April 2008 Archives


it surely came early at the smock maison. while mamaT was gettin' her feet all fancy, smockdaddy took a trip to our local mall where he picked up my fabulous new hot pink soho bag. the best part about it is that it was a total surprise. i didn't even ask for a new purse. and the color -- summamama pink -- couldn't be more perfect. now, if i could just get the perfect shoes to match . . .


. . . talk about high maintenance.

An admission....

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I am probably the lowest maintenance girl you will ever meet. In that way, the Smock and I are polar opposites. I just love to follow her in line at La Madeleine when we go eat, because she has a billion changes she wants to make to whatever she is ordering (but she tips well!). After her, I seem like a piece of cake to deal with. I just want my salad with no cheese on it. Well, I don't want it that way. But that's the way I'm gonna eat it.

Anyway, that translates into clothes, shoes, makeup, etc. I love fashion. I love to look at clothes and shoes and purses and stuff. But I am basically a no-frills person. I live in jeans and t-shirts or capris and t-shirts. And flip-flops and sandals in the summer. (I have a serious flip-flop habit.)

But yesterday I did something I have never, ever done in my whole life. McKid's mom treated me to a pedicure, as an early Mother's Day present. And I went. And was dunked, scrubbed, pumiced, massaged and lotioned. Then my toenails were painted the cutest shade of coral. AND I have a darlin' flower painted on each of my big toes.

Ya'll, I am stylin'.

At least as stylin' as this fat old lady gets!

It was wonderful!

And I might even do it again!

Whatcha Reading? Wednesday

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I just finished Georgette Heyer's Bath Tangle, which I enjoyed very, very much. I still have the last two chapters of my Bill Bryson book to finish, which is exactly what I said last week. Sigh. Maybe I'll finish it during the first part of the hockey game tonight.

Go STARS! Woo hoo!

Ahem. Excuse me.

I also finished the book of letters by St. Francis de Sales. Highly recommended. VERY highly.

On the nightstand, My Life in France by Julia Child. I love Julia Child. This memoir is good, even though I'm not a foodie, per se.

Also on the nightstand, Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman. Read a chapter or so last night. Good so far. I think I saw a movie based on this a l-o-o-o-o-o-n-g time ago. I'll have to look it up.

Now I have to find some new spiritual reading, and I have no clue about that......

How 'bout you?

.....I finished Day One of Week Two of the Couch to 5K running program!

Go me!

who would Jesus deport?

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the illegal immigrant debate is one we hear about and scuffle over quite passionately here in texas. this isn’t just a debate that the politicians argue over on the television; no, this is a question that the lady behind you in line at the tom thumb is likely to ask while you’re waiting to check out. i suppose it’s most likely ‘cause this is a debate that is near and dear to the heart of tejas – and her border with mexico.

frankly, i’m tired of the whole mess. i know that the operative word in illegal immigration is illegal. i also know that i live under a government that can't safely and effectively evacuate it's own citizens during a major thunderstorm, much less figure out how to safely and effectively evacuate a few million people it can't even locate. and iffin’ you think illegal immigrants are easy to spot, i’ve got proof that they aren’t. i’ve witnessed a whole mess of police who drive by bands of day laborers every day over on cooper street and they don't stop or nuthin. of course, maybe they’ve already checked those boys’ credentials.

i still maintain that instead of a great big wall across the texico border, we should just build a big ol’ walmart. that way, the mexicans could just work there for american wages and all the texans could shop and visit with them during the day, and then the workers can just go back home to mexico after an honest days work. it sounds like a win-win to me. but, when i offerd this proposal to an anglo friend of mine, she scolded me. "you know what your problem is, micki? when you think of illegals you just think of the sweet little ol' grandma selling tamales on the street corner. you aren't thinkin' about the drunken criminals who whore themselves and suck up our tax dollars." i had to admit that she had a point.

