February 2008 Archives

back in the day, they used to say you can tell a lot about a person by peeking in their medicine cabinets. apparently the new snoop-space of choice is a person's ipod. iffin you wanna play, the rules are simple: select the random play option on your iPod or iTunes and list the first 10 songs that show up. no cheating!

1. "big poppa" - the notorious b.i.g. [caveat auditor: mature lyrics]
2. "nessun dorma!" - luciano pavarotti
3. "just fine" - mary j blige
4. "absolutely fabulous (rollo remix)" - pet shop boys
5. "lakmé: viens, mallika, ... dôme épais" - dame joan sutherland, jane berbié
6. "anyone else but you" - michael cera & ellen page [juno soundtrack]
7. "no ordinary love" - sade
8. "partita for solo violin no. 3 in e major, bwv 1006: III. gavotte en rondeau" - hilary hahn
9. "only women bleed" - alice cooper
10. "blue spanish sky" - chris isaak

***smock shamelessly lifted the idea from erik over'ta his rants and recipes.

the naughty wife. she can't pick coffee.

but she can swallow a few tape worms to lose those unwanted pounds.

and hey, with a little help from del monte, she can open catsup bottles!

and with a few extra chemicals to quell the morning sickness, she can still cook those early morning meals for you!

and, hey, looky here! those extra "vitamins" help her fly through her chores and keep her looking darn cute in the process!

and why not buy your little lady that extra fancy kitchen gadgetry she's been hinting you get her? maybe if you do ...

she'll let you blow smoke in her face. yeah, buddy.

Reiteration of comment policy

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Please remember that Summa Mamas is not now, and has never been, a democracy of any sort.

We can tolerate, and even enjoy, a good discussion, if that's what you want.

But anonymous snarky comments are not discussion.

If we want to, we will delete them.


Because we can.

So, if you have something you want to discuss, then let's by all means discuss.

Otherwise, go somewhere else. There's plenty of other places for snark on the internet.

Your own site, maybe?

We now return this blog to its regularly scheduled business.

Thank you.

From Yesterday's Lenten Lunchtime Reading

We, too, frequently have illnesses of the soul, with defects and shortcomings which we have not yet managed to uproot. Our Lord hopes we will be humble and docile to the indications and advice we receive from those whom God has placed to help us in the search for holiness in the midst of our work and family life. We cannot have our own way when Our Lord points to a solution which goes contrary to our own notions. In matters of the soul, we are not our own best advisers, as we are not our own good doctors. Normally, Our Lord makes use of other people.

And then, more hard words:

Without docility, spiritual guidance remains fruitless. And one cannot be docile if he insists on being stubborn, obstinate, incapable of assimilating an idea different from those he already holds, or which he has got into his head as a result of some negative experience when he has not counted on the help of grace. Pride makes one incapable of docility: for in order to understand one has to be convinced that there are still things which are outside our experience, and that we need someone to point them out to us. To achieve spiritual improvement, we have to realise that we are not as good as God expects us to be.

------------In Conversation with God Third Week of Lent, Monday

Whoa. That takes a lot of thinking on, doesn't it?



To Suppose that He would admit to his close friendship pleasure-loving people who want to be free from all trials is ridiculous.

--------------Teresa of Avila, The Way of Perfection

More thumbs up from CasaS

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This one is an old one, but we watched it and thoroughly enjoyed it. I liked that the characters had character--they were not Hollywood beautiful/handsome.

And may I say, that Ciaran Hinds? Hmmmm. Hubba hubba, or the like:


While we were watching it, TBC and I kept saying, "Where have we seen the guy playing Wentworth before? Where else have we loved him?"

Well, duh. Every Sunday night we watch him as the heartthrob Julius Caesar in the HBO series Rome. Not for me some toy boy Marc Antony. Not for me some conflicted and torn Brutus. Nope. I like my tyrants confident, and that was the way Hinds played Caesar. 'Course you know how it is going to end, but I couldn't help shedding a tear for old Julius, 'specially when he looked up at Brutus before the last blow. He was probably thinking, "Dang, I should have shipped him off to Macedonia a lot earlier." But maybe he was more noble than that.

We also give the first season of Rome thumbs up. But with a caution. Remember what Rome was. And remember that this was made by HBO. Lots of language, skin and sex. And absolute buckets full of violence.

But it's good. It's good.

