Posts Tagged ‘high school’

Homeschooling is More than Workbooks at the Kitchen Table

March 5, 2017

When we were diligently studying WWII in American history in our homeschool, I assigned the kids the project of making a game. Foolishly I assumed they would come up with some sort of board game with the Axis and Allies picking sides and battling it out with cards, or dice or Popsicle sticks to dominate the world. I should have known better with MY children.

When I give my students active assignments such as this there is always a laundry list of requirements for their “class” presentation. Just like real school. This particular list included, but was not limited to: make a game that 4-6 people can play, design a game board, include historical information, wear an applicable costume when presenting, have props for the players and make it fun!

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

(To my dismay, I did not take a picture of Austin wearing his costume… but this shows what he looked like at that time… thrilled to be giving a report!)

To say I was surprised when my son walked in dressed like Hitler is an understatement. He had absconded the master closet with a tan Royal Rangers shirt of his father’s. He designed a swastika arm band, found a skinny tan tie, and made gold medals for the getup. His blonde hair was slicked over and he had a felt mustache in miniature taped to his upper lip. Scarily, he did resemble the German fascist.

For props we all wore similar black felt mustaches and hand drawn arm bands. The game board was pretty straight forward with six columns leading to the top where he had boldly scribed, “Who Wants to Be Hitler?” … sort of like Jeopardy. At this stage I was falsely assuming that my son was glorifying a mad man and I was simply waiting for the moment to stop the game.

To my surprise (and relief), as we rolled the dice to move up the board, we had to answer detailed questions about the Jews, Germany, death camps, Hitler, the Nazis, Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass), persecution, ethnic cleansing, the death trains, etc. The strategy of the game was well thought out. As players, you didn’t want to be Hitler, so you had to understand the times and his hideous plan in order to stay where you were on the board and not ascend to the top. For every wrong answer, you moved closer to “being Hitler.”

The process of playing the game brought home the idea that if you didn’t understand what was going on in society, you would be caught up in the nightmare becoming part of the problem. Discussions following the game were extremely contrite and somber. These kids understood the sins of at least THIS past generation, hopefully being somewhat equipped to stand up against injustice if a situation arose in their lives.

My son received an A on his game and presentation and the game was laid to rest forever.

Unfortunately, somehow the swastika-armband-clad-shirt ended up on a hanger in the front room of our house before it made its way back to my husband’s side of the closet. In the 18 hours it hung in the front room, the doorbell must have wrung at least five times for various and sundry reasons. When spying the shirt, several eyebrows were raised heavenward wondering what in the world was going on in the Crosby homeschool. Fumbling through various thoughts in my head, I knew I should NOT say, “We just played Who Wants to be Hitler!” I feebly came up with, “We are studying World War II,” and smiled my pretty homeschool-mom-smile… the one that makes people assume I have my act together.

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STOP! In the Name of the Law!

January 22, 2017

Tonight I was reminded of a story from my high school days which I gladly share at this time. It is a homeschool science lesson in the making, mixed with art and civics. Thank you for bringing this story to the forefront of today’s news, Connie, my partner in crime more than once in our late teen years.

It has escaped me where I obtained this gem of a fashion statement, but somehow I got my little 17-year-old hands on a pair of these stop sign sunglasses.

stop-sign-glasses

This is EXACTLY the pair that I chose to wear in high school. See how they have shatter-proof lenses? Safety first! See how it says for children 5 years or older. It should have said for children ages 5-15… let me explain.

The lenses on these beauties were green and they were quite dark, which aided my shielding of the bright California sunshine while donning them. One bright shiny day, I was cruising down El Camino Real in Sunnyvale, California (But not cruising at night on El Camino Real in Santa Clara….. that was naughty) minding my own business… wearing the above glasses… because I was fashion conscious. I’m sure I had on a red or white or royal blue Izod polo shirt with the collar turned up with a matching cherry red patent leather belt in the belt loops of my 501 Levi jeans. (Button fly! Rock on!)

Unusual, to be sure, the stoplights were out on El Camino that day! I was quite surprised that so many in a row were out… block after block. I approached each intersection with caution, stopped, looked both ways and proceeded with care.

