December 2008 Archives

So Long '08



2008 was an interesting year for me. Kinda stressful, pretty wild, really joyful.

We welcomed and baptized our third baby and experienced the bittersweet, rapid stream of first year milestones. We got a job promotion and moved nearly halfway across the southern US and back to friends and family. We made great new friends and left some behind. We started our homeschooling adventure- not to mention my Summa Mama adventure. WINK. We cried, laughed, voted, learned, received and observed this year.

I feel about 08 like you do after a road trip or a ridiculously long walk- exhausted, relieved, victorious, really glad it's over yet nostalgic and satisfied.

I'm welcoming 09 with hopes for another wild, joyful, maybe a little stressful and entirely unique year.

Happy New Year!

As we head out to Vigil Mass....


.....for Mary, Mother of God, I leave you with something that if it doesn't raise the hairs on your arms, you should check your pulse. The great Jessye Norman, singing Ave Maria. Enjoy!

....we continue to watch Christmas movies long after Blockbuster has moved them out of the special display and put them back amongst the other movies. Though I don't know of any Christmas movies that I would say I didn't like, there are some I like better than others, and I'm still finding gems that I didn't know about.

The first movie is one of the latter:


I had never seen Christmas in Conneticut until this year. Starring a very young Barbara Stanwyck and the handsome Dennis Morgan, along with a great supporting cast including Sydney Greenstreet and S. Z. Sakall (you know him from In the Good Old Summertime with Judy Garland), this is a good, but not great Christmas movie. I'll definitely put it in the annual rotation, but it isn't one of my favorites..



Scrooged is one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies. I love all versions of A Christmas Carol, but I am particularly drawn to the sort of off-beat takes on the story. I adore, for example, The Muppets Christmas Carol and think that Michael Caine did a fabulous job as Scrooge.

But Bill Murray may take the cake as the smarmy television president Frank Cross is busy working on a live staging of Scrooge, his version of A Crhistmas Carol. Starring the Solid Gold Dancers in gold lame and g-strings, and Mary Lou Retton as Tiny Tim, it's not exactly your average staging. But Frank becomes Scrooge in his own life, being visited by his former boss (John Forsythe in horrible makeup) and the three Christmas ghosts.

It's a relatively dark comedy, and I certainly wouldn't watch it with young'uns, but the Zman and I laugh our way through it every year. Carol Kane as the Ghost of Christmas Present is the highlight of the movie. All you have to do to make Zman and I laugh in WalMart is to look at the appliances and say, "Oh look, Frank, it's a toaster!" And yes, people do move away from us in the aisles.

I'm not a big Bill Murray fan, in general, but I love this one and Groundhog Day. Something about redemption that gets me every time.

Next on the list? Home Alone I think. Then The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Hey, who cares if the Blockbuster folks are looking at us kind of funny?

Books, books, and more books!

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Time for the wrap-up on my reading for 2008. Hard to believe it's the end of the year. I've had better years, and I can't say I'll be sorry to be shut of this one. But I did read some good books!

Here's the complete listing:

Spiritual reading:

The Cure of Ars Today by George William Rutler
Thy Will Be Done by St. Francis de Sales
Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer by C. S. Lewis
Catholic Matters: Confusion, Controversy and the Splendor of Truth by Richard John Neuhaus
A Travel Guide to Heaven by Anthony De Stefano
Because God is Real by Peter Kreeft
John Paul the Great by Peggy Noonan
90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper
Acedia and Me by Kathleen Norris
The Great Divorce (reread) by C. S. Lewis

Georgette Heyer novels:

These Old Shades
The Quiet Gentleman
Bath Tangle
Regency Buck
The Black Sheep
Friday's Child
Lady of Quality
Faro's Daughter
Devil's Cub
The Reluctant Widow
Charity Girl

Marion Chesney novels:

The Banishment
The Intrigue
The Deception
The Folly
The Romance
The Homecoming
Penelope Goes to Portsmouth

Book club books:

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards
Interpreter of Maladies (reread) by Jhumpa Lahiri
My Life in France by Julia Child
Final Payments by Mary Gordon
Cosmas, or the Love of God by Pierre de Calan
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

Alexander McCall Smith's #1 Ladies Detective Agency:

Blue Shoes and Happiness
The Good Husband of Zebra Drive

P. G. Wodehouse:

The Inimitable Jeeves
Very Good, Jeeves
Right Ho, Jeeves!

Elizabeth Goudge novels:

Green Dolphin Street
Pilgrim's Inn

C. S. Lewis novels:

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Prince Caspian

Susan Howatch novels:

The Shrouded Walls

Other fiction:

The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey
The World, the Flesh and Father Smith by Bruce Marshall
The Fairy Rebel by Lynne Reid Banks
A Glass of Blessings by Barbara Pym
The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult
Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich


Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson
1776 by David McCullough
Homeschooling: A Family's Journey by Gregory & Martine Millman
Beautiful Boy by David Sheff
The Care and Feeding of Husbands by Laura Schlesinger
A Wolf at the Table by Augusten Burroughs

Sixty-one books for 2008. Certainly not the most challenging list I've read over the past few years, but one day I want to meet Georgette Heyer in heaven and thank her for the hours of pleasure and solace she provided me during a most difficult year. When I was so sad I could hardly bear it, I could always escape into the Regency world and be somewhere else. That was more dear to me than I can express. Thank you, Ms. Heyer!

