November 2008 Archives

take tetris, online gaming, bubblewrap and ben and jerry's pumpkin cheesecake ice cream, stuff it with chocolate, infuse it with caffeine, and then wrap it in a chocolate-dipped waffle cone topped with graham cracker crumbles and and a dollop of whipped cream, and you will have the only thing more addictive than the iTunes store.

songs on iTunes are only ninety-nine cents each, but download 32 - YES, THIRTY AND TWO - in the space of a few hours and not only are you out thirty-something-bucks, but you've let time completely slip away from you.

i will say this, i'm totally stoked to hop on my treadmill and get serious about my (avon breast cancer) walk training. and that, according to smockdaddy, is money and time well spent.

curious about the latest downloads? it'll be like hanging out with me at my apartment in college, with a couple of currents thrown in for good measure. it's over two hours of awesomeness, my friends.

We're Going to Be Friends-The White Stripes
Anyone Else But You - Michael Cera & Ellen Page
Bruises - Chairlift
Enjoy the Silence - Depeche Mode
Sign Your Name - Terence Trent D'Arby
The Blower's Daughter (Live) - Damien Rice
Waiting for the Night (Bare) - Depeche Mode
Days Go By (Radio Edit) - Dirty Vegas
Lovesong - The Cure
Welcome to Paradise - Front 242
Queer - Garbage
So Alive - Love and Rockets
How Soon Is Now? - The Smiths
Save Me Now - Dirty Vegas
Back to Life - Soul II Soul
Baby Bitch - Ween
Pump Up the Jam - Technotronic
Groove Is In the Heart - Deee-Lite
Father Figure - George Michael
Justify My Love - Madonna
Sign Your Name - Terence Trent D'Arby
Enjoy the Silence - Depeche Mode
Sex and Candy - Marcy Playground
Sadeness (Pt 1) - Enigma
Through With You - Maroon 5
Closer - Nine Inch Nails
Passion - Peter Gabriel
Nightswimming - R.E.M.
With or Without You - U2
Breathe - Telepop Music
No Ordinary Love - Sade
Don't Explain (feat. Damien Rice) - Herbie Hancock

caveat: some of these guilty little pleasures have explicit lyrics, and their listing here in no way implies a summa mama endorsement and is not intended to substitute for professional advice of any kind. ~ the smock

ISI Civics quiz.

All the lamentation that's been going on in the media world over the low scores people are receiving? Unjustified. While I scored well, I think this is not really a fair "civics" quiz. Too much economics in it. And I think it was really fairly difficult.

But I will brag and tell you that I got 32 out of 33--96.97%. Ahem.

And that plus $4.50 will get you a cup of overpriced coffee!

Hard, but worth a read


It Was All Too Easy to Lose My Son

An article about how prenatal testing has led to a presumption that "anything wrong" will lead to termination, from a mom who did just that and regrets it.

A snippet:

Bigger and better antenatal testing may thrill research scientists and be of enormous importance to those parents who are clear in their minds about the kinds of baby they want to bring into the world. For some of us, though, there is a grave danger that the very ease and simplicity of the tests make life-and- death decisions too easy to take - and to regret.

Great quote


....stolen from this week's CERC newletter:

It is impossible to be just to the Catholic Church. The moment men cease to pull against it they feel a tug towards it. The moment they cease to shout it down they begin to listen to it with pleasure. The moment they try to be fair to it they begin to be fond of it. But when that affection has passed a certain point it begins to take on the tragic and menacing grandeur of a great love affair.

--------------------------- G.K. Chesterton

Happy Thanksgiving from the Mamas!

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Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we thine unworthy servants
do give thee most humble and hearty thanks
for all thy goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all men.
We bless thee for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for thine inestimable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we beseech thee,
give us that due sense of all thy mercies,
that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful;
and that we show forth thy praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to thy service,
and by walking before thee
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with thee and the Holy Spirit,
be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen.

As most of you know, this will not be the easiest of Thanksgivings for this Mama. But even now I am so cognizant of my many, many blessings.

I am thankful for my family, even though it seems like the heart of it is missing right now. I am still blessed with a wonderful dad, a gorgeous husband, and a handsome and smart son and his beautiful significant other. A bonus daughter and granddaughter who make life an adventure. A chosen sister, brother, niece and nephew who make me smile and who share my love of comedy and fun. How do you get luckier? You don't.

I am thankful for my many friends. I don't know how an introverted, shy girl ended up with such a host of pals, but God has been so good to me! I especially give thanks today for my two fellow Mamas. I wish you all knew them in real life. You can't imagine how awesome they are. I love you, Smock! I love you, LaMa! Blessed beyond belief? That'd be me.

But most of all I am thankful to be the daughter of so great a King. It's all grace, if it can come to one such as I.

May God's blessings shower down on all of you!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Who? Me?


Oh, you!!


Check out my gams.




A wedding and several kids later.

The red Pelle Moda Vintage peep toes are my favorite! Red shoes just really do it for me. I would so be ordering these flats if they weren't out of ye ole budget.

Well, Smock, those are delicious shoes indeed. What is it about shoes that are so very wantable, even for those of us sitting here in our sneakers on a Tuesday morning? I know a lot of women who can't wear heels, either because of a foot problem or because of where they work, or whatever. But I don't know many women who don't look at shoes and, ahem, lust over some of them.

So here's my flirty shoes, in order:


These shoes, the Janine Driver by Elie Tahari, are just cute. They are for the first time you meet someone, maybe over at Half-Price Books, searching for that one book you need to complete your collection. They say, "I'm smart, but I'm not afraid to be a girl, buddy."


