Saturday, October 31, 2009


A few weeks ago, I embarked upon a dream come true. For some time, that dream has been to begin fencing. Fencing has been in the back of my mind for years now.

Starting up in the US again brought new opportunities. I could choose fencing as my extracurricular activity.

After some time, we were able to begin checking out different fencing classes. One of my friends who fences gave me some information. After calls, excitement, and joy, I held a spot in a class.

On my first day of class, we were told what we would be doing and we learned the positions...advance, retreat, and lunge. After this, we did some exercises and played a game to work on balance. During the second class, we played an exercising game and were outfitted in our gear. Then we lunged at each other with swords for practice.

In the third class, we had a different teacher and we learned how to parry after warming up.
To do the take-six parry, you move your sword from the outside in and extend your sword, scoring a point. Then, we packed up and headed home.

Now, here I am, practicing with a sword. Every day, I can't wait until Monday.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

An Un-Egg-Spected Turn Of Events

So Julie had another project...This time, the charge was to create an artistic interpretation of the twelve Greek Olympians. You remember Zeus, Hera, Aphrodite, Athena, Poseidon, and the gang. Anyways, after the arduous task of coming up with a totally original idea, Julie decided to make a dozen decoupage eggs, decorated with pictures and symbols of "A Dozen Olympians."

Of course, before you can make decoupage eggs, you have to prepare by blowing all the contents--yolk and white--out of the egg by poking a pinhole in the top and a quarter inch opening in the bottom and dizzying yourself like a trumpet player with a ferret caught in your bell. Into a bowl, blob after gooey blob...

In an effort to not be wasteful, I figured I would make Cameron and Blue a tasty treat by scrambling the eggs up ans adding them to their dinner bowl. I commented to Steve that he should watch how beautiful their coats turn after chowing down on all that protein. I had remembered hearing somewhere that adding an occasional to your dog's food makes his/her coat extra shiny. After eating all of these eggs over a few days, they were bound to gleam like a couple of freshly waxed Cadillacs.

What I wasn't expecting was that over the next few days a major household change would occur. Not only was there a noticeable difference in how soft their fur feels, but also in their shedding. Julie and Steve both separately these phenomena. As a twice-a-day vacuumer (not sure if that's a word, but that's what I am!), I couldn't help but realize the benefits. Instead of tumbleweeds of dog hair everywhere, and a red carpet that only looks red for the two minutes after I vacuum, the level of fur management has been markedly lighter. Looks like eggs will stay on the menu!

Now about the whole decoupage thing...Let's just say that while Julie is still waiting for her grade, there were no other decoupage egg projects this year!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Houses Of Perseverance, Take Two

The Catholic News Agency has posted, this time for good, my column on what might be called the less obvious side of the Catholic Church in China. Click here for the link. What you will get is a tiny glimpse into the lives of ordinary people who are persevering in the face of extraordinarily difficult external conditions.