Friday, October 28, 2016

Lifestyle of Learning 2016 Edition: Volume Twenty-Three

October 16-28

Bishop has spent some time recuperating from his grand international journey and is ready to get back to something resembling a routine.  He returned to scouts in time to help do some shopping for a service project.  The church that holds the charter for Bishop's scout troop has a goal to donate 500 shoeboxes to Operation Christmas Child.  The troop is hoping to contribute 50 or more shoeboxes to that effort.  So, off they went to do some shopping for gifts for those boxes.
And they did a great job.  The following week (no pictures included) they packed 48 boxes.  They still have a couple more weeks to get some completed.  I hope they meet their goal!
Bishop also returned to science group.  He had missed the lessons on the sun and Mercury but returned in time to make a paper model of NASA's spacecraft that studied Mercury, MESSENGER.

Maceo continued with vocal lessons, preprofessional vocal production, preprofessional acting, Teen players and Youth Performance Troupe.
The latter two groups performed at a community event in a neighboring town.

It was a beautiful day for a harvest festival and an amazing performance.

Bishop got to experience the amazing weather while camping with his fellow scouts.
It was a survival themed campout that involved them building shelters rather then using their tents.

I have no words for this :)

Although Bishop missed studying the sun and Mercury with his science group he did study Venus.
The group very specifically looked at the very thick atmosphere of Venus and its implications.  We defined atmosphere and examined some of its attributes - it takes up space and it has weight, etc.  We did some experiments/demonstrations regarding these notions.  I don't have photos of everything (shucks) because I was busy directing the activities.  We examined the idea of atmospheric pressure; which apparently requires a lot of dancing while studying as is evidenced by the photos below.

After getting a basic understanding of atmospheric pressure we compared the pressure of Earth's atmosphere (14.7 lbs psi = 1 bar) to that of Venus's atmosphere (90 bars which would be 1323 psi).
We will look at other implications of that thick atmosphere next week.

Bishop began his internship with our friend in the catering business.  They are designing and making drip cakes.  The cakes have been baked and Bishop says he has never used so much sugar at one time.  They have also concluded that Bishop's baklava will be offered to her customers for the holidays.
In addition to all of the other performance-related activities that he participated in Maceo auditioned for A Raisin in the Sun, has been working on a scene from The Glass Menagerie, has been reading plays in order to select monologues and has been studying Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven.  He has also been shadowing the director of A Christmas Story.  He is constantly researching - researching improvisation and clowning schools, comedies and comedy writing, and starting his own improv troupe.
Also we have covered two more chapters of our constitutional literacy accompanied with discussion for a total of 4 hours and we have had hours upon hours of discussion on political and social issues.

Bishop logged four hours of pottery instruction.  He has been working with raku clay and will likely do another raku firing next month.

Learning something new...

Isn't he handsome?
Listening intently.

See, learning something new!

And the learning continues to this very moment.  Maceo is presently viewing a production of The Mountaintop which is a re-imagination of events the night before the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.  "On April 3, 1968, after delivering on of his most memorable speeches, an exhausted Dr. King retires to his room at the Lorraine Motel while a storm rages outside.  When a mysterious stranger arrives with some surprising news, King is forced to confront his destiny and his legacy to his people."  Bishop has opened his new and final (at least for right now) box from Try the World, it is from Morocco, and is presently playing Fallout.  I am updating this blog while watching Stephen King's "It" (for the first time despite being a huge King fan back in the day) and during commercials I am cleaning and preparing for a Halloween party we will be attending tomorrow.

It's a good life!

Friday, October 21, 2016

A Halloween Checklist

Halloween is just a tad over a week away.  Thanksgiving will follow soon after.
And I feel totally unprepared and uninspired.
I am a little overwhelmed with life at the moment.  There are so many things going on - transitions to anticipate and navigate.  I think my efforts to keep my anxiety to a minimum has resulted in a dampening of other emotions and has left me uninspired and lacking in creativity.  I am going to set some goals right here, right now in an effort to fire up my imagination and enthusiasm.

