Saturday, October 9, 2010

The SOTB Artfire Store

You've probably heard about the independent student-run production of the film The Shadow Of The Bear. And if you haven't, you should check them out.

Well, they've wrapped up filming, and now it's time to edit. Problem is, the editing software they need is quite expensive and remember, so far everything for this film has been paid for out of the director's and actors' pockets. So some crafty, artistic fans came up with a great idea to raise money. As it turns out there's a website called Artfire that provides people with an opportunity to sell their own handmade items. So the SOTB Artfire store was born!
They have cozy scarves, handmade soap, gorgeous and unique jewelry and more! All of it is reasonably priced and it is all handmade. 100% of all profits go to the movie. I've purchased three items and am perfectly happy with them. The Celtic knot heart earrings are my new favorite pair, the cable knit scarf is great and I can't wait for a chance to wear my rose headband. So go on and check it out. You get something you like, and your money goes to help out some hard-working people finish up this great movie; it's a good deal all around!

One last thing: let's have a round of applause for the talented young ladies that put so much time and care into this. You girls rock!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Recent Randomness In The Life of Me

Jack and I have been volunteering at the local Republican HQ the past few Mondays. It's kinda nice to know that we're doing something to help and it'll look great on a college app, so here I am. Yeah, I'm actually there right now. Normally I'd be working but there's a surplus of volunteers today and we only have three phones so some of us are taking shifts. Nice thing about this place? It's a short walk away from Dairy Queen and the used bookstore. Win.


Speaking of volunteering, I applied to be a junior volunteer at the Institute of Texan Cultures. It looks like a ton of fun, you get to puppet shows for little kids and be in skits and stuff and be a "gallery host". Not entirely sure what that is but it sounds like fun too.


Baby it's cooold outsiiide! Well, cool. This morning we woke up to a beautiful 65 degree morning. I enjoyed it as much as I could but I know it's a fall-se (talk about a lame wordplay) alarm. It'll be hot again before two days are past. Nature always does this to us....teasing, taunting us with promises of fall weather in September and not letting us have it until mid-late October. :(


Oh. My. Gosh. We have a book called Kings and Queens For God. It's a nice book and everything, but does anyone want to explain to me why Queen Victoria is portrayed in ELIZABETHAN costume?!?!?! This irritates me in every imaginable way. I think I'll sue.


Anybody got a homecoming or something that I can crash? I really want an excuse to wear a pretty dress...


Since everybody else was flipping out about it a got myself a copy of The Hunger Games. W o w. Now I desperately want to read the next two books, but there's just one problem. I can not afford them! Keep in mind that this is new to me. I never run with the crowd where literature is concerned. I don't have to worry about buying the same thing that everybody else is buying. I usually get classics that can be either expensive or cheap. I'll just have to wait for chance to find Catching Fire at the library...


Moving on from books to movies, I saw Devil. It was really really good, I'm working on a review for Katie-Isms. But I've never seen a horror/thriller/whatever you want to call it movie in theaters before, so I wasn't prepared for all those terrifying trailers. I was more likely to have nightmares from the previews than the movie itself. *shudder*

Friday, September 3, 2010


Braden took out a box of action figures and plastic bugs of all shapes and epic battle was clearly about to take place.
On Team Braden: The Sandman and Wolverine
On Team Katie: Aang (the Avatar) and Iron Man
The Sandman attacked first, but Aang blew him away. He died (went back into the box) and was replaced by The Hulk. The Hulk, however, turned against Wolverine and suffered for it. Because there must always be a team of two, a motorcycle joined Team Braden. Wolverine took care of that too; he seemed to be picky about partners. Then along came something I cannot name, being quite ignorant of all things anime. After a couple of pathetic attempts at fighting, it curled into a ball an Aang blew it away. During all of this Iron Man had been blasting people here and there for good measure, but generally he was just enjoying the show; Aang and Wolverine clearly had things under control. Wolverine was then joined by a Transformer of some kind, which after much epic fighting, killed Iron Man.
A moment of silence for Mr. Stark, please.

