WH Chronicle No. 3.6.15

March 6, 2015

Dear Gentle Chronicle Readers,

We have a special update today on Whaleherd Unit #1 or Whaleherdita.

Over Groundhog Day (curse that groundhog and his long winter) we offered Sam's film debut, so now, in another shamelessly proud parent moment, we have a video of Daryl in the school talent show.   She announced last week she wanted to participate and we have never heard her sing in public.

The cinematography is atrocious. In fact, start the video and look away.  We do not want to be responsible for your motion sickness.  But, yours truly, was a nervous wreck, wiping tears from my eyes, and doing my best not to drop the camera.

Hope you enjoy.
Lots of Love,
Daris and crew



WH GHD 2015 Appendix

 Feb 2, 2015

WH Chronicle GHD Appendix

So if your video didn't pop up in the blog--here's the link below.
I certainly don't want to give it too much build up, but it's worth seeing if you are a Sam fan.



WH Chronicle GHD 2015

Feb 2, 2015
Happy Groundhog Day, everyone!

Whew! We made it through Nutcrackers, Messiahs, Mall concerts, Christmas tree lighting concerts, Vienna Waltzes, Christmas eve ceremonies, Midnight Masses, and New Year’s Pops. 
“Hallelujah, Pass the Tylenol.”

December was the Germpocalypse, Germzilla, Germageddon, for the Hales.  Christmas day saw Tom with pneumonia and Sam vigorously driving the porcelain bus without even a libatious holiday party to blame.  Sam remarked stoically, “Why can’t I have a stomach bug on a school day? This is a real waste.” while moaning he was too sick to open presents.  Tom and Sam generously shared their afflictions with the whole family.

But, we can happily report that our 2014 saw no exotic life-threatening viruses, no heart surgeries, no broken bones, and no new additions to our household through a that magic vaginal portal.   So, actuary tables are steady and the Insurance company can retain their healthy profits. As my sweet Dad says, "You definitely don't want your money's worth out of health insurance." If only I'd known.

We do have a new family member, Sophia Kuyenga, from Tanzania, with us this year.  She will be acquiring her Masters in Music from Texas State University over the next four semesters.   She is the kindest person to ever to have tread our domain.   She is an incredible cook and spends time in the kitchen relaxing from her studies.  When the family is hungry, we compassionately recommend that she take a study break--for her sake, of course.  

We all miss Kaghondi.  The departure of every exchange student is painful.   It’s difficult not to bump around the house with someone for 10 months and then not miss their loving contributions.  Kaghondi is teaching at Makumira University and is happily reunited with his family.  I know he struggles with the pace of progress in his country, but he is well suited for negotiating it gracefully.

Hilde, our Norwegian Princess, from Norwegia, came to visit us at the end of the summer.  She was preparing to embark on a backpacking adventure across South America.  It was wonderful to see how she has blossomed into a more mature, more thoughtful, and more beautiful version of her original self.   In the fall, she will be studying human rights at the School of Law at University of Essex.   

And Jamilly, our Kazakhstani princess, will graduate from University in 2016 and spend a year volunteering in Peru.  This summer her studies will be in Madison, Wisconsin.  Hopefully, there will be a Jamilly sighting in our future.

Homeland Princess (albeit Queen) Daryl, still makes plenty of noises about her Broadway dream. We are not in the position to tell her not to follow her passions, though perhaps one could easily argue the feasibility of those passions. She is thriving at her new school with all sorts of awards and honor rolls. I teeter on either praising her or reminding her the true goal of education is not really grades; despite suffering some character assassination for this. But then, my New Year’s resolution is to be a “cheerful dissident” and avoid all forms and versions of “cynic”. Can’t say I’ve succeeded entirely, but I haven’t lost my resolve.

Sam will be graduating elementary school and joining Daryl at St. Francis next year. This will be a big promotion for the resident taxi/school bus driver (Tom) as well.  Sam loves cars, tanks, guns, birds, and has announced that he wants to be a naturalist--then promptly asked, “What do naturalists do?” Well, we skipped the part about being still and observing for long periods of time, but emphasized that being in nature is an important component.

Sam and his Hog

Sparked by Sam’s love for birds, we visited the Texas Hawking Event. It was a collection of outdoorsman with fearsome birds of prey perched on their arms. Tales of capturing, training and hunting with their hawks and falcons were fascinating and educational. Sam, of course, wanted one. We offered Susan, the overly tame, very fat chicken at his school, as a substitute.  She would patiently sit on his arm should he actually be able to lift his arm with her on it.  She’ll look great in a falcon hood.

Tom spends a lot time driving the kids.  I supposed it is the 21st century’s version of quality time here in Austin.  There are many conversations that can be had with a captive audience in the absence of earbuds. We had the realization that our next family car will not need to be a troop carrier, as it will be for only two people--sigh.  Hey, why is Tom buying earbuds?  

If I weren’t so proud to admit the deadly sin of being proud, then I’ll tell you how proud I was of all our clan. Amazing peeps.

Me, well, much to the frustration of my friends and family, I'm becoming less accommodating in social settings. Perhaps as my Gatsby-esque delusions of the world wear thin, I don't feel compelled to nod agreeingly with prejudice statements. I vigorously examine fallacies of reasoning and question our constructed reality.  The 'cheerful dissident' resolution was in an effort to honor my own nature while avoiding leprosy of cynicism. I see the kids growing into adults and feel an urgency.   I passionately explain to them about the danger of ambitions and succumbing to perverse incentives; about Integrity and the sanctity of human life; and that these matter despite the consequences you might endure for protecting them; that there are good reasons and bad reasons to go to jail; AND (with my finger pointed high in the air) just because someone doesn’t recognize your value doesn’t mean that you aren’t priceless.    

To which Sam replies, “How about when Daddy was arrested? Was that a good reason or a bad reason?”  

“Ummm...yeah...well...that's for Daddy to explain.”


Summer plans, you ask?  Well, we anticipate taking our lovely Bluebird bus named “Birdienda” to destinations in Oklahoma, Montana, California, New Mexico.  The current repair status of said bus is still yet undetermined as our family’s ‘division of labor’ has put management of all temperamental mechanics and carpenters under Tom’s iron-fisted dictatorship.  (I might have just broken my New Year’s resolution, again.)  

For your viewing pleasure, I'm including a short (4 min) film that was written, directed, and filmed by high school students at Quartz Mountain last summer. King of the Mountain, featuring Sam.

"An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it." ~Mahatma Gandhi

“Speak what you think today in hard words and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself” ~Rita Mae Brown

“To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.” ~Georgia O’Keeffe

"Did you ever wonder if the person in the puddle is real, and you're just a reflection of him?"
~Calvin and Hobbes

Yours truly trusting in rodent meteorologists,

P.S.  "I was in college, and it was expunged, alright?" can heard from the other room.