Here's a little number: Pawn in black satin by Stuart Weitzman. Worn to a wedding, it shows you have impeccable taste, with just a hint of fun. You're also a practical woman, because you've worn a lower heel to a function, so that you can dance away the night without complaining about your shoes. And I think men hate it when women complain about their shoes.


For the woman not afraid to have a little edge in the workplace, we have the Carma OT Air Sling by Cole Haan. Can't fault the design--though the open toe makes 'em a little risque. These with a suit? Woo hoo! Drinks after work? Certainly!


I've shown you these "Glam it Up Boots" by Lilly Pulitzer before. Full on "I am Woman, hear me roar!". Any woman who could wear these smashers by is a worthy partner--cheeky and fearless. These with a pair of jeans and a big sweater? Awesome and sexy.


Full on sex appeal, skip the flirting, here. These are by Guiseppe Zanotti, and they practically scream, "Hey sailor, new in town?" Maybe sometimes the direct approach is best. As the Mamas caution--ONLY with your husband, now!

Happy Tuesday, ya'll!

the smock's flirty shoe tuesday



the hair toss: okay, we summas love us some kate spade. i present her "clarice" for your consideration. the best thing about these is the fact that you can buy a matching pair in black satin, too!


the wink: can you get any more precious than pink patent leather in a kitten heel? smock thinks not. here is one by gucci that just might garner more glances than a well-timed giggle.


batting the lashes: i don't know about you, but i want this shoe just so i can tell people its name: "draculette" by christian louboutin. and pink suede with criss-crossed hot pink velvet? tres nice.


blowing kisses: oh yes, a peek-a-boo toe and an ankle bow all wrapped up in one sexy little shoe. my grandmother would never wear open toes because she considered them too racy. i think she may have been on to something.


the double take: this shoe doesn't even need to come in pink to turn heads, honey. paint your toenails a yummy bubble gum and forget about it.

who didn't see this coming?



so, obama's been skipping out on church since the election ... for the gym. let the spin begin, but no matter how you slice it, it's plain ol' par for the course.

the sexiest and most delightful southern-fried duet ever.

MamaT's Music for your Monday


Two choices today, both from the incomparable Junior Brown.

First an instrumental--his version of the Sugar Foot Rag. It this doesn't make your toes tap, check your pulse:

Second, one of his vocals. Love him!

Happy Monday, ya'll!

MamaT's Daybook

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FOR TODAY, November 24, 2008

Outside My Window... the church bells are playing one of my favorite hymns, "Wheat That Springeth Green". Ya'll remember--this is one I want at my funeral.

I am thinking... that I wish PapaC could make my computer see the printer via the wireless router. Darn you, Vista! You make everything hard!

I am thankful for... the fact that my cold seems better today. I think that Cold-Eeze zinc stuff seems to help. Hallelujah!

From the kitchen... tonight I have no idea. I'll have to open the freezer and pray for inspiration. Last night the kitchen was closed and I had a salad from Jack in the Box. I highly recommend their southwest grilled chicken salad, btw, if you're not a-cookin'.

I am wearing... Black athletic pants. Black t-shirt with white flowers on it. Groovy little black "Payless but copying Skechers" casual sneaks. No jewelry, because today is about WORK, people. I have TOO MUCH to do.

I am creating... the 10 things I started last week. I am on thing 6, and i think my list is growing beyond 10, as several of the people who have seen them also want one. We'll see. I'd like to finish number 6 today.

I am going... to make three recipes of corn bread today. I promise.

I am reading... American Terrorist, a book about Timothy McVeigh. We went to the Oklahoma City memorial on our vacation this year. It made me wonder what made him tick. Hence, this book.

I am hoping... that I can get my ever growing to do list done this week. Eeeeeeek!

I am hearing... the washing machine running with the first load for today. One of the things I am thankful for, seriously, is my appliances. Talk about a life and time saver for me. I am going to pat the washer and dryer next time I walk out into the garage to change laundry around. And I may kiss my refrigerator on the way.

Around the house... are piles of work to be done. Over there is the laundry. On the table are the bills to be paid and bank statments to be reconciled. In my bedroom are the clothes to fold and put away. On the kitchen counter are the ingredients for cornbread which needs to be made and staled to turn into dressing on Thursday.

One of my favorite things... is popcorn! With butter! But I don't usually eat it with butter, since I'm on Weight Watchers. But if I were picking a last meal, popcorn dripping with butter and salt might be part of it!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Laundry, bill paying, bank statement reconciling, cooking, cooking, cooking, cooking. Giving thanks for my beautiful life--and I have a verybeautiful life. Sometimes I forget that. Not this week.

Here is picture thought I am sharing... Though I would be worried about this turkey pooping in my pumpkin pie. I suppose it's all artistic license and all that (tee hee!):


LaMa's Music for this Monday

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This AM is dear ol' Randy. Does it take you back? Go ahead and sing along, no one's watching.

so, when did our beautiful and beloved home turn into a hell-hated pignut? let me just tell you, smockdaddy and i have had all sorts of hell selling our old house. and, when i claim "old" i don't mean old, i mean the one we no longer live in. the one we moved out of over two years ago. whatever. it has been one major buttkick after another and i am not ashamed to admit that it has driven me to drink on more than one occasion.

the true problem is that we spent seven years building that house into our ideal dream home -- all kinds of custom wooden cabinetry, floors, and bookshelves. we even added a ginormous study to it. we nurtured a prayer garden, beautiful beyond belief, complete with an amazing meditation fountain. you name it, if it was an upgrade, we put it into that house. we poured our hearts into, and had three of our smocklings in, that home. we hated to let it go.

