MamaT: December 2007 Archives

A Quick Holiday Snap

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Can You Say Princess Diva?

This one's entitled "Can You Say Princess Diva?" You'll note that although we have on the rock star costume Santa brought, we couldn't leave off the tiara ("A real life crown, Mama!"). So sue us.

And yes, he also brought the working microphone, which has a recording of applause. So when I don't clap enough, she can have the mic clap for her!

The Year in Books - 2007

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Donna over at Quiet Life has done her year in review. I don't think I have much of a year to review, and I CERTAINLY don't have the pictures she does to review with! Would that I had that much talent!

But I can put my year end "Books I've Read" here, now that I've tied up the final book of the year. So, drumroll please, here's my list:

1. Cheerfulness Breaks In by Angela Thirkell
2. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
3. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym
4. Possesssion by A. S. Byatt
5. Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl
6. A Miracle for St. Cecilia's by Katherine Valentine
7. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
8. Powder and Patch by Georgette Heyer
9. Northern Borders by Howard Frank Mosher
10. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
11. Forever Odd by Dean Koontz
12. Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough
13. Good People....From an Author's Life by Jon Hassler
14. Mom to Mom, Day to Day by Danielle Bean
15. The Cave by Jose Saramago
16. Venetia by Georgette Heyer
17. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
18. Sprig Muslin by Georgette Heyer
19. Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian
20. Unbroken by Tracy Elliott
21. The Keys to the Kingdom by A. J. Cronin
22. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
23. The Little Prince by Atoine de Saint Exupery
24. Grand Opening by Jon Hassler
25. Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg
26. Scales of Justice by Ngaio Marsh
27. Death of a Fool by Ngaio Marsh
28. Love Among the Ruins by Angela Thirkell
29. Sights Unseen by Kaye Gibbons
30. Nemesis by Agatha Christie
31. What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw! by Agatha Christie
32. The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie
33. Thirteen at Dinner by Agatha Christie
34. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
35. Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
36. The Golem by Isaac Bashevis Singer
37. The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie
38. Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie
39. Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
40. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
41. The Ponder Heart by Eudora Welty
42. Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
43. Captain from Castille by Samuel Shellabarger
44. Isn't It Romantic by Ron Hansen
45. The Night Is Far Spent by Thomas Howard
46. Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy by Rumer Godden
47. The Hunter's Tale by Margaret Frazer
48. The New Woman by Jon Hassler
49. Expressions of the Catholic Faith by Kevin Orlin Johnson
50. The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris
51. A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel
52. False Colours by Georgette Heyer
53. She Got Up Off the Couch by Haven Kimmel
54. The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve
55. The Nonesuch by Georgette Heyer
56. The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
57. Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire by Rafe Esquith
58. There Are No Shortcuts by Rafe Esquith
59. The Light of Evening by Edna O'Brien
60. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
61. Don Camillo Takes the Devil by the Tail by Giovannie Guareschi
62. The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
63. The Saintmakers' Christmas Eve by Paul Horgan
64. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire

And now for the MamaT annual book awards:

Best Book of the Year: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. The second book I read during the year. I thought then that it would take a lot to beat it out for best book status. Some things came close. But nothing was better. Absolutely excellent.

Runner Up: Stones From the River by Ursula Hegi. Odd, and when I started reading I didn't think it would touch me the way it did. We ended up having a long discussion at book club about this one.

Best Nonfiction Book of the Year: The Night Is Far Spent by Thomas Howard. I am such an admirer, I would read his grocery list if it were available. This is a book of essays to re-read time and again.

Best Escape Book of the Year: (And I don't mean this in some denigrating way. I LOVE escape literature, and it is my stress reliever and sanity maker). TIE: The Captain From Castille by Samuel Shellabarger, which is every bit as good as The Prince of Foxes which I read last year. If you want to buckle your swash and all that, you can't beat Shellabarger. And The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer, which is the best Heyer novel I've read yet. If you "don't read romances", just like I didn't, it's only because you haven't read Heyer yet.

The Book on Everyone's List That I Just Don't Get Award: Possession by A. S. Byatt. I'm not sayin' it was a BAD book, just that I didn't like it as much as the entire rest of the WORLD did.

Most Depressing Book of the Year: TIE: Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson and Light of Evening by Edna O'Brien. I don't even want to go there to talk about 'em. Again, neither of them badly WRITTEN books, but both so utterly sad that they were hard to like.

Funniest Book: A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel. A gem of a memoir. The sequel, She Got Up Off the Couch is good, but not as good as the first.

Hi All! No, I'm Not Dead!


Sorry it's been so long, but PapaC has been home and we've been busy, as I know you all have. Hope your holidays were wonderful!

I got a new computer from my parents, and it's taking more than a little while to migrate all my stuff over to the new laptop.

Yeah, you heard that right! A laptop. Woo hoo!

