July 2006 Archives

If someone really loved me....

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......they could get me this:

Pinky and the Brain.jpg

Brain: It must be inordinately taxing to be such a boob.

Pinky: You have no idea.

Genius. Consistently genius. With a capital G, folks.

Not a good weekend for movies at Casa Southard.

First we watched a "meh" movie--one that was so-so:

Mr and Mrs Smith.jpg

I wanted to watch this because of all the uproar it caused--breaking up the marriage of Brad Pitt and whats-her-name from Friends. Well, just let me say this: all the sparks of romantic chemistry between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie must have been in their trailers on the set, because not one SHRED of it appears on the screen.

It is a movie with a decent enough concept, and two beautiful people in it. But it is flat, flat, flat. The only thing that saves it, at least in part, is that I found the script itself fairly funny. WHAT they said was funny, even if how they said it was not particularly.

We immediately started casting around for actors who might have been able to do something better with the material, but we were at a loss.

It wasn't TERRIBLE, exactly. But I'm glad I didn't fork over "see it in the theater" money for this. It's not a waste of $3. It would have been a waste of $16 for PapaC and I to see it in the theater.

So, Casa Southard rating: Meh. You choose.

Then Saturday night we watched:

The Weather Man.jpg

I hadn't even HEARD of this movies, which probably should have been a clue, don'tcha think? Anyway, I usually like Nicholas Cage movies--he's offbeat enough to make some pretty interesting movies. And it had Michael Caine in it! I love Michael Caine!

This movie was one long product placement. How many products were mentioned by name? Let's see: Frosty, Kenny Roger's chicken, Bank America, Big Gulps, Spongebob Squarepants...... The list goes on and on.

Nicholas Cage acts as if his whole body has been injected with Botox. No emotion, other than the random outbursts of profanity. No one saves the movie. It is one long depressing slog, with commercials thrown in.

Yuck. All thumbs down on this one. Don't waste your time.

Yesterday's hymns


Introit was:

Come down, O love divine,
seek thou this soul of mine,
and visit it with thine own ardor glowing;
O Comforter, draw near,
within my heart appear,
and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.

O let it freely burn,
till earthly passions turn
to dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
and let thy glorious light
shine ever on my sight,
and clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

Let holy charity
mine outward vesture be,
and lowliness become mine inner clothing;
true lowliness of heart,
which takes the humbler part,
and o'er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

And so the yearning strong,
with which the soul will long,
shall far outpass the power of human telling;
for none can guess its grace,
till Love create a place
wherein the Holy Spirit makes a dwelling.

Tune was Down Ampney, by Ralph Vaughn Williams.

Offertory was:

O love, how deep, how broad, how high,
it fills the heart with ecstasy,
that God, the Son of God, should take
our mortal form for mortals' sake!

He sent no angel to our race
of higher or of lower place,
but wore the robe of human frame
himself, and to this lost world came.

For us baptized, for us he bore
his holy fast and hungered sore,
for us temptation sharp he knew;
for us the tempter overthrew.

For us he prayed; for us he taught;
for us his daily works he wrought;
by words and signs and actions thus
still seeking not himself, but us.

For us to wicked men betrayed,
scourged, mocked, in purple robe arrayed,
he bore the shameful cross and death,
for us at length gave up his breath.

For us he rose from death again;
for us he went on high to reign;
for us he sent his Spirit here,
to guide, to strengthen and to cheer.

To him whose boundless love has won
salvation for us through his Son,
to God the Father, glory be
both now and through eternity.

This hymn can be sung to roughly a hundred tunes, but at SMV we sing it to Deus tuorum militum.

Communion hymn was:

All for Jesus, all for Jesus,
this our song shall ever be;
for we have no hope, nor Saviour,
if we have not hope in thee.

All for Jesus, thou wilt give us
strength to serve thee, hour by hour;
none can move us from thy presence
while we trust thy love and power.

All for Jesus, at thine altar
thou wilt give us sweet content;
there, dear Lord, we shall receive thee
in the solemn sacrament.

All for Jesus, thou hast loved us;
all for Jesus, thou hast died;
all for Jesus, thou art with us;
all for Jesus crucified.

All for Jesus, all for Jesus,
this the Church's song must be,
till, at last, we all are gathered
one in love and one in thee.

Sung to the tune Wycliff.

Then we finished up with:

We Would Extol Thee, but the lyrics are still under copyright, so I can't find 'em. Take my word for it, it was great.

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A Friday Funny....


.....courtesy of People of the Book:

The Patron Saints of Graphic Design

I am especially fond of St. Anxiete.

Fine Art Friday!

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The Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum, Arles, at Night
Vincent Van Gogh

I love this painting, because of the contrast of the warm on the terrace and the cool and dark of the night just out in the street. It makes me want to sit and have a drink and laugh and talk the evening away.

Join me?

Sigh. Bang head on desk.

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why multiculturalism droolz

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singin' bout TEXAS summers

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inspired by a little poem (sing a song of summer by kay winters) that ts shared over at video meliora, i offer the following:

when it's durn hot
it's hotter'n hell
and the sweat runs
raht down yor tail
the asphalt melts
and starts to smell
worse than yankee cheese
you kin tell
it's summer

Genius. Absolute genius.

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If you don't laugh at the evil sporks, there is something wrong with you.

Two thumbs up from MamaT, two thumbs up from McKid.

I cannot believe.....

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......that I got sucked into this:


And whose fault is it? I, of course, take no personal responsibility. It's all Smock's fault. Every bit of it.