so, then we had the brilliant idea of keeping it as a rental property. let me just say this: if you ever want to have a little rental property as an investment on the side, first of all, do not love that house. you will cringe with true physical pain with every tenant who burns a hole in your wooden flooring, rips the doors off your custom built cabinets, tears out the wooden blinds, or absconds with the coolio doorknobs after having lived in your home for two months rent-free. secondly, try to have the voodoo foresight to know that the worst housing financial crisis in decades is not looming right around the corner.

after having dumped beaucoup bucks, sweat and tears into maintaining this house, it finally looks like we may be selling it -- monday. we've done everything short of bribing saint joseph to help us get it sold. yes, he was even buried upside down in our old prayer garden for what seemed like forever! but, as an act of faith that all will go well tomorrow, i unearthed him this weekend.

after walking through this empty, vacant, hollow home, my footsteps bouncing off wooden floors and naked walls, i went out to the prayer garden to get saint joseph. i stood under the tree we had planted there and cried because i was so happy that we're finally going to be out from under the financial burden of paying two mortgages and the emotional burden of constantly showing and promoting it and reading realtor feedback about why people don't like the house i love so much. i wept because we were giving away -- and in this market, that's exactly what we're doing, my friend -- the house that i have loved for nine years. the house that heard the tears and laughter of all six of our children. the hearth where we warmed ourselves and enjoyed so many major milestones.

this may seem ridiculous to those who've enjoyed family homes for ten or twenty years, or maybe even their whole lives; but you see, i've never experienced that. part of being a nomadic texan is being uprooted every few years or so. the seven years we lived in that house were the longest i have ever lived in any one house. it was the first house that i've ever had that i felt like i could really and truly call home. and i loved that home. the home where duncan learned how to ride a "real bike" and glynnis wrote her first short story, grace drew her first masterpiece, gabby took her first steps, and our smocktwins were born.

so we come to i john 2.15. love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. as i stood with bittersweet tears in the prayer garden this verse came to mind. i know the verse is, first and foremost, a commission to love God above all things, but standing there crying i couldn't help but think of it as a sensible and gentle caveat. do not become too attached to the things of this world because it'll hurt like hell when you have to leave them behind.

in order to focus on the joy of the situation, i thank God that we had that house -- maybe not as long as we had it -- but that He showered us with many blessings while we were there.

Feast of St Cecilia

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St. Cecilia by Guido Reni.jpg

St Cecilia! Patroness of Music! Martyr! Incorporable Body! She was mind numbingly awesome and is a beloved saint and friend.

O glorious saint, who chose to die
Instead of denying your King.
We pray you please to help us
As His fair praise we sing!

We lift our hearts in joyous song
To honor Him this way,
And while we sing, remembering,
To sing is to doubly pray.

At once in our hearts and in our tongues
We offer double prayer
Sent heavenward on winged notes
To praise God dwelling there.

While in our hearts and tongues we try
With song to praise God twice,
We ask dear saint, to help us be
United closed to Christ!

Fine Art Friday - the LaMa edition

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Herewith, five images for FAF of LaMa's patroness:

I especially like this image of the Magdalene, before conversion. Don't her eyes look tired?

Mary Magdalene Before Her Conversion
James Tissot

I had never seen this image before, but I love it. Love the angle the artist used. Love the light. Love the skull.

Mary Magdalene with a Night Light
Georges LaTour

This was the image I was most struck by this week when I was researching what to put up here for FAF. It is very different, and I love the fabric.

St. Mary Magdalene Approaching the Sepulchre
Giovanni Sovoldo

OK, you didn't think I could do a series of religiously themed paintings without my beloved Caravaggio, now did you? Seriously?

The Penitent Mary Magdalene

And finally, one of those paintings I love because it shows us that the Magdalene speaks to all times and places. A Magdalene with blond hair? Oh, yes. Because there are those of us who were Magdalenes, even though we were fair instead of dark.

Mary Magdalene
Giovanni Bellini

Happy Friday, ya'll!

Booking through Thursday

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I didn't like the question over at BTT for this week, so I'm making up one of my own.

With holiday shopping coming up, are you buying books for anyone? For whom? And go ahead, spill it: which books are you buying?

I'm all ears, people. And I need more entries on my to-read list!

Whatcha Reading? Wednesday

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.....almost not Wednesday anymore, huh? It's been one of those days.

Finally finished up Acedia and Me by Kathleen Norris. I liked this book a lot, and it gave me a lot to think about, as you can tell from the quotes I've been posting. I recommend it, especially if, like me, you run into that "just can't get up the energy to do anything" place. It's worth taking a look at. I appreciated most of all her musings on the necessity of the ordinary, the daily, the unspectacular in our lives. It is in those times when I am wrestling with the tasks of the day that I do some of my best thinking.

I also finished a book called Wolf at the Table by Augusten Burroughs. He also wrote Running with Scissors. This is a memoir about his life with a completely emotionally unavailable and abusive father, and a mother who wasn't a lot of protection from him, due to her own problems. There is precious little humor in this book, and I think that some people who have read his other stuff have been turned off by the relentless bleakness of this volume. Not, in general, my cup of tea, but the book was worth reading simply to get to the last chapter. In that chapter, Burroughs describes an encounter with a father whose son is to graduate from Harvard Medical School. The father is justly proud of his son, and that pride and love just overwhelms Burroughs, even though it is not for him personally. He writes:

Quickly, I turn my back on him. The top of my head is about to blow off. I gasp once and tears spring to my eyes, fill them. Quickly, I cough, choke down the sob and I wipe my tears fast with my left wrist.

