Don't worry! It is the last post of THIS BLOG. I have merged all my posts from all the very many blogs I have expanded to with time, and I have consolidated everything in just ONE, as it was my original idea and intention that I never managed to pull together until now.

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About Firsts

Did you know that?

I am the first born in my family.

The first person in my family to have graduated from college.

The first person to have emigrated to a different country and continent, to speak a different language, to have married a foreigner.

The first and only of us three (I have a younger brother and a younger sister) to have married,
and to have had children.

The first christian in my family.

The first person to be a reader, the only avid reader, the first to read aloud to her children (since I am the only one who has any).

The first person to have translated and read Charlotte Mason, :), and soon I guess will be the first to have read Shakespeare.

The first and only person who has been to a cruise.

If not the first person to play an instrument (because I do not play any and because my uncle and on of his children are real musicians), I am the first person in my direct family to have her children in music and piano classes! That will have to be a first for them.

The first to have traveled to other continents than Europe, where I was born.

The first to become a school teacher, (my younger sister is a teacher in Madrid).

and the first one to homeschool her children.

Too many firsts, what a daunting challenge. I can view all these firsts as a burden or a blessing. I am choosing the latest. I am aware that these firsts mean lack of heritage or foundation to draw from, but it is also a blank piece of paper to invent your life as you like it. This is just what I want to remember every time things don't go as fast or impressive as I expect them to be or as they are for others. They cannot. These first will take their time to flourish in my girls and to settle down in me. My job is to plant seeds, many first seeds, (not only in them by also in me), and enjoy that humble deed. I am ready for it, finally, at 42 years old minus a few days, late or early, who cares? I am ready to savor all these firsts, and seconds, thirds, etc. and that is what matters most.

On a lighter note but related to these firsts, yesterday and today I did something different too. Yesterday went to my favorite store and FOR THE FIRST TIME, I only looked at GROWN UP books, I did not spend a single minute looking at children books for the girlies. I spent 2 hours looking at books FOR ME.

I brought home these treasures, with the exception of Historians' Fallacies, which I had and never open until yesterday, and since then I am eagerly reading, (this book merits a post of its own). I got three books at a great price, since I have some credit at the store that I earn by bringing in books I do not care to keep.

The Poem of the Cid is a bilingual version. I do love that the Spanish text, which is old old Spanish, it looks like a cross between Latin and Spanish, some words did not evolve into a Spanish word, and you are at loss about what they mean. This book has the English in prose on the right, which comes very handy. Not only. I know that sometimes with the classics it is simply best to jump into the original text than to read commentaries, but the translator introduction is brilliant. It simply tells you what the poem is, the history of it, the story of it, and why and how they approached the translation. I have finished the introduction, and that was all I needed to get situated and ready to enjoy it, which I know I will since I have browsed some pages and I have fallen under the spell of that old Spanish in verse.

The last book from the store is called Various Antidotes. I have already read two of the short stories and I have also scored with this book. The tales are about scientists or men obsessed or immersed into something science related. She intertwines scientific observations, and mixes reality and fiction in short tales. What I like is her style, it is simply a match, she fits right there into my taste.

In the religious section, and not paying attention to christian women fiction, or christian fiction, I saw this leather bound book that it happened to be a devotional. I do not usually like devotionals either (funny, I also have recently ordered one from one of the blogging for books publishers), but the NKJ excerpt and the just one question related to those verses presented every day looked great. I am still debating if to write the answers in the book, or get a separate journal for that.

I also browsed the historic novels section extensively. I was close to get The Zookeeper's Wife, but it is a book about the Holocaust, and I don't know why, I felt for something about a different and less deep thematic. Many other novels looked good, but I could see they had topics that made me uncomfortable. Others were flat into a out of the question zone as the titles clearly indicated.

I found Various Antidotes in the classics, though the book has a 1994 copyright. By the way, what is the time constriction or definition of a classic? Does it have one?

I thought that many modern books deal with topics I do not want to nor feel comfortable reading about, but then many classics can be defined like this too... I guess we all have to find our path, our place where we, both in our mind and soul, know our believes are safe and sound in regards to the literature, music, and entertainment we welcome in our life.

And today another first of the same kind. I ordered some books and they were all (ahem, I sneaked in a Mind Benders book for the girls) for me, five titles,  I will hopefully write and share my thoughts about them as I start reading them.



Last year when we started AO year 1, we used to listen to several of the books in audio. Our Island Story, The Viking Tales, Burgess Book of Birds, were some titles we used to play on the laptop. This school year we have only listened to Farmer Boy and Little House on the Prairie in audio format, and that was in the summer. It is strange, because I have given the oldest girl in year 2 the option of listening to Wind in the Willows, but she insists that I must read it, with all the ups and downs we have had.

My oldest girl loves to listen to Fifty Famous Stories Retold on her mp3 player, and I downloaded The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, but when I tell her if she rather listen, she replies that she prefers me reading it.

