30 September, 2007

No, we didn't make it to the reunion...

~due to technical difficulties, the last straw being a flat tire on a borrowed vehicle. It's complicated, but must not have been meant to happen. I'm a little disappointed, but the main thing about this weekend is that we needed NOT to spend any extra money (or waste a lot of precious extra time) just to make it happen. And we didn't. We behaved and submitted to what we could afford at this time. Our budget is being stretched so much these days. It is an extra tricky time financially with two teen drivers, the school's health insurance policy going up, and the recent wreck dd and I were in. Thank goodness for uninsured motorist insurance! But we have to fork some money out before we are reimbursed.

Evenso, we did have a wonderful family weekend, since the kids had gotten off of work. I think we all needed the rest from our collective crazy, busy schedules. Life *has* been very busy--

The moon has been clear and gorgeous. Enjoy...


26 September, 2007

Preparing for a whirlwind trip

Amidst my week of various Spanish classes, I am preparing the family for a whirlwind trip to my high school Alma Mater for its 25th Class reunion. Whew and oh-my-goodness! To which my Calvinist friends would be quick to say, "But there is *no* goodness in you!" with a huge grin. Snicker, snicker. Yes. I know.

BUT it is really hard to believe that my 25th high school class reunion has arrived! I truly hope some of my best hs friends are going to make it! Some I have not seen since 1982. Others I have not seen since 1987. I'd love to hug their necks and catch up with them. So please forgive me for the walk down memory lane, which could come across as blatant bragging. It was simply a very full but also a tremendously fun year. I will try to find my old yearbook and post scans from it. I recently found one of my Prom pictures, even. THAT should be enlightening!

In my Senior Year in High School I was:

Spanish Club President, studying my fourth year of Spanish. The exchange student at our school that year became my sister-from-Mexico City. My best friend in this town was a Puerto Rican national. Spanish students (myself included) competed at state and I came home with three medals for sight-reading, poetry memorization, and prose reading in Spanish. (two gold, one bronze)

Student ex-officio member of the city's Library Board (the monthly meetings were so exciting, let me tell you!) This incredible old library with its original creeking, wooden floors, must be the atmosphere that prepared me for my interest in vintage book repair and conservation that I just began studying in 2001 or 2002.

Very involved with music: voted Best all-around musician (I think there must have been a shortage of musicians in our little town!). I played a couple of instruments in the band during marching season and concert season. We competed at state level and our wind symphony got a 1. I was in music theory and music appreciation all year, as well. Learning to play the bassoon really is one of my favorite accomplishments! I was able to carry it into my college years, until I got too busy there to keep it up.

Vocally, I gained a lot of confidence in our music group by my senior year and did a couple of solos, but the most fun we had was traveling and competing as a group and singing at Silver Dollar City in Branson and World's of Fun in Kansas City! Our group's versatility was amazing to me. That same year, we also competed at state level sight-reading, singing girls trios and a Capella madrigals. Woo and also hoo! We got a lot of 1's, I remember.

I was also a Thespian...or is it "once a Thespian, always a Thespian?" Whatever the case, I have long since lost my official card. So while I might still be an official member, I am not the card-carrying kind. Heh heh. Offers of recruitment to our church drama team were just made to me in the last week...does that count?? I must still be official, somewhere. It is probably the one avenue I am pursuing the least of all I was doing then.

I loved writing and art history and music appreciation. I studied Psychology and Social Work with the goal of pursuing it in college.

I "lettered" in many of the above things (except maybe the library board membership, LOL). That was important to some of us, since sports were so important at our school, and other venues (in which I was more involved ;) competed with that high school status hierarchy scale, or so it seemed. It turned out to be a VERY good year, anyway.

And now I return along with other friends and school mates, to see how well we have all aged :-0.

'Tis funny that I am still heavily involved with Spanish, though teaching now, not just learning (which always happens, since I'm not with native speakers every day like I was back in high school).
I still love music and am co-teaching the Junior High performance Ensemble class, of which our youngest son is a big part (Hey, he also loves improv!)

My most recent CD purchase reflects two of my then and now interests: Gloria Estefan's "Noventa Millas," and album of 'música Cubana tradicional.'

We are regulars to the symphony and all my kids play several stringed instruments, along with their father who also builds stringed instruments. He has a "luthiers" club that meets once a week, where he is now teaching some of his friends and Real Chile Men (t) the craft. The man writes me poetry and music. Does it get much better than that, I ask you??

As for old library books: I now restore and conserve them!

I still love writing, so I blog when I am able. Still appreciate Art History but have added photography to my list of joys, with two official Art gallery showings under my belt; one in Yucatan, Mexico, and one here closer to home. I did pursue Psychology in college but burned out on it 3.5 years into it. I DO use it *and* counseling, now that we have three (almost four) teens (and their plethora of friends). The Lord wastes nothing. The more common way to say this is: The Lord is sovereign.