Book #29 of 2006 finished

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Have you ever had one of those books that you just read, and read, and read, and read and never seemed to come to the end of it? Well, my book #29 was one of those books. It was actually a pretty good book, but it was one that I started in FEBRUARY, when my mom broke her hip and was in the hospital. I read it sitting with her at rehab, it got pushed aside for book club books, I read it during Fran's chemotherapy, it got pushed aside for work.....

So finally, last night, I finished it! I felt like cheering!

#29: Nobody's Fool by Ruchard Russo. We read Russo's Empire Falls in my book club a couple of years ago. And then later I read his novel Straight Man, which made me laugh out loud during jury duty. (And made everyone stare at me--but maybe that kept me off a jury. Who wants to empanel a women who laughs and snorts to herself?) While I liked EF and SM better than this one, it is still a strong book.

The main character is Donald Sullivan ("Sully"), a sixty year old guy with a bum knee. He's the kind of guy who will drive you crazy--to much "ne'er do well" to depend on, too charming to dislike. He's left behind a raft of broken relationships, most notably an ex-wife who can't stand him (theoretically) and a son he ignored while he was growing up. Sully works, and lives, in a hand to mouth way, with no plan for the future--a future which is catching up with him fast.

The characters in the novel are the point. Russo has an eye for small town America--in some ways he is the East Coast equivalent of Jon Hassler. But he lack Hassler's basic optimism and faith. Bath (the town in Nobody's Fool) is a darker place than Hassler's Staggerford. But they share the same feeling for the quirkiness of human life. We look at their characters and think, "Yeah, she's odd. But not so different from my aunt......" Russo is also more earthy, shall we say. His characters are no saints.

But almost all his characters are well drawn and multifaceted. The sinners can also turn and do the right thing. And there is hope for redemption. And that redemption comes through love.

A book that's worth the read.

And I've not seen the movie made from the novel. But I will say that the casting of Paul Newman as Sully seems like a spot on decision. He fits perfectly with my vision of the character.

This takes another book off my Summer Reading Challenge. 9 down, 3 to go. Last night I started Rumer Godden's An Episode of Sparrows.

bryce dallas howard as the nurf. no, narf. whatever.

oops. i guess i forgot to mention to mamaT that smockdaddy and i were so eager to see lady in the water, we went to the midnight showing last thursday. ehem. i sorta forgot about it probably because i sorta forgot about THE FILM! ugh.

i really expected this to be a great film. so great that it would be memorable. i mean, who doesn't love a scary bedtime story? who doesn't love bryce howard? and i love m. night shyamalan. i really do! but...

it had great potential. in fact, a lot of the movie has very good scenes. and funny! oh, i laughed out loud through the whole picture. but isn't this a scary thriller? okay, so it was great comic relief for some pretty tense moments. paul giamatti was flawless. totally believable and sorta lovable. but, bryce didn't do much talking. she sorta just lazed around half nekkid, looking nymphish and translucent. the asian family was hysterical. i'm surprized there hasn't been some sort of asian student uprising against possible stereotyping.

because of a carefully constructed ending, i left the theater feeling pretty high. yeah, that was pretty good! the problem was it was a short-lived high. the problem was that taken as a whole, the overall effect of the movie was pretty, well, it kills me to admit it, but it was sorta blah. the problem? too many characters. waaaaaaaay too many. as a result, they had to be pretty cookie-cutter to be quickly understood. but that's the problem, they were so obvious that they were tedious to watch. good grief, here's the one arm shmo again. they were so unspectacular, they were ultimately unmemorable.

the movie is promoted as a bedtime story. unfortunately it plays like one -- one that dad is making up as he goes after one too many nightcaps. ...and uh, then the guy goes to see the, uh, the asian lady again. yeah, that's it. and then he uh...

to add insult to injury, poor shyamalan made the grave mistake of casting himself as the "vessel" (a Christ-like figure) which is only going to add fuel to the fire since the critics all think he's an arrogant one-note hack. i happen to disagree with his critics, i just wish he'd quit giving them ammo.

to be fair, i'll probably end up owning this movie on dvd. i have to in order to round out my shyamalan collection. which means i'll end up watching it again. i'll let you know if it gets any better.

....(can you tell I'm on hold on the telephone?) is this:

Is it possible for a four-year-old to actually eat her weight in watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Lady in the Water

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......is a movie that both Smock and I want to see.

The reviews I've read have been almost universally negative.

Good to read one that wasn't. Steven over at Flos Carmeli says it's worth seeing.

I'll trust Steven. I still want to see it.

To be added to the Creepy File


This weekend I was cruising through one of my women's magazines. I suppose the subscriptions to Women's Day, Family Circle, and Good Housekeeping are something I could give up, but they seduce me every subscription renewal time with deals that seem so cheap at the time that I go ahead and pay the $10 for an annual subscription.

The thing I got caught up in this time was the advertisements for dolls. Now, doll collecting is not my cup of tea. I understand there must be a giant market for it--there are about 5 different advertisements in each magazine for dolls sold to adults. And they do a booming business with QVC and HSN, according to some statistics I read.

Okay, so I think having shelves and shelves of dolls looking at you, standing in rows, not being played with, would be a little disconcerting.

But the newest doll is the creepiest of all. It BREATHES. Yep. You too can own a doll that is "so realistic, she even breathes."

I don't want to be sitting in my office at night and hear something breathing behind me.

I just don't.

And somehow it strikes me as ineffably sad.

A thought for today:


It's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.

----------Guillaume Apollinaire

....and this link proves it.

Strangely addictive.

Today's hymns

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The introit today was this:

This is the hour of banquet and of song;
this is the heavenly table spread for me;
here let me feast, and feasting, still prolong
the hallowed hour of fellowship with thee.

Too soon we rise; we go our several ways;
the feast, though not the love, is past and gone,
the bread and wine consumed: yet all our days
thou still art here with us, our shield and sun.

