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Archive for January, 2013

Jan 28 2013

Flying Snowballs

Posted by Mugs @ 12:26 pm in Family Print This Post Print This Post

Martyn arrived to retrieve Alex and ferry him away to Baltimore, DC, and Colorado. Hopefully, Martyn will be able to indoctrinate Alex once again into laid back Aussie ways. I fear our “rude” American habits began to rub off on him.

He joined in on the cut throat competitiveness of Manry Clan game play and thought it was a terrific idea to throw snowballs at his Dad when Martyn was trying to snap a photo of us all.

Martyn wasn’t too keen to be pelted with snowballs, so the picture of all of us is quite blurry.

(Take note: Alex had the best aim. The benefit of cricket practice, I surmise.)

Jan 25 2013

Aussie Snow Day Prayers

Posted by Mugs @ 1:27 pm in Family,Nature,Pets Print This Post Print This Post

This week, when we all gathered to pray before bed, Alex asked God to send snow. It rarely snows in Canberra, Australia, so he has been praying for snow throughout his holiday in the US.

Yesterday, his prayers were answered.

It wasn’t a lot of snow, just two inches, but it was enough to give us a snow day. (Gotta love Virginia) More snow is expected today, so the kids have had two snow days in a row.

Blaze attempted to join in on the sledding fun by sitting on people and yanking their hats off.

Josiah missed the fun in the snow for more sleep. By the time he got dressed and ready to go, everyone except Gabe (who thankfully was wearing shoes and a jacket) had come inside to warm up. Having missed the sledding and snow fights, Josiah got to shovel the driveway instead.

As we Manrys are so fond of saying, “You snooze, you lose.”

Jan 24 2013

Jelly Babies and a Walkabout

Posted by Mugs @ 5:13 pm in Family,Nature,Sightseeing Print This Post Print This Post

We must be with a Kirk, if we’re going for a walkabout with Jelly Babies in our pockets.

Alex arrived from Australia with Tim Tams and jelly babies for a week stay, and we soon found ourselves hiking the trail on the Potomac River near Great Falls. DC was a tad busy for us on Monday (All that inauguration hoopla), so we headed out to hear the roar of the river instead of the roar of the crowds.

When the Manry Clan left Australia, we said goodbye to many mates who we most likely will not see again until we return down under. However, upon departure, I told Alex’s dad Martyn, I was certain I would see Alex in the US one day. Alex is an adventurous bloke, and I could easily envision him touring the world with only a backpack to see him through.

He’s already taken the train into DC to tour around by himself while the Manrys were in school. Also, he enjoyed the shops and their seemingly endless variety of cereal choices. Sad for an Aussie, there were no Weet-Bix in sight.

Jan 19 2013

Rubbing Mason’s Shoe for Good Luck

Posted by Mugs @ 6:03 pm in Family,school,Sightseeing Print This Post Print This Post

Josiah’s college visits are complete, Josiah’s college applications are in, Dale has to do the FAFSA, not me. One would think I could sit back, relax, and take a break.

But, no. Abby was born 19 months after Josiah. What he does, she will do shortly thereafter.

Hence, the college visits continue.

Abby wants to major in education with the goal of becoming an early childhood or elementary school teacher. Our college search criteria has now changed, and we must visit or revisit schools with education departments.

Today, we visited George Mason University. If someone has heard of George Mason, it is most likely because Mason’s basketball team made it to the final four of the NCAA tournament in 2006. Locally, Mason is viewed as a commuter school for area kids who want low tuition and no room and board costs.

Mason is trying desperately to change their “commuter school” image and has undertaken large dorm and classroom building construction projects. They now have the second most housing in the state. It is the largest public university in Virginia.

They have a very diverse student body with people from all 50 states and more than 130 countries. As the admissions counselor was touting the benefit of a diverse school, he asked, “If you go to a school where everyone conforms, what would you get out of it?”

Dale leaned over and whispered to me, “A commission.”