See, I still love the things I used to love, and the Lord blessed me to bring me full circle and make those things a big part of my adult life. I had a decent long and simple singing career which I've partially set aside for now, since our teens are beginning to do a similar thing with their (I should say "God's") own Folksy - Indie twist to it! I just love watching them.

The one thing I do much better as an adult than I ever did in school is reading and book clubs. I was not a reader
in school by most standards b/c of various reading issues from early childhood.
I could put up with non-fiction somewhat, but that is pretty much it. Finding C. S. Lewis and Francis Schaeffer in college, then reading all these years (more than 15) of Home schooling helped me make up for that weakness and the loss of time not having read the classics, historical fiction or biographies.

But I'll close my story here. I do look forward to seeing old friends. I hope many of them return. I'll have my camera ready.

Our 7-ish hour road trip should be an adventure. There are some neat historic things to see in this town to show the family, not to mention the three houses in which my family lived while we were there from my fifth to my twelfth grade years. There is a lot to pack into a very short weekend.

Pray for safe travels for all, and I'll see some of you next week!

Boomer Sooner!


Go, Cowboys!


22 September, 2007

Next three projects

Here are the "before" photos for my next three restoration projects:

Two of them are different editions of a similar book, both of which will be restored/preserved for friends who also happen to be in my CM book club.

The third book, which is about famous railroad stations of the world, is for a client referred to me by one of our local libraries.

I am rather anxious to get these started!


20 September, 2007

Our baby

Tigger is simply adorable. He turned around out of his nap for this shot!

Javamom, who is busy recuperating and preparing Spanish lessons

19 September, 2007

New favorite Quote

"For God so loved the world that He didn't send a committee."

What's your pirate name

While I rest and recuperate, I thought I'd share this fun link for your blogging pleasure:

Pirate name generator

I am "Sword Jugglin' Anne" or if I include my grandmother's name in my name (for fun) I am "Frownin' Jo Sparrow."

Of course, the Hubster is "Dread Pirate Sparsebeard" so I would not even change his ;-).

My kids are:

Scurvy Gums Grant
Noseless Misty Dread


aka Sword-Jugglin' Anne

17 September, 2007

The kids' band! again!

~On the way to the next concert~

They did so well! It is fun to see the Lord bless their gifts and grow them through these experiences. They are slowly saving up the money they earn at these things for better equipment. (J is in the middle w/guitar, our dd usually plays the bass. Here, she is holding the mandolin her father made).

Temp car, insurance update, etc.

This is the car the rental place had for us; the Saturn Vue. Isn't it cute? I love red. It's also a hybrid (well, sort of. The batteries only kick in while idling).

It seems that insurance is working well to help us re-coup our losses. The van may be totalled, but we haven't gotten the final word, yet. This car is fun, but too small for the whole family to ride in. As a temporary vehicle, it is just fine, since J has his own car for work and band practices/gigs.

12 September, 2007

We just wanted to go to the bank

"No tengo papeles. ¿Qué hacemos?" He asked. "Esperamos. Nececitamos esperar" I answered.*

We just wanted to go to the bank! I'm still in shock at this and how it played out post-wreck. We were hit by an illegal with no papers of any sort today, only a Mexico license. BUT he pulled up into the parking lot and STAYED; he did not flee. Dear daughter got his license plate taken down, just in case he did flee.

My poor dd has been in more wrecks by the age of 16 (all of them the other drivers' faults) than I have been at forty-something. Three pieces of hardware from the truck's license plate are embedded into the side door.

It doesn't look so bad from this first shot, since no glass broke, and the lighting is dark. But I can't really get the doors open. I'm afraid I won't be able to close them again, if I force them anymore. The driver's door wouldn't open for me, but the guy who hit us helped pry it open.

I know it could have been worse. Thankfully we were proceeding slowly and cautiously toward the intersection, as pre-rush hour traffic is already pretty thick here. I think I was doing about 25 mph in my right-turn lane. As I was just driving past the entrance of a gas station, I saw a truck turning at a decent clip and he smacked us full-on. He felt so bad. He confessed it was his fault (in Spanish) and was very sorry. He asked for no police. What's a gal to do, when she knows the driver doesn't have insurance and has no way of trusting one's word that he could indeed pay for the damages. It was a struggle for me to do the right thing. What would you have done?
I told him (in Spanish) that I know it is difficult, but that my husband (with whom DD was talking on my emergency cell phone that dh and I finally knew we needed) didn't know if he would pay or not, that we had no way of being assured of him paying. I told him that I had to call the police (which DD did right after getting off the phone with Hubby) in order to have the right paperwork to file an insurance claim with our insurance company.