It's part of the continuing quest to "de-office" my office. After a lot of thinking about it, it seems silly to me that we take up so much of our space in the house to be something I hate. So, my goal for this year is to make our "office" into a multifunctional craft/work/play space. I want to replace the bulky desk with a sleek table that can hold my painting projects, or sewing projects or whatever, as well as my laptop when I need to do work.

Our house is just too small to have a space simply for a desk and a filing cabinet. I'm rethinking the way I work, and am going to have some space for ME as well.

Wish me luck!

Booking Through Thursday

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1. What fiction book (or books) would you nominate to be the best new book published in 2007? (Older books that you read for the first time in 2007 don’t count.)

2. What non-fiction book (or books) would you nominate to be the best new book published in 2007? (Older books that you read for the first time in 2007 don’t count.)

3. And, do “best of” lists influence your reading?

I have no idea on the first two questions. I rarely read newly published books. Once in a great while I will grab something that I have read a review of, but not often. Since I usually haunt that den of temptation, Half Price Books, I am not exactly on the cutting edge.

I do, however, love the "best of" lists that are published this time each year. I read them, think about them, put them in my journal of "to reads" and then hunt for them years later. Surprising how many of those "wonderful, fantastic, must read" books just disappear in that length of time.

Overheard at CasaS

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McKid: Mama! Want to hear me yodel?

Me: Of course!

McKid: Yodle A HEEEEE WHOOOOOOOO! (In other words, a very comical yodel)

Me: Wow!

McKid: Isn't that amazing? I just woke up one day and could do that PERFECTLY!

Me: Wow. (I'm not very creative early in the morning!) How do you suppose THAT happened?

McKid: I don't know. I think we just got lucky.

Hmmmmm. We'll see. I've never considered yodeling ability to be a particularly lucky thing.......

Whatcha Reading? Wednesday

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Since it's Wednesday, Whatcha Reading? seems like a good question!

Me? I'm in the midst of Connie Willis' Doomsday Book. I'm about 1/3 of the way in (hey, reading time around here is short these days!), and enjoying it very much. I especially like the concept that what Medieval Studies thought they knew about the Middle Ages was so different from what was the actuality. It's a concept that the Zman and I have discussed numerous times. And one that was dealt with in a funny way in this book:


This book was Zman's favorite of all the David Macauley books, and if you haven't read it, you should. I can never be quite so sure about what history "experts" tell us anymore.

Anyway, I also continue to read Fr. Rutler's book on the Cure of Ars. It's giving me a lot to think about.

But reading time is short, and so will be posting time from here on out. Cookie baking awaits! But first there must be grocery shopping and house decorating, and, and, and.....

If you're a mom, you know!


Y Uno Mas.....

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......courtesy of the lovely senora at Mi Mundo:

You Are a Gingerbread House
A little spicy and a little sweet, anyone would like to be lost in the woods with you.

That's My Answer! Friday

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Here's the question:

What is your favorite saying, quote or expression?

And here's my answer:

Actually, I think I have two. You'd have to ask my family to be sure.

#1: It is what it is.

Not profound, but I'm a big believer in dealing with things as they are, not as we wish they were. And I meet an awful lot of people dealing in wishful thinking.

#3: Are you out of your mind?

I didn't think this was a favorite until yesterday. McKid and I were having a (ahem) discussion (read that: argument) over first one thing then another. You know how arguments go. And out of that precious little mouth came my voice: "Are you out of your mind?" So I must say it more than I think!

How 'bout you?

Fun for Friday

Your Superpower Should Be Mind Reading
You are brilliant, insightful, and intuitive.
You understand people better than they would like to be understood.
Highly sensitive, you are good at putting together seemingly irrelevant details.
You figure out what's going on before anyone knows that anything is going on!

Why you would be a good superhero: You don't care what people think, and you'd do whatever needed to be done

Your biggest problem as a superhero: Feeling even more isolated than you do now

Fine Art Friday


Especially this time of year, I am drawn to pictures of the Virgin and Child. Here's one I hadn't seen before. So peaceful. So I'm passing it along to ya'll!

La Maison de la Vierge
Guillaume Dubufe

Booking Through Thursday


Interesting question:

Do you use any of the online book-cataloguing sites, like Library Thing or Shelfari? Why or why not? (Or . . . do you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about?? (grin))

If not an online catalog, do you use any other method to catalog your book collection? Excel spreadsheets, index cards, a notebook, anything?

I do have an account at Library Thing. I love it, but it's not current. For instance, I have an entire box o' books sitting at my feet that are NOT on Library Thing and NOT on shelves. Nor are there any sheves on which to put them. Argh.

For someone who loves books as much as I do, I have an uneasy relationship with them in the physical sense. I worry that holding on to so many of them means that I am overly attached to a worldly thing. I'd like to think I could just give them away unheedingly, except for, perhaps, 30 or 40 (or 50, or see my problem) favorites. It seems silly, to me, to have books on my shelves that I may never pick up again. I tell myself I am building a library for my grandchildren to dip into when they come stay with MamaT. But let's face it. I'm probably just a hoarder.