I have told my dh to get us one of those devices that go into the tape slot in the truck to be able to listen through the vehicle speakers to either the nannu pad or mp3 player. We enjoy the books we had listened to in CD from the library when we go to our camping trips or church. Like Jeanne (well, Jeanne has 5 hours!), we have 30 minutes going and 30 coming back, and we go to services twice on Sunday, so it is 2 hours in the car. The only problem I have is that I cannot read in the car. I get very dizzy and throwy uppy.

Let's see if we can enjoy some audios this year too. I have these three lined up in the players waiting for that magical device:

Heidi (to see if listening to Kara Shallenberg, we can finish the second part of it we left).
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew
Stories from Shakespeare, by Lamb

Book lists?

And I type a question mark, because I have been pondering if to make one or not. Years pass by, I thought I read much yet I do not know how others can read tons, literally. I get dizzy, upset even (seeing how little I read in comparison), when I look at books lists, if I read about others who have read many interesting authors, classics, books to learn, rich novels... But this is wrong. I should not compare. It is fine to see others having hefty goals, being disciplined, reading by themselves, writing reviews, hosting book clubs... sigh. I once did that and I do not know today how I did it, but I learned a lot.

Yet for more than I panic with book-lists that point how much I don't know, I also appreciate looking at the books I have read, or we have read. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. And I admit I enjoy friends' book lists, they contain a promise of exciting places, thoughts, ideas, feelings...

Why do I read? To broaden my mind, to live, to learn, to have pleasure, to be moved, to be shaken, to be challenged in my convictions, aware of my biases, to travel to places, to develop my self, to heal, to cheer, to reflect, to dream, to clear my thoughts... innumerable reasons. And maybe lists, if we can come to terms with them, if I can come to terms with them and see them as a practical aid to keep up reading, they will then be welcome.

I also have to admit that, having to review some books I ordered this past year without a lot of conviction or knowledge of the title, has lead me to read not so great titles. I wonder if I am going to order titles this way anymore. And yet some of the best books have come from these blogging for free book places too.

Greet mine, then, if you please:


A Year with Chesterton *** My favorite read of 2012

Is That a Fish in Your Ear *** My favorite read of 2012 at the same level of the Chesterton book.

When to Speak and When to Shut Up. Just O.K

Twelve Unlikely Heroes. Just O.K

Tough Guys and Drama Queens.

The Coming Revolution. O.K, a bit weak.

You are Stronger Than You Think.

Beyond Ordinary.

Coming Apart. * Recommendable

Swipe. Dystopian fiction. Good read.

Nature's Numbers

If on a Winter's Night a Traveler

Used and Rare * Very recommendable

The Founders Key ** Very recommendable

La oportunidad perdida. No lo recomiendo. Predectible, aburrido.

El misterio Velázquez. **Muy recomendable, adolescentes en adelante.

Kafka y la muñeca viajera. ** También lo recomiendo, también de adolescentes en adelante.

Still reading Bill Bryson's Shakespeare, A Treasury of Parables, by Edward J. Bartek, and I started The Pickwick Papers by Dickens, but it is hard, I have changed to A Tale of Two Cities.

2013 BOOKLIST. I have at least these three books lined up:

A Jacques Barzun Reader: Selections from His Works

The Island of the World

Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me  

Shakespeare. Any.

Poetry. Any. More than just what we read aloud every day. 

2012 Book list with the girls: (The innumerable picture books and some ongoing school books are omitted):

Peter Pan
The Wonder Book for Girls and Boys ***
Farmer Boy ***
Little House on The Prairie ***
Charlie y la fábrica de chocolate **
Cinco niños y eso
Understood Betsy ***
All of a Kind Family ***

Not finished, but we will get back to them next season or another year:

Hoffmann's Nutcracker
Stories of the Pilgrims

2013 Book list with the girls: we are currently reading

Y entonces llegó un perro (Along came a dog)
El viento en los sauces
Little Duke (almost finished and finally loved)
Tanglewood Tales (a favorite)

Esther Averill

My oldest, and now her sister too, have discovered the books by Esther Averil since I presented them with The Fire Cat and Heather showed us Jenny and the Cat Club, and now I had to buy them all, or almost, (I am missing one). She reads them, though not voraciously as I wished, but it is her style.

You can read her biography here.

         The Cat Club Series
Jenny and the Cat Club contains all the highlighted stories, it is thus thick.

The Cat Club, 1944
The School For Cats, 1947: thin, 33 pages
Jenny's First Party, 1948
Jenny's Moonlight Adventure, 1949: thin, 33 pages also
When Jenny Lost Her Scarf, 1951
Jenny's Adopted Brothers, 1952
How the Brothers Joined the Cat Club, 1953
Jenny's Birthday Book, 1954: thin, picture book like
Jenny Goes to Sea, 1957: thick, 128 pages
Jenny's Bedside Book, 1959. Probably out of print.
The Fire Cat, 1960: thin, Early Reader type.
The Hotel Cat, 1969:thick, 161 pages
Captains of the City Streets, 1972: thick, 145 pages

 Jenny and the Cat Club

I define Averill's style like that of the 50's and 60's that some books have, homey and chic, the topics and language are to me colloquial but elegant.

To have girls, to homeschool them... ahhhhhhhh, all the worries and troubles fade when I realize we have been given a second chance of living my childhood as in a lovely dream in the company of my own children!

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