The particular intersection where this happened is becoming extremely bad. There are near misses there every day, and wrecks every week.

Just weeks ago a motorcyclist was hit here just like my daughter and me. His was a hit-and-run. He had no protection of a car frame, of course, and was completely knocked out for a very long time on a very hot asphalt pavement. I did not know if he lived or died.

After the police came and got a translator to take the other driver's story, the policeman handed me the slip of paper to file with our insurance co. and let us go. I felt awful. I knew that the driver would be taken in and probably deported ASAP. There are other details of our Spanish conversation that would just take too long to type here. He is a believer who attends a congregation in our city. Please keep this man and his family in prayer, please.

We finally made it to the bank. I was still shaken and visited with our bank lady inside. Would you know that she knows the man who was in the motorcycle wreck several weeks back. He is a client at the bank. He lived and can walk, but he is torn up pretty bad. I told her to tell him that another bank customer is very happy that he lived, since I was there right after his hit-and-run.

I am upset about our country's double standards regarding illegal immigration. It affects us all, whether you live in a border state or not. Something has to be done to support these families back in their home country, and to hold a higher standard of accountability here! And the honorable, hard-working folks who are usually the ones who pay the highest price. I've seen the poverty in Mexico...I teach Spanish and compassion. We know and work with first generation and now legal aliens who worked hard to become legal the right way. We know illegals, too.

I sympathize with and totally understand wanting a better life! I ache for this family. BUT I am also mad at a government who enabled so much dependency for far too many decades that it is just a deep hole in which we find ourselves. I blame businesses here who hired illegals without some tougher standards AND without more of a practical hand in helping people to become legal the same way any worker from Africa, Asia, Europe or any other country has to do! No constant freebies, just honest help. But when you are burned so many times by dishonest folks, it's hard to separate the honest from the dishonest.

¡Aye, aye, aye! I am still stunned but thankful. Pray for the other family...sigh.

Señora Javamom
*"I don't have papers. What do we do?" he asked. "We wait. We need to wait." I answered.

11 September, 2007


I just received this exciting notice in the mail:

"You are hereby summoned to appear for jury service on the date and time specified on your juror badge. Jury service is an important duty of citizenship. In most cases, your service will be for less than one week..."

This will be on my fall break week, at least. Oh, boy. It conjures up all sorts of difficult images.

I guess it is time to show that I can be a good sport while being a good citizen.

or should I say Jurymom

10 September, 2007

Symphony Season has begun!

Ah, yes...the peace and harmony of a good symphony. It doesn't get much better than this. As I've written in the last year or so, Hubster and I don't go out to eat but a handful of times a year. We rarely take the whole family out...(But we try to cook well!) We spend what small portion we allocate from our family budget toward date nights/entertainment for tickets to the symphony instead of meals out or weekends at a hotel. Food only nourishes for a few hours, while live music can stay with us always.

Our orchestra started out in a patriotic tone, playing the Star-Spangled Banner. Nice touch, that!

Next came the Overture to Candide by Leonard Bernstein. Nicely done; I love Bernstein. He is the first conductor I remember admiring as a youth.

After that, a most horrid and modern piece, the likes of which I have not had to sit through in a few years. It was a Violin Concerto composed in 1993 by John Adams (almost 35 minutes long). Some folks like the style and appreciate the instrumentalists' ability to execute complicated timing against triads and chromatic chord structures of different pitches within the different instrument families. My sensibilities have not been sufficiently trained to appreciate these confusing sounds which feel chaotic to my senses. I had been trained in instrumental and symphonic music. I was even in a wind symphony for brief spurts during high school and even into college playing the bassoon, though my first instrument was the flute.

There was one section that was interesting, and it was quite short. The bassoons had a nice run for about 12 bars, but that was all that held my attention. The percussion did some interesting things, but overall, it was the type of music that sets one's mood or demeanor on edge. It reminded me of background music for a scary or suspenseful movie.

Thank the Lord for intermission and then a fantastic rendition of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 2 in C minor. Because we swapped our normal tickets for the weekend matinée showing, we were able to score some great seats at about the fifth row. The Tchaikovsky made the whole trip to the city very much worth it. Plus our old maestro was back in town for this opening weekend. He is fun to watch conducting bouncy pieces that crescendo and grow, as he is apt to hop about.

What fun! I wonder what our new conductor will be like. He has guest conducted here before, but I do not remember what he did. I'll have to go look through my old playbills to see. I do save the playbills, for they contain wonderful information and background on the pieces played, not to mention biographical information on the composers and any soloists.

How do my readers prefer to spend their entertainment dollars?

Javamom, whose second item for entertainment spending for the family is on a Netflix subscription.

09 September, 2007

Home school & Co-op in full Swing

This past week marked the official beginning of our school year, though we started at half-pace and will gear up more this week. Unlike Mother Auma, though, we have not taken a "school" picture, yet!