Mason is only 40 years old and was started as a northern campus of the University of Virginia. It is named for George Mason, a founding father who refused to sign the Constitution because it did not include a Bill of Rights. Together with James Madison, he helped compose the Bill of Rights for both the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia. He was a friend of George Washington until George Mason refused to sign the constitution. The tour guide claimed that Mason’s statue was placed so his back was turned to the Washington monument.

Students rub the toe of Mason’s statue for good luck on final exams and they avoid stepping on the plaque on the ground for fear it will cause them to not finish college in 4 years.

There is an emphasis at Mason on internships, study abroad opportunities, and making their graduates employable after graduation. The university funds the professor’s research projects and will fund students research projects if they present a good proposal.

Their motto is “Innovation is Tradition.” Two new majors they offer are conflict analysis & resolution and computer game design.

Mason has a movie theater with free movies and free popcorn for students. (Too bad Josiah didn’t know about the free popcorn earlier, he might have put Mason on the list.) It also has its own radio station, and students can sign up to do an hour programming covering whatever interests them.

The University built a housing area adjacent to the college named Masonville to house graduate students, faculty, and staff. Along with undergraduate degrees, Mason offers a diverse masters and Ph.D program.

Prior to 2013, I did not know this. Unbeknownst to me, they offer a Ph.D in GIS. This may trigger bells in some of your heads and cause you to think, “Doesn’t Dale have a Masters Degree in GIS?”

A few weeks ago, Dale sat me down to tell me his future plans. Dale always has plans, and decision matrix’s to support them. If you came to visit, I could show you his plan from long ago where he outlined three possible assignment timelines for his Army career which correlated to the children’s years in school and graduation dates. One of the timelines was scarily accurate.

“I’m thinking about starting classes for my Ph.D at George Mason next year,” he informed me.

This information was not well received by me.

“Don’t you think the timing of this is bad? We’ll have one kid in college and it will be Abby’s senior year and you don’t get home from work until after 7pm most nights. You’re an Elder at the church and the websites take up a lot of time. Your job is pretty high stress. You would have class two nights a week. You would miss the kids games and concerts. Writing your thesis was painful and you’d have to write an entire dissertation.”

I blame this mad idea on Dale’s brother Jeff who is going to college at the same time and at the same school as his youngest daughter. My poor niece must be mortified when her friends tell her, “Hey, your Dad’s in my class.”

Dale has the uncanny ability to forget the pain of the process. After every marathon, he tells me, “I’m not ever doing that again.” He’s fine with the training until he has to run more than 20 miles. He hates the suffering on the day of the race and the lost toenails and the painful walking backwards down the stairs for days following the race. He’s run 3 marathons so far. The last one was 8 years ago. He’s currently training for another.

He was not pleased with my nay-saying and left the conversation in a huff, because I rained on his parade.

Abby did not think Mason was the best school for her, so she won’t be forced to attend school with her Dad. Because of my push back, Dale has relented from starting classes next fall.

He came back to me later with other options for additional schooling, and I know somewhere there is a diagram for three possible timelines for his government service future with decision matrix’s attached. I’m certain one of them still graphs out “Get a Ph.D at George Mason.”

Maybe he should have rubbed Mason’s shoe for good luck.

Jan 18 2013

Snow Day Denied

Posted by Mugs @ 9:43 am in Family,school Print This Post Print This Post

The Manry family is glum this morning. Our hopes for a snow day dashed by temperatures that refused to freeze. The prediction from the weather service was 6 inches of snow starting at 10 am, then 4 inches of snow starting at 2 pm, then 2 inches of snow starting at 6pm.

The kids got out of school two hours early to get us all off the road before the storm arrived. Sadly, not one flake appeared.

This morning, everyone groaned getting out of bed, their snow day denied. They had only the drudgery of lessons and tests to look forward to.

Zeke had banked it all on no school, and frantically tried to complete his homework in the car.

Today, we will finally get below freezing. Unfortunately, there is not a cloud in the sky.