28 February, 2005

Pray for the Troops

Another Great-nephew

Isn't he adorable? Holden is about 18 months old, born while his Daddy was on his first tour in Iraq. His Daddy was home for almost a year and has just returned to Iraq for his second tour.

Remember to pray for the troops!

24 February, 2005

~*Illuminated Cat*~

Illuminated Cat ~ From The Book of Kells

Can you see him? From what I understand, the Irish love cats, and Irish monks included cats and mice in their illuminated manuscripts.

Scholar and Cat

~ Tigger ~
The print on display is a but a small section of Botticelli's painting "Birth of Venus" that dd and I picked up for 2 euro in Florence. The real painting is the size of a wall in a standard room in an average home.

We love our kitties, who bring laughter and sweet moments to our days. This poem seemed rather fitting...dh is a scholar and English Teacher, and he doesn't engage with our pets so much.

The Scholar and The Cat
by an Irish Monk, 8th or 9th Century

I and white Felix,
each of us two (keeps) at his specialty:
his mind is set on hunting,
my mind on my special subject.

I love (it is better than all fame)

to be quiet beside my book, with persistent inquiry.
Not envious of me White Felix;
he loves his childish art.

When we two are (tale without boredom)

alone in our house,
we have something to which we may apply our skill,
an endless sport.

It is customary at times for a mouse to stick in his net,

as a result of warlike struggles (feats of valor).
For my part, into my net falls
some difficult crux of hard meaning.

He directs his bright perfect eye

against an enclosing wall.
Though my (once) clear eye is very weak
I direct it against acuteness of knowledge

He is joyful with swift movement

when a mouse sticks in his sharp claw.
I too am joyful
when I understand a dearly loved difficult question.

Though we are always like this,

neither of us bothers the other:
each of us likes his craft,
rejoicing alone each in his.

He it is who is master for himself

of the work which he does every day.
I can perform my own task,
directed toward understanding clearly that which is difficult.

22 February, 2005

Karl Haas died! *sniff*

"Good bye, Mr. Haas."
"Adventures in Good Music" radio host, Karl Haas, died on February 7, 2005, and I just heard about it today. He hosted the educational program for almost 50 years. His trademark, "Hellllo, everyone" can still be heard on our local classical radio station. One of the articles I read said that he hadn't recorded any new programs in the last two years, so we were already listening to re-runs. I plan on checking around to see if any of them are available for purchase on CD.

21 February, 2005

* Birdland *

Each morning, we awake to the "hooting" and "courting" melodies of at least six pairs of mourning doves nesting in the large, cottonwood trees in our backyard. They've been here for about two weeks. The first time we noticed them, "Drewski," our youngest, came running into my room to tell me that there were a dozen baby owls in our trees. ;-)

At night, the Kildeer are conducting themselves as if it were spring, twittering noisily about. Flocks of robins have arrived in our neighborhood, more than I've seen in several years, and the hawks are perched atop many a fence post! It's time to dust off the sketchbooks and binoculars! Lock the cats in the house, or they'll do some damage.

"Everybody heard that word
That they named it after Bird
Where the rhythm swooped and swirled
The jazz corner of the world
An' the cats they gigged in there
Were beyond compare

Birdland - I'm singin' Birdland
Birdland - Oh swingin' Birdland"

16 February, 2005

Newest Great-Nephew & Niece

Aiden and Hayley

I finally got to meet and hold the most recent "great" babies...twins! Hubby and I have *13 great-nieces and nephews* on my side of the family, one whom is in Heaven. They are so precious, and I love them all!

He smiles, and sleeps!--sleep on
And smile, thou little, young inheritor
Of a world scarce less young: sleep on and smile!
Thine are the hours and days when both are cheering
And innocent!
~ Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron), Cain (act III, sc. I, l. 24)

Sweet babe, in thy face
Soft desires I can trace,
Secret joys and secret smiles,
Little pretty infant wiles.
~ William Blake, A Cradle Song

08 February, 2005


"A good reason for marking favorite passages in books is that this practice enables you to remember more easily the significant sayings, to refer to them quickly, and then in later years, it is like visiting a forest where you once blazed a trail."

~ William Lyon Phelps

There are several books that I've revisited; those I have read over the last two decades which affected me in this way...

The Bible
Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
A Place Called Simplicity by Claire Clonninger
The Overload Syndrome by Richard A. Swenson
For The Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
How To Be Your Own Selfish Pig by Susan Schaeffer
Pilgrim At Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainence by Robert Pirsig
The Original Home Schooling Series by Charlotte M. Mason

What books have impressed themselves upon you in this way??

07 February, 2005

My Next Book Restoration Project

1881, D. Appleton & Co. New York

Included in this book are illustrations of the homes and libraries of The Fireside Poets and friends, complete with descriptions and short biographies. This is a gorgeous, gilt-edged, rare book I found a few years back, and am repairing and re-casing. It had a large, washed-out stain on the back that I was able to re-color. Around the same time, I removed the text block from the cover, cleaned off the old spine material, created a new spine, and am in the process of repairing and reinforcing the spine cover by color matching on Japanese Kozo. The spine cover is intact with the cover, and just needed some reinforcements underneath, before reattaching the new linen lining into the cover.

I am back in a vintage book restoration class, so I can finish up this project, and begin another one.
I have an 1885 paperback copy of Parables From Nature by Margaret Gatty. It is falling apart, so I am planning to case it (make it into a harback book) as soon as I'm finished with the Elder Poets re-casing. I'll be able to save the original paper cover and inlay it onto an inset in the new board cover. Doesn't that sound fun?

~ Favorite Things ~

01 February, 2005

* History of Coffee *

Our daughter, who enjoys Shakespeare, asked today if coffee had been discovered before Shakespeare's era, and if it was available in England at that time. She imagined that he would have been sipping coffee as he wrote, but was unsure. I told her that I didn't know, but guessed that he likely drank ale or *maybe* tea, so I decided to fossick about for the answer. I did a search and came up with a couple of informative links on the Timeline and History of Coffee.

I stumbled onto some information I'd learned years ago in a music appreciation class, but had forgotten, because I'm more of a Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Vivaldi fan. Johann Sebastian Bach wrote a musical composition in 1732, based on Picander’s 1727 satire about the German coffee craze. It is simply known as "Kaffee-Kantate." It is said that the composition was partly an ode to coffee and partly a stab at the movement in Germany to prevent women from drinking coffee (it was thought to make them sterile). The cantata includes the aria "Ah! How sweet coffee tastes! Lovelier than a thousand kisses, sweeter far than muscatel wine! I must have coffee..."

About Shakespeare, I don't yet know, but...

"The popularity spread through Europe to such an extent that, during the 17th and 18th centuries, there were more coffee shops in London than there are today....Coffee shops then were influential places, used extensively by artists, intellectuals, merchants, bankers and a forum for political activities and developments. When they became popular in England, the coffee houses were dubbed "penny universities". It was said that in a coffee house a man could 'pick up more useful knowledge than by applying himself to his books for a whole month.' A penny was the price of a coffee."