30 June, 2005

What Musical Interval are You?

This is for my musician friends, and there are quite a few of you (vocal or instrumental...though most of you are vocalists).

My test result:

PERFECT FOURTH. The most chameleon-like of all
intervals: sometimes you're a dissonance,
sometimes you're a consonance. Depends on your
surroundings. Beloved by all composers for
your versatility, you are the master of playing
the politics. Too bad you're

What musical interval are you?
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29 June, 2005

Getting Settled

My family is happy that I'm home, and my kitty is too! He promptly found a napping spot on my luggage. I keep trying to load that picture, but my three photo-hosting options are not working! Some gremlin has messed up my settings or passwords, or some other strange thing. I cannot get it figured out and I really am not interested in wasting a lot more time online.

When I wanted to check my e-mail while at my folks' house in Oklahoma, I had to go over to Dad's prison ministry office, behind my parents' home. On top of that, they live in a tiny town with old phone lines...thus pretty bad internet connections, when one can get online. This really allowed me to be more focused on family and less distracted by technology, and made me reconsider how easy it is to be distracted by the computer when I am here in my own home.

Anyway, I am restless. It's not easy for me to switch gears since returning home, for some reason. Laundry is caught up, but I haven't wanted to cook. It is so hot and dry here that nothing sounds good, except watermelon and oriental cabbage salad! I needed to go to the grocery store, so I finally got that accomplished today. I still need to vacuum the carpet. I'd rather repair and restore an old, sentimental domino box for a friend; it would be much more fun.

I've been doing light reading for the most part, working my way through Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith. It is the second book in the Number One Ladies' Detective Agency series. It really is just what the doctor ordered! I am also still reading Charlotte Mason's Volume 6 again.

I rediscovered an old favorite CD while on the road the last two weeks. It is Carolyn Arends' album from the 90's with "Seize The Day" on it. It is an awesome, folksy, acoustic project. I love it, love it, love it. I also listened to Michael W. Smith's Instrumental project, "Freedom," which is another all-time favorite from my collection.

Smith's versatility, his orchestrations and arrangements range from simple and elegant to layered and intricate. He is such a talented artist and musician, which is why I think he has had such staying power for so long. Think about it, he was one of the first popular artists in the contemporary Christian music market (I first heard him in the early 80's), and has continued to produce projects and work with/promote other artists on a consistent basis, in spite of my brother or nephew's opinion that he cannot sing. I beg to differ. His voice is nice and different, which is one of the things I really like about it. I get tired of formulaic arrangements and voices. I think that the proof of his talents has been borne out by the market over time. So there. :-P That's your baby sis' opinion, whether you like it or not, and you, dear brother are free to disagree with me!! It won't hurt my feelings one bit. ;)


27 June, 2005

youth summer mission trip

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The day after my Mom broke her leg, our teens went to Mexico on a mission trip. Above is one of the photos taken by our oldest son. The team had a tough week, but a good week. There was a lot of work to be done at the orphanage/complex where they stayed. By all accounts, they worked *very* hard. They got to go to Schlitterbahn Waterpark on their way back home. Unfortunately, our 14 yo daughter got very sunburned during the week, with second degree burns on her kneecaps. She is doing much better, now, But, argh! She had forgotten to put sunscreen on her knees and legs that day!

24 June, 2005

In Indian Nation Territory

We're still helping out at Mom and Dad's, watering massive amounts of beautiful flowers on their one-and-a-half acres. I got mom out on the front porch day before yesterday. She was "deadheading" some petunias, and having a nice time, even though the mosquitos were snacking on us. Getting her back IN the house was quite funny, though! She did not have enough strength in her knee (not her best knee, even though it's not the knee of her broken leg...) to hop up the step of the door frame/jam. She ended up slowly sitting right down on the step and scooching herself in so we could get the door closed before more mesquitos got in the house. We laughed. She was not in pain, thank goodness! So we laughed!

