Friday, September 23, 2011

First of Autumn

Happy first day of fall, my dears! 

Early this morning everything was covered in thick fog - I could only see to the street corner.  It made a fittingly cozy and cup-of-hot-tea worthy atmosphere...  

Well, I can think of very little to say about autumn that I didn't say in my September post.  I'm not waxing poetical this morning.... I was going to find a lovely little poem about fall and stick it here.  But after searching for half an hour, my very particular self couldn't find anything good enough.  My readers deserve the best, so, like Kate in The Taming of the Shrew, they don't get anything if I can't find the best. :p

I shall conclude this post by finishing my dump of autumn paintings upon you and bestowing an Enya song upon your ears which just happens to have the same title as this post.  

The above painting reminds me of my former home in Virginia.  *sniff*  It was so  breathtakingly beautiful there between now and late October... you couldn't see the road at all, it was so covered in leaves.  I miss it, a lot.  

Okay... have a lovely day/night whatever it is where you are!  And tell me: what do you love best about autumn?  Is there a poem that you know of which describes the season perfectly?

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I've been homeschooled my entire life.  I have never set foot in a public school, and, truth to be told, when I see them I shudder.  They look like gaudily-painted prisons.

When I was stubborn or uncooperative about my schoolwork, my mom used to threaten to send me to public school.  Luckily for me, I have only one year of school left, so I think I'm fairly safe.

My mom has many reasons for homeschooling me, and I have many reasons to appreciate it!

First, there is the matter of religion.  Of course I want to preserve my faith, and I feel that I can do that much better at home.  I have significantly less temptations, and very little peer pressure.  I study out of predominately Catholic books, and since my parents and I are in control of what I learn, I get to explore alternative views of things like history and science.  Instead of being taught evolution, I was presented with the hypothesis and the refutations of it and allowed to draw my own conclusions.  (Obviously my book - Exploring Creation With Biology - is against evolution, but it was not dogmatic about it.  That book is really good.  My biology-major dad loved it.)
I mentioned peer pressure.  Obviously that has a large bearing on religion as well - being homeschooled, it's easier for me to choose who I want to be around, and of course I choose people who are like me.  My friends don't put pressure on me to wear tight jeans or dye my hair pink or act impurely or anything like that, because they themselves would never do those things.  I'm not saying that I refuse to be friends with somebody who doesn't share my views, but as it stands now, most of my friends do.

Another reason I like being homeschooled is that I feel that I'm getting a better education this way.  I'm not trying to brag, but there are statistics showing that homeschooled children do consistently better on tests like the ACT.  (If you don't believe me, look it up.  You can start here.)  Really, I'm not trying to be a snoot.  I'm only sharing my personal experience (and the test results).  I know that there are public-schooled people who are eons ahead of people like me in intelligence.  Only....I haven't met too many of them. 

Homeschooling, if done right, increases one's self-discipline.  This is very important, because in today's world, self-discipline is the last thing on most people's minds.  It's all about gratifying ME, and instantly, too.  We can't restrain ourselves - we're not taught to!  And so we're morally weak - lots of times, physically weak as well.  With homeschooling, most of the time you have to do it yourself.   You're not herded from class to class, your mom isn't going to walk you through every lesson and every subject, and it's oh-so-easy to stop taking that Religion test and start blog-hopping instead....
Now, I am by no means perfect in this.  Far from it.  I've struggled many times (including now) to keep up with everything.  I may be way ahead in some subjects, but I'm still doing a couple subjects from last year, too.  But nevertheless, I'm working on it, and learning from all my responsibility.  I'm very much involved in my schoolwork.  I feel like this way I'll be much better prepared for the responsibility of an adult than if I were public-schooled, being spoon-fed my information and having everything tidily taught to me.