"Yeah, not here. Okay, shall we go, then?" he says.

I felt it.

The love, it was so strong. How can I possibly describe this love? It is a force of nature. It is great, like the dust bowl but wonderful instead of terrible.

The pride this man feels for his son, to graduate from Harvard Medical School, a doctor. The pride, this father's . The love, this father's. For his son. It is completely overpowering.

Never in my life have I felt anything like it.

Of course I know fathers love their sons. I have seen movies. I have watched TV.

I get it.

But until this moment, I have not felt it. And now, I have.

And it is not even mine. It leaked out of somebody else and stained me. It was not intended for me. It is not mine. And yet, I felt it. There was so much of it, so much love, so much adoration, so much of everything that is fine and good and wonderful and right with the world inside this man that he could not contain it.

The grief I feel is crushing and as we leave the room, I follow him because my legs are shaking and I know if he were to look at me he would ask, Are you okay? and I am not. I am not okay.

Because I can feel what it is I did not have.

I never felt it before.

How can you really miss something when you've never experienced it? The longing is purely academic. It's book knowledge.

But tonight, I felt it. I felt it, I felt it, I felt it.

I put my head down and cried for the boy who never felt what he should have. That section made the whole book worthwhile.

Currently reading? Right Ho, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse. This drives PapaC crazy, because I keep wanting to read him "just this one little snippet", which he doesn't find all that funny because he hasn't read all the funny little snippets before the one I'm hauling out.

I'm also reading James Herriott's All Creatures Great and Small. It was time for a little sweetness and light after sociopathic fathers and acedia.

How 'bout ya'll?

sounds about raht

You Are Chinese Checkers
You live a hyper, fast paced life. You rarely ever slow down.
You are good at juggling many things at once. You are the ultimate multi-tasker.

You enjoy being in a group - in fact the bigger the group, the better.
You are an enthusiastic competitor, and you can be a little ruthless when you play games.

Handy with a Sewing Machine?

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I'm not, but I wanted to show you this great new project that you must join me in if you're crafty with material or fiber.

Mama to Mama is gathering little handmade hats to put in Safe Birth kits for women in Northern Haiti as part of an effort to reduce their staggering maternal and child mortality rate.

You can download the simple pattern from the website (above link), or make your own sewn or crochet/knit (my alley!) cotton cap or receiving blanket to help out.

DO IT! Then come tell me about it : )


smock says, this is one coolio tee, especially when you consider it's only 15 bucks. i will admit that, seein' as how i'm not a chess player, it took me a few minutes, or five, to finally get it. but once i did, i was duly impressed.* surely you have someone on your christmas list who needs a really rad article of coolage. besides, this is a rockin' website -- any site that adverts itself as "hardcore catholic" gets two smocks up. so buy one. now. c'mon. you know you wanna.

even if you don't don the duds, you can visit
* for other non-chess players out there, it's "respect the bishop."

A serious thought


The willful rejection of loveliness has often served as a metaphor for acedia, and I find it true to my own experience. It is all too easy for me to despise the pleasant lands, and choose alienation over connection because it promises to preserve my vaunted independence. Sometimes it is necessary to remind myself that I am not self-sufficient and never have been.

-------------Kathleen Norris, Acedia and me

A blast from the past to go with PST


Pretty Shoe Tuesday - the Boot Edition

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Look, I have fat calves. Even at my thinnest, I have muscular, big calves. Boots, unless ordered specifically from someone who makes 'em for girls like me, are always a problem. But I've always loved 'em. Always wanted 'em. Drool over 'em.

So let's see what we want today:

This is the classic boot. By Ralph Lauren. You don't get any bootier than that. If you bought these boots, and took care of them, you might own them for the rest of your life. They'd go with pants, long skirts. Love 'em. Want 'em. Would consider a calf-ectomy to get 'em:


Now these next boots I really could wear. They are fabulous, and look at that heel! Such a cute thing!


Next are the boots I imagine LaMa wearing. I'd wear 'em too, but I'm probably really too old for 'em. Love the biker sort of look of these:


And finally, we always have to have a Summa shoe or boot. Today's choice comes from our beloved Betsey Johnson. Animal print and pink flowers? Darling, it's just too, too!!!


Happy Tuesday, ya'll!

2day's smockmusic

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i was actually jammin' to this song on my ipod this morning, but just found this video version. i had never seen this video before. the storyline actually brought an unexpected tear to my eye. totally coolmoe.

smock's daybook, nov 17 edition

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(a pic from smock's anne taintor day planner)

Outside My Window... night is falling because i can never seem to get to the summa's during daylight hours . . . how twilight of me.

I am thinking... that ladies' days really suck big time. and, ladies, you know of which i speak.

I am thankful for... midol. and friends who make warm fuzzy things for me for christmas.

From the kitchen... cereal night!

I am wearing... one of smockdaddy's big ol' sweatshirts and some stretchy pants. i'm diggin' the stretchy pants, lemme tell y'all.

I am creating... ummm.... a big ol' carbon footprint every monday since i have to pick up gab from school at 3, dunc from latin at 4, gracie from brownies at 4.30 and glynn from band at 5.

I am going... to finish my avon tomorrow and catch up on dexter and true blood tonight. can. not. wait!

I am reading... don't laugh, but i am STILL reading the same three books i reported on over a month ago. heavy sigh.

I am hoping... that i don't faint when i step on the scale at weight watchers tomorrow morning. can you say water retention? ugh.

