MamaT: July 2009 Archives

Reclaiming my house.......

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cleaning.jpg square inch at a time.

Things have been wonky here at CasaS, ever since Pappaw died in April. Having hit the three month mark since his death, I looked around to find that my house was out of control.

And not just the house. Everything. And yes, I realize it's part of the grief issue.

But isn't it kind of a chicken and egg sort of thing? I can't wait to subdue my surroundings until I feel like it. Because my surroundings being in such a wreck then depresses me even more. So I feel less like doing anything about it. So they get worse.

Conversely, orderly surroundings make me feel better, so that even when I'm still sad, I at least don't add stubbed toes and lost bills to my list of things to be sad about.

I see now how people end up living in squalor. If I lived alone, or just with my dogs? The temptation would be great to simply sit on the couch until I was surrounded by a pile of newspapers, magazines, books and fast food containers until i was crushed underneath the weight.

OK, so maybe I'd not be quite THAT bad. But I can see it from here. Know what I mean?

And maybe that's one tiny reason why I'm supposed to live in community. So that there is someone else besides me to keep up for and with.

And our budget has been hammered lately because, along with not feeling like cleaning, I haven't felt like cooking, either. That simply had to change.


A few weeks ago, I picked a couple of tasks to do every day (a la the Flylady) and started there. Easy things. Like make bed. Like load dishwasher. And I've done them, even when I didn't feel like it.

And it made me feel better. So I added a couple of little things. Here and there. Not much.

And I felt better.

Last week I sat down and did a meal plan through the end of August. I went through my personal cookbook and picked out my favorites. And printed out a calendar (yes, maybe I'm a little nuts, but still) and logged the meals through the end of next month. Whew.

But now I don't have to think about it (except on grocery day) and the decisions are made. And if I can't get to it, the other people in this house can look at the schedule and start without me. So even on swim team nights there is gonna be a meal on the table.

And that makes me feel A LOT better. Physically and mentally.

And this week McKid and I did the "impossible". We cleaned out the playroom! You can move in there. I can sit on the loveseat in there and crochet! She can do art at her table!

Yay us!

And so I am starting to see light at the end of this house tunnel. It's helping me to bring back order and cleanliness. What is happening on the outside is influencing the inside. And that's helpful.

So, today I work on the bookshelves (dusty!) and the rest of the living room. I make a grocery list for tomorrow. And I think about what will be the next thing to tackle tomorrow(probably floors--yuck!).

And slowly, ever so slowly, inch by inch, I reclaim my house.

And myself.

MamaT's Monday Music

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One of my favorite Aaron Neville songs. It makes Smock cry, so I'm posting it. I shouldn't be the only one who cries!

And then, on a COMPLETELY different note, here are The Neville Brothers with a rendition of Fire On the Bayou.

Happy Monday, ya'll!

Fine Art Friday

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Continuing last week's theme of looking at pictures with images of work in and around the house, I decided to pick "knitting" this week. There weren't as many images as I had thought there would be over at But here are the ones that caught my eye:

The first from one of my favorite painters, Bougeureau. How can you not love her beautiful skin and her bare feet?


Knitting Girl
William Bouguereau

Next, a woman knitting in the midst of other work. I forget that what I do for a hobby once had to be done "for real"--to have warm clothes or socks. Rather than an enjoyment it would have be another "to do". I don't know what she's knitting, but she's using 3 needles, like you do for socks. Maybe a sweater?


Shepherdess Knitting
Jean Francois Millet

Then this painting because I love the composition of it, with the slash of blue of her apron running across the image, and the still counterpoint of her white head covering. The gray/blue in the background is lovely, too.


A Young Scheveingen Woman Knitting
Vincent Van Gogh

I love photography, and this photo caught my eye. Not least because it reminds me, just a little, of a Summa meeting where knitting has broken out:


Showgirls Knitting
No artist credit

And finally, a vintage illustration, just because I love them:


New Year's Baby, 1916
Joseph Leyendecker

Happy Friday, ya'll!


