Friday, September 23, 2011

POEM #6- ROBERT FROST (1874-1963)

Another favorite from school days that I had to memorize. I frequently find myself saying, "miles to go before I sleep, miles to go before I sleep" while I clean the kitchen late in the evening. Someday I hope to see a snowy scene that would merit the application of these verses; we don't get a lot of snow here, you know. Can you see it? The dark skeletons of trees reaching against a full moon, slowly dressing themselves in white, the diamonds of fresh snow sparkling on the ground? The quiet? The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

The above picture is from the National Geographic website. Click here for some of the most beautiful free downloadable wallpapers you can find.
Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

POEM #5 Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)

The first poem I ever remember loving. This must have been in elementary school at some point.

THE fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

POEM #4 - Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672)

Another "friend" I met in college. Mrs. Bradstreet, according to, wrote most of her poems when her husband, a governor, was away on political errands. There's going to be more than one of hers in this series. The following poem I had done in calligraphy by my oh-so-creative and artistic friend, Paula Miller. It sits on Nathan's bedside table.

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee, give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay,
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let's so persevere
That when we live no more, we may live ever

POEM #3 Teresa de Avila 1515-1582

Sorry, dear reader! I hate to disappoint you, but some of the best stuff isn't in English. So there's a translation I threw together on the bottom of this one. I "met" Teresa de Avila in college. A part of the Christian mystic genre (mystic=one who believed a knowledge/relationship of God could be attained in this life; um... I guess that makes me and a large part of my readers mystics- who knew? ;o), Avila was a special inspiration to me in a public university full of relativism and skewed philosophies. I felt a kinship with her, like a secret friend I carried in my textbook.

Nada te turbe;
nada te espante;
todo se pasa;
Dios no se muda,
la paciencia
todo lo alcanza.
Quien a Dios tiene,
nada le falta.
Solo Dios basta.

May nothing disturb you.
May nothing frighten you.
Everything passes away.
God does not change.
can attain anything.
He who has God,
lacks nothing.
God is enough.

POEM #2 - William Wordsworth 1770-1850

I was first introduced to Wordsworth through the wonderful writings of Jan Karon. Her main character, Father Tim, delights in quoting Wordsworth throughout the books. I love the imagery of these springtime friends. Daffodils in an October post? Well, this is the time to put those babies in the dirt. (Click here to start planning now to see these in the spring)

The Daffodils
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling leaves in glee:
A Poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
POEM #1- James Whitcomb Riley 1853-1916

I'm really excited about the fun 31 day challenge. There's no rules, just posting 31 consecutive posts about something that you love. Well, I love poetry. It's something that floats through my life in stages. Here's one of my all-time fall faves. You can just feel the crispness of fall in the fun verses. I really love the way the spelling is changed to reflect dialectal uniqueness.

One of the most fascinating things about Riley is the story of his grand Poe hoax. Evidently, as this website indicates, he had an interesting reaction to the rejection of his poetry by a magazine. He felt the poetry wasn't the problem, rather his unknown name. So, with the help of some newspaper conspirators, he passed off a poem as a posthumous finding of Edgar Allen Poe's. He had the literary scholars of the country in an uproar. Crazy stuff.

WHEN the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then the time a feller is a-feelin' at his best, 5
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here— 10
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock— 15
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries—kindo' lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill; 20
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover overhead!—
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps 25
Is poured around the cellar-floor in red and yaller heaps;
And your cider-makin's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With theyr mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and sausage too!...
I don't know how to tell it—but ef such a thing could be
As the angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me— 30
I'd want to 'commodate 'em—all the whole-indurin' flock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Adventure With The Crazies

Last week I sat for a total of 8 hours (6 with kids, 2 without) in the car fix-it place getting Nathan's car tuned up. His Honda Accord (oh, blessed be it) has 388,000+ miles and just needed a little work. However, as the store I was in had 60 magazines (all hunting, fishing, or sports) and the TV channel was stuck the whole time on the hunting/fishing channel, Nathan SO owed me!!! So off I went. I thought doing the errands and going to the thrift store alone would be a happy reward. Don't get me wrong- I love my kids, and they are not "store brats"- but they SSSLLLLOOOWWWW me down.

The thrift store was my first stop. Ya never know with those places. I was anticipating a relaxed browsing. Nope. There was an older lady who kept loudly complaining to her daughter about "that stupid dinosaur toy that keeps snorting!" She was worried "because EVERYBODY is looking at me like I'm on oxygen." Let me clarify by saying that I neither saw nor heard any such dinosaur toy. Note to all friends: if I ever suffer from early-onset dementia, please, please do not allow me to make scenes in stores if possible. I'd prefer to suffer with some level of dignity- thanks!