Feast after feast thus comes and passes by;
yet, passing, points to the glad feast above,
giving sweet foretaste of the festal joy,
the Lamb's great bridal feast of bliss and love.

Sung to the tune Farley Castle.

Today's offertory was Hope of the World, Thou Christ.

Sung to this tune, but the words are still under copyright, so I can't find them.

The communion hymn, which I didn't get to sing because it was over too soon, was:

Bread of heaven, on thee we feed,
for thy Flesh is meat indeed;
ever may our souls be fed
with this true and living Bread;
day by day with strength supplied
through the life of him who died.

Vine of heaven, thy Blood supplies
this blest Cup of sacrifice;
'tis thy wounds our healing give,
to thy cross we look and live:
Thou our life! oh let me be
grafted, rooted, built in thee.

Sung to Jesu, Jesu, Du Mein Hirt.

And finally, one of my favorites:

Singing songs of expectation,
onward goes the pilgrim band,
through the night of doubt and sorrow,
marching to the promised land.
Clear before us through the darkness
gleams and burns the guiding light:
brother clasps the hand of brother,
stepping fearless through the night.

One the light of God's own presence,
o'er his ransomed people shed,
chasing far the gloom and terror,
brightening all the path we tread:
one the object of our journey,
one the faith which never tires,
one the earnest looking forward,
one the hope our God inspires.

One the strain the lips of thousands
lift as from the heart of one;
one the conflict, one the peril,
one the march in God begun:
one the gladness of rejoicing
on the far eternal shore,
where the one almighty Father
reigns in love for evermore.

Sung to Ton-y-Botel (or sometimes called Ebeneezer).

Fine Art Friday x 2

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Today's entry is in honor of the Zman, my lovely son. Here's his favorite photograph by Ansel Adams. A large poster of it hangs in his bedroom:

Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico

I love this picture, because it portrays everything I love about the landscapes of West Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Big, big sky.

But for me, today, I am adding another image. Because do you know how blessed HOT it is around here? We need something to cool off. So:

Pine Branches in Snow

A raft of info on Ansel Adams can be found here.

Donna's Friday Five

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1. Would you be willing to commit perjury in court for a close friend? What if your lie would save his life?

2. Would you be willing to eat a bowl of live crickets for $40,000?

3. Would you have one of your fingers surgically removed if it guaranteed immunity from all major diseases?

4. Would you be willing to give up all television for 5 years if it would induce someone to provide for 1,000 starving children?

5. Would you accept $1 million to leave the country and never set foot in it again?


our beloved mr. luse has a looong and very smart post over at apologia, entitled animal of the month, in which the question akin to "do all dogs really go to heaven?" is pondered.

i really cheesed off a good friend once because i gave her my loftiest reaction which is "nope, cuz they don't have souls." but i want them to go to heaven because i've known, and known of, quite a few grand animals and the thought of seeing them or seeing them again is very appealing -- assuming i make it m'self.

i'm pleased to report that according to the little i've read it looks like some really smart and trustworthy people think it is a possibility. and according to the most trustworthy person i've ever actually known, my nonny, they sure might.

this is actually a question that i've bumped up against several times. in fact, my first deep theological discussion was about this very topic. my nonny and i were in her backyard playing with "fury, too." fury, too was, as you can guess, the second "fury" my grandparents had -- a bright white alaskan husky with beautiful gray eyes and a perfect temper. i could brush her hair and put barrette and ribbons all in her fur for days and she still loved me. anyway, i asked my nonny about how fury, too got her name and as soon as i learned that the original fury had died, i asked if she was in heaven. nonny said she didn't know but she certainly hoped so.

so dogs can go to heaven just like people?
sure. where else would all the milk and honey come from?
that just means cows and bees are in heaven, yuck!
well if God lets yucky ol' cows and bees into heaven, surely He lets dogs in, too.

makes sense to me.

Great article


Family Before Apostolate: Pro-Life Activism Begins at Home

A small excerpt:

When apostolate calls, it is easy to let our family life fall by the wayside. It is easy to let our apostolate become the source of our identity, when as a married Catholic, "who we are" should be dictated by the sort of spouse and parent we are. In short, being a pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-family Catholic begins at home. It begins with one’s own life, one’s own marriage, and one’s own family. After all, we become one flesh with our spouse, not our apostolic work.

HT to the boys at Catholic Light (link to the LEFT, now!) for the heads up on the article.

Update on my Summer Reading Challenge



The Clearing by Tim Gatreaux
Nobody's Fool by Richard Russo
Making Sense of Movies by Robert Henry Stanley
The Silver Chalice by Thomas Costain
The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O'Connor
The Last Good Woman by William Luse
In the Company of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith
An Episode of Sparrows by Rumer Godden
Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini
The Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howells

Six down, four to go. One is in process (Nobody's Fool), one I'll have to restart because I've forgotten where I was (The Clearing). The other two are completely new.

I have really enjoyed reading from my list. I think when August is over, I'm going to come up with a personal "Fall Reading Challenge" list. You know, to get some of those unread books on my shelves (eeek!) READ.

Books 26, 27, & 28 of 2006


#26: The Silver Chalice by Thomas Costain. This is our July book club book, and is one of the books in the Loyola Classics series. It is the story of Basil, a young boy sold by his parents to a rich man, Ignatius, who has no son of his own. At Ignatius' death, Basil is sold into slavery by Ignatius' usurping brother. Basil becomes a talented silversmith--a real artist. He is ransomed one night by Luke the Physician, and Basil's task is to make a silver reliquary/chalice to hold the cup used by Christ at the last supper. Basil lives with Joseph of Arimethea, the financial supporter of the infant Church. A sweeping epic, of the old-fashioned kind-we follow Basil and his interactions with Nero, Simon the Magician, Paul, Peter, John and Jude. I loved it. It was the perfect summertime book, with lots of pages--love, treachery, passion and religion.