Here's to a better 2009, and more, more, more books!

Happy Wednesday, ya'll!

hey y'all, where's my global warming?


yes-yes, it's been as high as a balmy seventy degrees down here in Tejas, but that doesn't mean that much of the rest of the country hasn't been buried in snow this holiday season. and, here's proof from the national weather thingie, so all of our global warming trendies can go suck a snowcone.

View image

there's no question that the smock digs some sexy. and seein' as how we lost some truly sexy legends in 2008; well, she felt obliged to share.. .
earth as kitty.jpg

eartha kitt

eartha. the name alone evokes sexiness. orson welles once called her "the most exciting woman in the world" -- and eatha did her level best to live up to the compliment. the legendary jazz singer is probably best known for her sultry "santa baby" song; although, those of us who had the pleasure of growing up with a bat channel remember her most fondly as "catwoman."


paul newman

can anyone think of paul newman and not immediately picture his crystal clear blue eyes? or ripling muscles? or .... eh-hem. classically handsome, but always leaking sex appeal around the edges, paul newman was a true hollywood legend. movie star, philanthropist, or activist, mr. newman did whatever he did with gusto. i first had the pleasure of witnessing the manly manish manness of paul newman as "cool hand luke" when i was in the sixth grade. it breaks my heart that a whole generation of women are going to remember him as "the guy on the salad dressing label."


bettie page

say what you will about miss bettie page, it won't change the fact that this pin-up beauty and her raven bangs became the personification of sexy sweetness. bettie only posed as a, well, as a somewhat controversial model for 8 years; but she was "born again" in 1959 and spent several years with billy graham's ministry as a missionary to angola. despite the very hard life bettie lived, she was known as a relatively innocent and naive woman who abhorred "trashy talk" and profanity. my heart goes out to her -- and i heart me some of this beauty.


michael crichton

sexy? michael crichton? oh, yes! anyone who can piss off the entire "global warming trendies" community (read, state of fear -- no really, read state of fear) in one fell swoop really melts my butter. beautiful baby blues and an infectious smile don't hurt either. of course, nothing -- nuh-thing -- is sexier than a really big brain, and author, storyteller, and filmmaker mr. crichton, "who enjoyed challenging his reader's preconceived notions about the world around them," shared his smarts in spades.



william f. buckley, jr.

it has been brought to my attention that seein' as how william f. buckley, jr., the patron saint of American conservatives, had the biggest brain of all, he should have been included in my sexy legends list. fair 'nuff.

and while i'm adding some sexiness ...


charlton heston

i don't think a man could get any manlier than mister charlton heston. women wanted him -- in togas, tights, or trousers -- and men wanted to be him. bottom line: the man made moses sexy. what more can one say?


heath ledger

he played the perfect everyman as well as the perfect psycho. while he may have been a tad too pretty for smock's taste, he had one helluva sexy voice. that could make your toes curl. in a good way. young ledger was proof that there is often a very fine line between genius and madness. it's a cryin' shame he crossed it.

Merry Christmas!



Jean Bourdichon

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas:
Star and Angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,
Love incarnate, love divine;
Worship we our Jesus,
But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token;
Love be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and neighbor,
Love for plea and gift and sign.

-------Christina Rossetti

Happy Christmas Eve, ya'll!

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Too much to do today for much of a post, but know that all of our dear readers are in our prayers, today and always.

Let's thank God for our many blessings, and eat cookies for breakfast!

Quote O' the Day

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Fight all error, but do it with good humor, patience, kindness, and love. Harshness will damage your own soul and spoil the best cause.
- St. John Cantius

Christmas shoe time! To say nothing of the fact that LaMa and I both have a thing for red shoes. Here are some we'd like to see in our closet:

The first ones are practical. Cute, but practical:


Next, here are the Texas Christmas shoes of choice. I so lust after these, it is indecent:


Here are the ones that are dressy, but that you could actually wear to Midnight Mass, causing a stir, but not the wrong kind of stir, if you know what I mean:


Then, finally, the fantasy pair. The pair to wear to a Christmas party that's not in the parish hall. Yum!


Happy Tuesday, ya'll! And go get caught under the mistletoe! Nothing like some Christmas kisses to brighten up the day!

LaMa's Daybook

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December 22, 2008

Outside My Window.
.. it's COLD!! and darkish. Our neighbor put up inflatable Santas before leaving town; they are deflated and sad looking now. I wish I had the huevos to go out in the chill to try to figure out if I could fix them.

I am thinking... about how very poor our heater is. It can't heat past 65 and we're the kind of family that finds 65 frigid and inhumane. Alas and woe.

I am thankful for... heat at all!

From the kitchen... still a mystery for tonight. I am in the mood for something heavy and bad for me. I think it can be arranged.

I am wearing... jeans, gray tee, green cardigan and a bright orange fleece blanket wrapped around me because of the whole inhumane temperature drama.

I am creating... my Mother's Christmas scarf STILL. Sigh. Also a wool diaper cover for a friend's bebe that can be finished right after the blasted scarf.

I am going... to the store for diaper cream, coffee creamer, apples and peanut butter. One must never be without these.

I am reading... Jane and Cassandra is still in progress. I grabbed Ancient Highway by Bret Lott from the library but haven't cracked it. I also pulled down Great Expectations the other evening and started it because I was in the mood, now it lies waiting. But it is in good company.