Pretty Shoe Tuesday


Yesterday it was 80 degrees here. Today the high will be 50 degrees. Yes, that's what we love about Texas. Never knowing what kind of clothes and shoes you are going to need from day to day. No packing away stuff for us!

Anyway, spring shoes have caught my eye, and this is what I liked this week.

This little number would be fabulous with capris and t's--to make them a little dressier. Or with a jeans skirt and t. Not too bad on price, either!


These are really just a figment of my imagination. I'd probably never buy 'em, but I think they are fantastic looking. Now, if I were still working, I would so do these with a black suit, just to take the "business edge" off the suit.


These are just cute. I'm having a love affair with skimmers these days.


I think this is a great alternative to the clunky tennis shoe I wear around with jeans. These would look so much sleeker.


Happy Tuesday, ya'll!

All Thumbs Up at CasaS


OK, so it didn't win last night at the Oscars, but it won at our house! If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it:


Tilda Swinton (who, come to think of it, did win for this movie) is awesome. The final scene between her and George Clooney is genius. I have never seen a more realistic picture of dawning dread.

Language alert for those who are offended by that. But in the context, I thought it was both necessary and appropriate. And you'll rarely hear me say that.

And I've developed a huge crush on Mr. Clooney. And an appreciation of his skills beyond his looks.

A+ in our books.

Quote for today

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If you could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.

------------------Edward Hopper

Fine Art Friday - The Letter H Edition

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This week's art is a shout out to my son, the ZMan, who likes this artist very much. Since ZMan's thing is photography, it surprises me not at all that he likes the work of the realistic painter Edward Hopper. While I don't dislike these paintings, they make me sad. Almost every one of them speaks of loneliness or isolation to me--two things that I find it difficult to deal with.

Anyway, these are interesting paintings to look at, so let's do!

First, the classic Hopper image:


Then a painting that makes the observer into almost a voyeur:

The Night Window

Then this one, which might not be sad, but still strikes me as such. She seems so alone looking out that window. Is she waiting for someone to come home?

Cape Cod Morning

Then there is this one, which I like, but the people are so far apart from one another. And they don't look happy, do they? Has the girl just told her friend that she has left her husband, or that he has left her? She seems sad, and alone.


Chop Suey

Then, finally, my favorite of the paintings I looked at. Getting things cleared up at dusk. But the coming darkness doesn't seem comfortable. It seems forbidding, even menacing. It makes me want to tell the gas station owner to hurry up and get inside.



Happy Friday, ya'll!



Those who tell the Truth love you. Those who tell you what you want to hear love themselves.

---------- Mother Angelica

isn't she a lamb?

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the smock's new goddaughter, camila maria teresa, born on mamaT's birthday.
We practise a spirit of penance and of sacrifice in our daily lives, in the ordinary events of the day, without having to wait for extraordinary occasions. Penance is fulfilling exactly the timetable you have fixed for yourself, even though your body resists or your mind tries to avoid it by dreaming up useless fantasies. Penance is getting up on time and also not leaving for later, without any real reason, that particular job that you find harder or most difficult to do. Penance is knowing how to reconcile your duties to God, to others and to yourself, by making demands on yourself so that you find enough time for each of your tasks. You are practising penance when you lovingly keep to your schedule of prayer, despite feeling worn out, listless or cold.

Penance means being very charitable at all times towards those around you, starting with the members of your own family. It is to be full of tenderness and kindness towards the suffering, the sick and the infirm. It is to give patient answers to people who are boring and annoying. It means interrupting our work or changing our plans, when circumstances make this necessary, above all when the just and rightful needs of others are involved.

Penance consists in putting up good-humouredly with the thousand and one little pinpricks of each day; in not abandoning you job, although you have momentarily lost the enthusiasm with which you started it; in eating gladly whatever is served, without being fussy. [J. Escriva, Friends of God]

Booking Through Thursday


An easy question for today:

All other things (like price and storage space) being equal, given a choice in a perfect world, would you rather have paperbacks in your library? Or hardcovers? And why?

I think most of us would rather have hardbacks, if we had the choice. Especially of the books we love dearly. They just last longer and look nicer.

That said, though, I find paperbacks much easier to read in bed. And since that is where more than 50% of my reading is done, maybe my answer is not so cut and dried after all.

It probably helps with my attachment/detachment issues to own paperbacks. Hardbacks are much harder for me to pass on to others. So, I'd say God has been good in allowing me to have mostly paperback editions!