#27: Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini. The story of Peter Blood--an Irish doctor convicted unfairly of treason and sent as a slave to Barbados. We follow his escape and life as a buccaneer, all the while carrying a torch for Arabella, the niece of the cruel planter who purchased him. A swashbuckling story, even better than Scaramouche, which was pretty darn good! Arrrrrgggggh, mateys!

#28: The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O'Connor. A story of the Irish Catholics in an unnamed northeastern city (Boston?), in particular the Carmody family, told by priest/friend/narrator Fr. Hugh Kennedy. Fr. Hugh is a recovering alcoholic, working in a run-down "edge of the slums" parish in his hometown. His life becomes intertwined with the Carmody family again--the Carmody son, John, is also a priest and was one of Fr. Hugh's best friends. This isn't a story of something that HAPPENS, it's a story of how people ARE. Those of you who like plot-driven fiction would be disappointed with this one. But its understanding of people is sometimes quite breathtaking. Parts of it are absolutely hilarious, and parts are quite sad. The book won the Puliter Prize in 1962. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

At one point, Fr. Hugh is talking to one of the Carmody family about what people said about him at his old parish after he was sent away for treatment for his alcoholism. Helen Carmody tells him that people did talk, that they felt "let down." Fr. Hugh thinks:

Which was kind enough, surely--and also not quite true. For this gentle disappointment, this simple, sorrowful feeling of being "let down" might possibly have been the main reaction of a community of saints, but the people of Saint Raymond's and Saint Stephen's were . . . well, quite simply, they were human beings. And it wasn't at all hard to imagine the medley of whispers, pitying little nods, sardonic winks, outraged perorations, snickers, and small jokes that came up inevitably when groups got together--just as it was no harder to picture, on another age level, the schoolboy, safely out of sight of monitoring eyes, mimicking for his admiring friends the evening gait of his former pastor. All this and much more took place: I was sure of it. And it took place, not because the people were cruel or vindictive or vicious, but because the capacity for just this kind of thing is so much a part of all of us--and the great mistake, I think, the mistake that surely leads to more misery, is for the victim to succumb to the mornal temptation and take the part for the whole. For there is a balance here: the great majority of those who winked and nudged and raved and joked would, in the very next moment, have willingly given me whatever lift they could, and the same schoolboy who staggered with such derisive exactness would in an instant have given up his free morning to serve my Mass and drive me halfway across the state and back. We all share in a shattering duality--and by this I don't mean that soggy, superficial split that one so often sees: the kind of thing, for example, where the gangster sobs uncontrollably at an old Shirley Temple movie. I mean the fundamental schism that Newman referred to when he spoke of man being forever involved in the consequnces of some "terrible, aboriginal calamity"; every day in every man there is this warfare of parts. And while all this results in meanness and bitterness and savagery enough, God knows, and while only a fool can look around him and smile serenely in unwatered optimism, nevertheless, the wonder of it all is to me the frequency with which kindness, the essential goodness of man does break through, and as one who has received his full measure of that goodness, I can say that for me, at least, it is in the long succession of these small, redemptive instants, just as much as in the magnificence of heores, that the meaning and the glory of man is revealed.....

A recipe for today

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Cruising through the newspaper's food section this morning, I came across this recipe. It comes originally from Linda Ellerbee's new book, Take Big Bites. The newspaper article said that it's the kind of recipe that everyone needs: an easy dessert that will knock the socks off of your guests. Make the "pie" and serve it with berries and ice cream on top:

Mama's Rescued Fudge Pie
Serves 8

2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour (yep, you read that right)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place chocolate and butter in a 4 cup Pyrex measure or a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high heat for 1 minute, stir, and heat for 30 seconds more. Let sit for a minute or so and stir until chocolate dissolves completely. Ad sugar, flour eggs, vanilla and salt. Stir until well-combined. Pour into lightly oiled 9-inch pie pan.

Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool for as long as you can wait. If you can't wait, vanilla ice cream helps cool a slice of pie on your plate!

This sounds great, because it sounds easy. And I generally have all the necessary ingredients in my pantry/refrigerator.

Maybe I'll try it this weekend.

When we have weeks of above 100 degree weather, everything looks too hot to me. So I decided to simplify a little.

But I'm a technological idiot, and I CANNOT get my background tile to work. I think if that would work, then I could split apart the body and the side bar. That would make me happy.

Pastel background, lots of white. SUMMER!

GRRRRRRR. Maybe one day I'll figure it out!

UPDATE: Woo Hoo! I figured it out!

And for the more cynical of you:


I present McKid's version of a classic song. She was walking around the house singing, so I hid behind a door so I could catch the words:

For he's a jolly good fellow,
For he's a jolly good fellow,
For he's a jolly good fellow,

Which no one can understand!

The best thing about kids.....

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......, and really, there are LOTS of good things, is how very funny they are.

McKid just turned 4, and she thinks she is grown. It took us a long time to convince her that on the day of her birthday she would not miraculously change to a new size. I think she was a little disappointed when it really didn't happen.

But yesterday we were coming home from swimming in a friend's pool, where we had spent a couple of lovely, cool hours on a 104 degree afternoon.

"Mama, do you know what I want?"

"No, baby."

"I want a driver's license!"

"A driver's license? Why do you want that?"

"I just do! A driver's license and a phone number."

