Saturday, May 27, 2006

A Holiday Weekend

What a beautiful day...One can only hope that we have many, many more days like today. There's quite a bit of truth to the saying that fresh air can "kill ya"...Josh is lethargically watching some TV after having spent the entire day in the backyard playing with the neighborhood kids and swimming with Marie out front on the slip and slide. Becky and Troy, visiting from that state up North with the really mean NBA players, came over this afternoon for lunch...(update- Josh is now fast asleep....minutes after I just looked over at him!)

Tomorrow will also be a full day. My dad's sister Mary and her husband are visiting from California, so we'll all be going over to my folks house for a cookout. Earlier on Sunday, however, I am privileged to attend and play for yet another one of Hoban's graduation. The ceremony (graduation commencement and Baccalaureate Mass) is actually quite beautiful, but I'm less than thrilled that our school continues to have this on the holiday weekend. Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend the get-together for Brian K.'s last day at the Chapel, but I'll hook up with him- along with Brian M. (visiting from N. Carolina) and Kenton on Monday when we're all be off to the Jake to root for our beloved Indians, who need all the TLC that they can get now. It should be a fun afternoon. (Thanks again for the invite, Brian!)

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

PHI: the Divine Proportion

To begin with, my feeble efforts in writing about anything relating to math ought to be rather amusing. I dreaded having to take even freshman math at Akron U because I had no interest in this subject...suffice to say, it's not one of my strong points.

There's a book that has been on the best seller's list for quite a while now...perhaps you've heard of it- The Da Vinci Code. I'm not about to talk about the big conspiracy theories found throughout- that can be left to the expert scholars; however, I'm re-reading the book in preparation for a series of sermons that our church is beginning today. Having finished the first 100 pages or so, again, chapter 20 mentions the role of PHI and the Divine Proportion- a topic that hasn't really surfaced in the uncountable number of criticisms that Dan Brown has received for his mystery story.

In this chapter, Langdon, a professor of religious symbology in Brown' novel, lectures an art class on the properties and role that PHI plays not only in art and architecture, but nature and the human body as well...

"PHI's ubiquity in nature, Langdon said, "clearly exceeds coincidence, and so the ancients assumed the number PHI must have been preordained by the Creator of the Universe. Early scientists heralded 1.618 as the Divine Proportion."

"Hold on," said a young woman in the front row. "I'm a bio major and I've never seen this Divine Proportion in nature."

"No?" Langdon grinned. "Ever study the relationship between females and males in a honeybee community."

"Sure. The female bees always outnumber the male bees."

"Correct. And did you know that if you divide the number of female bees by the number of male bees in any beehive in the world, you always get the same number?"

"You do?"

"Yup. PHI."

The girl gaped. "NO WAY!"

From this scene, Langdon goes on to give various other examples of how PHI is found in nature: the nautilus, a sunflower's seed head, spiraled pinecone petals, and even the human body...(Langdon, back in his class)- "Measure the distance from the tip of your head to the floor. Then divide that by the distance from your belly button to the floor. Guess what number you get..."

I've tried to think back to my biology days in high school, and for the life of me I can't ever recall covering this- maybe I was doodling in my notebook/ diagramming sentences or reading some Poe short stories- who knows? Anyway, this is mind boggling- PHI that is. For all the controversy surrounding the novel, here's a scene that pretty much cements the notion that only an all powerful and loving God could design a world so incredibly perfect- culminating with the perfection of the human body- supposedly illustrated in Da Vinci's Vatruvian Man.

On a lighter note, I did some quick calculations this morning, and it just occurred to me that 1.618 million years tend to elapse between Cleveland sport championships. The time is now- Go CAVS!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Portrait of a Princess

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

"Someone pushed me. It was my turn. I ran without looking back. My head was spinning: you're too thin, you're weak, you're too thin, you're good for the furnace...The race seemed interminable. I thought I had been running for years...You're too thin, you're too weak...At last I had arrived exhausted."

