moments. Put another way, the divine mandate includes a mission to defend the prerogatives of reason, including speculative and contemplative reason. This is a service to reason and to the human person and thus to society, that the Church must, by divine mandate, render. What is needed then, is a robust philosophical discourse fully informed by the theological sources that prevent the reduction of man to product and producer.
For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!