I'll have friends joining us a couple of days at our home this year for all age levels of Spanish classes. This will give my boys some friends to work alongside them.
I have 12 students in my co-op high school class, 5 students in the Jr. High class, 2-3 (if my dd has time to fit us in) in my home high school class, two in my Jr. High class, and 3 or 4 in my elementary club class.

Our next three kids in line will be taking classes such as SAT prep, Painting on China, Algebra I, Performance Ensemble, and Improv.

I'm sorry that I don't post schedules or lesson plans these days. I know that is encouraging and helpful to a lot of people. I'm a big picture person, and am more apt to just tend to the details but don't always like to spell them out in little steps. I ha--... I get to do that for my co-op classes, so that takes up all my patience and time for such things. I do enjoy having these lesson plans and detailed descriptions myself, so that I can stay on topic when I'm presenting information or playing grammar games with my own kiddos or students, but time does not allow me to rearrange them to share here very often.

I do love to share the things from our family and life from which we learn. All of life is about learning, really. We get to be creative at how we title and fit much of this into the high school transcript, but it is possible to do so in a legitimate fashion!


05 September, 2007

Big Jim

Confessions of a RCM's (t) wife:

Yes, I really *do* like green chile. They are huge and make fantastic chile rellenos, or are just great chopped and added to quesadillas, corn, salsa, eggs, anything. I love the smell of them roasting. It reminds me of camping. It is actually cool enough in our state to think about camping. We have had an extremely mild summer this year...such a tremendous blessing.

I am staying home tonight from another gig that the kids' have in downtown Dallas and I'm roasting the last of the chiles; the Big Jim variety. Yesterday was the Sandia, today was the Big Jim. Mmmmm Hmmmm. Yum. If you are from New Mexico, you so know what I am talking about. Anywhere else is just "hmmm? Chile? Isn't that a country?

Nope. Not this kind.

So the big Real Chile Men reunion and feast is this weekend with all the RCM and their families. We've known some of these families for 18 years, and most of them for 15 years. The trip to New Mexico for fun, food, fellowship and Chiles is tradition!!

Yes. We all need some traditions in our lives.

We refuse to let summer and "relaxedness" (different from laziness) go completely away as we begin a new school year. I abhor rushing and adrenaline, and all the fussing and stress that does not need to be a part of our lives. It is bad for relationships and bad for our long-term health!

Take time to smell the Chile :-D


04 September, 2007

It's Hatch Chile Season Again

...and the 'Real Chile Men' (t) have returned from the hunt! These happen to be the hotter Sandia variety. The big Jim are still in their burlap bag, awaiting their turn for roasting.

Javamom, who becomes 'Chilemom' for a week in early September, while we roast and freeze pounds and pounds of these lovely pods.

03 September, 2007

I cannot keep up with God!

No kidding, right?

There is just not enough time in the day to keep up with everything. Even when one makes a concerted effort to "stop and smell the roses," to praise the Creator for beauty and life and to enjoy His simple things. There still is not enough time to accomplish not only what needs to be done, but also those things that our human minds come up with to do. BUT perhaps in enjoying these simple things, we quickly reflect on those things that are not important.

I am simply and utterly speechless at his creation. Almost all of the time. The beauty you see (when to you take the time to see it) could not happen without one incredible power source to fuel the order and natural laws of the universe; a creator with such attention to details that neither man nor substance could ever come up with on its own. Man ruined Eden, and we need a Savior because of it.

I have believed in God since my first memories of understanding this very simple fact.

I *am* inspired by God's order, and by His creativity and beauty. I stop what I'm doing and run out the door on a regular basis to record some of the incredibly spectacular moments on digital images.

Doesn't this one look a little like a volcano? This is slightly later in the sunset than the above two shots. The sun has gone behind and is glowing like fire or molten lava.

His order and creation are not sterile. Dust abounds in His creation, you know. The earth does not always "get a good washing" by rain every day or even every week. I take comfort in this. There are times and seasons of color and of cleanliness in God's outdoor world. Helps me consider and order the necessary people and things in my indoor world.

Wishing you a Happy Labor Day off from serious labors

02 September, 2007

Labor Day Weekend so far...

The kids played again twice this weekend all over our big city, and picked up another gig with an older singer/songwriter. He enjoyed their music so much, he invited them to come share some of his time next week at another well-known Indie coffee shop in 'Downtown.' The really cool thing is that this place is very difficult to get on.

A radio guy from *The City* (not just one of the metro areas) came to see them two nights in a row, wants a copy of their upcoming EP so that he can feature a song or two of theirs during his show.

This is fun ~ probably because the majority of them are cautious than most and didn't plan to pursue a career in music. They just love playing and singing together.

Doin' the Java Jive,