I am hoping... for a jolly, peaceful Christmas for YOU!

I am hearing... El Papacito playing Wii with the boys. If you have little boys and a husband and video games, you know how very loud this is.

Around the house... it's really clean! It received an Advent cleaning and is Christmasy and cozy.

One of my favorite things... is Wii bowling, now that I mention it. I really love Wii sports. Especially after a Jack and Coke, when my athletic ability really shines.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Santa Maria! Decorating, house guest, baking, knitting, wrapping, cooking, Mass-ing, celebrating.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Keeping with our Christmas Music Theme


Takes me back!

What MamaT is listening to today


From one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies, because I think Michael Caine is GENIUS!

MamaT's Daybook

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FOR TODAY, December 22, 2008

Outside My Window... it's quiet. School is on holiday, so the usual background noise of car doors slamming and children laughing and yelling is absent. But the Mak is watching cartoons and eating breakfast (hey, it's a holiday, people!) and I find that a cheerful sound to make up for the outside quiet.

I am thinking... that I wish I had the kind of metabolism that would let me eat Christmas cookies for breakfast every day this week. As I don't, I'm eating an egg and whole wheat toast. Poor substitute, to my mind.

I am thankful for... the fact that I am finished wrapping Christmas gifts. I still have a few to deliver, but all of mine are at least wrapped. This is the latest I have ever finished, and it is stressful to me.

From the kitchen... tonight will be Sloppy Joes, chips and fruit. We'll be decorating the tree tonight, so it needs to be easy.

I am wearing... brown jeans, brown socks, brown shoes, with a light purple sweater that is oh, so soft. Silver hoop earrings and perfume. Always perfume.

I am creating... a clean place to put up the Christmas tree. Later today I hope to finish the last of the 18 things I have crocheted for friends for Christmas and gladly lay those projects down. Yee haw! I'll have to look at my PIGS (projects in grocery sacks) to see what i will begin next.

I am going...out to buy Zman some new sneakers as a Christmas gift from his grandfather. Oh, then I'll have to wrap them. Darn!

I am reading... The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith and The Art of Praying by Romano Guardini.

I am hoping... that nothing interferes with my plans. What chance of that? NONE.

I am hearing... dogs eating breakfast. Who knew they were so loud. Do you think it is possible to teach a dog to chew with her mouth closed? Hmmmm. Probably not, huh?

Around the house... it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....Hey, that'd be a great song, wouldn't it? What? It's already taken?

One of my favorite things... is a cup of hot cocoa. Think I'll make me one. I'm cold!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Are you kidding me? Putting up tree. Decorating church. CHRISTMAS! Collapse.

Here is picture thought I am sharing... I wish I lived in Florida so that i could send a card that looks like this one. Honestly. Who wouldn't want a card with a giant alligator on it?



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this short film, called Volition.

Blurb from the synopsis sent to me:

Tim and Matthew Morgan have somehow produced a first-class short film that masterfully deals with the taboo issue of abortion despite working with a budget that would pay for approximately thirty seconds of a Hollywood blockbuster. "Volition," first created for a short film competition, is as yet unknown, but will soon, I predict, become very well known indeed, as it very well should.

Volition is an astonishing achievement. The film itself is not made any greater by the fact that Tim Morgan, who directed it, is only 23-years-old, and that his brother, who composed all of the music, is only 20-years-old, but the ages of the brothers does help put the scope of their accomplishment into even greater relief.

Volition places its central character, who goes unnamed, in the historical contexts of what the filmmakers clearly believe to be three of the greatest human rights violations in history: the holocaust, slavery, and abortion.

Please pray!

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If you haven't been over to Happy Catholic in the last day or two, please pray for Julie and her intentions.

A dear friend of Julie's, and two of the friend's children, were found murdered.

How horrific.

Please pray.

Smock makes the cut!

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(As we knew she should!)

Where? In TSO's Babes of the Blogosphere: Catholic Edition calendar!

Well, yes, it's an imaginary calendar, but still.

Woo hoo!

(OK, LaMa, it's obvious we're going to have to do some heavy politicking before NEXT year!)


unkay, just had to break in here for a moment so that i could share the following:

yes! i love all things hitchcock, and surely this counts on some level, right? i mean, c'mon. how cool is this?

yes! the birds is my fave hitchcock flick. here's a tidbit, too: it's reported that when someone asked sir alfred about having so many "bird's eye-view" shots in the film, he corrected them saying, "those shots are from God's eye-view."

yes! i collect barbies -- but only fairly unusual ones and this one, no doubt, takes the cake!

yes! i love tippi and where else could i ever find a tippi hedren doll as faboo as this ... one that looks frightened and has flawless hair?

yes! i would totally be BFFs with the one who managed to convince smockdaddy to put it under the tree.

and for your viewing pleasure, i stumbled across this cheeky little jewel, the 1963 original teaser for the birds. enjoy!

From The Great Divorce

"...What some people say on earth is that the final loss of one soul gives the lie to all the joy of those who are saved."

"Ye see it does not."

"I feel in a way that it ought to."

"That sounds very merciful: but see what lurks behind it."


"The demand of the loveless and the self-imprisoned that they should be allowed to blackmail the universe: that till they consent to be happy (on their own terms) no one else shall taste joy: that theirs should be the final power; that Hell should be able to veto heaven."

"I don't know what I want, Sir."