From yesterday's Lenten lunchtime reading


Again, from Conversations with God:

....He gives us the best possible lesson for us to understand that if we are not humble, if we are not willing to serve, we will be completely unable to follow the Master. Our Lord invites us to follow him and to imitate him: He gives us a rule, which is simple but precise, and which will enable us to practise charity with humility and a spirit of sacrifice: Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them. The experience of what pleases or displeases me, or of what helps or hurts me, is a good measure of the things I ought to do or avoid in my relationships with others.

All of us would like a word of encouragement when things have not gone well, and would appreciate understanding from others when, once again, in spite of our best intentions we have made a mistake. We prefer others to have more regard to our positive deeds than to our shortcomings; we are glad to have a cordial atmosphere at our placde of work or on coming home. We like to be stretched at work, but to be asked, nevertheless, with courtesy and in a kindly fashion to do what is required of us; we don't like anyone to speak badly of us behind our backs; and if someone does, we'd be grateful to have another defend us in our absence; we would like others to be concerned about us when we are ill; we would not be averse to receiving fraternal corrections when we do something badly, instead of having our blunder gossiped about with somebody else; we would be happy to know that our friends pray for us . . . These are things which, with humility and a spirit of service, we have to do for others: Discite benefacere.

Isn't that just the kick? "Simple but precise" indeed. And hard. Very hard.

Whatcha Reading? Wednesday

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Just finished Elizabeth Goudge's Green Dolphin Street. My review of it? Go get it. Read it. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's about love, but it's also about duty and honor. And God. Just all around an A+ book.

Am on the last chapter of C. S. Lewis' Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer. Also much worth reading. There's a lot to think about there, so I'll be picking it up again in years to come. It's a keeper.

So now? I'm on to The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey. I read her Brat Farrar last year and enjoyed it. And we're reading The Daughter of Time later in the year in my book club. This one was available from the same seller, and shipped for the same shipping price, so I added it to my order. Not far enough in yet to tell much about the story, but the characters are wonderful.

For spiritual reading I will start Caryl Houselander's Reed of God. I have read her Advent book and her stations of the cross book, both of which I heartily recommend, but have not read this, her classic. So, that's what starts next.

How 'bout you?

gabby (5): i can't find my sweater!
smock: that's okay, we have to leave.
gabby: but i have to have my sweater!
smock: no you don't, baby, it's going to be a great day!
gabby: but it's not going to be a great style day.

Pretty Shoe Tuesday!

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Look! Summa shoes that are not PINK! Bet you thought that would never happen!




Happy Tuesday, ya'll!

Another movie list.....

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......from Christianity Today. I've put their "Most Redeeming" and "Critics' Choice" lists for 2007 in earlier entries. After they have prepared their lists, they ask their readers to chime in and vote for their favorite movies of 2007.

I like this concept, and I like to see how the "real folks" and movie reviewers differ. And there is often such a wide difference. I think it is the same as the difference between the Smock and me. The difference between the professional watcher and the once-in-awhile watcher.

I often wonder, because my tastes apparently diverge so far from those of our newspaper editors, if they (the critics, not Smock) are looking more for something "out of the ordinary" and therefore find it hard to be objective about the ordinary movie. The movies that most of us "occasional viewers" and "wait 'til it comes out on video" folks like.

I find this hard when I try to tell someone about books. There are books that are flat-out fantastic--and I think they are that way on an objective basis, able to be seen by almost anyone. Let's see, I'd say something like Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory. One of the finest books I've read. How do you compare something like Georgette Heyer's Beauvallet to that? I refuse, absolutely refuse, to say that Heyer is anything short of 4 or 5 stars (out of five, mind you). But they're so completely different, how can you judge them on the same set of five little stars? Maybe that's the way of movies, and since the reviewer is stuck with giving a film a star or number or something rating, it is easy to give good movies a poor number of stars because it doesn't match up to some once a year film......

