Friday, December 23, 2011

Four month follow-up

Four months since the last post and so much has happened but nothing really dramatic, just living our lives kind of stuff.

Shoshie has finished her first semester in college. She loves her school and Asheville. She is home for much of the winter break and I love having her here. We play a lot of Rummikub and watch movies.

Yakov has completed another semester at Chapel Hill and has become very active with J Street and Hillel. He was home for the weekend and has now gone to NYC to visit his Year Course friends.

Noach is doing high school work at home. He thought he might try public school next year but he has changed his mind again. However in preparation for a possible change and because he needed instruction from someone other than me, he started taking several online classes this fall. Derek Owens has provided Physical Science and Algebra 1 with online teaching and then Noach emails his homework for Mr. Owens to check. This has gone really well. We have not required a lot of personal attention but I feel it would be there if we did need it. I highly recommend these courses to anyone seeking this kind of instruction. Noach is also taking a yearlong class with Write at Home and I can see improvement in his work. The best effect has been in the improvement in our relationship; I am no longer the taskmaster for the subjects he likes least.

On Wednesday afternoons, he volunteers at the local hospital where he spends time with adults other homeschooled teens. We have continued studying Modern World History with a weekly movie, joined by a friend and her mother. And he forges ahead in Boy Scouts, enjoying monthly camping. Maybe he will be planning his Eagle project next year.

I am still trying to find my way with the changes the last few years have brought. Most Thursdays I meet a friend for a movie. I joined another book club so now I have at least 2 books to complete each month. I started Middlemarch 2 weeks ago, just reading it on my own and loving it.

That's a quick update. Have a Happy Chanukah or Merry Christmas if that's your tradition or Happy, Healthy winter if you prefer. Ruth in NC

Monday, August 22, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

What we are/were doing

Here is Yakov this week in Colorado.

At the 1 minute mark, Noach assumes the role of Finn. He needs some singing lessons but he looks so comfortable in front of an audience of a hundred or more campers. PRM

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sending a little note

June 21, 2011

Chief Justice John G. Roberts

The Supreme Court of the United States

1 First Street, NE

Washington, DC 20543

Dear Mr. Chief Justice,

The integrity of the Supreme Court must be maintained. We, the American people, deserve to feel that opinions rendered by the Court are reached without prejudice.

Justice Clarence Thomas has repeatedly caused concern for those of us who care about the Court. Why did he not report his wife’s income? Why did he accept gifts from organizations that have business before the Court?

Please, Mr. Chief Justice, address this issue in order to reassure us that the Court is fair to all Americans. When I teach my children about the US Supreme Court, I want to do so with pride.


A homeschooling Mom


My family knows me as a frequent emailer to my Senators and Representative. This is a genetic trait, I think. My father did it as well. He once received a reply from Walter Cronkite.

However, you can't email the Supreme Court so I am using snail mail. PRM

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011


Between my second and third years of medical school, I had a long break in which to prepare for and take my first national medical licensing exam. In the time between the exam and beginning clinical rotations, I went to England for 2 weeks with a friend. We spent a week in London and then traveled through southern England for another week. We rented a camper van much like this one,and I drove. That was a nail biting adventure, driving a van on the left side of the road. I brushed against a parked car only once, smacking the mirror. And it was my first experience with roundabouts instead of traffic lights.
We saw Derek Jacobi in Much Ado at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. Twice. My friend had a bit of a crush on Derek Jacobi and we sent him a gift backstage. In response he wrote a nice thank you note.

Shortly after we got home, my friend moved to Chicago and I went back to school. We were not good long distance friends, last seeing each other when I visited her right before my graduation in 1984. And we rarely spoke by phone, the last time over 20 years ago.

In February, I heard Derek Jacobi interviewed on the radio about his coming to New York to do King Lear. I googled my friend's name, found her email address and sent her a message. Did she want to see Derek Jacobi again?

And that is just what we did last week. We met in NY, went to the play and spent two days walking around Manhattan catching up on nearly 27 years of history, children, divorce, marriage, work, travel. It was so much fun. PRM

Friday, May 20, 2011

Finally the CDC addresses a REAL problem

Check out the new CDC bulletin, Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse.

Noach says the material lacks a critical step, identifying the type of zombie you are facing. So I'll give you his recommendations.

Fast zombies, now the most common, require that you are in a group, have munitions and food and a hand-to-hand weapon.

Slow zombies are less of a problems. The main suggestion, don't get cornered. They can be killed in the normal zombie-way.

The best place to face zombies is a prison. There are guns, food and you can get in a cell and they can't get to you.

Finally, if faced with 28 Day Later zombies, or "infected" zombies, you need to plan carefully. You must avoid the projectile vomit; it is immediately infectious. But they are vulnerable to being shot anywhere on their bodies. A head shot is not essential.

Be careful out there. PRM

Questions about the end of the world tomorrow

If you're easily offended, keep moving.

1. Is it a "rolling rapture"? And if so, where does it start? The international date line? Jerusalem? We, the no doubt damned, are wondering if it rolls east to west, could our daughter in Israel call us if she starts seeing people disappear and we could suddenly be saved? As my husband said last night, if you start seeing people disappear like that, your sudden embrace of Jesus would probably be quite sincere. But too late, perhaps. And certainly so for Shoshie.

2. Or is it a sudden event that happens at the same instant across the world? If so, we are SOL. I'll take the chance.

3. Do we know anyone likely to be raptured? Perhaps not locally. I guess that means we won't be very successful at the Post Rapture Looting event.