Mary Magdalene and the Holy Women at the Tomb
James Tissot

Saint Mary Magdalene,
Woman of many sins, who by conversion
Became the beloved of Jesus,
Thank you for your witness
That Jesus forgives
Through the miracle of love.
You, who already possess eternal happiness
In His glorious presence,
Please intercede for me, so that some day
I may share in the same everlasting joy.


Searching the web for a beautiful image of the Magdalen, I ran across way too many websites with headlines like "Mary Magdalene: Saint or Sinner?".

Really? Is there so little understanding that this is not an either/or proposition? Is it really so hard to understand that the answer to the question is a simple YES? Yes, a saint. Yes, a sinner.

And yes, what we all are. And yes, what we all can be.

Gut check time


Life offers only one tragedy in the end: not to have been a saint.

------------------------Leon Bloy

Pretty pattern Tuesday

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I am gobsmacked by this pattern, because it is so genius!!!!! You can find the pattern here, at Sunshine's Creations.

This is the crochet version of one of my favorite quilts, the Yo Yo quilt. I have even seen crocheted yo yo afghans before, but the process was different. Crochet about a million tiny motifs, weave in ends, sew them all together.

This one is different and brilliant. She makes a center square of four motifs by crocheting shells into the chain and then turning and making shells on the other side of the chain, which finishes the round motif. Then she starts on the second round of motifs, connecting them as she crochets.

The pattern she demonstrates on her blog makes squares of yo yos which are then joined together. By choosing your colors, you could get some really neat combinations here.

But some of the prettiest of the afghans on Ravelry that use this technique simply keep on adding rows around and around and around, making an ever bigger single square.

This technique is SO COOL that it is all I can do to not run to my yarn stash, pull out a skein and try it NOW.

I may not be able to resist for long.

Happy Tuesday, ya'll!

That Smart Elisabeth Elliot


When I acknowledge a specific sin, it is a good thing to do something specific to demonstrate my determination to forsake it. Smash an altar, sacrifice an hour of sleep or a meal (if the sin has been, e.g., failure to do what I want to do "because I haven't time"), write a note of apology to one sinned against, make restitution in some way for a wrong. To arise and obey in such a particular act is an appropriate sign of the genuineness of my repentance--the fruit of forgiveness.

MamaT's Monday Music #2

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Because just one Cajun song cannot possibly be enough.

Enjoy the Ragin Cajun himself: Doug Kershaw.

Every baby I've ever known loves to dance to this in the kitchen. Try it!

MamaT's Monday Music


Hey, ya'll! Let's dance!

JoEl Sonnier, plays Evangeline.

Oh, man.

Happy Monday, ya'll!

7 Quick Takes for Friday

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I have an old dog. She has a touchy stomach, and at least once a week we hit a day where she eats grass and throws up. This usually follows a trip through the garbage can, where she has eaten a used Qtip or the top of a juice pouch. Today is going to be one of those days.


Today the high is ONLY supposed to be 96 or so. Thank goodness. The past few days have been swelteringly hot. So hot that yesterday afternoon I gathered up the McKid, and TBC and we went and got ice cream in the middle of the afternoon. It was delicious, and a nice break from working on financial statements and budgets.


My ferns are dying, even though I've been watering them. I've moved them out onto the steps in the back so that they can get a day of sunlight. Maybe the screened in porch is too dark for them. I didn't have that problem with the set from a couple of years ago, but I have a black thumb, so who knows? They look pretty pitiful right now. And one of 'em kinda smells funny, too.


What do YOU fix for dinner when it's too hot to cook? And don't say "We eat out!" I wish we could, but the budget is tight this month and probably next as well. We've got to eat at home to save $$$, but I can't stand to think of cooking. Help!


