MamaT: May 2007 Archives
Yesterday was one of those days that you wish you could bottle and make it last. So that you could have it when it's a bad day--open it up, feel the relaxation and peace and love and joy, then put the cap back on quicly, so you can use it again.
We drove up to see my SisterfriendM and her hubbyG, in Decatur. We were returning my nephewJ, who had spent the night with us Sunday night. We got there and took a tour of the place, with the kids dragging out artwork for me to see. Oh, and we had to tromp out to the garden to see the radishes. And over to the fruit trees to count the peaches that are coming out. PapaC and G sat on the back porch and babysat the brisket on the barbecue and drank beer. The women all fluttered around, getting the rest of lunch ready, while answering kid questions and shooing them out of the kitchen. Oh, and drinking a Mike's Hard Lemonade or 2....
Lunch was phenomenal--10 people around the table for brisket, baked beans, potato salad, fresh watermelon and fresh pineapple, bread and butter. To die for. The heavenly banquet will have to go some to beat a meal like that. Laughing and talking. Kids eating too much bread and butter and not enough of their "real food." No one caring all that much.
Then adjourning to the living room to sit around with our feet up and another adult beverage in hand to talk and laugh and gripe and grin. The time to leave came too soon, too soon.
And one of the things that made it restful was that SisterM and HubbyG allow no television in their home Monday through Friday. They watch videos occasionally. They watch TV on the weekends. But there was no distraction of extraneous noise. The adults talked without glancing over to check the score. The kids played with no argument over which channel to watch.
It was what our house was like when we were homeschooling. Busy, involved, noisy with good noise, quiet in the spaces.
I didn't realize until yesterday how much I had missed that. How refreshing it was. How fun it is to sit at a table with friends and just visit.
I have to put it back into my life. Yesterday was a precious reminder of what I'm missing--and what I need.
Now, if I could just bottle it.......
Part of my project for today is to work on cleaning out my office. Summer officially started around here, and McKid is with me all day now. That should be interesting. Today we're doing laundry and working on the office. There are a million other things to do, but we've got to start somewhere!
Tagged by the Kitchen Madonna, she of the beautiful aprons, here are the rules:
"Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.”
Well, we can do everything but the tagging the next 8 thing. We always want anyone to play who wants to! We'll call out Ellyn and Pansy and Peony in particular, but for everyone else, it's fair game!
Let's see. 8 things about MamaT:
1. Some days I enjoy planning my funeral. I go through and decide on what readings I want, what hymns to select. I guess that's morbid, but one day I'll write it all down and put it on file in the church office. Then SisterM and the Smock won't have to decide what to do when I'm old!
2. I love to eat tuna with mustard and pickles. That grosses out everyone I know, except the Zman. I mix it up, spread it on crackers. A feast for Friday lunch! I try not to eat it when anyone else is watching.
3. I hate baths. I am a shower girl from the word go. I don't think it has anything to do with being able to relax--I just don't like soaking in a tub. Never have. Never had the girly-girl obsession with bubblebath and all things scented and soapy.
4. I'm not all that smart. The truest thing that anyone ever said to me was: "You're not really intelligent. You're diligent." I took that as a slam back in the day. But today I think it is probably true. And I'm not sure that that's not a good trade. I think I'd rather be diligent.
5. I despise housework, though I am trying to work on my attitude. I like grocery shopping. I like cooking. I don't even mind the laundry. But I hate dusting and mopping. But I love a clean house (though I rarely have one) better than anyone I know. I am working the Flylady system (again) and I'm making progress. I'm taking it much slower this time.
6. Though it is not something most people would say about me, I think I verge on being the laziest person *at heart* that you would ever meet. Almost everything I do, above reading and eating, I *make* myself do. I never, ever wake up on any given morning and think "Oh, goody, a lovely day to get some things done!" Nope, I wake up thinking "Oh, dear. What must I get done today?" And go from there. That makes me sound depressed, but I am not. I'm just lazy! Trust me, there's a difference.