Happily, someone just as excellent was there to help Aang. Twirling a blue lightsaber, Luke Skywalker joined the fight. Wolverine and Iron Man had taken out the Transformer and a dinosaur (an allosaurus, to be precise) took its place. However, on the way to battle Wolverine was accidentally killed by the dinosaurs claws (O, such bitter irony).
Then the rules were changed; teams of three were now allowed. Aang and Luke recruited a big ugly purple lizard (fire-breathing, but I hesitate to call it a dragon). Two more dinos joined the one; another allosaurus and something bigger, meaner and nameless. Aang took on the two smaller enemies and vanquished them, while Luke, ever the expert at handling big monsters, neatly skewered the big guy with his lightsaber.
The enemies were dead....but they had backup. In came a ninja, a dragon and a stormtrooper.
Intense struggle ensued. Aang bravely fought the dragon's fire with wind and water. The lizard and Luke did what they could to help, and the ninja and stormtrooper supported the dragon. Eventually, after much effort, Aang defeated the dragon. A general brawl followed between those who were left, including some fighting amongst the enemy. It didn't last long, though. By general assent, the battle concluded.

What did you do today?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Testing, testing...

*taps microphone*
I heard from Ella about a way to schedule your posts ahead of time so that they're posted automatically at a certain time. So I'm testing it here, because it would be reallly helpful with Katie-Isms.

Now, my blogging friends, if you haven't heard of this before, here's how it's done.
When you're writing a post, before you publish it click on "Post Options", to the left of where you put your labels. There'll be an option that says "Post date and time". Just enter the date and time that you want it to be posted, and hit publish. It's that easy! Just make sure you've got the right time zone.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Case For Muffins

In a magical land called TrueGirls Online, there is a hot debate that's been going on for the past four years or so. Muffins...or cupcakes? I've been a loyal Muf-fan from the start. I present you now with the reasons why muffins are just so much better than cupcakes.

1. Health. Muffins are by their very nature more wholesome and much better for you than cupcakes. In times like these, who doesn't prefer the healthier choice?

2. Versatility. Cupcakes are only a dessert food. But a muffin can be enjoyed at any time of day, whenever you want! Muffins, especially mini-muffins, make great snacks, and fresh out of the oven they're a lovely breakfast. Also, cupcakes pretty much only come in as many flavors as regular cake. It boils down to three main flavors; chocolate, vanilla and yellow, with various kinds of frosting. But muffins come in too many flavors to count, and people are inventing new kinds all the time!

3. Sincerity. What do the Cupcakians usually do to promote their cause? They post pictures of gorgeously decorated cupcakes. Cupcakes with flowers, cupcakes with butterflies, cupcakes with cute faces. But what is it really? Pure aesthetics. Pretty colored frosting, often topped with an inedible decoration that you have to remove before enjoying your dessert. In short, cupcakes are shallow. They present an elegant frosting facade, but underneath they're no different from your average small piece of birthday cake. The frosting doesn't even always taste good, and often will dye your tongue nasty colors.
Muffins are plain, granted. But the point here is that they aren't presumptuous like cupcakes. What you see is what you get; they are really sincere. They long with all their muffiny hearts to be appreciated and enjoyed by you. They don't show themselves off like cupcakes... they show you their true, humble little selves and invite you to enjoy them as they are.

4. They're the original. Think about it. Why are cupcakes called cupcakes? They are cake in a cup, shaped like...muffins! Muffins were there first. Cupcakes are merely copycats; fakes; imposters. Muffins are real.

5. Well, duh! They're just plain delicious!

And be sure to check out this video on the subject.

So, I've explained the muffin cause to you...where do you stand?

Friday, August 20, 2010


I CAN SEEEE! Everything is so much clearer! I can read the clock on the microwave now! WOOOO!

Yes, I know, the first one is awfully blurry. But T-Man is in it!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I've Been Bad...

As far as blogging is concerned, anyway. :-P

So, update on life. Yes, Max is doing great. He's smiling and it's darn cute. Head over to Nine Texans for pictures. Speaking of Nine Texans, I think I'm officially a ninja now...that's me there with the sword in the header.
Are ninjas allowed to wear glasses? Because I picked out frames today! They're purple and I love them. ^_^
I have some of my senior year books. Not looking forward to American Gov't and Economy...British Lit should be fun, though. I've already read at least a third of the books. *nerd* What scares me is the 1500 word papers. It's a huge jump from the lengths of everything else I've written during high school.
I'm taking dual-credit Intro to Chem with St. Philips for the first semester, and Health with MODG in the second semester.
So yeah, cool stuff.

In the blogging world, everywhere but here is pretty fun these days. My friend Anna, who just happens to be an incredible writer, started a blog recently at Ferris Wheel The Monkey Reel, available on my sidebar. No doubt you're curious about the name. She's just a random sort of person, so she gave her blog a random sort of name, among other reasons. You can read about that in her first post. Over at Katie-Isms things have been a little slow. We had a Fairy Tale Novel Week...that was fun. And then suddenly, we didn't really have anything to do. We've posted some ourselves, being short of eagerly volunteering poets at the moment. But still, go check it out! There is some pretty cool stuff coming up soon. ;), yes, that's the end of this particular blog post.