Next thing I know there was an officer of the law flashing his blue lights at me in the rear view mirror. Odd. I had never seen them only flash blue. (Not that I had much experience being pulled over… ahem.) After pulling my car to the side of the road the nice police man came to chat with me. He asked why I was running all the red stop lights on El Camino. WHAT? “They were all out, officer! That is why I treated them like stop signs.”

Then I pulled off my awesome stop sign sunglasses and realized his patrol car WAS flashing red and blue… but I couldn’t see the red lights with the green lenses in my fashion eye wear. Figuring he would believe me as I made the discovery and explained it to him….. he simply stood there looking at me like I had used too much VO5 hairspray for too long in too small of a bathroom.

Finally, I handed him the glasses and offered, “See for yourself!” He did. He put them on, glanced around at his police car lights and the red street light in the next intersection, removed them and handed them back to me shaking his head.

The kind public servant did not give me multiple tickets for running multiple lights that day, but did instruct me to NEVER wear the stop sign sun glasses while driving! OKAY!

Here is the science lesson part of this story from physicsclassroom.com:

A pigment that absorbs a single frequency is known as a pure pigment.

Pigments absorb light. Pure pigments absorb a single frequency or color of light. The color of light absorbed by a pigment is merely the complementary color of that pigment. 

color-wheel

And so, dear students, green lenses on fancy sunglasses shaped like stop signs absorb red traffic lights because green and red are complementary colors on the opposite sides of the color wheel. You cannot see red lights with these glasses on! Don’t try this at home!

Be safe! Don’t drive with green or red lenses! And there you have it, from the archives.

Tours, Tiaras and Two T-shirts

August 8, 2013

Our summer travels for 2013 have come to an end.  For three weeks I have been away from home (2 of those weeks without my family!) and I have learned several valuable tidbits that I feel compelled to share with you, faithful reader.

Trip #1 Nashville, Tennessee.  I learned that I really am a jewelry diva…. you may be surprised I didn’t admit this until now, but I seriously outfitted my roommates with GREAT accessories several times!  On this trip to the South, I realized that I love the South.  I haven’t been there for several years and the greenness is intoxicating.  The rolling hills of swaying grass call to me.  The magnolia trees waved in the moist breeze enticing me with their ivory blooms and the brick homes with their neat and tidy yards make me wanna spit at the desert and move tomorrow.  The grand finale of the trip was touring Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson’s plantation.  Oh, did he spend good money paying an English gardener that is still making women swoon at the aromas of the flowers he chose!

Nashville 102

Trip #2 Southern to Northern California.  This was a high school girl’s roadtrip that reunited five friends after 30 years of separation.  It was non-stop laughs and stories of yesteryear.  One of the roadies brought us all Superwoman t-shirts with hot pink capes and tiaras with pink bling bling.  You couldn’t really miss us…. AT ALL.  It was great fun but tiring for this mama.  By day #4, I was a bit of a party pooper.  I’m still not back to my old self and the car accident was almost five months ago.

road trip nation

Trip #3 Family Vacation at Lake Tahoe, California.  Please see the last blog as to my dire straights due to my husband’s negligence.  So, here is the REST of the story.  In addition to my light blue ONLY shirt, I ended up purchasing one t-shirt, a pink v-neck that had tasteful Lake Tahoe lettering on the front.  I tried it on in the hardware store dressing room, yanked off the tags and wore it to the register.  The attendant commented, “Oh, wearing it out!  Showing your Tahoe pride!”  I shook my head and blurted, “You don’t know half the story!”  So, I wore each shirt on alternating days while the other was in the wash.  I wore my jeans every single day in Tahoe, save one when it was warm enough for shorts. And my two pair of socks took turns hugging my feet or wiping the insides of the washing machine.

tahoe pink shirt

Thanks to my hubby and parents who had pity on me, I flew home so as to avoid my already painful arm from sitting in the truck for 15 hours straight.  Yes, on the plane rides I wore my jeans and my blue t-shirt.  This was like a flashback to our trip to Colombia where we only had three shirts each for a month!  On the first flight, a neat-as-a-pin 20-something gal sat next to me with her head aimed at her book the entire flight.  She didn’t say a peep to me (and I kept my nose in my current historical novel as well) until she popped open her hand sanitizer and with pressurization it squirt all over my jeans that I have been wearing for nine days.  I thought it comical that they probably did need sanitizing at this point, but I didn’t feel like telling a stranger that I haven’t changed my pants in over a week.