Just wondering. PRM

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bus bombing in Jerusalem

Shoshie's last few months in Israel may have just taken a dramatic turn. Safety is a big issue for groups like hers and this may lead to restrictions on her freedom to travel.

She has already called to reassure me and I have contacted relatives to spread the reassurance. Pray for victims if you are of a mind. And pray that all can find a way to peace. PRM

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Periodic Table of Videos visits Japan

From our favorite chemists in Nottingham comes an explanation of the nuclear reactor and the difficulties in Japan. PRM

Friday, March 18, 2011

What he said

A Quick Thought on Education (Revised) by Alex Knapp


Charlie Chan

In the Introduction to Shakespeare Wrote for Money by Nick Hornby, Sarah Vowell wrote of reading The House Without a Key, the first book in the 6 book series by Earl Derr Biggers that features Chinese detective Charlie Chan. She writes, "It turned out to be both charming and suspenseful and by the way partially about racism, in that the citizens of prewar Oahu are forced to deal with a kindly, Sherlock-level genius who happens to be Chinese." My interest was piqued when I read this last summer. Two months ago, JP and I were invited to join another couple for a week in Hawaii later this spring. Oh yes, I remembered, I never did read that Charlie Chan book.

Now I have. So evocative of prewar Hawaii. And wistful for an even earlier Hawaii. Except for being incapable of speaking English well, Charlie Chan is skilled and effectual and is respected for that. Sometimes, however, the idiomatic English hits just the right note.
Chan shook his head. "Impossible in Rear Bay at Boston," he said, "but here at moonly crossroads of Pacific, not so much so. Twenty-five years of my life consumed in Hawaii, and I have many times been witness when the impossible roused itself and occurred."
Moonly crossroads, roused impossibilities.

The main character, John Quincy Winterslip of Boston, of course, is a bit of a prig when he first arrives in Hawaii. He examines a clue, a torn out guest book inscription, that reads,
"In Hawaii all things are perfect, none more so than the hospitality I have enjoyed in this house.- Joseph E. Gleason, 124 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne, Victoria"

John Quincy turned away, shocked. No wonder that page had been ripped out! Evidently Mr. Gleason had not enjoyed the privilege of studying A. S. Hill's book on the principles of rhetoric.
John Quincy mellows during his visit. Hawaii is a little too much perhaps but he gives up the "Rear Bay" for a life in San Francisco.

Also native Hawaiians are insulted numerous times in the book when mainlanders fail to recognize them as fellow US citizens, Hawaii being a territory at the time this book was written. Some people still suffer from ignorance.

This book was a hoot. I am looking forward to a few days at the moonly crossroads of the Pacific myself soon. Maybe I'll read another Charlie Chan book on the plane. PRM

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Old West and the New

Thanks to Chris for pointing out these photos of Western life in the 1890s. They cover much of the area we visited in October.
We had a picnic right by the river in Hot Springs, SD.
JP enjoyed Sturgis. The main street looks a bit different now.However Devil's Tower hasn't changed much.Great trip. And these old photos are cool. PRM

Monday, March 7, 2011

Just like old times

Similar to old times, anyway. No Shoshie. Yakov is home for a few days of spring break. PRM

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sad day

Shoshie was quite a reader but she tended to read the same books over and over again. Harry Potter books were favorites but the Redwall series by Brian Jacques was also. And there were more Redwall books. And new ones came out more often.

Sadly Brian Jacques has died.

Invited in for a nice cup of tea one day, he volunteered to read to the students. Over time, he grew dissatisfied with the books available — too much adolescent angst, he later said — and vowed to write his own.

He wrote what he called “a proper story,” brimming with battle and gallantry. Titled “Redwall” and published in 1986, it became the first installment in what is now a best-selling 21-volume children’s fantasy series.

Last year a family in our local homeschool group lost everything in a house fire. The mom mentioned that one of the children lost his collection of Redwall books. Shoshie packed up her much loved, much read books, wrote a note about how she was sorry they were so tattered but knew that spoke to the value they held for her and probably to him and sent them to this boy. I hope he enjoyed them. PRM

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

That's my boy

At midnight Yakov called to discuss the State of the Union speech with me. Normally I would have been asleep at that time but I had only been home a little while. Last night was my monthly book club and I had not heard the speech. I'm hoping he will call again after I have had time to read the speech, my preferred media anyway. And I hope I don't get another heart-stopping ring at midnight for the discussion. But any phone call is welcome. It feels good to share their enthusiasm whether for science experiments or politics. PRM

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

That's my girl

Shoshie just called from Israel to tell me how cool it was to make this,

Fun! PRM

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Please help Noach with his Civics Project.

He is doing a public opinion poll on a few controversial issues. There are only 5 questions, so it will only take a minute. Thanks for your time. PRM

Click here to take survey

Monday, January 10, 2011

Jewish women

had a bad weekend with the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and also the death of Debbie Friedman. I will not comment on the tragedy in Tucson except to say that if you let mentally ill people have ready access to firearms, especially a Glock that can kill people, quickly and in large numbers, then you are going to have mentally ill people who commit these kinds of crime.I always hoped to see a Debbie Friedman concert. Our synagogue has been using her melody for the Me Shebeirach for the last few years. Shalom Rav is a personal favorite also. Her voice will be missed. PRM