Reading A Thread of Grace is an eye-opener. Mary Doria Russell based her book on the stories of Jews who came to northern Italy after Mussolini conceded defeat. The Germans came in to fill the gap, and for 20 months, the Jews were hidden by Italians. Almost 50,000 Jews were saved from deportation to the camps. I didn't know the story at all, and it is fascinating. She creates characters that I believe in, and has been able to portray the fatigue, the fear, the longing for normalcy, the desire for things to just be as they should be. It is excellent. But at the same time it is heartbreaking.
I'll say more when I've finished the book.


Update on Tim: Everything went well. He should go home from the hospital today. Thank you to all of you who prayed with me for him.


Today is a day of errands and driving. Not the way I like to spend Friday afternoon, but there you go. Then tonight is a baseball game with my sweet PapaC. THAT is the way I like to spend an evening. Unless it's 106 degrees.

See the rest of the Quick Takes over at Jen's.

Fine Art Friday


I thought for the next few weeks I'd highlight domestic duties in Fine Art Friday. I love seeing the different artists' takes on daily chores and activities.


The Laundry Woman

Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin


House with Drying Laundry
Egon Schiele

Suburban Housewife Hanging Out a Bit of Laundry
Loomis Dean


Woman Hanging Her Laundry
Camille Pisarro

Then a final image, just for fun. I'm sure there are many of us who can relate to poor Mrs. Pig and her shrunken drawers!


Happy Friday, ya'll!

From Jeff Culbreath....

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"We record fetal heartbeats at 14 days post-conception. We record fetal brainwaves at 39 days post-conception. And I don't expect you to answer this, but I do expect you to pay attention to it as you contemplate these big issues. We have this schizophrenic rule of the law where we have defined death as the absence of those, but we refuse to define life as the presence of those." ~Sen. Tom Coburn to Sonia Sotomayor

Our Lady of Mount Carmel



V. Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel;
R. Be our constant hope.

V. Mary, perfect disciple of the Lord;
R. Make us also faithful to him.

V. Mary, Flower of Carmel;
R. Fill us with your joy.

V. Virgin Mary, beauty of Carmel;
R. Smile upon your family.

V. Gentle Mother of Carmel;
R. Embrace me as your child.

V. Mary, Mother beyond compare
R. Remember your children forever.

V. Holy Virgin, Star of the Sea;
R. Be our beacon of light.

V. Protecting Veil;
R. Shelter us in the mantle of your love.

V. Mary, conceived without sin;
R. Pray for us who have recourse to you.

Let us pray:

O Father of all, look upon us as your children, and support us with your strength.
May we, who honour the memory of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, always rejoice in her unfailing protection. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Things to think about Thursday #3


From that smart Elisabeth Elliot, A Lamp for My Feet:

Someone who is suffering as a result of his own foolishness or failure may read these words. These griefs are hard indeed to bear, for we feel we might easily have avoided them. We have no one to blame but ourselves, and there isn't much consolation there. Sometimes we imagine that we must bear this kind of trouble alone, but that is a mistake. The Lamb of God, slain for us, has borne all of our griefs and carried all of our sorrows, no matter what their origin. All grief and sorrow is the result of sin somewhere along the line, but Christ received them willingly. It is nothing but pride that keeps me from asking Him to help me to bear the troubles which are my own fault.

Things to think about Thursday #2


An article by Robert P. George of Princeton from Public Discourse via the CERC newsletter titled The Struggle over Marriage.

PD: What is the struggle over the legal recognition of same-sex unions a struggle about? Is it about legal benefits? Or is it about something else?