I know that one of the most common objections to homeschooling is that homeschoolers are "anti-social".  You hear it all the time: "Homeschoolers have no social life!  Those parents are depriving their children of normal interaction and therefore forcing them to become shy, socially-unskilled recluses!" *insert glare of righteous horror at homeschooling parents*

I could go on and on and on about this.  As a matter of fact, there was much more that I wanted to cover in this post - but I'm kind of running out of steam now.  Perhaps I'll do a "Part II" sometime, if I remember what else I wanted to say.  Anyway, this post is getting rather long and seeming to get more confused the longer I go, so I shall end presently. 

If you have any questions about homeschooling, comment and ask me!  I'll be happy to answer them - perhaps with another post.  Homeschooling is rather misunderstood, on the whole, and I'd be glad to help clear up the confusion.

What do you think of homeschooling?  I'd love to hear your opinion.

Picture not mine - unfortunately I don't remember where it came from.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Song Saturday

I think last Saturday was Song Saturday, but I was away, so I'm doing it today.

I couldn't make a descision...It's bit hard without knowing what kind of music y'all would I'm putting two songs here.

First is the Lay of Nimrodel from The Two Towers, performed by a group that seems to be called Broceliande.  While not exactly the way I imagined the lay of Nimrodel being sung, it's very pretty, and the pictures add to the effect. 

 Next is Love Story Meets Viva la Vida by Jon Schmidt.  (I believe that's his name, anyway...) I don't particularly care for the second part (Viva la Vida), but the first part (Love Story) is just so pretty.  I like Taylor Swift way better in piano.  :) 

May I introduce... friend Emily's new blog, Meaningful Words!  Go follow her, my faithful minions. :p  Her last post is a really good story that she wrote - you'll enjoy it.

On Power Outages

This is a bit late, but I figured I'd write it anyway.

When hurricane Irene hit the East Coast, we were directly in it's path.  We had no high winds and very little flooding, but our power was out for a day and a half.

I loved it.

There's something about having no electrical power.  It's amazingly freeing!  We couldn't use the computer, the phone, the microwave, the stove, the lights....everything had to be done the old-fashioned way.  (Thank God, our water didn't go out.  That would not have been fun, because seven children use a lot of water.)

Me being me, I had to have something modern, so I took a bunch of random pictures.

My little siblings painted most of the day.  The table was covered  in paint sets and soggy papers.

I took pictures of the bouquet my dad had given my mom a few days before...

...but then I got bored and took pictures of the rug.

It stopped raining around lunchtime, so my mom, my sister Elisabeth and I ventured outside to see if there was any damage.  There was one downed tree, but otherwise everything was okay.

Left - right:  the downed tree, a large puddle, and a tree branch practically suspended in mid-air.  My mom got a kick outta that one! :)

When dusk fell, we went for a walk.  We wanted to save our candles, in case we needed them for a long time.  Everything was very peaceful, and the only lights were the solar lanterns that some families had in their yard.  You could see the candles moving from room to room inside of the houses.
As we came back, the stars came out.  The streetlights weren't there to block them out, so they twinkled down strong and bright.   (I did try to take a picture, but my camera refuses to capture stars.)

When we went inside, we shone flashlights in each other's faces until the candles were lit.
We lit these before we decided to take a walk.  That's why it's light outside.

I love candles.  I always have!  When I was a little girl, I went to Williamsburg with my parents and my uncle.  He told me that he'd buy me anything I wanted.

I got candles.   I came home with an armful of them, and I had them for years.

Anyway.  We made some lame attempts at storytelling before my mom rescued us by reading a real story.  My brother shone a flashlight for her, because the youngest, Louis, kept trying to grab the candle.

Finally, we went to bed.  Now, this is going to sound weird...but brushing your teeth by candlelight is super awesome.  Seriously!  It was so much fun.

My sister freaked out because it was "so dark!" and had to sleep on my bedroom floor, but I was in such a good mood from the candlelight that I didn't mind.

The next day, the power came back on around noon.  (Of course it would have to wait until after I had cooked lunch on the grill...)  Pretty much everybody was disappointed.  I guess a lot of it could have just been in my head, but it seemed like all the peace vanished instantly when the power came back.

