Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Name Day, Independence and a Birthday

March 25th was Tulip's seventh birthday! Hooray.

It was also Greek Independence day. We don't really celibrate that at our house, but it is easy to remember because of Tulip's birthday and because it is the name day of my mother-in-law, Yarrow and my daughter Orchid.

I usually try to fly my Greek flag on Greek Independence Day and Oxi Day (28 Oct), but shame on me, I forgot until late in the day so I'll just "fly" it here.
For all the reasons stated, OPA!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Athletic Pizza

On Wednesday evening we had the athletic banquet for Santa Maria del Popolo. We had pizza, it was on the informal side.

They gave out letters to the eighth graders. Now we'll have to buy Star a sweater to sew her letter onto.

They also gave out pins to put on your letters. I guess Orchid will have to wait a couple of years to pin hers on.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Who Are These Men?

In 1982 and 1983 I was on staff at Owasippe Scout Reservation (now Owasippe Outdoor Education Center).

When I started, they had just started a new program that took three years to develop staff members. We were the second class.

The program started with staff members being Apprentices. The first year guys only got paid $20 for the whole eight-week camp season. We were supposed to spend the first week, Staff Week, in training and then rotate to different section camps every two weeks.

Owasippe is so large that it is divided into section camps. In '82, they had Camp Blackhawk (Go!), Camp Wolverine (Zaxie!), Camp Robert Crown (Mojave!), Camp Reneker (family camp), the outposts (Pack and Paddle (canoe and backpacking), horse coral, COPE and Wilderness Survival) and they were just opening Camp Sauger Lake (Over All! (in '83, Sauger Lake changed their name to Camp Carlen (Bahooka!))). Blackhawk and Sauger Lake were dining hall camps while Wolverine and Crown were hotpack camps (they delivered the meals directly to the individual troops by hotpack).

I did so well in training that at the end of Staff Week I and five other Apprentices were advanced to Associate. Associates were supposed to rotate only once in the summer.

I met with Rick Lowe, the camp director for Camp Sauger Lake and we decided I would work in the brand new dining hall. There were two of us on permanent dining hall staff and two more Apprentices that rotated in. We didn't cook there, just served food prepared at the "Ad Center" (Administrative Center) and hotpacked to our dining hall.

Because of my schedule at the dining hall, I was available between meals to help out in other areas. I did a lot of work with the Field Sports area and the Nature area. In the afternoons, I swam with the scouts at free swim (we had a pool).

They liked my work so much, I never rotated and the second year Rick hired me as the Assistant Dining Hall Director with two permanent staff members reporting to me. I spent Staff Week in Philmont because I was nominated to attend National Junior Leaders' Instructor Camp (NJLIC). Only 100 scouts from across the country are invited each year to attend.

Anyway, I had another great year working at my old camp with the new name. That same year my brother Sweet Pea worked as an Apprentice. He would in later years end up working at Camp Robert Crown.

I have the staff photo from '83, but shame on me, I can't remember most of the guys' names. I'm the fifth from the left in the back.

I remember Rick Lowe (far left in the back) and Michael Reese (standing, far right). To my immediate left (as you're looking at me) is Steve Tabor and then Mark Plebanski (my cabinmates). The very tall, blond guy in the back was my boss in the dining hall. His name is Dave and he was from Oconomowac, WI. The guy kneeling on the far right was called Mange (like the French word for eat, he worked for me in the dining hall) and the guy sitting on the far right is Tim Klinefeld (sp? his nickname was Mouse).

Can anybody help me with the other names?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Casa de Los Flores

Casa de Los Flores, otherwise known as Marbil Estates is sweet sixteen today!

On Friday, March 13, 1992 Gardenia and I closed on our house in Mundelein. We were the very first owners. That weekend we moved in.

Some of you may recall the incident with the gas / desiel in the moving van or maybe you have fond memories of bellyflopping on the slippery new kitchen floor only to leave a big gouge with your belt buckle.

Anyway we have had some good times and bad times, but it looks like we are going to have a lot more time in the old house. Here is a photo of the old gal getting a new roof this last October.

Happy Birthday!

Update 13 Mar 08

You are going to see a rarity today, photos of our young flowers. The reason is that the images are already (or will be) in the public domain and they are group shots. Those of you who know our dear ones will recognize them and anyone else will have to just guess.

This first one is an update to my post about Star winning the DAR essay contest. This image has been in the Mundelein Review and the Daily Herald and we have gotten a lot of congratulations over it. Star has threatened to find and burn all copies.

The next one is from last Tuesday night. They had a winter concert. Both Star and Orchid are in the advanced band. The band director has said that Orchid is doing so well with her new instrument that for the next concert she will probably play in the intermediate band with that instrument and in the advanced band with this one.

As far as little Tulip is concerned, she got her new glasses. She looks SO cute, but I couldn't show that image.

She also went roller skating on Wednesday. That meant that Daisy walked behind her for 2 hours and 15 minutes before she was confident enough for him to step aside for the last 15. She has very large bruises and a bump on her head, but now she says, "skating is my life."

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

What Did You Give Up for Lent?

What did you give up for Lent? I have a poll going with some of the more common and more unusual things. Please vote and leave a comment.

When I was in Afghanistan, I figured I had already given up enough so I just made a commitment to go to Mass every Friday. Trouble was the priest wasn't available for most of Lent so I satisfied myself with doing a rosary each Friday. I had just learned to do the rosary while in Afghanistan anyway.

I was going to do the same thing this year, but I'm pretty sure the priest will be available this time. I got a late start because Greek Easter this year is 27 April, more than a month after "regular" Easter (23 March) and I'm all messed up. My Fridays have been messed up as well so I've decided to read the mass readings everyday instead.

What are you giving up or doing extra?

I've recently heard a lot of people who are trying to do something extra instead of giving something up.

Do you think abstaining from something or making an extra effort is better? Is the whole thing a waste of time?

I think it's useful either way. It makes you stop and think, which is; I believe the real value in not eating meat on Fridays during Lent. It makes you alter your regular daily routine and examine what you are doing and why. It gets to psyche and who we are really. I think it's valuable even for non-Catholics.

The Greek Orthodox and presumably all Eastern Orthodox observe Lent slightly differently. Firstly, it starts on a Sunday, not a Wednesday. Also, they abstain from all meat AND dairy products on Wednesdays and Fridays for all of Lent. They call this abstinence, "fasting." During Holy Week (the week from Palm Sunday until Easter) they "fast" every day. They don't give up anything else, but I think the reminder and the chance to think about things greater than the everyday is still there.

For those of you who don't know, Catholics start Lent on Ash Wednesday and it runs until Easter. You are supposed to give something up (traditionally) and you are required to abstain from eating meat on Fridays and Ash Wednesday. You are also required to fast (as in not eat more than one meal) on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

I would be very interested in unusual Lenten observations (like giving up dancing at clubs, which an employee of mine vows each year and then can't seem to keep it) and the number of people that choose what I think are the most common items to give up. Please leave comments and vote on the poll.