Newsletter #18
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Hare-Raising Adventures
18th Publication, December 4 Ė February 9

As I feared, it has been some time since the last letter (or at least it seems so to me, for so much has happened ó but thatís not really anymore newsworthy than the fact that the Earth still spins). Due to the sheer volume of items, I will try to pare down the length of each, but Iíve found that is rather difficult for some reason.

The MAFIA final program, early last month, went well. It was better than I expected, though the mostlyĖfemale cast acting in a mostlyĖmale play was somewhat incongruous (along with other stretches of the imagination). The other performances were all very good.

A week later was "teen night": the night by which I had to have my paper finished. In a fit of frantic activity I completed the first draft of my research paper on Mahogany (almost four thousand words ó itís hard to believe that there is that much to say, but the facts speak) in time to be displayed. I have decided that I will not sign up for a "teen project" this spring semester, not only because of my busy schedule, but also because Iím usually not very much interested in being forced into deadlines and topics (Iím also lazy, or at least more inclined to work on things which fascinate me, such as writing newsletters).

The following weeks were packed with various Lehigh social events, friends visiting, and the usual grind. One night Paul MacDonald, with whom Iíve been writing some stories, slept over at our house (or did not sleep over at our house, more accurately), and we spent most of the night coming up with plots and names for the characters in our plots that became more bizarre and more appealing as the night progressed. Most of which we are still planning to use. When I ever get the time, Iím hoping to post all of our completed stories on my web site, making them easier to find and read.

Christmas came upon unbeknownst, and with a sudden realization (to be honest, I knew that time was progressing, but chose to ignore that fact because I hate to worry), I discovered that I had no presents for anyone, and only one idea. This, in a burst of shopping and depletion of my bank account, was remedied. We participated in several Christmas services (Ďparticipatedí meaning arriving late as a part of the congregation), two of which were Lehighís Vespers service and The Moravian Love Feast. Our church, due to the sanctuary renovations, had to relocate our Christmas program to another church. (An ironic side-effect of this was that Sharon Barshinger ó who has an unnerving habit of always preceding me whenever Homeschooled events are concerned ó was already there, for it was her church and they had a rehearsal after our program.) It wasnít the largest or the best program for obvious reasons, but it was still fun and enjoyable.

Dad drove down to Baltimore to pick up Daniel, and they made sure that they had taken everything that was needed. When they arrived at our house, they realized that the one bag with most of Danís clothing

somehow got lost. The typical, "I thought you got it..." ensued. Plans were forged in which Danís friend would take it to his house, where Uncle John could get it, and then bring it to us when they came for Christmas, but the plans eventually, and somewhat predictably, fell through.

The great Christmas day arrived, and many were the joyful cries and cheerful shouts, squeals of excitement and shrieks of happiness. Or at least there would have been if we were all half our age and female, but we all enjoyed ourselves, our presents, othersí presents (and to a small degree, each other). The two "surprise" gifts were a color printer and new monitor for our family computer. The printer actually came as a freebie when we bought a better printer, for we gave ours to Nana and Poppa (Dad just hid it, pretended that the deal fell through, and revealed it at Christmas). Dad had ordered the monitor sent to our pastor (who had previously agreed to take care of it for him), and when it arrived, Pastor Stone was ecstatic! Someone had sent him a computer for Christmas! He called his wife to come and see it, and as she was coming, he began to doubt. Who would send him a computer? More to the point, who would have the money to do so? He finally remembered that Dad had said one would be sent to his house, just as his wife arrived. He was, needless to say, somewhat let down.

Later on in the day, Uncle John and Aunt Gail, Uncle David, and their respective offspring arrived. Aunt Gailís sisterís family also came for two days, so we had a pleasantly (at least for me ó Mom may disagree) filled house. The overflow, for one of the first times, was deflected into Nana and Poppaís house. For several days after Christmas, then, the relatives stayed. The main event during this time was the viewing of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. I have discussed long and hard with many other die-hard fans of the book, and my final (but not unqualified) statement in brief is that I think the movie is good. It is definitely well worth seeing, but the book is more worthwhile to read, especially if you havenít read it in more than a decade (or, Lord forbid, at all). Many games of Boggle were featured as well, with predictable results. Nana is the undisputed queen of Boggle, with Katelyn the (so far) undisputed second. I usually tail in somewhere around third or fourth, depending on who else is playng. "A lesson in humility" Nana calls it (though I privately think she wouldnít know... ), and I must agree.

All good things must come to an end, and the relatives were mournfully sent on their way back to where they came from. The next day we went down to the farm, where Dadís side of the family resides. We made a detour to Baltimore to pick up Danís clothes, which were still there, and needed to be cleaned. After spending a short and pleasant time at the farm, we returned home. A New Yearís Eve party was planned at the house of a family in our church, and while the attendance may have been a little on the low side, it was just as well, for the house wasnít gigantic. As far as Iím concerned, the new year can go by without any celebration at all ó itís the party I care about, regardless of when it is.