"Son, son, it must be one way or the other. Either the day must come when joy prevails and all the makers of misery are no longer able to infect it: or else for ever and ever the makers of misery can destroy in others the happiness they reject for themselves. I know it has a grand sound to say ye'll accept no salvation which leaves even one creature in the dark outside. But watch that sophistry or ye'll make a Dog in a Manger the tyrant of the Universe."

The Great Divorce, read as a requirement in a religion class in college, changed my life. I lived in a close relationship with a grandmother who was a destroyer of other peoples' happiness. She was miserable, and joy in other people was intolerable to her. It highlighted her own pain and sadness. And so she lashed out at it.

During that time in my life I was also one of those "God will save everybody" kind of people. Rather mushy-brained and relying on emotion. Sensibility, rather than sense, you know.

This particular paragraph made me gasp aloud when I read it, because it was such a clear vision of what my grandmother was living and choosing every day of her life. And every day of ours. To think, finally THINK, about what allowing ourselves to be held captive to that meant--well, it was more than eye-opening. It was transformative.

It meant I could choose joy. I could choose it, reaching out to her in love, but not allowing her to remake my choice. It's a path I've tried to follow ever since. It led me into a Church that no one else in my extended family shares. But I have never felt that I was called to reject joy because of someone else.

Thank you, Mr. Lewis. You put my feet on the path.

This is one of those days!


Too much to do, too little time to do it.

Today is the day to get the last of the gifts purchased (yes, I'm still purchasing stuff), get as many of the gifts wrapped as possible, and start cleaning out a space for the Christmas tree. And I mean that literally.

So, not much posting today. I hope your Christmas readying is going more smoothly than mine!

Happy Thursday, ya'll!


WIN IT ALL! On Big Break X, on the Golf channel.

PapaC and I were dancing around the living room at the finish.

Yee Haw!!!!

You know that the Mamas have a deep and abiding love for all Kate Spade shoes. And what with Christmas coming up and all, we know some of you were probably wondering, "What on earth can I send those spectacular Mamas for Christmas?" You WERE wondering that, weren't you?

Well, hop on over to Nordstrom's and send us some SHOES! We suggest these:

First, there is this little number, appropriate for wear to a swanky company party. We like to think about going to swanky parties. We like to think about owning the shoes for them. We're not actually so up on attending those parties.... But we would if we had these!


Then there is this strappier number, a little sexier, but still appropriate for the company 'do. Every woman there would be asking where you got these beauties:


Then, there is this number, which is lovely because of the gold ankle strap, contrasting with the rest of the shoe. This with the proverbial "little black dress"? Killer, darlings. simply killer.


Then, of course, we must highlight a pair of Summa heels. I want the dress that would go with these shoes! I don't own it, but I want it!


But finally, here is the pair of Kate Spade shoes that would REALLY fit the Mama lifestyle, and that we all really need. Maybe we'll be checking out the post Christmas sales for these:


Happy Tuesday, ya'll!

MamaT's Daybook

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FOR TODAY, December 15, 2008

Outside My Window... It's cold, people! 30 degrees cold. And yesterday it was 77. The squirrels are huddling on my outside windowsill, which drives the dogs absolutely bonkers.

I am thinking... that having to get up and go out for your annual check up is a crummy thing on a cold day. I'm still trying to warm up from my foray out to the doctor's office. Oh, and how festive: Christmas and annual girl-type checkups. Go together? I think NOT.

I am thankful for...a day where I don't have to get out again until I go pick up the Smak from school. A few quiet-ish hours (remember the dogs!) to get a few Christmas gifts wrapped and tagged.

From the kitchen... Last night was grilled pork chops, roasted sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli. We're trying to be good around here until NEXT week. Tonight? I'm waiting for inspiration to smack me on the head, but it might be spaghetti and salad.

I am wearing... Black warmup pants, black shirt with grey and white flowers on it, plus a little bling. Black socks, black tennies. HEY, I LOOK LIKE THE SMOCK!!!

I am creating... wrapped Christmas gifts today. Not beautifully wrapped, mind you, just wrapped. Beautiful wrapping is one seasonal skill that has eluded me. Gift bags were MADE for MamaT.

I am going...NOWHERE until 2:45. I'm determined. I'm tempted, but I'm staying IN and getting some things done around here. So there.

I am reading... The same thing I was reading last week! That's how busy it is around here.

I am hoping... that I can get my table cleaned off before supper time. Every flat surface in my house is taken up with STUFF. I want it gone.

I am hearing... a Nickel Creek CD at the moment. Next is my EO11 CD. I LOVE the Rat Pack.

Around the house... none of those projects from last week actually went away! They will be gone this week. They will. They WILL!

One of my favorite things... is Juicy Fruit gum. Love it. Always have, always will.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Getting my house clean enough to put up the Christmas tree later in the week. Wrapping gifts for PapaC's family and mailing them off tomorrow. Weaving in the ends of all the "things" I've been crocheting and packaging 'em up. Girls night out party Tuesday. Book club Thursday. All good stuff.

Here is picture thought I am sharing... Anyone know where i can get some of these guys to help me out around here?


smockwarning: this WILL make your soul cringe and your blood boil. and to think that my children can walk into any convenience store and see an even more graphic picture than the one featured at behind the counter makes me want to vomit. i've boycotted 7-11 for years, but how do we boycott a rag we've never purchased? i don't know how to stop this sort of thing by any means other than fervent prayer.

