31 October, 2005

Edgar Allan Poe

A slightly different look at the man some think of as the creepy poet...sad poetry about lost love. He lost the three most important women in his life to early deaths.
His young cousin/wife died of TB, and possibly it is her that he refers to in this poem..."chilling and killing" my Annabel Lee. Dr. Arnold Weinstein of Brown University says that this phrase refers to tuberculosis.

Poe was the father of detective/mystery stories, and the genesis of modern sci-fi. It is said by some scholars that his influence on Western poetry shaped the course of modern poetry. In literary circles, he is most respected for his literary criticisms. At the same time, some (perhaps Emerson) called Poe "The Jingle Man" because of his repetition of words and rhymes in his poetry. They were not necessarily saying that that was a good thing, LOL. Now, to the poem!

Annabel Lee
by Edgar Allan Poe, 1849

view the original "Annabel Lee" Script

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,

That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,

In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love -
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulcher
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me
Yes! that was the reason (as all men know, In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we
Of many far wiser than we
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide,
I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
In the sepulcher there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

30 October, 2005


Nathaniel Hawthorne. We read some of Hawthorne's works a year or two ago...Tanglewood Tales, A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys, The Snow Image, The Great Stone Face. But this year, Dd (Pippi Longstocking) and I are tackling some of his short stories, then we'll read The Scarlet Letter together. The first short story: The Birthmark. Such a sad tale that strikes at the heart of the dark side of man's desire for perfection.

"...but seeing her otherwise so perfect, he found this one defect grow more and more intolerable, with every moment of their united lives. It was the fatal flaw of humanity, which Nature, in one shape or another, stamps ineffaceably on all her productions, either to imply that they are temporary and finite, or that their perfection must be wrought by toil and pain."

On my own, I am planning to read Hawthorne's Twice Told Tales, and absorb his thoughts...or perhaps more acurately, the questions he raises, but does not answer--that is for us to wrestle with--about (often the dark side of ) humanity in early America, politics and living.

My hubby has taught this material for about 15 years...now I finally am entering more into his "teaching" world by teaching/reading a lot of the same authors and works that he has studied and grappled with for so long. We are having some thought provoking discussions.

He likes the ideas given (for the most part...) in James Stobaugh's American Lit. Guide.
I'm glad I can bounce ideas around with him, ask questions, and receive experienced input.
The only complaint I have with the program is that it just skims in overview fashion over these major American authors and works. (One week for The Scarlet Letter? No way!) My preference and philosophy is to go more slowly and carefully over our classics and living books in our home school. I realize that means we cover things more deeply...uncover probably a lot more details than one might find in a standard school plan, but there-in lies one of the beauties of the freedoms we have. But... all of my hs readers already knew that.

I'm off to read more Hawthorne...

28 October, 2005

Fall Fest

Our kiddos want to dress up for our church's Fall Festival. 14.5 yo daughter is going to dress up as Pippi Longstocking. What's perfect is that we won't have to buy a wig, or put fake freckles on her face! I just learned that Pippi Longstocking was a coffee fiend! Since She is Sweedish, that should come as NO surprise.

10 yo Androcles wants to be Spaceman Spiff...of Calvin and Hobbes fame :-).

16- (going on 30) -year-old son and our 12 yo son have not said anything about dressing up. That's okay, we won't push anything. I would not be surprised, though, if the oldest decides to dress up as Martin Luther or as a geek or nerd.

12 yo wouldn't mind dressing up as something with a cool, antique weapon.

*Update* No, 16 yo decided not to dress up, after all, and 12 yo dressed as a mercinary...with a cool hat and weapon.

I'm relieved that it's the weekend. My Spanish classes went VERY well today, including the extra class for which I substituted.

Whew. I--my whole family--made it through a tough week.

26 October, 2005

Sheryl's Funeral

Yesterday's service was positively moving. Dozens of sprays of lovely pink floral arrangements lined the front of the building, along with multitudes of pictures of Sheryl, snippets from her life's joys and adventures.

