February 2009 Archives

I'm Still Blanketing!!

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The Log Cabin blanket got some good face time on our trip. I'm LOVING it. The cool thing about knitting a Log Cabin is that you can use it while you're knitting it. Here's a pic with a bonus background of a Louisiana highway. YEEyah.

Ramblings About This Week and Lent Plans


We took a trip last weekend and stayed for Mardi Gras with some good friends on the Mississippi coast, then came home and my youngest two promptly came down with upper respiratory infections. It's been an intense week and I'M TIRED.

But! as the kids have started looking better I'm able to begin my Lenten plans of daily Rosaries (or a least part), more frequent weekly Mass attendances and beefing up my prayer life in other ways as well. It has been so sadly skimpy lately. It's so easy for me to slide prayer out of the way for other things, so easy to make weekly Mass plans and then rationalize them away in scheduling conflicts. What example does this set? What a toxic habit. So this Lent I'm trying to stick to my spiritual guns and keep the 5 P's in the right order: Prayer, Person, Partner, Parent and Provider. (If you don't have A Mother's Rule of Life, go get it!)

So, off I go back to the couch with sickies. Anybody have a great book rec for Lent? MamaT, hm?

Fine Art Friday

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Fine Art Friday during Lent will share one common denominator: the color purple. This should be interesting!


Purple and Black Petunias
Georgia O'Keeffe

Happy Friday, ya'll!

Maybe the cutest crochet thing ever



I got this to you too late for THIS Valentine's Day, but not too late for NEXT year! Cute, huh? Little lovebirds from the Lion Brand Yarn website. You might have to register, but they have a TON of free (and wonderful) patterns available.



Knitting (and other hobbies like quilting, reading, doing puzzles and (ssshhh, don't tell PapaC) playing video games!) can delay the onset of dementia by up to 40%, according to this article on BBC News

Yet another reason to pick up my hooks and GO!

And so it begins.....



Make me to know thy ways, O Lord;
teach me thy paths
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me,
for thou art the God of my salvation;
for thee I wait all the day long.

Be mindful of thy mercy, O Lord,
and of thy steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth,
or my transgressions;
according to thy steadfast love remember me,
for thy goodness' sake, O Lord!

Psalm 25: 5-7

Lent at the Summas


Smock has decided to take a break from the internet for Lent. I respect that decision, and will miss her here greatly. She'll be back, though. She has no option about that. (Because I didn't give her one.)

LaMa has been on a bit of a vacation, and I do not know her Lenten plans. We'll see when she gets back.

I have plans for Lent, but they do not include a fast from blogging. My biggest change during Lent will be that (except for the 2 book club books I have to read during this time) I am going to read NO secular books. I have several relgious fiction books that I have been saving up for this, and a whole host of nonfiction titles available. I am going to try to keep my heart and mind on Jesus, his saints, and his Church during these forty days.

I also have a "do it yourself" Ignatian retreat in a workbook that I intend to work on, at no specified pace. Just a daily commitment.

A few other discipline matters, that are personal to me and therefore unspoken here, will be undertaken. I have come to see that discipline is an area in which I need SCADS of work. I am basically a very whiny teenager on the inside, apparently. That needs to change.

So, please keep coming to read us! We value you more than you know!

i've decided to give up the blogosphere and facebook -- both of which enjoy an inordinate amount of my time -- for lent. hopefully i will be able to use this time in -- if not more holy endeavors, at least in more fruitful endeavors.

my very best wishes to everyone for a blessed and productive lenten season.

"create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me."
psalm 50:10
(or psalm 51:10 for our protestant friends)

smockquote of the day...


It took me four years to paint like Raphael,
but a lifetime to paint like a child. ~Picasso

MamaT's Monday Music

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The incomparable Lyle Lovett:

A website for the Smock

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Bacon Freak. Dedicated to the "meat candy" that is bacon.

Oh, yeah!

Like to knit for charity?


Here's a good one. You can send just a square or two, or a whole bunch, to some folks who will join them into blankets for AIDS-orphaned children in Africa. They are asking for 8x8 squares (which is quick to do). Heck, you can do THAT out of your leftovers. And all it costs after that is a mailing envelope and international postage. You don't even have to sew the darn squares together!

Worth a look, knitters!

Knit-A-Square: And Make a Cold Child Warm.

fasten your seatbelts . . .


doing this to our children is immoral.

I took kind of a mental health day yesterday, and pretty much checked out of everything. Well, everything but grocery shopping, changing and washing the sheets, picking up the McKid from school and taking her to dance.....

Wait! That wasn't much of a check out, was it? Well, it wasn't as much of one as I had planned but.....

Anyway, here's my Pretty Pattern for yesterday.

I'll see LaMa's Jelly Babies and raise her:


An octopus!

This is from the Lion Brand site, where there is a whole BUNCH of free and cute patterns. You might have to register to get to the patterns, but registration is free! This little octopus is representative of their growing collection of amigurumi--which are cute little crocheted figures.

Here's an article about arigurumi from Wikipedia. Enjoy!