Anyway, that's a lot of exposition for one little list, isn't it? So, here's the list: Christianity Today Readers' Choice Awards, 2007:

1. Amazing Grace
2. Juno
3. Ratatouille
4. The Bourne Ultimatum
5. Bella
6. (tie) 3:10 to Yuma (and the Smock cheers!)
6. (tie) Evan Almighty
6. (tie) No Country for Old Men (the Smock cheers again!)
9. The Ultimate Gift
10. (tie) Once (and the Zman cheers!)
10. (tie) There Will Be Blood

I must admit, I was glad to see Evan Almighty on the list. I know lots of people had lots of bad to say about the movie, but we watched it with the McKid, and it was thoroughly enjoyable. Yes, yes, yes, I know all the points that Steven Greydanus over at the Decent Films Guide brings up. But it was a perfect avenue for talking about obedience to God with the McKid. And I don't think it has deserved the beatings it has gotten.

So, there you have it. More movies for your Netflix queue.

Fine Art Friday - The Letter G Edition

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There are many wonderful "G's" to pick from on a Fine Art Friday. Giotto, Gauguin, Guercino, Grunewald, Goya. But I went for the obvious, because I love him so. Today we will look at some paintings by Vincent Van Gogh.

There is hardly a painting of his that I do not like, so it was hard to narrow down to a few. Then, looking through the pictures, I decided to focus on one subject: vases of flowers. So, here is my boquet to you, dear reader, on this lovely day after Valentine's:

A Vase of Roses

Bell Lilies in a Copper Vase

Boquet of Flowers


Vase of Flowers

Vase of Irises

Vase of Poppies

Vase With Oleanders and Books

Vase With Twelve Sunflowers

Which was your favorite? I can't choose, I like 'em all.

Happy Friday, ya'll!

sir stephen THE KING is back

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finished up DUMA KEY in less than ten days. now that wins a gold star cuz i never finish a book that quickly since smockling number two came down the pike.

this is sir stephen's best work since his accident in june of '99 and probably his most mature work, in terms of voice, to date. while i do not have time to review it at length this very minute i just want to say that this is his most heart-touching and gut-wrenching character study since IT. what it lacks in gore it makes up for in outlining and exploring the complex emotions of relationships and love. what? yes, you read that right. even LISEY'S STORY, a love story of sorts [and which i saw more as an homage to his spice tabitha than anything else anyway] did not attempt such complexities. in DUMA, sir stephen grapples with both the pains and joys of love. . .as a spice, as a parent, and as a friend.

king's back and this constant reader couldn't be more thrilled.

That smart Elisabeth Elliot!


Much of the talk nowadays about loving one another is soupy and silly. It will not stand the biblical test. Love for people goes hand-in-hand with love for God--if you don't love the brother you see, how can you love the God you don't see? Loving God requires submission to his discipline--He rebukes, chastens, refines with fire, purifies by trial. Do we love Him enough to say yes to all that? Do we love others enough to encourage endurance in them?

Jesus, Thou art all compassion,
Pure, unbounded Love Thou art;
Visit us with Thy salvation,
Enter every trembling heart.

----------------Charles Wesley

Happy Valentine's Day

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Booking Through Thursday

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Here’s something for Valentine’s Day.

Have you ever fallen out of love with a favorite author? Was the last book you read by the author so bad, you broke up with them and haven’t read their work since? Could they ever lure you back?

This will scandalize the Smock, who loves this author more than he deserves. I was a BIG fan of Stephen King in the beginning. Shocked, aren't you? But I think some of his earlilest works were absolutely terrifying. And surprisingly well-written. I have a horror of walking down basement steps and of looking out of dark windows ever since 'Salem's Lot. Tall bushes freak me out ever since I read The Shining. (And don't get me started on what an absolute travesty the movie made of that book was. Jack Nicholson was absolutely and completely wrong for that part.) And The Stand is one of my favorites in apocalyptic literature.

But about 10 years in, I guess, I think he went off the tracks. A few bright moments--Misery comes to mind (and one of the only movies to actually stand up to a book, thanks to the brilliant Kathy Bates)--but mostly meh.

Could he win me back? Perhaps. But perhaps at this point I have seen enough real life yuck to think I don't need it in my life in a virtual way.

Whatcha Reading? Wednesday


I just started Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge. Can't tell too much about it yet, as I am not very far in.

But here's a little snippet that made me think:

"No, ye won't forget me, nor me you," Captain O'Hara announced in stntorian tones as they went up the companion ladder together. "There's much that goes to the makin' of a man or woman into somethin' better than a brute beast, but there's three things in chief, an' them three are the places where life sets us down, an' the folk life knocks us up against, an'---what damn fool left this bucket here, right across the companionway to trip me up like a drunken tinker on me own deck? Nat! Nathaniel! nat, ye old divil, who put this bloody bucket----"

Nat popped up at his elbow and quickly removed it.