7. My favorite comedy leans toward low-brow humor. Think Weekend at Bernies or Death to Smoochy or Zoolander. I love witty English comedy, but I laugh 'til I cry at The Jerk. It's embarrassing! My SisterM says that's why I do well with boys. I laugh as hard as they do over, ahem, "fart" humor. And if someone slips and falls in a comedy routine? It's over for me. Oh, dear.
8. I love men. Men of all types, shapes, sizes, colors and occupations. I have always had a lot of friends that were men. I don't expect them to be women. I don't expect them to be enlightened. I don't expect them to be anything but what they are. I think they like that. And I like them.
Tag: Whoever wants to play next!
As we begin the dive into summer, what could be more perfect?
It's the last week of school around here - for the Smockkids and for the McKid. I've also been computerless a couple of days, and time has been taken up with other fun and not-so-fun things. In other words, my life away from the blog has kind of sucked up every spare moment!
Next week should be better. We hope! It'll at least be different!
I find that when I'm speaking, to any kind of audience, there's one word that consistently produces a response. People just go silent-they hold their breath. The word is loneliness.
You might not think that loneliness is such a big problem. Most of us are surrounded by other people everywhere we go. But the extreme individualism of our age has made people focus more and more on their atomized single self: defining themselves as the unique person separate from everyone else.
Our forebears defined themselves by what they produced. Now people define themselves by what they consume. And this undermines our sense of effectiveness in the world. No matter how much you define yourself as this important, significant individual, there's a feeling that nothing you do is going to make any difference.
This is even harder for Christians. We have the mandate to go out and bring the gospel to the world. And yet it often seems like nobody's listening. So we are tempted to try things we shouldn't get into, because we think nobody will find out. That's the path to disintegration-when we are so isolated, lonely, and ineffective that we start to think our lives don't matter.
------------------Frederica Matthewes-Greene for the Christianity Today Vision Project
First a painting that most Catholics are probably aware of. One I happen to love.
Then, take a gander at this one, by someone the Smock likes very much:
Now, I obviously like the first one best, but it is interesting, no?
Sorry. Yesterday was a very busy day.
This week's question:
It happens even to the best readers from time to time… you close the cover on the book you’re reading and discover, to your horror, that there’s nothing else to read. Either there’s nothing in the house, or nothing you’re in the mood for. Just, nothing that “clicks.” What do you do?? How do you get the reading wheels turning again?
Well, I never discover that there is nothing to read. I have enough unread books to last several years, even if I read more than I do now!
But, it does sometimes happen that I get in a funk and can't decide on what sounds good to read next. Nothing strikes my fancy. That happens especially when I've read several sad or "heavy" books in a row. I think that's why my Summer Reading Challenge looks like it does.
And that's what I do. I get a book by Thirkell, or a murder mystery, or a true crime book (my secret--or not so secret vice) and read something completely for fun. That is usually enough.
Once, in the past, my reading block was so great that I had to put myself on a "no-reading" diet for a week. By the end of the week, I would have read quantum physics textbooks, just to get some reading material in my hands.
Hail the day that sees Him rise, Alleluia!
To His throne above the skies, Alleluia!
Christ, awhile to mortals given, Alleluia!
Reascends His native heaven, Alleluia!
There the glorious triumph waits, Alleluia!
Lift your heads, eternal gates, Alleluia!
Christ hath conquered death and sin, Alleluia!
Take the King of glory in, Alleluia!
Circled round with angel powers, Alleluia!
Their triumphant Lord, and ours, Alleluia!
Conqueror over death and sin, Alleluia!
“Take the King of glory in! Alleluia!”
Him though highest Heav’n receives, Alleluia!
Still He loves the earth He leaves, Alleluia!
Though returning to His throne, Alleluia!
Still He calls mankind His own, Alleluia!
See! He lifts His hands above, Alleluia!
