G8 Summit / Chris at River Project & Studio 42

Kids can learn about the G8 Summit here.


Our fabulous River Project Educator has produced "After" which will be performed at The Scattered Festival - A Week of Works-in-Progress, June 1-6, 2004. Please visit Studio 42 for full details!!!!


Yay! I always wanted this toy, let alone BE it!

You're a Spirograph!! You're pretty tripped out,
even though you've been known to be a bit
boring at times. You manage to serve your
purpose in life while expending hardly any
effort (and are probably stoned to the gills
all the while).

What childhood toy from the 80s are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

"Don't do it!!!!"

So said the bystander on the subway platform as I contemplated retrieving my cell phone from the train tracks at Columbus Circle this morning at 11:50 a.m.

"You know what will happen to you if you do!!!" repeated the same fellow.

The MTA worker who was supposed to come and retrieve it for me never appeared. A and I had to really hustle to make it to the River Project on time...so...

If you hear a little salsa cellphone music playing from the tracks while you wait for your train around 59th Street, please know that I hope you enjoy the musical interlude.


Critical Mass for More Gardens

"This ride and after party is in support of the environment and the community, to save all the community gardens from destruction. The ending party will take place in the South Bronx in three different community gardens - 158th St. and Courtland Ave - that have received their forty-five day eviction notice. The groups and the community are providing music (Luminescent Orchestrii) and food, but please feel free to bring food to share.

Friday May 28th at 7 pm sharp! Meet at Union Square Park North. Ride ends at Sunshine and Courtland community gardens in the South Bronx."

If you don't have a bike, or other wheels, I recommend contacting Recycle-a-Bicycle (link at left), or look up bike/blade rentals in your handy-dandy Verizon Yellow Pages.

jammin' part II

...the "jam session" continued this morning, by A downloading tunes from last night. I allowed him to "do" music instead of our normal routine for a couple of hours - all part of "Music Appreciation." ; )

Today's academic menu included Singapore Math, Latin, Grammar, Writing Strands, Beowulf, French, and Cinema Club. We watched "Bowling for Columbine." Oddly, there was related news on CNN today.

We decided it would be nice to move to India (or Australia or Canada) for a few months. Then A wrote a letter to Michael Moore.

A did his violin practice tonight. Reward: the new Vines CD.


Lucy in the Sky (in Astoria) with Diamonds

...and "Seven Nation Army" and "Scarborough Faire" and "Norwegian Wood" and "Ride" and on and on...yeah, my friend David, a professional musician and very sweet fellah, welcomed me and A to jam with him. He plays guitar, bass, and is especially adept at the drums. There was even a cowbell. Alexander and I begged him to play Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, White Stripes, the Vines, and more. David accomodated all the way. He is too cool, too cool.

As some of you might already know, A is "in a band" but we have yet to actually "purchase the guitar." heh, heh.

David is very literary, as well. He ejects more high-level vocabulary that easily resonates in a conversation than I ever could. I showed off A's Beowulf book with marginated notes. "Oh, are you two studying it in the Old English?"

Erm...no? But we do look at the OE from time to time.

We talked (and salivated) about Emack & Bolio's, and laughed about the "Freedom Fries" sold nearby at the Astoria Pizza Palace. It's true. There really is a medieval outpost in New York. I purposely asked for "French Fries" and "mayonnaise to accompany the fries, please." They had no mayo. David has informed me that theres a Pommes Frites - a real Belgian fries store - on 2nd Avenue and St. Mark's Place in the East Village. They have various flavors of mayonnaise, including mayo a l'ail, curry, and mango chutney. I am so there.

The jam session lasted until 11:30 pm.

Of late, I have been kinder and gentler to my creative, musical side. Before I moved to New York, I belonged to a professional dance troupe. A few weeks ago, while I stood on the Times Square platform waiting for a Shuttle train, simultaneously contemplating my future (i.e., career), a busker played an acoustic version of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." I swear everyone on the platform was singing the chorus. It was then I realized, on that platform, at 11 pm among strangers who were all either singing or humming, that I was okay with that tune. I was okay with the hippie-looking bloke who was singing it. While I have never been a hippie, that gentle world was more my world. No matter what, I would never be a cookie cutter attorney or business person, a cookie cutter parent, or a cookie cutter anything. Me wear pantyhose, sneakers, and a suit? Blech. Never.

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

That is who I am.

Time to take off my flip flops. Goodnight.