"What's the third thing, sir?" asked Marianne, to distract his wrathful attention. "The things we own?"

"Ah, you've an acquisitive nature, you have," chuckled Captain O'Hara. "No, me dear, not the things ye get but the things ye don't get. Ah, you'll learn, you'll learn!"

Now there's a thought, huh?

I'm also continuing to read Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer. Here's a little something from that:

.....in order to find God it is perhaps not always necessary to leave the creatures behind. We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito, and the incognito is not always hard to penetrate. The real labour is to remember, to attend. In fact, to come awake. Still more, to remain awake.

Good stuff, that.

Critics' Choice of 2007

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After they publish the 10 most redeeming movie list, the folks at Christianity Today publish their Critics' Choice list for the year.

Here's what they say about these:

Our Critics' Choice list, on the other hand, consists of the 10 films that our panel believes were the most excellent films of 2007, whether they carried a redeeming message or not—though five of our top 10 choices also appeared on our Most Redeeming list. But all of the movies here are films of excellence, and many are up for various honors at the upcoming Academy Awards.

They are often gutsy. They get a lot of flack for some of their choices. Here's their list for 2007:

1. Juno
2. There Will Be Blood
3. Atonement
4. Lars and the Real Girl
5. Ratatouille
6. No Country for Old Men
7. Hairspray
8. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
9. Zodiac
10. Into Great Silence

The ones that got away:

Amazing Grace
Cave of the Yellow Dog
Gone Baby Gone
In the Shadow of the Moon
Into the Wild
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
The Lives of Others
Sweeney Todd

There you have it. That, in conjunction with the Smock's rundown of the movies of last year------well, just don't blame us if you can't find something for your Netflix list!

Ten Most Redeeming Movies of 2007

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Every year, Christianity Today's set of film critics publish a list of the Ten Most Redeeming Movies of 2007. I always find a few to add to my list of "to watch" movies. And I'm happy to see that one of the Summa Mamas favorite movies was near the top of the list.

I don't think Smock will agree with the list. Probably she has a few that she would add (3:10 to Yuma, anyone? Don't get her started on that!)

1. Into Great Silence
2. Lars and the Real Girl
3. Juno
4. Amazing Grace
5. Bella
6. Into the Wild
7. The Kite Runner
8. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
9. Ratatouille
10. Freedom Writers

The ones that got away (the movies that didn't quite make the list, but were voted for by some of the critics):

The Bucket List
Dan in Real Life
The Devil Came on Horseback
Eve and the Fire Horse
Gone Baby Gone
The Painted Veil
Rescue Dawn
The Savages
Spider-Man 3

Well, Smock, what say you?

Pretty Shoe Tuesday

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If I actually lived where it rained enough to make a difference, or if I could bestir myself to garden (I never do!), this is what I would want to wear. If I bought 'em, do you think it would make me want to garden? I didn't think so.


Or look, Smock! Your worst nightmare! Boots with vegetables on them!


But since sun is what we have to deal with most, I always end up looking at sandals. How 'bout these cute little numbers? I think they're smashing!


That's My Answer! Monday


And here's a question on which the Summa Mamas will probably disagree! Something we don't do terribly often. Well, unless you count that discussion about art at La Madeleine's last Monday night!

Would you rather read the book or see the movie?

Silly easy for me. Hands down read the book. I can only think of one or two times that the book wasn't WAY better than the movie.

an emo smockpick

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this is the video to the theme song for one of my favorite "relationflick" films, closer, entitled the blower's daughter. if you aren't familiar with the movie, i'll just say that it is a very disturbing, underbelly sort of look at what sometimes passes for love and commitment in our jaded society. it stars three of my top ten actors: julia roberts, natalie portman and clive owen. jude law's in the flick, too, offering a terrific portrayal of one pitiable little dude. i think of closer as a who's afraid of virginia woolf? of the '90s. now, while closer is one of my "relationflick" faves, i'm not offering an endorsement of it here. it's rated r for sequences of graphic sexual dialogue, nudity/sexuality and language. in other words, this is one adult film. if you're looking for a beautiful downer, i do highly recommend the original edward albee's who's afraid of virginia woolf? -- my absolute all-time favorite relationflick.