These are the harrowing words of Elie Wiesel as he was forced to parade in front of Dr. Mengele and the SS officers of the Buna concentration camp. He was running like a madman (actually, he was all of 16 years of age) to simply avoid being selected as a candidate for the human furnaces that the Nazi's operated during the Holocaust.

Few stories have a far greater impact on my kids at school than this one- especially since they know that it's his memoirs- Night and not a piece of fiction. I told the kids that it took Wiesel ten years to come to terms with his horrific experience in the concentration camps. He tells us that he could not bring himself to write of the atrocities because he feared that his chosen words may betray the actual stories. However, he also had promised himself that if by some miracle he were to survive the death camps, he would devote his life to "testifying on behalf of all those whose shadows will be bound to mine forever." Having won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, Wiesel is unquestionably one of our contemporary heroes. However, have we learned the lesson? History would tell us No....human right abuses in Cambodia (Soviet Union), Bosnia and Herzegovina, and South Africa under the Apartheid regime- all of these are astonishingly similar to Hitler and his Nazi government.

Even today, it's still unfathomable that a country like Afghanistan instilled such harsh treatment of its own citizens- the Taliban and their quest for their own version of the Final Solution.

It can be so disheartening to read Wiesel's work with my kids and realize that we still don't get it. Wiesel's conviction is that to remain indifferent to the memory of the Holocaust is to participate in the same indifference and self-interest that allowed it to be carried out- which is why I think it is so incredibly important for us to read this that we don't forget and maybe, just maybe, our next generation will do a better job than we have.

"In Germany, the Nazis first came for the Communists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak up because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn't speak up because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I was a Protestant so I didn't speak up. Then they came for me: by that time there was no one left to speak up." -Martin Niemoller

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

Cindy would have been a very rich woman today if she had a dollar for every time Josh told her to have a cup of hot tea and relax...the story is that for Mother's Day, Josh made this "relaxing cup of tea" craft (complete w/ a tea bag) at school on Friday. He also memorized this adorable song to sing to Cindy about all the things that moms do for their kids. (I actually have a video clip of that, but I still haven't learned how to download it to the blog yet...)

Sarah wasn't up to doing a song and dance yet for Cindy, but she definitely has bonded with her mommy throughout her young 7 weeks so far. I can be holding her while she's fussing and get somewhat frustrated that I can't get her to calm down... and then along comes Cindy, says something simple like, "What's wrong my sweetheart?"...and then everything's cool. Sarah will even look at me with a smirk at times like I have so much to learn still. C''s that fair?

Marie was with her mom today, but God love Cindy because last night she helped Marie make a Mother's Day present for Marie's mom...a bit awkward of a moment, but Marie seemed pretty excited about her present- some "homemade" picture frames for her mom.

We had dinner this evening with my folks, Aunt Anne, Terri, Dan, Cody, and Adam- at the Triple Crown. It was a great meal, and once again Josh entertained us with his stories and singing. He told everyone that he actually saw a real princess this morning at Church. We had an absolutely beautiful interpretive dance performed this morning at The Chapel to the song entitled, Come to Jesus. I took Josh with me this morning for the run-through, and he truly was mesmerized by the young lady who performed the dance. The second time that we rehearsed the song, Rachelle- the dancer, wasn't on the platform, and that's when Josh asked me, "What happened to the princess?" I made sure to tell Rachelle this, and she seemed genuinely touched by the remark. Josh also told me that he thought it was pretty cool when "the boy" (that would be Kenton) came down to him during rehearsals and sang to him while helping pick his pennies up from the floor. It's truly amazing how impressionable such simple acts can be through the eyes of a young child.

All in all, it was a good day. I'm pretty certain that Cindy feels truly blessed for her dear children who love her unconditionally. Happy Mother's Day, sweetheart!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Our new tenants...