We worshipped and praised the Lord corporately, as per her request. The message was stirring and encouraging, and included the gospel message of salvation, and an invitation.

Then Sheryl's husband and daughter, both warriors in the faith, shared from their hearts about Sheryl, and encouraged us in their sharing. Read today's entry on Chris' blog and you'll see what I mean.

Our church's first worship leader and his wife sang and led the worship time, which was also Sheryl's special desire...and one which was a sweet moment for our congregation, as we've gone through many transitions in the last year-and-a-half.

It was sweet and *powerful* (to me) to see all the people who came...some that I knew a decade ago. All of them represented lives touched by Sheryl and her family, both before her sickness ever showed up, and those who came to know her during or throughout her battles with cancer. We were able to share and linger at a memorial buffet luncheon together, for as long as any of us could stay.

I'm thankful to God that Sheryl is one of those people who have added "Bits and Pieces" to my life. We did not always share exactly the same opinions on things, but she was a good communicator, and I liked hearing her thoughts and ideas. How blessed my family was by the way she took my daughter into her home on many occasions, and just loved and mothered her in such a kind way, treating her like her own daughter.

I have fond memories, like one road trip she wanted us to take with one of our elder's wives with our oldest children to a homeschooling [Deb Bell] writers' conference hours away one weekend before she got sick). We snacked on complimentary cookies from the hotel at midnight!

I'll remember sharing car rides, church, bookfairs, hs meetings, and having tea with her...most noteably less than two months ago when she had rallied back (God brought her back) from near-death to life and was able to eat a bit of food again for a time. She shared her hospital tea with me, and we laughed about many things...including her choices of food...i.e. "Bread Slurry" and such. Yuck! We had a special time that day. Just one week earlier, she was totally out of it, and shaking...gone from us in many ways.

On that same day, before I left her hospital room, she told me about a sale on bargain fleece at JoAnn's. She had asked me how the boys liked sleeping in hammocks in their room. How DID she know about the fleece sale? Why did she know? It's like she stayed as engaged as possible with life, as long as she could. Amazing. Could I do the same in her shoes? Just a day or so later, she got to go home from the hospital for a little longer, and be with her family.

She liked Warren Kimble folk art. So do I. We had the same W.K. rooster teapot for a long time, and some of the same prints. She also had the best tea set in town, as one friend put it. Ah, yes...the Royal Albert china set and tea cups. She also loved kitties...and often asked me (and other friends) if I needed another one, when one of her mommies would have another litter. I would love more, of course! If hubby didn't mind so much [grin].

She was a very good "people person" who knew how to connect with everyone in her life. She was also a servant, planning and taking care of others through the years, from being our church's first secretary to serving homeschool moms, you name it.

Even in death, she continued to encourage others. She continued to give when we'd be there trying to things do for her.

I'm going to stop there, as it makes me teary-eyed again.

May we all live lives in which we make the most of each and every day, loving our friends and family, and encouraging the body of Christ to live lives worthy of His calling...

May "strength and dignity be our clothing" and may we be "able to laugh at the time to come." May we "open our mouths with wisdom and have the teaching of kindness on our tongues." ~Proverbs 31:25-26 (English Standard Version)

...because sometimes I am not very good with these types of events. It is hard to know what to say and when...and when to just shut up and listen. Which is probably the best thing to do.

22 October, 2005

Passing of a dear woman

We mourn the passing of a dear friend from our church and hs group. Just yesterday, we waved and honked and said "hi" to her loudly, as we drove by the hospital on the way home from homeschool co-op. It's a ritual that my friend Janet does every week! It helped during those times that Sheryl couldn't have visitors. Her daughter rides home with us, and everything was just so...normal. We had great conversation about the homeschool prom and hair styles and fun girl things. Then came the news in the evening about what the doctor said...how Sheryl had taken a turn for the worse.

Sheryl went home to be with the Lord this morning. 10-22-05. It's been a long journey for the family. *SO* many lives were touched by Sheryl's strength and courage; were touched by her family's journey.

