29 November, 2007

Fun Surprise

We went through the drive-through to surprise our dear daughter at work last Saturday on the way to spend the day with family friends. Our friends' oldest son was home on break from college, and we all wanted to catch up with each others' lives, since they now worship with a different church congregation. The Dad just got back from Africa (he is a missionary) and is about to go to a Spanish speaking country just east of the Yucatán. We'd love to join him on that trip sometime!!

Our daughter came to their home, too, after her shift.

Hugs and high fives

Much singing and laughter was had by all ages :-) as we sang from hymnals from different denominations, so sometimes had different words and musical arrangements, ha! It was a perfect way to top off our long holiday weekend.

I am thankful for family and good health, but also for good friends.

And good coffee.

What did you all do after Thanksgiving?


28 November, 2007

The Big Hit of Thanksgiving Day

Grown on a family tree ~ north of Las Vegas, Nevada. To Uncle Wally and Aunt Sue: All four of our kiddos absolutely love pomegranates. Learning that Grandma Honey picked them from your tree on the cliff really gave them joy! The fruit is such a neat design...and it's red, which we love.


Donna Jean asked, so here's a post script ~

Cutting and eating pomegranates:

The skin is thickish and stiff, but you'll want to cut it carefully, so as not to cut into the juicy seeds. It's easiest to cut of the star topper, then score the sides. Put the whole fruit in a bowl of warmish water to soak several minutes. This makes it easier for the seeds to separate from each other and from the rind. You CAN eat the seeds inside the juicy kernels. I often spit them out, but I looked it up; they can be eaten.

Our family loves to drink pomegranate juice, which we can buy in multiple places here. You can blend your own juice and strain out the seeds with a strainer or cheese cloth. We've even been the recipients of Sparkling Apple Pomegranate or just plain Sparkling Pomegranate juice before.

Dd likes to buy pomegranate shampoo (Burt's Bees).

Any of my readers enjoy pomegranates this much?

24 November, 2007

Handcrafts Weekend

I am not an "after-Thanksgiving" sale shopper, and since it is quite cold here in our part of the country, I stayed indoors all day and worked on projects that I've had lined up for some time for several clients and friends. Yes, coffee and hot chocolate were kept close at hand!

(poetry book spine cleaning and scraping)

(Bible reline for recasing)

I need to get these projects completed before we bring the Christmas tree and decorations out of the attic.

(train book reline)

Here you can see part of the process of cleaning (with a special poultice), relining, and stabilizing old textblocks, in preparation for reinserting the books into their original covers. On two of these, the spines needed rebuilding. I also needed to line the front page of the poems book block, because it is so brittle. The paper in this book (on top of the stack) is very acidic and browned.

On the train book, below, the spine is fine, but the textblock of the book was hanging on by a thread.

The text block came completely out of the case (above) and I had to reinsert it with new lining (below).

What are you working on this season? Are you making Christmas presents for family and friends? Do you have any generic projects in the works? I used to do quilting, but this hobby has taken up all of the time I used to spend on quilting...and then some.

After these three projects are completed, I have three more jobs in the dock (two copies of Our Island Story: one for my friend Julie from my CM book club, the other for my friend Queen Shenaynay, and two books for one of our elders at church). After those, I have three more waiting on the back burner.

I've got my work cut out for me...ha ha!


20 November, 2007


Cats are so funny, and Tigger Amadeus is no exception.

Honestly, though, we are all taking advantage of the fact that it is Thanksgiving week, and we are resting like we haven't in a long while!

Enjoy your days off and your time with family and friends.


13 November, 2007

What's on Your Desk?

Mother Auma has posed a new question: "What's on Your Desk."

Mine is an intriguing mix, very much like my life. I have to make use of vertical storage space in our small cottage.

~I have a lot of Spanish resources, as you can imagine...but I don't store all my Spanish books and CD's here. They are on a bookshelf on the other side of the room.

~directly by my keyboard is today's grocery/shopping list.

~near my monitor are co-op class budget sheets that have to be turned in this Friday.

