Tuesday, August 14, 2012

TUAR Tea Ramblings

It has been so long since I, Willa, have written on here that I think I will have to inflict a TUAR Tea Room news bulletin on you in order to catch you up on what has been happening.  

Adventures in Recent Past and Future:

We just got back from South Lake Tahoe, a beautiful place.    Here we are on the Tahoe Queen, an "authentic Mississippi paddlewheel" which I suppose operates far away from its natural habitat as a tribute to Mark Twain.

How many Kindles can you spot? 

We plodded on, two or three hours longer, and at last the Lake burst upon us--a noble sheet of blue water lifted six thousand three hundred feet above the level of the sea, and walled in by a rim of snow-clad mountain peaks that towered aloft full three thousand feet higher still! It was a vast oval, and one would have to use up eighty or a hundred good miles in traveling around it. As it lay there with the shadows of the mountains brilliantly photographed upon its still surface I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole earth affords. -- Roughing It
Other things going on -- fire inspection gave us several tasks to get done in the next month or so, a child is heading back to college next week, and another one is heading back to work.   

Where Everyone Is:

All nine of us are here for a change!  Liam came home for our family reunion and stayed on for an extra week.  The college kids are still home for now. 

They are almost all playing Madden Football at the moment, except Kevin is working and I am taking advantage of their distraction to try to write. 

Recent Music:

The Magic Flute -- several versions, most recently Kenneth Branagh's version in English; before that, TAC's student version with all the singing in the original German.  

Recent Books Seen Around the House:

Nowadays we are mostly likely to see Kindles around the house.  There are now six of them.   Paddy tells me he is reading Wind in the Willows (we started reading it aloud and then stopped because of traveling).   He has also been reading The Annotated Hobbit.   Clare has been reading the Summa to get ready for the school year.  Sean has been reading Hunt for Red October.   I am alternating between The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ, since Alphonsus Liguori's feast day made me very interested in this saint and his work, and school stories by PG Wodehouse.  I had no idea he wrote so very much about cricket.   I have come to love descriptions of cricket matches though I still have no idea how the game is played.  . 


A very hot spell here in the high Sierras, and there was a fire that closed down our local highway, though it is under control now. 


I am not conscious of any right now, which is why I've been having trouble thinking of blogging topics to write about.   Every now and then in my life my stream-of-consciousness seems to take a dive into the subterranean and I basically walk around with hardly any mental activity.  But it's a lot easier to get work done around the house that way.  

What I’m Working On:

I should be working on getting back to homeschooling, but with so many comings and goings, and a lot to do out in the yard, it's difficult to focus. 

What I am Happy About:

Making progress in yard work!   Sun! 

What I’m Not So Happy About:

Too much screen time going on.   And I can't seem to get rid of those 15 pounds, and I seem to be revisiting my teenage years as far as skin condition.  
Spiritual Focus:

Divine Mercy
It seems to show up everywhere. 

Recent Kitchen Events:

I'm trying out a new spaghetti sauce recipe -- Clare's idea.   Also, Kieron made his famous peanut butter cookies today, a happy event for everyone. 

Formal Academics:

None of those recently, except for the college student working on her thesis.  

Informal Learning:

Aidan has gone through many, many notebooks sketching cars -- mostly GMC Yukon's. 


I will have to cite The Magic Flute again, also the TV show Merlin which the kids have been watching together in the evenings.  I don't think Minecraft counts as culture, even though there is a Hunger Games server. 

Oh yes, and there was the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland in July!  And a Casablanca Gala at the Bryans house!  And a Neil Young concert in South Lake Tahoe, and Kevin took the older kids to a Beach Boys concert in Eugene!  


We watched Much Ado about Nothing and are planning to watch Twelfth Night
Before Merlin, the older kids were watching Dr Who. 


Kevin is landscaping the front yard, and I am creating cleaner spaces in our basement and under our deck. 

Grateful for:

Our local Catholic Bible Study, friendships, brothers and their families, nice warm weather, restored medical coverage for medically complex 13 year old. 

Some things I want to do this week:

Get the yard clear of pine needles, trim down branches, move a lot of junk into our dumpster. 

Photo Thoughts

Aidan decorated the door of Liam's room with his pictures

Aidan is drawing a lot these days


  1. Hi Willa,

    We love our Kindles too!

    We also love Kenneth Branagh. We always thought his version of "Hamlet" was our favourite until we watched it again recently. We still like it but not as much as we did. Branagh is still our favourite Shakespearean actor though! Didn't he play Benedict superbly in "Much Ado About Nothing"? I've bookmarked "The Magic Flute" for us to watch, as we haven't seen that. Thank you for the link.

    God bless!

  2. Yes, I loved the way he played Benedict!

    And Henry V is a long time family favorite.

    Clare first tried to find a DVD version of Branagh's Magic Flute, but it was made in France and is pretty much unavailable in the US and probably in AU too -- so she made a playlist of the Youtube version, since the whole thing is on there, and it worked pretty well on our X Box which can access Youtube.

    Nice to hear from you, Sue, hoping your winter is going well!

    1. Willa,

      Henry V? Yes! So stirring. I love the Te Deum scene, as well as all Branagh's speeches. There is so much to enthuse about where Shakespeare and Branagh are concerned.

      The ornamental cherry trees are in flower at the moment, the first sign that our spring is not too far away. But winter can linger where we live. (Not like your winter though!) In contrast, Vicky lives near the coast and already they are thinking about summer clothes and enjoying warmer days.

      God bless!

    2. Winter lingers here.....at my home...and even longer at Willa's. I think both Willa and I have had about enough of these long winters......the last two winters (before the last one!) were awful! Last winter was so LITE.......it was a huge relief. This is why I will not complain that we have been between 90* and 100* for most of a month. I know what is coming!

      I have lots of thoughts on your ramblings, Willa. I hope to get back to them later!

    3. I want to retire to the coast -- I think Vicky has the right idea! I haven't been complaining about the summer heat, either, even though it messes with my allergies -- I am tired of shivering! : ).

      My husband had my older kids memorize the St Crispin's Day speech -- they were six and under at the time, so it was cute to hear them pronouncing

      "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
      For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
      Shall be my brother"... : )

    4. I am trying to figure a way to get to the coast soon myself.....

      Retiring to a Hawaiian coast may be what I finally do ;)

      I was laughing at myself today when i walked out into the 90+* heat......quite sweltering, actually......basking in it.

      Sorry about your allergies. :(


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