June 2008 Archives

.....two weeks later. I say that is a testament to how good the materials really were--they have really fascinated the McKid. One of her favorites is this one, straight from Joshua 1:9

Wherever You Go
Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and courageous.
Do not be terrified.
Do not be discouraged.
For the Lord your God
Will be with you
Wherever you go.
Wherever you go.

A simple song, but one that I tell McKid that she needs to remember, and write in her heart. And so do I.

Click here and you'll go to a Youtube video where you can hear the music. This is a lot different from the music I normally post--not liturgical. Just fun!

Well, and how was your week?

Scary face!

Sorry for the absence last week, but things are busy at CasaS with McKid home all day and my mom being not so great. Between here, there and yon, there hasn't been much time to peruse the internet, and what little time I had lent itself more to a few mindless games of canasta. I've thrown myself into the hands of the Regency Romance Writers, as a way of escaping reality. Well, those writers and P.G. Wodehouse. It's a hot summer, ya'll, and my brains are slowly frying.

I'll have a few thoughts on parenting, born out of my sitting poolside during swimming lessons and the usual hymns, shoes, books and art.

Glad to be back my friends. Hope you're still there.

Oh, and I'm bummed that Smock, who is the pickiest eater on the planet, gets to go to Taste of Chicago, while I am condemned to stay home and make mac and cheese.

Does that seem fair to you?

I thought not.

Love you, Smock. Bring me back a fried eel or something.


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yes, the foodie also known as smockmomma and her more handsome half, smockdaddy, are off to chicago next week for fabulous food, a cooler clime and to celebrate fifteen years of wedded bliss.

*76-83 degree highs are expected in chicago versus the 94-95 degree highs in our neck of the woods. can somebody say yeeHAW?

get silly

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i'll bet you dollars to doughnuts that next weekend is going to be an even bigger weekend for get smart if word-of-mouth advertising has anything to do with sales. smockdaddy and i, who both loved watching the get smart t.v. series as kids, took the "big d" (who is 12 years old and has never seen an episode of get smart) and joined hundreds of others to see the big screen version last saturday night and we, along with everyone else in the theater, laughed out loud from beginning to end.

mind you, i wasn't quite as impressed as everyone else seemed to be -- case in point: i was totally unimpressed, and actually annoyed, by the relentlessly persistent and overt pot-shots at the bush admin -- but overall i thought steve carell was perfect as a, shall we say, smarter and more sympathetic maxwell smart. the word "adorable" comes to mind. as for anne hathaway, whom i've always enjoyed watching play "herself" in movies, is still fun to watch as herself and is a perfect "straight gal" with great gams as agent 99. heroes geeks will be happy to see masi oka make several appearances as one of the agency's techno geeks.

several times during the movie i thought "big d" and smockdaddy were going to pass out because they were laughing so hard they couldn't breathe. and i'll admit that i had to dig my fingertips into my temples because i was laughing so hard i got a headache halfway through the movie.

bottom line: get smart is slapstick par excellence.

bacon floss. . . somebody up there loves the smock.

Today a short FAF entry--it just contains my favorite image of the Virgin Mary, ever:

Madonna delle Roccie
Filippo Lippi

I first saw this image in a calendar that I got from the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. I love the gentleness of it. I love that it felt no need to be true to the historical period of the Bible, but put the Madonna in the clothes of the time of the painter. It always brings home to me that the Virgin is for all times and for all people. She is beautiful, is she not?

Happy Friday, ya'll!

Whatcha Reading? Wednesday

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I have thrown Love in the Time of Cholera into the pile again. I am finding it desperately hard going for some reason. I am frustrated with the characters, and grinding my teeth at the slowness of plot development (and this from a girl who likes long books!).

It's not even that I have to read "pretty". Some of my favorite books, like Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance, are hard, sometimes ugly, and sometimes depressing. That's not it. But at least you had an idea about why someone wanted to write this book. I don't get it with Gabriel Garcia-Marquez. I'm quite sure the fault lies in me somewhere.

So, whether or not it gets finished, I will probably try again to get at least some of it read before book club meeting next Wednesday night. Fortunately, we are watching the recent movie adaptation of the book at our meeting. Theoretically to compare the book to the movie. I'll just have to talk a lot about the movie, I guess.