but, back to the video. this rather elusive song which embodies the entire flow of the film (it's probably one of the most appropriate theme song ever chosen) is only downloadable as a live version on itunes, so i hafta "watch it" on youtube to hear it in all of its glory, so to speak. here i've included the version that does not contain clips of the movie. there is another video of the song at youtube.com, the final version, that does contain film clips, just fyi. for the record, i'm not what you would call a damien rice fan, in fact, most of his other songs are just plain weird to me, but this particular song moved me to tears about the first ... oh, let's say ... one hundred times that i listened to it. if it doesn't evoke some emotion in you, i daresay you need to check yourself for a pulse, my friend. by the by, if you are going to listen, please invest the four minutes and forty-eight seconds that this video takes, making sure that you listen to the song until the very last line.

unrequited love? lost love? discovering that your lover is, after all, entirely human? i'm not sure what it means really, but it is totally emo and excruciatingly beautiful. in a word, haunting. enjoy.

smock likes the marmots


how often do you get to put a painting with a marmot in it on a blog? well, at least twice. here's another'un, mamaT. this one is by jean watteau.


and would you believe, here's another cute one. while it's not a painting, it's fun nonetheless. i think it was an advert, but i don't know for sure.


Yesterday's Lenten Lunchtime Reading

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Again from In Conversation with God:

One of the clearest symptoms of lukewarmness having entered into a soul is precisely such an abandoning of the Cross, a contempt for little mortifications, a scorning of anything that in some way involves sacrifice and self-denial........The person who abandons mortifications is inevitably ensnared by his senses and becomes incapable of any supernatural thought.

There is no progress in the interior life without a spirit of sacrifice and mortification. St. John of the Cross says that if few people reach a high state of union with God it is because so many do not want to. And the same saint writes: and if anyone wants one day to possess Christ, never let him seek him without the Cross.

One of the best parts of living in a small parish community is that you become friends with people of all ages. You're not stratified into "Youth", "Singles", "Young Marrieds", etc. So one Sunday I was talking to a friend who is retired and I was whining on about first one thing and then another. This was hard. That was hard. Couldn't just ONE worthwhile thing be easy?

And Chuck looked me straight in the face and gave me the answer I needed to hear:


Just no. And I've carried that conversation with me for years now.

And, by the way, it's why even as you get older, you have a duty to still be involved in your parish. Because there are people like me that you need to talk to and tell the truth to.

He never reads this blog, but I'll say it anyway. Thank you, Chuck. Thanks for telling me the truth. Even when it wasn't what I wanted to hear.

And now for something completely different from the couple of weeks before! It's on to France! Today's artist is Jean-Honore Fragonard. You can read about him on Wikipedia here.

I picked the first picture, because how often do you get to put a painting with a marmot in it on a blog? Well, unless you have a marmot blog, which I wouldn't be surprised by!


Girl With Marmot

This picture is one of the few religious subjects I found available to use. I like this. I like the swirl of activity around the calf. I like the colors.

Jereboam Sacrificing to the Golden Calf

The next is a picture I think I used on Valentine's Day a few years ago. When you look at it, is she happy to have the kiss stolen? Or is she trying to get away? Several of Fragonard's paintings are like that--ambiguous. In one painting, "The Bolt", a man is reaching up to lock the door of a bedroom and he has a woman in his arms. It is not completely apparent whether this is a tryst or a rape. This painting is sort of "The Bolt" in a more innocent form.

The Stolen Kiss

But there are also simply beautiful images, like this one:

Portrait of a Child

And then finally, my favorite of the lot. Of course, how could it not be? Any painting of someone reading has to be high on my list! But look how beautiful she is. Look at the sweep of her neck and her hair. The sleeve over the arm rest. Simply lovely.

A Young Girl Reading

Happy Friday, ya'll!

Yesterday's Lenten Lunchtime Reading

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From In Conversation with God (my very favorite Lenten resource):

Detachment from material goods, mortification and abstinence purify us from our sins and help us to find God in our everyday life. For whoever seeks God whilst wanting to hold on to his own likes and dislikes, may seek Him day and night, but will never find Him. [St. John of the Cross]. Our daily duties are the principal source for this mortification: order, punctuality in starting our work, concentration and intensity we bring to it, etc. Through our contact with others we will find occasion to mortify our selfishness and help create a more pleasant atmosphere around us.

