March 2008 Archives

Thumbs up from Casa S

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I am a fan of The Simpsons. Wasn't in the beginning, but it grew on me, and while it has its ups and downs, in the main I think it is well written and funny, though crude. But then my sisterfriend M would say that that is totally my taste in comedy - lowbrow to the max. And maybe she's right. After all, there are probably only 3 people in the world who thought Death to Smoochy was hysterically funny, and two of them live at my house.

Anyway, if the Simpsons are your cup of tea, you will probably enjoy the movie. I didn't think it was as good as the TV version--I think there is a reason that they work well in a 30 minute slot--but enough funny to be worth renting from the video store.

And now you can have the same earworm that I do. Start with the Spiderman theme music and sing:

Spider-Pig, Spider-Pig.
Does whatever a Spider-Pig does.
Can he swing from a web?
No he *can't*,
He's a pig!
Look out!
He is the Spider-Pig!

If you were designing a microwave popcorn bag, wouldn't you think that it would make more sense to put the directions on the side that must face up in the microwave rather than the side you can't see?

I'm just sayin'........

I had a hard time with this one. I try not to go with the obvious, but when you get to the letter I there aren't so many choices, and nothing resonated with me more than the obvious choice. So, without further ado, let's look at paintings by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. (And if you want to read a little about him, you can go to his Wikipedia entry here.)

Here's the image I think of first, and she is beautiful:


The Grand Odalisque

And here is another famous one. Ingres obviously was a lover of women's backs--and I agree that they are often one of our best features!

Bathing Woman

He has become most famous, though, for his portraits. At different times in his career, he was reduced to drawing portraits of tourists and diplomatic personnel, because he had no high level commissions. But here is one of his commissioned works. Don't you love her dress?


Portrait of the Princesse De Broglie

This man looks as if he could step out of the painting to me. He's that real.

Louis-Francois Bertin

But then I found these last two images, which are quite lovely, and not mentioned at all in the Wikipedia entry. Don't know why. I think they are beautiful.



The Virgin with the Eucharist

Happy Friday ya'll!

Love the Lord of the Rings....


Want a fitness challenge?

This is cool:

You can walk in LOTR country - from Hobbiton to Rivendell (458 miles) and beyond!

Log your mileage along the way.

I'm going!

How 'bout you?

Booking Through Thursday


How about a chance to play editor-in-chief? Fill in the blanks:

__________ would have been a much better book if ______________________.

This has one easy answer from me. When I read this book for the first time (well, really the only time) in high school, I was looking forward to it. And you have to understand. I love long books. If a book is a good one, I consider great length to be an asset. More time for me to love it! But this book? Nope.

So here's my (scandalous) answer:

Don Quixote would have been a better book if Cervantes' editor had cut it in half.

So there.

Whatcha Reading? Wednesday

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Let's see. I just finished The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I thought the writing in it was fantastic, and could hardly believe it was a debut novel. A modern-ish (you are never really clear on the exact time period) gothic novel, it is the story of Margaret Lea, who has been selected by famous writer Vida Winter to write Winter's biography. The problem is that Winter is a storyteller, and there are at least 19 different versions of her life that she has told people. Will we finally get the truth?

I thought the writer played fair, even with the little twist at the end. The clues are there. Nothing seems pulled out of a hat, when you think about it. The story grabs you and drags you along. You don't want to put the book down. Setterfield has buckets of talent.


In the end I found it difficult to care for the characters in any meaningful way. I was interested in them, but often with a kind of morbid fascination rather than a heartfelt empathy. It was that "looking at a trainwreck" kind of a thing. Maybe you have to be Flannery O'Connor to get away with incest, missing conjoined twins, ghosts in the house, and on and on and on.

I felt this way after watching Pulp Fiction (which I most heartily DO NOT recommend to ANYONE). I could see the genius and talent of the director, but was sad is was so very "ick".

Same way here. Not so icky that I wouldn't recommend it. But I took none of the characters into my heart.

Does that make sense?

Anyway, I'm currently reading a little book that is out of print. Picked it up at the AAUW annual book sale: The World, the Flesh, and Father Smith. It's about a priest in Scotland, sent there to minister in a hostile protestant setting in the years around WWI.

Teaching a catechism class, Fr Smith says this:

There is just one thing I want you all to remember and I want you to remember it all the rest of your lives, he said. It is what you learn in this classroom that matters most and will always matter. God sent you into the world to save your souls, and nothing else is important. When you are bigger, wicked men and women will perhaps try to make you believe that this is not so and that all that matters is to grow rich and powerful and be honoured by your fellow men. This is not so. Remember always that God does not see as the world sees, and that a dirty ragged tramp with the grace of God in his soul is infinitely more lovely and beautiful in our Lord's sight than any sinful monarch in his palace. Try to obey our Lord always. Remember that you may be right in your own soul when the whole world is wrong with its noisy tongue. People may try to tell you that religion is only for church and Sundays and that it is foolish to try to be a saint; they will be wrong: as this world and its pleasures will pass away, it is foolish not to try to be a saint, and one cannot be a saint without being religious all the week through. The toffee you tasted yesterday won't give you any pleasure tomorrow, but it may make you sick. Sin is like that; it is only pain and not pleasure which it will give you in the next world....