Josh's preschool teacher has been putting together some pretty cool crafts and lessons for the kids this spring. He's come home with butterfly wrist bands, construction paper nests (complete with eggs) , and bird watching binoculars. As luck would have it, a robin- just this week- has chosen one of our bushes out front for her nest. I've been careful not to go by it too often, especially when Mama is around. But yesterday, I was able to get this picture of the little ones. Using Josh's words, this is way cool! (Not bad for an amateur photographer, huh?)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

With a little more than two weeks left of her maternity leave, I'm pretty sure that Cindy is going to treasure these last days with her little girl before she starts back to work. What an awesome early Spring we've had, and Sarah has certainly enjoyed the time outside- both the stroller walks and the backyard naps! It's pretty amazing how the fresh air really tires her out to the point that she can be wide awake while indoors, but when we step outside with her, within minutes she can fall asleep in our arms while sitting around the picnic table.

Marie's team had a disappointing tournament game. The girls played pretty tight, and they succumbed to the mighty St. Francis Xavier team from Medina. Many of our parents were a bit surprised at how much taller the other team was- it must be something in the water out there. I think, though, that Marie really enjoyed the season, and she certainly has come away with a number of great friends and memories.

And speaking of the Browns, how can you not be excited about their upcoming season. Between the free agent signings (Willie McGinest, Ted Washington, LeCharles Bentley), their draft picks (D'Qwell Jackson and Kamerion Wimbley), and the return, hopefully, of Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards, I'm looking for at least 8 maybe 9 wins and an outside chance as a wildcard team this year. I think it's pretty obvious that both Josh and Sarah is just giddy about the 06' Browns team!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Ka Ching!

Interested in knowing what the kids are spending this year for Prom? I talked to some of them today at lunch, and here's the rundown. We have the dance at Guy's Party Center, and tickets are priced at $90.00 a couple. This includes the dance, DJ, a buffet dinner, and After Prom at Stonehedge.

The dress...$300.00/ minimum. Some of my kids said that they actually went to some different consignment stores to get theirs. Others made the trek up to Legacy Village and had their folks take out a home equity loan to finance it.

The tux...$150.00. You'd be surprise to see how many of the guys go all out with the top hat and cane...I'm not sure what those cost.

The shoes...$25.00-$75.00 Often times, the guys will bypass renting the tux shoes and come in sneakers. I guess it's more comfortable for them to dance in! This way, they can use this money to buy a corsage for their date.

The flowers...$25.00 (Funny, some of the kids go really el cheapo on this part! I've had boys in the past show up with a single plastic daisy corsage for their dates...these are the real Romeos of the evening. They think it's funny, but the girls don't always find the humor in it.)

The hair...$50.00. I've often marveled at the fact that by the end of the evening, some of the girls hair never move...I'm guessing that you can tack on another $20.00 in the amount of hairspray that they re-apply throughout the evening.

The nails...$25.00 (this can run more if you get the designs embedded on the nails.)

The skin...$100.00 (5 trips to the tanning salon is a must. God forbid that you actually look like you're from Akron Ohio!)

The accessories (jewelry, purse, sweater/ shawl etc...)...$75.00

The limousine....$500.00 for the evening (8-10 kids usually split the cost of a limo)

Lyons photography Prom picture packets...$50.00-$75.00

I've been running Prom here at school for around 10 years now, and each year...the expenses, like everything else I guess, just keeps going up and up. When Marie is ready to attend, though, I figure we can cut down expenses because (since I'll be chaperoning of course) she can ride with me; I can take care of the hairstyle w/ my clippers that I use on my own head. How hard can it be to throw some paint on her nails...and if she wants the "tan" look, she can buy that stuff in a bottle. I think Cindy still has her Prom dress...fashions come back every 20 years or so, anyway...Not to mention, I'm already creating the "So you actually think you're going to date my daughter?" application. I should be able to narrow the list of candidates quite nicely for Marie.