c’mon, i’m a native texan. i’ve grown up with lots of mexicans as both friends and as family members ... some probably a tad more legal than others, truth be told. very few of them were drunkards, and i don’t know of a one that was a whore. hey let’s face it; i’ve also grown up surrounded by a deep and abiding ambivalence towards the issue. in fact, i would venture to say it wasn’t until after 9/11 that people around these parts started to seriously argue the issue – this, once we were reminded that illegal immigrants aren’t always mexicans.

but heck, how are we baffled anglos supposed to solve this commotion? there’s isn’t even a cohesive argument within the hispanic community. a dear friend of mine -- who is, for the record, a legal immigrant -- recently told me that there is quite a bit of tension between “legals” and “illegals” because those who pay to be here feel that those who don’t give them a bad name, while those who are here illegally feel entitled to feelings of camaraderie that sometimes just aren’t there. confused enough yet?

i hafta admit that i’m even more confused and disheartened by the issue now that i’m catholic. i recently visited a catholic church that was made up of mostly non-english speaking immigrants. i would be a liar iffin i didn’t admit that as i scanned the faces of these catholic brothers and sisters i wondered how many were illegals. and then i wondered, who would jesus deport? especially considering that several may even share his name.

And one more, for extra innings


That's baseball, and it's my game. Y' know, you take your worries to the game, and you leave 'em there. You yell like crazy for your guys. It's good for your lungs, gives you a lift, and nobody calls the cops. Pretty girls, lots of 'em.

--------------------------Humphrey Bogart

Today's quote


If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there are men on base.

---------------------Dave Barry

We'll go back to the alphabet editions next week, but I just spent a lovely evening with PapaC out at the ballpark, watching our Texas Rangers beat Minnesota with a homerun in the bottom of the tenth. It was exciting! I love baseball, and I love going to the games, even when they're not particularly good games. Baseball is nice--you sit outside, eat hot dogs or nachos (though I ate neither tonight---grrrrrr) and yell for your team. You people watch in the spaces between things happening. Fascinating.

So tonight we're doing baseball in art--by one of my favorite artists: Norman Rockwell.

Choosin' Up

The Three Umpires

The Rookie

The Dugout

Knothole Baseball

Happy Friday, ya'll!

From yesterday's lunchtime reading


Let us have a firm and general intention of serving God all our life, and with all our heart. Beyond that, let us have no solicitude for the morrow. Let us only think of doing well today; when tomorrow arrives it will be called in its turn "today," and then we will think of it. We must here again have great confidence and acquiescence in the Providence of God. We must make provision of manna for each day and no more, and we must not doubt that God will send us more tomorrow, and after tomorrow, and all the days of our pilgrimage.....

-------------------St. Francis de Sales

Booking Through Thursday

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Do your reading habits change in the Spring? Do you read gardening books? Even if you don’t have a garden? More light fiction than during the Winter? Less? Travel books? Light paperbacks you can stick in a knapsack?

Or do you pretty much read the same kinds of things in the Spring as you do the rest of the year?

I'd say not so much in spring, all 15 minutes of it here in Texas. But they really do change in the summer. When it's hot, I don't want to read heavy books. No summertime War and Peace for me. No book that is either too heavy to carry to the park or too heavy to carry in my head.

I've radically changed my library and my thought process on books in the last six months. I've hit a real "reading for enjoyment" phase, and I'm no longer so determined to read all those classics that I should have read but didn't. It's not that I'm going to move to reading the "paperback bestsellers of today", but I am going to read more deeply from those authors whose works I truly enjoy, whoever they might be. If that means a Galsworthy, Trollope, Heyer, Shellabarger, or Wodehouse binge, then so be it.

So, yes, I read "lighter" in the summer. But I read differently all the time now.

Happy Thursday, ya'll!

Just for fun!

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Thanks to Alicia over at Fructus Ventris:

Your Score: Tigger

You scored 17 Ego, 13 Anxiety, and 17 Agency!

And as they went, Tigger told Roo (who wanted to know) all about the things that Tiggers could do.

"Can they fly?" asked Roo.

"Yes," said Tigger, "they're very good flyers, Tiggers are. Strornry good flyers."

"Oo!" said Roo. "Can they fly as well as Owl?"

