Monday, April 20, 2009

College Fashion?


Saturday, the sun warmed us to the cozy 70's. Sunday, the April showers began in earnest. Today, the rains continued and showcased a new fashion statement. Most of the fashionable ladies about University were sporting rain boots. Yes, mid-calf rubber boots in the most delightful array of colors! I believe the local Greek houses were responsible for the prevalence of pink boots, but a whole variety of designs and hues were represented. Most of the ladies sported the boots with a sweatshirt with the hoodie up and no umbrella--apparently, they're a fashion no-no.

What did I wear? It's over 50 degrees, so I have returned to my Birkenstocks sans stockings. I paired them with a black umbrella with rainbow polka dots and black Avera raincoat from last Spring's Minneapolis meeting.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Little Break With A Big Opera


I've been good I promise. After reading and outlining and reading again, I took a little break with a big opera this afternoon. We went out to see The Magic Flute! The company was marvelous even though we were up in the nosebleed seats. The show was almost three hours long!

The cast of singers were amazing! The Queen of the Night had this amazing piece with a lot of the high bouncy soprano vocalization. Yes, I know my technical language of opera stuns you all...but the high bouncy bit was clear, beautiful, and carried right up to our seats with ease. I wish the young tenor had been given more songs. His voice was lovely and very expressive. All too soon the three hours had passed and it was time to go back into the rain.

It was a good break but back to the grindstone.


Friday, April 17, 2009

An Author In The Family


My sister entered a contest at "The Week" with a pithy (well alittle snarky) new slogan for Canada! The following lists the First through Honorable Mention...Joy is one of the honorable!

FIRST PRIZE: Canada: It’s Almost Like a Foreign Country! Lera
SECOND PRIZE: Canada: Just Like the United States, Only Cooler. Marc
THIRD PRIZE: One part England, one part France.It’s cold up here, so wear warm pants.Dave
Honorable mentions:
We’re Not The United States but We’re Darn Close. Ross
Canada: Where Your Cold Front Begins. Mark
The Other Mexico. Gordon
Canada: Where Winter Spends the Summer. John and Susan
Come Catch Our Cold! Jeremy

Come For the Bacon, Stay for the Healthcare! Joy Larson, Groton, SD
World’s Longest Undefended Border—What’s Stopping You? Joseph
Canada: Where Socialism Doesn’t Mean You Have to be Social. Betty
We’re Not Called “Can’tada,” Are We? Derek
Canada: It’s Not Just for Draft-Dodgers Anymore. Daren


Wednesday, April 15, 2009



I have 2 papers and 3 presentations remaining before I can breathe the sweet air of freedom!

The weather is gorgeous today! I've just come up from photocopies for two or three hours in the basement of the library. The sun is shinning, there is very little breeze, and it is beautiful. Sadly, I need to go to my office in the basement and continue working. However, there is an end in sight and I'll be home soon!


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter with Familly!


Happy Easter to Sisters, Family, and Friends! The Triduum was hosted by wonderful weather out here by the lake! I was grateful for the sunshine since my parents joined me Thursday afternoon and just left this morning. I didn't want them to see the city and campus in the dreary gray of springtime rain.

Thursday we attended Mass and it was packed! Since two parishes share a priest and an assistant, they combined the two for Holy Thursday. It was full to the choir loft! There was a full choir with bells and other instruments. The service was wonderful, but just not quite the same. I missed some of the music the Community uses on that night. Our Ubi Caritas chant is just much more where my heart is rather than the Ubi Caritas arrangement the parish used.

Friday, I drove my parents about the city. Dad took pictures as
I drove through the several level interchange system where the two expressways meet. We shopped at a local Catholic goods store and I discovered that not only are my purchases tax exempt there, I also get a religious discount! Then we drove along the lake to the sisters Motherhouse. There we met up with one of the sisters I live with and she gave us a wonderful tour of the chapel and old wood work in the motherhouse.

Good Friday Services were held at the other parish. The building itself is a large space with hard tile floors and a high open was freezing. My parents and I stayed in our jackets as did most of the parishoners with us. The lady next to my mother even left her driving gloves on! The services were good. One of the readers took his role in the Passion very seriously. His Pilot voice was harsh and gravely, mean and demanding...I had to chuckle just a little bit at the theatrics. The whole congregation processed down the middle aisle to reverence the cross. Even with restricting the people to a solemn bow before the cross, it took 7 songs before all had processed before the cross! This is a day for my favorite songs of old...and we didn't get to sing them! Instead there were things like "Jesus walked this lonesome valley, He had to walk it by himself..." Ah more year!

We ended Good Friday by inviting the sisters out for "fish fry" with the family. My parents enjoyed the fish fry and getting to visit more with the Franciscans who have taken their daughter in. Mom 'thanked' them by bringing her travel massage table with her and each of the sisters got a full massage that night. All slept well! And the sisters are more than willing to invite my parents or at least my mom back.

Touring started early on Saturday. We drove down the lake side road so my parents could see the homes aka mansions that were built there. Then Dad and I stopped a local haunt for coffee while Mom choose a homemade blueberry scone. We took our breakfast to the lake side and let the wind blow, took a few pictures, and gathered some rocks for the grandchildren. They loved seeing the old buildings there. Next, I took them out of the city to Holy Hill Basillica (Discaled Carmelite Monks). The Basillica is gorgeous! The Church is dedicated to Mary and all the windows tell her story in lovely pastels and lighter colors. The Rose window is the only one that uses the deeper tones and more vibrant colors. There was a side chapel to light candles and leave notes for prayer; Mom and Dad each filled out a slip for our family and friends who had been asking for prayer. Leaving the chapel, we looked at some of the Stations of the Cross the monks had built as large grottos. You can walk up the hill (over a half mile on a 50 plus degree grade) and pray the stations of the cross while winding your way up the hill to the chapel. Finally, we did a little shopping and headed back to the city.