Mexican Playboy Publishes Nude Virgin Mary on Cover

The very best thing about FAF is the sheer amount of art I've looked at over the past couple of years. I'm not an expert, but I love to look at things and read about things. And, opposed to most of the art world today, I assume that art is supposed to speak to the average joe (or jane in my case!) at least on some level.

So, bopping about the art sites, I came across these images by Andy Warhol. I think they were done as a series of Christmas cards originally. Since the Mamas are strongly drawn to the retro, I absolutely LOVED these.










Happy Saturday, ya'll!

Feast of St Lucy



Those whose hearts are pure are temples of the Holy Spirit.
- St. Lucy

"You have to push as hard as the age that pushes against you."

------------------ Flannery O'Connor

Shamelessly stolen from the CERC newletter

"My little son. Do not be distressed and afraid. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection?"

Guadalupe is my oldest son's patroness. I wore a medal of her at his birth, and since toddlerhood he's had a special devotion.

My Grandmother died in 2006. Being a Mexicana buena, she had an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in every room of her home. When she died, we, being the only other Catholics in the family, inherited all her statues and images- including the plentiful Guadalupes.

In my romantic and whimsical mind, I like to think my Grandma or Providence fused her love for Lupe to her 3 year old great-grandson at her death.


Playing peek-a-boo with his baby brother (and later, sister), Jake has always substituted "Guuua-da-LUPE!!" for "peek-a-boo". Earlier this year when our little girl got her first doll, it was almost instantly named Lupe.


For the past two Guadalupe Feasts we've choreographed elaborate Juan Diego skits, Jake with endless enthusiasm.

I love his love for her. Methinks my Grandma does too.

Happy Lupe Day, may you remain under her shadow and protection!

A friend needs some prayers!

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Jeff Culbreath over at Stony Creek Digest appears to have had a heart attack.

Please say a few extra prayers today for a good guy, his wife LeXuan and their kids.

Having lived through this with PapaC, I know how frightening it is.

Please help by praying!

Booking Through Thursday

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Short and quick today, since we are all breathless from running around like crazy people here:

What books are on your Christmas wish list?

I have two, that no one will give me but that I will buy with any Barnes and Noble gift cards I receive:

All the World's a Grave by John Reed


The Lost Art of Walking by Geoff Nicholson

How 'bout you?

Just something for you to listen to today


This version is by Sixpence None the Richer. I love it.

Whatcha Readin'? Wednesday


Like the Smock, I am uber-busy this week, though with completely different types of things! No longer as involved in the activities of children, somehow I have morphed into being involved in everything else. And it doesn't help that the Zman has finals this week, so I am having to replace him cleaning the parish hall. I could live without that, since I'm also trying to do parish financial statements for tomorrow night's meeting. That plus the ongoing "getting Christmas ready" for my family and friends...... Well, it's enough to dampen anyone's Christmas spirit.

If you let it.

So what am I reading now? NOT MUCH! The backs of cereal boxes. My new Weight Watchers materials (they changed the program a little, and i'm treating myself as if I were a completely new person and starting over.)

Oh, and Georgette Heyer's The Reluctant Widow. And this week I'll also finish off The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis.

Next week maybe I'll have more time to read. But then it'll be Christmas gifts for teachers/coaches/etc. Cookies to bake (but not eat! Until Christmas, anyway. Sigh.) Packages to wrap. Menu to plan and buy for.


that said, i'm about to beg off for awhile. i have one band concert, two school recitals and four parties, a brownie field trip and a girl scout field trip and a social to prepare for and/or attend or oversee over the next week, so i'm verrah busy -- just like everyone else in the blogosphere -- but, unlike everyone else, i am no good under pressure. so, i'll see y'all mamas soon.

Tagged by Ellyn over at Oblique House, here's MY version of the top ten list:

1. Pope Benedict 16. How could he not be #1? Hurray for us, how blessed we are.

2. Bishop Kevin Vann, Diocese of Fort Worth. Breathing life back into a place that had become a little stale. Seminarians are up, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal are in town. All good signs, in this Mama's book.

3. Thomas Howard, teacher and writer. Absolutely pivotal in my conversion. Without him, I'd still be wandering. I will read anything and everything he writes, and show up to hear him speak any time.

4. Anthony Esolen, teacher and writer. When I'm reading Mere Comments over at Touchstone, and I find myself nodding in agreement, 9 times out of 10 the entry I'm reading has been written my Anthony Esolen. I'd love to meet him in person!

5. Peter Kreeft, teacher and writer (am I a broken record or what?). The clearest mind on the hardest topics. Keepin' it Catholic at Boston College. If you don't have a shelf full of his books, why NOT for heaven's sake?

6. Joseph Pearce, autodidact and writer. Went to a talk he gave on Tolkien. Fascinating. Seemed like a nice guy as well. I like someone who has done a lot of his education himself.

7. Dean Koontz, writer. Fascinating for supporting himself writing in a horror genre, the only genre where I think good and evil still exist (since I don't think horror works without a good to contrast the horror with). His creation of Odd Thomas is enough to make him fascinating to me.

8. John Hassler, RIP, writer. My favorite author. The only person I ever wrote a fan letter to, and he answered it! And not with a form letter.