Pretty Pattern Tuesday

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Dr. Who Jelly Babies!! How adorable are these? Free pattern too.

LaMa's Monday Music

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Being the good South Texan I am, I need a weekly dose of Corpus Christi birthed tejano. Lifts me spirits.

smock's monday music

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seein' as how we may be entering the public school system next year . . .

MamaT's Monday Music



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(H/T to The Anchoress, and our favorite poster site www.despair.com)

kudos to salma!


i've had a girl-crush on salma hayek for years, and now i have even more reason to love her. when we have egocentric divas like J-Lo opting to bottle feed because it was "what was best" for her babies -- uh, yeah, right, honey, we all believed it was the babies' best interest and not your cup size that you were looking out for -- it's heartwarming to see women like salma hayek champion the truth behind "BREAST IS BEST." read the article here: Salma Hayek Breastfeeds Malnourished Baby

Let's Write Some Letters, Shall We?


As well as being the illustrious MamaT's birthday, it's also my little daughter Camila's first birthday. I'm always a hormonal wreck on my kid's birthdays- especially their first. WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?!

But hearing The University of Wisconsin affiliated Madison Surgery Center just voted 6-0 to approve the plan for that center to begin, very soon, late second trimester abortions this morning took hormonal wreck to ill.

Here's the story and here's the Wisconsin Family Council's press release about it.

Direct your emails, letters and phone calls directly to Chancellor Carolyn "Biddy" Martin, who voted in favor of this plan this past Wednesday.

Chancellor Martin's contact information is below:
Phone: 608-262-9946
Mail: 161 Bascom Hall
500 Lincoln Drive
Madison, WI 53706

Dearest MamaT

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Hope it is the happiest!! Mmmwha!

Because you know I love the lists


Here is a link to Steven Greydanus' Top 10 Films of 2008, including his runners-up.

I like it when I have things to add to my Netflix queue!

Top 10:

1. Almost Evening
2. The Dark Knight
3. The Fall
4. Four Months, Three Weeks and Two Days
5. Ghost Town (all thumbs up from CasaS here)
6. Jodhaa Akbar
7. The Island
8. Stranded: I've Come From a Plane that Crashed in the Mountains
9. Wall-E
10. Young@Heart

Runners up:

Ballast (for mature viewers)
Prince Caspian
Horton Hears a Who (thumbs up from CasaS here)
The Express
Man on Wire
Iron Man (thumbs up from CasaS here)
Kung Fu Panda (thumbs up from CasaS here)
Rachel Getting Married
Shotgun Stories
Son of Rambow
The Spiderwick Chronicles
The Tale of Despereaux
The Visitor

Note: The article also includes a list of honorable mentions, worth noting, and a list of don't sees.

What do you think?

Whatcha Reading? Wednesday

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Let's see. What AM I reading? More importantly, what have I FINISHED lately?

I finally finished The Jewel in the Crown by Paul Scott. I liked this book very much. It is set in India in the time just as the pressures to end Britain's rule of India were coming to a head. The book is fascinating, because it takes the story from one person, then tells it again, in a slightly overlapping way, from another person's viewpoint. Each time through you get a different feel for the events, and the action edges forward to the climactic event ever so slowly.

Probably the best thing I've read showing how the British thought they were doing the right thing (and in some ways they were) in India, and how that was perceived by the Indians (both fairly and unfairly). It gives you a lot to think about, and it made me ponder racism more deeply than I had before.

The Jewel in the Crown is only the first of 4 books in the Raj Quartet. I know now that I want to read them all, but I don't want to read them all at once.

Then, simply because everyone around me was reading them, I read the first of the young adult vampire novels written by Stephanie Meyer: Twilight. Too many people asked me whether I thought they'd be OK for their teens to read, and I didn't want to be uninformed! (Sounds like an excuse, but it's true!)

Now, I've only read the first one, but here's my take. This isn't great literature, folks. But Ms. Meyers certainly has a story to tell and she has narrative drive. She's done a vampire tale, but added a twist to it: what if a vampire fell in love, true love, with a human, and she with him. How would that work out?

I know there has been some talk of the romance in the books. At least in the first book, it is very chaste--some kisses, but not many, a few lustful thoughts, but not many. For the target age it was written for (teenagers) I suspect that it is actually pretty mild.

And this vampire has a conscience. Edward wants what is truly best for Bella, the human girl. I think the internal conflict that he has is well drawn by the author, and can lead to interesting discussions about making decisions to do what is right as opposed to what our (fallen?) nature would have us do.

I found it irritating that Edward was so very perfect in every way, and that Bella practically worships him. But I also think that is a function of me being much older than her target group. And I think it is field for fruitful discussion between moms and daughters who are at that "first love - I'll never love anyone else the way I love him" stage.

So while I wasn't gung ho on the book, and won't be rushing to read the rest, I wouldn't have a problem with a teenager in my house reading the book, as long as she were ready to discuss it with me later.

Currently reading? Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Just because.