See! He shows the prints of love, Alleluia!
Hark! His gracious lips bestow, Alleluia!
Blessings on His church below, Alleluia!
Still for us His death He pleads, Alleluia!
Prevalent He intercedes, Alleluia!
Near Himself prepares our place, Alleluia!
Harbinger of human race, Alleluia!
Master, (will we ever say), Alleluia!
Taken from our head to day, Alleluia!
See Thy faithful servants, see, Alleluia!
Ever gazing up to Thee, Alleluia!
Grant, though parted from our sight, Alleluia!
Far above yon azure height, Alleluia!
Grant our hearts may thither rise, Alleluia!
Seeking Thee beyond the skies, Alleluia!
Ever upward let us move, Alleluia!
Wafted on the wings of love, Alleluia!
Looking when our Lord shall come, Alleluia!
Longing, gasping after home, Alleluia!
There we shall with Thee remain, Alleluia!
Partners of Thy endless reign, Alleluia!
There Thy face unclouded see, Alleluia!
Find our heaven of heavens in Thee, Alleluia!
Sung to Llanfair. And more's the pity most of us will have to wait until Sunday to sing this.
When you were a kid, did you breathlessly await the signup day at the library for the summer reading club? Boy, I did. And I dutifully logged each book read all summer long. And was oh so proud of my certificate that I got at the end of the summer. A certificate that showed the total number of books read on it! And the librarian called out your name, and told everyone how many books you read. And then you adjourned to a table at the back of the children's library for warmish lemonade and windmill cookies.
Well, I guess I'm never too old for that, so I'm continuing on with my seasonal reading challenges. Trying to move some of my many unread books to the "Ta Da! They're Finished!" section of my shelves.
So, I spent some time last night thinking about the summer (and the McKid being with me all the time) and how much and what I wanted to read.
Summer is not the time for a lot of heavy reading. Oh, I'll do some, no doubt. But in the midst of swimming pools and picnics and heatwaves--well, I think it's time for a little escape!
So, the Summer Reading Challenge has three parts:
Part I - Inkblots books for the summer. (These are books I must read for my monthly club meetings.)
June - Stones from the River by Ursula Heigi
July - The Golem by Isaac Bashevis Singer
August - Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton. (This one is the heavy lifting of the summer)
Part II - Southern Reading Challenge from over at Maggie Reads
June - Sights Unseen by Kaye Gibbons
July - Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty
August - Lost in the Cosmos by Walker Percy
Part III - MamaT's Summer Escape Literature, or It's Hot Around Here and I'm Reading These and Sipping Lemonade, So There
Lord Vanity by Samuel Shellabarger
Captain from Castile by Samuel Shellabarger
And the rest of the summer will be spent with Agatha Christie, because I want to. On deck are the following Miss Marple novels:
What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw!
The Body in the Library
and the following Hercule Poirot novels:
Death on the Nile
Murder on the Orient Express
The ABC Murders
Cards on the Table
Thirteen at Dinner
If I finish those, I intend to read other escapist literature. Possibly Brother Odd by Dean Koontz.
It'll start on June 1st. I continue to read Ngaio Marsh apace til then.
Those who focus only on the drabness of the supermarket, or on the onions or the diapers themselves, haven't an inkling of the mystery that is at stake here, the mystery revealed in the birth of that Baby and consummated on the Cross: my life for yours.
The routines of housework and of mothering may be seen as a kind of death, and it is appropriate that they should be, for they offer the chance, day after day, to lay down one's life for others. Then they are no longer routines. By being done with love and offered up to God with praise, they are thereby hallowed as the vessels of the tabernacle were hallowed--not because they were different from other vessels in quality or function, but because they were offered to God. A mother's part in sustaining the life of her children and making it pleasant and comfortable is no triviality. It calls for self-sacrifice and humility, but it is the route, as was the humiliation of Jesus, to glory.