I think I'm in trouble--if she wants 'em at 4, what'll she want at 16?

let's face it, the summa mamas love meat. and, everyone knows that i love me some bacon. of course, as a self-professed meat n' potatoes kinda gal, i have earned a rap for not being too cuddly on veggies. that's okay. taking mamaT's cue (see mamaT's entry on veggies you can wear), i started looking for more delicious couture.

well, i couldn't find a pair of bacon sandals -- which i really thought i'd find because...well, how cute would that be? totally coolmoe.

anyway, i did find a cool tee that reads:


and then totally mad bracelets to boot:


and for the smocktwins, also known as the wee carnivores of smockmaison:


gotta have it.

DIY Bio Poem.....

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.....from Mary Poppins NOT, over at Crazy Acres (link on the sidebar):

Mom, "gramma", and aunt
Lover of God, her family, her friends
Who needs rest, recharging, and retreat
Who gives advice and comfort, whether needed or not
Who fears bugs, the Diocesan office, and Hell (not necessarily in that order!)
Who would like to see her work complete, her house clean, and her parish's building debt paid off

Here's how you do it, if you want to do your own!

First Name
How You fit in the Family
Lover of (3 things)
Who needs (3 things)
Who gives (2 things)
Who fears (3 things)
Who would like to see (3 things)
Last name

Yesterday's hymns:


Introit hymn was this one, another of Charles Wesley's gems:

Christ, whose glory fills the skies,
Christ the true, the only Light,
Sun of Righteousness, arise!
Triumph o'er the shades of night:
Dayspring from on high, be near;
Daystar, in my heart appear.

Dark and cheerless is the morn
unaccompanied by thee;
joyless is the day's return,
till thy mercy's beams I see,
till they inward light impart,
glad my eyes, and warm my heart.

Visit then this soul of mine!
Pierce the gloom of sin and grief!
Fill me, Radiancy Divine;
scatter all my unbelief;
more and more thyself display,
shining to the perfect day.

At SMV we sing it to Ratisbon, but there are several other tunes that work.

Offertory was this one, which we actually don't sing very often. Nice, though.

Jesus, thou divine Companion,
by thy lowly human birth
thou hast come to join the workers,
burden bearers of the earth.
Thou, the carpenter of Nazareth,
toiling for thy daily food,
by thy patience and thy courage,
thou hast taught us toil is good.

They who tread the path of labor
follow where thy feet hath trod;
they who work without complaining
do the holy work of God.
Thou, the peace that passeth knowledge,
dwellest in the daily strife;
thou, the Bread of heaven, art broken
in the sacrament of life.

Every task, however, simple,
sets the soul that does it free;
every deed of human kindness
done to man is done to thee.
Jesus, thou divine Companion,
help us all to work our best;
bless us in our daily labor,
lead us to our Sabbath rest.

We sing it to Pleading Savior.

Communion hymn was one of my all time favorites, a hymn that makes me cry every single time we sing it:

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
and with fear and trembling stand;
ponder nothing earthly minded,
for with blessing in his hand
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
as of old on earth he stood,
Lord of lords in human vesture,
in the Body and the Blood
he will give to all the faithful
his own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
spreads its vanguard on the way,
as the Light of Light descendeth
from the realms of endless day,
that the powers of hell may vanish
as the darkness clears away.

At his feet the six-winged seraph;
cherubim with sleepless eye,
veil their faces to the Presence,
as with ceaseless voice they cry,
"Alleluia, alleluia!
Alleluia, Lord Most High!"

Sung to the tune Picardy.

And finally, the post-communion hymn:

My God, accept my heart this day,
and make it always thine,
that I from thee no more may stray,
no more from thee decline.

Before the cross of him who died,
behold, I prostrate fall;
let every sin be crucified,
and Christ be all in all.

Anoint me with thy heavenly grace,
and seal me for thine own,
that I may see thy glorious face,
and worship near thy throne.

Let every thought and work and word,
to thee be ever given;
then life shall be thy service, Lord,
and death the gate of heaven.

Sung to St. Peter (Reinagle).

St. Bonaventure
The Seraphic Doctor

WE BEG the all-merciful Father through thee, his only-begotten Son made man for our sake, crucified and glorified for us, to send upon us from his treasure-house the Spirit of sevenfold grace, who rested upon thee in all his fullness:

The spirit of wisdom, enabling us to relish the fruit of the tree of life, which is indeed thyself;

The gift of understanding, to enlighten our perceptions;

the gift of prudence, enabling us to follow in thy footsteps;

the gift of strength, to withstand our adversary’s onslaught;

the gift of knowledge, to distinguish good from evil by the light of thy holy teaching;

the gift of piety, to clothe ourselves with charity and mercy;

the gift of fear, to withdraw from all ill-doing and live quietly in awe of thy eternal majesty.

These are the things for which petition. Grant them for the honor of thy holy name, to which, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be all honor and glory, thanksgiving, renown, and lordship for ever and ever. Amen.

-----------St. Bonaventure

Great quote for today.....


.....from, of all places, the literature of Alcoholics Anonymous:

Still more wonderful is the feeling that we do not have to be specially distinguished among our fellows in order to be useful and happy. Not many of us can be leaders of prominence, nor do we wish to be. Service, gladly rendered, obligations squarely met, troubles well accepted or solved with God's help, the knowledge that at home or in the world outside we are partners in a common effort, the well-understood fact that in God's sight all human beings are important, the proof that love freely given surely brings a full return, the certainty that we are no longer isolated and alone in self-constructed prisons, the surety that we need no longer be square pegs in round holes but can fit and belong in God's scheme of things---these are the permanent and legitimate satisfactions of right living for which no amount of pomp and circumstance, no heap of material possessions, could possibly be substitutes. True ambition was not what we thought it was. True ambition is the deep desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God."