"Yes," said Tigger. "Only they don't want to."

"Why don't they want to?" well, they just don't like it somehow."

Roo couldn't understand this, because he thought it would be lovely to be able to fly, but Tigger said it was difficult to explain to anybody who wasn't a Tigger himself.

You scored as Tigger!

ABOUT TIGGER: Tigger is the newest addition to the Hundred Acre Wood, and he lives with Kanga and Roo, because Roo's strengthening medicine turned out to be the thing that Tiggers like best. Tigger is bouncy and confident -some of his friends think he is a little TOO bouncy and confident, but attempts to unbounce him tend to be fruitless.

WHAT THIS SAYS ABOUT YOU: You are a positive and confident person. You feel capable of dealing with anything and everything, and funnily enough, you usually ARE. You don't worry about much, and you love to go out and find new adventures.

Your friends and family might sometimes be a little exasperated by your boundless enthusiasm. You don't like to admit your mistakes, and when you find yourself in over you head, you tend to bluff your way out of things. You would be surprised, however, at how happy the people around you would be if you would actually admit to a mistake. It would make you seem more human, somehow.

Link: The Deep and Meaningful Winnie-The-Pooh Character Test written by wolfcaroling

At the age of eleven or thereabouts women acquire a poise and an ability to handle difficult situations which a man, if he is lucky, manages to achieve somewhere in the later seventies.

-----------------P. G. Wodehouse, Uneasy Money

A Quote


No library, however humble, is complete without its well-thumbed copy of 'Right Ho, Jeeves,' by P.G. Wodehouse, which contains the immortal scene of Gussie Fink-Nottle, drunk to the gills, presenting the prizes to the delighted scholars of Market Snodsbury Grammar School, built around 1416.

--------------John Le Carre

Whatcha Reading? Wednesday


I still have 2 chapters with the Bill Bryson book about English. I had put it aside for a bit to reread Jhumpa Lahiri's collection of short stories Interpreter of Maladies, which was our book group selection for the month. I had read Interpreter before, and I recommend it. She deals poignantly with the immigrant experience--particularly in how hard it is to maintain the good things about the culture you are from while grasping the good in the new culture.

Last night I finished The Inimitable Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse. Absolutely loved the book. Bertie Wooster is magic as a narrator, and the words just sparkle off the page. I laughed out loud in some parts. Here's a snippet to entice you:

You know, the longer I live, the more clearly I see that half the trouble in this bally world is caused by the light-hearted and thoughtless way in which chappies dash off letters of introduction and hand them to other chappies to deliver to chappies of the third part. It's one of those things that make you wish you were living in the Stone Age. What I mean to say is, if a fellow in those days wanted to give anyone a letter of introduction, he had to spend a month or so carving it on a large-sized boulder, and the chances were that the other chappie got so sick of lugging the thing round in the hot sun that he dropped it after the first mile. But nowadays it's so easy to write letters of introduction that everybody does it without a second thought, with the result that some perfectly harmless cove like myself gets in the soup.

A great start for a chapter.

Anyway, I recommend the book. Highly. But if you don't want to read it, then I recomend the series Jeeves and Wooster, starring Hugh Laurie as Bertie and Stephen Fry as Jeeves. I loved the whole series, and it is one of those rare cases where I thought they captured the characters exactly as I see them.

Next on the agenda? My Life in France by Julia Child, which is May's book group selection. After that, who knows. Probably Right Ho, Jeeves! or Bath Tangle. It remains undecided.

How 'bout you?

Pretty Shoe Tuesday

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OK, for the moment (and only for the moment), it is spring in Texas. And spring means GREEN! So let's saunter around and look at green shoes, shall we?