Stupidest food ever award

...has to go to Smucker's "Uncrustables Microwaveable Grilled Cheese Sandwich." It has no crust and is filled wtih a "pasteurized process cheese spread" and if you actually microwave it, which the Smucker's folks seem to encourage you to do, the result is as limp as a geriatric man in need of a dose of Levitra. People, people, do you not know that the BEST grilled cheese sandwiches are made with REAL cheese on ridiculously soft bread with a shot of butter on the bread for a crispy exterior and then grilled on a stove? And as one famous actor said, the best is made with "government cheese." Even government cheese is REAL cheese. When, when, when did we make the transition from good cheap soul food to ridiculously bad and costlier soul food? Sigh.

It ranks right up there with "Punk Aerobics."

God Save the Queen (of grilled cheese).

There's still time to enter the MTA Centennial Subway Poetry Contest.


Get your free AMC theater pack. For kids up to age 11.


I could have stayed in bed longer this morning....I wanted to....but the thought of today's lessons was just too exciting!

...Just kidding.

A is still asleep. I think I'll rest a bit longer. Gosh, I really want to see Bombay Dreams.


On the academic menu today:

- Latin
- Wordly Wise
- Grammar
- Writing Strands (while listening to the Beatles. It works.)
- Beowulf (structured reading)
- Science
- Standard Deviants Math video
- Art


- Violin class. Please God let A's teacher finally make the move to teach at Juilliard.


la résistance, part deux (or trois?)

Man, A is resisting my direction more and more. If one particular area of A's studies is an issue, the result is a résistance...like a balloon, fully-inflated yet forcibly squeezed until one very weird part of the balloon wants to explode.

He's better behaved than most of the public school kids in Manhattan that I know, but it's so frustrating when I say, "OK, do this" and it doesn't get done.

I am venting. I know.

A is really, REALLY hating Math right now. "Do workbook Exercise such-and-such," I'll instruct. A glare is what I get in return. I know that Singapore Math can be a pain, but not as much of a pain as other programs. "Should I have gotten Saxon Math? Should I venture into Saxon country now?" I wonder.

I know puberty is a huge part of it. I know this. "I am becoming a man right now. Can't you tell?"

I know you are. But I need you more child-like and malleable, my darling.

I have rented Standard Deviants courtesy of Mentura, to assist Pre-Algebra studies. And I'm ordering Wiggly Woods (or whatever it's called) from Singapore Math as a supplement.

What worries me is the Stanford EPGY program we are now starting. Will he be up to par? Will la résistance ensue to an all-out revolution?


In other news, I am happy about the Palme d'Or awarded to Michael Moore. Yes, he's a nutcase, and I doubt the film is actually Palme d'Or "quality" - but the nine-member judging panel at Cannes (only one being French) made a statement. I agree with it. I don't like censorship.


I am doing the Mango Lassi diet. Something you will not be able to find on Google.


Why does everyone in Manhattan carry a Citarella (the artist/food store formerly known as Ballducci's) plastic shopping bag lately? Including the homeless people? Good lord, give me back Balducci's (currently known as Sutton Place Gourmet. Ech).


and then there's Friday...

We arrived late, after stopping at my life insurance company's office to "fix" something in my policy. So late was our arrival to A's marine sci internship, that we literally missed the boat. The boat to examine oyster traps, that is.

So, the head intern asked A, "Could you measure this tubful of oysters and log them?" "Erm...sure," replied A. He sat down and got to work.



In the meantime, Catherine has been missing in action. I called her; no response. I hope she's O.K.

There is a French summer camp in our area run by some folks who give CNED prep (French education exam preparation for kids outside of France). They promised me that there are teenagers in their camp; with A's staggering growth, it's an issue. We will probably enroll in that camp.


A is really fascinated with the whole Cashflow 101 game. We are thinking about getting the e-game, only I am hoping it looks NOTHING like the characters at www.richkidsmartkid.com.


A and I watched "Robinson Crusoe" starring Pierce Brosnan last night. Alexander looooooved Friday. Loooved him. Pierce Brosnan did a terrible job in the film, though (considering his 007 status - he doesn't do well with the teary-eyed moments). Story was still o.k.


Got an e-mail from the gym saleswoman downtown. I am considering switching gyms and writing it off as a business expense. "Call me, OK? Can't wait to see you!" Yeah, honey, I know you want my bucks.


Would you like a shot of Garfunkel with your coffee?

I stopped into a Starbucks near Times Square today to get my usual Tall Raspberry Mocha. As soon as I sat down, Paul Simon walked in. He got his coffee, filled it up with some sweetener at the sweetener counter, walked out and stepped into a Mercedes with a NY plate.