Also dipping into Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession by Anne Rice (speaking of vampires!). I am halfway through with this, and I am going to be looking for a copy at Half Price Books to add to my shelves. It's really good, really thought provoking. I am most interested in thinking about her Catholic childhood, and how she learned the faith in an iconic, non-reading way. Though I was Episcopalian, not Catholic, as a child, some of what she says resonates deeply with me and my faith journey. Those childhood memories stood me in very good stead when I walked away from the Church (though I never became an atheist, as Rice did). There was never a moment away when I did not realize that I had left something. Something to be reckoned with. It wasn't just nothing. And those invisible strings, stitched into me so very long ago, eventually are what kept me from falling farther away than I did and drew me back into the Church in the end.

Anyway, I'll tell you more about that later. I also need to refresh my memory about Prince of Foxes, of book club book for this month. (Although we are going to watch the Tyrone Power, Orson Welles movie of the book at the meeting!)

Happy Tuesday, ya'll!

Overheard at CasaS

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Before the Father Daughter Sweetheart Dance last Friday (or in OUR case the Grandfather Granddaughter Sweetheart Dance!):

McKid: Mama, Papa can't take me out for pizza before the dance!

Me: (shocked, because there's nothing McKid likes better than pizza) Why on earth not?

McKid: What if I spilled it on my dress? I'd have to go to the dance and dance dirty!

And a quote


Useful and ornamental needlework, knitting, and netting are capable of being made, not only sources of personal gratification, but of high moral benefit, and the means of developing in surpassing loveliness and grace, some of the highest and noblest feelings of the soul.

~Author unknown, from The Ladies' Work Table Book, 1845

So there!

Off to find my hooks and yarn.

Pretty Pattern Tuesday

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I'm tired of shoes for awhile (heavens, did I just say that?), so I've decided to highlight some free crochet patterns that I've found for those of you who might also be into yarn! I found this one last night, and I am headed out to buy yet more yarn before long so I can start on this one. I have the perfect person to give it to for Christmas.

It's from the Red Heart site, and is a crochet-along. They are releasing one block per month. They started in December (and that's smart for a crochet-along--it gives you time to finish before Christmas), so there are three blocks already out there. Aren't the colors fun?


Pick up your hooks and go, fellow crocheters!

(P.S. LaMamacita is a knitter. Maybe we can get her to highlight some fun knitting patterns on Tuesdays if we beg just right.)

A quote for today


I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.

~Abraham Lincoln

And with that, it's on to the rest of my day. Happy Monday, ya'll!



I am reading Romano Guardini's The Art of Praying, and I recommend it to you all. It's a gentle, step by step look at prayer: why we should, what kinds there are, to whom we pray, etc.

While I was at Adoration Friday, this jumped out at me, from a section about the Holy Spirit:

The Holy Spirit teaches us to understand Christ, and in Christ, God and ourselves. It is the kind of understanding which comes from the heart, not from the intellect. It is true comprehension, more than that, it is illumination.
The Holy Spirit gives the answers to those questions which the mind cannot answer because the mind invariably couples the word why with the word I. "Why must I endure this suffering? Why am I denied what others have? Why must I be the way I am, live the way I do?" These are some of the most essential and decisive questions in the life of the individual, and to those questions men and books remain silent. The true answer comes only when our heart is free from revolt and bitterness: when our will has come to terms with life as it is for us, recognizing in it the working of the will of God.

This was what I needed to hear on Friday. It had been a hard and troubling week. (Did you notice I was pretty much gone from here? You did, didn't you?)

And this reminded me of what we had discussed one time at a Bible Study. We got into the whole "the road is narrow" discussion. How can the road to Heaven be so narrow when there are so many of us trying to be on it?

And I think it was Smockdaddy who came up with the answer for me: It's narrow, because it's my road. It's what it takes to get me there. We can see other people walking their roads, and if they fall we can reach over and help them up. And our paths may even converge for awhile, so that we can help them, or they can help us. And our paths are close enough together to give us companionship on the trip.

But in the end, we are all walking an individual path. A path to the Father big enough for ONE. And it's not going to be like anyone else's path. Holiness is unique, not "one size fits all", which really means "one size fits nobody."

MamaT's Monday Music


Love this old video of Tina Turner. Of course, there's Ike. AND the Ikettes. I love anyone who can dance like that in stilettos.

LaMa's Monday Music


DNTEL with The Distance. Super Creepy Video! But great song.

overheard at the smockmaison


donovan (3): davis, you're driving me nuts.
davis (3): no, you're driving my nuts!

so much for "personal responsibility"


the dirty side of obamamania

the caption reads "the mall after obama's followers listened to his speech about a new era of personal responsibility." what happened to all of his green supporters?

bacon is love...

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smockhint for valentine's day. must. have. bacon. bacon not only tastes good, but it wears well, too.

i love jesus, but i drink a little, too


take the time to listen to this deLIGHTful octogenarian -- from TEXAS, no less, on the ellen show. too too precious.

MamaT's Monday Music Double Dip


....just 'cause it's Monday, and we need something special:

MamaT's Monday Music

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A BLAST from the PAST!  And perfect for today, no?



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