17 December, 2008

Interview with a Bookbinder

This is one of my side jobs and hobbies. I love bookbinding and restoration. Abebooks.com has interviewed a master bookbinder for their latest online issue of "The Avid Reader." ~ Here are just a couple of snippets, but you can read the whole interview here.

"Dave Allen is a surviving member of an endangered species - a professional bookbinder. Pick up your Yellow Pages - there won't be many listed. Bookbinding is a highly skilled craft requiring enormous patience, concentration and knowledge. It is also a profession kept alive by a few dedicated bibliophiles like Allen."

and another quote:

"By the time he’s finished with this edition, he will have ripped off the spine (it is barely attached), reattached it, oversewn where the pages have come loose while maintaining as much original thread as possible, repaired numerous rips and tears, and more. When he tells me what the book is valued at, how long he will spend with the book and what he charges, his services seem like a bargain."

True, so true...yet it is time well-spent!


Snowflake Patterns

Make your own snowflakes! We've already tried these, and they are beautiful. Boys and girls alike will enjoy these. They look great hanging in the windows!



16 December, 2008

A Beethoven Solo for Barking Dog?

In honor of Beethoven's Birthday, a twist of a reminder of the wonderful conclusion of his Fifth Symphony. Enjoy!! (This is one of my favorite poems).

Another Reason Why I Don't Keep A Gun In The House

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.

~ Billy Collins

Happy Birthday, Beethoven

Happy Birthday, Beethoven!

Beethoven was my first favorite composer that I enjoyed as a child. My mother used to play his "Moonlight Sonata" on our old piano when I was in middle school. In high school, I studied Beethoven for my Music Appreciation class my senior year, and wrote a long paper about him. He has always been a personal favorite of mine, even as I grew to appreciate other composers throughout the years.

Musically yours,


11 December, 2008

Christmas Carols in Spanish

Some of my students from my Spanish classes (along with their parents) have joined me in gathering presents to deliver to needy families this weekend. We will be helping my friend Señora Smith. As we deliver goodies, we will get to do some caroling in Spanish as we go. I thought I'd include a link here on the blog for any who'd like recommendations for a big list of Christmas carols in Spanish.

¡Feliz Navidad!

Señora Javamom

10 December, 2008

Life Transitions and Gratitude

It's hard to know what to write about sometimes. We are busy working away here at home, and are loaded down with blessings and challenges, both large and small. Things have been going steadily about.

Blessed things we've observed and been a part of in the past week or two:

~ The first Robin of the season came to our birdbath this week

~ School work moves forward, slowly but surely. Each of our teens still at home has had their own small successes this fall. Our daughter, a senior taking dual-credit classes at a local college, scored a 102 on her college history test!!

~ 15.5 yo son is progressing well in Spanish and Biology

~ 13.5 yo son is doing well in piano. He's also reading and remembering facts & details a little better each week. He's still impulsive, repetitive, and silly sometimes, but he is *creative.* That is in him for a reason, we are just trying to see where it will go with him, and how best to guide him. He is constant in taking responsibility for his bunny's care.

~ Our oldest, who turns 20 this month, came down from Omaha for a week-long visit. It was so good to see him and provide some rest, food, hospitality for him. He is making plans for a future with a fantastic gal, one whom I am enjoying getting to know and treat like a daughter.

~ Watching The Sound of Music with *all* the kids, guy and gal best friends included

~ Opening our home to the kids' best friends and some of their parents, too!

~ Getting to enjoy dinner in their home, as well :-)

~ Planning a Spanish Class ministry of adopting and buying for several Latino kids this Christmas

~ Putting up our Christmas tree with some of the kids while listening to oldies music

~ Making trips to the library a weekly habit once again

~ watching the boys stay in a good routine of a few basic chores and schoolwork...even the 13 yo...though Math is still very much a challenge for him.