9. Steven Greydanus, writer, film reviewer, Decent Films Guide. I don't always agree with Steven, but I always start with his reviews. I like his rating system, and I admire his outlook.

10. Fr. Corapi, priest and speaker. Because I need to hear over and over again that we are at war with powers and principalities. And that I need to lace up my boots and get on with it.

11. My fellow Catholic bloggers, who have taught me so much. And who have shown me that an authentic Catholic life need not be humorless and sour. Thank you, all of you.

And I tag:

The Other 2 Mamas
Barb - SFO mom
The Sleepy Mommies
Steven at Flos Carmeli
Melanie at Wine Dark Sea (if she's not throwing up)

LaMamacita's Daybook



Outside My Window... Gray and leafy here, too. Everything has a dingy hue.

I am thinking... of lunch. Sweet lunch.

I am thankful for... my new printer! Ours died a year ago and it is now finally replaced. It is huge and hideous and taking up precious desk space, however...

From the kitchen... potato soup and big, fat rolls.

I am wearing... dark jeans, black tank, yellow cardi. These Daybook entries have made me realize my Monday attire is so standard.

I am creating... waaaaay to slowly.

I am going... to Mass. We've already hit the grocery store.

I am reading... Cassandra and Jane. I can't remember the author and I have a baby asleep on me, but it's a fictional novel about Jane Austen and her sister. I know I said I wasn't going to read anything and just concentrate on knitting until after Christmas Day, but the New Books shelf at the library persuaded me and I am so weak. Plus I'm due for a period novel.

I am hoping... to catch a nap. It is going to be a tricky endeavor but it just may happen.

I am hearing... boys. I wish I could hear what they're saying, something is really funny. The dryer also.

Around the house... like MamaT's abode, a billion little things are waiting for me. Sigh.

One of my favorite things... is those really huge, colorful holiday lights. The bigger the better.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: school, library festival, cookie baking and fun stuff for Guadalupe Day on Friday that I'm really excited about.

Here is picture thought I am sharing... to share the gray day vibes with you:

Immaculate Conception



The Immaculate Conception Contemplated by St. John the Evangelist

El Greco

LaMa's Music for Your Monday


One of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands. I used to play this album over and over while trying to fall asleep in days of yore. Having 3 children in 5 years healed me of my insomnia but my love for The Cure remains.

MamaT's Music for Your Monday


Stress makes my inner Parrothead appear. Therefore:

Happy Monday, ya'll!

MamaT's Daybook

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FOR TODAY, December 8, 2008

Outside My Window... It's gray outside still. I don't know if it's going to be a cloudy day or what. I haven't made it outside yet. Leaves are falling, and yard companies are leaving notes on my door: "Don't you want us to rake your leaves?"

I am thinking... I think the whole BCS thing stinks. And I want a college playoff. I know, I know, not gonna happen. But still!

I am thankful for... the fact that most of the hard stuff I have to do has to get done this week. At least if I have to run like crazy, I can do it this week and maybe calm down a little next week. I'm hoping.

From the kitchen... last night? Nothing. I went to a cookie exchange. Tonight, some sort of soup, because we'll probably have to eat pretty late--after mass.

I am wearing... Blue track pants, flowery shirt with silver sparkles, tennies, silver earrings. Mondays are always a big work day for me, so I'm always dressed for it.

I am creating... #12 of my originally only 10 things. Hmmm. I am also creating panic in myself, thinking about what I need to be doing.

I am going... to the grocery store as soon as I finish blog entries. Then I'm going to pay bills for my family and for my dad. Then.......

I am reading... The Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer. I need to pick up The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey, which is our book club selection for December.

I am hoping... that my knee is sore because I had it stretched out funny while I was sleeping. It hurts!

I am hearing... the hum of the refrigerator. And a teeny small voice saying, "I'm empty! Go to the store, get groceries, fill me up!"

Around the house... are a million, small, unfinished projects. Exactly what I hate most. Today's the day to start finishing them and putting them away.

One of my favorite things... a clean house. The fact that I never actually have one only enhances my love of one.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Grocery shopping, bill paying, church tonight, cleaning the parish hall, doing parish financial statements, falling into bed in a coma after the parish council meeting on Thursday night.

Here is picture thought I am sharing... the perfect representation of my life at the moment:


The following is believed to be a funny and true story shared by K.C. Williams who teaches AP Government at Santa Fe High School.

In one of K.C.'s classes, they were discussing the qualifications to be president of the United States. It was pretty simple - the candidate must be a natural born citizen of at least 35 years of age. However, one girl in the class immediately started in on how unfair was the requirement to be a natural born citizen.

In short, her opinion was that this requirement prevented many capable individuals from becoming president.

KC and the class were just taking it in and letting her rant, but everyone's jaw hit the floor when she wrapped up her argument by stating, "What makes a natural born citizen any more qualified to lead this country than one born by C-section?"

One More Fine S Painting



The Holy Family with the Virgin teaching the Child to Read
Bartolomeo Schedoni

His chubby baby feet!

Fine Art Friday - the letter S edition

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One painting only, today, because I am surrounded with mounds of work to do:


The Healing of Tobit
Bernardo Strozzi

Oh, boy, take a look at that fish!

Happy Friday, ya'll!

Go, NOW, and read....