Friday, July 2, 2010

I Love Pixar.

I have since 1996, and I always will. The thing about Pixar is that they promise you a great movie, and boy, do they deliver. They never, ever disappoint.

Toy Story 3 was no exception. A perfect blend of adventure, emotion, seriousness and hilarity is sustained throughout the movie. Everything about it is characteristic of the creativity and sense of humor of the great minds at Pixar. It's difficult to get away with a threequel, and difficult to make it as good as the first movie. But as always, Pixar succeeds at what they put their minds to.

Mom took all the kids to see it on Wednesday, except Ian. He gave a new definition to the word "lame" by staying behind. Now, this was on the same day that Eclipse came out. Hence, every single teenage girl at the theater beside me was there to swoon over warring vamps and werewolves. But I, with a two-year-old on my hip and diverse siblings making noise all around me, was there for the toys. I'd watched the video of the first one as a little kid, I had seen #2 in theaters and gosh darn it I was gonna see this one if it killed me. So I looked around at my perfectly groomed female counterparts on their way to enjoy what they liked best, hefted the purse that didn't match my shirt, lifted my chin (and my baby brother), and proudly marched in to see what I liked better. I laughed, I cried...well, almost cried. I've been called heartless for this capital offense of only almost crying when practically everyone I know full-on cried. Can I help it that very few movies can make me shed true tears? Last one was The Secret Life Of Bees. I won't lie, I was positively bawling.
But I digress.

Toy Story 3 was a little emotional for me. Andy is seventeen, I'm seventeen. I'm going to college next year. I felt like this movie meant coming full circle for me. When Ian was born in 96, I remember Mom and Dad handing the Toy Story video tape in its shiny box to Jack and I, as a "gift" from our new baby brother. Jack launched into an obsession. We still have the video from his third birthday party the year afterward, when a very excited, very cute (what happened?) little boy ripped off the wrapping paper to discover his very own Woody doll! You could pull the string and everything. "It's WOODYYY!" he exclaimed in that Minnie Mouse voice of his.

In '99, shortly after our family moved to CT, where we would live for six more years (our record for staying in one place) we went to see Toy Story 2 in theaters.

Woody and Buzz always seem to pop up at milestones in my life. Ian was born; we'd just moved; this time around, thirteen years and six kids later, I once again had a new baby brother. I joke that Max should have been born later, or the movie should have come out earlier, so he could "give" us the DVD. :)

What's left to say, but...


Friday, June 25, 2010


I've pretty much given up on any kind of Big Worlds Post. You'll live.

Max is the cutest baby e v e r!!! And though he had a rough week last week, he's totally healthy and happy now. :) My genius nickname for him is M&M; he's little, round and sweet, and his name is MaxiMilian. ^_^

Katie and I now have a blog called Katie-Isms. You should really check it out. In fact, you should do more than check it out; you should follow it and leave lots of comments!

I'm DYING to see Toy Story 3!!! Everybody I know that has seen it sings it praises...I will not rest until I've seen it.

Speaking of movies, the trailer for Voyage of The Dawn Treader is AMAZING!! I am so psyched for this movie!! It looks like they've made some plot changes, but I can be open-minded about that, to a certain point. Costumes and sets look great...the Dawn Treader looks great...Lucy is growing up....Caspian has facial hair and it looks awful...Will Poulter is going to be fantastic as Eustace...AND I HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL CHRISTMAS FOR IT TO COME OUT!!


Well, I hope you've enjoyed this sad excuse for a post. Next one will be better, I promise. It will probably include pictures of Max. That's incentive for you to read it right there, yes?
Till then!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Two more pictures!

Second one is my favorite. :) He is 7.7 pounds, 18.5 inches. He has a 9.9 APGAR score, which means he's about as healthy as he can possibly be!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Meet Max!!!

Here he is!! I don't have any details yet about his size, I'll have to edit those in later.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Guilty As Charged.

Looks like I lied again. Sorry, I just didn't have time to post at Worlds! But now I'm sitting happily in front of the Mac at home and will be soon posting about Worlds. For now, you can just go to Sardines In A Can to hear all the good stuff from our coach, Carol.
The second reason that I'm posting, besides begging forgiveness for my laxity, is to inform you of the fact that that other Katie has started a new blog, and you better check it out, because apparently I'm the only person that reads it, and that's no fun. So head on over to Makes Me Smile (as soon as you're done at the sardine can, of course) to enjoy all the random stuff she's been posting, including some great original poetry. :)
*Big Worlds Post* coming soon! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I Lied.