~ Also have a couple of my grade matrix sheets,

~ a symphony playbill

~ a "Look, I Can Talk" TPR storytelling book, Spanish edition

~ Under the playbill is an old hymnal.

~ Behind that is a box of old disks that have backed up files on them from my years as our homeschool group's first secretary, newsletter editor, and new homeschoolers' speaker/writer.

~ off to the left is a copy of our marriage license and passport and some other paperwork I needed recently.

~ Son's diploma is behind the speaker.

~ You can also see my collection of CM volumes, pens, pencils, blank CD's, telephone, a couple of Bibles.

~ Several silver bracelets and my glasses, which I cannot wear when I am on the computer.

~ A map of Germany

~ misc. post-it note reminders

~ CD Resource set that goes with my High School "Ven Conmigo" program. It contains lesson plans, answer keys, test generators, video clips, audio clips and more!

~ misc. copies of Ven Conmigo student homework sheets which I've been working on

~ A Jane Austen Biography

~ Cards from friends

~ photos

~ candles

~ camera lens

~ Software (at the very back) that is hardly ever used.

~ IKEA basket to the left, full of family photos

~ Mexican money

~ pressed, framed wildflowers

~ My prayer list is on the chalkboard to the left.

~ Co-op calendar is posted above that on the corkboard.

~ Bookbinding jobs/clients list is just above that

~ Bible verse quote and

~ family photos are posted on the bulletin board on the right.

Now, what's on your desk? I'm glad I have doors on mine!! LOL


11 November, 2007

On this Veteran's Day

Thank you, Veterans, for choosing to serve your country in the Armed Forces.

A special thanks to my brothers, a couple of Uncles, cousins, and three nephews who have all served (and some are still serving) for their time, energy, sacrifices, commitment, and love for our country. We cannot thank you enough.

With love,

Sis, cousin, and Auntie Javamom

Our New Maestro

Ahhhh! We were blessed with a refreshing date night at the symphony this weekend. Not only do we get to go with some of our oldest best friends, we heard all Beethoven (the first composer that I studied in high school who happens to be my favorite composer) and Our new resident conductor from the Netherlands is here.

His style is so very crisp, light, lilting. He conducts with a down beat! (not all do, they seem very hard to follow!) He uses hand signals and moves that, well, I have not seen from just one conductor before. My husband was distracted by so much movement, but most in the audience (including me!) seemed exhilarated by his energy and style.

First, the symphony played the Overture to Fidelio in E major (the final rendition of it, that is...Beethoven was not happy with the first three versions). It was a mere six minutes of dramatic loveliness, complete with and "attention-getting" fanfare.

Next came the Symphony No. 8 in F major, ties with the first symphony for short length. This is a mature work by Beethoven that suggests a sense of peace with where he was at the time, around 1812. This work is "small" only in the sense of a feeling of intimacy, instead of that of grandness and heroism. It is said that Beethoven was able to compose this symphony with some ease, instead of the "angst" that we may think of him having while trying to make some of his works just perfect. This piece includes varying and exciting dynamics and a sense of humor. Our new conductor was amazing on the point of dynamics, as well.

Last, we heard Beethoven's Seventh Symphony in A Major, which was written in 1811 but debuted on the same night in late 1813 as the 8th symphony. The 7th is grand and enthusiastic. The second movement, the slow Allegretto, was performed with such quiet as I have never heard it played before. The cellos and basses begin this movement somberly, and move slowly and quietly through and our new Maestro directed them in a very laid-back way, ever-so-gently to increase in volume. It was so moving, and my husband was happy at this point, because his favorite sections of the symphony were being highlighted. This second movement is also the one we hear in the children's DVD of Beethoven lives upstairs when the narrative recounts the sad tale of his frustration and hearing loss. Also appearing in this movement is the wonderful woodwind trios of flute, bassoon, and oboe. The fourth movement, the Allegro con brio, is lively and heroic, with lots of dotted eighths and 16th notes...ending in what I think is typical Beethoven fashion.