Being a New Yorker, I tried very hard not to pay too much attention to the above.

finances again

A friend loaned me and Alexander "Cashflow 101." Alexander finished the game demanding that I buy him shares in a company. Now.

Robert Kiyosaki, the creator of the game, is very pro-homeschool, even though he was not himself homeschooled.


Troy - the movie

We saw it last night.

Response from the audience first 10 seconds after movie finished: Applause.

Response from collegiate girls sitting to our right after movie finished: "Inspired by Homer's Iliad? Yeah right! That was soooo not the Iliad!!! Hah hah hah!"

Response from A on exiting theater: "Erm...Paris didn't do that at the end. And Agamemnon doesn't die in Troy. And Petroklus wasn't Achilles' cousin. And Hektor didn't die like that, either."

Response from Maitresse on exiting theater: "Why didn't they show that Helen had a son in Sparta? Would have made the tragedy more tragic."

Response from moviegoers outside theater: [father to son] "...and Priam's end is not portrayed in the Iliad like that in the movie." [son] "Who is Priam?" [father] "ah...forget it."

Response from girl moviegoers outside theater: "Orlando was sooooooo hot!!!! Oh my god!"

Yeah, Brad wasn't too bad either, I might add.


ah, the easy life...

Alexander only had marine bio research today, but things got a bit frantic there. It turns out a (gasp!) school toured the facility, and Alexander had to make sure all the specimens were properly labeled (there were no labels on ANY of the specimens! Totally the lab director's fault, but A did well in picking up the pieces). He had no time to write his research paper, either. A total "hands on" day.

He is currently sleeping in a tent in a yard with his buddy.

Not possible in Manhattan, my bloggy readers, I know. I'll divulge the location a while after I've posted this.


and now, for something different...

...some wit from the Hamptons. Excerpt from "The Sheltered Islander" in Dan's Papers, May 7 (Mother's Day) edition:

"I expect to be given beautiful cards on Mother's Day, filled with dripping sentiments that remind me why I am not a priority in my own life. I expect to receive touching and meaningful gifts that I can treasure for years to come. I expect to be pampered all day. I expect lobsters, alive and kicking, to appear in a pot near me. I expect my lobsters to be served to me by Russell Crowe, wearing nothing but a koala. I expect that Russell will have stuffed emerald and diamond jewelry in my lobster. I expect to be stuffed that evening with the stuff dreams are made of. I also expect I'll wake up before anything really good happens in my dream..."

Russell Crowe dressed in a koala.

Thank you so much for that.


Beowulf post-lesson 1


- Read the next paragraph (for us, in Seamus Heaney's edition, that would be on page 5, lines 26-52).
- Underline any words not already familiar (we have underlined "revered," "ring-whorled prow," "furbished," "bewailing," and "battle tackle").
- Explain what is happening in the paragraph so that you understand it and can explain it to someone else.

Next day:

We read the passage, and A explains to me what is happening in the narrative based on his work the day/night before. I further explain what background information I have for the particular passage, or for wherever we are in the poem, and we discuss the importance of the passage in the overall story (what is the poet trying to do here?).

It's an "agony/ecstasy" way to learn. A bit tedious to do, but enjoyability level is high.


In other news, your Maitresse has reverted to her former almost-Nigella Lawson status, and is busy in the kitchen again. Today I discovered the sublime simplicity of mixing garbanzo beans, artichoke hearts (chopped), grape tomatoes (halved), fresh basil, scallions, dried tomatoes (sliced), fresh pepper and some sea salt with a home-made Dijon vinaigrette, topped with shaved parmesan (the size of pieces of paper). Anybody for salad?

I am otherwise still pestering the Big Sweet East Indian Guy at Cafe Spice at Grand Central for his mango lassi recipe. Stay tuned.


yesterday and today

This is what we did yesterday:

What Every 6th Grader Should Know - Grammar, pp 61 - 62.
Writing Strands pp 20-21 (Day One).
Logic - Case of Red Herrings Book A2 pp 1-2. (please note we're "over" Wilson's Logic and Red Herrings A1)
History Outline - Kingfisher History -
Violin studies (violin teacher named A his most promising student. blush, blush).


Standard Deviants - Rings, Kings & Things (video)
Introduction to Beowulf - Beowulf translation by Seamus Heaney - pp ix-xxx.
Singapore Science
Singapore Math
Wordly Wise Lesson Test 15
Writing Strands (Day Two, etc. as homework).