George: It's about sex. Those seeking to redefine marriage began by insisting that what they were fundamentally interested in was gaining needed benefits for same-sex domestic partners. Legal recognition of same-sex partnerships was necessary, they said, so that partners could visit each other in hospitals, extend employer-provided health insurance and other benefits to each other, and so forth. Some people who said this were, I'm sure, being sincere. Most, however, were not telling the truth. Their goal was to win official approbation for sodomy and other forms of sexual conduct that historically have been condemned as immoral and discouraged or even banned as a matter of law and public policy. The clear evidence for this is the refusal of most same-sex "marriage" activists to accept civil unions and domestic partnership programs under which the benefits of marriage are extended, but which do not use the label "marriage" or (and this is very important) predicate these benefits on the existence or presumption of a sexual relationship between the partners. So, it is not really about benefits. It is about sex. The idea that is antithetical to those who are seeking to redefine marriage is that there is something uniquely good and morally upright about the chaste sexual union of husband and wife -- something that is absent in sodomitical acts and in other forms sexual behavior that have been traditionally -- and in my view correctly -- regarded as intrinsically non-marital and, as such, immoral.

It really isn't about benefits, is it?

Things to think about Thursday

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As a mom who raised a boy, I heartily agree with this article over at Touchstone by one of my "yes I'm happily married, but you're fabulous" crushes, Anthony Esolen.

It occurs to me, finally, that everything I have heard for thirty years now about how we all want men and boys to express their feelings has been a bald lie. The last thing we want is that men and boys express their feelings. They may, if they wish, express feelings of weakness: They may cry, if they like, or be afraid, or look to their mothers for comfort.

They may not, however, show anger or indignation; they may not exult; they may not be proud of their masculinity. As for their need, emotional more than intellectual but surely both, to work with other boys or with men at something they can take pride in -- and their fear of humiliation or embarrassment before their more articulate sisters -- well, those on the left sneer and those on the right cough and look the other way.

Amen, brother. Amen.

Could ya'll please pray?

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....for a friend of mine, Tim, who is having surgery today to remove an 8 millimeter kidney stone. Because it is so large, it cannot be crushed with ultrasound, so they are having to do surgery to remove it.

On top of that, Tim has a violent reaction to anesthesia, so they've got to be really careful.

He's such a good guy, married to one of my "goodest" friends. Their son is ZMan's best friend, and has been since they were six years old.

A Must See/Hear

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From the lovely Richard Chonak, our blog guru, Facebook:

Crochet drama and tears at CasaS


I am doing a Crochet Along (otherwise known as a CAL) sponsored by a group over on Ravelry. Two 12 inch block patterns are posted every month, and if you do those each month, at the end of the year you have enough squares to make an afghan.

I've been keeping up, and I have been very proud of my squares to date.


(You knew there had to be soemthing like that, didn't you?)

Yesterday I went to Hobby Lobby to pick up two more skeins of yarn to continue on with my project. Side by side (as they have never been before!!!!) were TWO colors of green, only a shade apart: Mid Green and Light Sage. I called the Beautiful Celeste at home and asked her which one I was using. "Uh, there's a problem, Terry. It appears you were using Mid Green, but switched last time to Light Sage. Three blocks are different from the others."

Well, I thought they looked a little different, but I thought it might just be these old eyes seeing a dye lot issue. And doing each individual square, you don't notice. But when you put the squares together? Yeah, you notice.

So, I've got to undo 3 of the squares I've already done and redo them. And I've already stitched one of them into the first panel, so the panel has to be undone.


It made me cry, just a little bit, in frustration.

And yes, I have to redo it, or I will hate the afghan forever. It doesn't make it better that it was an afghan I was considering as a wedding gift for Zman and TBC. It has to be right.

So, today I frog.

Rip-it. Rip-it. Rip-it.



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......was the one year anniversary of my mom's death.

I'm still not used to it.

Perhaps I never will be. Scratch the "perhaps". I know I will never be used to it.

It doesn't hurt as much as it did. But it hurts more than I expected at this point. I think part of that is adding my dad's death on top of it. We were brave and got through "the first Thanksgiving" and "the first Christmas". We even did the first set of our birthdays (Zman, PapaC and mine) without Mom.