I know I said I'd post again from Michigan, but from the looks of things I'd say I'm still in Texas. Sorry to disappoint you.
As it turns out, I had something else to blog about! I've been wanting to, but consistently forgetting to, and was just recently reminded to tell you about Shoved To Them.
Shoved To Them is the blog of a Catholic, home schooling mom of six great kids, who also happens to be a darn good writer. She's smart, witty and full of faith. Almost every post of hers makes me smile, and often laugh as well. The rare ones that don't have me thinking and being thankful.
The Mom is a great role model for those of us girls who hope to also be moms someday. Wait, let me try that again. She's just generally a great role model for all Catholic girls, whatever may lie in their future. If everybody had her faith and sense of humor, it'd be a much nicer world.

Here's the part where I turn mercenary. She's hosting a contest for an $80 gift card, and posting about it here may give me an extra chance at it. :-D You can enter too: all you have to do is publicly follow Shoved To Them. To turn it a little more to your favor, comment on her post about it and/or post on your blog about it.

Now that you know about that contest, I might seem like a suck-up. But I meant every single word. I hope The Mom never stops blogging, because her many followers would miss her terribly.

(and I won't deny it...I hope I get that gift certificate. XD)

Worlds? What is this Worlds you speak of?

You don't seriously mean to tell me that I'm leaving on Monday to go to Worlds?
Oh, wow.

We've been talking about and preparing for Worlds for a while, but it didn't fully sink in for me until a couple of days ago when we were discussing what to bring. Hearing again of the inconveniences of campus living brought back all sorts of memories...most pleasant, some not. Later we were looking at pictures from both of the high school team's previous Worlds trips. All this finally brought home for me the fact that yes, this next Monday I will climb into a car, books in hand, and embark on a road trip that will take to me to good old Michigan (having been to Michigan before and having some friends there, I feel perfectly entitled to say "good old" with it) and Worlds.
First of all, I can't wait to see MSU again. It's such a nice campus, much much bigger than the smaller size that I'm used to at UD. Michigan is a gorgeous place, and parts of the campus resemble a park.
I'm also beginning to remember things about Worlds itself. I'd forgotten exactly what it was like, and now it's all coming back. It's practically a different culture, where everyone is an OMer and pins are the preferred currency. You're surrounded by people from different countries, and although many of them speak English well, you may learn a few new words in another language.

And while we're going to have an incredible time, let us not forget the competition. This year we seem to have a pretty good shot at placing, or at least placing much higher than in previous years. I don't expect first place or anything....just like in the Olympics, there are certain countries that everybody knows will do well in certain things. The Poles? OWN the vehicle problem. However, I'm sure we'll do well, and maybe, just maybe, even get a Ranatra Fusca! Now that would be awesome. A Ranatra Fusca at the Worlds level is about as prestigious as it gets.

It looks like Worlds snuck up on me. Today I thought I had better write a list of stuff to take with me, and a long list it was. Hopefully I'll remember everything. I've been getting better at that lately, but still, a relapse could occur. While I keep my fingers crossed, I'll be looking ahead to the awesomeness that is Worlds. Next time you hear from me, I'll be in Michigan, tired but excited, trying to make you all jealous of how much fun I'm having.
See you then!

Monday, May 17, 2010


Like it? I think it was about time for a change. The background, banner and buttons may not all match like the last ones did, but hey, I'm a pretty random person, so a little randomosity won't hurt.

*Many thanks to Kayla for help with the banner! Curse photobucket and their limited selection of fonts.*

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I command thee to click!

I would like to introduce you to two rather wonderful young ladies of my acquaintance, Kat (aka kit-kat) and Ella. They have begun a blog called The Sound of Life, all about music. They'll be posting videos and lyrics to a variety of songs by many different artists, so if you're looking for some new music to listen to, it's the place to go. :)
Also check out Ella's personal blog, Sepia, Black, White and Other Colors of My Life.
So click, now! Both of these blogs can also be found on my sidebar.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Reading Habits Meme

Do you snack while you read? If so, favourite reading snack:
Not really, unless it happens to be around Halloween or Easter and I've got chocolate that needs eating. :-D

What is your favourite drink while reading?
I don't ever drink while reading. Me with my clumsiness, risk spilling on a book? :-o

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
WHAT?! Write in a book?!?! Who wrote this?

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?
Dog-ear, every time.

Fiction, non-fiction, or both?

