30 March, 2006

Hurricane cleanup & subbing

My husband has been gone this week on a Sophomore class trip (with his school) to the coast of East/Southeast Texas for beach cleanup and boardwalk rebuilding. This area was hit badly by hurricane Rita this past summer, and on up to 100 miles inland. These folks have kind of been "forgotten" because the damage that Katrina did and the consequences of the other problems that arose again and again after Katrina got much more press. Rita victims have turned to alternate sources of aid.

Hubby said that his eyes have been opened this week. It has been six months since the hurricane, and it is still a disaster down there. It rained on him and the students and other chaperones most of the week. I hoped they realized that they get to come home to a nice house with running water, unlike some of the folks they have helped this week. Even though camping and eating in the rain is miserable, I hope it helped them to have more compassion for those who are still doing without...all across the coastline from Texas to Florida, because of the various hurricanes last summer.

On the fun side, they found a dead alligator on the beach and collected some of its bones. Hubby wants to use some of them in the next hand-crafted mandolin that he makes :-). This will likely be his "Texas" mandolin, made from mesquite and/or bois d'arc wood.

While The Hubster was gone, I ran the afterschool program for him. What an interesting time! Glorified babysitting, actually. Thankfully, I've had some help. This is not the first (nor do I suspect the last) time that I've filled in for him.

It is enjoyable, actually, to have this odd contradiction of homeschooling and also volunteering at my husband's school. These people are a little like family. Many of them have seen my children grow up from infanthood. I have been on trips with some of the classes as a chaperone. Some of the teachers have taken my kids along on field trips and school trips, giving them apprenticeship opportunities as well. They have been a tremendous blessing in our lives for about sixteen years.

27 March, 2006


I just finished reading the following:

Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, John Steinbeck's The Pearl, and Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome. I just started reading Donald Miller's book, Through Painted Deserts. It is a revision of his book Prayer and the Art of Volkswagon Maintenance. He also wrote Blue Like Jazz, which I haven't picked up, yet, as my teens have been reading it. I'm also almost finished with a book of Billy Collins'poetry, most of which I really, really

With my book club, I am reading Charlotte Mason's Volume 6, Towards a Philosophy of Education.

What are you reading?

26 March, 2006

Hidden Talent

Your Hidden Talent
You have the power to persuade and influence others.You're the type of person who can turn a whole room around.The potential for great leadership is there, as long as you don't abuse it.Always remember, you have a lot more power over people than you might think!

Well, there. How about that? That's a little scarey.

Leadership can be daunting. In fact, I am more of a reluctant leader. I enjoy (immensely) some aspects of quiet leading or teaching. I know that I have the capacity to confuse people, if I'm not clear in what I say, ordering my words and points in a simple way! I have to make detailed outlines for myself to keep from getting sidetracked or possibly presenting something overwhelming to my audience.

That is why I like music--it is easy for me. I grew up singing, performing, and playing several instruments. But I don't want to stay stuck in "easy" mode. Over the past few years, but moreso these past six months, I've been learning to speak more simply, and to have practical and specific examples ready to share.

As my children grow out of high school and into college, perhaps I will continue to teach even more.

What is your hidden talent?

23 March, 2006

More Spanish Grammar sites

Spanish Writing Guide is a site with brief tips and helpful examples. It's plain and simple, nothing flashy, but to the point!

Preterite vs. Imperfect tense is a clean and neat review for those confused about the two.

The Passive Voice and it's uses/explanations

One really nice, comprehensive site is Enrique Yepes' webpages. They were created to help students in Spanish classes. You'll find a lot of practice exercies on all the various structures in the language.

Keep learning, keep practicing!

19 March, 2006

trying to stay dry

It's raining, it's pouring! And we are very glad. The grass turned green over a 24-hour period.

Look who's keeping dry in the onslaught of all this rain! This is in my Judyfriend's backyard. Isn't she kind to provide homes for all the little critters? (YES!) You should see where the box turtles live. I imagine they are keeping dry under one of the terra cotta pots in their habitat area of Judyland, if they have not burrowed into the dirt again. They may be floating, if they tried that! We had a couple of very warm weeks here, and now it is cold, again. I don't mind it so much. We are drinking hot coffee and tea, reading, playing games, layering up in warmer clothes, and keeping candles handy, in case the electricity goes out.

16 March, 2006

Back to Iraq

My nephew begins his journey back to Iraq today, after R & R. We will go spend the afternoon with him at the airport today on his layover, taking him lunch, extra snacks, homemade cookies and the like.

later in the day:
It is the evening, now. We spent a nutty day traveling from gate to gate all over the airport. Neither my nephew nor I have a cell phone! Thankfully, courtesy phones and the USO helped us connect! Our teens and I spent most of his layover keeping him company. What a treat. I told him how proud I was of him and to stay as safe as he could. We hope and pray for his safe return in November!

13 March, 2006

Spring Break!

Well, not much of a break, really, except a break in timing and routine. Hubby has this week off from teaching, so we take the week off of homeschooling, mostly. Our oldest two teens still have a day of classes each.

I've opened a few windows. Thankfully it cooled off here, so I don't have to turn on the AC in the afternoon, from the heat of the western sun exposure in our house. Spanish radio is playing to keep me moving. The rest of the family are off with Dad, who is doing some woodworking and guitar making. They've taken this opportunity to play on some of the computers at his school.

I'm taking this time to do the stereotypical "Spring Cleaning." Who wants to join me? I've much to do and don't have time to linger over things. I am also having trouble with my right shoulder, and pray that it doesn't slow me down too much. I want to accomplish a lot of decluttering this week!

Let's get going!

08 March, 2006

Crunchy Cons

Crunchy Cons

Yes, this would explain this family...

06 March, 2006

Antebellum Ball pix

Yep, that's my boy in the brown suede leather (on the right, in the top photo) and velvety vest with black tie. Find a more detailed view of the vest here. The fabric was lush and soft, and I adore the pattern. Hubby wants me to make one for him, now :-).

View more pics of the ball and other costumes
here. There were some handsome uniforms and suits and some gorgeous dresses. They all had a splendid evening!

Joy of the Lord

Zephaniah 3:17 - "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing."

Psalm 126:6 - "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bring his sheaves with him."

Psalm 126:2 - "Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing; then they said among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them."

Isaiah 61:2-3 - "...to comfort all that mourn...to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified."

John 16:33 - "that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

Nehemiah 8:10 - "The joy of the Lord is your strength."

Proverbs 17:22 - "A merry heart doeth good, like a medicine."

It's good to be reminded of this, at the end of winter, and after a season of losses: friends moving away, family members and young moms passing away, financial loss, just to name a few...if there is one thing in life that is certain, it is that "in this life we will have troubles."

We have erratic "winters" here, but I do believe that Spring is making its statement on us already. We had a 95 degree day last week, and are expecting low 80's this. Trees are blooming all around us, and grape hyacinths and daffodils are showing their faces, as well.

Welcome new life, welcome Spring-


04 March, 2006

Brilliant Poem!

Another reason why I don't keep a gun in the house
by Billy Collins

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark
that he barks every time they leave the house.
They must switch him on on their way out.

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
I close all the windows in the house
and put on a Beethoven symphony full blast
but I can still hear him muffled under the music,
barking, barking, barking,

and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra,
his head raised confidently as if Beethoven
had included a part for barking dog.

When the record finally ends he is still barking,
sitting there in the oboe section barking,
his eyes fixed on the conductor who is
entreating him with his baton

while the other musicians listen in respectful
silence to the famous barking dog solo,
that endless coda that first established
Beethoven as an innovative genius.