Now we are faced with having to do "the firsts" all over again, but this time without either of them. That really weighs on me.

I'm not walking around in tears or anything. I even made it through listening to the Prayers of the People with my mom's name in it without crying (unusual for me, since I cry over every single other thing). There are happy things in life, and I'm not holed up on the couch watching cheerleader movies and eating microwave popcorn.

But I still miss her.

A lot.

A Quick Photo from the Birthday

Birthday Princess

Pretty Pattern Tuesday

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I've never crocheted any clothing, other than shawls which aren't constructed in any way--no sleeves, or stuff like that.

I think this would be an excellent first project. Don't you think McKid needs a pink camo hoodie? So do I!


This one is a free pattern from Bernat, and is made out of their Pink Camoflauge yarn, which I happen to know they have at Hobby Lobby. AND I have to go to Hobby Lobby later this week to get the next few balls of yarn to work my 2009 Crochet A Long Block a Month Afghan. So, do you think I should get the yarn and make this for McKid?

Of course you do!

Happy Tuesday, ya'll!

MamaT's Monday Music


Because around here we have get to watch The Jungle Book every once in awhile, I was thinking about Louis Prima--he did that fabulous, fabulous, fabulous swing/scat number in the movie.

Here is Louis Prima and his band singing Jump, Jive and Wail. If it doesn't make your toes tap, you should check your pulse:

And, just because it's Monday, and who doesn't need a little pick me up on Monday, I'll give you another glorious Prima number. This one is Buona Sera. Enjoy. I think it's impossible not to!

Happy Monday, ya'll!

7 Quick Takes for Friday

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Off with the kids to do wedding registry stuff today. I hope we can all keep our tempers. It stuns me that the Zman cares so much about every little thing. When I registered, lo those many years ago, I asked Craig if he wanted to go with my mom and me. "No, go get what you like. It'll be fine." Zman? Not so much. I tried to bow out of the expedition, but "No, Mom, we want you to come with us." I'm just going to keep repeating the mantra, "It's their stuff, Terry. It's their stuff.


I have to go get snacks for tomorrow's trip to the swimming pool for McKid and her BFF, who is spending the night with her tonight. The one advantage of age is that you don't have to have little kid sleepovers with giggling girls dancing in front of the television. The downside is that you don't get to have little kid sleepovers with giggling girls dancing in front of the television.


Again perusing the school supply list, every kid has to take 5 rolls of paper towels. I understand needing a bunch of paper towels. But my question is this: Where do you store 100 rolls of paper towels PER CLASS? In our little school, that amounts to more than 2000 rolls of paper towels. How much room does that take up? And wouldn't it be more feasible to have a supply list for August and one for January? Just for space considerations?


Ssssshhhhhh. McKid gets her new big girl bike tomorrow for her birthday. Zman has been working with her to learn to ride with no training wheels, and she can do it. Or do it as long as she doesn't think about it too much.


Looking for good quotes about cooking, home, eating, food. Got any? If so, please let me know!


Picked up my book club book for this month at Half Price Books yesterday. Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell. Also got a copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which is one of our selections for later this year. I've heard nothing but good about it.


My family cookbook project is coming along nicely. But I think I hurt my hands cutting and pasting so much paper yesterday. It hurts to type!

You can check out the rest of the Quick Takes over at Conversion Diary. And that's another website I need to add to our links......

Happy Friday, ya'll!

A young Catholic mom blog.....

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......that I really like. Seven Catholic moms, all raising kiddos, some homeschooling, etc. I love reading them, but it sometimes makes me too sad, 'cause I'm past all that and into a different phase of my life.

But take a gander. I like 'em a LOT: Building Cathedrals.