~ Teaching Spanish I and II and enjoying the challenge of providing some fun learning opportunities along the way

~ seeing restoration of books through to the end, wathcing the look on owner's faces when they receive their books back in restored and preserved condition for their own children to enjoy

~ cooking up a storm for a week for a crowd (from scratch)!

~ picking the last of our fresh garden tomatoes and peppers

~ now it's cold enough to throw the extra quilt on the bed (I love this time of year, transitioning into the cold part of fall just before winter)

~ The blessing of sleeping later is such a treat. We keep a later schedule around here, as my most productive hours are around midnight, and the kids may be working or have friends over, as well.

~ the fun of planning and preparing Christmas baskets

~ grateful above all for the Lord' provision

26 November, 2008

Were Cats and Dogs on the Mayflower?

It is no surprise to most of you that we are fond of our kitties. Their cuteness and interaction with us brings some comfort and joy to our family. They are very snuggly warm on the lap or on our feet on a chilly evening. If you have favorite family pets, your kids might enjoy reading this article at Pet Place dot com.

23 November, 2008

Some fall leaves in Texas ~ finally!

No Spring nor Summer Beauty hath such grace As I have seen in one Autumnal face. ~ John Donne

Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn. ~ Elizabeth Lawrence

This is what much of our backyard looks like this day ~ Still a lot of green!

Just beyond the tree closest to the deck, we are beginning to see the lovely changes of fall color.

Clumps of branches and leaves are beginning to glow with those effervescent red, gold, and yellow hues.

The colors are but one reason why I love this time of year so. It is my favorite time of year of all!
Happy Fall Y'all!

22 November, 2008

Project with dd and her friend

They wanted to make blank journals and cover them with old book covers. They asked, is this possible and could I do it? Well, of course it is possible and I told them I would show them what to do! The week after our discussion, these creative artists went with me to a localish art festival and there were dozens of just such books being sold for big bucks. That is okay, because we were going to make our own, anyway! We did get some grand ideas for titles to look for in the future, though.

*notice the pottery bowl. This is one of the things I bought, since I am not trained in pottery. It is the newest edition in the cottage. I buy a new one from this particular artfest every couple of years.

Andrew working on his journal book

Ky working quickly on hers. We were limited on time as they were about to leave for Mississippi for a week.

The finished books. Not bad at all for the kids' first effort and for being in a hurry.

We did trim the little strings on the edges.

And now they have something new to sketch and write in on their holidays in Mississippi.


16 November, 2008

Upon Reading

"It is only those who have read who do read."

Isn't that obvious? I chuckled a bit when I read this.

Charlotte Mason says this reflecting upon Sir Philip Magnus' conception; who emphasized the importance of the 'habit of reading' as a chief acquirement of school life.'

I should post more from these last two chapters that I am leading my CM book club through. It is in this chapter, chapter 21 of volume 3 _School Education_, where she is in the midst of outlining a detailed scope of a curriculum based upon her educational principles.

But first, I must be off to pick up our fourth teen from his youth group small group.

Any reflections on this quote that you'd like to share with me? Be my guest!!


10 November, 2008

The Encouragement and Inspiration Brought Forth by Music

03 November, 2008

Bathing a Bunny

This little sweety almost looks like a lamb when he's all matted with bath water.

He has turned out to be a very good pet. AJ has become very responsible in taking care of him. Nim takes more work than our cats do, but he has been worth it. He brings lots of smiles to the family :-).


23 October, 2008

Take Angst or Take Joy ~ That is the question

My friend, Sheila over at A Season of Harvest had this to share. I loved her post, all of it. Go read it! Now!

We often think of angst as a sort of "anxiety" or grappling and anguishing over something, unable to come up with answers. In German, "angst" means "fear." Very interesting, eh?

Are you choosing joy with a flair, or angst??


22 October, 2008

Katie asked...

What is on the front of the Eugene Field book? So I'll add two more photos, before and after, because it is rather sweet ~

21 October, 2008

Plutarch and Eugene Field ~ finished (well, a little fine-tuning left on the insides)!