Not nearly as entertaining as my flight from from Nashville sitting next to the narcoleptic man, I was in LAX on a layover and knew my seat number was 5D.  It is a smaller plane with only two seats on each side of the aisle.  Fine.  However, there was a family with two little blonde haired bundles of screams and energy also in the waiting area.  I hoped and prayed they wouldn’t be seated near me.  I mean goodness sakes, I was only 45 pages into an enrapturing tale from Reformation times set in the Netherlands.  Screaming + Reformation = NOT ON MY WATCH!  Right before boarding commenced, I visited the little girl’s room.  When I wandered back to the gate I heard the quite loud mother of the two girlies tell her husband matter-of-factly, “Whoever is holding the baby is supposed to sit in seat 5C.”  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  This was an emergency situation of gargantuan proportions in my mind.  I went straight to the desk to ask to be moved.  The kind lady at the counter asked, “What is your name, please?”  Not sure why she needed the information, I simply retorted, “Crosby.”  She looked down and then handed me a new boarding pass, adding, “I’m sorry, but we had to move your seat to 8D.”  If we weren’t in an airport surrounded by 87 travelers with cellphones that take photos, I would have jumped over the counter and hugged her little neck and kissed her over-rouged cheeks!

family ta da

Our story ends with me blogging at our home computer, contented to be in my own house with my two dogs licking my feet, sitting here in my jeans and my blue t-shirt.  :o)  Safe travels!

Vera Wang, Where are You?

August 1, 2013

rick and linda tahoe 13

Hello from Lake Tahoe, one of our favorite relaxing places on planet earth.  It rocks! Do I look cold in this picture?  I am! Does my sweatshirt look too big?  Does it look like it is a Minnesota sweatshirt that I would never wear?  IT IS!  See my husband?  Doesn’t he look kind and thoughtful and fun.  It’s all a FRONT!  If we post more pictures from our adventures in Tahoe, be sure to notice my jeans…. because I will have them on in EVERY single photo.  WHY? you ask.

Our story begins last Wednesday when I emptied my suitcase from my trip to Nashville, only long enough to wash the clothes and re-pack into a carry-on for my high school girl’s road trip.  My family would be joining me in Tahoe after I flew to Los Angeles for the four day excursion with four of my high school friends.  Us girls had to pack light as there were five of us in a suburban and we needed room for our vintage/shabby/thrift store gems yet to be purchased.  And we used all that space too!

Knowing that I would need WARM clothes in Tahoe, I packed half of the big suitcase to share with my husband, as we have done for 27 years now.  Being the Phoenix girl that I am, I added wool socks, flannel jammies, three more pair of socks, a big Mickey Mouse sweatshirt, sweats, a wind-proof jacket, five pair of undies, my warm fur Vera Wang bling bling slippers, long sleeve shirts, a heating pad, the next book in the series that I am reading, Christmas-in-July gifts for two of our friends, etc. etc. etc.

When our family was re-united (and it feels so good) at the lake, I immediately went to the suitcase to layer up on my clothes and find my slippers.  I dug on one side.  I dug on the other side.  Then realization hit…. like a mosquito impacting the windshield at 75 mph…. MY STUFF WAS MISSING!  WHAT?  I almost couldn’t breathe for a few seconds.  I threw out a few games and a pillow that my sweet husband had packed in the suitcase and then with a slightly elevated voice I “kindly” asked, “WHERE ARE MY CLOTHES?”  His blank look of confusion on his handsome face confirmed that it was not a premeditated action taken to cause me mental anguish.  He replied after a few seconds, “I took out all the stuff that you left in the suitcase from Nashville.”  “IT WAS NOT FROM NASHVILLE!  IT WAS WOOL SOCKS AND A HEATING PAD SO I DON’T FREEZE TO DEATH HERE IN TAHOE!”