First, since my new running plan is close to my heart, and very much in my sore muscles, today, we'll look at green running shoes by Adidas:


If you don't want to run, perhaps you'll want to hang out with the bad boys in these Van's:


If you don't hang with bad boys but you still like the polka dots, you could go for the slightly more ladylike:


If you want to go all the way to grown up, there is this classic by Anne Klein:


However, since I'm obviously drawn to the sparkly and shiny things of the world (ooooh, lime green metallics!) I would prefer these flats by Michael Kors:


In Texas, don't kid yourself. Everyone wears sandals. It doesn't matter what your feet look like. If you don't, you'll be walking around in pools of sweat by the end of the day. I pick these green ones:


And for the finale, we have to include one pair of the sky highs, even if we can't walk in 'em. Nothing prettier than heels, nothing harder to wear. Oh, well, beauty is suffering. Isn't it? Try these by Naughty Monkey:


Happy Tuesday, ya'll!

spring in texas

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okay, okay, i'm not foolin' anybody, there is no such thing as spring in texas; but we have somethin' akin to it and, whatever it is, it brings out our beautiful state flower, the bluebonnet. spring, ehem april, just wouldn't be complete without 'em.

tidbit of smocktrivia: this picture was taken in my mom's front yard in waxahachie -- very close to the area where we suspect that the opening sequences of trip to bountiful were filmed.

overheard in the smockmobile


sitting with the smocklings at a red light ...
GM (10): is that lady right there some kind of nun?
DB (12): i think she's muslim.
GK (8): maybe she's just having a bad hair day.

A new project and goal

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Though I haven't written about this on the blog, I have lost a good bit of weight in the last months. It's come off slowly, sometimes discouragingly (that looks weird) slowly. I hope that means that once it's off, it'll stay off.

I promised myself that once I got to the half-way point in my weight loss goal, I would do something special.

I'm going to train for a 5K.

Several inspirations/reasons for this:

1. It's something I've always wanted to do, but have been afraid to try. I figure you ought not be afraid of much by the time you're my age. If I try it and fail, I have an excuse! Hey, I'm old!

2. I'm so proud of the Smock and how she trained for her long walks and how she achieved what she set out to do. I want to do that, too!

3. My nephew wants to run in the MS 5K next year. If I commit to a 12 year old, I can't weasel out. I won't, just won't, disappoint him.

So, I've been doing research on running. I've got shoes that fit well and are in good shape. I'm gonna make the time to do this. And I've got a plan--the Couch to 5K plan for beginning runners.

I started this morning.

I'm sure I looked funny. But I did Day One of Week One.

And I'm going to post here each week, so that I have public accountability. And when I can run 5K, Jack and I will find a race to run in. And he can run beside me saying "Hurry up, Aunt Terry. You can run faster than this."

And even if I can't run faster, I can finish.

I hope.

Yesterday's hymns


Introit was this one:

On this day, the first of days,
God's the Father's Name we praise,
who, creation's Lord and Spring,
did the world from darkness bring.

On this day the eternal Son
over death triumph won;
on this day the Spirit came
with his gifts of living flame.

O that fervent love today
may in every heart have sway,
teaching us to praise aright
God the Source of life and light.

Father, who didst fashion me
image of thyself to be,
fill me with thy love divine,
let my every thought be thine.

Holy Jesus, may I be
dead and buried here with thee;
and, by love inflamed, arise
unto thee a sacrifice.

Thou who dost all gifts impart,
shine, blest Spirit, in my heart;
best of gifts, thyself bestow;
make me burn thy love to know.

God, the blessèd Three in One,
dwell within my heart alone;
thou dost give thyself to me,
may I give myself to thee.

Sung to Gott Sei Dank.

Offertory was this one, which we don't sing very often:

Good Joseph had a garden,
Close by that sad green hill
Where Jesus died a bitter death
To save mankind from ill.

One evening in that garden,
Their faces dark with gloom,
They laid the Saviour's body
Within good Joseph's tomb.

There came the holy women
With spices and with tears;
The angels tried to comfort them,
But could not calm their fears.

Came Mary to that garden
And sobbed with heart forlorn;
She thought she heard the gardener ask
'Whom seekest thou this morn?'

She heard her own name spoken,
And then she lost her care:
All in his strength and beauty
The risen Lord stood fair!

Good Joseph had a garden;
Amid its trees so tall
The Lord Christ stood on Easter Day:
He lives to save us all.