We've jumped to Beowulf because Alexander alrady read the Trojan War and the Iliad. Twice. We will continue Iliad commentary while exploring Beowulf.


Breakfast of Mommy Champions

Cuban coffee and Sponge Bob Squarepants Pop Tarts! I'm in heaven!

Happy Mother's Day, y'all!


Catherine has been so ill this week that she forgot to cancel A's French tutorial.

"Ayam sooo sorry! [cough, cough] Ay shood av culled yeu!!!" No, Catherine, it's ok. I was just calling to make sure you were ok. Please drink some hot tea with honey and Calvados and don't worry about taking your time to resume the lessons, OK?

Today A is quite ill, and seems to have a fever tonight.

Catherine is sick; A is sick. Coincidence? Mais, non! Eetsa bug! Anay av eet, too!



A scored 100% on his latest Wordly Wise Test. We are now on Lesson Tests 15 & 16.

Finishing up Singapore Science 6A. Man, we're slow. It'll take us another 2 months or so to finish Singapore Science 6B. I'm guessing we'll start 7A over the summer. Pourquoi pas?

Bummer about our summer trip. We did not raise enough funds for the Australia trip, however, we're putting the funds in escrow for next year. It's all good.


"All things being equal...

...always choose a woman over a man.

Women have more to prove than men, and they'll work much harder proving it. They work differently from men, their style is more collaborative, and they know how to read between the lines. Women are pragmatic, much more likely than men to tell the truth, and they're definitely more fun to work with. Besides, choosing a woman puts you on the cutting edge, since women are taking over anyway." - Barbara Corcoran, in If You Don't Have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons On Your Pigtails

I could not agree more.

And don't forget, it was the women's team on The Apprentice that kept beating the guys (even with some of the annoying women team members still on the team). It was only when their collaboration was broken up that women actually lost on that show.


A's latest Writing Strands entry:

"Half-Kitten, Half-Duckling"

The kitten saw the duckling eat corn. It went over to try and eat some, too. Once it took a small morsel of corn in its mouth, it knew it hated anything vegetarian. A few weeks later, it realized that to become a duckling, it had to get used to vegetarian foods.

Later one morning, the ducklings swam in the pond. The kitten went over to swim in the pond with the ducklings. Before it could actually purposely "touch" the water, it fell in the pond. The kitten nearly drowned. A while later, it was trying to swim in the water, it found a rock underwater that it could push off from. When the kitten saw the other ducklings follow their mother, it quickly followed.

That's when it had an urge. An urge to kill. It wanted to eat the ducklings! It fought back the urge though, telling itself "ducks are not cannibals"! When the ducklings saw the kitten chase a mouse, they ignored what happened. Why? Because even though they thought of the kitten as one of their own, they knew it was different.

They knew a duckling can't have fur - only feathers.
They knew a duckling didn't have paws - but wings and webbed feet.
They knew that this kitten wasn't part fo the duck family, but the ducklings would have to get used to him.


Alexander has protested about/asked me why I posted the above Barbara Corcoran quote. "If all things are equal, then everybody is equal."

OK, ok...you win, Alexander.


sick, behind

A is ill today. So his academic load is lighter.

(heh, heh)

I am otherwise typing up tests for Wordly Wise Word Lists 14, 15, and 16. Yes, we're behind. It's O.K. A has been studying from the word lists for four weeks now. Hopefully, he'll ace them.

And we have only four more word lists to go for the year! Woo-hoo!

...and I have no idea why "Complete Web Divorce" keeps popping up on the ad banner on my blog.


morning inbox

This is what I found in the Maitresse e-mail inbox this morning. That is, the "AClassicalSchool" inbox:






Plus Many More at super low prices!

Hrmm....Assuming they actually know to whom they have sent this e-mail spam, are they trying to tell me something? I am guessing these folks waste their advertising time (and maybe dollars) on a totally wrong demographic, time and time again.


British, but good

This site with lessons is somehow affiliated with The Guardian. Who cares. The information is invaluable.

Remember that not just the "or" and "ize" words are spelled differently in Britain...

barnes and noble educators' discount

Barnes and Noble is offering a 25% discount to educators this week in New York. I am hoping the discount is a nationwide one, too. What B&N requires to prove you are an educator (I've been told by a B & N staffer) to get their "educator discount card"- is a letter from your Board of Education liaison stating that you are homeschooling, or some other "official proof" that you are a homeschooling educator.