I am hearing... lots of smocklings making evening noises. loud and happy and crazy evening noises.

Around the house... lots of smocklings running and frolicking! i'm braced for the SMACKTHUD sound though.

One of my favorite things... is a heating pad. where'd i hide it?

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: i will survive.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...


Recipe for LaMa

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Inside-out Eggroll Casserole

1 TBS canola oil
1/2 cup EACH thinly sliced celery (on the diagonal), red pepper, and onions
1 bag cole slaw mix (cabbage, carrots, etc.)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger root
1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder OR allspice
Soy sauce, to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Chili flakes

Add-ins: 1.5 lb of your choice of COOKED tofu, meat, poultry, or seafood; and your choice of canned, drained water chestnuts, snow peas, canned hearts of palm, canned bamboo shoots, scallions, julienned green beans, etc.

How to:

Saute celery/peppers/onion in canola oil for 1 minute. Add garlic, ginger, five-spice, and slaw mix and saute until it starts to cook down. Add soy sauce and chili flakes to taste; saute a bit longer and then add your choice of add-ins. Remaining cooking time depends on add-ins. DO NOT OVERCOOK; cabbage should still have some crunch.

Serve alone or with brown rice. Have Chinese hot mustard and/or hoisin sauce on the side. Also can be wrapped in a tortilla. Good warm or cold.

Serves 4-6

LaMamacita's Daybook


November 17, 2008

Outside My Window... The mailman is driving off. He brought me a package of cat flea stuff and a bill I mailed Saturday returned for postage. Whoopsies.

I am thinking... of my list for the grocery and of a shower.

I am thankful for... those little moments of silence throughout the day.

From the kitchen... we are ordering in Thai tonight. But! I'm planning for some pumpkin and cranberry bread to come from the kitchen soon.

I am wearing... gray drawing-string shorts and a red V neck.

I am creating... slippers for myself, same boring scarf for Mom, just finished a cabled hat for my man.

I am going... grocery shopping and to the park.

I am reading... Permission to Mother by Denise Punger. I've barely cracked it and it's taking me forever to read anything these days, but it looks like a thumbs up.

I am hoping... this flea stuff works on the cat. Isn't it weird for an indoor animal to start getting fleas in November? Gross.

I am hearing... little voices and Milosh.

Around the house... laundry and bathrooms may get done if they're lucky.

One of my favorite things... is those little, lard filled cherry pies from gas stations. Especially with cheap gas station coffee taken in the car while traveling.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Calm week here, too. My Jude has a dentist appointment Thursday. Saturday there is a big Etsy sale here in Dallas that I'm hoping to make it to.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

This is a print I adore that is in our living room. It came from this talented girl (speaking of Etsy!).

LaMa Monday Music of Choice

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This morning is Milosh. Check out this mesmerizing video and smooth tunes:

Thinking about.....


We do not know what will happen. Disasters will strike, and great blessings will come. Our difficult and glorious task is to live through it all. Paying attention is essential, as is remembering that, as Soelle writes, "the experience that Jesus had in Gethsemane goes beyond. . . destruction. It is the experience of assent." In that gruesome and interminable night, waiting revealed itself as a true ally, a bulwark against fear. And Jesus became the most radically free and dangerous man of all, the one who embodies hope in the face of death and is afraid of nothing.

----------------------Kathleen Norris, Acedia and Me

What MamaT's listening to this morning....


Hmmmm. Feeling a little old this morning, might I be???

MamaT's Daybook

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FOR TODAY, November 17, 2008

Outside My Window... Little girls in red sweaters and plaid skirts are shrieking and laughing and running for the school building. Little boys, in an attempt to be more manly, shrug their shoulders up around their necks and shove their hands deep into their pockets on the way to class. The rebel few walk proudly in their shorts and polo shirts, disdaining any compromise with cool weather. I suppose they're "cool" in more ways than one this morning.

I am thinking... that I really miss my mom this morning. She would like this first turn in the weather.

I am thankful for... Lion Brand Homespun yarn. It is yummy to look at, soft to work with. Hard to see stitches at first, but you can't have everything.

From the kitchen... Probably will be chicken and broccoli soup. Or Inside Out Eggroll casserole. Yum!

I am wearing... Blue athletic pants. Pink t-shirt that says "Kiss Me, I'm Catholic", flamingo socks (yes, you read it right!), sneakers. Silver hoop earrings.

I am creating... 10 things that I can't tell you about yet, because 2 of them are gifts for my Summa compatriots. There is a hint above, though.

I am going... to make one more of my ten things today. I'm also going to run out to the craft store for some supplies for another little project i have in mind.

I am reading... Right Ho, Jeeves at the moment. I just finished Wolf at the Table by Augusten Burroughs--that guy who wrote Running with Scissors, Smock.

I am hoping... that I can do my Thanksgiving shopping this week, and miss the crowds of next week. I went to the grocery store on Saturday for the first time in years this past weekend. It was a zoo. I'll stick to my weekday shopping, thank you, and stay out of those people's way who only have weekends to shop.

I am hearing... the refrigerator make a slightly funny noise. So is the ceiling fan. Please don't be sick, appliances. Please.

Around the house... are piles of white dog hair, which have gotten the best of me the past couple of days. They are OUT of here today, though. Hear that, dust bunnies? Your days are numbered. This house isn't big enough for the both of us!

One of my favorite things... is clean sheets. If I were rich, I'd have someone come every day and put on clean sheets. Aaaaaahhhhh. Doesn't that sound nice?