And as he rose at Easter
He is alive for ay,
The very same Lord Jesus Christ
Who hears us sing to-day.

Go tell the Lord Christ's message,
The Easter triumph sing,
Till all his waiting children know
That Jesus is their King.

This is sung to Cherry Tree Carol, but I cannot find a MIDI of it anywhere. So, you'll just have to imagine it!

Offertory was this by Auden:

He is the Way.
Follow him through the Land of Unlikeness;
You will see rare beasts, and have unique adventures.

He is the Truth.
Seek him in the Kingdom of Anxiety:
You will come to a great city that has expected your return for years.

He is the Life.
Love him in the World of the Flesh;
And at your marriage all its occasions shall dance for joy.

Tune can't be found for this one, either. But it's an interesting poem, and figured into the sermon.

And finally, post-communion hymn was this one:

Jesus lives! thy terrors now
can no longer, death, appall us;
Jesus lives! by this we know
thou, O grave, canst not enthrall us.

Jesus lives! henceforth is death
but the gate of life immortal;
this shall calm our trembling breath
when we pass its gloomy portal.

Jesus lives! for us he died;
then, alone to Jesus living,
pure in heart may we abide,
glory to our Savior giving.

Jesus lives! our hearts know well
nought from us his love shall sever;
life, nor death, nor powers of hell
tear us from his keeping ever.

Jesus lives! to him the throne
over all the world is given:
may we go where he has gone,
rest and reign with him in heaven.

Sung to St. Albinus at SMV, though it can also be sung to Lindisfarne and a tune with the name "Jesus Lives". I like the St. Albinus tune best because of the way each verse starts. It sounds like a bell tolling. Lovely!

Sorry for the silence last week!


But any week that has April 15th (and 5 unplanned for returns to finish) AND a parish council meeting (with planned, but unloved, financial statements to prepare) is no week for blogging.

Sorry 'bout that.

And I promise this week'll be better.

Maybe we can prevail upon the Smock to post about her Avon Breast Cancer Walk. My update? SHE WALKED THE WHOLE WAY, BOTH DAYS!!!!!

Way to go, my sweet friend. Way to go!

Quote for Thursday

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The failure to read good books both enfeebles the vision and strengthens our most fatal tendency–the belief that the here and now is all there is.

~ Allan Bloom ~

Whatcha Reading? Wednesday


I continue to read Bill Bryson's The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way. It's interesting, but I don't know that I'd recommend it to anyone but language geeks. And it's not "laugh 'til you cry funny" the way some of his other books are.

At the same time, I'm doing something that I had largely quit doing. I'm alternating the Bryson book with Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. This one is our book club book for the month. I read it several years ago, so this is a re-read for me. Since it is a collection of short stories, it is easy to stick in one story at the end of the day, without being tempted to stay up too late.

Well, that's the theory anyhow.

Lahiri won the Pulitzer Prize for this, her first book. I wonder what that feels like--to have that kind of success immediately. It must be an immense pressure while you are writing your second book. I'm afraid I'd be like Harper Lee, and only write one.

The stories are mostly about immigrants from India (or Pakistan) and the places where they bump up against the differences between the old culture and the one they now find themselves living in. What is most often missing is the intense sense of community in India. The young people in America think that they will be happier leaving all that behind. But when tragedy or loneliness strikes, they are left adrift. Lahiri doesn't sugarcoat Indian life. But she is excellent, I think, in pointing out that even when you leave a place for better opportunity, there is a price to be paid for the change.

Though short stories are almost never my choice for reading, these are good. But they are almost all sad. If you read them, be warned.

Next on the pile? Brother Odd by Dean Koontz, probably, unless the spirit moves me a different way. I've dropped my reading lists for the time being.

Hope you're reading something good!

Happy Wednesday, ya'll!

Look what I found on my break!


I want it! I might even have the perfect place for it! And look: a whole blog dedicated to bookshelves.

Now, back to work.