The French horns had some spectacular moments and my favorite players, the tympanist, the principal flute player, oboist, and bassoonist, had big nights, as well!

The audience roared and cheered for a second encore, like we hadn't seen in a couple of years...since perhaps the orchestra performed Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture with the huge symphony chorus, or Carl Orff's Carmina Burana with symphony chorus. I think only James Galway received a third encore...but this night was mostly all about our new Maestro.

So next month, we have Beethoven's Ninth, the "Ode to Joy," to which we are looking very much forward to seeing and hearing. It promises to be a wonderful evening! We were able to exchange our normal cheap section tickets for excellent seats on the floor. I am prepared to be blown away and have the hairs on my arms standing on end. Although I must say that the sound in our normal seats is phenomenal, because of the excellent acoustics in the symphony hall. We have also sat directly behind the orchestra before, where we could feel the music so much more and read the music right along with the musicians. THAT brought back excellent memories of my years in band and symphony.

Sweet note: We've taken our kids to hear our city's symphony quite a few times through the years, and their grandparents actually serve on the board of one of the symphonies in our area, so they enjoy the magic and grandeur of hearing and seeing the beloved pieces they've grown up listening to live. They have made a connection, and for that, I am grateful.


10 November, 2007

07 November, 2007

What's in Your Grocery Cart?

I just made a new friend this week. It seems we have a lot in common, including driving the same make, model and color of van! Our mutual friends have been telling us how they can't believe we haven't met, yet, b/c we are so much alike!

Well, we decided to go the coffee shop to surprise my oldest son (actually little bro wanted to do this-I wanted to avoid rush hour traffic and head home after the piano lesson). About ten minutes after arriving, my new friend showed up, just as my son was getting off work. My new friend's daughter also works at the same place. It was soo good to finally meet my new friend in person! We met up on Facebook earlier in the week, so the timing of running into her was uncanny, after this whole past year of knowing about this family and hearing all these wonderful things from my teens about the family. I knew two of her kids, and have even eaten with them, and she knows my oldest two. So it was great finally to meet!

So one of the last things she asked me (as we were inspecting each others' exact vans) was "what kind of groceries did you buy?" because I had a trunk full :-). That gave me an idea for a fun post.

We decided to skip making veggie and tofu stir-fry this week, so that is absent from our more typical grocery list.

Groceries purchased this week:

2 gallons of milk
half and half
Dannon Danactive
Yogurt (various flavors of Yoplait)
Land 'o Lakes butter

2 loaves of wheat sandwich bread
2 loaves of whole grain, thick, yummy bread from the dollar rack
Granola cereal
Honey bunches of Oats cereal w/almonds always a must!
Raisin Bran

Mango juice
Pink Grapefruit juice
100% cran grape juic

Brussel's sprouts
gala apples
baby carrots
big carrots

smoked turkey sandwich meat
rotisserie chicken sandwich meat we only eat this once a week. I know smoked prepared meats are very bad for us, b/c of nitrites and carcinogens of all kinds.
fresh chicken breast
ground turkey meat - for homemade chili (now that it's nice and cool)

Black beans
Tostitos "scoops" Corn chips

Two packages of brownie mix (for impromptu company dessert)
Shiner Bock, which my hubby refers to as "yellow roses"

What's in Your Grocery Cart?



I'm taking a brief break from my obsession in Spanish and sharing a normal life moment.

We saw and heard some GOOD football this weekend! Yes, a few of us at the Booksncoffeehaus (or wouldn't that be "das buchsundkaffeehaus"? LOL) love to watch us some football, as well as attend the symphony or see a good foreign film. We are indeed very eclectic.

Most of our teams won: Dallas Cowboys and the Oklahoma Sooners. We were so rooting for the Indiana Colts to beat the Patriots; honor, honesty, spirituality and all that...

Well, I want to share a favorite moment, linguistically speaking, while listening to one of the games on radio. It was a televised game, but for a brief time, we had to listen in on the radio broadcast while on our way home from hearing The Stable Futuristic play at a local coffee shop. (Yep...our kids' band).