Yesterday was her first scheduled office visit with her Orthopedist, since her surgery two weeks ago. We were running late, so we called ahead, as we were making the one hour drive into the city, to let the office know. We got the biggest, most ridiculous run-around from incompetent sub-office staff that I've ever experienced in my lifetime. Dad said it was almost as bad as the incomptetency they faced on the day of transporting Mom to two hospitals, threatening not to accept her, sending her x-rays to the wrong hospital, etc. when this all first happened. Dad and I both were shocked, yet assertive with them and let them know how utterly rude they were being. All the rules, red-tape and bad attitudes that tiny town folks have to follow to get somewhere that they can receive proper healthcare is a travesty. I'm forming a letter to send to the big city newspaper soon. My mom is strong, but I thought about all the other older folks who aren't strong or don't have family to stand up for them and their (patient) rights. They are at the mercy of an already socialized (but probably not as bad as Europe, yet) healthcare system...I bet they just get run over, and sent home with their injuries, being told to come back after the weekend if they are still hurting. Oy!!!

I'll stop there...I'm not in the mood to let their bad behavior ruin another beautiful day. After we got Mom settled back in at home, I ran to the local Sonic and bought her a big malt. She had a good cry, then we were able to have a better day.

This is a mural painted by a Native American painter in the area. There are lots of these around these parts. I think they're pretty neat.

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20 June, 2005

Birthdays & Update on Mom

I am home briefly, for Father's Day, two birthdays (one mine), and for running errands...including a visit to my chiropractor. Since it's my birthday, too, I get a free adjustment and therapies...water massage machine is part of the package. I'd love to have one of those in our home, LOL.

Mom turned out to have four breaks in her right Fibula-one clean through-and two breaks in her ankle. That is why her right foot was sticking out to the right when Dad called me, very overwhelmed, just after he called 911.

We brought Mom home from the hospital last week, on Wednesday afternoon. That was two days later than originally planned. Once she got settled, she was able to adjust, and feel more relaxed. I got up with her a lot that first night, as her pain was intense. Dad helped out, too. The next afternoon, she really turned the corner and was participating more actively in getting up and figuring out how best to move and hop, etc. She couldn't sit up for quite an hour, so she'd hop (with the help of her walker) back to bed and rest here and there. Her muscles became very sore very quickly, where she'd forgotten she had muscles! Massages were on order for the rest of the week ;-).

By Saturday, boredom was beginning to set in. She is sleeping for longer stretches at night, now, and able to stay up longer. She was in the mood to watch a movie for the first time on Sunday. She was also barely able to hop into the kitchen, her longest "exercising" distance, yet, to look at the corn's growth out of her kitchen window. It will be ready in about 18 days! She had hopped too far, and it was a chore to get back to her room, but she was glad to get to see the corn. She'd not had a look at it in nine days, since she fell and broke her leg and ankle in the first place.

I was not able to post from Oklahoma, b/c Dad's ISP kept crashing on me. I'm barely able to answer one or two e-mails per day. I'm taking our daughter with me back to Oklahoma tomorrow to visit Mom and Dad again, and help out with housework and maybe a little gardening.

As for my Birthday, I will be 41. I have some new bookbinding tools coming to me from Scotland, and hubby is building me a standing/finishing press of my very own!!! I am so excited!!

13 June, 2005

Heard in my book restoration class

Michael Faraday was a self-educated man who had a speech impediment which seemed to lead to his physical abuse in the public school of his day. After being removed from the school by his mother, along with his older brother, he was apprenticed to a bookbinder beginning at the age of 12. It was while learning the craft over the next six or seven years in the bookbinder shop that he read and developed a keen interest in Science. He met people (satisfied customers of his and his boss' bookbinding services) who took him in and introduced him into the Scientific community, and the rest, as they say, is history. He had hard times with some colleagues, and there were controversial claims made against him as he gained notoriety in the community, but you can read more about that by doing an internet search.

I learned this from one of the newer members of my book restoration class, a personal friend of
Alexander McCall Smith, author of "The Number One Ladies' Detective Agency" and the Professor Dr. Von Igelfeld series.

What a small world, indeed, when I stepped into the bookbinding studio recently to find two older gentlemen joining us. Both have a lot of prior experience in bookbinding and restoration. One of them looked very familiar, I thought. When our teacher introduced us to each other, I asked, "Are you --------- whom A. M. Smith said in his lecture was going to be written into one of his next books, along with your wife?" To which he answered, smiling, "That'd be me!" He is also the man who introduced the author this past spring at a local author's lecture series that I attended with a friend.

I just finished the third book in the Professor Dr. Von Igelfeld series last week. It is so funny and even a little bizarre! I recommend it for quick, light reading. Maybe you can find it at your local library.