Too funny not to share

When Liturgical Dancers Get Raptured

......it was important to have read this excerpt from a letter from St. Francis de Sales:

I would wish you often, during the day, to ask God to give you love of your vocation, and to say like St. Paul when he was converted, "Lord, what will You have me to do?" Will you have me serve You in the vilest ministry of Your house? Ah! I shall consider myself too happy. Provided that I serve You, I do not care in what it may be. And coming to the particular thing that troubles you, say, "Will You that I do such a thing? Ah! Lord, although I am not worthy to do it, I will do it most willingly," and thus you greatly humble yourself. Oh my God! What treasure you will gain! One greater, without doubt, than you can imagine.


We must love what God loves. Now, He loves our vocation; so let us also love it, and not occupy ourselves with thinking on that of others. Let us do our duty; each one's cross is not too much for him.

Fine, fine, fine.

Off to pay bills with a better mindset (Thank God I have the money to pay them, for a start). Then tax returns for all and sundry. Then parish financials, etc, etc, etc.....

Pray for me. And my sorry attitude.

The time has come, the Walrus
said, to speak of many things.
Of shoes and ships and sealing
wax, of cabbages and kings.

Well, I could give you a good recipe for cabbage, but that's not exactly talking, and I don't know enough about ships or sealing wax to wax (ahem) eloquent about 'em. But shoes, now there's something I love! And it's Tuesday!

Usually when I think about Cole Haan shoes, I think about something like this (not that there's anything wrong with this). You know, a good, sensible shoe:


But imagine my delight when I learned that they also made shoes like this. I'm in love! They have also incorporated Nike Air technology, which is supposed to make those high heels more comfortable to wear. Can't vouch for it, since I've never tried it, and at these prices, it's likely that I won't be trying them any time soon. But a girl can dream, can't she?

Probably the "raciest" shoe I've seen lately. Something about that ankle strap is just killer:


Then there's this little number. Comes in several colors, this one's my favorite of the lot. Could be very tailored, but with a little spice of something extra!


Someone told Smock that every woman needed an animal print shoe in her wardrobe. We're not completely sold on animal prints as the new neutral, but both the Summas would think these were fabulous. They also come in a mid-height heel, for those who are less brave or more tilty (like me!):


And then there are these ladylike shoes with a bit a zip. That mary-jane strap across the top is just the right detail:


And finally, a shoe with a bit of a retro vibe. These are Smock all over. And I think they're pretty great, too:


Happy Tuesday, ya'll!

A Monday Quote


Those of us we have been true readers all our life fully realize the enormous extension of our being which we owe to authors.

--------------------C. S. Lewis

To which Mama T says, "Amen."

A Monday Morning Realization

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Booking Through Thursday last week revolved around "what is literature"?

Bill, over at Apologia threw out the question for his smart readers on my behalf. Go over there, and to the comments on the BTT entry below, to read what was said. It made me start thinking, and looking at my shelves.

I don't think that I actually OWN much "literature". Since I started clearing out my shelves, and keeping only those things which I think I might have even a remote chance of rereading, I find that I have gotten rid of many things which I read because I should have read them. Not that I didn't enjoy them, but I was never going to dip into them again.

It makes my library look very pedestrian. When I look at my shelves I realize how very "un-intellectual" I am (is that even a word?). No pretensions for me any longer. Now I know how much of what I had I kept for show--to impress others, maybe?--versus what I really loved. Now my bookshelves are a more accurate reflection of me.

Yes, there are some "classics" there. All three volumes of The Divine Comedy sit there. All of Jane Austen. A good bit of Twain. A fair amount of Dickens. A volume of plays by Sophocles. Tolkien. Lewis. Flannery O'Connor. Charles Williams. Brideshead Revisited.

But what else is there? All of Jon Hassler. Lots of Richard Russo. Howard Frank Mosher. Maybe they're "literature in the making". The Jeeves and Blandings novels by Wodehouse (why is it harder to think of humor as literature?)