Actually reading now? I'm 2/3 of the way through The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in my quest to reread the Narnia series this summer. On deck? Barbara Pym's A Glass of Blessings and Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns. After that? Probably Right Ho, Jeeves, to finish up my omnibus volume. If not that, then Rumer Godden's China Court, which I picked up for $1 on the clearance shelf at Half Price Books.

How 'bout you?

McKid and VBS

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Some of my sweetest memories of growing up are of attending Vacation Bible School, both at my own Episcopalian church and at the Baptist church that my friends attended (sword drill, anyone?). So when the Catholic parish up the street from my own decided to hold a VBS, I was all over it. Our parish secretary has a granddaughter almost exactly McKid's age, and one a little younger. We signed up together. Yesterday was the first day.


Like everything else in this world, VBS has moved upscale to compete with television, video games and the like. Most Blessed Sacrament chose Power Lab as their VBS this year.

While I am normally prepared to scoff at the high-tech, bright colored, shiny new things, I must admit that McKid came out of VBS dancing and singing all about Jesus. That's a good thing! When I asked her if she had a good time? "Mom! I had BEYOND a good time!"

They're doing something right. Monday's theme was "The Power to be Thankful" and there was a little homework assignment--several ways a kid could show she was thankful for what someone had done for her. McKid sat right down and wrote a thank you card to her VBS teacher.

Good for her.

We'll see what today holds, but so far, it's all thumbs up from here.


Everyone who knows me, at least in real life, knows that I have a mini-obssession with flip-flops. Love 'em. Look at 'em in every store I go to. Want more. Even when I have enough!

But a girl also needs some classier shoes. Maybe just shoes that don't make a noise when you walk. These would be a nice choice. But there sure is a big difference in price level!

Quote for today


"As women we wear so many hats that it is absolutely necessary to be organized and do those things which move us toward the goals we have set."

--------------------------Mary Kay Ash

That Smart Elisabeth Elliot!


Living in a world broken by sin, we suffer wounds of many kinds. Perhaps the most painful are not the physical ones but those of the heart. No one has power to hurt us more deeply than somebody we love, somebody we counted on to understand and support us. But there are two ways to receive wounds. One leads to larger life. The other leads straight to death, that is to destruction--of those we influence as well as of ourselves.

By grace we can receive the wounds of our friends as our Master received them--in the strength and for the glory of our heavenly Father. Being sinners ourselves, however, we need to be brought low at the cross. Nothing will do this better than some piercing heart-wound, provided we seek Christ because of it and pray Him to purify us.

There is another way--the world's way. It is anger, resentment, retaliation, retreat into pride and self-justification. These are quite natural, and quite lethal. The choice is ours.

------------------------Elisabeth Elliot, A Lamp for My Feet

And today we look at Paul Klee, just because I think he has a sense of humor in some of his works. And we could all use a little of that these days, huh?

Here's a blurb about him from art.com:

Swiss painter and graphic artist Paul Klee (1879 – 1940) was one of the most imaginative modern art masters, producing work that spanned an astounding stylistic range. Klee’s small, delicate works are filled with wit and references to dreams, music and poetry, and blended primitive art, Surrealism, Cubism and children's art. Initially creating surreal, satirical pen-and-ink drawings, Klee’s life and art were forever altered when he visited Tunisia and was overwhelmed by its intense light and color. Klee also uses a complex array of signs and symbols drawn from the unconscious, that were meant to fuse abstraction with reality. Klee’s work impacted all 20th century Surrealist and Nonobjective artists, and the budding abstract expressionist movement.

And now, something to look at:


Castle and Sun

Departure of the Ships

Fish Magic

Cat and Bird

Happy Friday, ya'll!

Bang head on desk, repeatedly


Booking Through Thursday


Since I'm behind, I'm using last week's question, saving this week's for later!

Have your book-tastes changed over the years? More fiction? Less? Books that are darker and more serious? Lighter and more frivolous? Challenging? Easy? How-to books over novels? Mysteries over Romance?

I would say that I go through phases in my book reading. The more stressed I am, the lighter the books need to be. If I'm in the midst of personal darkness, the last thing I need is to read dark. Reality is enough on its own.