Now that's a catechism lesson.

Outrageously delicious


Every Tuesday night, 4 of us girls get together and watch Biggest Loser/American Idol/Dancing with the Stars/whatever and paint and laugh and talk and eat. This is what we had tonight, and it was, as Elaine says, "slap your mama good". Yes ma'am.


2 bunches spinach, washed and stemmed
1 sm. white onion, sliced thin
1 can pineapple chunks in juice (drained well but reserve juice)
3/4 c. crumbled blue cheese (4 oz. pack)
3 halves chicken breasts, cooked and shredded


1 c. pecans
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tbsp. course ground pepper
1/4 c. sugar

Combine seasoning. Stir to blend. Heat heavy skillet and add pecans and stir, heating 1 minute. Sprinkle 1/2 of the sugar mix on pecans and stir for 1 minute. While cooking, add remaining sugar mixture and continue to stir until melted. Remove nuts and immediately place on pre-oiled cookie sheet. Cool and package tightly. Refrigerate.


1/4 c. salad oil (sunflower oil)
1/4 c. Balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. pineapple juice

Combine all ingredients at serving time. Mix all and toss well.


I did not have the blue cheese or pecans on mine (because of my food plan), and it was still delish. I tasted the peppered pecans, and they were to die for. They would have been fabulous mixed into the salad.

Try this for a ladies' lunch or a fancy pot luck selection. It's that good.

For this week's PST, I started to do dressy Easter shoes--after all, for us Catholics, next Sunday is Easter, too! But then I decided to just do shoes the colors of those plastic Easter eggs that we hid for the Easter egg hunt at church.

I love yellow. I can't wear it at all, it makes me look weird. Well, even weirder than I normally do. But maybe I could have these groovy yellow shoes?


And here is a pair of really fun green shoes, that would go with every thing. I really, truly might order these!


Zman's favorite color is orange. He looks good in it. Me, not so much. But I'd look fabulous in these orange sandals!


And would it really be the Summas if there weren't pink shoes every time? Here's an updated classic, in pink and red!


And finally a pair of running shoes that virtually screams "I have stepped in Easter eggs, people!" Love 'em. Not enough to take up running, but a lot.


Happy Tuesday, ya'll!

And sad news

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.....for those of you who do not already know.

Jon Hassler, the only person I've ever written a fan letter to and one of my favorite authors, died on Maundy Thursday morning.

Here's a link to a story in the Minneapolis Post.

My heart is broken. His talents brought me many hours of joy.

May he rest in peace, in a place where there is no nasty disease like progressive supranuclear palsy. And may light perpetual shine upon him.

Happy News!

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The Summa Mamas will be BACK!!!!!

After a busy time, and after offering the blog to God as a sacrifice (does that sound weird?) - it is clear that we can continue on! I'm so excited.

And God is good.

down, but not out...


poor mamaT has practically been running this blog single-handed for a good long stretch now, with me poppin' in only occassionally as it is to rant about something yankee or liberal or both. but i must admit that chasing six wee ones, especially the wonder-smock-twins [at two-and-a-half], training for the breast cancer walk, running my gratefully busy avon biz, and being a sexy spice for the smockdaddy takes up all of this woman's time. taking all of that into account and adding the fact that this particular Lenten season has been ... well, a bitch ... i will admit that mamaT's decision gives me some real nice breathin' room.

a'course, i can't speak for mamaT, but i can promise to be trollin' the saint bloggosphere and peekin' in all of you beautiful and holy people as often as i can, and i pray that mamas'll find their way back a'for to long.

four years of summa mama delight was four years longer than i expected or deserved! so, best wishes and big blessin's to each and every one of you. until we pop in on y'all agin', i remain ...

the smock

A blogging break....

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After a lot of prayer and introspection, I believe it is time for me to take an extended break from blogging.

It will be at least after Easter, and probably much later, before I post here again. It is entirely possible that the break may need to become permanent. I'm just not sure yet. I am waiting, rather impatiently, for that still, small voice to let me know what to do! I suppose that the answer could be to come back to blogging, but I remain skeptical about that. I think you all have heard about all that I have to say that is worth saying. And I'm not foolish enough to think that my words have eternal significance! :-)

I pray that all of you will have a blessed remainder of Lent, and a wonderful Holy Week and Easter season.

I will be around, reading a little.