And then all the books I'll never be talked out of, even if they're not literature: The Forsyte Saga, Angela Thirkell, the many volumes of Louis deWohl's work, Georgette Heyer, Rafael Sabatini, the great Samuel Shellabarger. And Horatio Hornblower, the Master and Commander series, and Susan Howatch. The Mapp and Lucia novels. Agatha Christie and Dashiell Hammett. The Precious Ramotswe books. Even the first four volumes of the series about Father Tim by Jan Karon. Literature? Comfort food? I think probably the latter in the view of the world, but for me? They are the "desert island" books of my fiction collection.

Interesting. It's been a lesson in humility for me to realize how very unenlightened I remain, after all these years of reading. Humbling, and freeing. It's not that I won't stretch my wings to read things that I "oughta". But I'm grown up enough now, at 52, to realize that I don't have to pretend any longer to love what I don't. I can learn from it, enjoy it, and pass it on. From here on out, if I wouldn't take it to my desert island, it's not staying on my shelves.

What do you think?

Quote for Friday....


......stolen shamelessly from the BC Artfarm website:

"Art is sacred if it is above all beautiful, that is, intrinsically splendid, because it is fully intelligible, so that it makes first the artist and then the person who enjoys it want to cross over into infinity. This art is religious if it produces a longing for the divine, namely, if it leads one to transcend one's own self in order to meet God and with him one's neighbour. This art is Christian if, through the adventures of the spirit, it recounts what happened between God and man in the history of salvation, if it rises to God like a sweet and profound prayer, if it makes "God's glory" visible, though in a hidden manner, in the celebration of the divine mysteries."

----------------------------From: ART TO HELP HUMANKIND CROSS THE "THRESHOLD OF HOPE" by Carlo Chenis

Fine Art Friday - The Letter J Edition


Here, for the letter J edition of FAF, I am thrilled to be able to spotlight a fellow Texan and convert to the faith. I've shown his work before, but I cannot pass up a chance to show it again. So, without further ado, here is more of the work of Jim Janknegt. (And if you want to see more, here is a link to his website Brilliant Corners Art Farm.) One day I'm taking a field trip down there to see this in person!


Slaughter of the Innocents


Treasurefield #1: Find the Treasure


Treasurefield #2: Sell All You Have


Treasurefield #3: Buy the Field

Happy Friday, ya'll!

Booking Through Thursday

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When somebody mentions “literature,” what’s the first thing you think of? (Dickens? Tolstoy? Shakespeare?)

Do you read “literature” (however you define it) for pleasure? Or is it something that you read only when you must?

I don't know that I have a hard and fast rule about what I think literature is. "Standing the test of time" is part of it. I don't know if we are good judges of what is going to be thought good 150 years from now. I'd like to say, fliply, that the books reviewed in People magazine are not literature, but they just reviewed Jhumpa Lahiri's new book of short stories (and gave it a full starred rating) and she might be writing literature. It's too easy to be snobbish here. And while I consider Dickens "real literature", remember that he was hugely popular in his day--published serially, with each episode breathlessly awaited.

So, we can't go by that. And I hope there are authors that didn't get their due here (hello, Jon Hassler) that will be given their due in years to come.

And I think that even writers that don't, to my mind, write "literature", can have certain books that I think deserve to last. Smock's love, "little Stevie King", has a few books that I think will certainly be genre classics, though he's written a lot of yuck stuff, too.

Anyway, enough blathering about that. I guess the short answer is that I don't know exactly what literature is, other than "what is taught in decent schools" maybe.

Do I read it? Certainly. It didn't stand the test of time for nothing. And I adore my Dickens, unlikely coincidences and all.