That was the longest I've ever gone without power, and I think it taught me a lot.  It taught me that electricity is not all that important (as long as you have water), and that we rely on it too heavily.  It taught me that life is more fun when you have to rely a bit on yourself and nature.  On the practical side, this particular outage showed us what we done right and what we were lacking in terms of emergency preparedness.  (Some of the things we learned were that we should stock up on batteries, buy more dehydrated meals instead of just basic foods, and, most importantly, that propane stoves should be operated outdoors.)

If we have another outage now, we won't freak out.  And I shall light many candles and enjoy their lovely glow.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fading Bookstores

Tea at Trianon has a post (linked from a Times post, but I like Mrs. Vidal way better than Times, so that's the link you get) on the disappearance of the bookstore from modern America.  I was thinking about posting on this subject myself, but it's a good article, and better-written than my attempt would be.

Oh, and if unlike me you can drive and you actually have some money, please visit the bookstores!  I know that even if my twelve followers militantly supported bookstores it wouldn't do much, but at least you get to enjoy them before they disappear.

That is one of the saddest sights I've ever seen.

Nativity of Mary

Today is the feast of the Nativity of Mary!  

We have a story connected to this feast, in my family.  When my mother was pregnant with my now-eight-year-old brother, Bernard, she was told that his due date was September 7th.  My mom told Our Lady that if Bernard was born on the feast of Mary's Nativity, she (my mom) would take it as a sort of "sign" that he might be a priest one day.  (We're always hoping that one day we'll have priests and nuns in our family.)  

Well, Bernard wasn't born on Our Lady's feast day.  He was born on the sixth of September - a ferial (saintless) day.  Talk about irony! 

Anway...  Today marks one of only three birthdays celebrated by the Church.  The other two are Our's Lord's (of course), and St. John the Baptist's.  

If you'd like to honor Mary's birthday, here are a few ideas:

  • Pray the Litany of Loretto
  • If you like to bake, make a birthday cake for Our Lady!  (Please don't try to put two thousand-something candles on it.)
  • Recite the Rosary, or if you already say a daily Rosary, say an extra one!  (Which reminds me that I need to say mine...practice what you preach, Victoria!)
  • Make the Consecration to Our Lady, in honor of Mary's consecration to the Temple.

(Poster made by me)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Follower Philosophy

A couple nights ago I was lying awake, as usual, and thinking bloggy thoughts - as usual.  I do significantly more thinking than doing....
Anyway.  This particular night I was thinking about followers.  If somebody's following me, that probably means that she likes what I post.  If she likes what I post, that means that we share interests.   If we share interests, then that means that we might get along pretty well in real life.  So followers are like friends - friends that I just haven't met.  They also would probably be friends with my other followers.

I really do feel this way, too.  Every time I get a new follower, there are sounds of rejoicing (a.k.a squealing) coming from our living room.  I visit my followers' blogs and excitedly tell my mom everything about them. It usually goes somewhat like this:  (Conversation actually happened, by the way.)

MOM:  Yeah?  Great!
MOM:  Oh, yeah?
MOM: Most people do....

I then proceed to stare at my new follower's picture, browse her blog, and be happy for the next thirty minutes.
(Random thought:  I can't imagine having a guy follow me. :p)

So.  I logged into my well-beloved Picnik, and made a poster thingy for you.

I hope you like it!  Oh, and feel free to use it on your own blog.  Right above the "follow" button.  That's where I'm putting mine...*insert crafty evil genius grin*

And thanks for following.  I wuv you.

{ I promise that I will have a post with actual content up soon...}


I cannot believe that it's September.  I'm so happy it's finally here!  I've been waiting all summer for this...

Picture taken by me, edited with Picnik.

In my mind, once it's September, summer is over.  Fin.  Autumn's coming.  Soon there will be pumpkins and colored leaves and cool days... not to mention that those lovely autumn winds give me the perfect opportunity to wear boots and wool berets!   :)

Even school cannot ruin my happiness - especially since I had to start in the beginning of August.  I'm sorta used to it at this point.

Have a lovely September!
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