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: A pretty calm week this week. Stay home, mostly. I have book club this week, but we are going up to the church and watching the movie Miss Potter with Smock's girlcrush, Renee Zelwegger. Oh, and I'm making cupcakes for one of our book club members whose birthday it is. Wednesday night I'm watching Top Chef, which is back on. How pitiful is it that I arrange my week around a reality TV show?????

Here is picture thought I am sharing...



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We have the most awesome neighbor. Eddie is a single, middle aged guy. He lets us use this grill and lawn stuff, puts those giant holiday blow up things in our yard, is super sweet and patient with our children, and is extremely funny. We heart Eddie.

So, this past weekend he came over with a life-sized Santa that sings and dances for the boys. Holy Christmas cheer, Batman! The thing is terrifying, creepy and hilarious. Papicitio and the boys have positioned him lying on the couch with the remote, at the table eating a sandwich, woken me up from a nap by slipping him into bed with me. Santa is always peeking around corners with an almost sinister jolly face and little puppet mouth. He regularly wears a Darth Vader mask and a Robin Hood cloak. Even when he's just standing there alone he makes me jump as I come around the corner.

He must be destroyed.

I've been plotting his impending Freecycling to no avail as the kids aren't sick of him yet- crucial to my plan. We have no closet space to hide him so there he stands, watching, waiting, knowing if we've been naughty or nice and staying mum about it except for a twinkle in his creepy mechanical eye.

Ha! I've got to get pictures.

Fine Art Friday - My Hobby Edition

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Woman Reading
Claude Monet


Two Girls Reading
Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Girl Reading
Pablo Picasso

Woman Reading at a Dressing Table
Henri Matisse

Young Woman Reading
Mary Cassatt

Woman in Blue Reading a Letter
Jan Vermeer

And these only scratch the surface of paintings about reading!

Happy Friday, ya'll!

The one game I don't like!

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You Are Checkers
You are very logical and rational. You are able to understand what is and isn't a factor.
You're able to compartmentalize and focus on the essentials.
You appreciate simplicity. You can see the layers of complexity and beauty in anything.
You are also playful and good natured. You don't take life too seriously!

Thanks, Ellyn!

One of my favorite things....

| | Comments (1) TV on DVD. Or better yet, on Netflix "watch it now" service. It comes with the regular subscription, and there is a massive amount of stuff out there.

So, every day at lunch, I get to watch an episode of 30 Rock, a television show that I never watched (or watch, as in present tense, since I assume it is still going on) on television.

No commercials. 21 minutes of funny. And, though I can't believe I'm saying this, Alec Baldwin rocks this show. He is one of those actors that I normally cannot stand, because I am so anti everything he stands for on a personal level. I think that is why I never watched the show. But I decided to try it on a whim, after checking my account and queue one day after lunch. Now it's become my own secret vice. Eat a quick lunch. Watch an episode.

My family, when they are around, thinks I've lost my mind. I sit at the table at my computer and laugh all by myself.

How can you not, when one of the characters, says something like this:

"I'm gonna give you some advice. Live every it's SHARK WEEK!"

OK, so maybe you had to be there. But it made me laugh out loud.

And that's good for the heart.

Booking Through Thursday

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I've asked, in the past, about whether you more often buy your books, or get them from libraries. What I want to know today, is, WHY BUY?

Even if you are a die-hard fan of the public library system, I'm betting you have at least ONE permanent resident of your bookshelves in your house. I'm betting that no real book-lover can go through life without owning at least one book. So ... why that one? What made you buy the books that you actually own, even though your usual preference is to borrow and return them?

If you usually buy your books, tell me why. Why buy instead of borrow? Why shell out your hard-earned dollars for something you could get for free?

Well, some people do it so that they can write all over their books. Or turn down pages willy-nilly. Yes, Smock, I'm talking about you!

But I do neither of those things, except with some of my "spiritual direction" books. Those I mark.

So, if I don't mark up my books, why buy what I could get for free? I think this is a better question than it appears at first. It's an issue I'm dealing with all the time. How much to keep. What to let go. While I don't have fewer books at the moment, in the end I will have far fewer books than I do now. As I finish books, I'm being more judicious about what stays and what I pass on. At this point, I am not interested in keeping a "general" library. I only want to keep my library. The books I have loved or that have meant much to me. Things that I might reread (though I'm not really much of a re-reader) or might want to put in someone else's hands with a "Here! Read This!"

As I get older, I don't want so much stuff around me. That doesn't keep me from haunting Half Price Books, but I'm more willing to pass things on when I'm done. I've checked out more from the library than I have in the past,

But sometimes it backfires. Acedia and Me is an example. I checked it out of the library, but it turns out I wish I had purchased it. It is something that I think I might look at again.

Maybe it's just the thought process of an old lady. But I wish I had bought fewer, but nicer editions of, books. And used the library WAY more.

I would have thought that heresy 10 years ago.

Whatcha Reading? Wednesday

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Let's see. I'm still reading Acedia and Me by Kathleen Norris. I need to finish it, because it's due back at the library soon. This is a book that I'm going to look for at Half Price Books, because I may want to read it again in a few years.

This week I finished Nineteen Minutes by Jodie Picoult. A more depressing book I haven't read in quite some time. As I said on Monday, if high school is really like that, I'm glad we homeschooled. The book is about a Columbine-like school shooting. I'm sure we'll have a good discussion at book club, because we have a couple of retired teachers--their take on school culture should be interesting.

I also finished The Care and Feeding of Husbands by Laura Schlesinger. I think this is a very, very fine book. It tracks right along with a lot of the advice I have given over the years. I'm considering buying several copies of the book and handing them out. Especially, maybe, as wedding gifts for young brides.