I also find that as I grow older, I'm more willing to read simply what I like, and not what I am supposed to read. Hence, my current obsession with Regency romances. I don't care whether I ought to be reading something more "edifying". I'm reading what I enjoy at the moment.

I never want to stop challenging myself with new (to me) writers and works. But I'm more aware that I have limited time to read, and I refuse to turn it into a chore.

I read somewhere that with so many wonderful books out there to read, you should give yourself some guideline about how far into a book you will read before you decide to put it aside. Something like "100 minus your age" pages. If a book hasn't caught you by then, it probably won't. Toss it aside, with no guilt, and go on to something else. There are thousands of good choices, and one can't read them all, anyway.

The only exception I'm making to that rule is books I read for my book group. Those I try to hack through, even if I don't like 'em. Point of honor, or something. I'm having trouble with Love in the Time of Cholera. It may be the first book in 8 years that I don't get through.

This makes me sound like I'm only gonna read "fun" books. That's not the case. But I'll no longer apologise for the fun ones that I do read and enjoy.

I don't know if you have had the same experience, but the snag I always come up against when I'm telling a story is this dashed difficult problem of where to begin it. It's a thing you don't want to go wrong over, because one false step and you're sunk. I mean, if you fool about too long at the start, trying to establish atmosphere, as they call it, and all that sort of rot, you fail to grip and the customers walk out on you.

Get off the mark, on the other hand, like a scalded cat, and your public is at a loss. It simply raises its eyebrows, and can't make out what you're talking about.

----------------------------Right Ho, Jeeves! by P.G. Wodehouse

There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.

------------The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis

Update for MelanieB

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I am about 50 pages into Love in the Time of Cholera. It is like pulling teeth. So far, I don't care for it at all, but finish it I will, since I have to for book club.

I hated 100 Years of Solitude, which we read for book club a few years ago. I just don't get Gabriel Garcia Marquez. To me, it's like the emporer's new clothes. Bleah.

I'll update more fully when I finish. If I can get finished.


I do not understand

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......where all this junk in my house comes from. What I do know is that I'd be far richer if I hadn't wasted money on all this stuff that I'm busy bagging up to take to the school garage sale.

My continuing quest to downsize continues, but it's not going very well. We're rearranging stuff and moving our office into our dining room so that we can make a good play place for McKid during the summer. Eventually I hope that room will be my craft/painting/office room--but that's a few years down the road. For now, it'll give us a place to put her play kitchen and set up her art stuff in an accessible manner for the summer. Our back door is heavy and hard for her to open, so if she wanted to play on the patio (where the play kitchen used to be), I had to leave the door open. That's not a problem in the spring and fall--we have a screened in porch, and I like to let the breezes blow.

But in the summer? In Texas? With rising utility rates and stuff? Can't let what little air-conditioning (and trust me, our house is probably hotter than all your houses!) we spring for air condition North Texas. (And yes, I hear my mother's voice hollering at me to "Close the Door! I Don't Intend To Air Condition West Texas!") So, we're downsizing desks. Clearing away clutter. Making new places for things.

And I wonder.

How come every space I have is filled up with stuff? How come I can't get rid of it? Even when I go through my stuff time and again, I still end up with more than anyone needs.

Why is this such a consistent and persistent problem for me?

How do you actually simplify?


Bacon Salt! In four flavors.

Mmmmm. Two of my favorite flavors. Together!

Even I think this sounds delicious, and I'm considering ordering it.

Here are two reviews from the website:

"My 7 year old son hasn't stopped talking about Bacon Salt since he heard about it. You guys are on to something here."

- Alan S.


"I would spend my allowance on this. So good..."

- Alan's 7 year old son

Here's what came via UPS to my mom yesterday. She got them from Zappos. They are even cuter in person!


She also got them in the white variation. It's cute, too!