Fine Art Friday

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I know it is fashionable in some circles to "diss" the art of Norman Rockwell. Well, I'm not in those circles. I love everything about this picture--the composition with the strong diagonal, the extreme realism of the diving tower, and the fear on the boy's face ('cause I've been there). This speaks "Summer!" to me.

In case you hadn't noticed:


....Mark Windsor is blogging again at Rafting the Tiber. And he's talking about something dear to my heart: conversion! Specifically from Anglican to Catholicism, but generally on all kinds.

Since I'm surrounded in our parish by a whole bunch o' converts, it'll be interesting reading!

The 2006 winners.....


....of the annual Bulwer-Lytton contest are here. Per the website:

An international literary parody contest, the competition honors the memory (if not the reputation) of Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873). The goal of the contest is the essence of simplicity: entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. Although best known for "The Last Days of Pompeii" (1834), which has been made into a movie three times, originating the expression "the pen is mightier than the sword," and phrases like "the great unwashed" and "pursuit of the almighty dollar," Bulwer-Lytton opened his novel Paul Clifford (1830) with the immortal words that the "Peanuts" beagle Snoopy plagiarized for years, "It was a dark and stormy night."

Love 'em.

Here's one from a Texas gal:

Lisa moved like a cat, not the kind of cat that moves with a slinky grace but more like the kind that always falls off the book shelf when he's washing himself and then gets all mad at you like it's your fault (which it wasn't although it probably was kind of mean to laugh at him like that), although on the bright side, she hardly ever attacked Ricky's toes in his sleep.

Debra Allen
Wichita Falls, TX

A Most Interesting Article.....


....by Theodore Dalrymple can be found here. He addresses articles from the New England Journal of Medicine, one about capital punishment and two about childhood obesity. I think the musings on both subjects are good.

Here are a couple of paragraphs about the childhood obesity epidemic:

But whatever the reason, the fact that two articles about the problem of childhood obesity in the NEJM could fail even to mention individual parental responsibility is indicative of what one can only call a totalitarian mindset. According to this mindset, it is for the government to solve every problem, either by prescribing behaviour, or forbidding it, or of course both. It is not that I think that the proposal that the government should ban the advertising of noxious products to small children is wrong; what bothers me is the failure to recognise that there is any other dimension to the problem, a dimension that is in fact much more serious.

No doubt the NEJM does not want to court unpopularity, or even notoriety, by suggesting that millions of American parents are, at least in this respect, failing their own children (I suspect that they are failing them in other respects too). It is always safer, from the point of view of gaining the esteem of the intelligentsia and of avoiding their censure, to blame those in authority or large corporations rather than ‘ordinary’ people, who are by definition blameless victims. But to absolve ordinary people of all blame for the obesity of their own children, by simply omitting to mention it altogether, is to deny them agency as full human beings. Far from being generous towards, or respectful of, ordinary people, it is extremely condescending towards them. Poor things, they are but putty in the hands of television companies and the food industry.

(HT to the Independent Women's Forum blog, Inkwell for the heads up on this article.)


...of Lost.

One of the problems with me and TV is that I cannot, and will not, guarantee that I am at home to watch a certain show at a certain time. And while I know that Smock will chime in with her "you gotta get TIVO" suggestion, that leads to problems of its own. I end up with five or six hours of PAST programming that has to be watched before I can start watching the new stuff, so I have to tape the new stuff, so I have six hours of stuff to watch......

You get the picture.

So I love it when TV shows that I really would have liked to sample come out on DVD. Then, if I like them, I can watch them over the course of a few weeks, not spread out over a gazillion weeks when I have other things to do.

I had never watched a single episode of Lost until last night, when the Zman and I watched the first three episodes on DVD. Wow! It was surprisingly different. We're just learning the characters' names. And we love how you get little pieces of their backstories at a time.

So, the next few Wednesdays will be Lost nights here at Casa Southard.

....done by the Jesuits at Creighton University. A 34 week online retreat, influenced by the Spiritual Exercises.

Again, HT to People of the Book. Maybe I should just let him write our blog?

So cool!


Daily prayer for your MP3 player, in the Ignatian tradition, can by found at Pray as You Go.

You can listen to it online as well.

HT to People of the Book!

.....how 'bout WEARIN' 'em?


You can get these at Zappos, for only $148.95.

Or, if you'd prefer a SALAD, you could go with these:


You can purchase these lovely sandals at Zappos for only $152.95.

But since veggies aren't your thing, you could always go with the famous CHICKEN SHOES!!!


And these darlin' little numbers can be purchased at Zappos for only (ONLY!) $123.95.

Look, dear readers, if one of you reads this entry and decides, "Hey, I've got an extra coupla hundred layin' around, I think I'll get me some of those chicken shoes", could you just send me the check instead? I'll give you my address.

.....since I could eat it with a spoon out of the can on a bad day.

Orange Dream Pops

Yield: 10 pieces

3 cups orange juice or refrigerated orange juice blend
14 oz can Eagle® Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT EVAPORATED MILK)
1/4 cup ReaLemon® Lemon Juice from Concentrate
5 oz paper cups
10 wooden sticks


In large bowl, stir together orange juice, Eagle® Brand and ReaLemon®.

Pour into paper cups.

Cover each cup with foil.

Make small hole in foil with knife.

Insert wooden stick or plastic spoon into each cup through hole.

Freeze overnight or until firm.

To serve, remove foil; tear off paper.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Courtesy of the Dallas Morning News daily recipe e-letter.

Can I hear a YUM!?

This may have been a mistake!

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We had McKid's 4th birthday party on Friday night. My parents (Mam-mom and Pap-paw)gave her a Hi Ho Cherrio game.