Holy Saturday, I herded my parents into the car early so we could be to church a half-an-hour early. This service is usually packed at any parish I've attended. All the "easter bunnies" come out for the smells and bells as my Grandpa used to say. When Mass began, the was only about 2/3 of the parish filled...sad for such an active parish. This night there was a full choir, bells, horns, stringed instruments, and soloist cantors for each psalm response. The cantor for the Exodus "Horse and Chariot" really got into her music and it felt like we were watching the opera. Father had a wonderful homily about the women who went to attend to Jesus body. He said they allowed their heart to overcome their common sense. Their common sense kept asking who will roll away the stone? How will we get in to Jesus? But they kept walking to the grave to seek and serve him. It allowed for a very nice time of person we allow our desire to seek God to direct our lives or do we rely on our common sense and let it overcome love?

Mom decided we needed to celebrate their last night in the city after Mass.
So, we went to Kopps and ordered some of their awsome cheeseburgers complete with home cured bacon! It was a great way to end a good weekend of visiting, touring, and celebrating together. Hope you liked this little peak into my Triduum! Now I need to catch up on the school work I didn't do!


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Holy Thursday


I am very unsuccessfully reading and rereading the same article about teacher induction. It is the beginning of Triduum, my parents are driving out to spend Easter weekend with me, and I'm missing our Community celebrations of Holy Week.

Last night I attended a Tenebrae service at the parish. I had always enjoyed Fr. Mike Griffin's Tenebrae...he chanted part of the Lamentations, we joined for part of the "Jerusalem...", there was also a good balance of Isaiah's Suffering Servant and the Passion accounts as well as responses from the Psalms. It all combined to create a very solemn beginning of the Triduum. I was a bit disappointed with the service here. I've been liturgically spoiled at home and I now realize it. The reading were all from the Passion accounts with a kind of self reflection response from an unidentified author (not so bad) but all the responses were from very general chorus parts from the music missal. Not bad for a parish, actually probably enriching for the parish, but not much substance in all.

I am guessing that right now at the Monastery there is a quiet flurry of preparation. The Chapter room is being prepared for the foot washing prayer service, the dinning room is all set for our Agape Supper, the Chapel has been newly cleaned and the Peace Chapel is being reorganized for the Reservation until Holy Saturday. There have been choir practices, lector practices, and maybe even practice for the candle carrier. I have to admit; I miss it. I miss our smells and bells of Holy Week and Triduum. I also miss our quiet reflection during these days. The house is so full of prayerful expectation and joy held in check for the Easter Alleluias. I never noticed it until now...

My homesickness is balanced out with joy at my parents' arrival this afternoon! I am excited to show them around the University and my own little corner of the city. The sisters are so generous in welcoming any guests I might bring home. They are even more interested to meet my mom...she is bringing her travel massage bed per request of her daughter. I have a few sight seeing trips planned to share part of my experience with them. We'll see the Holy Hill Chapel, drive down along the lake to get a superior cup of coffee, and stop in at the Motherhouse. I may even show them where I was also considering to live; it'll make them appreciate the suburbs more.

Well, I need to return to my paper littered desk and reapply my efforts at finishing up some reading before my parents arrive.


Friday, April 3, 2009

Reading & Reading & Reading


Let me begin by thanking God, my parents, and the teachers who let me read during class when I wasn't supposed to...I can read at a fairly good clip with a solid reading comprehension. Also a blessing (according to Sr. Marcia) is the fact that I can remember what I have read and to which article or class it belongs. While I have had quite a bit of reading this semseter, teachers are beginning to pick up ideas from across the articles now that we are nearing the end. I've heard some folk are wondering what I'm doing in my classes and coursework...the following paragraphs are for you.

I have been reading about new teacher induction for my teaching seminar course. I have to present a 25 article literature review since I am a practicing teacher. The classroom teachers will tape themselves and then evaluate their practice, plus they have to bring a clip to class for the whole group to offer evaluation. I think I'm okay with the literature review...I began with the success of new teacher mentoring programs and soon discovered that they were not truly successful in retaining new teachers, but a more complete program of induction was retaining teachers. So now I am trying to discover if there are any key pieces of an induction program that work better with new teachers. The trouble is there seems to be alot of folk on the induction bandwagon without anyone discovering what is pulling the wagon. It is interesting, but a great deal of the research uses the super hugemongous schools in California, Texas, Michigan, and on and on. Ah well...

My project for the Teacher as Leader course seems to be moving along well. After trying to research mission statements, I discovered that while most of the schools have written one there isn't any proof to show they make a difference (other than advertizing). Corporations are the only ones who have studied to see how to implement a mission statement to take it off the wall. My proposed project for the class is finding a way to put the SFCS claim of Gospel values into action in the classroom. I have some folk from O'G checking my plans and making great suggestions.

The research course needs some prayer. Yes, I get how to evaluate the way a study is done and why it is done, but those comparative number graphs a the end still make my head spin. I've decided to make Sr. Bernice my patron of research courses since she knew how to make the numbers do what she wanted in the bakery. The great news (sarcasm) is that my 6-week summer course is another research class.