I have gone back and forth with this issue for years. I will decide to cut down my library, use the public library (is it really necessary to own every book you read? Probably not.), and cut my ties.

But so far, anything I've given away I've ended up trying to repurchase.....

Ah, well.

A couple of yesterday's hymns


Hark! a thrilling voice is sounding.
"Christ is nigh," it seems to say;
"Cast away the works of darkness,
O ye children of the day."

Wakened by the solemn warning,
let the earth-bound soul arise;
Christ, her Sun, all sloth dispelling,
shines upon the morning skies.

Lo! the Lamb, so long expected,
comes with pardon down from heaven;
let us all, with tears of sorrow,
pray that we may be forgiven;

that when next he comes with glory,
and the world is wrapped in fear,
with his mercy he may shield us,
and with words of love draw near.

Honor, glory, might, and blessing
to the Father and the Son,
with the everlasting Spirit,
while eternal ages run.

Sung to Merton, though it can also be sung to O Der Alles.

I like this next hymn very much, though we sing it rarely. I need to be reminded of what it says. Especially reminded that God is working HIS purpose out, not necessarily MY idea of what it should be.

God is working his purpose out
as year succeeds to year:
God is working his purpose out,
and the time is drawing near;
nearer and nearer draws the time,
the time that shall surely be,
when the earth shall be filled
with the glory of God
as the waters cover the sea.

From utmost east to utmost west,
wherever foot hath trod,
by the mouth of many messengers
goes forth the voice of God;
give ear to me, ye continents,
ye isles, give ear to me,
that earth may filled
with the glory of God
as the waters cover the sea.

What can we do to work God's work,
to prosper and increase
the brotherhood of all mankind--
the reign of the Prince of Peace?
What can we do to hasten the time--
the time that shall surely be,
when the earth shall be filled
with the glory of God
as the waters cover the sea.

March we forth in the strength of God,
with the banner of Christ unfurled,
that the light of the glorious gospel of truth
may shine throughout the world:
fight we the fight with sorrow and sin
to set their captives free,
that earth may filled
with the glory of God
as the waters cover the sea.

All we can do is nothing worth
unless God blessed the deed;
vainly we hope for the harvest-tide
till God gives life to the seed;
yet nearer and nearer draws the time,
the time that shall surely be,
when the earth shall be filled
with the glory of God
as the waters cover the sea.

Sung to Purpose.

That's my answer for Friday!

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Found a cute little place that asks a different question every day. I'm off and running, so I can't do a whole Friday Feast, but I can answer ONE question!

Of all the medical tv shows ever, which one is the all-time best?

Now, I'm a lover of House, though I watch almost everything in rerun, because I'm never consistently home. But all-time favorite???

Gotta be St. Elsewhere. And last I checked, it wasn't on DVD. Too bad, that.

I was cruising around looking at stuff to put on the blog for FAF, and in the midst of a lot that was busy and seasonal and all that, I came across these. Not the type of thing that I usually am drawn to, but I like these very much. They give me a sense of almost, but not quite being able to make out something far away. I also find them tremendously refreshing. I love the colors. Even the titles are perfect, for they are certainly atypical for me!

I couldn't find much on the artist out on the web, but you can purchase some of his works through!


Atypical Amusement I

Ross Lindsay


Atypical Amusement II

Ross Lindsay

Do you have a favourite book, now out of print, that you would like to see become available again?

One entry in this list, for me, would be The Davidson Affair by Stuart Jackman. Loved it. Owned it. Lent it. Lost it.

Sad, really.


Not so much a biography of the saint, more of a meditation on his life and on the priesthood in general. I always enjoyed Fr. Rutler's column in the back of Crisis, when it was in print form. This is the first extended thing of his I have read. Much to think about.

So much, in fact, that they had to honk at me in car line to make me move forward! Embarrassing, but it was bound to happen sooner or later.

Here's a couple of snippets:

....And that is the first quality of the saints: they are human after all. After all temptation to fly with false gods, after all distraction from a promised destiny, after all moral detours have stopped at dead ends, after all substitutes for belief have carved towering superstitions, after all denial that a human is other than an animal or a quirk of evolution, after all that, the saints still are human. They are humans after all, and they are the only real humans after all that. Catholicism has held the principle through every transitory analysis: normality and sanctity are the same. Saintly normality is conspicuous in the glare of sin.

Makes you think about what we accept as "normal" and "the way things are".

And then this:

The devil has located God and knows who he is, and he wants to keep that a secret from the children of God. The indiscretion of the saints is the way they shout the secret from the rafters of the world. They themselves are the secret.....


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The more I learn about "ethics" programs and ethics "experts," the more I think ethics has become a pious word for imposing the arbitrary notions of third parties on others, who are forced to pay the price for whatever has caught the fancy of self-congratulatory elites.

----------Thomas Sowell



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