Just ask me how many times I've won.

NONE. That's how many.


The book quandry.....

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Today I did the unthinkable--the thing I have pondered and have never had the nerve to do. I separated the books on my shelves into two groups: read and unread.

Well, the results were more embarassing and enlightening than I had anticipated.

I have 140 books on my shelves (not including my summer reading challenge pile in my bedroom, which would bring the total up a little) that I have never read! And what is worse, several of those are volumes that contain the complete texts of several novels in one book! So, in all honesty, it is likely that I have 170 or so individual fictional works that I have yet to read that sit on my shelves.

At my present rate of reading it would take me more than THREE YEARS to read those books if I never bought another book!

As I've said before, there is a part of me that longs to weed out my bookshelves, but another part (stronger at this point) that yells "No, no, no!!!!" I have a vision in which I have grandchildren who come to stay with me in the summer when they are teenagers, and spend lazy afternoons messing with Mama's books and picking out something to lose themselves in.

On the other hand, the practical side of me kicks in and asks, "Just how many books do you ever reread, Miss Book Collector?" And I scuff my foot on the floor and mumble, "Not many. I'm too busy reading new stuff."

So what do you do? I'm at the place where shelf space is becoming limited--and I have nowhere near as many books as, say, Steven Riddle. Where do I put them? How do I decide what to keep? What's reasonable and healthy? And where does detachment come into all this?

It is, as they say, a puzzlement.

Friday Five, ya'll

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...and I'm stealing Donna's five, 'cause I like 'em better than the ones on the Friday Feast!

1. If you could live anyone else's life for one day, fully experiencing their daily joys, sorrows, successes, and failures, whose life would you choose?

2. If the opportunity came to you, would you fly into outer space?

3. If you were a pirate, what would your name be?

4. Is there a summer movie you can't wait to see?

5. Can you believe bottled water is all the rage? Which brand do you prefer?

I'll answer in the comments box, per usual.

Fine Art Friday

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Doing Laundry the Italian Way
Stephanie Elenbaas
Buy the poster at Art.com

Don't go down the road with me over whether this is "fine art" or not. I'm posting what has caught my eye this week. And this makes me want to get on a plane!

Sister Mary, who worked for a home health agency, was out making her rounds visiting homebound patients when she ran out of gas.

As luck would have it, a gas station was just a block away. She walked to the station to borrow a gas can and buy some gas. The attendant told her that the only gas can he owned had been loaned out, but she could wait until it was returned.

Since the nun was on the way to see a patient, she decided not to wait and walked back to her car. She looked for something in her car that she could fill with gas and spotted the bedpan she was taking to the patient.

Always resourceful, she carried the bedpan to the station, filled it with gas, and carried the full bedpan back to her car. As she was pouring the gas into her tank, two men watched from across the street.

One of the them turned to the other and said, "If it starts, I'm becoming a Catholic!"

Movie night tonight

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Batman Begins

I must admit that I am a junkie for Superhero movies--even the bad ones. I think it's a sign of my misspent youth. On hot summer afternoons in West Texas, there was nothing better than lying under the swamp cooler down draft, drinking a Dr. Pepper and devouring comic books. Oh, I had my sentimental favorites (Fantastic Four--love that whole family dynamic thing). But Batman was the hero that I liked best. What is it they say about good girls and those (slightly) bad boys?

So I couldn't wait to see Batman Begins, though it took this long for things to settle down enough for me to see it! Six thumbs at Casa Southard. Six enthusiastic thumbs up. While the Zman wasn't overly enthused by Christian Bales as Batman, I thought it was good casting. And I loved, loved, loved Michael Caine taking up the role of Alfred. Add in Liam Neeson and Morgan Freemnan? You've got me.

Gotham City is an amazing conception--the right amount of nastiness and skyscrapers. Visual effects, of course, were stunning. But it's the story that's a winner here--a real imagining of why and how Bruce Wayne became Batman, not just a 3 second scene on the way to rock 'em sock 'em action.

A wonderful episode 1 in every way. With the appropriate set-up for the sequel.

Steven Greydanus also loved it. Read his review here.

My book club is reading 11 books from the Loyola Classics series this year. Cruising around I found that the next four books for the series have been scheduled:

In August: The Keys of the Kingdom by A. J. Cronin. Loved the movie, have the book on my bookshelf. Will pick it up after the Summer Reading Challenge is over. I'm determined not to deviate from my list....

In September: Cosmas, or: The Love of God by Pierre de Calan. Know absolutely nothing about either this book or the author.

In October: The Unoriginal Sinner and the Ice Cream God by John R. Powers. We've already read Powers' Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? in book club, so we elected to skip the 2nd Powers' volume, The Last Catholic in America. Guess now I'll have to read Last Catholic AND Unoriginal.

In November: Dear James by Jon Hassler. This is a gem. I've mentioned Hassler probably 100 times on this blog. Read him. Start with Staggerford and move on from there. He's genius.

I'm impressed with the Loyola Classics series. I think the reissuance of classic religious fiction is a worthy task. Plus, it makes picking out book club books so much easier!!!!

This is great...


.....and something I needed to be reminded of. Fr. Jim Tucker, from over at Dappled Things, has six suggestions of what to do when struck with the "I don't feel spiritual" malaise.

Note to self: Read it, do it!

(HT to Kathy Shaidle of Relapsed Catholic for the link.)

And that reminds me. I really need to do some work on the blogroll, huh?


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I guess this means I have officially gotten old, because when I was a kid I just HATED rainy days in the summer--no matter how badly we needed the water!

It is pouring outside--with all the attendant lightning and thundering of a Texas thunderstorm. Might be time to shut down the computer for a bit.

