Thursday, November 21, 2013

What's bigger than gratitude? Gratitudest

I have gratitudest today, because I don't know the word to express more gratitude.  I could list all of the emotions I felt today at the Muhammad Ali Center; love, zest, humor, spirituality, more love, social intelligence (brilliance!), more humor.  I laughed out loud, with tears streaming down my cheeks. Louisville has some fun things to do, but y'all should drive on down here (remember: no animals on foot on the highways) JUST to pay homage to Ali.  What. A. Man.  Where do I start?  Do I write a list of all the things he said and did?  The two things that put me over the top:

*his refusal to be drafted into the Vietnam War, even though he was at the prime of his career and stripped of his title and license.  He held so strong, and spoke so eloquently; he should be in every history lesson about Vietnam and Civil Rights, every single one.

*his humility! He is so open about his flaws.  There are interviews about what a womanizer he used to be, how angry he was in his youth, and how he grew. He has video of himself being a total a-hole to his first wife, just to show what an a-hole he was!  God bless him.  Alhumdulilai.

Our five hours at the museum was a perfect way to end our stint here in Louisville, and I realize we still owe you info about Cincy (ahem…G?  wasn't there a pretty great museum there as well?  And I had an amazing visit at the VIA Institute on Character and the Mayerson Academy!~more on that later) but the blog had to go out of order, because tomorrow is…

November 22nd.  50 years ago John F Kennedy was assassinated, so that's been on the news a lot.  But more importantly for me, that was Mary Lee Bartle (Pearmine)'s 17th birthday.  As I walked around the Muhammad Ali Museum today, I tried to think of anyone who has moved me to action or made me puff up my chest like Ali.  And I am so grateful--the gratefulest!--that it was my mom.  The woman who I found out at her service that she was a long-time card carrying member of the NAACP.  The woman who wore a clown nose at commissioner meetings if need be, and more than once told people, "I'm going to cry, but don't stop listening to me.  It's just what I do when I care very much."  She had big things to do too.

To love, and be loved, is the supreme emotion, IMHO.  And I am so very grateful to have both.

With love, Sarah

“Live everyday as if it were your last because someday you're going to be right.” 
― Muhammad Ali

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

biggest…children's museum…ever...

I realize we're out of chronological order, but I'm losing my once-firm grasp on these constructs of time…and order.  We haven't given the WORLD'S LARGEST CHILDREN'S MUSEUM it's due, nor have we properly--publicly--thanked Brenda and Ken Erickson for sharing their house with us outside of Indy.  Thank you, Ericksons!  It was as lovely as you who know Brenda would guess.  

We spent nearly 6 hours at this Children's Museum!  It was a great combo of history, science, movies, art, and had a Xi'an TerraCotta Warrior exhibit.  Make a stop here.  It's on the way to and from a lot of things.

check out the entrance…who wouldn't want to go in?

Des was insistent that we not smile

and, of course, Indiana Jones (get it?)

Lil' Indy 500 action

Dear elementary school teachers: why so much of ancient Egypt everywhere?  Please explain to me why understanding ancient Egypt is so fundamental and important in our lives.  I think Egypt is as cool as the next guy (a special pot for each organ!), I just can't seem to make the leap as to why it's in every museum, and every 3rd grade curriculum.  Enlighten me!
how freaky is that mini ogre?

When Des was in 4th grade in Shanghai, he had to replicate an ancient Chinese artifact.  I cannot tell you how painful that project was, and how many hours we spent making homemade clay, attempting to hold up the wobbly, quickly-drying clay with popsicle sticks, painting the clay.  Let's just say our end product did not look like this BEAUTIFUL DING POT ON DISPLAY IN INDIANAPOLIS.  How badly I wanted to break through the glass and mail it to an unsuspecting 4th grader.  
Des and Emm are unearthing the warrior

Cool Dale Chihuly artwork; Gary felt like I should know him

The question of the day…we stayed till almost closing time…can you tell by looking at the water clock what time it was?


Monday, November 18, 2013

Blissfully ignorant and alive

Turns out that really loud rainstorm that fell on our tent last night was part of a bigger storm system. Tornadoes in Illinois killed 6 people. We are fine and will do more thorough weather research, 

Well, after breakfast, anyway.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Kentucky sunset

Seems like that should be a song title from the 70s.

For today, it's a thing of beauty.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"It's myyyyyyy kind of towwwwwwwwwn!"

One town that won't let you down, indeed. Chicago is where we met, as most of you know. Beyond the nostalgia trip, it was a blast.

I can't say enough (though Sarah and the boys insist I have said too much) about the early Americans exhibit at the Field Museum of Natural History. It's a newer wing and covers one of my favorite questions: How and when did people first come to the Americas? (Click here for the latest news on this. The boys enjoyed playing the edutaining video games in this area, also.

A famous depiction of what smallpox did. Never have I seen a museum display it, and hugely too.

There was a huge reproduction of the Aztec stone of the sun, and other cool stuff from the Incas and tons of pottery.

To help make the point that not all Indians died, recently they added a room to the end of the (somewhat outdated) native peoples exhibit. The whole room focused on a (younger than me!) Pawnee artist named Bunky Echo Hawk. Check him out. Here is "If Yoda Was an Indian":

Now, that's just cool

We saw the largest and most complete T-Rex. We have become a bit jaded re: fossils, but Sue impressed nonetheless.