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere?
I prefer to finish the chapter, but I'll put it down in the middle of one if Mom or Dad seem to really need me for something...

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?
I just ignore it and keep reading. Usually I can figure it out.

What are you currently reading?
Catherine of Siena by Sigrid Undset, on and off. And I've been doing a lot of half-hearted rereading lately.

What is the last book you bought?
Er, with my own money? I think it was Enna Burning by Shannon Hale.

Are you the type of person that reads one book at a time, or can you read more than one?
Depends, usually two at a time, though. One for fun and one for school.

Do you have a favourite time/place to read?
My bed. Anytime!

Do you prefer series books or stand alones?
Both! I think I lean slightly towards series, though. If it's good, then more is definitely better!

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?
Not that I can think of, though I have been known to bully people about Jane Austen.

How do you organize your books? (by genre, title, author's last name, etc.)
By genre, more or less.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Give in to the cuteness.

You know you want to.

Funny Baby Photos - Oh Penguin, You So Funny!!!
see more

Funny Baby Photos - My Heart Just Exploded
see more

Funny Baby Photos - Death By Cuteness
see more

Funny Baby Photos - Put Em Up!
see more

Funny Baby Photos - Ba-roo?
see more

See more at!

Monday, April 19, 2010

State Finals Tournament

This past Friday, Mom, Ian and I drove up to Houston (Katy, technically, but it's in the near vicinity so people simplify by saying "Houston") for Texas Odyssey of the Mind's State Finals Tournament. *insert impressive echo effect*
The night before States, many teams choose to attend a mixer at the hosting school. The mixer consists of large numbers of kids grade 3 on up partying and trading cutesy and useless doodads, usually homemade, while popular tunes are loudly played and even more loudly sung along to, pizza and drinks are served, and TX OotM merchandise (pins and t-shirts) is sold.
Sounds fun, right? Well in spite of the joy we all find in listening to 8-year-old girls singing Taylor Swift karaoke at the top of their lungs, our team chose not to attend. We went to the movies instead. Those of us that went to an earlier movie killed some time while waiting for the others' flick to end by stopping by Target to get a couple of things the team needed, and do some impulse buying.
Then we all went back to our respective hotels to rest up for the long day ahead.

April 17th dawned...we were all asleep when that happened, actually. But eventually we roused ourselves and went to do war - figuratively speaking, of course- upon our opponents. Our performance was pretty good; a couple of things didn't work the way they were supposed to but generally it went well. We got good judges, especially this one guy who absolutely l o v e d our vehicle. We did get penalized, but it was just for one teeny mistake, and they only took off three points for it.
I didn't get to watch Ian's team, but I've seen their skit before. By all accounts the judges loved it, especially one part where "Spock" gives himself the "Vulcan nerve-pinch" and knocks himself out. That got lots of laughs. :-)
I can't tell you much about spontaneous, all very confidential you know. Plus I didn't actually participate. I took the part of lowly spectator this time. Quite gladly, I wouldn't have been very much help with that particular problem. We scored nicely on it.

We were done, so we returned to the hotel, whereupon the middle-schoolers and co. proceeded to take over the swimming pools. I dropped in for a short while later when they were done. We went to dinner and the awards ceremony. *cue tense, suspenseful music*

*drumroll please...*

In first place for Problem 1, Division III....SA HERO TEAM B!
That's right! Us!

Later that evening, the Ranatra Fusca Award, the highest award given by Odyssey, was given to three teams. Among them, us.

So yep, we're going to Worlds. :-) Michigan State University, here we come! It'll be the third time to Worlds for Ellie and I, and the second time at MSU. It's a beautiful campus, but I swear there is no worse cafeteria food in the country.

World's is in late May, so we have about a month to plan, practice, fix what needs fixin', and find the necessary funds. Wish us luck...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Clash of what titans?

Seriously, there's not a single dang titan in the whole show! I know, I know, it sounds cooler...
Clash of the Titans was a fun movie, and if you want to see it at all you should definitely see it on the big screen. Liam Neeson rocks and Hades, though evil, was way cool. The witches were spot on, and though they might seem reminiscent of Pan's Labyrinth, the eye thing IS originally from the myth. I did like some of the interpretations, and I know that Greek mythology by its very nature allows for tweaking, but:

Io shouldn't be in this movie at all. I could go into her story, but I'll save it for another time.
What happened to Hermes' winged sandals? OK, so that would have been a little weird for a movie... and where are the other Gorgons, Medusa's sisters?