You've all been the absolute best, and I will miss you.

Booking Through Thursday


Good question today:

Who is your favorite male lead character? And why?

and since we missed last Thursday, here's last Thursday's question:

Who is your favorite female lead character? And why?

That's hard, isn't it?

Favorite male lead? More than one. The whiskey priest from The Power and the Glory, Andrea Orsini from Prince of Foxes, Sir Nicholas Beauvallet from Beauvallet, probably others that I'm not thinking of this morning.

Favorite female lead? Again, more than one. Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird, Sophy from The Grand Sophy, Elinor Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility, Agatha McGee from Staggerford.

But how can you choose, really?

Shameless begging


Following Smock's lead with the Avon 3 day walk, I'm going to ask you for a donation, too.

My sisterfriend has MS. MS is a kick in the teeth. It's horrible. It's infuriating.

And, at this point, it's incurable. I want to help change that. Will you help me?

SisterM is walking, with her family, in the MS Fort Worth walk on the 30th of March.

If you have a spare buck or two, please throw it her way. You can click the logo below to go to her fundraising page.


Thank you!

Surprised thumbs up from CasaS

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Watched Gone Baby Gone on DVD this weekend. Didn't expect to like it much, but surprisingly was very taken with it. Directed by Ben Affleck, starring his little brother Casey Affleck, it's a story about moral decisions in a very gray world. Doesn't hurt that it also has Ed Harris and Morgan Freeman in it.

But Casey Affleck was good. Better than I had expected. Too pretty for the role, I think, but still......

The winner in the acting stakes for this movie, though, was Amy Ryan. She got the Oscar nomination for actress in a supporting role. She should have won it. She doesn't act this role, she inhabits it. Wow. Just wow.

The movie is hard. The language is rough. (Double, triple, quadruple warnings for this. I cannot stress enough how strong the language is.) The ending is not clean and happy. But it is a movie where you see a young man struggle with doing the right thing in a world that celebrates him when he does the wrong thing.

Here's a link to the Christianity Today movie review. Four stars. And they don't give many of those. I'm sure they took a lot of grief for it.

MamaT's Random 10.....

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......from her, ahem, Samsung MP3. Not fancy enough to have an Ipod for heaven's sake:

Pencil Thin Mustache by Jimmy Buffet
What a Wonderful World by Art Garfunkel
Put on a Happy Face by Tony Bennett
Once is Enough by Lyle Lovett
Ain't No Mountain High Enough by Diana Ross
Night and Day by Frank Sinatra
Ball and Chain by the Full Tilt Boogie Band
You're Nobody 'til Somebody Loves You by Dean Martin
What is This Thing Called Love? by Frank Sinatra
Borderline by Alison Krause

Wonder what that says about me?

That I'm old, I think.

We're going to the polls today--Smock and I have already voted, the Zman has voted and PapaC will vote on his way in tonight. None of us are voting for the eventual winner, but our votes will at least be counted. As far as I know, all of us voted for different people! How's that for "diversity in unity". What say we all hold hands and hum.


Well, at least we should have good shoes to wear. What better than red, white and blue?




Happy Tuesday, ya'll. And if'n you live in a primary state, go vote! Yeah, even if it "doesn't mean anything."

with apologies to mamaT...

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is this man high on drugs or just plain ignorant?

Obama: Sermon on the Mount Supports Same-sex Unions

On the campaign trail yesterday, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) defended his support of abortion and same-sex unions. In response to a question at a stop at Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio, Obama said he does not support calling same-sex unions marriage, but thinks same-sex couples should be given the recognition and benefits granted to married couples. "I think that it is a legal right that they [homosexuals] should have that is recognized by the state. If people find that controversial then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans." Jesus teaches on a number of issues central to the Christian life in the Sermon on the Mount: being witnesses to the world, loving our enemies, honoring marriage - but there is no instruction on same-sex unions.

As for St. Paul's writing in Romans, it is distinguished not by its obscurity but by its clarity and consistency with all of Christian teaching about the nature of sexuality and marriage. Paul writes: "They [the unrighteous] exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator - who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion." (Romans 1:24-27, NIV) Obama also told the crowd that his support of abortion (he voted against banning partial-birth abortion, and against notifying the parents of minors prior to their having an abortion) and his support of same-sex unions do not make him "less of a Christian."

more details at

so i'm gonna direct you to a great commentary by our lovely mr. TS over'ta video meloria.

okay, well, maybe i do, i don't know. anyhoo...

what does wearing pajamas to school teach wee ones? i don't get it. the idea of "a dr. seuss day" for the pre-k class is an adorable idea in theory, but in practice, hey, what is up with that?

i also tend to agree with smockdaddy when he questions why teachers assign at-home projects. these people have our kidlens over seven hours a day, why can't their school work be done at school?



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