After almost 30 years of marriage, it's the truest marriage help book I've ever read. It would radically tic off feminists, so I automatically like it. And she explicitly says this is advice for marriages that are hurting, but not in cases of abuse, addiction or affairs. Those things need more help than any book. If you think you need a little marriage tune up--try this one, girls. It couldn't hurt.

Next on the stack, Right Ho, Jeeves, by P. G. Wodehouse. After that, I don't know. Something off my giant pile of "to reads."

How 'bout you?

Birth of a Blog


Clean Out Your Eyes

Written by two Mothers-of-Many and an uber good read.

smock-ku over midnight

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little smocklings sigh
but only while they're sleeping
morning comes roaring

here is my favorite haiku of all time. sadly, i do not know the author.
it reflects my slightly jaded world view while maintaining a playful voice:

tiny hotel soap
too small to wash my body
yet i take you home

just for fun, why not share one of your favorites? or, better yet, submit one of your own!

Pretty Shoes will be coming........

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......but I've been lost over at YouTube--darn, that's addictive!

I've been reliving the soundtrack of my youth over there.

Maybe I'll post some of 'em.

Zman just shakes his head at me--"Was just EVERYONE on drugs then, Mom?"

Well, no I wasn't.

And what a weird mix of music I listened to!

I ran across the first songs I ever remember hearing from my parents' stereo--I'm sure there were others, but this is the one I remember--Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass's version of "A Taste of Honey". I still think it's sexy. And engraved in my brain is the cover of one of the albums--with a girl completely covered in whipped cream. Wowie!

Anyway, instead of doing what I'm supposed to be doing, I'm reliving my past.

I'll be back......

Something to think about


I recognize myself in one aspect of acedia that Evagrius detects in the monk who is "quick to undertake a service, but considers his own satisfaction to be a precept." All too often when I volunteer for a job at church, it is because I feel like it: I have the time, and I know it will make me feel good in every sense of the word, fulfilled and virtuous. Yet often the tasks I don't particularly want turn out to be the ones I most need to perform. One test to determine whether I am receiving a call from God or from my ego is to ask whether this is something I would rather not do, or feel incapable of doing well. If either is the case, my best course may be to set my feelings aside and try to do the job.

-------------Kathleen Norris, Acedia and Me

MamaT's Daybook



FOR TODAY, November 10, 2008

Outside My Window... The leaves are sprinkling down beautifully. Well, beautiful until I have to go rake 'em up. There is a dampness in the air, and it's cloudy to the west. Rain today? That'd be OK, just not at school pick up time, please.

I am thinking... that if high school is even 1/2 as bad as Jodi Picoult depicts it in her novels, I'm glad we homeschooled.

I am thankful for... my home, even when the maintenance of it is apparently beyond me. It's such a nice little house. It deserves to be better taken care of.

From the kitchen... tonight will be a ham and potato fritatta, with a green salad. Unless I find a yummy new soup recipe to try!

I am wearing... blue jeans and a pink t-shirt. I'm barefooted at the moment, but I'll find something to put on these feet before long.

I am creating...a Commonplace Book to keep my notes from my reading in. I want something to be able to refer back to later. And I'm hand writing it, at least at the moment, to slow me down and make me think.

I am going... to straighten up my house this week, do financial statements for my parish, attend a flower arranging class, and a parish council meeting. Whew!

I am reading... Acedia and Me by Kathleen Norris, still. I also finished Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. It is our book club selection for this month and I needed to finish it to pass it on to another club member who didn't get a copy.

I am hoping... that I don't get sick. I am still sore and tired feeling. I have too much to do to be sick.

I am hearing... the washing machine and dryer going. I've got piles of laundry to do today, and I need to keep them turning over and not let things sit. PapaC is nearly out of clean pants for work, so those have to be done first!

Around the house...Why does every horizontal surface attract the maximum amount of clutter? How come the dishwasher is always the OPPOSITE of what I need it to be????

One of my favorite a made up bed. So how come I don't just DO it every morning and make myself happy?

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Actually do a few rows on that darn purple afghan, it needs to be DONE. Get Flylady started again. This house is ridiculous. Pay bills. Work on church accounting. GET TO BED AT A REASONABLE TIME. Not 2 a.m. Ahem.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Yellow leaves

What MamaT's listening to this a.m.


Only the most beautiful love song of MY time. Try slow dancing with your hubby to this one, "Beautiful" by Gordon Lightfoot:

Music For Your Monday


Hello sunshine! This morning I'm listening to Super Furry Animals.

Looking forward to hearing what the other Mamas have on today.

It's about time!

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Well, now it's back to work


Frankly, yesterday I could think of nothing to say. I'm still pretty gob-smacked today.

But the sun rises, the sun sets, and things go on.

And so will we.

I cannot pretend to be happy, or even at peace with, the election results.

I am, however, at peace with God. I railed and fussed and moaned on Tuesday night. But what came through loud and clear were the quotes I posted below.

It is not given to us to pick the time and place we will serve the Lord. We are called to the here and the now for a reason, because there is something we can do that we couldn't have done in any other place and time. And if it means that we must be uncomfortable, then that's just the way it is.

It is time for us to become stronger in our faith. To live it, not just talk it. To put aside the fear of whether it will make us "different" or "weird" to other people. It will.

It must.

If it doesn't, then we aren't following the One who loved us so much that He died for us.

Do you think we can go along, seeming like we're just like everyone else? Did Christ seem like everyone else? Did the disciples, when they were fired with the Holy Spirit? Would YOU have bet money on a bunch of fisherman and tax collectors spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth?