And pray tell, what is up with the ending? He defeats the bad guy, makes up with daddy and gets the girl...the wrong girl! Like I said, Io doesn't have a darn thing to do with Perseus in the old story, and throughout the movie I was getting an idea of good friend/sister/guardian/teacher...not love interest! Sure, the actress is beautiful. Sure, Andromeda has a small part in the movie. But e v e r y b o d y knows the age old deal: You save the princess, you marry the princess. End of story. Doggone screenwriters.

So if you're a Greek mythology nerd/purist, don't see this movie. It'll only tick you off. If you don't care that much and you like giant scorpions and cool effects, it's worth it. If you don't have anything better to do and want to watch something fun (like me), might as well.
That's my opinion anyhow.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

RIP June

One of our guinea pigs died today. Mom and Dad weren't home when we found her, so we kids boxed her up and buried her. It went fairly well, and June was bid goodbye with many tears.

(the little kids knew I was going to take a picture so they arranged the flowers artistically :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

So, there was this contest...

And there was this poem that I had lying around...
So I entered this contest...
Hoping for a small amount of scholarship money...

Well, no money is going to be published in an anthology of poetry by teens titled "Of Faith and Inspiration". Of course I am very excited. I never thought I'd be able to say "Oh yeah, I'm a published poet." It's just one poem in just one book but still....pretty dang awesome! And it'll look nice on a college app.

And here it is!

The Symphony

Sound of a harp
Fairy strings
Hidden elfin choirs sing
Songs unheard by man take wing
Music of a moonlit forest

Song of colors
Drops of rain
All the heavens in a soaring refrain
For which to listen would be in vain
Music of the rainbows

Medley of smiles
Trusting eyes
A guardian angel's lullaby
A sweet little face turned up to the sky
Music of a child's innocence

Symphony of wonder
For all to hear
Song of laughter, song of tears
All creation singing clear
Music of all beauty

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Adventures In Dallas

Or Irving, rather. But it is called The University of Dallas.

Yes, I went to UD! Last Friday and Saturday, I found myself once again on campus, this time with a sidekick. Dad.
We were there for the Aspiring Scholars Preview. Basically you go to classes and a bunch of info sessions where you learn about the various aspects of the university, and admissions and financial aid.
The classes? WERE AWESOME! We went to history (Western Civilizations II), English (Lit Traditions IV) and drama (Shakespeare Through Music). The history class was fascinating. Great professor, he covered the 1790s in France, in fair detail, in less than an hour. I don't know much about that time period/the French Revolution so it was mostly new info for me. I didn't take notes, though...I'm not real experienced with that so I prefer to just listen. Dad (who was a history major) took three pages of notes.
English class, again, absolutely fascinating. The teacher was Father Robert Maguire, a Cistercian priest. He gave a lecture at Arete so I was more or less prepared for little things like this:

(Father points at a student) "You're daydreaming."
"Huh wha? Yes Father?"
"You were daydreaming. You were, weren't you?"
"...yeah? Yes? I was?"
"You know how I knew you were daydreaming?"
"Uh, no..."
"Wanna know how I knew?"
"I used to be an expert daydreamer."

Their class was just finishing up Moby Dick. Neither Dad nor I have ever read Moby Dick, but Father's explanation of the plot and the underlying themes was so incredibly fascinating that Dad bought the book for himself at the school's bookstore afterwards. I intend to try my hand at it this summer. I really really hope I get to be in that class someday so I can hear the classes for the rest of the book.

Shakespeare Through Music was also taught by someone I recognized from Arete. Dr. Dupree is a truly remarkable fellow. He plays I don't know how many musical instruments...his areas of expertise could probably span half of the curriculum...he speaks at least 8 languages and a couple of ancient ones.
The class was on "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (woo! something I'm familiar with!), and we listened to parts of a recording of a performance with incidental music and cue music. I think it was mostly, actually it might have been all, Mendelssohn's work. Of course, I recognized the wedding song. EVERYBODY has heard that. I loved how you could really tell the difference between, for example, the fairy themes and the players' themes. We did hear some of the dialogue, and I've decided that the mechanics should always be played with Cockney accents.

After all that began the various information sessions. The welcome speeches, the admission counselor panel. Fun stuff like that. We ended the day with a taste of student life; ice cream and a movie with the Society of Physics Students. The SPS consists of about a dozen people, who were joined by one or two friends and us. This particular event was not on the list of recommended fun stuff for the ASAPers, but Dad and I found out about via posters. It was quite fun, actually. The ice cream was being made right there: with liquid nitrogen. They are all science majors, after all. The movie? None other than "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure". You gotta admit, it's nice after a long day of classes and information to just sit back and laugh at some sheer stupidity. It's especially funny because, for instance, everyone there had studied Socrates, so this little piece of dialogue:

Bill: "The only thing I know is that I know nothing." *puzzled face*

Ted: ......That's us, dude!