But the cool! The wet!


Happy Fourth, Ya'll!

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The Summa Mamas wish you a safe, happy and fun-derful Fourth! We hope you and yours eat all the hot dogs and ice cream you can hold. And may you find a cool and splashy place to hang out!

Thumbnail review by the Zman:

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"Don't watch this. It is a BAD movie."

Zman likes a LOT of movies. For him to say it was BAD, it really had to be AWFUL.

I'll take him at his word. A shame, really, because I love to LOOK at George Clooney, though he's rapidly becoming one of those guys whose politics are getting to the point where they infringe on my enjoyment of his work.

I'll forgive him a lot, though, because of his work in O, Brother, Where Art Thou.

Just FYI: the critics at Rotten Tomatoes don't agree with the Zman.

Yesterday's hymns:


Introit was another gem from Charles Wesley, my main man when it comes to hymns. Per Cyberhymnal, this was written to commemorate the first anniversary of his conversion to Christianity.

O for a thousand tongues to sing
my dear Redeemer's praise,
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of his grace!

My gracious Master and my God,
assist me to proclaim
and spread through all the earth abroad
the honors of thy Name.

Jesus! the Name that charms our fears
and bids our sorrows cease;
'tis music in the sinner's ears,
'tis life and health and peace.

He speaks, and listening to his voice,
new life the dead receive;
the mournful broken hearts rejoice,
the humble poor believe.

Hear him, ye deaf; his praise, ye dumb,
your loosened tongues employ;
ye blind, behold, your Savior come;
and leap, ye lame, for joy!

Glory to God and praise and love
be now and ever given
by saints below and saints above
the Church in earth and heaven.

We sang it yesterday to the tune Azmon, which you can hear here.

Offertory hymn was:

Christ is made the sure foundation,
Christ the head and cornerstone,
chosen of the Lord, and precious,
binding all the Church in one;
holy Zion's help for ever,
and her confidence alone.

All that dedicated city,
dearly loved of God on high,
in exultant jubilation
pours perpetual melody;
God the One in Three adoring
in glad hymns eternally.

To this temple, where we call thee,
come, O Lord of Hosts, today;
with thy wonted loving-kindness
hear thy servants as they pray,
and thy fullest benediction
shed within its walls alway.

Here vouchsafe to all thy servants
what they ask of thee of gain;
what they gain from thee, for ever
with the blessèd to retain,
and hereafter in thy glory
evermore with thee to reign.

Laud and honor to the Father,
laud and honor to the Son,
laud and honor to the Spirit,
ever Three, and ever One,
consubstantial, co-eternal,
while unending ages run.

We sang it to Westminster Abbey yesterday, which can be found here, but I also love, love, love it to Regent Square which can be found here.

Communion hymn was this gem:

My faith looks up to thee,
thou Lamb of Calvary,
Savior divine!
Now hear me while I pray,
take all my guilt away;
O let me from this day
be wholly thine.

May thy rich grace impart
strength to my fainting heart,
my zeal inspire;
as thou hast died for me,
O may my love to thee
pure, warm and changeless be,
a living fire.

While life's dark maze I tread,
and griefs around me spread,
be thou my guide;
bid darkness turn to day;
wipe sorrow's tears away,
nor let me ever stray
from thee aside.

When ends life's transient dream,
when death's cold sullen stream
shall o'er me roll;
blest Savior, then in love
fear and distrust remove;
O bear me safe above,
a ransomed soul.

Sung to Olivet (Mason) which can be found here.

Then the post communion hymn was Completed, Lord, the Holy Mysteries which is still under copyright, and I can't find the words ('cause I don't have a hymnal beside me). It has beautiful words, but is difficult for congregational singing, so most of us simply muddled through. Not a very stirring finish to the day, unfortunately.

See what a nice son I have?

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Thursday night, the Zman took his mama to the Casa Manana "Summer Musicals at the Bass" production of:


It was WONDERFUL! There are so many great songs in Oklahoma! that it is hard to pick just one to treat you with (just think: The Surrey with the Fringe on Top; Oh, What a Beautiful Morning; All er Nuthin'; People Will Say We're in Love; and, of course, the title song). But we'll pick the one that made us laugh:

I'm Jist a Girl Who Cain't Say No

It ain't so much a question of not knowing what to do.
I knowed whut's right and wrong since I been ten.
I heared a lot of stories and I reckon they are true
About how girls're put upon by men.
I know I mustn't fall into the pit,
But when I'm with a feller, I fergit!
I'm jist a girl who cain't say no,
I'm in a turrible fix I always say "come on, le's go"
Jist when I orta say nix!

When a person tries to kiss a girl,
I know she orta give his face a smack.
But as soon as someone kisses me,
I somehow, sorta, wanta kiss him back!

I'm jist a fool when lights are low
I cain't be prissy and quaint
I ain't the type that can faint
How c'n I be whut I ain't?
I cain't say no!

Whut you goin' to do when a feller gits flirty, and starts to talk purty?
Whut you goin' to do?
S'posin' 'at he says 'at yer lips're like cherries, er roses, er berries?
Whut you goin' to do?
S'posin' 'at he says 'at you're sweeter 'n cream,
And he's gotta have cream er die?
Whut you goin' to do when he talks that way,
Spit in his eye?

I'm jist a girl who cain't say no,
Cain't seem to say it at all
I hate to disserpoint a beau
When he is payin' a call!
Fer a while I ack refined and cool,
A settin on the velveteen setee
Nen I think of thet ol' golden rule,
And do fer him what he would do fer me!

I cain't resist a Romeo
In a sombrero and chaps
Soon as I sit on their laps
Somethin' inside of me snaps
I cain't say no!



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