So, it's like I told Smock this morning. Live your faith. Speak it in love. Never let there be any doubt whose you are.

Then everything will be well.

Because it will, you know.

It already is.

After this, good night!


"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin."

-------------------------------Mother Teresa

Double yep


People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Be good anyway.

Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People need help, but may attack you if you try to help them.
Help them anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.

----------------------------Mother Teresa


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Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.

----------------------Galatians 5:7-9

the winds of change . . .



Here's what he wrote:

Warriors With Our Eyes Fixed on Heaven.

And here's what he said on a radio call in show, as reported on the Whispers in the Loggia blog:

Host: There are Catholics listening right now who are thinking strongly or are convinced that they will vote for Barack Obama. What would you say to them?

Finn: I would say, give consideration to your eternal salvation.

Bonus money-quote: "I'm not in this, as a lifelong vocation, to sit on the sidelines and just fold my hands and pray. I do a lot of that... but when it comes to issues of right and wrong, of justice, of life and death, then I have to speak and I won't be quiet."

smock's monday music


bruises by chairlift. an awesome tune from a little known group, it was picked up for an ipod commercial and now it's everywhere. including smock's playlist. enjoy.

LaMa Daybook


For November 3rd 2008

Outside My Window... diapers are hanging to dry in super sweet weather.

I am thinking... about needing a new bookshelf for school stuff. Actually, a new entertainment center/bookshelf big deal thing would be awesome.

I am thankful for... my parish as well. Very much.

From the kitchen... polenta with tomatoes and sauted garlicky potatoes for tonight. Subject to change.

I am wearing... cords, nursing tank, red cardigan.

I am creating...
the same scarf for Mom. Still boring and slow-going.

I am Women at the Well if Papicito makes it home in time to relieve me. Other than that, just the backyard.

I am reading... catalogs that came in the mail and emailed newsletters.

I am hoping... for a creative burst.

I am hearing... birds, children, cars.

Around the house... laundry, dusting, scraping cemented oatmeal off highchair.

One of my favorite things... Color Trend lip gloss bought off an adorable Avon Lady with great legs.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Family hiking after voting tomorrow, free from media insanity.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Autumnal Music For Your Monday


Autumn in New York (so different from Autumn in Texas!) by fellow Catholica and my favorite female artist, Miss Holiday, is what I'm listening to this Monday.

And you?

What MamaT's listening to this Monday

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Be sure you watch this through the tap break at about 3 minutes. He's genius!

Can't wait to see what LaMa is listening to!

MamaT's Monday Daybook



FOR TODAY, November 3, 2008

Outside My Window... The squirrels, tree rats that they are, are fighting with each other and running up and down the tree in my front yard. Darn them. If they'd stay out of my attic, I'd think they were cute.

I am thinking... I am so very far from being a saint. Sometimes it's just depressing.

I am thankful for... my parish, who is sponsoring an all night exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in preparation for voting day tomorrow. PapaC and I will be there from 1-2 a.m., at least.

From the kitchen...tonight will be someone else's responsibility. I hope I'm eating supper at LaMadeleine with the Smock.

I am wearing...Blue jean capris and a funky green t-shirt. Sneakers. I've got work to do.

I am creating...the same purple afghan. And, I hope, a clean house today!

I am Women at the Well tonight. I am going to go vote tomorrow. I hope all of you do, too.

I am reading... Weight Watchers recipes. I need to spark up my daily cooking a little, and I'm hungry for some SOUP.

I am hoping...that I have money left over after I pay the bills.

I am hearing... Sammy Davis Jr..

Around the house...I need to find a hiding place for the Christmas presents I am buying. Yes, I'm already buying Christmas. I have to. I have to spread out the cost, and I'd like to be done before Advent. So there.

One of my favorite things...peanut butter on toast. Why are my favorite things all about food? Oh, yeah, more than a year of Weight Watchers. That's why!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Pray, vote, pray some more. Go to a jewelry party. Pay bills. (eek!)

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Weird plants at Yellowstone

Still from vacation. This is in a hot pool at Yellowstone. Loved the color banding in the plants. God has a good eye, doesn't He?

Happy Monday, ya'll!

For All Thy Saints

For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For the Apostles' glorious company,
Who bearing forth the Cross o'er land and sea,
Shook all the mighty world, we sing to Thee:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For the Evangelists, by whose blest word,
Like fourfold streams, the garden of the Lord,
Is fair and fruitful, be Thy Name adored.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For Martyrs, who with rapture kindled eye,
Saw the bright crown descending from the sky,
And seeing, grasped it, Thee we glorify.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor's crown of gold.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth's wide bounds, from ocean's farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Sung, of course, to the incomparable Sine Nomine.

All Saints Day - MamaT's posse

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"To have courage for whatever comes in life - everything lies in that."

St. Teresa of Avila


"Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God who was to come into the world."
St. Martha


"For if, as Paul says, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, and if the man who does not know Scripture does not know the power and wisdom of God, then ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ."
St. Jerome


"Clearly, what God wants above all is our will which we received as a free gift from God in creation and possess as though our own. When a man trains himself to acts of virtue, it is with the help of grace from God from whom all good things come that he does this. The will is what man has as his unique possession."
St. Joseph of Cupertino


"What does it matter where we go? Wherever we go, won't we be serving God there? And wherever we go, won't we have Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament with us? Isn't that enough to make us happy?"
The Venerable Father Solanus Casey


"Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset."
St. Francis de Sales


"I do not pray for success, I ask for faithfulness."
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Happy All Saints Day, ya'll!



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