.......which I'd much rather appear on than James Lipton's. I don't like him much. I think he always looks sweaty or something. But I'd be on with Donna in a heartbeat!
What is your favorite word? Windowsills. I don't know why. It just has a nice ring to it.
What is your least favorite word? F***. You know, the "f-word". It's becoming way too common, and I hate it when it is used as every single part of speech in one diatribe.
What turns you on [creatively, spiritually or emotionally]? Music, though I am not a musical person myself, and I don't particularly like sitting still at concerts. I love to listen while I work or paint. And it is the part of the Mass that is the most emotionally moving to me. When, of course, it doesn't come out of some fake hymnal like the Gather hymnal. Which isn't really a hymnal. To me, anyway.
What turns you off? People who expect to be forgiven, or understood, or accepted in spite of their misdeeds but who will not forgive, understand or accept the misdeeds of others.
What is your favorite curse word? I don't curse much. Sh** is about the limit. If I get to worse ones, you know I'm furious. Doing so works for me. People can tell when I'm really angry!
What sound or noise do you love? Home sounds. Zman laughing. Dinner cooking. Dogs playing (but not barking!). All the sounds that mean home.
What sound or noise do you hate? A mechanical pencil with no lead scratching on a piece of paper. It makes me want to throw up.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I would like to be a grocery checker for one day. I would like to teach.
What profession would you not like to do? I would not like to be a politician. I would also not like to be a roofer.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? "Come in, daughter."
Well, I've come to the conclusion that I am finished with my Spring Reading Challenge. I know, I know, I have two more weeks left before I will start my Summer Reading Challenge. But I've looked at the two books left in my pile and realize that they must go back on the TBR shelves, and wait their turn at another go-round. I am simply not in the mood to read sad stories about the West or stories about Egypt and women kept in seclusion. Maybe another day. Certainly another day. Just not today.
So, the wrap up is this:
The Cave by Jose Saramago
The Keys of the Kingdom by A. J. Cronin
Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brien
Venetia by Georgette Heyer
Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Forever Odd by Dean Koontz
Grand Opening by Jon Hassler
Rockspring by R. G. Vliet BACK TO THE TBR SHELVES
Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz BACK TO THE TBR SHELVES
Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough
In addition to the books on my original list, I read The Little Prince, Unbroken, Sprig Muslin, Northern Borders, Bridge to Terabithia, and Powder and Patch.
Not a bad spring for reading, I'd say. In the interim between now and June 1, when I'll start my Summer Reading Challenge, I'm going to read some of Dame Ngaio Marsh's detective novels. I got a book with 5 novels in one book, and I'm reading the first one, Scales of Justice now.
And I wish I had 'em all along my back fence line. Then my dogs wouldn't think it necessary, maybe, to bark at the little boys playing basketball across the alley. They don't bark all the time, just when the boys miss the ball and it comes rolling across toward our fence. The dogs then think it's a game.
Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.
Yes, these are obviously fake bells. And yes, it would be better if they were real bells that marked off the time.
BUT, every hour on the hour, from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. a hymn plays from the parish next door to us. It is lovely, and a reminder of whose time every single minute really is.
Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest things right, and doing all for love.
-------------St. Therese of Lisieux
This is a good thought for me today--I tend to think I need to do something outstanding and BIG for God. Maybe, just for today, I can remember that it's all the little things that count!
Where DON’T you read??
I don't read in the shower. I don't read anything other than what I'm supposed to read during Mass. I don't read when it would be rude to another person--like when I'm in a meeting or hearing a speaker, etc. Even if it's boring and I wish I were reading. And I don't read and drive. At least very often. :-)
This afternoon, McKid was busy, busy, busy laying out stuff all over the floor of my office, making the place ready for a party dinner we were supposed to have after I finished paying bills.
Heavens. She took down a whole shelf of flamingos and arranged them artfully (at least in her eyes) on top of a group of flashcards she had laid out as a table top.