Happy Tuesday, ya'll!

jeffery ely hit a miniature pinscher and then sued the owner for damages to his car, claiming the family is responsible for their dog's actions. i wonder if anyone has made this claim after hitting someone's child. you know, once you have them, you're responsible for their actions an' all. give me just a small break, people.

read the article here.

feel free to post this under "call me cynical" a-la mr. luse.

this week a 78-year-old man was hit by a car in hartford and left bleeding, but conscious and apparently immobile, in the middle of the street as car after car drove around his body and walkers-by gawked, but then just kept on walking. the city is "shocked" by the inhumanity of its citizens. one man saying, "like a dog they left him there." Bystanders Ignore Hit-and-Run Victim

well, i beg to differ, but i imagine if the man had been a dog, people would have stopped because (a) dogs and their families don't tend to sue "good samaritans" in this country, (b) we tend to be a contraception/abortion-minded country and have very little regard for human life in general, and (c) as a whole, we hold our elders in very low esteem, if not contempt, in this bountious land of ours. so the question shouldn't be why didn't anyone stop to help this man, but how can we think anyone would.

Here's an idea for all the hand-wringing GOP strategists in Washington wondering what it will take to win back disgusted economic and social conservatives: How about a Republican presidential candidate who will talk about the tax-subsidized abortion industry the way McCain talks about the oil industry?

In April, the annual report for Planned Parenthood Federation of America revealed that the abortion giant had a total income of $1.02 billion -- with reported profits of nearly $115 million. Taxpayers kick in more than $336 million worth of government grants and contracts at both the state and federal levels. That's a third of Planned Parenthood's budget.

read more here.

Whatcha Reading? Wednesday

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Not much reading going on around here. We're dealing with the end of school, and all the related events (I am off to the Kindergarten Awards Ceremony in 5 minutes). Plus my mom has taken a bit of a turn for the worse and is keeping us all on our toes. So I've crocheted some, and watched a lot of TV with Mom.

I am finishing up my current Wodehouse book, Very Good, Jeeves. I should finish it tonight. Next on the list, a book that I am NOT looking forward to, but must read for my book group this month: Love in the Time of Cholera. I can't really say why I dread reading it, but I do. I hope to be surprised by how much I like it. At the book group meeting, we are actually going to watch the recent movie adaptation of the book. That should be interesting.

New in the to-read-pile? Strangers and Sojourners by Michael O'Brien. I was a huge fan of his Father Elijah, but read nothing more of his after that. Frankly, I had read some interviews he had given and I didn't care for how he came across in those interviews, so I shelved any plans I had of reading more of his stuff. Then a friend looked at me like I had 3 heads--he's one of her favorite writers. I like her very much, so I told her, based on her recommendation alone, that I would try a couple more of his books. She put this one in my hands.

How 'bout you?

Today's PST is brought to you by McKid's Mom, who sent Smock and I this picture. They are on sale for ONLY $250 a pair. Now the only question is: What do you wear with a pair of shoes with a CROWN on them?

Anything you want, I'd say! I mean, you ARE the queen aren't you?


i really like liv tyler. i'm not sure i think she's an actress, but she's cute in that lil' lost puppy way and i'm guessin' that she brings out the maternal in me. anyway, i was really hoping to like her newest flick, the strangers, but i will admit with a heavy sigh that while it wasn't great, it is dvd-worthy.

first the good news. i would like to give big kudos to the writer/director, bryan bertino, for giving us one very intense thrill ride using -- hey, here's a novelty -- good old fashioned scare tactics with very little gratuitous sex and only moderate gore. i think the reason the film works to the degree that it does is because the setting is truly creepy for any audience. this couple is terrorized by three manson-family wannabees who have chosen their innocent victims completely at random. the reason for their punishment? "because you were home." to be tortured in your parent’s summer home, a place typically filled with carefree childhood memories? this makes for a downright terrifying experience.

...but only for so long. this movie unravels for two reasons. first of all, the director thinks his audience is stupid. rule number one of any situation involving masked terrorists: don't go out on your own. stick together no matter what. i think this is a natural instinct, undeniable on any rational human being's gut level. don't ignore it. ever. even if you're trying to make a scary movie, you simply must give your audience more credit or they, like the smock, will rebel. secondly, the suspense, which is the movie’s strongest feature, unfortunately gets overused. there comes a time in even the most delightfully thrilling movies that the viewer says, “okay, guys, enough already. pee or get off the pot.”

the bottom line:
smockdaddy says, "hey, it's a B-movie starring liv tyler."
smockmomma says, "as with any 'based on actual events' flick, wait for the dvd."



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This page is an archive of entries from June 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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