I know Sheryl is in a better place. Is there any better place to be than in the arms of the Lord?

It still doesn't make it any easier to understand while we who remain here on earth grieve. Being an adult REALLY stinks sometimes. There is just too much to do and be.


20 October, 2005

Hurricane Wilma

I am just finishing up with mid-term grade averaging for my Freshman level Spanish l class that I teach in a homeschooling co-op. I have been thinking in Spanish for hours. As I sit here to update the blog, I am glancing over the photos of the people and places in the Yucatán that are now propped in various places around our living room. I just picked them up and brought them home yesterday from our first month-long, art gallery cultural exhibit...

I am compelled to pray for the people in the path of the Hurricane...remembering faces of the hospitable people of Izamal. They don't have much. IN fact about half of them have stick homes--Mayan huts, actually. They won't hold up in a hurricane...not their thatched roofs...or loosely tied, stick walls. Even the nice, small compound of the Korean Mission where we stayed floods so easily...just in a regular rainstorm. Before Wilma propels toward Florida, it will affect our friends and church family in The Yucatán. Pray for their safety. They are a resillient people, but this could be devastating.

Goodnight, all.

19 October, 2005

Spanish Learning Blog

While looking for interesting sites to share with my Jr. High and my Spanish 1 class, I stumbled onto this Spanish Learning Blog. Look for snippets of current events news articles there, along with other helpful information.

From Second Language Publishing comes Think! Audio Magazines and for folks who know another language and want to strengthen it, look at Think! Spanish or Think! French Magazine.

17 October, 2005

Currently Reading

"The Devil and Tom Walker" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving.

The first story was published as part of his short story collection, "Tales of a Traveller" (1824). The narrator is Gentleman Geoffrey Crayon, and the story has been compared to Goethe's "Faust," which is about a scholar who made a deal with the devil. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was part of his short stories titled "The Sketchbook" (1819).

Irving is often referred to as the Father of the American short story, because of his unique, light touch, note of humor and polished contributions to the form of the short story. His stories included defined characters in specific American towns or locations.

*painting by Norman Rockwell of Ichabod Crane

For a color-coded, thematic version of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" click here.

Washington Irving is often considered to be the first American writer of note. It is said by some lecturers that "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is a commentary on the "Old" America and the "New" America. Perhaps that means that the old America represents the Orthodox Christian Theistic view of the world (William Bradford, Cotton Mather, Anne Bradstreet, others) versus the "New" American Romanticism.

Characteristics of American Romanticism, as defined by the Oxford Companion to American Literature:

"Romanticism is a term that is associated with imagination and boundlessness, as contrasted with classicism, which is commonly associated with reason and restriction. A romantic attitude may be detected in literature of any period, but as an historical movement it arose in the 18th and 19th centuries, in reaction to more rational literary, philosophic, artistic, religious, and economic standards.... The most clearly defined romantic literary movement in the U. S. was Transcendentalism...."Characteristics of the romantic movement in American literature are sentimentalism, primitivism and the cult of the noble savage; political liberalism; the celebration of natural beauty and the simple life; introspection; the idealization of the common man, uncorrupted by civilization; interest in the picturesque past; interest in remote places; antiquarianism; individualism; morbid melancholy; and historical romance."

Other important points:

* Reaction against logic and reason; there was a generalized suspicion of Science and logic, though the zeal of this anti-science sentiment depended on the author or artist. Thoreau was a good and enthusiastic naturalist; Poe was perhaps the most phobic about science.

* Faith in something 'inherently good' and 'transcendent' in the human spirit, an inward divinity in no need of salvation, but in need of awakening.

* Faith was in the spirituality and the symbolic importance of nature

* Anglo-French celebration of common and rural life provided a model for American writers, who sought a way to satisfy a cultural need for lore - a mythology suitable to the new, American nation.

* As the "Fireside Poets" (Bryant, Whittier, Longfellow) became enormously popular in American households, they proclaimed a life of simple living, intuitive wisdom, innocent love, and community folklore. By 1870, Longfellow was out-selling every other 19th century author writing in English, including Wordsworth, Browning, Tennyson, and even Charles Dickens.

