November 07, 2005

Weekend Wrapup

Posted by Scott at 09:48 PM

It's been a few days since I've written. Time for some catchup.

Piano - First things first: music. Last month I reviewed what Claire was practicing on the piano. She's had a few new numbers she's been practicing, listed below.

Just a reminder, this isn't Claire playing. It isn't even me playing. It's what I've programmed into the piano for her reference, her "ear training". Don't get me wrong, she is good. But if I tried to record her, the pressure would just make her fumble. I put the songs up just to give you a taste of the songs she's working on. Those first two are repeats from the last time I posted piano music because I've updated them to make them sound a bit better — a little more use of the sustain pedal.

As you can see hear in El Matador and Almost Like a Dream, Claire is starting to learn about arpeggios. For fun I downloaded a decent MIDI file of Coldplay's Clocks and ran it through our piano. It's a recent pop song that is full of piano arpeggios. If you have broadband and a bit of patience, you can hear our piano's rendition of Clocks as a 6 megabyte stereo MP3. It kind of gives you some perspective on how lame my MIDI programming is by comparison, eh?

Weekend - Saturday was just gorgeous outside. Sunny, dry, and ~70° without major winds. Abby and the boys had a great time taking turns letting "Big Wheels" motorcycles coast down the hill in our back yard. It was sort of a prelude to this winter's sledding down the hill. Whenever Timothy went down the hill, he had the biggest grin on his face, like he couldn't believe we would let him live so dangerously! I wish I had brought my camera outside to capture a short video to put online. As it was, I was playing referee to make sure that there weren't any mid-hill collisions.

my watchSunday we got up early and once again braved going to 7AM Mass with all five children. The service was a bit longer because there was a talk on the local SHARE program at the homily. Nevertheless, the twins behaved and I kept Timothy busy by letting him play with my retro watch. After Mass and at the parish's donuts n' fellowship Michelle got several nice compliments about how well behaved the kids were. She also got a nice compliment about how she could possibly have her figure after five kids. It really had her walking on sunshine for a while there. Michelle joked that she keeps that figure because the kids don't give her enough time to eat. She conveniently left out the part about teaching at least two step aerobics classes per week…

MapAround noon we head north to visit our friends, The Nix's, up in Belmont, NH. It's a bit of a drive — a little less than 1 1/2 hours — driving around Milford, past Amherst/Bedford, through Manchester, Concord, past the NASCAR track in Loudon, and finally reaching Belmont.

It's always fun visiting with them, something we do about three or four times a year. They have two daughters who are almost exactly Claire and Abby's ages. Their father, Dave, always has nifty projects he shows me. The biggest one this round was his work on restoring an early 1960's Century Coronado boat. All wood, in board engine, old school, but very cool! Claire brought her restored clarinet and he gave her some tips and showed her what it was capable of. Dave is an accomplished clarinet and saxophone player and gives lessons to folks nearby. We also got to check out their family's new wide screen television. As a demo we watched Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on it. While I always admire large screen TVs, I've never been inspired to buy one. To me a really large television soon becomes "the altar" for a family room. It's kind of like the way Michelle doesn't like homes where the garage sticks way out in front. It's an esthetics thing.

The boys played well there. I was especially impressed with Timothy because he did not nap as we expected on the drive up. As is common, all the kids quickly fell asleep on the commute home. The drive home was very nerve wracking to me. First, NH roads at night don't tend to be well lit. It was foggy in many spots. Near the last ten or so miles, it rained. If you've ever driven in that, you know what I mean. When you're responsible for your spouse and kids as well, it compounds the anxiety. I listened to a little Rush as he spoke with a caller who had returned from Iraq and a little of Rosary Army as they discussed the recent Catholic Youth Convention. Anything to help keep my mind busy and over the hypnosis that can creep in on dark roads with limited visibility. Thank goodness for podcasting.

Humor - After years of work in RCIA and related efforts, I had a little burnout in the areas of apologetics and evangelization. Little did I know how to truly reach people until I watched a little of Jay Leno this morning. He was relaying a story reported at In Touch magazine. Salma Hayek explained her figure by saying that at adolescence she immersed her hands in holy water and prayed, "Please, God, give me some breasts." Jay commented that if that testimony doesn't convert an atheist, nothing will. Why did I waste so much effort talking about 2000 years of unbroken historical teaching authority. If I had just brought in an FHM magazine cover with Salma, told the Holy Water story, and said, “Any Doubts?” we probably could move more quickly onto advanced theological topics. *grin*

But if that weren't wacky enough, the Weekly World News — that tabloid that would never fabricate a story — ran a story about an African tribe that worships her breasts. That's taking things a bit too far, don't you think? Actually, when I saw the WWN story, it reminded me of something you'd see at The Onion or BBSpot.