Friday, January 16, 2009

This Week in SmallWorld

The bad thing about vacation is that it is so difficult to return to normal life. Not that my normal life is difficult, but getting back into the swing of things just takes effort. The younger two kids and I left Sunday afternoon for Pigeon Forge for the fabulous annual Wilderness Wildlife Week there. We'd been invited by a friend to spend a few days there with her and her kids in their time-share condo. How could I resist? The views were spectacular, as was the company (and the hot tub).

I wanted to get there Sunday afternoon to hear journalist Fred Brown talk about his book, The Serpent Handlers. I read and reviewed this fascinating book on my SmallReads blog last summer, so I was thrilled to get to hear Mr. Brown talk in more detail about his experiences with snake-handling churches. Weird stuff.

We spent the next two days alternating between swimming at the pool and attending workshops. Someday I'd love to attend all the "grown-up" workshops like "Appalachian People & their Herbs" and "The Art of Dowsing: Do You have the Gift?" and go for a hike or two, but for now we just focused on the "Kids Track" workshops:
* Wild Ones Among Us
* Hug-A-Tree and Survive for Kids
* Wild World of Animals
* Learn About Bears through Activities for Kids (their favorite workshop by far)
* Hidden Treasures from around the World and Beyond: Gems, Minerals and Florescent Rocks

They got a good dose of wildlife and wilderness in this week, for sure! While we were in Pigeon Forge, Jesse was invited to go to Nashville with a friend and see the Broadway on Nashville production of The Wizard of Oz. Poor Dr. H. was quite lonely. Well, except for the night when some guys came over and greatly entertained him by playing Guitar Hero.

And so now we are back, trying to remember all the things that go into our daily lives. We have been reading about slavery these past couple of months (with a break in December for more light-hearted reading). This week we finished both Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman and If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad. I've got another stack of books about slavery to tackle before we move onto the Civil War. I've been contemplating renting the Roots miniseries, but I can't remember if it's appropriate for the kids at 8 and 11. I remember watching it when I was about Laurel's age, but I watched a lot of things I should have (remember my post about Let's Scare Jessica to Death?) so perhaps that's not the best guideline. Anyone?

Jesse started his class at the local community college yesterday. He's actually taking English 1010, the basic composition class, which is kind of weird for me. I feel rather territorial about teaching writing and grammar to my children, but I also recognize that having him write for someone else will be an excellent experience. Well, that and he gets college credit.

And that about sums things up. It's cold here, but our house is warm and toasty. We have plenty of food and blankets and a good gas furnace. We have hot tea and fuzzy slippers and each other. And, of course, we have memories of five winters spent in Iowa, where today's 20 degrees in Tennessee is a balmy day.


  1. WOW-lots of news with you & your family. Glad you had such a great time! Holly

  2. And on the issue of slavery don't forget to see, if you haven't, the video Amazing Grace, put out a couple of years ago about William Wilberforce in England. An excellent, and true, story about slavery, Wilberforce, and John Newton, over in England. They obviously avoided a civil (bad-word) war over the issue. Well, actually the War of Northern Aggression was not about Slavery but Lincoln (that Clintonesque political opportunist with his Red Cabinet [see the book Red Republicans for reference]) turned it into such after about 3 years into the war.

  3. I watched the Roots series when I was a kid, but I don't think I would show it to Clayton (age 10). We started to watch Amazing Grace and he became so distraught over how they were treating the people, that we had to turn it off. So, I guess it would depend on how sensitive Duncan and Laurel are to those types of issues.


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