Whatcha Reading? Wednesday


Let's see. I finished Susan Howatch's The Wonder Worker the other night when I couldn't sleep. I like Howatch, at least what I've read of hers. I like the story told from multiple viewpoints, causing you to re-evaluate your ideas about situations and characters as the story proceeds. I think she's also good at portraying how all of us are a tragic mixture of truth and lie, good and bad. I've another of her books, one of the family sagas, on my to read pile. Don't know when I'll get to it, though.

Just cracked open Vespers in Vienna by Bruce Marshall. Loaned to me by a friend, she found it at a library book sale. I read Marshall's The World, the Flesh, and Father Smith last year and loved it. Ann says Vespers is excellent. Two chapters in I can't tell yet.

I've got to go to the library and get my book club book for this month: Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell. She had written two sci-fi books before this. We read a review of it last year right before our book selection meeting. I don't even remember now what this one's supposed to be about!

Also on deck? Finishing my reread of Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons.

Spiritual reading? Set aside the book about martyrs (was it making me feel too guilty?) and picked up Hind's Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. I can really relate to Much-Afraid.

How 'bout you?

......doesn't 80 sharpened pencils per student" seem a bit excessive? That is 1600 pencils per class per school year.

PapaC thinks they must be eating them for snacks.

I wonder.

MamaT's Monday Music


Studying 1 Peter in Bible study yesterday, this song came to mind. It doesn't hurt that my mom's Years Mind is next week.

I think that my parents had that very album in with their groovy 1950s hi-fi.

Here was another Jim Reeves fave:

Someone told me: "There really is a JR in Texas, but it ain't Larry Hagman."

I agree.

Happy Monday!

It's Official!

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The Engaged Couple
The Engaged Couple

The Hands
Two Hands, One Heart

The Ring
The Ring
(Prettier in Person)

Zman and TBC are officially engaged. Wedding in January!


Summer = Crafts at CasaS

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What's goin' on at CasaS? Well, we're letting the dogs in and out about 50 times a day. I don't get that at all.

But summertime = arts and crafts as far as McKid is concerned. She's been MAKING STUFF.

First, she made jewelry:


That's my necklace you see there. Butterflies and beads. And I'm supposed to wear it every day. If I don't have it on when she gets here, she goes and finds it and puts it on me. I've even agreed to wear it to church on Sunday, which is her birthday. It'll make everyone jealous, I know.

Then we took an empty oatmeal box and turned it into a beautiful canister. Right now it's storing other art supplies. She's anxiously awaiting my finishing up the next box so she can have a matching set:

Beautiful canister

And we've also finished up two, count 'em two, potholders on our loom. The third one is in progress, as you can tell:


In Progress

The loops that came with this loom are truly pitiful. Nothing at all like the sturday cotton ones back in my day. (Dating myself immediately!) But they are colorful, and McKid likes them.

We watched a video on weaving with yarn on Youtube, so we think we will try that next. If it works, then McKid will make some sturdier potholders to give as Christmas gifts. We'll see. Patience is an issue around here. And not just for McKid.

But give her a flat space and she will immediately start setting up a writing/art desk. PapaC took his laptop to work today, so his worktable (with wheels!) has become today's creativity office:

The Art/Writing Desk

LaMa has extra produce to give away. Pretty soon I may have extra ART to give away!

Happy Wednesday, ya'll!

Adding to the reading list.....

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Heard the author, Piers Paul Read, interviewed yesterday on a talk radio show as I was out running errands. The book sounds good, and is available from Ignatius Press. There is also a website for The Death of a Pope.

And here's the review that will make me want to read it:

If you love the Catholic Church, you will probably love this book whether or not you love a good story. If you love a good story, you will probably love this book whether or not you love the Catholic Church. But if you love both the Church and a good story, you will certainly love this book.
-- Peter Kreeft, author, Because God is Real

Anyone read any of his other stuff?

Edited to add: I finally figured out what I had read that he had written! Alive--the book about the survivors of the plane crash in the Andes! Thank heavens. Now it won't rattle around in my head all day.



About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by MamaT in July 2009.

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