Probably got the most laughs for the whole movie out of the UDers.

Saturday dawned, and started with an info session about spiritual life at UD. The spiritual director talked all about the Catholic aspects of it, and how open it is, and how she tries to make sure everyone, no matter their creed, get's to the church they need to go to. There's even a group there that call themselves the "Protestant Posse" who arrange for rides to nearby Protestant churches. :-D They do encourage everybody to go to Mass and they have RCIA for folks considering conversion.
And then- dundundun! -The Test. The Aspiring Scholars Award Program test (usually abbreviated to the ASAP). It was one hour questions, one hour essay. The whole idea of the test is to give you a sample of what they study in their Core Curriculum, and pretty much to test your UD compatibility. Good scores also happen to earn scholarship money. Other benefits of taking the ASAP are that when you apply to UD, you don't have to pay the application fee and one letter of recommendation is waived. I'm not sure if this is a benefit or not, but the essay you write for the test becomes you application essay.
It wasn't too bad. It was hard, certainly, since it consists of college work and we were all just lowly high school juniors. My essay could have been better, could have been worse. :-/ The really sad part of all this? I don't get to find out how I did on the test until I get accepted to UD.

After the test was a session about the Rome semester. Which is amazing. I'm not going to get into all of that right now but if anyone wants to hear more about it (or anything else about UD) they can email or FB me and I'll gladly rave about it all. Then a goodbye talk, then we all filled out a survey about the weekend. For doing that we got free t-shirts, win! After that, lunch and a special meeting for all the homeschoolers with the homeschool admission counselor. Dad and I hung around for a little while after that, went up in the Tower and drove back home.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Why Austen Is Different

Last night my friend Rosemary (over at A True Word and The Daily Painting, to be found on my blogroll) and I had an interesting conversation via Facebook chat.
She had figured out why she loved Jane Austen. I realized I had never thought of that! What exactly is it that makes Jane Austen's writing special?
She went on to say that, unlike so many couples in fiction and even real life, Austen always gives good reasons as to why her characters love each other. They CHOOSE to love each other. The reader can clearly see why they work as a couple, why they're good for each other and can help each other. Unlike in so many things today, where it's often just "Hey, I'm good-looking, you're good-looking, I feel good when I'm around you, let's see how long this lasts before we get tired of each other." It's all about the physical. In Austen's books, people tend to talk things out first. Then they get married, usually at the end of the book, and there's nary a kiss in the whole story. Nothing wrong with kissing, but those people were smarter about it than we are now. They knew it was more important to get to know each other.

Thank you, Jane dear, for writing about sensible people who know, more or less, what it's about. And thanks Rosemary for bringing this to my attention.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I Don't Feel Like Giving This Post A Real Title. Deal with it.

Where to start?
Well, Grandma is here! She came just yesterday. Today all the girls went out, and everybody but me got their hair cut while I went to Beall's on the other end of the plaza, and thanks to Grandma I now have two cute new tops to take to UD with me!
Oh, UD? I'm going there this weekend with Dad! SO excited! It's for the Aspiring Scholars Preview (preview, preview....). We get to go to classes, talk to professors and the folks at admissions, and Saturday morning there's a special test for all the students. It's a sampling of some of the texts used in the Core Curriculum, and a good score could mean scholarship money. :-D Did I mention that I'm SUPER excited? I miss UD and can't WAIT to be back on campus!
The part of this post you were waiting for: BABY NEWS.
Mom and baby are both quite healthy, and Mom and Dad have more or less decided on Maximilian as a name. Works for me, I think Max is a cute name. :)

OM is crazy right now. Regionals is coming up and things are getting down to the wire. Our vehicle has decided not to work, so for Regionals things will be a tad primitive. We're probably gonna push it. We're pretty much guaranteed to get past Regionals so we'll fix it up before State and it'll be awesome...if it works.

Stay tuned for a post about the weekend at UD! I will post soon after I get home!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Long time, no post!