* In the arts, romanticism promoted a popular taste for wild landscapes, ominous skies, ancient ruins, picturesque rusticity, and other pastoral settings for thought-provoking inspiration.

14 October, 2005

Favorite Things

~ Sipping good coffee

~ spending time with old friends

~ spending time with new friends

~ lighting candles

~ the smell of autumn

~ watching butterflies

~ Claire de Lune played by James Galway on the flute

~ loading up and arranging new bookshelves with old favorites

~ waking up slowly in the morning

~ holding my huge, orange, teddy-bear-cat

~ foot stomping music, especially useful during serious house cleaning times, such as fall decluttering.

"Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing."

~ Phyllis Diller

That describes life with our youngest (10 yo Andrewcles) to a "T." I keep stepping on little Legos with my bare feet!


10 October, 2005


I've been tagged by Queen Shenaynay from the Beehive. I'm to find my 23rd post, the 5th line of said post. While checking, I realized that I've been blogging for almost a year, now. But, back to the little game:

The Twenty-Third Post

1. Search your blog archive.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Find the fifth sentence (this is meant to say something about you).
4. Post that sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five people to do the same.

Depending on how I count my first efforts at posting on Blogger, which were short and numerous as I went through the first days of the learning curve of Blogger usage and posting photos, one of the following could qualify as the 23rd post. The fifth line of the 23rd post is supposed to give some insight into who I am.

The winning post could be "
Underwater Cliff Dwellings." Because of run-on thoughts, there are only four sentences in the post about crawfish dwellings. The fifth sentence should have been, "They were amazed at how these lowly crawfish homes reminded them of Bandolier National Monument."

The 23rd post could also be "
Lost Stockings!" Maybe the fifth sentence in this post does say something about me.

"The next year, it was a lighted, ceramic, snow-covered schoolhouse."

What is more telling about me is that something (again) was temporarily misplaced! I move things in a safe location, so they won't get lost. Yes, you can probably guess the rest...

Hehehe. The final instruction is to tag five more bloggers when I'm finished, so I tag Spiderslastmoment,

Tootle's Time, Our Blue Castle, Abiding, and Kylieho


09 October, 2005

Fall Break

This week is "Fall Break" from the three co-op-type classes that I teach. I also help in two other classes, but that only takes a little time. Even though it is fall "break," that doesn't mean I can take a break from the coursework...just a break from actual class meeting time this week. I do, however, get to finish grading all of Spanish l class's book work and then write up their progress reports. I also need to score their Unit 1 tests. I have nine students, so that will take some time. Then I want to get ahead and stay one week ahead in lesson plans and printing/game planning, etc., so that I can have better use of time.

I have to get my students' books back to them later this week so that they can begin their lesson 6 work due on October 21. We decided to meet for a party this week, since I have to get their books back to them. I'm still trying to figure out the best time and place for that to occur, since we are from various metroplex suburbs. We need to find a central point, so as not to put any one family out too much on gasoline or time on the freeways.

This fall has been so different from anything we've ever experienced in our years upon years of homeschooling, but changing something every year keeps it interesting and exciting, even! There are times that it gets frustrating, but...it's not about what I want! It's about where God wants us, how He wants to use us, what He wants us to learn, and what my children need to keep them challenged and interested. But you know what? It is keeping us accountable to get our studies accomplished. He is also using our gifts and abilities for His glory!

Junior high Spanish class is also going pretty well, but I have five students who are newbies to a foreign language, and two who have had Spanish before. The challenge to teach and provide resources near each one's level keeps me on the ball. The things I've been able to give them from my bag of "tricks" and personal library seem to be working, so far. I hope I am serving them well.

In the meantime, I appreciate having this one week to be able to breathe deeply, to refuel, and to get ahead of the programs.