Whatcha Reading? Wednesday

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Hmmmm. This weekend I finished The World, the Flesh and Father Smith by Bruce Marshall. I enjoyed it very much, and give it a hearty recommendation. Toward the end, when one of the main characters, a certain Fr. O'Duffy, dies, I had to put my head down and sob over the description of his funeral. So lovely:

There was such a cram in the church that the procession had almost to fight its way to the high altar: the Franciscans were there, the Jesuits were there, the Dominicans were there, the Benedictines were there, the Helpers of the Holy Souls were there, the nuns from the convent were there, the Lord Provost and members of the Town Council were there, the management and team of the Shamrock Football Club were there, the Episcopal Dean and the ministers of all the Protestant churches were there, the Salvation Army was there, the Saint Patrick Co-operative Society was there, the Plumbers' and Gasfitters' Trade Union was there, the chorus girls from the revue at the Duke of York's Theatre were there, the chartered accountants were there, the lawyers were there, the bank managers were there, the Town Territorials were there, the university professors were there, the tram-drivers, the stokers, the chimney sweeps, the school-children, the babies he had baptized and the harlots he had rebuked in the street were there, all surging in a steaming soup because a great and a good and a humble and a simple man had been called away by Almighty God......

When the service was over, the coffin was carried from the church on the shoulders of the Shamrock Football Team, whom the monsignore had used to encourage from the grandstand with both fingers in his mouth. Right through the crowd on the steps the shining coffin was passed and was laid in the hearse, which was to be driven by James Finnegan who had once knocked Battling Sambo out of the ring in the presence of King Edward VII. Immediately behind the hearse the pipe band of the territorials formed up, with the drum major enormous in his kilt and a smasher of a moustache that looked like two Persian cats' tails. Then came the members of the Town Council in their cocked hats and robes preceded by their mace-bearer. Then came the Principal and Senate of the University in their gowns and robes, only their files weren't quite even as the Reader in Icelandic Philology got mixed up with Miss Zizi Ashton, leading lady in the Gay Girls revue, whose place in the procession came immediately afterwards. Then came the chartered accountants, the lawyers and the stockbrokers, sorry dogs most of them, and the bank managers with mincing mien. Then came the plumbers and the gasfitters and the stokers and the tram-drivers, humble and knobby men who tinkered at dull tasks to the greater glory of God. Then came the clergy of other denominations in their ordinary clothes without their robes, because it was a individuals to an individual they were paying their last respects. Then came the nuns stretching like great black-and-white birds on the cover of a book by Anatole France. In front of the coffin went the priests in their cottas and cassocks, the canons in their fur and their purple, the friars in their brown and their black and their white, the monks in their cowls, the acolytes trying to keep their candles lighted in the wind, and last of all the Bishop and his assistants in their stiff black and god. And behind all came the great surge of God's great humble holy unwashed, weeping and snivelling and snottering in their shawls because they would never again hear the voice of Patrick Ignatius O'Duffy telling them that they would burn like faggots if they didn't come to Mass on Sundays.....

When at length they reached the cemetery, the acolytes all had to light their candles again as the flames had long since gone out. The Bishop blessed the grave with incense and with holy water and prayed that the soul of Patrick Ignatius O'Duffy might be joined to the angelic choir; and with the cold trees all about them the clergy and the laity all blubbered like bairns because a holy, humble, yelling, blundering, delicate priest had been gathered by God.

Isn't that just great?

The other thing I liked so much about the book was it's take on liturgy as the poetry of the church. Something that is good because it is beautiful and different from everyday life. It's something that those "modernizers" seem to forget. Even the humblest person needs beauty, and sometimes the only place those of us with little money can get much of that is via the Church. To hear beautiful music, see beautiful windows, mosaics, or art, and hear beautiful, sacred words...it can fill a need that we don't even realize we have.

Anyway, if you come across a copy of this little gem, pick it up.

Next on the pile? Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way by Bill Bryson. Then I will do a quick re-read of Jhumpa Lahiri's short story collection, The Interpreter of Maladies for my book club this month.

I'm also reading, for spiritual purposes, a collection of letters by St. Francis de Sales. I'll tell you more about that one later!

Lately I've been spotlighting shoes that I could probably actually afford. What a concept! But for April Fools Day, I decided to look at sandals that were way, way, way out of my price range.

So, here below, 5 sandals I would love to own but never will, because not a single pair is less than $250. And I've never even spent that on a pair of regular shoes!






$270, and that's 35% off of the regular price!





Happy Tuesday, ya'll!



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