What? You mean I have to be nice to the people at home???? Can't I just be nice to random strangers or to "humanity" at large?


....because it seemed inappropriate for yesterday.

I finished The Memory Keeper's Daughter, which was pretty good. I thought it dragged and was not as "mesmerized" as the blurbs on the cover thought I should be. It was worth the read, and it will engender good discussion at book club, though.

So, now that that's done, I am in the middle of Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. I feel some sympathy for the young man, Chris McCandless, but at the same time I have the same feeling I had when watching Grizzly Man. "What on EARTH did you EXPECT?"

I have also started reading Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer by C. S. Lewis. Excellent. I'll be sharing some snippets later.

Booking Through Thursday


Okay, even I can’t read ALL the time, so I’m guessing that you folks might voluntarily shut the covers from time to time as well… What else do you do with your leisure to pass the time? Walk the dog? Knit? Run marathons? Construct grandfather clocks? Collect eggshells?

Oh, that made me laugh! Yes, I do read a lot, but I also do other things. Let's see. I crochet. I watch McKid. I visit with my mom. I paint, sometimes, but haven't lately. I keep a house (kinda). I volunteer at my parish. I am McKid's room mother.

I want to learn to quilt, but will not take that up until I am a complete "empty nester", 'cause if there's one thing I don't need right now, it's the accoutrements of another hobby in this house.

smock-ode to lent


[from the far less holy summa mama and with major apologies to mr. luse for my gross neglect of any form whatsoever. i cannot help it. i'm starving.]

is my lent bent if i drool
at the very thought of you?
would this love be less?
taste less fabulous?
if twernt for this day -- i say
heck, yes.
i would feast.
and face first.
yes, i'd eatcha.
t'would complete moi.
heck, yeah.
who'll drool like a fool
until tomorrow?
me? oui. and...
not quite one bite
would do...
it must be.


Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Mmmmm hmmmmm


Something's worth reading over at Mere Comments.

To give you a teaser: why do they call it "Victoria's Secret," when everything is out in the open?

And I'd like the answer to that, please.

What? Lent starts tomorrow?

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......sigh. Of course I already knew that, but it still shocks me somehow. I'm not ready. I'm not prepared. I haven't made my plans.

But, in a way, I think that that may not be much of a problem. I have had excellent Lents where I didn't plan much at all, and Lents that I planned that turned out to be less edifying than I expected, especially given all the work that I was doing.

It has been a stressful year for me. For both the Summa Mamas, really, in different ways. When Smock asked me last night what was I giving up or taking on, I looked at her and said, "I don't think there's much else I can take on at this point. I am about at my limit."

And I don't think I've ever spoken truer words.

I feel stretched to the max. Beyond the max, actually, but all with things that cannot be given up or passed on to others. At this point in my life they are mine to carry.

So perhaps, for me, this Lent needs to be about opening a space for God in my heart, mind and SCHEDULE. That last is sometimes the hardest.

So I'm not taking on an extra penance. I am going to try to bear my burdens more willingly and cheerfully. I'm going to make a short time every day to go by and make a quick visitation to the church and to our Lord as reserved in the tabernacle. No agenda. Just a quick drop by to say hello. And maybe to hear something in return.

We are lucky at our parish. We have a Lenten series planned every Friday night. We have a quiet day of recollection planned on a Saturday a few weeks from now. I intend to use the opportunities staring me in the face.

And make time for God.

Just that.

Make time.

A nice quote for today!


"Art is everywhere you look for it, hail the twinkling stars for they are God's careless splatters."
-----------El Greco

Pretty Shoe Tuesday

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Okay, so the first one may just be "cute shoe Tuesday", but I love these and am trying to decide if I have enough green stuff to justify buying them for the summer! The other advantage? They're pretty cheap!


But if I had the money, this is what I'd be buying:


That's My Answer! Monday


What is the last thing you purchased online? What are your favorite online stores? How often do you shop online?

I LOVE to shop online. I would rather, by maybe 1000%, shop on line than go to the mall and tromp around.

The last thing I purchased online? Well, no surprise, a BOOK! But it was for my mom.

My favorite shopping places online? Amazon (of course), Alibris (of course), Coldwater Creek, and any other place I can find that will let me shop online rather than going to a store. I'm shopping center phobic.