After working for about 30 minutes, she stood back and looked at her work.
"Oh, mama. Isn't this such a beautiful tablescape?"
She sounded just like Sandra Lee on Semi-Homemade on FoodTV.
Of course, then she had to remark:
"Mama, don't let the dogs mess this up. I don't want to come back in here and see it looking cr*ppy!"
PapaC has had some rather major changes at work. The company that he has worked for has been bought out, completely, by another company. Now, the other company was looking to expand, and the main assets of consulting firms (which is what PapaC works for) is the brains inside the heads of the people who work there. So, it doesn't appear likely, at the moment, that there will be any downsizing, etc. And I say thank God for that!
But in any changeover, there are new things that come into play. Things that will be do-able once we're used to them, but in the interim are a giant pain.
One of those pains is going from a semi-monthly pay period to a bi-weekly one. On the surface, it sounds like it'd be no big deal, but when you take the same salary and divide it into 26 pieces instead of 24. Well, let's just say that after having a budget for 15 years built on one system and having to try to make it work a different way it's no small matter to figure out how that's going to happen. Yeah, I know that some month or other we'll actually get three paychecks instead of two, and that money will then be put into savings to be the "catchup" money.
But that doesn't happen for a good many months. AND our health insurance has changed and made things a little tight around here for the next several months.
SO--I set myself a challenge for this month. Aside from budgeted expenses (my once a month supper with the Women at the Well and Wednesday McKid Slurpees), I'm trying to spend exactly ZERO money except going to the grocery store and putting gas in my car.
This is the part that has stunned me: I WANT TO SPEND MONEY BADLY. How weird is that? There's not a thing I need. I have stacks of books I haven't yet read. I don't even like to shop that much.
But being told, even by myself, that I can't spend any money? Why, I practically have to grip the wheel of my car with a death grip to keep from turning into the Half-Price Books parking lot. I want to stop at CVS. I DON'T EVEN SHOP AT CVS!
Oh, dear. I knew it all along.
I really am crazy!
But I will prevail. Wouldn't it be awesome if, on an even lower amount of money, I could pay off part of Zman's summer school tuition? Without having to take it out of savings?
And what would that say about the amount of money that I've been wasting?
Well, I won't think about that last part.
We'll see how the rest of the month goes.
Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
------------ John Ruskin
This man has obviously never been in Texas in August.
Can you tell it's rained a LOT around here? Way more than normal. And it's taking its toll on my spirits. My backyard is muddy, and the dogs track it in continually. The back screened in porch is a nightmare. And when will it stop so that I can fix everything? Maybe late in the weekend.
Noise is the most impertinent of all forms of interruption. It is not only an interruption, but is also a disruption of thought.
-------- Arthur Schopenhauer
Well, he sounds crabby, doesn't he?
This is right across the street. I don't know what they're doing with the building, but whatever it is, it is noisy, and the sound bounces off all the concrete and comes from all directions. Bless their hearts, it has been rainy and hard to work lately, so I'm sure they're behind. But I just wish they didn't start at 6:30 a.m.!
O Most Holy "Our Father:" Creator, Redeemer, Consoler and Our Savior.
"Who art in Heaven:" in the Angels and in the Saints; enlightening them unto knowledge, because Thou, Lord, art Light; inflaming them unto love (amor), because Thou, Lord, art Love; indwelling and filling them unto blessedness, because Thou, Lord, art the Highest Good, the Eternal One, from whom is every good, without whom nothing is good.
"Hallowed be Thy Name:" may the knowledge of Thee in us be made bright, so that we may know, what is the breadth (cf. Ep 3:18) of Thy benefactions, the length of Thy promises, the sublimity of Thy Majesty and the depth of Thy judgments.
"Thy Kingdom come:" so that Thou may reign in us by grace and makes us come unto Thy Kingdom, where vision of Thee is made manifest, love (dilectio) of Thee made perfect, company with Thee blessed, enjoyment of Thee everlasting.
"Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven:" so that we may love Thee with (our) whole heart (cf. Lk 10:27) by thinking of Thee always, with (our) whole soul by desiring Thee always, with (our) whole mind directing unto Thee all our intentions, by seeking Thy honor in all things and with all our strength by expending all our strength and sense of soul and body in submission to Thy love (amor) and not in anything else; and may we love our neighbors even as our very selves by drawing all to Thy love to the extent of (our) strength, by rejoicing over the good things of others just as over our own and by compassionating (them) in evils and by giving offense to no one (cf. 2 Cor 6:3).
"Give us this day," Thy Beloved (dilectio) Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, "our daily Bread:" to remember and understand and reverence the love (amor), which He had for us, and those things, which He said, did, or endured on our behalf. "And forgive us our debts:" by Thy ineffable mercy, through the virtue of the Passion of Thy Beloved (dilectio) Son and by the merits and intercession of the Blessed Virgin and all Thy elect.
"As we also forgive our debtors:" and what we do not fully forgive, Lord make us fully forgive, so that we may truly love (our) enemies for the sake of Thee and intercede devoutly on their behalf with Thee, rendering to none evil for evil (cf. 1 Thes 5:15) and striving in all things to advance unto Thee.
"And lead us not into temptation:" hidden or manifest, sudden or importune.
"But deliver us from evil:" past, present, and future.
This, and lots of other really cool Franciscan stuff, can be found at the Franciscan Archive.
This statue sits on the side of the Catholic school that is directly across from my house. (Note: This is NOT the parish I attend. Of course not. I live directly across the street, but I have to get in my car and DRIVE to church. Go figure.) The Parish is run by the TOR, so of course, there are several St. Francis statues around! But this one is kind of in a place where he doesn't get much attention, except from me. This statue looks sad to me, but I still like him, and wish he were in my yard, not in theirs. Not enough to steal him, you understand. If he ever goes missing, don't come looking for me!
The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.
~Samuel Butler, Notebooks, 1912
A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book.
Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art.
-------------------Leonardo da Vinci
A couple of weeks ago, via a comment left in our comments boxes, I found the work of a Texas artist, Jim Janknegt. He lives down in Elgin, Texas. And he and his wife joined the Catholic Church this Easter! How could it be more fabulous? He has kindly given me permission to show ya'll some of his art.
First, from his website, here is a little bit about him: Jim Jankgnet is an artist, a Christian (former Episcopalian becoming Catholic), who paints oil paintings some large, some small. He paints parables of Jesus, angels, demons (demonic paintings?) , biblical stories and stories from the bible. He is a modern artist or maybe a post-modern artist I doubt you would call him a traditional artist. He has paintings for sale. He has been an Austin artist but is now an Elgin artist. You might wonder what he thinks about Christian art? Send him an email and ask him.
Now, on to the art!
This art is very different from the art I have normally published on Fine Art Friday. I am drawn to it for its vivid colors. But the more I looked at it, the more I liked it. Here's the first image I picked. Look how young the Blessed Mother is.
And then here is this one. I have always been attracted to the whole "fishers of men" idea--and I'm thankful that I got caught. I like how this one shows the sea as our modern world.
This next one appeals to me because I am always afraid that I am the soil that bloomed quickly, but was shallow and couldn't sustain the growth. May it not be so! I like the images of the soils around the edges.
This next one is a most Catholic image! The rich man has his big house, but the poor man's glory is his family and children! What an indictment of empty materialism.
Oh, my! How I love this next image. Look at Moses and Elijah! And I like the three booths that Peter wanted to build. Oh, a man after my own heart!
The next one is a stunning crucifixion scene and a pointed reminder that we crucify Him every day, still.
But we cannot have a crucifixion scene without Easter. I love, love, love the whale spitting out Jonah in the water of the flower vase!
Next, an image to remind us that the angels and demons fight over us. Which side will we choose?