One thing that canít go by without a celebration, however, is my birthday. It was January 21st, and I am now fifteen ó but, as I confide to anyone who asks if there is any difference (and some who donít), I donít feel any different. True, after a while I begin the think of eleven or thirteen or whichever as very young, but it doesnít happen all at once. The only difference I could tell that was immediate was that several years ago I had to start paying more for admission to movies, museums, food at restaurants, and so on, but even that

was not complete, for each one has its own standards, be it under twelve, under thirteen, etc. As far as I can tell, birthdays are simply the one day when I get to choose the menu for the evening meal, I get more letters than the rest of the year combined, receive a couple telephone calls, and get a bunch of presents (and increasingly, money, which I have a tendency to hoard away). Driving a car isnít all that thrilling a prospect, and I wonít be able to vote for a president until Iím 22, and what alcohol Iíve drunk doesnít appeal to me in any way. By the way, I thank (In case I forgot to via a letter) those who did send me a present of some sort, be it only a card or an E-mail, and I ignore rudely those who didnít. Actually, I donít mind ó after all, I donít know when most of your birthdays are, which is a shame.

Daniel, unfortunately, missed my birthday, for he was skiing in Utah. This seemed to me to be very odd, for I had always imagined Utah as some desert state with a bunch of Mormons in a small western town on the edge of a salty lake. No ski slopes figured in. Nevertheless, I suppose Mormons like skiing, and Dan was invited by his roommate to spend a week or so there with his family (his roommate and his family arenít Mormons, to my knowledge, but they apparently like skiing).

A thought had been fermenting in my head for a while. As some of you know, Iíve been reading some books on graphic design, typography (not be confused with topography, the study of the face of the earth ó maps and such), the layout of type (text, words) and have done several minor project for Mom and Dad in that area. I thought it would be nice to take a course in the subject, and Gabe, a friend of mine, had already taken such a course at a community college in the autumn. I asked Mom about it, and she said our community college (NCC) did not have any courses related to that at all. I found that surprising to the point of doubt, and so I went to their website and checked myself (the internet is a wonderful thing), and found a half dozen or so that looked advantageous.

After some discussion with Mom and Dad, checking of local bus schedules and times of classes, we decided to see if they would let a freshman take the course that seemed most suitable. I had my hopes, for it is mainly an artistic course, not one that necessarily requires a high school diploma as a prerequisite (and having a diploma doesnít necessarily mean that you would do well in it either). After many phone calls and dubious thoughts on the part of the college representatives, a meeting was arranged with the dean of admissions the morning of the first class. By that time the college had endured us enough, and decided (so we figured) that as long as I didnít show up with a lip ring, chains, baggy pants, CD player, and say "Yo, whatís up, dude?" they would let me take the class. The recommendation from Dr. James Femister (whom I had forgotten to inform that I had given them his name, and kept wondering until I enlighten him why I was taking a course in Digital Topography) most likely help greatly as well. After some long deliberation, I came to the conclusion that I wouldnít act thus, and so we had a meeting, and she asked the usual questions ("Why do you want to take the course," etc., with the one dumb one ó "do you think you can handle a college course?" Well, seeing as Iíve never taken a college course, I have no idea. How am I supposed to know? Needless to say, I didnít articulate my feeling in that manner...), and then we signed up, paid up, trooped over the bookstore, waited in line for fifteen minutes (and found out in the end that no book was required), and arrived at the room in time for the beginning of class.

Since then Iíve found the class hasnít been that difficult, thankfully, and I have been enjoying it. It does take a chunk of time out of my schooling (thus the tardiness of my newsletter output, and brevity of this one), but overall itís been pleasant, and the logistical problems have been ironed out, with one notable exception. One time I had to leave in a rush to catch the bus ó which I didnít ó and thus left my jacket at home. Mom drove me to class, and on the way home again I had to walk the mile back from the bus stop (up hill all the way, against the prevailing wind) in the middle of a snowstorm that had rapidly descended during my three hour class. My jacket was missed. Once I had arrived home, I made myself some hot chocolate, chicken noodle soup, and sat on the couch and read my book for about an hour, completely forgetting about the Latin lesson I was supposed to have with Poppa. Between the two of us, itís amazing we get any lessons done at all. Iím definitely my grandfatherís grandson.

I shall leave you with that heart warming anecdote (no frostbite, the doctors say, but who can trust them?), and hope that you are all receiving more snow than we. These dismal winters that are becoming perennial are almost enough to make one believe in global warming. Where are the bitter Pennsylvanian storms that last three days without interlude? Where are the recordĖbreaking numbers? Itís depressing. Well, Iím sure someone is grateful for the warm weather, so if you are one of the strange people, enjoy it while you can.

Farewell, my faithful subscribers, until the next letter.

Ė~Snowshoe Hare~Ė
Ė~Christopher Green~Ė

*Here Endeth the Newsletter*