Yesterday's hymns

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The last Sunday before Lent is fondly called "Alleluia Sunday" at St Mary's. While Fr A picks out a hymn to go with the readings for the first hymn, all the others have lots of alleluias in them, so we can kind of "get it out of our system" before Wednesday.

So, we started with this one:

Blest are the pure in heart,
for they shall see our God;
the secret of the Lord is theirs,
their soul is Christ's abode.

The Lord, who left the heavens
our life and peace to bring,
to dwell in lowliness with men,
their Pattern and their King;

still to the lowly soul
he doth himself impart
and for his dwelling and his throne
chooseth the pure in heart.

Lord, we thy presence seek;
may ours this blessing be;
give us a pure and lowly heart,
a temple meet for thee.

Sung to the tune Franconia.

Then for the offertory:

Ye watchers and ye holy ones,
bright seraphs, cherubim, and thrones,
raise the glad strain,
Cry out, dominions, princedoms, powers,
virtues, archangels, angels' choirs,
Alleluia! alleluia! alleluia!
Alleluia! alleluia!

O higher than the cherubim,
more glorious than the seraphim,
lead their praises,
Thou bearer of the eternal Word,
most gracious, magnify the Lord, Refrain

Respond, ye souls in endless rest,
ye patriarchs and prophets blest,
Ye holy twelve, ye martyrs strong,
all saints triumphant, raise the song, Refrain

O friends, in gladness let us sing,
supernal anthems echoing,
To God the Father, God the Son,
and God the Spirit, Three in One, Refrain

Sung to Lasst uns erfreuen.

Communion hymn was one that makes me cry every, single time we sing it. You think I'd get used to it, but no:

Alleluia! sing to Jesus!
His the scepter, his the throne.
Alleluia! His the triumph,
his the victory alone.
Hark! the songs of peaceful Zion
thunder like a mighty flood.
Jesus out of every nation
hath redeemed us by his blood.

Alleluia! not as orphans
are we left in sorrow now;
Alleluia! He is near us,
faith believes, nor questions how;
Though the cloud from sight received him
when the forty days were o'er
shall our hearts forget his promise,
'I am with you evermore'?

Alleluia! bread of heaven,
here on earth our food and stay!
Alleluia! here the sinful
flee to thee from day to day.
Intercessor, Friend of sinners,
earth's Redeemer, plead for me.
Where the songs of all the sinless
sweep across the crystal sea.

Alleluia! King eternal,
thee the Lord of lords we own;
Alleluia! born of Mary,
earth thy footstool,
heaven thy throne.
Thou within the veil hast entered,
robed in flesh, our great High Priest.
Thou on earth both Priest and Victim
in the Eucharistic Feast.

Sung to Hyfrydol.

Then we ended up with this one:

Sing alleluia forth in duteous praise,
ye citizens of heaven, O sweetly raise
an endless alleluia.

Ye powers who stand before the eternal Light,
in hymning choirs reecho to the height
an endless alleluia.

The holy city shall take up your strain,
and with glad songs resounding wake again
an endless alleluia.

In blissful antiphons ye thus rejoice
to render to the Lord with thankful voice
an endless alleluia.

Ye who have gained at length your palms in bliss,
victorious ones, your chant shall still be this:
an endless alleluia.

There, in one grand acclaim, for ever ring,
the strains which tell the honor of your King,
an endless alleluia.

This is sweet rest for weary ones brought back,
this is glad food and drink which ne'er shall lack:
an endless alleluia.

While thee, by whom were all things made, we praise
for ever, and tell out in sweetest lays
an endless alleluia.

Almighty Christ, to thee our voices sing
glory for evermore; to thee we bring
an endless alleluia.

Sung to St. Sebastian (Martins).

All in all, a fabulous day for singing at SMV!

Sneaking in here right at the last to post the FAF entry.

And for E? El Greco, of course.

Let's look at some cool stuff. First we'll do this one, because a print of this hangs in our parish hall. Years ago, when our parish was still Anglican, it was called St. Bartholomews.


St. Bartholomew

Then there's this one. I collect images of St. Jerome.


Saint Jerome Penitent

Then a shout out to our sweet uber expectant madre Marsha (hey, I didn't know I was tri-lingual!):


Penitent Magdalen

Here's the "beginning of the story" so to speak:


The Annunciation

And here's a good image to meditate on during Lent:

The Crucifixion

And finally, my favorite of all these:


Christ the Redeemer

Happy Friday, ya'll!



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