Blurriness helps you feel the fear of being hunted
(P.S. I realize dinosaurs and humans did not live at the same time)

Senegal was the featured nation in the Africa wing. Here's a shout-out to the G!

Emmett got friendly with some "locals":

And the boys (much like many of the museums we have hit) cannot get enough of ancient Egypt. What explains this obsession, anyway? What is so crucial about Egypt that every kid has to study it? You would think we'd all be irrigation and mummification experts by now. Oh, wait, those skills are obsolete!


There is also a stuffed gorilla named Bushman. Which I thought was racist as hell, but it was the 1930s, so that makes it OK. Right?

He WAS big, though, even with a racist name


In the interest of me getting to bed by midnight, here is our next day, in pictures only. Sears Tower and Millennium Park. Enjoy! Thanks again to the wonderful Keel family for taking us in and showing us around.

We rode the train downtown

It's really tall. I laid down to shoot this


High on Love

(no caption needed, right?)

Exit Thru the Gift Shop. Yes, it appears Desi really bit that. (Still didn't buy it!) 

Cheesy fries at Max's Take-Out (on Adams, near Wabash)

Dog had no chance

Messing around at The Bean

Give yourself a hand. Or 2

So much beauty!

Parkour action shot. CALL PULITZER, BAYBAY!

Several attempts---> one good photo. Kids slept like babies that night, I tell ya.

This one blurred but still reminds me of this album cover:

Don't worry--merely an ILLUSION

Get it? His name is Emmett. And the restaurant is named Emmett's. And those are the same

Monday, November 11, 2013

NU Reunion for the Pear(mine)(Vo)lz family

After 18 years, we came back to Evanston, Illinois on an absolutely perfect fall day.  The same kind of day that wooed me to Northwestern.  I (we?) got hit with waves of nostalgia and a little weirdness, realizing that we've been out of college longer than some of these current Wildcats have been on the planet.  Wha?  

fall beauty on the North Shore

the boys at the beach

Gar with the current game room employee at Norris

We couldn't capture the beauty, but the sunset over the Alice Millar Chapel

We were able to have a long, fun weekend in Chicago thanks to the hosting of the fabulous Keel family, our dear friend Katie's parents.  Kate and the girls changed their plans and joined us!  Many, many pics to follow.  Right now, it's dinner here in Indianapolis, then I need to get on the phone for my MentorCoach class.  Just wanted to get this Chicago party started, with a heartfelt thanks to the Keels and a hearty GO CATS!!!!!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Holy Cow!

First off, we are thinking about the poor folks in the Philippines. Our old nanny Lyn lives in Manila, and we assume she is safe and sound. But more than 10,000 people died in the storm, and many more will be needing help to get food and water. Story here. Donate here via MercyCorps, which is way better than the bloated Red Cross.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled (and a few days overdue) update. On our last night here in Chicago (Downers Grove, to be exact), we feel happy that this city we loved so many years ago still stirs our hearts to joy. Snobs that we are, only a few cities in the US make our list of places we would happily live. Like the Sears Tower, Chicago looms over that list. (Bozeman is making its way up, btw). We saw much of what we came to see, but I bet we'll return before the Phield Trip ends. Gotta take the boys to Wrigley Field, right?

Before the rundown of Chi-Town, though, here's a look at the tour we were treated to in Grantsburg, Wisconsin. Our friend Kristina, who had hosted us in Minneapolis, AND hooked us up with her family's cabin, ALSO arranged for her family friend to show us around her dairy farm. It was so cool. We got to see the cows up close, drive golf carts, and feed young calves with giant baby bottles.

Cris points out the HUGE pile of ground-up corn 



Cris showing us the business end

Do unto udders as they...

Whoa! 1877 was, like, before Dad was even born

Our drive down from Grantsburg to Madison involved a stop at Norske Nook (thanks to Mark and Ann Hefte for that tip). Delicious apple pie. The drive also involved a bit of wackiness at the gas station. I was squeegeeing the windshield, so by the time I got to the pump, it was too late to push "Yes" in reply to "Do you want a receipt?" I tried to get it to print one, as we use them for Desi's math sometimes, but no luck. So I walked around and got in the passenger seat. Sarah began to drive forward when we heard a loud noise.

If you go back and read the last paragraph, you might notice that it lacks "and then I pulled the gas hose out of the tank." So it broke off and was hanging out of our tank. Luckily, it's made to disconnect safely. I went inside to tell the attendant, and he thanked me for at least saying something. It seems that often, people just drive away in shame and the next customer has to deal with reporting it. In essence, then, my screwup enabled me to do a good deed.

Anyhoo, Madison for one night was fun. We saw the largest state capitol in the US, and the only granite-domed one. UW campus was nice, and we walked it for a couple hours. 

Ahh, the hotel life. Moving so fast, we're a blur.

Getting ready to watch The Hobbit, on the ceiling

Yep, that's made of granite

When Desi was young, he said he wanted to be a cop. I asked why. "Get your hands up! Then, BANG!" True story.

This photo and the next are strictly for the benefit of Miss Kristina Awesome. No disloyalty to Northwestern!  

Those rocks are real. It's art, pretty sure.

Delta Love!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We spared the poor young sisters a request to tour the facility.

We also saw a car all got up to look like a pig. 
Check the snout. Only in 'Murca

This blogger's goal is to be one city behind. That means the Chicago post will be up after we hit Indianapolis tomorrow. BEST children's museum in the nation, we hear. Plus, Ender's Game at the movie theater. Just finished the audiobook last week. Can't wait!