He told me that I could just wear the clothes over and over from the road trip…. yeah… NO!  It was a beach dress, shorts and a tank top and capris with a sleeveless shirt.  NOT TAHOE FRIENDLY at all.  I was wearing my jeans, thank God all mighty!  And a blue t-shirt.  And one of my three pair of underwear.  And one of my two pair of socks.  At that moment, I took Rick’s Minnesota sweatshirt from the suitcase and put it on.  He commented, “Well, I brought that so I could wear it.”  Too bad, Bucko.

slippers

My Vera Wang slippers have been temporarily replaced by these handmade Halloween slippers that are four sizes too large that I found in the cabin….  they ARE warm.  I’m almost speechless at this turn of events.  Almost.  OK, not really.  Several comments have been made ALL DAY LONG as to my clothes being the same as yesterday…. the stain on my blue t-shirt that appears to be growing… the outfit that I will have on for ALL the pictures this week…. a Bible verse about how we shouldn’t worry about what we wear…. and how I should really be choosing ONE outfit for my husband to also wear all week long next to me.  :o)  He is lucky that this is not a trip where I needed nice, dress-up clothes with matching jewelry and purses and shoes.  Oh, let me tell you how lucky he is!

Good grief!  Calm down.

“Why I Love Nature” by Linda Ann Crosby

March 6, 2013

With the sun shining and the temperatures in the comfort zone, we have been spending far more time outside in March than in December, January and February combined.  Nature Journals have been forced upon my children and one out of three is loving it.  That’s pretty good odds… and I love it, so we’re even Steven.  I’m trying to teach them about botany, art, relaxing and creating in God’s creation.  You’d think a kid who doesn’t have to sit indoors and do math would jump at the chance to draw in the sunshine.  But no. If my boys ever lie on those long black leather couches and explain how I ruined them, I’m sure the Nature Journals will be mentioned.  But that does not deter me.  :o)

Last week we ventured out the front door to draw a Texas Ebony tree in our yard.  This is a REAL Nature Journal… not a fake Nature Journal… so there are rules to be followed.  AND this has to count for a botany grade for a high school student.  Not like a “draw-a-dumb-tree-and-color-it-green” journal.  NOOOOooooooo.  The requirements include, but are not limited to: draw the shape of the tree, the bark, the leaves, the leaf arrangement, the thorns (we’re in Arizona… all the trees have thorns), the flowers, the seeds, the pods.  And when you have all that drawn with exact measurements beside each, the leaves need to have their shape, venation and margin analyzed and recorded.  SEE?!  Not your average lame Nature Journal.

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So, after the Texas Ebony had been admired from afar, with a magnifying glass and everything in between, we gathered around the kitchen table and I asked to see the renderings.   Three of four were identifiable.  The fourth tree, however, was ……  …….  interesting.  I questioned said artist, “If I gave your picture to Dad and sent him to the front yard, could he locate the Texas Ebony?” (We only have three trees in the front yard.)  “Probably not.”  “Go try again, son.”

And the nature loving just keeps on rolling here at L.A.K.E. Academy, a homeschool where gifted children thrive…. whether they want to or not.  heh heh heh.

Yet Another Rude Awakening

March 9, 2012

These past two weeks, I have been appalled, shocked and dismayed as I have investigated “Christian” colleges that my daughter is interested in attending and heard reports of several state universities.  I’m not sure which surprised me more (albeit, I realize I’m a morally straight-up, nicely sheltered prude…. and proud of it most of the time) the fact that a professor at a nearby “professing” Christian college relayed to me that less than half the staff THAT TEACH at the college believe that the Bible is inerrant…. OR…. the fact that the dorms at the big state college here in town have co-ed dorms and BATHROOMS!  WHAT?  SO much has changed since our college days… oh…. my…. word.

With my daughter by my side, we introduced ourselves to a psychology prof whom she would be taking classes from if she attended the school we were touring.  He asked if I had any questions.  Boy howdy, did I!  My first one was about the professors believing the Bible’s innerrancy…..my second was an inquiry about his personal beliefs and worldview.  I didn’t reserve these questions solely to the psychology department…. I thought it was even more apropos to ask the dean of the Christian studies program.  “Most of the profs in the Christian Studies department believe like you do, Mrs. Crosby.”  MOST!?!  I’m more concerned about the few that don’t…. EVEN having a teaching job in that department.  Good gravy!

(Here’s my daughter with her suitcase packed ready to jump on the college train.)