And finally, an image of death and life! This is very moving to me. I'm sorry it's really too small for you to appreciate how lovely it is. But look, just look at the stars, or God's glory, or the Light, or whatever falling on them as they reach the other side.
Thank you, Jim, for letting me use your images!
“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
----------------- Jane Austen
No, not THAT kind of R.I.P.
Reading. In. Public.
Do you do it? Why or why not?
Oh, yes, I read in public. I read everywhere!
I read in restaurants if I'm eating alone. I read in the parking lot waiting to pick up McKid from preschool. I read on park benches in the summer while McKid is playing on the playground. I read everywhere I can!
Why wouldn't you?
#18: Sprig Muslin by Georgette Heyer. I don't think that I will be able to rest until I have collected all the Heyer books I can find. They are refreshment after harder reads and parts of them are so darn funny! Sprig Muslin introduces us to Sir Gareth Ludlow, who has never found anyone to love since he lost his fiancee years ago in a riding accident. He has decided to make an offer to a woman he has known for years, Lady Hester, who is good and kind but not a "pretty young thing". On his way to make his offer, he runs across Amanda, a sixteen year old girl--the petted and cossetted granddaughter of a retired General--who has run away in an attempt to force her grandfather to allow her to marry the man of her dreams. Sir Gareth tries to protect her. Her imagination gets them all in trouble. Lovely, vintage Heyer.
#19: Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian. Who knew there were so many sails on a ship? Who knew that two men playing duets could be interesting? Who knew that MamaT would care so much when they had to dump the cannons off the Sophie in an attempt to outrun their foes? Wonderful! I'm trying to get PapaC to read it. Or at least the Zman. But Russell Crowe doesn't look anything like I imagine Jack Aubrey looking!
#20: Unbroken: A Memoir by Tracy Elliot. Not a bad book. I'll review it in more detail in a separate entry, as I was sent the copy for review purposes. Hopefully later this week.
#21: The Keys to the Kingdom by A. J. Cronin. May's book club book. I had seen the movies, and picked up the book at the Friends of the Library sale years ago. Now it is being re-released under the Loyola Classics imprint. I liked the book very much, though, of course, everything works out far too neatly. Frances Chisholm is a Scottish priest, who found his vocation only after being disappointed in love. His friend, Anselm, moves up the hierarchy while Frances sees himself as the odd duck who never does things right. But he is humble, hard-working, and beloved by those who come to know him. He is sent as a missionary to China, where he has to rebuild from the ground up, and suffers in comparison to the other missionaries who were happy to baptize thousands of "rice Christians"--people who converted so that they could be fed. The scene where Fr. Chisholm leaves China after 30 years made me sob.
#22: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. A reread from my teen years. I want to write a little on the unexpected things you find when you read a book again many years later. There were scenes from this book impressed on my memory, and they were still good scenes. But the whole flavor of the book is different when you are the mom and not the kid. A book of hope, but a book that shows you the grinding poverty, with little way out, for the kids in the tenements of Brooklyn in the early part of the 20th century. Per the afterword, it is highly autobiographical.
#23: The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery. Can you believe I had never read this book? Me, either. A copy chanced to land in my hands, so I sat down and read it at long last. I think I suffered from having heard way too much about how fabulous it was. It didn't strike me as being as fab as I had been told. Perhaps it is one of those books that I have to lay aside and come back to later, and then I'll realize that it is better than I thought. I have had this happen before, and usually, on second read, I "get it" better. It's not that I thought it was bad, but I just didn't get the absolute adoration that I had heard about from so many......
Now I'm in the midst of Grand Opening by Jon Hassler.....
There is one thing more exasperating than a wife who can cook and won't and that's a wife who can't cook and will.
It was clear that the books owned the shop rather than the other way about. Everywhere they had run wild and taken possession of their habitat, breeding and multiplying and clearly lacking any strong hand to keep them down.
~ Agatha Christie ~