The three books in the series by Alexander McCall Smith are:

Portuguese Irregular Verbs
The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs
At The Villa of Reduced Circumstances

I'm going to take all my Smith books up to leave at my mom's when I go this week. That way she, my sister, and I can read them throughout the summer. I think they'll enjoy the #1 Ladies' Detective Agency series the most.

I'll post again from Oklahoma!

11 June, 2005

Mom's Lilies

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photo by our 16 yo son, J~

My mother in the hospital

When I wrote my post about a week ago about honoring our parents, I really had no idea why I had such a feeling to keep my schedule open to be able to go back to my parents at a moment's notice, if need be.

Yesterday, at least one of the reasons made itself known. My dear mother, age 69 and very healthy, slipped off the back porch step and got a compound fracture of her ankle and fibula in four places. She had major surgery last night, with plates and screws to hold the bones together while they heal, and repairs made to surrounding torn muscles and ligaments. She is in a lot of pain today, as the doctor is trying to adjust to the right pain medicine and dose for her. If infection doesn't set in, she should be able to go home on Monday or Tuesday.

I'll be taking my turn throughout the summer, along with my sister, foster sister, and brothers, to help Mom and Dad out with everything from housekeeping and cooking to gardening and bringing in the corn.

This should be a sweet summer, as we work together and spend time with our parents. I've already had some time today to organize my summer schedule, plan some meals to make and portion out to freeze for Dad to be able to reheat when none of us are there for a day here or there. I have a stack of books I'll take for Mom and the rest of us to share in reading, and I'll take the kids with me some of the times to help with the yardwork, and to play at the local lake near Mom and Dad's with their cousins.

It is also a little sobering, as we look to the future and what it means to help our aging parents more.

07 June, 2005

Anniversary flowers

Of Legos

Our youngest ds "Androcles," aged 10, would love nothing more than to be a Lego man in a Lego world when he grows up. Playing legos, with his brothers or alone, is probably his most favorite thing to do in his spare time.

The two of us are the only ones home today, so we searched around and stumbled onto a site that has scenes from Martin Luther's life in lego, which inspires more Lego play from our beloved child. Check it out for yourself!

For New York City fans, take a look at the panoramic skylines built with Legos. The architectural detail of these types of displays *always* impresses me.

06 June, 2005


This is the portfolio I made for a book that I'm mending and conserving. It is basically high-grade poster board; buffered, acid free, museum quality. I made the simple case for my copy of Parables from Nature, which was still in its original paper wrappers as it would have come from the printers in London, 1885. The typcial thing to do at that time was to take the book/text in wrappers to one's local bookbinder to be sure it was bound in the same materials as the rest of one's personal library. This text had not been given the treatment of receiving a leather and board cover that it should have been given.

My projects are beginning to stack up just a bit, and I'm receiving inquiries into repair jobs for others, now. This is exciting, as I feel that I'm gaining a bit more skill for some of these tasks. My hope is to be able to bring in a little money to help pay for educational materials and resources in our homeschooling journey, but also to have a viable business as the children become more independent and make their own way in the future.

04 June, 2005

Honoring our parents

We have just returned from a quite relaxing visit with my parents, other family, and a grandmother who is recovering from cancer and treatments. As I walked through Mamaw's yard, smelling and touching her flowers, memories from childhood played over in my mind; memories of family members, both young and old, who've already passed on to Heaven.

I measure those memories beside stories I heard on this trip from those family members' lives--stories that I've heard before, and new ones which disturb some of those old memories. Among such stories is that of my grandfather saying hurtful things as he lay willing himself to die after the untimely death of my dear cousin, a senator's aide, at the young age of 28 in a private airplane crash. Evidently Grandad said things to my mother that were insensitive and very hurtful, so that cast a shadow over my memories of him. I have mixed feelings, but can give grace, knowing we all have sin, doubt, and utter ugliness in our lives.

I am amazed and moved by God's timing and leading of my husband and me to be more available for these loved ones who still remain with us, living their lives in their simple, yet ever-giving, generous ways. I am reminded again, after this trip, of some of the things we (I) can do or give to honor or help them while they are still alive and with us. One of the things on my list is to take care of special family papers and eventually more of the books. Some have already been given to me for our own home library. The big job will come when I help Dad, a lifelong preacher and prison minister for the last two decades, to deal with his library.

I guess that makes me the family librarian and conservator. I am more than okay with that!