Hey there!
So...recent life. Almost done with algebra! WOOT!
And today was a TKD tournament! I placed fifth in forms (and tied with somebody! which means that you perform a different form and get judged again) and first in weapons! And participated in a group musical form, just for demo, not competition. Way fun! We were great, it could have been a leetle tighter but it was pretty darn good for just one practice. :-P
Jack placed first in forms and second in sparring. His sparring group was really tough and he only just got his sparring gear this week, so that is REALLY good.
Maybe tomorrow I'll think of something interesting to post. But the clock reminds me that the dishes should have been done a while ago, and sleep is sort of important too. Tata for now!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association

I have been asked to tell you all about a journal called CHRISTVS REGNAT ("Christ the King"- that "v" is actually a "u", by the way. That's how Latin is if you want to be really accurate ;), specifically the latest issue. Go here to read about it.

CHRISTVS REGNAT is a journal, with two issues a year, run by members of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association, all the way in Ireland! They are a group working for a "...restoration of the Liturgy in conformity with its nature and with the Latin tradition."* They link to several other blogs and websites that promote the Latin tradition, such as the FSSP. Be sure to check out their blog (linked to above) and the journal. I read that blog post that tells about some of the articles and it looks really interesting!

*Quote from "Aims of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association".


The return to school and regular life has left less oppurtunities for painting, but I did some today. Last time I practiced I learned how to use the scruffy brush and the liner brush.

Today, I put those two to use and used a worksheet in the book to create what is supposed to be wisteria on vines...

...resulting in this. Try to ignore all the purple stuff on the side that doesn't look connected to anything. I didn't like this picture so I used the paper to do some practicing before trying again:

This is a bit better, but I'm very unhappy with the curliques. They are ugly and too thick...I need a lot more practice with that brush. Overall, though, I like this one. I'm rather proud of the vines, for some reason.
Stay tuned for more from the aspiring artist!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Take your usual kid-versus-ruthless-pirate story...

Add time travel, Nazis, spies, creepy parrots, cute little girls, the middle of one war, the eve of another, a kidnapped dog, missing children, well-loved historical leaders, and what you have is Nick of Time by Ted Bell.

This book was nothing like what I thought it'd be. But I absolutely loved it. It really does have all of the above in it, plus exploring themes of courage and heroism.

Nick is a twelve-year-old boy who lives on Greybeard Island, the smallest of the four islands in the English Channel. It's 1939 and though many deny it, war is brewing. Nick discovers that his father has been secretly gathering crucial information for Mr. Winston Churchill, keeping track of every German vessel that passes their little island, even though the government still believes that Germany is a friendly nation. This, of course, means that his father is involved in the most exciting occupation of- spying!! He's thrilled. Until he meets a fellow named Billy Blood. This Blood guy has a pretty terrifying companion by the name of Snake Eye, and an evil parrot named Bones. Billy Blood is very interested in a sea chest that Nick and his little sister Kate discovered. Nick has no idea what's in the chest, probably jewels or gold. He gets out of there fast and resolves to hide the chest from Blood and find out what's inside. But the next day, his beloved dog Jip is gone: captured by Blood.

Following is a series of exciting events that lead to the discovery of a time-machine, and the knowledge that Billy Blood is a pirate (a traitor of England in the war with Napoleon, to be precise) who uses another, identical time machine to travel across centuries kidnapping children and holding them for ransom. Nick and his friends embark on a huge adventure, he in one century with old Gunner and the mysterious Lord Hawke, fighting Blood, and his sister in 1939 outsmarting a Nazi captain and a German SS agent with her new friend, Hobbes.

Nick of Time is an absolute blast. Action-filled and suspenseful, it's an adventure book like no other. I only have two complaints against this book.

We didn't see enough of Billy Blood. He's a great villain and I wish there'd been more scenes with him in them. We only really meet him twice, and he'd be far more effective as a bad guy if he showed up in person more often.

Ted Bell has an odd way of switching suddenly from one person's perspective to another's. One minute you're reading about what Nick is thinking and seeing; then Lord Hawke; then Hobbes, with not so much as a break in paragraph to separate them.

That's it, though. Otherwise it's a fantastic book, great fun and a nice break from what I usually read.

So put down your vampire book and grab a copy of Nick of Time. You might think, "I outgrew the boy-fighting-pirates-and-the-like stories a long time ago". Pfft. Trust me. So did I.

Just read it, OK?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Well, would ya look at that?

It's 2010!


The New Year snuck up on me once again. I didn't fully realize it until the 30th, when I looked at my calendar and thought, "Wait a minute...tomorrow is New Year's Eve!!"
My family celebrated by setting off fireworks in the backyard and watching The Return of the King.

While I'm here, I'll tell you all something new and exciting. My good friend Rosemary has started two blogs, one about paintings and one about poems! Be sure to check out The Daily Painting and A True Word.

So, Happy New Year!! Hope it's a good one. :-)