One thing that will help on the home front organization is that hubby and I are whitewashing several bookshelves we ordered to match another set we already have in the living room. Once those are stained and dried, we can assemble them and get boxes and stacks of books off of the floor in our library, family room and living room and into some order on these shelves. Yes, every couple of years we have to add more shelves. I continue to cull out the old, though, because our cottage is small. When I have some time, anyway...WHEN...when. That time is rare.

Nevertheless, we are blessed beyond measure by our Lord. We are where and how he has placed us in this life, for a reason. Now I hope that we are listening and following as *He* wills, not as *I* will!

Happy Autumn Blessings, all!

05 October, 2005

Working for the man

Update on subbing at hubby's school: Friday was a madhouse!! ack~!!!! I'm glad I'm done! Something about meds wearing off or something...whew! Tempers flared and they were difficult to keep contained several different times. Maybe some of the boys were too used to me by Friday, so they decided to test me a little more, to see what I would allow them to do. I had to stay on top of things. I found myself trotting from one side of the playground to the other (while we were outside) or from one side of the gym to the other.

In other words, I'm working at my hubby's school this week, running his after-school program. It's not bad, though. I have actually enjoyed it! I used to be his sub more often, but it has been a few years.

I think part of the enjoyment is getting to visit with hubby's co-workers. They are a community, they know each other...some have known each other for a very long time. Many of them have been a part of our lives for up to 16 years. They've thrown us baby showers as we had more children, and they've watched our kiddos grow up. A couple of these folks have even taught my kids a thing or two.

It has also been a treat to get to know some of the students at the school over these years...some whom I knew in after school as first or second graders, some that I got to know on various school trips...just watching them grow, mature, graduate, and go on to college.

Dh runs into old students every now and then...at a store or in the mall...or they come back to the school and look him up to say hi, and to catch up.

God has blessed us in many ways through hubby's workplace, and I am thankful.

04 October, 2005

Rhetorical Devices

For American Lit. today, my daughter, two other high school students and I worked through an exercise to practice our skills at spotting rhetorical devices.

We read through Patrick Henry's "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech during our study time. As we did this, we tried to underline and name the various devices he used to persuade his original audience with this rousing speech. It was a most profitable exercise for the kids *AND* for me. I used this site as a reference. Give it a try! We only worked with the devices which they were all familiar, and that worked out great for our time frame.

03 October, 2005

Monarch Migration

It's October, and that means the Monarch butterflies will be migrating through our neighborhood soon. It is in the large migratory path of the Monarch butterflies as they fly south for the winter. It is an incredible sight, seeing them feed on four and five-foot tall wildflower clusters of Goldenrod and other flowering bushes. They gather close together in clusters on the tree branches in the late afternoon. Every year since we have lived here (just over 13 years, now), we get to see these colorful, graceful butterflies. Our children dubbed an area near our home "Monarch Pass," as we can hike along under a long area of trees on both sides of the path.

A couple of years, we have been blessed by having some of the monarchs stop in our own large cottonwood trees for several days up to a week before moving on further south for the winter. That is always nice, because I have fairly severe fall allergies, being outside for extended periods causes repercussions is for me at this time of year. This particular nature hike is just about the only one I gladly participate in during the ragweed season. It is a magnificent experience year after year! I just make sure to take the full dose of allergy meds :-). We take this opportunity to catch monarch caterpillars on milkweed and watch them grow and hatch inside our critter cages.

I don't know exactly when they will be here, but it will be very soon, if they don't get blown past our area by the momentum and winds of a cool front. There often can be multiple waves of them. There tends to be a large peak in the amount of monarchs that I see flying around, and that is my indication that they are here (simple, eh?). We have little white, daisy-type weeds (I think they are ox-eyed daisies) in the front yard that they like to feed on.

I'm going to have my CM Book Club friends and their children join me and my kiddos, so they can sketch, photograph, or just catch a caterpillar to observe and feed. We'll talk about how to care for them while they grow, before they go into their chrysalis, and share some ideas for taking care of them and releasing them when they hatch.

As much as I sneeze and fight the itching nose and watery eyes, I still enjoy this time of year more than any other.