Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Rob in Italy

So after San Diego, Rob traveled to Pordenone, Italy (about 45 minutes north of Venice) for a silent film festival which sounds better as the Festival of Cinema Muto. It's held annually, and if you want to know why silent films need a film festival, I can't help you. Rob says its to reintroduce films which have been newly digitized or re-released. They had two theatres going 18 hours a day with live music for every show. He said it was also an odd and eclectic crowd: many people who talked loudly on their cell phones throughout movies (thinking, I guess that they weren't interfering with the dialogue?). He saw some great movies and some weird ones (particularly the Weimar-era movies that he came to see) and bought a few.
Rob was there with two of his friends, I mean colleagues, from BYU, who do film in the French and Scandinavian departments. As a favor to an Italian colleague, they took a day trip to see this rotunda by Palladio from the 16th century. Rob now has a thing for Palladio.
As a favor to no one but themselves, they took a trip up to hike in the Dolomites. Here are Darryl, Ann, and Chip taking a break from the rigors of watching films.
And to round it out, they rode down to Venice and took pictures and bought gifts for their poor left-behind wives. Maddie and I got scarves and I got a lot of glass jewelry that looks good enough to lick. Rob opted not to take a gondola ride, since last time he did that the gondolier talked him into singing a solo for a discount and then rowed him past a cafe packed full of people.
Every time I talked to Rob he told me what he'd been eating. "I had a grilled eggplant pizza!" "I had creme brulee gelato!" "I had prosciutto and cantalope!" Well, back here we had Grandpa's 7-lb ham boiled in Coke. Top that, Italia!

San Diego

This year I went with Rob to the German Studies Association conference in San Diego. We stayed at a strange 60's hotel that was humungous, with four pools and five restaurants and lots of elderly types who wore visors and sunglasses and sweatshirts encrusted with carbuncles and other precious stones. We rented a wee little car. We ate seafood, mexican, thai, and room service. We visited Old Town, the Hillcrest neighborhood, the Gaslamp District, Balboa Park, and Coronado Island. Rob presented his paper and saw lots of people from his program in Berkeley, other conferences, and People in German. It is the place to be if you do German. I got to go as a consolation prize, because Rob took off strait from San Diego to go to Italy.

FHE: Armor of God

Maddie taught us a lesson on putting on the armor of God. As she read the scriptures, we put the armor on Sebi. He was so entranced by all the attention that he wanted to wear the tin foil every day for the next week. Then he decided that he wanted to be a knight for Halloween. Who knew that aluminum foil would make the evening for the kids?

First Day of School

So I know that I'm almost in November, but I still need to celebrate the first day of school. It was a long, hard summer, and I'd looked forward to this day for the whole of it. Maddie entered fourth grade, Will started second, and Sebi goes to a preschool in the neighborhood. It's a good year so far. I feel like Maddie's teacher really understands her strengths and is good at giving feedback. With projects and field trips, it also feels like 'real' school to me (as opposed to the last two years where there has been NOTHING).
Will's teacher is a tough cookie and she assigns a lot of homework. It is hard on Will, but he's risen to the occasion. He's one of the best readers, and he has honed his spelling skills beautifully (he was crushed this week because he missed one word; Rob said "That's great, Will!" but there is no convincing a perfectionist). He still loathes writing, and I need to put him on some math facts circuit training -- I have a feeling he'd do a lot better in math with a little more confidence.
Sebastian loves preschool. He's loves the teacher, his best friend, the toys, the snacks, the whole shabang. And I hear that he has two admirers in the class too. I wasn't expecting to deal with this quite so young. He seems oblivious, but Susannah and Caitlyn talk about him quite a lot and always want to sit by him at school. OK with Sebi so long as he can sit with Tomas.

Violin

This summer the kids also started taking violin from a neighbor around the corner. I had never really thought about putting them on strings, but we have no piano, the neighbor told me she wanted to get back into lessons, and my kids were excited. This is a picture of their first performance at an assisted care center near our home.
It has been a really good experience. Margaret is wonderful with the kids. They've learned a ton. My ability to withstand ugly noises has increased threefold. And after watching many painful soccer games at the park near our house, it is so lovely to see them start something which goes with the grain of their talents instead of against it. They've just finished their Book One in a program called Rainbow Tones.
I love to watch them play. Maddie looks like a violin player. And Will is so expressive about the music. He really emotes into the instrument. And he looks like a wizened old wood gnome when he plays.

Rock Climbing

Will had such a good time at rock climbing camp that Maddie wanted to try it too -- they both got to return after her birthday, and with friends Ethan and Abigail. The instructors were very authentic rock climbing types, which meant that they were not into pushing the kids much.
After watching both kids climb up about 12 feet and then peter out and come down, I put Abigail in charge of counting how many times they reached the top of a course. I bribed them with a dollar each time they hit the top, and that was enough encouragement to get them to work at it a little harder. After four hours, they came home wiped out. I wish that they were still sleeping that well!

Maddie's Camp Sew Fun

In August, Maddie spent three days at a sewing shop downtown with three friends, and they made quilt tops in this design. It was a great project with no pinning or patterns, just lots of sewing. Or as Maddie learned, lots of seam ripping. Nevertheless, she got the quilt top done in three days (and don't ask us if it's done yet -- we'll tell you if it ever gets done . . .)!