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I do not normally comment on politics--I am in no way qualified to do so. But I am so strongly anti the UN as it is currently composed that it makes my blood boil. Here's one reason:

THE PRESIDENT of the UN General Assembly, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua, has denounced the policies of a certain Middle Eastern nation. They are "so similar to the apartheid of an earlier era," he said, "that the world must unite against them, demanding an "end to this massive abuse of human rights" and isolating the offending nation as it once isolated South Africa: with a punishing "campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions."

Of which country was he speaking?

Was it Saudi Arabia, where public facilities are segregated by sex, and where a pervasive system of gender apartheid denies women the right to drive, to dress as they choose, to freely marry or divorce, to vote, to appear in public without a male "guardian," or to give testimony on an equal basis with men?

Was it Jordan, where the law explicitly bars Jews from citizenship and where the sale of land to a Jew was for decades not only illegal, but punishable by death?

Was it Iran, where homosexuality is a capital crime -- at least 200 Iranian gays were executed last year - and whose president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, asserted at Columbia University that there are no homosexuals in Iran?

Was it Sudan, where tens of thousands of black Africans in the country's southern region, most of them Christians or animists, have been abducted and sold into slavery by Arab militias backed by the Islamist regime in Khartoum?

It was none of these. The General Assembly president, a radical Maryknoll priest who served as Nicaragua's foreign minister during the Sandinista regime in the 1980s, was not referring to any of the Middle East's Muslim autocracies and dictatorships, virtually all of which discriminate against ethnic and religious minorities. He was speaking of the Jewish state of Israel, the region's lone democracy, and the only one that guarantees the legal equality of all its citizens - one-fifth of whom are Muslim and Christian Arabs.

Read the rest of Jeff Jacoby's column.



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I am a

What Flower
Are You?

"You stand up for what you believe in, even if it gets in the way of what other people think. You are proud of yourself and your accomplishments and you enjoy letting people know that."

A sweet little tip o' the hat from Heaven


The nice folk over at The Pious Sodality of Church Ladies are randomly assigning patron saints for next year. I like to do this, because it gives me something new to contemplate, and I've always learned a lesson from the saint who picked me for the year.

So, my assigned saint (and special prayer subject) for the year is:

St Phoebe

Pray for Catholic charities

I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is (also) a minister of the church at Cenchreae, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the holy ones, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a benefactor to many and to me as well. [Rom 16, 1]

In this year when political issues may have great bearing on the work and ministries of our Catholic hospitals, I think a daily prayer for Catholic charities will be a good thing.

But that's not why it's a heaven-sent match.

St. Phoebe's feast day is September 3rd.

That was my beloved mom's birthday.

Don't tell me that's just coincidence.

St. Phoebe, pray for me.

Oh, go look, go look!


Bill Luse, our friend from over at Apologia (first on the blog links over at the left) is associate editor of a new online journal: The Christendom Review.

Go, read. There's fiction, poetry, essays, visual arts. You know, something for everyone.

If you like what you see, please give 'em a link!

OK, here are today's questions, courtesy of the folks over at Booking Through Thursday:

1. Do you have a favorite author?

2. Have you read everything he or she has written?

3. Did you LIKE everything?

4. How about a least favorite author?

5. An author you wanted to like, but didn't?

And here are my answers:

1. Of course I have a favorite author. It just changes from time to time, based on my mood and my state of life. ONE of my favorite authors is Jane Austen. Another is Jon Hassler.

2 & 3> I have read everything by Jane Austen at one time or another in my life. Yes, I liked it all. I have not read everything Jon Hassler has written. I have saved back two books, The Dean's List and Rookery Blues. He died not long ago, and I am sad about these books. when I read them, I will have read everything, and there will be nothing new coming out. Of course, I can start re-reading, but it won't be the same. I liked all his books, but thought some were more successful than others.

4. My least favorite author? Probably Emily Bronte. I hate Wuthering Heights with a passion that is unseemly in a nice old lady like me.

5. An author I wanted to like, but didn't? Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The rest of the world falls at his feet. Me? Meh.

How 'bout you???

Whatcha Reading? Wednesday

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Still reading Pilgrim's Inn by Elizabeth Goudge. Long been a fan, since we read City of Bells in book club many years ago. I found two new Goudge books at the last AAUW book sale. (Where I wasn't buying, just looking........ok, buying a FEW things.....ok, buying more than a few things......but I COULDN'T HELP IT!)

I read her Green Dolphin Street earlier this year, and enjoyed it. And am enjoying this one, too, though I think it's not as good. It's too obvious that everything is going to turn out perfectly, too early on.

However, one of the things I like very much in Goudge's books is her understanding that life does not always run the way we would have it and that we are bound, by our faith and by our status as full human beings, to act in an honorable way--to do the right thing--whether it is easy for us or not. Doing so leads to happiness, though not in the pleasure seeking way. Not doing so only leads to sorrow or meanness or dishonor.

I am much attracted to the author's depiction of goodness as well. It is easy, especially in our times, to be attracted to the dark and evil. Every actor always says that it is the bad guy parts that are most fun to play. Goudge has a way of describing good in a way that makes you want to see it in real life. And for her, good is all tied up with simplicity. Those who are good are often, at first, taken as being, oh, not quite as "smart" as the rest of us, you know. But time proves, to the eyes of those who can see, that these people are actually the blessed, and the ones capable of blessing others. Which those "smart" people usually find out over the course of the book.