My questioning ended with the Christian Studies gentleman with an inquiry if there were any required religious courses.  He quite satisfactorily affirmed that yes, all students must take Worldview.  (That could be good or bad, depending on what that prof believes!!!)  Larisa chimed in at that moment and said that she had already taken Worldview.  The prof asked what college she is transferring from.  She replied that she is a senior in high school.  He then cross-examined about what school teaches Worldview.  “I’m homeschooled,” she answered.  With eyes as big as the free frizbees they were giving away, he turned back to me and queried in disbelief, “YOU taught Worldview to your highschool homeschooler?”  “Yes,” I admitted a little more timidly than my questions had been delivered, “I thought it was really important.”  He actually shook his head at me.

After my questions were exhausted… as well as my little brain trying desperately to wrap itself around these ideas that are accepted by most now-a-days…. my daughter turned to me and said, “Wow, Mom, those were tough questions.  I didn’t know you were going to ask questions like that.  Good job.”  What was I supposed to be asking?  “Do you give scholarships for being really cute?” (I wish!)

I’m feeling older and more prudish as each day passes.  I’m relating more to Noah than to the world we are surrounded by.  In and not of, baby.  All the way.

Homeschool Mom High School Freak Out!

January 7, 2012

This is all past tense freaking out we’re talking about… five months ago was when it occurred.  My daughter was beginning her senior year in high school and she needed a transcript for some such activity or club or other stress-producing avenue for this homeschool mother.  Lots of moms have high school homeschool anxiety… how will I teach chemistry, or trigonometry, or a foreign language when all I know is pig latin from Zoom??? 

I’m a planner by nature, so making the high school plan was right up my alley.  The lovely state we reside in has the high school requirements right there online for us to copy and paste.  I simply spread out the course requirements over four years and BAM… it was done.  Fast forward to the request for the transcript.  WHAT?  You want grades from the last three years?  Of course I kept diligent track of all of them… including electives and P.E. and driver’s education…. somewhere.  Being somewhat organized, I had thrown them all into a file folder AND I knew where it was.  Whew!

Through the first three years of high school teaching, I had also been collecting transcript templates.  They were thrown in a file folder that I knew the location of!  See?  Why was I freaking out?  I guess I had heard of other moms losing it at this point, so I jumped on the band wagon.

Truly, it was no big deal.  One balmy August afternoon when it was WAY too hot to go outdoors in Phoenix, AZ, I sat down at the computer and made my own template for an OFFICIAL HIGH SCHOOL TRANSCRIPT.  Yes, I wrote that right at the top in bold letters.  Looks really official.  I resurrected the high school plan for my daughter… the one with two cute pictures on the top… (one from 1994 when she had a waterfall hairdo and was sitting in her high chair.. and one glamor shot taken by her talented cousin, Whitney) and I filled in the classes as they actually happened.  Bam!

Why do homeschool moms freak out about this??  I’m not sure.  The Lord fills in the gaps for us EVERY time.  The credits added up to more than enough.  The required classes were accomplished.  He supplied teachers for the subjects where I know nothing.  Homeschooling is really about leaving the details up to the Lord.  We wake up every day and pray for wisdom… and then march down the stairs, feeling as unqualified as ever, and rely on the Lord to aid this sometimes weary soul.  I wouldn’t trade one day of our homeschooling adventure…. (I can think of about 10 days I would trade!) … but each day with its trials, joys and triumphs was worth every ounce of my ever-loving-sold-out devotion to God and our kids.

Tonight I copied and pasted Official High School Transcript #1 and filled in the blanks for #2.  And it’s only half way through his freshman year!  Sweet Jesus, I’m on top of this thang now!

History Nerds UNITE!

May 24, 2011

I simply had to share my excitement for next school year.  American History for highschool is what I will be teaching, as well as casually guiding my two younger kids through American History literature.  OH, I’m so excited about all the books we will be reading this coming year!  I’ve already announced to my two sons, who do not love reading YET, that this will be a foundational year for them and their reading careers.  Yes, they both rolled their eyes at the woman who gave birth to them!  Sheesh.

My planning is almost done and for the first time in ten years of homeschooling, I’m branching out to try a few different curricula.  Of course, I’m still using Konos for History of the World 4: American History.  Nothing beats the activities in HOW!  Nothing.  But for the youngers, I’m trying a few more structured choices that will enable them to be a bit more independent.  I’m stretching myself here, believe me.  I’m a control freak, and I’m giving up some control somewhat willingly.  We’ll see how this goes!