~ I love this job ~

Poetic Knowledge is in

Just wanted to let a certain Queenly friend (of the exclusive "H3" group) know that I received my copies of Poetic Knowledge: The Recovery of Education by James S. Taylor and The Christian Imagination edited by Leland Ryken via free shipping and UPS today. Just so she knows. So we can get together over a chai latte with our girls and discuss at least one of them...like she said we would...

Looking forward to dipping my toes into it tonight, even though it's past midnight.


18 October, 2008

The Alfred E. Smith Charity Dinner pt. 2

Thanks to Mrs. Happy Housewife and Donna-Jean for coming to my rescue (read: I ran out of time and patience with both my computer-Windows problems- and my dial-up connection, and didn't want to be online anymore) with good links to add to my first post about this historic dinner in honor of Alfred E. Smith.

Mrs. Happy Housewife explains more about the historic dinner here, complete with links and video clips.

Donna-Jean also has video clips on her site.

Thanks again, ladies!

~ Javamom ~

17 October, 2008

The Alfred E. Smith Benefit Dinner

Did any of you see / hear this event? I bet it's up on You Tube by now. How refreshing it is to see the two candidates in this light, instead of what we have had to listen to (spin) on the main stream media outlets, or the fearful tones of the scary e-mails being sent to you and me and everyone.

Both candidates were very, very funny, poking fun at themselves and roasting each other a bit. They were a lot more humble and seemed pretty genuine. I wish more campaigns could be run on humility. Ah, well, I can dream, can't I?

Lightening up the tone of the campaign (any campaign, really) is just what the doctor ordered.

I'm looking for a link to post, but most of them only give a brief snippet, not even half the story, so they lost much by not being more thorough...or purposefully not being more complete and inclusive.

Too bad.


16 October, 2008

Simple Joys From this past week

~ The colors of Autumn, my favorite time of year (sneezes and all). In texas, these are some of the only red and orange growing things so far. I also have orange zinnias and marigolds. The leaves usually wait to turn until November-early-December.

~ Finishing up another book restoration for a friend

~ Reading about Literature with our youngest son, knowing that he is finally getting it!

~ Watching "Iron Man" with the boys

~ Playing a Spanish vocab game with our 17 yo daughter, helping 15 yo son with his Spanish homework

~ Helping teenager number three to learn how to drive!

~ Working with Hubby in the veggie garden; the sweet potatoes that are bigger than my foot! We have three more mounds of these to dig.

~ Thrift store finds that help make a house an organized, warm home. This piece was so unbelievably cheap and completely needed and useful. Cash only, baby ;-)

~ Talking to our oldest son in Omaha by phone, cause I miss our long conversations sometimes

~ Cooking cool-weather foods now that Autumn is settling in (*Winter Squash Soup and White Chicken Chili, just to name two of our favorites)

~ Teaching Spanish to my kids and their friends

~ Cooking for my kids' best, closest friends

~ Fresh ground, fresh-brewed coffee

~ hot chocolate with peppermint syrup

~ Making plans to help hurricane victims

~ Helping Hubby by working his after-school program this week while he is leading a freshman class trip.

~ Seeing my old, best girlfriend while at the school...she teaches there now in the lower school.

~ Planning for an art show with my kiddos and their best friends

~ I'm loving our schedule this fall. It is just about as perfect as it can be, just busy enough but not so crazy or stressful with wildly changing hours. We have plenty of room (margin built into the schedule) to have friends over, breathe, and live.

~ Since This is our daughter's Senior year and Hubby's life is so much more complicated than in all his years (18 now) of working and leading at the same school, it is more important than ever to make home a relaxing and inspiring haven to make every moment we all get together count, maximizing our time as much as we can. We do not regret any choices we had to make to accomplish this atmosphere of home and hospitality for ourselves and others. This is an important season.

How is your Autumn turning out? Any special blessings or plans? Leave me a comment and tell me about some of them.