The other characteristic of these good people is their ability to live in the now and to enjoy what there is to enjoy in the moment--they love nature, they love cooking for people, they love gardening, they love food--but in the proper way. They love them simply for themselves, and recognize them for the gifts of grace that they are.

This is giving me much to think about during this advent season. I suppose inspiration comes from diverse places! When our world is so hustle-bustle, and not just at Christmas time, have we lost the ability to enjoy what's right before our eyes? To make ourselves truly present to those around us, those who might need us, without looking at our watch every 15 minutes to hustle on to the next thing? Would we be better served to do less, but do it better, that is, more mindfully???

Hmmmmm. All of this from a novel.

How 'bout ya'll?

LaMa Daybook


December 1, 2008

Outside My Window... it is grayish and cold and the backyard tree is the prettiest yellow.

I am thinking... bedtime is going to be totally off since we all took naps.

I am thankful for... naps! Papicitio is on vacation this week and it is so very lovely.

From the kitchen...was enchiladas. We went to the grocery at 9am (BEST time to go. wow.) and came home and made a ton of enchiladas with fixins.

I am wearing... jeans, red tee and my beloved Deutsch Adidas track jacket. It's 5:20 and I'm already thinking about pulling on ze jammies.

I am creating... knit Christmas gifts and felt advent wreaths and candles con mi ninos.

I am going... to make some tea. It's cold!

I am reading... nothing currently, which is really sad. For a few weeks I'm going to be bookless except for Advent readings

I am hoping... to be able to type the rest of this with two hands soon.

I am hearing... cartoons and chip munching, baby voice.

Around the house... the kitchen is a wreck and diapers need washing asap.

One of my favorite things
... over my shoulder Papicito said, "Put pumpkins. You really, really are wild for pumpkins." So there. But doesn't everyone adore them?

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Vacationy stuff. DFW touristy and holiday stuff. Hurrah!

Here is picture thought I am sharing... as MamaT wraps hers I'm going to pin up a neat bun and frolick in mine.


MamaT's Daybook for this Monday



FOR TODAY, December 1, 2008

Outside My Window... It's sunny and cold, and the dogs are scratching at the door to come in, though they just went out 3 minutes ago. You watch, I'll let 'em in and they'll want back out in less than 10 minutes.

I am thinking... that there sure is a lot of work to do to get ready for Christmas. And most of it falls to the Mama around here. I need a plan, but I'm afraid to make one for fear of scaring myself into inaction.

I am thankful for... the fact that PapaC has today off! We're going to go run errands together later. Yippee!

From the kitchen... last night was pasta and sauce and salad. We were a little tired of Thanksgiving leftovers. I'll deal with what's left today or tomorrow. Hopefully there's not much there.

I am wearing... SSSSSHHHHH! Don't tell! I still have on my pajamas! Since PapaC was home, we slept in (well, if 8 a.m. counts as sleeping in--which it does for me these days) and I am sitting here listening to music and being slow about getting dressed. So, I still have on a giant pink t-shirt and green doggie day spa pajama pants, and bare feet (which are cold, by the way!).

I am creating... #10 of the 10 things I started for Christmas gifts. Unfortunately, they've morphed into about 15 or 16 things to do before Christmas. Sigh.

I am going... to begin my advent reading program today - only one day late! It's small this year, I'll tell you more about it later.

I am reading... Pilgrim's Inn by Elizabeth Goudge. I was tired of masochistic fathers and terrorists.

I am hoping... that I can get my St. Nicholas gifts in order in the next day or so and finish my Christmas shopping (or at least the ordering) by the end of the week.

I am hearing... PapaC eat Cheerios. I love it when he's home!

Around the house... are piles of white dog hair. Blech.

One of my favorite things... is walking with my friend Clemi. We walk for an hour at a time a couple of times a week. It's good for the heart, in more ways than one.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Bring order out of chaos with my rarely used (apparently) super power of housewifery! Finish 3 or 4 more of my "things". Figure out my calendar for this month.

Here is picture thought I am sharing... I think I'll put on a shirtwaist dress and heels and wrap some packages!


MamaT's Music on Monday


This is in response to LaMa's pick. Guy with guitar? Here's one from back in the day:

Neil Young, singing Harvest Moon.

smock's pic 4 music monday

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everybody hurts by r.e.m.
tidbit of Texas trivia: this video (directed by jake scott)
was filmed along I-10 in san antonio.
i think one would be hard pressed to find a secular video that is more catholic in nature. not only does it express our universal susceptibility to pain and suffering, it embraces it as a unifying force. interestingly, psalm 61.2 is quoted "from the end of the earth will i call unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than i," as well as psalm 126.5: "they that sow in tears shall reap in joy."

Monday Music in LaMa Casa

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We have on the super talented Fleet Foxes this morning. I love the simplicity of this video so I picked it, but had a hard time deciding.

par for the obama course part 2


No Public Schools for the Obamas, from the WSJ

Michelle and Barack Obama have settled on a Washington, D.C., school for their daughters, and you will not be surprised to learn it is not a public institution. Malia, age 10, and seven-year-old Sasha will attend the Sidwell Friends School, the private academy that educates the children of much of Washington's elite...

Mr. Obama says he opposes such vouchers, because "although it might benefit some kids at the top, what you're going to do is leave a lot of kids at the bottom." The example of his own children refutes that: The current system offers plenty of choice to kids "at the top" while abandoning those at the bottom.

shamelessly snagged from TS @ video meliora



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