I’m so glad all of next school year is written down and organized and planned and structured and ready!  Whew!

The History of Arizona has Begun!

January 21, 2011

That’s me in my yellow suit jacket, except my eyes are green.  I actually did have a very similar banana-yellow suit for my going-away outfit from our wedding in 1987… but I’m dating myself.  I found this cute picture while searching for pictures for the cover of my binder for the class I’m teaching… Arizona History.  It’s a one semester required-for-graduation course… that has the potential to be EXTREMELY boring.  Really.  Arizona History on a timeline of all history is about 3/4 of an inch long, well, not counting the Ancient Peoples.  So my job, as it has turns out, is to make the history of Arizona come alive and be remembered forevermore in the minds of these five high school homeschoolers.  No small task.

As I searched for quality curriculum…. the choices were about as small as the history itself.  So I ended up finding a somewhat interesting reader… not a text at all… written for the Bicentennial celebration of our great nation.  The book is short, yet stacked with quips from interesting individuals and not-so-familiar stories.  Perfect.  Add to that, a boatload of hands-on activities that will have the kids experiencing Arizona like never before. 

During the first class, I was breezing through the planned activities and projects, so the kids would have an idea of what to expect.  When I read, “Make ancient pottery replica” a hand shot up belonging to a former Ancient History student of mine.  “Are you going to smash them and bury them again?”  HAHA!  That was the BEST activity EVER for studying archaeology!  They painted their pots so carefully!  And then without them knowing, I smashed and buried the shards in my barren flower beds in the backyard.  When I sent them out with their tools for the dig, they were a bit surprised until the first painted pot part was uncovered.  I’ve never seen so many eye-rolls in my life!  And the eye-rolls continued when I told them for homework they had to glue them back together!  Anyway, I’m NOT smashing pots this time.

A large map of Arizona was also brought out to show them the route we will take for a two-day field trip to the southern end of our state.  Sarcastically, I pointed to a large pink Indian reservation and told them that there was a cool dude ranch located there that we could have stayed in, but that pink area is the part of Arizona that Obama gave to Mexico and it’s not safe.  (It’s only partially a joke… he had signs put up IN AMERICA that say the area is dangerous because of border jumpers INSTEAD of protecting our border and making any effort to stop the flow of illegals!) Anywho, the students responded with several amazed faces, “WHAT!?”  “He did?”  “Are you kidding!?”….. YES, I’m kidding!  Sheesh!  Kids these days will believe anything!

Currently, I’m knee-deep in maps and National Monument brochures.  Why am I such a nerd?  I’m not sure!  But without nerdy history lovers, where would we be?  Repeating all the same dumb mistakes of the ancient peoples ~ that’s where! 

Great teaching begins HERE! (fist pump!)

School Spirit!

November 16, 2010

Another quality childhood vandalism story for you today!  I was in the third grade and I attended a Live Oak High School, in Morgan Hill, California, in their program called Kiene Schul, or some such German spelling.  The marching band, the cheerleaders and the pep rallies made a BIG impact on me as an 8-year-old with starry eyes.  I loved the team spirit.  I loved the common bond. I loved everyone in matchy matchy colors of gold and dark green!

Imagine my excitement one afternoon in our family garage when I found spray paint cans in the gold and green colors of Live Oak!?!  My creativity was bursting at the seams.  I felt compelled to decorate something to show my patriotism and school pride.  Venturing out to the backyard with a can in each hand, I looked around for a blank canvass to express my creative genius.  It was as if destiny guided me….. the ENTIRE backyard was surrounded by a newly constructed fence with virgin boards calling my name.  Heaven.

Several moments passed before my design was settled in my brain… and then I began, slowly and methodically…. one spray dot per fence plank… alternating colors… gold…. green…. gold…. green.   Yes, I did the entire fence! 

Imagine my parent’s joy when they discovered my artistic masterpiece…. and in the school colors!

My summer was spent with sandpaper in hand…. several pieces of sand paper…. singlehandedly……. as I sanded every blinkin’ board with the stupid dots on them.  At that time I had not read Tom Sawyer, much to my later disappointment.