Ciao for now,


10 October, 2008

multi-partisan families? I'd like to hear from you

Bi-partisan and multi-partisan families, I want to hear from you!

I vote on a regular basis, even in primaries, and I like to follow politics and issues on a fairly regular basis, but I don't like to write political posts and I'll tell you why:

~ I am an idealist and no party offers very much of what I long for

read: Jesus was neither a republican nor a democrat

~ I am a life-long learner and student of history

~ Politics, parties, and people get painted with too broad a brush far too often, and a lack of human compassion follows shortly thereafter.

~ When the discussion devolves into name calling (and you can see/hear it from all sides) I shut it off and out, because purpose and plain facts and voting records are being ignored.

~ I live in a large, bipartisan...actually more like a multi-partisan family. I rather thrive on the things and ideals that unite instead of the things that divide us. I also love hearing the good points from all sides of a discussion or issue. I will not shut someone off if they don't agree with me on an issue. I like to hear reasoned, calm discussion. I believe in the ability of people to agree to disagree while still maintaining a friendship. The problem is, very few people are actually taught how to pull this off without becoming angry, offended, judgmental, and etc.

~ My studies (which will forever be unfinished, but not unfocused) of history, religions, denominations, languages, literature, art, classics, philosophies of education, even practical trades can all be categorized under anthropology. I have come to think that perhaps this has muddied the political waters for me. This does make it much easier to vote for each person on an individual basis instead of along party lines, but it makes my job to research all the candidates more important (and more time-consuming) than if I simply vote along party lines and platforms.

~ writing about this open-mindedness...being an independent thinker and sometimes undecided voter, or whatever *you* may call it, could add a wedge in relationships with either friends or family.

~Terminology is loaded on all sides. Folks define words differently and claim a word or ideal as their own party's "pet" project or platform.

There are other reasons, but I think this list is reflective enough of what I'm trying to say.

My point for this post? I want to hear from people living in bipartisan and multipartisan families about what makes your family work. I don't even know if there are that many in my networks...I guess I will find out (I hope...people tend to be very shy and skittish about this, if it exists in their homes). If my regular readers know of family or friends who would qualify, please send them my way. If I don't hear from anyone, then I just have not been able to find the audience, yet. I did a google search and literally came up with just two or three sites with similar topics. Not a large audience.

So I will try word-of-mouth of my friends and readers. I would love to stir up some support! Tell me (if you don't mind being open about it) about your bipartisan or multipartisan family...the positive things that come out of your relationships and differing thoughts and opinions on politics and beliefs. I could tell you some of the ways our family discusses and juggles, or chooses to keep part of the discussion simple, so as not to overwhelm the younger ones in the family, or those who don't like controversy at all.

But today, this weekend, I'd like to hear from others on their successes.

(an aside: Yes, those who don't like controversy need to learn how to handle it, but we don't want to provoke the wrong things. We have learned the need to take a gentle, more subtle approach most of the time, or we will end up frustrating those and planting quite different seeds than we would like).

I love my family and extended family, have learned so much and been so pleasantly surprised many times in these open discussions. It is all very fascinating (and only sometimes a little tense).

My final thought: A mountain has many sides, angles, inclines, valleys and hidden caves and trails. We cannot really know the mountain by observing it from only one vantage point or from a flat picture. I think Charlotte Mason said something similar to this thought in Volume three...I will have to dig that up...



03 October, 2008

Garden photos

I accidentally knocked one of the big green tomatoes off the vine the other day, but it should ripen. The romas are amazing. I picked 30 more yesterday and gave another dozen to our fireman neighbor. We have a ton! Time to make more salsa :-)

Fall garden ~ October 1st


Sweet potato vine-age and herbs, peppers in back and corners. Tomatoes in the middle.

Fall Serrano peppers

three of the five tomato plants

One of the roma plants

two roma plants, purple cabbage, sw. potato vineage and marigolds

Other views of Tomato Row

Zinnias at sunset on the deck