These radio commentators are actually worth listening to over TV (or by turning down the TV volume and upping the volume on the radio tuned to the corresponding game) b/c of the commentators. Well, one of them to be more specific. He calls the OU games for a radio station out of my home state: Oklahoma. Listening to him is like revisiting family friends from the past. It takes me back to my roots!!

Now that you've had the build-up of this background, maybe you can imagine an "Okie" announcer, all excited-like, Oklahoma twang and all. He was talking about one of our own boys getting caught up and tripping himself. Instead of saying tripping himself, he said that the player had "engaged in some self-tackle-ization." I realize you probably had to hear it all for yourself, but in the moment, Hubby and I just looked at each other and laughed mightily! Wow. It was a funny moment indeed, and I realized once again why I like to listen to the funny Okie commentator on the radio while I am one state away from "my team."

06 November, 2007

De Colores

From "Songs for Teaching Spanish" comes the lyrics and an audio of De Colores. This is a good folk song to include when you study seasons of the year. We may also use The Marching Song to learn months of the year. Find other songs for your Spanish class here! There's a nice selection from which to choose!


03 November, 2007

Spanish Literature links

Here is a thorough site for Spanish Language Literature and Spanish Authors Web Directory
which includes a history of Spanish Literature.

This link is of Latin American Literature links

A Pablo Neruda poem in English

Ode to The Tomato

From: ‘Odas elementales’

by Pablo Neruda

The roadway

is full of tomatoes,



the light

splits itself

in two


of tomato,


down the roads

as juice.

In December

it goes wild

the tomato,



infiltrates lunches,

settles itself


on sideboards,

among glasses,


blue salt-shakers.

It has

its own light,

gentle authority.

Sadly we have to

murder it:


the knife

in its living pulp,

it is a red


a fresh




filling the salads

of Chile,

is happily wedded

to the clear onion,

and to celebrate


lets itself



child of the olive,

over its half-open hemispheres,

the peppers


their fragrance,

salt its magnetism:

it’s a stylish




little flags,

the potatoes

boil with vigour,

the roast


on the door

with its aroma,

it’s time!

come on!

and on to

the table, in the middle

of summer,

the tomato,




and fecund,

shows us

its convolutions,

its channels,

the famous fullness

and plenty

delivers up

without stone

without rind

without scales or spines

the gift

of its fiery colour

and the whole of its freshness.

Una poema de Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda

El mar

NECESITO del mar porque me enseña:
no sé si aprendo música o conciencia:
no sé si es ola sola o ser profundo
o sólo ronca voz o deslumbrante
suposición de peces y navios.
El hecho es que hasta cuando estoy dormido
de algún modo magnético circulo
en la universidad del oleaje.
No son sólo las conchas trituradas
como si algún planeta tembloroso
participara paulatina muerte,
no, del fragmento reconstruyo el día,
de una racha de sal la estalactita
y de una cucharada el dios inmenso.

Lo que antes me enseñó lo guardo! Es aire,
incesante viento, agua y arena.

Parece poco para el hombre joven
que aquí llegó a vivir con sus incendios,
y sin embargo el pulso que subía
y bajaba a su abismo,
el frío del azul que crepitaba,
el desmoronamiento de la estrella,
el tierno desplegarse de la ola
despilfarrando nieve con la espuma,
el poder quieto, allí, determinado
como un trono de piedra en lo profundo,
substituyó el recinto en que crecían
tristeza terca, amontonando olvido,
y cambió bruscamente mi existencia:
di mi adhesión al puro movimiento.

01 November, 2007

El Día de los Muertos

El Día de Muertos is celebrated in Hispanic countries, instead of Halloween.

The news story is in Spanish (because I have AOL Latino). Here's a neat slide show of the day in Mexico. Slides 11-13 include cake or sugar skulls, so skip these if you show it to your children. The flower displays are beautiful, as this day is a celebration of the lives of loved ones who have passed away.