On to Wal-Mart, where my mere presence coaxed an employee/stocker to share her life story, her family's genealogy, her cosmological beliefs, her grandson's educational prospects, and her views on prejudice. I heard about the Trail of Tears, gifted classes, how she was going to lead her grandson through the spirit world after they meet around the ancestral campfire (the stars). All-righty then. I think I used at least 5,000 of the my daily word quota in "Well... ok... I need to be... Sorry to cut you off..." Whew. By the time I got home I was exhausted.

Something must have happened in that last encounter. Maybe she cursed me with a Navajo crazy curse or something, but by the time I reached our neighborhood, I realized I was putting on the blinker TO GO AROUND CURVES.

But read on, dear reader- the best is yet to come. Nathan was at the office (that's NOT the best part, I promise) to prep for an interview. I, his helpful spouse, was made aware that a smoke detector was beeping downstairs in his dedicated man cave. So I'm thinking I'll get rid of the annoyance by changing the battery before he gets home. BUT I COULDN'T FIND THE DETECTOR. After about 30 minutes of looking, I determine it MUST have been installed in the unfinished basement before the drop ceiling was installed. I begin removing tiles. Using a flashlight and a compact mirror, my search was still in vain. Despite my best intentions, Nathan arrives home to ladder, tiles, wife with head in the roof, etc. He joins the search. We removed 9 tiles, even begin chipping away at the drywall above the ceiling with a hammer. The noise is incessant and TRAVELING. We hear it there, get there, and now it's behind us by 3 feet, move there, oh dear- now it's the the left by 5. So I go to plug in the shop vac and clean up the drywall dust. We've decided some moron has installed this thing heaven-knows-where, and the electrician will have to find it. (Did I mention I called the fire dept. on the non-emergency line to get advice as well?) That's when I saw it: the carbon monoxide detector, normally plugged into the bottom of the wall, has slipped down by the treadmill and is the culprit. How the sound traveled all over is a mystery of acoustics. How Nathan felt at that moment is not. Let's just say I thought it was funny, he did not.

Well, there you go. I have re-joined the world of the sane. May your week have a least a few laughs in it, even if they are at yourself....

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Picture Blog Summer 2011 Part 2

Since we 're-started' Kindergarten in January (that's a whole 'nother story- suffice it to say we were not connecting with our original plan, and we found happiness in the BJU Online K5 program), we've been doing homeschool through the summer. We're currently in our month off, and about to start Grade 1. I DID try to make the summer fun. The following pics of Elephant Girl and Boy are from the zoo. They have a new African Elephant exhibit, complete with drums the kids can play, masks, and 5 huge bull elephant. It's also cleverly (haha) designed to make you walk a gazillion miles between exhibits. Poor, poor feet.

We also took a long weekend to visit our friends Matt and Julia Thomas and kiddos while Nathan was suffering for the gospel in the Grand Caymans. We had a blast with their fabulous family (and their pool). Of course, I didn't take my camera- genius. We celebrated Alex's 4th b-day there with pizza and a DQ ice cream cake (and Matt parading him around the room ;o) Alex was embarrassed and kept staying, "STOP THE MUSIC!!!" in his best Veggie Tale voice. On the way home, Kathryn said, "OK, Mom- when we get home, we can go out and buy the pool and set it up, right?" Right... I caved and got them SWIMMING CLOTHES and went to Oak Mountain State Park / Lake instead. Beautiful surroundings and a nice shallow area for the kids to play in.

Bible visitors came to homeschool one day, then they shed their headgear and voila! time travel is so easy!! (even if the Vulcan High Council doesn't think it possible)

Mitzi, the family schnauzer, continues to grow and chew on everything she finds. She likes salsa, muffins, toilet paper and gum.

More pics to come!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Picture Blog of Our Summer Part 1
We started the summer with a lovely week at Pell City Bible Methodist Camp and a trip to Rickwood Caverns just north of Birmingham. We got there on a weekday for the first tour- so we had the sweet guide all to ourselves. As I've said before on here, I LOVE caves- the well-lit, tour-able kind of caves (not the crawl on your belly, claustrophobic kind) Vaguely disturbed to "meet" a lethargic snake inside, but it didn't seem to notice us. More pics coming...