1).  Make caramel apples
2).  Light the Autumn candles
3).  Make pumpkin bread
4).  Make caramel corn
5).  Watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!
6).  Light the fireplace
7).  We have been invited to a friends Halloween gathering and I will need to bring some treats.  I think I will make these Eyeball Pinwheels and these ghost pretzel rods or this Halloween zombie chex mix or Boo Bark.
8).  Maceo will perform at an event at the theatre - Gargoyles and Ghouls.  This will be on Halloween so that should be a good time!!!
9).  I am behind on my housecleaning but hopefully Halloween (then Thanksgiving) fun will give me incentive to get caught up.  If so, I will pull out the decorations.  I have some cool ideas pinned on my Halloween pinterest board that I would love to use, maybe redo my mantle.  And, of course, I will have to set a fun Halloween table.
10).  Halloween lunch will, of course, include Papa Murphy's jack-o-lantern pizza.  Tradition does dictate it.  But, let's see, what to serve with it?  For the vegetables I will either cut carrot slices that are shaped like pumpkins ( or I will make these adorable veggie jack-o-lanterns.  We will likely make the ghostly chocolate covered strawberries that we made a couple of years ago and dessert will consist of these these equally ghostly brownies and/ or these ghostly pretzel rods.
11).  After the theatre gig will be Monday night football; Bishop's favorite team will be playing.  So, I will most definitely have to get out my football-shaped light-up jack-o-lantern and I will have to prepare some Halloweeny game time foods for dinner.  I think I will do some sort of warm sandwich - totally undecided!  The side dishes will likely include the Spooky Spider Deviled Eggs, the Graveyard Taco Dip and the guacamole vomiting jack-o-lantern.  There should be plenty of sweet treats left over from festivities to utilize this evening.
In order to make all the Halloween day food a reality I will have to be very organized as I do have a doctor's appointment in the morning and Maceo will have a vocal lesson in the afternoon.  Hmmm... I might be able to get jack-o-lantern shaped donuts from Kristpy Kreme after I have completed my doctors appointment.  That would be yummy!
12).  Carve jack-o-lanterns.
13).  Drink apple cider.

I think this list will suffice for now.  I can already feel a small spark of enthusiasm within.  Hopefully, I will make good progress over the next week and will then be ready to dream a little about Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Fall Festivities aka Learning All the Time

A beautiful Autumn day and a small town heritage festival make for a perfect day.

I love the feel of small towns, especially those that attempt to preserve and celebrate their history.
For God and Country

Black Walnut season

An Autumn rose

Ash Grove's Back Roads to Main Street festival had old motors...

...hillbillies making music... for the kids...

... kettle corn...
...old time charm...
... cars...


...and more charm!!!

Those things are common at most small town festivals but what is less common is that the festival would be visited by Ma Barker and her son, Herman, Bonnie and Clyde, Pretty Boy Floyd and Eddie and that there would be a gun fight on Main Street.
This festival hired actors to reenact pieces of the town's history.
Here the actors, including Maceo, are being briefed by a festival organizer, being given their assignments.
Two of our actors got to engage in a gun fight.
In the late 1800's a lawyer and a farmer had a gun fight on Main Street after a dispute over a horse.

The lawyer lost.

This rough and tumble crowd was cheering on that gun fight while awaiting their own opportunities to cause a little trouble.

Ma Barker and son Herman (which was Maceo's assignment) are heading off to see what trouble they can get in to.

Don't they look like they're up to no good?

And, sure enough they were or at least that is what was alleged.  This vendor accused Herman of some thievin'.

The sheriff was called in.

Of course, Ma defended her son and Herman vehemently denied the allegations.

And, just maybe Herman got away with something - does it look like he is gloating?

Then we had a little fun taking a family portrait

and some individual shots.

Then Pretty Boy Floyd jumped in for a few shots.  I sure hope he didn't have any thoughts of making a move on Ma Barker as she was known to be cantankerous and even killed her second husband.

Even Bonnie and Clyde decided to get in to the photog action.
It was so cool to see them interact with people.  This young man was particularly engaging.  He seemed to know quite some bit about these folks.
He said he had googled them but they had no clue what he was talking about.  I mean, hey, there was no google in the '30's.

Right to the very end Ma and Herman had to defend themselves against allegations of thievin'.

What a wonderful day.  We got to enjoy a crisp but sunny Autumn day while enjoying festival fun and making some new friends.  Additionally, this is a great example of the lifestyle of learning.  There was so much to soak up.  We took in some information that we don't exactly have anything to connect it to ...YET (i.e. the Maytag motors and the motor rigged to saw a log).  We also received information that allowed us to make connections.  Of course, we had heard of the infamous characters of the 1930's but we didn't know that they were connected to Missouri.  We learned that Ma Barker was born in Ash Grove Missouri and that a bank was robbed in Ash Grove in 1933 that some say was done by Bonnie and Clyde and others say was done by Pretty Boy Floyd and Eddie.  Historians have confirmed the both pairs were in the area at the time of the robbery so it legitimately could be either one.  Maceo had to learn some of this history in order to play his character then it was reinforced throughout the day as he interacted with the other actors and the crowd.  And, of course, he logged more acting hours and managed to do some professional networking.
It was a truly successful day!!!!