This is Victoria’s new favorite word. She and Violet are devotees of the new PBS Kids show Word Girl. Style-wise it reminds me a bit of Underdog, but it’s all about vocabulary. There’s a character called the Butcher, to whom Word Girl says, “Are you called the Butcher because you butcher the English language?” (Reminds me of Garrison Keillor’s great line of nearly 8 years ago, that GW Bush was “the man in whose mouth the English language goes to die.”)

It comes on at 4, which is perfect, because after a day of hot activities, 4 pm is the time to veg with the TV in front of you and the AC behind.

“From the Planet Lexicon . . . Watch Out Villains . . . Here She Comes!”

I realized today that the Scandinavians likely moved here because of their great love of saunas. This morning we had the wet kind, this afternoon the dry.

We are having lots of totally Midwestern summer fun nonetheless:

— farmers market. This is a new favorite outing for the girls, especially since they hope to see the lady who makes balloon animals. They also beg for tomatoes and farm eggs, and Victoria recently requested a big cauliflower. A few weeks ago we were there and a zydeco-style band was playing (last week, Klezmer), and several couples were dancing, at 10 on a Saturday morning! Older men, over 70, dancing with that dignified, placid, confident air — one of those moments when you briefly forget the gains of feminism and wish you could have grown up decades ago dancing with these guys. (Or, substitute “you” or “I” if you don’t wish to be implicated in my daydreaming.)

— 10,000 lakes. There is just nothing like the water. I grew up traveling to my grandparents, whose community had a private neighborhood beach, so the beach is summertime to me. I wish we went more often. Violet seems to lose many inhibitions at the lake with friends.

— picnics. We’ve done some on our own and some with groups. Our local gifted council group had its yearly picnic. Many of the active families have highly+ gifted kids, I suppose because they are the families who need support on an ongoing basis. Not all the families are homeschoolers, though there is a good-sized homeschool chapter. Violet played squirt gun games with the other kids for 3+ hours. It’s lovely when chess, Shakespeare, Math Olympics, and other programs are made available to gifted kids, but it’s also nice to see a bunch of kids who’ve ended up in this group because their parents were worried about their fit in traditional school programs running around soaking each other with wild abandon. Talking with parents of some of Violet’s friends, we’ve noticed that kids who can be timid or anxious in group activities loosen up a great deal when they have a friend or two that they can connect with on many levels.

— movies. We watched Spirited Away the other night, which was a big success, although Victoria occasionally cried. It is not scary so much as intense; she would say, “I’m just so sad.” I am still not sure that it was wise to have her watch it, but maybe I am more bothered by her intense feelings than she is. Maybe it’s good for her to see things that match up to the depth of her sensitivity sometimes, in the right setting. Since then she and Violet have been playing, “Spirited Away: The Second Generation.”

— soccer. Yes, we’ve gone crazy for soccer this summer. Victoria had her last practice/game, and she finally scored a goal! She was so happy — it was really upsetting to her early in the summer that she was not scoring goals, never mind that no one else in the 5-and-under set was scoring goals either. Violet also finished, and they won their last game against Germany.


This week they are doing a skills camp, which is going great. I am getting a little break — it was a big adjustment from childcare to no childcare! — and they are getting some focused practice to feel more confident.

I think I’ve been sitting in my hot office long enough. I’m going to go start one of the books Sheila recommended!



Filed under Family Fun, Gifted Heart and Soul, Schoolday Doings, Socialization

4 responses to “Sweltering

  1. balloonanimals

    How about learning how to do balloon animals as an activity? It’s not hard, you just have to be a little twisted 😉

    Seriously, balloon twisting can be fun for the hole family plus educations. Here is a site that has actives (homeschool project) but can be use for fun too.


    Enjoy the twisted word of balloon animals.

  2. I’ve seen Word Girl. We watched it when we were visiting in L.A. last winter.

    I love how you describe your Farmer’s Market trips.

    I wish we were neighbors, Z would love to play Spirited Away the Second Generation.

  3. Oh, Shaun, I just LOVE Spirited Away! I find my daughter really feels those characters, while the boys are more blase. And here we are on vacation for 3 weeks and guess what I’ve brought for those “I’m too tired to think” moments of the day: all the Miyazaki movies we own. We watched Castle of Cagliostro 3 times already, with Howl’s MovingCastle coming in a close second. I wish sometimes that I’d found these stories/movies when I was a teen – they have such strong female characters and the men are all so interesting.

    Well, I’m getting kicked off the library computers now. Talk to you later and enjoy the books. I’m deep in gardening mags from the thrift store.

  4. Pingback: Recent Links Tagged With "garrisonkeillor" - JabberTags

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