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Sunday, April 16, 2006


Narrowing down my reading selections for the trip has been torturous, but I'm almost down to the bare minimum, many books having been downloaded onto my laptop, some in both audio and text formats, others included in abbreviated versions in the anthologies, and some completely eliminated. Jorge has purchased new luggage, two smaller wheelie bags for me and him, and one gigantic wheelie bag (so big that Sarabelle and Gracie promptly packed Elle up in it and toted her around the house) for all three girls. Our old backpacks being too flimsy to cart books around in without inflicting severe damage, I will probably hit a thrift shop this week in search of a medium-sized, hard-sided suitcase. I wish I could show you my portable schoolhouse, it's beautiful, in an obsessive-compulsive kind of way, the girls' three 5" binders containing notebooks, sketchbooks, mini whiteboards, and drawing and writing supplies, and mine with its study guides, answer keys, CDs, and even more supplies, but unfortunately, my photo file host has been pirated by some scurvy hacker dogs who left the cryptic, "ARG!" in place of my normal start-up screen, so you'll just have to take my word for it -- for now. I'm planning to switch over to the new blog within a few days of leaving and from then on, uploading pictures should be a breeze. But back to books. I find myself torn about leaving some behind, books that were never intended to be part of this specific curriculum. What about reference materials for the project I've been working on? Suppose I read everything and want more? What if I want a change from ancient literature? What happens when I need Climbing Parnassus to remind why I'm bothering with this whole classical education rigmarole? Or when I need Ms. Mason's gentle reminders to lighten up a bit? Or I need the guidance of Mr. Zinsser's On Writing Well or Strunk and White's Elements of Style? So I contemplate the space on the two short shelves where the approved books sit for now and wonder which other ones I might slide in next to them.

And heaven forbid, what if we stay down there and never come back? It could be a long while before I'm reunited with my library...

The one book I know for certain that I am going to bring that is not on my Greek studies list, and of which I have downloaded an older edition, and which is still too valuable to leave behind, is my bible. Nearly all my favorite authors are there with some snippet of wisdom on nearly any subject. Now, sound bytes have gotten a bad rap lately, but look at their precedents: fables, chreia, maxims, and proverbs; all part of the progymnasmata. Brevity is the soul of wit.

We are planning to purchase a vehicle when we arrive down under rather than rent. Many places offer purchase/buy back plans for travelers in our extended vacation situation. Jorge and the kids thought I had lost my mind when I suggested this. Not for camping necessarily, I explained, but just to ride around in. It gives you more room than an SUV, you can stretch out, you can carry food around and prepare meals, it's way more interesting than some boring regular car... All it took was one look at the available vehicles before the girls started jumping and squealing, "We want Huby! We want Huby!", and even Jorge admitted that it might be worth investigating a little further. Travel is about the journey, not the destination.

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