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Archive for March, 2013

Mar 28 2013

Helping Out a Friend

Posted by Dale @ 8:39 pm in Family

Zeke’s most recent performance at the Easter egg hunt. He’s in the blue striped coat.

Mar 26 2013

Don’t Stop Believing

Posted by Mugs @ 3:28 pm in Family,school,Sightseeing

Abby and I went for her official college visit to William and Mary. She had declared our informal tour of the grounds when we were visiting Williamsburg last October insufficient, so back we went.

I can’t complain about going back to Williamsburg, because I love the place. The stone streets, quaint shops, and gardens are beautiful. Every time I arrive, I smile.

William and Mary has a beautiful historic campus and their emphasis on academic achievement is obvious. It is a Virginia public school, not a private Catholic School, as most people think.

As we entered the auditorium, the song “Don’t Stop Believing” was playing to inspire the hopeful masses.

The majority of people attending the information session were from out of state. The admissions counselor informed us that this year 14,000 students applied to William and Mary for approximately 1,400 places. Two-thirds of those who applied were from out of state, yet two-thirds of admitted students must be from within the state of Virginia.

I fear some out-of-staters stopped believing.

She said she often gets asked “Is it better to take AP classes and risk getting B’s or take honors classes to have a better chance of  getting A’s?”

She replied, “We want you to take AP classes and get A’s.”

I think at this point, some more prospective students stopped believing.

She said the school is looking for students who take four years of math including AP calculus, four years of science including physics, and four years of foreign language.

Regretfully, some more students stopped believing.

I was trying really hard to keep believing because Josiah is still in that pool of 14,000 applicants, but the admissions briefing was making it very difficult. Suddenly, I started developing intensely positive outlooks towards Virginia Tech, Christopher Newport University, and the University of Mary Washington – the three schools Josiah has received acceptances from.

Abby, however, had a different focus. She is determined to find the best school to get a master’s degree in education. She is all business on our college tours, writing down statistics and pertinent information. She looks closely at the dorms and the food and the libraries.

We recently met a William and Mary college graduate who told us that William and Mary parties are held in Swem (the library). I believe it. William and Mary students study, study, study. Abby would fit right in – partying in the library.

Whenever I’m on the William and Mary campus, I think “I want to go to school here.” My high school’s most advanced math class was literally called “higher math” and no foreign language was offered. I’m quite certain I would not have had a chance to get in. I still consider my acceptance into the West Point Prep School and my graduation from West Point a gift from God.

He set my path. He’ll set Josiah’s path and Abby’s path too.

It is in the grace of God that I don’t stop believing.

 

Mar 25 2013

Victory or Defeat?

Posted by Mugs @ 8:16 am in Family,school

The math olympics has come and gone once again. This was the first year Zeke was eligible and he was excited to make the team in 3rd grade Reasoning. Gabe made the 7th grade Reasoning team, and was looking to retain his title of Mathmagician.

He was going for a 3 peat.

Unfortunately, Gabe finally encountered 3 math problems he could not answer.

When the ribbons were handed out, Zeke was thrilled to take 3rd place. Gabe, not so much.

Mar 22 2013

Spring is a Two Hour Drive Away

Posted by Mugs @ 9:42 am in Nature,Sightseeing

One thing I love about living in Virginia is that the seasons are where I want them to be. Spring: March, April, May; Summer: June, July, August; Autumn: September, October, November; Winter: December, January, February.

I grew up in Minnesota where winter rules. Winter is from October until April. In Colorado, the weather was completely unpredictable. It can be as warm as summer in February and be cold enough to snow in June. In Hawaii, it is beautiful all the time even in the pouring rain. Australia mixed me all up with hats and gloves in July and outdoor picnics in December.

All through the winter, I smile and encourage myself with, “Spring will be here the first week of March.” This year, winter will not relent. Twice, it has encrusted my daffodils and quince with snow. My forsythia is waiting in anticipation of a few warm sunny days.

If I want spring, I must drive two hours south and east to see it.

Mar 21 2013

Daft About Daffodils

Posted by Mugs @ 10:19 am in Nature,Sightseeing

Last weekend, Abby and I went to see the king of the daffodils. He, as well as his father and grandfather before him has hybridized and sold daffodils near the Chesapeake Bay for years.

The daffodil king and his wife open their gardens for walking tours throughout the year to give visitors an opportunity to see the bulbs in bloom.

They were very welcoming to us. As with the rose guy in Maryland, the daffodil king loves his plants. He is as enamored with a tiny blooming bulb as he is with a large field display.

At the beginning of the tour, while his wife was talking, he was taking photos of the tour group. Periodically, he would stoop down to dig out a weed.

When I asked him about a small blue flower, he replied, “It wasn’t open yesterday.”

I suspect he knew that because he was in the garden yesterday and the day prior and the day prior for years and years watching and waiting for the bulbs, plants, shrubs, and trees to wake up.

The display gardens were precise and beautiful, laid out with plans and purposes, but the home gardens were haphazard and subject to change whenever the mood should strike.

I felt right at home.

Two cats patrolled the daffodil fields for voles. Watching them stalk around, I was tempted to let Shadow outside to kill the voles in my yard. If only he could be trusted to eat the voles and not the birds.

During our tour, we learned how to hybridize a new daffodil. Brush the pollen from one daffodil onto the stigma of another daffodil. Wait five weeks for a pod to form on the back of the daffodil. Once dried, collect the seeds. Plant the seeds, and in 5 to 7 years, we will know if the new daffodils are an improvement on the parents.

I’ve decided not to take up daffodil hybridizing.

However, it is fun to meet someone who has devoted his life to a plant and get his advice on which varieties will never let you down.

As with roses, the daffodil varieties all have unique names. However, I do not know enough to name the daffodils, so in the photos, I labeled them with my own made up names.

For those who have been reading this blog and thinking, “There are different types of daffodils?”

Yes, there are whole catalogs and fields full. If you become fascinated by them, in 5 – 7 years, you can live in your own daffy world.