Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Homeschool snapshots from November

Some of the hands-on things we've done so far this month:
The Boo worked on small motor skills by matching numbers to dots:
I use a lot of Montessori materials and this was for The Boo to distinguish what didn't belong in the group: Always time for creative play and The Daisy made a huge farm operation in her room: Part of the The Daisy's physics work this year. She was making a crystal solution: Again, for The Boo to make color differentiations. I have thought he's had a hard time with colors but I've concluded he's just messing with me. This was a little hard and he needed some help. Heck, even I needed help. This was Boo's M&M game. I got beat.
Here is some math/grid work for The Daisy. She complains about it.
Well, it's not homeschooling but The Daisy lost a tooth before bed one night:
She wanted to learn sewing so I found a whipstitch project to make a felt leaf. Turns out she wants to make it a flying fish. If she were in school, it wouldn't have been allowed.
More small motor skill work using scissors to cut playdough.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Field trips: Cherokee history

While we'd been to both places before, I was compelled to visit New Echota, Ga., and Red Clay State Park in Tennessee again.
Here is The Daisy listening to the Cherokee syllabary, which Sequoyah/George Gist (pictured) wrote, giving the Cherokee the first written language of all the First Nations.
New Echota was the Cherokee capital during the time of removal.It was here the treaty was signed (illegally) authorizing the removal of the Cherokee to Indian Territory, which would become Oklahoma. This is a replica corn crib of a Cherokee homestead:The interior of a Cherokee home, in which, typically, six people lived. The kids were adamant that it was too small!But I was really obsessed about visiting Red Clay again. Here is a sacred spring called the Blue Hole, which really is blue although you can't see it in these pictures.I think it pumps more than 300,000 gallons of water a day into this spring.The Cherokee met here prior to removal when the treaty was signed at New Echota and today it is the site of an annual Cherokee pow wow.
Here is the eternal flame of the Cherokee, lit when both the North Carolina Cherokee and the Oklahoma Cherokee met in '94 (I think) together at Red Clay. And The Boo demonstrated his balancing skills before we got back on the road:

In and out of Atlanta

In a whirlwind trip this week, the kids and I blew into Atlanta to spend time with some friends and so I could meet my instructor to get certified in infant survival swimming.
The Daisy wanted to visit the horse rescue where we'd gotten three of our horses. Of course, she fell in love immediately with Deja Vu. I, of course, liked this big guy: The Boo found an ally in this donkey: These dwarves are too cute but have deformaties in their feet. These are the kind of horses you let live in the house! While I'm not as freaked out about birds as I used to be ... enough said: The rescue got in this mustang who is extremely distrustful of people; however, it came up to the fence where The Daisy was. If The Boo hadn't run up right before this shot, it would have shown something pretty amazing. This is Bravo, a Shire, 6 now. He is the first horse we started working with at the rescue when he was just a baby.If I'd shown up at the rescue with a horse trailer, Cheryl, the director, would've loaded me up and I would've taken this horse/mule just because I liked her name: Catfish. This picture doesn't do this dessert justice. It was called Mountain High Pie and it was! We demolished it. My well-planned day went haywire pretty quickly and I missed getting to go to dinner with my friends but they waited for me and I was able to join them for coffee. Call this the go-to-bed-at-2am-then-get-up-early-and-drive-9-hours preview shot.

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Breeder's Cup experience

Back in June, my friend Kim in Florida told me she was going to the Breeder's Cup and I should go too. Okay! Got my ticket, waited with anticipation ... turns out Kim has a conflict and can't go. I tried to sell my tickets, despite EVERYONE telling me I HAD to go because this was going to be Zenyatta's last race.I'm a Johnny-come-lately to the Zenyatta bandwagon, but who can argue with a 6-year-old mare undefeated in 19 starts? So by the time last Saturday rolled around, I was excited to watch her last race. History in the making. I wasn't worried about going by myself because I'll talk to anybody and turns out I had good company by the time the Big Race arrived.
My plan was to get to Churchill Downs and park myself next to the paddock and NOT MOVE until Zenyatta came in for the last race. I got there ... and 5,000 other people had the same idea. I was able to wiggle my way in to stand at the rail and there I stood ... for THREE AND A HALF HOURS not moving. Not too bad until the sun went down then I was absolutely freezing. Shivering, numb in my legs and feet.
Then the TV monitors showed Zenyatta being walked over for the Breeder's Cup Classic. She was doing her pre-race dance.
Of course, now is the time some drunk redneck woman worms her way to the rail next to me and continued to talk LOUDLY about how much she loved Zenyatta and "look at her doing her dance, you know they're cueing her to do that" blah blah blah. I'd waited too long by that rail to start a ruckus in telling this woman to shut it, although I would've been hailed a hero.
The crowd was absolutely unreal. In walks Zenyatta and straight to the saddling area ... All you could see in the paddock was about 300 camera cell phones in the air taking her picture.Jockeys up, a walk to the track ... Here's a picture of Zen's headand her butt ...And that was the best I could do. I ran to my seat to watch the race ... I tried getting a picture as they ran by the first time, but because I couldn't see anything, didn't get Zenyatta going by. She was, of course, last as she always raced.I didn't think she was going to make it. Quarter mile to go, she makes her move. I watched as the field went past us again and Zenyatta is rallying, making up 20 lengths. I have never screamed that loudly EVER.
And then it was over. And I thought I would cry.

I jogged out to the shuttle. Everyone was quiet. Everyone heartbroken.
But I got to see her. She walked right by me in the paddock. Zenyatta is arguably the greatest racehorse of modern day. She was what racing needed.
I hung out with a woman and her granddaughter who just thought it would be fun to the come to the races and bought their tickets just that week.

So what did I do for the rest of the time I was there? Took pictures of Sean Clancy, publisher of The Steeplechase Times, who was doing radio commentary for HorseTalk Radio. Sean was riding steeplechasers back when I was a reporter for the Camden, S.C., paper so I knew of him. We just met formally back in the spring. I couldn't get his attention so I just took pictures.

Here's a guy in a kilt. I don't know what his deal was.This is Aikenite, owned by Dogwood Stable in South Carolina. Rallied in his race but finished in the middle.Goldikova won her race for the third year in a row.Here is the Breeder's Cup blanket:Oh look, there's Sean again: