Surely Goodness and Mercy

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Photo: Graeme Mitchell, 2007

 

Two events intersected in one day, as sometimes occurs when we’re not expecting anything at all to happen.  The first involved a news item.  I don’t watch television news (as Kat will attest, I have not yet figured out how to turn our new television on – it arrived as a gift from American Express because I had spent such an astonishing amount of money on other things – and when the baby wants to watch a video I stand holding one of three remotes, by which I mean I just stand there); tv news would, without a doubt, do me unspeakable harm.  I greatly dislike the way visual media sneaks up and imprints itself on your inner eye with such immediacy and then it can’t be unseen.  I read The Times online, I look at all sorts of news blogs, sometimes CNN, but even then I can go two or three days without checking the headlines.  Perhaps this is irresponsible, but I’ve noticed – maybe you have, too – that the news is seldom good.  Oh, it is REALLY not good much of the time.  Also Scott tells me everything I need to know so I am able to justify my ignorance.

 

A few days ago I decided to check in with the world.  In truth, I’m always on the lookout for photographs of Obama in the Oval Office, or the words “President Barack Obama.”  Just seeing them can make me happy all day.  And I ended up reading an article about how the grandfather of the slain toddler, Caylee Anthony, was in the hospital under a suicide watch following the release of details of his granddaughter’s crime scene.  I won’t repeat what he learned, but it was enough.  It was enough to make a grandfather no longer wish to breathe, particularly if – as all the evidence seems to suggest – his beloved grandbaby was killed by his own daughter.  As Joni Mitchell said, maybe it’s the time of year or maybe it’s the time of man, but there were at least five more articles about the brutal abuse and murder of children, all on that one day.  I’m not counting the reports of children under the age of ten killing their parents with shotguns, none of the horrendous chaos we have brought upon ourselves.

 

Casey Anthony is innocent until proven guilty, and the evidence against her is so far circumstantial.  (However, as David Rudolf points out, all evidence in every trial is circumstantial, and these circumstances are damning.  Otherwise we would have no need of grand juries.)  She was nineteen when her daughter was born; I was nineteen when my daughter was born.  All similarities, and I mean ALL, end there.  You might think I mean because I never harmed my child – I never raised my voice to her – but more than that I now have a 24-year-old woman, a daily presence in my life, who is the embodiment of all that is good and compassionate and funny and joyful and wise.  We have each other.  Casey Anthony didn’t just allegedly commit a crime so foul it boggles the imagination. She isn’t merely evil.  She’s so bloody stupid she doesn’t realize she murdered the future; she destroyed the person who might have ended up the dearest friend and companion she would ever have. 

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Photo by Amy Williams

 

That night, the night I read about a suicidal grandfather, I had my own very minor trauma.  Someone who reads the blog had sent me a, shall we say, critical e-mail.  It contained two lines in particular that made me believe I am not, in fact, a good enough person to be writing a public blog and perhaps should not write at all.  Naturally, my response to thinking I shouldn’t write a public blog was to write a public blog post apologizing to my critic, while also attempting to explain myself.  Two people I hold in very high esteem read the post and said I HAD to remove her name, which honestly confused me.  She lobbed an accusation at me concerning the blog, I apologized to her in the blog – why wouldn’t I use her name?  She used it in her e-mail.  For some reason I couldn’t make sense of this, and our conversation became more and more contentious.  I asked if I could use her first name.  NO.  How was she to know I was addressing her?!?  One of my two Esteems said that it didn’t matter that I apologized; it didn’t matter that I tried to address her humbly – by citing her charge against me AT ALL I made her look like a fool, and by making her look like a fool I became a Michael Moore-sort of bully.  By this point the conversation had gone on an hour, and in all that time my twelve-year-old son, Obadiah, had been sitting right there listening.  John finally turned to him and said, “O., do you have any thoughts on the matter?”  Now this was my quiet baby, a late talker, someone who keeps to himself, is a boy.  He and I have always been very, very close – by instinct I’ve been more protective of him than I ever was of Kat.  I thought he might be embarrassed to be asked his thoughts on a tricky ethical question, but instead – and even now I can barely type the words – he just rose up in spirit, he very quietly began to speak in the most orderly, loving way, and every sentence was an unmitigated defense of me:  as a person, as a mother, and as a writer.  I’ll skip to the last thing he said.  “Anyone who could accuse you of being shallow?  You?  She must be the shallowest person on earth.”  I felt a vise close around my chest.  I had been arguing a silly point moments before, and with just a few sentences from my son tears began pouring down my face.  I couldn’t speak at all.  I looked at him and mouthed the words, Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you, Obadiah, for being The Good Son of all the old stories; and thank you, God, for entrusting him to me.  Thank you, Ben, for always being the best possible father to him.  Thank you, Kat, for being nearly a second mother to him, and John, for loving him unconditionally. 

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As if that weren’t enough, this morning while John took O. to school, Baby Gus got into bed with me.  He put his head on my pillow and let me kiss the side of his head until he said his ear tickled.  He asked me, where did I get my face?  Where did I get my head?  “Gussy’s head is tinety,” he told me.  Where did my big hands come from?  Could he look at that blacelet again?  Who make the blacelet?  I told him my friend Carrie made it.  He said, “What her make it of?”  I told him the beads are glass.  He said, “What flavor is dose beads?”  I didn’t know.  What flavor are my lips, he wondered?  Would I like to feel the tag on his blanket, called Taggy?  What flavor is Taggy? 

 

I wouldn’t expect you to guess, but this post is really about my mother.  There are the obvious reasons:  because without her I’d have no idea what it meant to be a mother at all, and because she has always understood and loved my children.  She told me a secret about Obadiah when he was four months old that changed the way I raised him – something she saw just by looking at him – and I don’t care how the knowledge reached her, it saved his life.  Today I want to thank her because never, not once, did she betray me, even when I was a nightmare teenager who should have been thrown in a cage with jackals.  I want to thank her because I sent her a photograph of my barn study, the Natural History Museum, and she not only saw the beauty in it, she said it took her back to the library of her cousin, Jay Warren, the very library I visited at the age of six and became obsessed with the preservation of animals.  Most of all, she alone understood that at her darkest hour – diagnosed with cancer and facing the most violent surgery I’ve ever heard described – I could not be there, and she knows why.  Even if it were legal for me to drive the 650 miles to Indiana after having a grand mal seizure, the thought of it fills me with a terror so black and deep I feel faint.  I couldn’t tell her this when she was in the hospital; I could barely admit it to myself.  As Christmas approached and the weather in the Midwest became treacherous I awoke every morning and thought, “I’ll just leave, I’ll just go,” and my heart would race so hard I’d see stars.  I knew if I had a seizure while driving I would not only kill myself, I would undoubtedly kill other innocent people.  And then Gus developed scarlet fever, and she alone understood that even though she is the home of my soul and my moral compass, I would always choose to stay with him.  She never expected me to leave my sick family, as gravely ill as she herself was.  Whatever is in her – DNA, magic, I don’t care what you call it – she is the reason I have been given this extraordinary blessing.  Caylee Anthony’s mother didn’t have the basic animal sense not to destroy her own best hope; my mother doesn’t even hold a grudge.  Imagine that. 

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Published in: on January 26, 2009 at 4:44 pm  Comments (2,014)  

2,014 Comments

  1. Un-swallowed tears are collecting my throat even as we speak.

  2. Oh Haven.

  3. Your pictures are so beautiful….my own daughter was just here in the office while I was reading this, and I had to give her an especially hard hug and smooch as she left…you are dear hearts all, and this blog is OUR ‘HAVEN’. Anyone who criticizes you has an army to deal with, you know that….we have superpowers.

  4. One thing Obadiah said was, “Why don’t you ask your Blog Babies what they think?” And Scott and John both said, “No! Oh lord!”

  5. Obadiah, what a treasure he is. And that Kat! And Gus! And, oh Dear Lord that John. Haven we all choose you because you are worthy, not because you are faking us out.
    xox

  6. Dianne, WOW, what if I could fake people out?!? Oh wait, then I’d be an actress. I know one thing that isn’t fake: THAT PINK HAT YOU’RE MAKING ME. Which I wonder is the bottom finished so I can put it on my big head.

  7. Haven, you just keep rockin’ with your bad self. Your loyal readers will always back you up! Surely that woman’s comments sprouted from ignorance- what a sad world she must live in. Thank your mom for me, for bringing such a light (you) into this world to illuminate my corner of it. Any thank Augusten Burroughs, too, without whom I wouldn’t have known what a gifted writer you are.

  8. Haven its everything we were just speaking of, isn’t it? Thank you as always.

  9. *cackling at John and Scott’s response*

    How right they are…that woman would not know what hit her…

    and now of course I’m perversely curious.

  10. Yes and Kate? any perverse curiousness you can come up with…I’m right behind ya.

  11. What Maria said, except also from me. Every word. Exactly. Perfectly stated.

  12. Curious is putting it mildly for me.

  13. Kate, it’s okay — I wrote her privately and sent her what I would have posted, and she explained herself and apologized for calling me the name that made me think I should quit writing. She honestly never meant to hurt my feelings that badly, I don’t think. The Internet is too easy that way — it’s too fast. Also I don’t think she understood that by even suggesting I was adding to the shallowness and stupidity of our culture, she could make me consider shutting down this popsicle stand and taking off in a convertible with Ms. Jodi.

    And yes, Caryl — we were talking about it as I was going through photographs and sending them to Scott. Isn’t that odd?

  14. Also kudos to my love, Katherine, who took that astonishing photograph at the top of the post. She’s a woman with so many talents I can only stand back and wait to hear she’s built a time machine out of yarn and suet.

  15. The cadre of the militantly curious, elbows linked, tails in, horns out, has yet another.

  16. It is hard…especially when faced with a woman who appears to be made of steel…you seem like the kind of person who is impossible to hurt, and yet…the word person gives that away.

  17. Oh my goodness… I know I haven’t posted anything in a million years, but I was just thinking of you today, Haven. I started a new job today with a girl originally from Indiana, and I wanted to ask her if she knew you. :)

    I am personally so grateful for your writing (in all it’s forms). Thank you for not being allowing people to waylay you with their strange, emotional train wrecks.

  18. Goodness and mercy guides you, Haven.

    …and a whole bunch of others who come here.

  19. Everyone in your family is equally remarkable. Every last one of you. If there is an aristocracy of the spirit (and there is), you swell the ranks.

    Also, your blog?… Absolutely essential. Just to tell you.

  20. Dearest Haven, I have known you and your family for a good 25+ years. You are NOT fake, you never have been and never will be. Just let me at’em, I will go to bat for you! You have a wonderful mother…Dee is a very special woman. I have always loved your mother. I pray for her every day.
    So you have alot of people on your side and the pics were beautiful! Kat is just stunning!

  21. You truly never raised your voice to your daughter? That is remarkable. I have three daughters (and one son) and wish I could say the same. I could just start from here, right?

  22. One more thing…You, Dee and Lindy are hilarious. I think you all should go on the road! I am in stitches when I am around all of you or read something you have written about all of you. Such humor! LOVE IT~!

  23. Denise, I have to respond to your comment to Haven.
    Haven is a very calm collected mother. Also, Kat is a very special young lady. As a child she was so mellow and easy child. Haven was blessed with a wonderful daughter and two great sons. I am a little bias, I am Kat’s Aunt.
    Haven has a way with dealing with her children.

  24. When I read She Got Up off the Couch I was so touched by your complete love and adoration for your niece and nephew, I can’t even imagine what your reaction must have been when your own beautiful children graced this world.

  25. Haven,

    as you know, I have had to question my own soul before, too – as you recently said to me – you are speaking the truth and ‘she’ can’t hear it. She can’t face it. She can’t see you. She is too blinded with her own interests and justificatons.

    I believe we see you. We love you. It is hard to be open with our lives. It does expose us to the emotional mongrels. When our guard is down to allow our openess, some people will take advantage of that and shoot some arrows. Shame on them. I can only say that I have chosen in life that my intent and love will not be shot down by those arrows of hatred – as a matter of fact, looking back I think they are shot from a heart that is completely disarmed by truth. Their automatic self-centered world reflexively begins shooting, because that is what they know.

    I am sorry this caused you pain and upset – this person was not brave enough to shoot their arrows on the blog. That says a lot. Can you imagine the shield all your blog babies would have created around you – it would be a veritable circling of the wagons, and you, my dearest, would be the protective and protected fire in the center of it all.

    Your voice is melodic – I can’t imagine it raised in anger at any of your children. The harmony just flows from it . . . it is not just that you are lucky in your children, they are lucky in you. You are willing to look at them and see them (as Jim Shue says). Each human has that worthiness, if only someone could see them earlier in their lives – so much pain and heartached could be prevented.

  26. Oh Haven,

    Don’t believe everything anyone says to you, just believe us, the ones that love you. :)
    The same goes for your writing; your books and stories go beyond ‘qualified’ or not. I quite simply believe that if you didn’t write them, no one else could and the world would be deprived of something amazing. You were meant to write, and no one should have the power to make you believe otherwise.

    :: hugs ::

  27. Off to make dinner (late) but I just had to say Thank You, Haven! I think this is my favorite blog entry because you remind us just how precious mothers and children can be in our lives. Beside the stuff that makes us feel protective of you, the rest of the stories made me want to laugh and cry and hug my children tight. Your family is lucky to have each other and we are lucky to have you.

  28. Oh, Haven — !

    If you only knew — really knew — how you touch the lives of your … readers? fans? blogbabies? beloveds? family? world? I don’t know the word to describe what/whom you touch with your fabulosity.

    When your children spontaneously defend you — against w-h-a-t-e-v-e-r — you know that you have armor that cannot be penetrated.

    My son (my hero) has the best all-purpose advice: Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke.

  29. This might be my favorite blog you have written. Look at this community you have created Haven, a community that has literally saved so many of us from loneliness, saved us from combusting as many of us have no where,I repeat NO WHERE else were we can speak freely and talk of poety, art, love.
    How dare anyone criticize you. This is my church, my therapy and without you holding it all together, I would simply vanish into myself.
    xoxox

  30. Haven – It’s a good thing a certain Sister K of Maine and I did not catch wind of this attack, since we were both psychotically hormonal the past week. There would have been teeth barred and crow bars in hand.

    How wondrous of you to take a bad confluence of events and form it into a wondrous hallelujah about children and mothers and child-love and mother-love.

    Thank you for this post. We love you so.

  31. Well, there I go crying again. I just had to make a trip in the OUT OF DOORS to buy more tissues! That’s serious.

    xoxo

  32. Re Mother Delonda . . . she seems to be the epitome of acceptance and unconditional love.

    Just, wow.

    Also, those darling, sweet moments with toddlers . . . taggy, flavours, that just makes me all mushy inside.

    I am really excited about the new book you are writing – I keep skirting this issue of spirituality and religion, poking it with a stick now and then. I want to know more, more, more. Don’t let the pressure, get to you – follow your and heart and stillness and all will be right.

    A caravan of BB’s are headed to you from Nashville area, will hit Durham on April 8th . . . shall we plan a riotious UNION somewhere . . . love the idea of Norah’s meeting house as a day hang-out . . . we are still figuring out the lodging. So E.X.C.I.T.E.D.

  33. Haven, I read this earlier as I was heading out of my office to go pick up my precious and very sweaty son from his cross country practice. I told him I was going to Durham with my Haven friends – to see Haven and Augusten – and I wanted him to come with me and we would make a detour over to UNC to check it out. He looked at me and said, “what, is Haven going to invite you all over to her house or something? you are a stalker, mom.” I had to laugh and say, sweet son of mine, I want you to meet Haven at her book signing so you will understand. This little world we have here is special. It is a warm piece of pie. It is a light summer rain. It is cookies, socks with toes, beautiful hot beads, astonishing wax paintings, cows, poetry, jazz, laughter, tears, hugs, kisses, sock monkeys. It is Peru, and Arizona, and New Hampshire. It is the West Coast, the East Coast, Australia. It is love. You are love. You are the most authentic and brilliant person I have ever had the honor to call a friend. And you are my friend. And, I thank God that you are on this earth. xoxo

  34. What everyone above me said….YES, YES YES!!
    PLUS….I don’t know about anyone else but I am REALLY DAMN tired about people whining that our ‘culture’ is shallow and stupid. We have one of the richest, most diverse cultures in the world and all of our technology and gadgets and arguments and stories contribute to that diversity…We have so many levels you could never ever see them all if you tried. And this blog is perfect evidence of that…what the kids say, what the BBabies say, all the amazing stories!! I love our ‘culture’… (well, except maybe the porn industry and the cockroaches..we all gotta be phobic about some things):-)
    Haven, you give us this blog, our little corner of literary culture that we choose to dose liberally with humor, because without humor,
    without laughter,
    and without kindness and love,
    we are…COCKROACHES!!

  35. The same thought flitted through my mind Maureen. ;)

  36. Although cockroaches do have us all beat when it comes to the ability to adapt and staying power .. aside from that though, they are rank little creatures, aren’t they?

  37. P.S.
    I sent Mother Delonda the lovely a dreamcatcher made by my mother especially for her…I hope it helps…I sent the navajo legend story with it, in short, it catches the good dreams and then the bad ones escape through the holes, which in navajo first times were made by spider woman. It needs to hang over her bed or in a window by the bed.
    LOL

  38. Haven,

    That person just didn’t know and she was beset by her own demons that provoked such a pathetic attack on you. Here’s the irony, though she thinks she probably deprived herself of entering into one of the most special relationships she could have ever hoped to encounter while trolling virtual writers, if she came on right after me as a new poster, we’d welcome her with the same open arms that have bolstered so many of us, me included.

    What would I have done without this blog over the last several months. Do as I always did…read a book and in some sort of haze of delight attempt to explain it to someone the next day who hadn’t a clue of what I felt? Do as I always did…hear and see a line of verse creeping into my soul and ignore it, reject that tiny bit of poetry inside me? Do as I always did, finish a book and say, I’d give anything to talk to that author knowing that I would never have such a chance? Do as I always did…sense that someone, somewhere needed a prayer and yet remained silent because I was not a community where someone honestly and humbly asked for a divine petition? Do as I always did. I think not.

    Life changed for me the day I picked up Used World and decided to seek its writer out and tell her how great she is.

    Tell that woman who wrote to come on over and be altered. She’ll be the better for it and we will be, too, once she starts telling the truth of who she is and what she thinks.

  39. George, I think she knows she’s welcome. I’d never give her away, if she did.

  40. One of my favorite things is to post a blog entry not expecting that I would hear from both Robert AND Julie Coley. It’s a happy, happy day.

    p.s. And yes, Miss Julie and I go so far back that once (I take the blame for this) we went through the drive-thru at Taco Bell and threw peanuts at the intercom, and then claimed there was something wrong with the connection. “I’m sorry, could you repeat that? There was a popping noise.” “I’m sorry, can you say that one more time? There’s like . . . it’s like the intercom is exploding.”

  41. Wow, that’s almost as good as going to Taco Bell with a DEAD RACCOON ON YOUR CAR.

  42. Also, George…isn’t this place some sort of MIRACLE? I love the internet. The way it connects people who could never connect any other way. What a blessing it has been to me.

  43. …of course you’d never give her ID away. What I was trying to say is that people get something when they come here because they give something.

  44. I’ve always been absolutely intrigued by how this thing works. By the way, how’d did the shoot go? Do they still have that cute little place out over by the old Columbia Theater?

  45. Beautiful post, Haven.
    I’ve always thought there was something special about Obadiah, just from seeing his pictures. I think the above one of him really shows his beautiful spirit. And of course your Kat is stunning.

  46. George…are you talking about my facebook status?? The shoot was meh…It went fie, but I wanted to just go home. The Mannerchor still does have that cool brick building…I did enjoy looking at all the sayings painted on the walls.

  47. Kate,

    Sorry…I was confused. Yes, I was on Facebook a while ago.

  48. I just keeping think about this blog post…about that sweet baby girl thrown out like so much garbage…about this INVESTMENT we have in our children.

    Sitting to my right is one of the smartest, most handsome and creative almost-6 year olds anyone could ever meet. Of course, his name IS Jarvis, so he’s bound to be special. He has gone from being my pride and joy to the bane of my existence and back again. There were times where he made me cry because he was so ornery, and I didn’t know what to do. I had to go through that to learn about being a mother. And I did…I was a better, more patient mother with my other two sweet, wonderful children who daily try my patience.

    My son just kissed my hand…we have so much love stored up for each other, and for each of my babies, and they for me. I never want to be anything other than a light in their darkness, a warm bed for them to crawl into, a person to laugh at their jokes and admire their legos.

    Every day I have the sweetness of seeing the new worlds my Jarvis has created, the beauty of Linus’s laughter and tenderness, the joy of teaching Alice new words. I also have the chore of dealing with a tattletale, a bully, and a trainwreck. Same kids. But aren’t we all like that? What if someone had given up on us, in our innocence?

    I think of my mother…my best friend…a woman whose only wish was that I would be “Who God Wants You to Be.” Not even that I’d be happy, although no mother wants her child to be unhappy. Her desires were lofty, but her arms are not, and she never closes her heart to me.

  49. When exactly is the dates of the great Durham adventure? I’m trying to figure out if there is any possibility of my making it down there. I can’t remember the last time I actually left West Michigan.

    Haven I sent you an e-mail.

  50. my eyes are welling up with tears. this post was beautiful..your mom sounds fantastic.

    i just finished reading something rising light and swift this afternoon and was speaking with my brother about how magical your writing is. and though i’ve been blurking here for a while, i felt compelled to just thank you for your writing and your inspiration. i keep solace of leaving early at my bedside because i feel like every phrase in that book is poetry and feel the need to reread bits and pieces on an almost weekly basis.

  51. Screw that lady who called you shallow.

    I do not even have to read the other comments (indeed I have not) to know that all reasonable, loving people on this blog agree with me.

    I am crying. Haven. Haven. You are lovely. Your words are lovely. And if we were more like you, there’d be so much more beauty in the world.

    Your life speaks. It speaks and the words it conjures are Truth, Beauty, Goodness.

    That is all I need to know.

  52. Also, Aubrey, welcome!!!! Something Rising is the most astonishing, lovely book Ever. Written. You are right to love it. Ditto for Solace.

  53. “….and your children will rise up and call themselves blessed…”

  54. Hi everyone! I’ve been quietly reading everyone’s comments (ok, lurking), just being entirely delighted with what everyone has to contribute without feeling the need to add anything myself. Until now. Sher, reading what I’ve said about Haven truly seeing people for who they are repeated here by someone else was just the slap upside the head that I needed. I’ve been under a bit of a cloud lately and haven’t felt like writing. So thank you Sher, Haven and everyone else for that.

    That said, O is right. Haven, you are the least shallow person I’ve ever met. Even that fateful night at Clara’s Pizza King, you may have seen in me an obvious target for your disdain (at the time) of organized religion and the people (me) who unquestioningly followed. But shallow? No way. Not then and not now.

    Besides, how could I not love someone who calls me Sock and got me to drink Shark Bites instead of Pina Coladas?

  55. Aubrey:

    It is magical, isn’t it? I am going to be taking my memory of that book with me to New Orleans when I go there next month. I totally had a crush on Cassie Claiborne and she lives as a very real person in my imagination. It’s a weird crush…a protective brotherly crush. Not that Cassie needs protection. It’s the kind of crush that makes me want to adjust her bicycle so she can ride it more comfortably. Weird, eh?

  56. Suzanne: I have been wondering where you were and how you are!

  57. George you are so eloquent {kowtow}
    The Used World is my favorite novel, too.
    I love to see everyone rally around.
    G’night all

  58. Haven–yes, it was I of the toe sock-sock-monkey-sending. :) Darling Gus wears them as gloves? I am so happy; I read your post practically at the top of my lungs to my mother and my sister.

    Perhaps I should not admit that.

  59. Its the consistency of love, in your family, that inspires me most. You have lucky children, Haven. I ache to have a mother like yours or be a mother like you.

  60. I’m signed in as “fairyfriends.” Ooos. Although, I am a fairy friend. :)

  61. I said ooos. Ooops.

  62. Tex. Click on “lightning bug.”

  63. My niece and I ended up having another “is my dear Aunt Kittery of whom I think *so* much pregnant” conversation tonight .. and I (again) told her “no”. And then I said, “even if I was, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world” and she said that no, it wouldn’t, but that was because I was 22 and not a teenager – this was my reply. “And there are some women who have given birth in their teens that turned out to be extraordinary mothers…” there was more, but that was the important part.
    Haven, I was thinking specifically of you. :)

  64. I marvel at my niece who was pregnant at 17 and is such a fine, smart, loving, thorough mother.

  65. Brenda!

  66. Here’s my deal regarding ranking Haven’s books. They’re like my boys, I love them all equally, and each are different. What I like to think is that Haven is working on the book that is destined to become my favorite. That way, she always stays a step ahead and I always have something to look forward to.

  67. Isn’t that just it, though? Your children are enough to tell you exactly who and what you are, by who they have come to be. Haven, I’m so grateful on your behalf that you have the firewall of Kat, Obadiah, and Gus, and the saferoom of John, your mother, sister and all of your other wonderful stand-by-you family and friends. It’s in your descriptions of your relationships with those you love, it’s in the way you’ve opened your arms, opened the shutters to the light and invited us all in to this community, that anyone who’d read more than a few hundred words of yours would know that in your way, in your being, you are the shape and the essence of every antonym of “shallow” and “false.” You, and everyone you’ve brought by your voice to this community, have been transformative agents in my life, and there are no words to express the gratitude I feel for this place, or for the fact of you.

    Love you so much, Haven. xoxoxo C

  68. Haven,
    Upon finishing my first read-through of Zippy and very shortly later, Solace, I knew that my literary world would never be the same. Your books, your blog, and this beautiful community hiding under the blog, have been an exponentially growing blessing in my life. The amount of lives you have bettered, as evidenced by the comments above and the ones that I know are yet to come, makes me stand back and gape in sheer admiration. Please don’t ever, EVER, let anyone try to convince you otherwise.

  69. Well – jeez, people I haven’t cried for awhile and it feels ok to FEEL . . .

    JimShue – my hugs to you ALWAYS. The PowWow in Durham, at the Regulator Bookstore is at 7:00 pm, Thursday, April 9th . . . I have several more seats in my van if anyway besides Kate and Baby Alice want to accompany me – drive or fly into Nashville – and our caravan will travel to Durham.

    I want to look at reserving some hotel suites (hopefully with a kitchenette at least) so we can all stay together on top of each other (note: I must have my own sleeping surface, even if it is my airmattress) . . . I think we should have a smashing late night dinner AFTER the reading if Haven and Augusten are up for it . . . or a brunch the next morning???? Also, Norah mentioned the local meeting house as a place with a kitchen which we could use as headquarters for 2-3 days, then all sleep where we may . . .

    George – this place and how you speak of it, I had that intellectual/literary void, too – I have some amazing friends, but they tend towards mostly visual expression (which is great) – but to be able to immerse myself in the literary minds and the love offered here . . . it has rounded out my life in ways I am just now realizing.

    The thought of Haven ending the blog – – it would be devastating to me . . . I just can’t imagine not having this and Haven, and you all in my life.

    It does sound a little creepy to the non-initiated, but you all know – you see me – you see Haven – you are taking the chance at being centered in your truths and then you are willing to share that.

    Love always prevails.

  70. Haven,
    Your mother made a beautiful difference in my life and I think of her often. She knows.
    I just wanted you to know.
    Tracy

  71. I find it so strange and unfortunate that people will so often look to diminish the light being cast from quarters not themselves. We all do it now and then — sometimes, I think, we’re unaware that we’re doing it. A kind of unconscious passive aggression. I know neither the specifics nor the broad strokes behind the fracas under discussion regarding these comments, Haven, but rest assured: yours is a voice that both enables voices too long quiet and a voice that goes some distance toward instructing all in its range how to be the listeners God would have us be. I spent this morning watching interviews and lectures given by the brilliant Chris Hedges and was heartened by his observation that religion and art do — and are intended to do — similar things: namely, engage the unquantifiable and immeasurable and construct meaning from what is found. As a novelist and memoirist, there’s something of the revelation in you, something quite sacred. Your books are light in corners — as is this often silly, often numinous blog. You’re less a writer than a trail of ribbons tied to trees, leading readers to glories — and that, my friend, is a remarkable thing to be. I thank God we have writers as generous with their hearts and time as you. As to whomever led you to believe any of the above might be other than true, I’ll try to remember that when we critique cruelly — as he or she has apparently, even if unconsciously, done — we’re revealing unflattering truths more about ourselves than about those we critique. We’ve all got growing to do, and he or she is no different.

  72. All of this love and support for a woman who personifies selflessness to me, and who really does make all of us want to be a better mother, father, friend, wife or husband, daughter, well you get my point, it is all the more beautiful because most of us have never even met the woman we are defending. She is that important and inspirational to us and our lives.
    This post made even more poignant the topic of a conversation my daughter-16- and I were just having. I have a request, in her name but really its for me maybe even more, that perhaps you all can help me with. She is having a “break up” with her best friend, she goes to a girls school so these relationships are even more intense than the ones I had at that age, and there was no fight but just a very sudden growing apart. My daughter always seemed the stronger of the two and definitely had a larger world outside of the two of them, but yet she is the one whose heart seems the more broken of the two. I try to give my sage advise with out trying to fix the problem, but, and here is my request, I have a hard time taking the higher road so its difficult for me to know what to say. And she is my baby so I am already defensive. Any ideas of what would help? xoxo

  73. The writing on this blog never ceases to amaze me, jaw dropping brilliance it is. Being a reader and not writer I am in awe today.

  74. just when I thought that you couldn’t get any better, ie more kind and wise and precious, by jingo, she duz! I literally had to pick myself up off the floor after reading such a beautiful post, Haven. And yes, tears welled up in my eyes, just as they have in everyone else.
    Regarding the incident with this *anonomous Haven slanderer*, my first instinct is to whip out the ol’ phrase: just “Fuck her and the horse she rode up on!” I can attribute this gem of a line to my dear ol’ dad, who I’m as close to as you are with Mother Delonda, I’m lucky enough to say. In truth though, at the end of the day I sway towards what George said, about open arms and merciful forgiveness, and that.

    May I also truly thank you for your ever kind and insightful words on the previous post. I’ve been thinking about what you said ever since and it gives me much needed strength. Thank you.

    And lightening bug, just checked ya site out…Noice one!

  75. btw, at a later date I’ll explain why methadone is an evil and most pernicious drug and one that should be avoided at all costs. Worse than heroin, it is. But I’m just a bit buggered at the moment. I’m content to just sit back and read all of the blog babies’ words of wisdom.

  76. Tex, did you get my email?

  77. Jason – gorgeous insights. I’m crying again and it doesn’t help that I have been simultaneously writing a new post on my blog that is about biology vs. biography – which just re-enforces to me, historically, that is, why we as humans weave very tangled roots, then feed them with poison and have the GALL to wonder why we are not understood?

    It is always about healing our own wounds and offering balm to others. So whilst I am dabbing the panacea of this blog on my wounded heart, I am also offering a less burdened heart and spirit which will hopefully find its way to where it is needed.

    Caryl – just being there for your daughter to talk to is probably the best thing. My daughter has grown in different directions and thus away from some former ‘best’ friends, too. I think it shows amazing maturity and emotional courage that she is willing to meet her pain head-on and is not burying it in unhealthy repression or covering up with silliness.

    I think one of my main jobs as a parent is just being there. sitting quietly, but listening intensely – sometimes all I do is repeat back what they are telling me and commiserate with the difficulties vs. giving them actual advise on what to do. It sounds like your daughter is growing her own wings . . . it is hard to stay in the nest while they are testing them . . . if she knows you care and are THERE for her when and if she needs you – you are stellar and one of the best parents I know.

    I notice that if I even look away from my children at something or someone else while they are talking to me – their eyes just get so disappointed – so ignore the fire on the stove, the cat jumping in the toilet, the 6-year-olds riding the giant caterpillar down the stairs and try to FOCUS all my energy THERE, to see them.

    Um, I have no idea WHAT I am talking about, really. My parents were both raised by divorced/remarried parents, and so was I – I have learned anything I know from living consciously and observation – and a willing to admit I don’t know shit! But, I am willing to learn . . . more than anything, I want to do the least amount of damage to children that is possible.

  78. oh, Caryl, I have yet to get your email but I shall check it shortly! I look forward to it.

  79. Sher, now I am crying, and when I dry my eyes I am going to go give my girl a hug and walk away. I WILL NOT TRY TO FIX THIS FOR HER> I will reread your post and try it a different way. You are the stellar mother of which you speak. xoxo

  80. Very bizarre book – DAMAGE by Josephine Hart. I am just stunned and disturbed by it. On one hand it is an amazingly honest and forthcoming narrarator . . . and confronts some taboos that are mind blowing. But I think it is really about the idea that some people just carry chaos in their wake and that others are suseptible to joining the chaos, willingly (but maybe unconsciously).

    here is an excerpt:
    “They say that childhood forms us, that those early influences are the key to everything. Is the peace of the soul so easily won? Simply the inevitable result of a happy childhood. What makes childhood happy? Parental harmony? Good health? Security? Might not a happy childhood be the worst possible preparation for life? Like leading a lamb to the slaughter.

    . . . I have told you [my history] in order to issue a warning. I have been damaged. Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.

    . . . All damaged people are dangerous. Survival makes them so . . . because they have no pity. They know that others can survive, as they did”.

    “Sometimes we need a map of the past. It helps us to understand the present, and to plan the future . . .”.

    “The external tale of a man’s life can be turned by any journalist into an article or two. And even after years of research by a biographer can only be extended to a book that can be read in two or three weeks”.

    Well, just a few thoughts for me to ponder . . . not sure about the story, but I have gleaned some amazing nuggets to refine.

  81. All damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive. God what a concept. What is the book about?

  82. Well, Caryl – I didn’t mean to make you cry! It is the hardest and bravest thing for a mother to let their children learn on their own (while still standing NEARBY if they are really needed) . . . but that is a huge gift that you are giving her – to strengthen her little wings so she grows into a beautiful glorious, STRONG woman!

    I’ve had friends’ children actually quit college and move back home because they just couldn’t ‘handle’ emotions and things that didn’t fix itself immediately (of course there will assinine professors, of course someone will steal your iPOD, of course you won’t get an A every time. . . ). As a teacher I would see it all the time, too. Parents would fuss about their kids getting an N (needs improvement) in Art. I was like: you are doing them no good to try to fix this for them, I am trying to help them learn responsibility and you are blocking them from learning. Note: I never graded on talent, only on doing their best and following the assignment . . .

    I’m starving and freezing, so need to go night-night.

    Love you Caryl. email me at sherfickart at gmail.com if want to talk more about this . . . but I love the open quality of this blog – and I think we will NEVER know the far-reaching olive branches that come from our sharing of our lives. We are here to help each other and to share out truths.

    I have major moments of feeling like an AWFUL mother – feeling like I didn’t provide them with a firm spiritual foundation, but I couldn’t when I was and still am finding my own way, and after my own de-programming I just couldn’t dump a bunch of close-minded bullshit in their little heads and hearts . . . I don’t regret it, but it does make me nervous if all the sudden they will freak out . . . but they still seem to enjoy the waffles and couch snuggles and hiking on Sundays . . . time will tell.

    It is a major quandary.

  83. DAMAGE is an extraordinary book. A shocking film also, it was.

  84. Thank you again Sher, you really are the best.

  85. Well this book is about a father that has an affair with his son’s fiance – she is a walking tornado of chaos . . . in case someone wants to read it I would give all the subsequent damage away – but what was strange was that – in the book – the guy (father) and the (fiance) are fully aware of the damage they are/will cause and they can’t or won’t stop themselves and have no regret about their consequences.

    I’m not sure how I feel about it yet – it was just a pickup from Goodwill, was published in 1991. But I am intrigued by the thought processes and character analysis – I have known some of these “walking chaos” people and I fear I may have been one in high school. So it just kind of ‘took me aback’ . . .

  86. Dear Haven, the fact that you would set aside the insult and examine your heart and mind to search for a particle of truth in her communication, well that just says everything to me. It’s only something the best of humans are capable of and speaks volumes about your character and your essential truth. It’s why the soul of human nature is revealed in everything you write and it’s why you so clearly see the goodness in the mess of human psyche. It’s also why I’m glad I met you and so many others here on this Blog.

  87. Also this author is married to one of the SAATCHI’s of England (they run an amazing contemporary gallery) and she has written screen plays – this book read like a screen play for sure . . .

    Just looked her up – looks like it is her only novel, but it was made into a movie in 1993 – also called Damage with Jeremy Irons . . . I might try to rent that, too. It is just disconcerting?

  88. Oh, the terrible cross-post! Can’t wait to see the movie, too, Suzanne – and happy to know someone else has run across this book . . . I love Goodwill!

  89. My freezing ass going Night, Night!

  90. If I don’t stop reading posts here I’ll never get to bed. But I have to disagree with the excerpt from ‘Damaged’. I think that more often damaged people display greater empathy and depth of character. The same fire that melts the butter hardens the steel (or something like that).

    And God, aren’t we all damaged in some way? And would you trust anyone who wasn’t? It just does amaze me that those who have been treated the most cruelly are often the kindest.

  91. Amy, I would have to agree with your assessment of the excerpt from “Damage” in that I think it’s the minority of people who have been damaged that would inflict pain on others. The rest of us, maybe those of us with souls, are capable of great empathy for others in pain.

  92. I just had the chance to get back on to see all the replies once again. Oh, Haven…I had that Taco Bell incident in the distant memory. We had some great times and hilarious times!!! Too many to mention, but very happy they are in my memory. Don’t ever (which I know you won’t) let anyone degrade you! You have wonderful children, you are a good Momma and no one can change that!
    xoxox

  93. Good morn, all. A quick hello before I leave for another long day of work.

    Caryl, one thing I do for our boys when they come to talk with me about anything, important or not, is set down what I’m holding and turn to face them to give them my whole attention. When I do that our younger son often settles in for a talk, and our older one often moves in for me to hold him (he’s fifteen now but still loves to be held for long periods of time for no reason.) I love turning to face them and seeing them registering that I am really listening.

    Amy, I agree we’ve all been hurt, and those who have learned from that by becoming kinder are better people for it. What scares me are the folks who either don’t realize or acknowledge that they were. In the extreme we get into Jim Jones and Manson teritory.

  94. Haven,

    I just recently discovered your books and I LOVE them. I want you to know that you are an inspiration to me. Thank you for being you and thank your Mother for raising you to be who you are.

    Blessings,
    Cherri

  95. Dear Haven,
    In the words of Randy Newman “Smile and Be Happy, don’t you ever wear a frown don’t let the ……get you down!”
    You look so pretty smiling. Thanks for the affirmation about motherhood. My mother, bless her dear heart, has to be a saint. Meanwhile my precious teen-age daughter is actually turning the corner and becoming the fine young adult I always knew she would be. She’ll be 16 on Valentines Day. I asked her her wishes for her birthday and she told me she’d love to go see Joan Baez with me at the Carolina Theater! Did she want to take a friend? “No, mom, none of my friends are in to Joan Baez.” She also wants to go to Charlotte to see the Andy Warhol exhibit. I knew she was special. I knew I was blessed but sometimes it’s difficult when they’re coming out of their cocoon to see the beauty being born.
    Bless you and all of your family and keep smiling.

  96. Hi Terri –
    Just wanted to say hello and co-celebrate with you. My oldest son will be 16 in March, and he has been in his cocoon looking all squished up and moist and uncomfortable for almost two years now.
    But within the past year, he went along with me to a writing conference (where he was also in the audience when I heard Haven), we went to an Andy Warhol exhibit in Grand Rapids (perhaps the same one as in Charlotte? I can’t remember if it was a traveling exhibit), and he went with me to hear Temple Grandin speak about animal behavior.
    It is a wondrous thing to see your children emerging as adults and to like them so much. It’s a white-knuckle ride through adolescence, but we all put our parents through that!
    Nice to meet you!

  97. Morning babies! Just checking in before I tuck in for a polyphasic nap . . . it is weird about DAMAGE because I didn’t know whether to agree with some of the statements or not, they were made by very BIZARRE characters and they did make me stop and think.

    I do know that in my life I have encountered both types of DAMAGED people – those who choose love over continuing the grand hierarchy of abuse and THAT is true bravery. But, also, I have encountered those damaged souls that wreak havoc in their wake and that feel it is their job to destroy the love they encounter. Probably from a sense of unworthiness or jealousy (which are actually covers for emotional pain) . . . I feel I am an upbeat, hopeful, person – but that does not negate my real experiences with destroyers. I hope I have become a healing Damaged person, and not a destroying Damaged person.

    I think it is such an intriguing issue to discuss, because I have been given whiplash when encountering some destroyers and it can really pull the rug out from under you emotionally. As with this situation with Haven and her ‘critic’ . . . in the end it makes you feel as if you know YOURSELF better, and you are stronger, and you find your way to the people that do see and love you . . . and you feel like you just received a hug from the divine.

    I was lonely and brokenhearted from a destroyer when I found my way here. Although my core was strong, I had been shaken to the core by sabotage and untrue allegations that questions my very being . . . conflicts can be such learning experiences and I am so thankful that I heeded the call and found my way here, jumped in with both feet . . . I have received so many lifelines and cheers from this nurturing community.

    Thank you for making me feel welcome, too.

    There is just no end to the beauty we can create here with the kind hearts and souls.

  98. Maureen – perfect description of our ‘pupa-to chrysalis-butterfly’ babies. I am still hating for my son to grow into his feet.

  99. My God, Sher, are we actually on-blog at the same time!? I so happy!! :-)

    I am desperate to get to Durham in April. This morning my hubby said he had been invited to a day of ice-fishing with his fishing blog buddies and I threw out that I wanted to go to NC to see MY blog buddies. So maybe I can strike a deal. I am thinking to work in a college visit to Duke and maybe Johns Hopkins with my son to justify the day off I’ll have to take.

  100. Maureen – yes, combine those reasons for the visit – also you are visiting a writer and a bookstore – automatic tax deductions . . . I think several of us might bring our older teens to view the colleges . . . I’m trying to convince Lauren to come to help babysit Baby Alice, but Dylan is slightly interested in Chapel Hill although he really wants to go to school in Hawaii or Europe . . . we shall see. I loved Chapel Hill and came extremely close to attending graduate school there . . . decided I just couldn’t put my family through that stress and then, well, my career started happening with the MFA . . . so here we are!

  101. will check back later . . . I am hours behind on my day already – trying to show some restraint today!

  102. Cool! My only reservation is that I don’t want to abandon my poor kid to go whoop it up with the blog babies. Though Lyle is very happy to chill with the TV and a computer.
    My best friend from high school lives in Chapel Hill, so I could also swing over there.
    Who is Baby Alice?

  103. I think Baby Alice is Kate’s daughter?
    Just taking a break to read all of your lovely words, it has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day for me. People ( insureds and claimants) have just been so mean and I swear if I get yelled at one more time I might throw this fucking laptop thru the window and quit. Whew. That said, where is Suzanne? I need Suzanne!

  104. Oh Amy, sorry! I am going to take my lunch break right now and mail you that Sylvia Plath novel to cheer you up!

  105. “…she doesn’t realize she murdered the future; she destroyed the person who might have ended up the dearest friend and companion she would ever have.” I have three boys but what brilliant men they are going to be in my life. Thank you for reminding me what a gift this motherhood is. I love Zippy. Barnone. A brilliant example of the power of memoir. I’m now beginning “Solace…” Thank you for the beauty of your words. Ignore the naysayers.

  106. Yes, Baby Alice is mine…she is 20 months and I can’t leave her just to jet off to Durham so I am going to take her! Pray for my sanity! It would be perfect if she were at a quiet, immobile age but alas, she is not, and not likely to sleep on my back. I can manage her, but during the reading I really want to be listening and not walking around in a lobby talking about how kitties go “maow.”

  107. Maow! That is so cute!
    Maureen, you always know how to cheer me:)

  108. I hate to deliver bad news, but I just noticed this:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/27/AR2009012701656.html?hpid=topnews

    I will miss him. His was a perfect voice of the 60s-70s-80s. I will miss him as a literary critic. I will miss him as a wonderful golf writer.

    Bye,

    John

    I’m sure Rabbit already had a tee time awaiting you moments after your arrival. It’s listed under Harry Angstrom when you check in at the pro shop.

  109. I just saw that, George, and put a note on Suzanne’s blog. Lung cancer.

  110. Thought of you the moment I saw the headline, George. Rabbit at Rest.

  111. I just came here to post about John Updike for Suzanne. You all are speedy quick!

  112. Congratulations Suzanne, you DID IT.

  113. He had written a novella in 2001 following Rabbit at Rest. It was called Rabbit Remembered. I finished reading it on the plane as I was flying to Peru. I have his sequel to the Witches of Eastwick awaiting me in my queue of books to be read. I will truly miss Mr. Updike.

  114. Haven,

    You have always got to remember that when people come at you saying outlandish things they are probably just in a mood themselves. There is NOOOOOOO way possible I could ever imagine how she could ever call you shallow.

    Shallow is how i feel just trying to understand your great mind sometimes. I aspire to be a great mother like you above all, and there are few on the planet that could hold a candle to your writing ability.

    Anyways the person sounds like a coward if they wouldn’t even give you a proper name for you to address them.

    One of my favorite songs of all time popped in my head while reading your blog today. I havne’t heard it in forever, but it goes with the discussion. Being pregnant right now it greatly saddens me to hear of people hurting their child. I have only seen a fuzzy ultrasound pic of my baby and would already gladly give my life for his.

    The song is Angie Aparo’s Wonderland off of his “The American” album…..Well the description of the way he describes of feeling how he would protect his daughter. Well for those of you out there clever enough to use an ipod (I am a cd girl) maybe you can look up the song. For the rest please read the following lyrics

    Take a piece of the sky
    Make it rain cherry wine
    Give her love give her life
    Give her mine

    She’s a child young and willing
    In a world that’s unforgiving
    That in time takes all the living
    From your soul

    I stand in the night with a silver sword
    Killing her demons beating em off her door
    Sleep baby don’t you cry
    Daddy’s got a worn-out lullaby
    And i live forever dark and damned
    To see you spend one minute
    In wonderland

    She can run free forever
    Still our blood runs us together
    I’ll be there if she runs home
    For worse or better

    I know you like adam knew eve
    Every tear you cry is a tear that i will bleed
    Sleep baby don’t you cry
    Daddy’s got a worn-out lullaby
    And i live forever dark and damned
    To see you spend one minute
    In wonderland

  115. I want to welcome all the newcomers first of all, WELCOME NEWCOMERS, and thank you each and every one for your ceaseless kindness. (Jason, I love what you said.)

    But I have to also express my deep grief over the death of Updike, who was not just one of my favorite American writers of all-time, but a writer of greatness, a genius. I somehow was under the impression he might live forever, given that he published a new novel just a few months ago. This is a genuine loss to American letters.

    Also, Sher, there isn’t a chance in this world that Augusten will accompany us anywhere after the reading. Just letting you know. He doesn’t do that.

  116. Hillary, that is gorgeous. Thanks for that.

  117. Oh well, dang. He just doesn’t know the Lovely Blog Babies. Now Haven, will do something like that (meet us for dinner or brunch) or would be pulling you away from your best friend?

    You may just wish to be left alone . . . but know that we will love every minute of the reading . . . can you imagine all of us trying to meet and meditate (instead of talking) – that would be hilarious. It would be like you at the church camp . . .

    We will just have to satisfy ourselves with seeing and hearing Augusten during the reading. I have my copies of his books ready for autographs anyway . . . I hope he might enjoy the many-flagged, high-lighted morphing that has happened to it.

    On another note, during my nap I had this dream:

    I am staying at a hotel where I am supposed to be attending a workshop and there is NO teacher. someone has taken my bed and I am supposed to retrieve it from a barge – meeting it at an exact location, handing over my ‘slip’ of paper.

    the problem is the barge never exactly lines up with the spot I am supposed to wait . . . I am running along the barge trying to line up with the ‘dude’ to retrieve my bed which I can see as it floats by . . . the barge comes back every hour . . . and wave at my bed. I am resigned – I will never have a bed.

    Hum – it is kind of my eternal hamster wheel – chasing the elusive sleep.

    Updike. Yes, I was hoping he would live forever. an amazing mind – he saw forward, I loved that.
    Much sorrow.

  118. Oh, of course I’ll go out with all of you! I should have said Augusten wouldn’t go anywhere with ME, either, because he wouldn’t. You won’t be pulling me away from anyone.

  119. Just read Haven’s initial blog post.

    My first reaction is to say about the critic, just point her out to me. I can take her.

    My second, maybe more mature, reaction is to say . . . ummmm, just point her out to me. I can take her.

    Seriously though, it’s amazing sometimes how one lone, dissenting voice can make us doubt in the midst of a multitude of support and encouragement. I still haven’t learned the Very Helpful Skill of considering the source. I’m sorry this person caused you even one second of pain, Haven. I am, however, grateful that you’re gracious enough for us to see your humanity behind the curtain.

  120. Haven – Yippee, Skippety!!!!!!!!

    I am going to offer my favorite Updike site, which I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned her before:

    http://userpages.prexar.com/joyerkes/Item1.html

    Haven – I have to tell you that Claire has followed your advice and has started writing her “pretends” down. Last night she began a journal (of her own free will and chose a Hello Kitty Notebook, which is a ‘forever’ notebook). Here first entry is a drawing of Hello Kitty and the second page is a poem she wrote:

    I am typing this exactly as she spelled it:

    My drems by Claire.

    My drems are the best
    when your with me.
    But I don’t like night mers.
    You can drem about any thing you want.

    January 26, 2009

    1. Claire
    2. Sher (Mommy :) Love it!)
    3. Don (Daddy)
    4. Little Claire [her 'just like me'AmericanGirl]
    5. Dylan Fick
    6. Lauren Fick

    [note: the ennumerated list is of people who read the poem and liked it! she did that on her own, too]

  121. Hillary, I thought only Christopher, Kat and I loved Angie Aparo. He’s so great.

    Fairyfriends, is that you, KATHERINE?!? If so, I am laughing like a fool and you know why.

  122. Tell Claire I wish I had really used my notebooks when I was little instead of being clinically depressed and refusing to. I actually have all of my journals from childhood, and some have pages torn out, and some are just empty.

  123. Devon – you are dead on with ‘questioning the source’ – but sometimes, even though the source is, shall we say ‘unstable’ (I am reverting my my experiences here) – that person/relationship had meant so much to us that we are crushed no matter what. I’ve encountered lots of these ‘soul-crushers’ in my life. In the end, it always makes one stronger and the true connections of love in our life become brighter and, thus, lighten our load.

    One of my favorite Native American practices is found at Topock Maze outside of Lake Havasu city . . . it appears to be raised rows of dirt, possibly newly planted garden rows . . . the lines undulate and form a maze that meanders toward a distant mountain. the mounds are actually chips of ‘mountain varnish’ black stained rock – the maze was created for this purpose: that returning warriors would walk the maze on their way home, that they would leave behind all the negative demon spirits they had encountered on the travels . . . thus, returning to their village undamaged in spirit and would not bring the negativity to the tribe.

    Wow – while I was there I took a watercolor pencil and wrote on the names of my naysayers who had brought me down in life: Emery Creekbaum, Lynne Rackley, Lloyd Jackson, an unnamed, I then turned the stones name side down on top of a mound and walked away. I know the rains would wash away that stain from my life and they have.

    After this I created an installation of shale . . . leaving slips of paper and twine for viewers to write down their own negative voice originators, wrap a rock with it and leave it on the mound on the floor. It is an amazing ritual that I want to recreate on a grand scale, somewhere, somehow, one day.

  124. Kate Cake – me, too! I have most of my journals from junior high on, but all those ‘little girl’ thoughts and drawings are vanished in the midsts of time. Each of my kids have huge plastic storage bins filled with their artwork, favorite books, clothes, etc. – once in a while we go through together.

    Dylan just retrieved “Mouse Tales” from his bin so that he can do a dramatic monologue from it at his next competition.

    Also, at your last nature vacation together to the SW we ritualistically purchased journals for the Dylan and Lauren at Jackaloupe’s in Alberquerque, they chose, and I made them write in them each night, or take them with them on hikes and write or draw in them – they complained sometimes . . . but now they are some of their most treasured possessions. Lauren talks about hiking in Sedona and thinking she needed to walk between two rocks, only to trip over ONE because she was dizzy . . . also great stories about climbing up the Giant Crack of Bell . . . and they were with me at Sacred Mountain which is one of the epitomes of my life . . . sometimes memories just need to spurred or stirred to bring it all back . . .

  125. Once I drew naked people and then stuffed the pictures in the vent. Like my children, I believed things stuff in vents *vanished*.

  126. Ha!!!!

    we had family friends whose children like to use the vents as potties – oh the smells in that house . . . terrible!

  127. Ok . . . I am now 4 hours behind my schedule…must go work in studio, work in studio, work in studio . . . wish I could put you all on speaker down there . . .

  128. Damage readers (me too, but I saw the movie first…Jeremy Irons fan) Josephine Hart’s second novel is called SIN, and is another tale about the dark side of human beaness. The good/evil relationship between two women raised as siblings.

    Sher…since you expressed some interest in the Meeting House idea, I’ll gather some more details from the folks over there in case it still seems like a helpful idea as your plans take shape…

    I just saw on the Regulator Bookshop site that the reading is going to be at the public library instead of the bookstore…I was a little worried about them fitting you guys AND the local fans into their cozy space if hoards of you showed up! So I guess that is a good thing.

  129. Oh, how sad about John Updike. Thanks, George and everyone else who came here with the news. I think I read Rabbit, Run in high school – stumbled upon it – and was pretty stunned in a teenage kind of way. I keep the short story “Pigeon Feathers” always close at hand because I love it.

    Big snow arriving here tonight, so I might get stranded at home tomorrow – darn.

  130. Sher:

    I love the notion of that returning warriors negativity purge walk. I think I will install a version — very short one — in my back yard as a soul cleanser before I go in the back door. An extra door mat might help, too.

    All:

    I don’t think I adequately conveyed my sorrow over Updike’s passing. I loved the voices he conjured. When I was a kid living in Indiana, it took me to places I could only dream about. As an adult, who has spent most of his lifetime in the East, those voices are so pitch perfect. Updike was always a writer I could reliably turn to when I was between book or ideas or trauma. His words, somehow, were balm.

  131. If anyone wants to chat about Owen Meaney, I’m heading into the thick of it.

  132. Sher: If you haven’t read Pocketful of Names by Joe Coomer, then don’t. I will try to remember to bring it with me to Durham in April. The artist character in this novel works with rocks and sticks.

  133. ‘Ello everyone,

    I wanted to tell you that I am *not* deaf. :) No nerve damage. :D

  134. Oh Kittery!!! Hooray!!! Good news!!!

  135. Very sad about Updike. I haven’t read most of his work, but I know the loss this is to the literary world. And George and Suzanne.
    I am putting together some gifts for the friends who will be in Durham. Besides reading, my other amazing talent is gift giving, and I spare no cost. :). Please let me know if you will be there, and what babies you are bringing. Charlie already has something for Alice and Claire- regardless of whether Claire is there or not, he is starting to wooing young.
    Kate, if Steph is able to come, babies love her. She will be a great help.

  136. Kittery,

    What?

    ~~~
    That’s really wonderful news– thanks for letting us know. I hope you’re spared the idiots, and find the helpful, in whatever comes next in restoring your non-nerve-damaged hearing.

    ~ Sarah

  137. I could just cry…it will be so sweet to share my little girl with all of you!

  138. Yeah Kittery!!!!!We are getting a huge snowstorm as we speak and unlike the wonderful Maureen/Jodi/Molly ( am I missing any teachers?), we don’t close at my stupid job when the weather is bad. I still have to drive in the elements some 40 miles, blaccchhh. Pray I get to and fro safely!

  139. Kittery: huh? did you say something?

  140. Kittery…so what was it? A giant glob of wax?

  141. I sent you an email Sarah, did you get it?

    Amy, you could say you ate peanut butter crackers and are in the throes of salmonella and can’t brave the nasty drive. Not incredibly useful, but a suggestion, nonetheless. ;) Just in case though, I hope you get to and fro safely. :)

  142. :P George.

    Uh, well, Kate .. not exactly. I’m being sent to an ENT or a neurologist (or both) to figure out what *is* wrong. But the idea that it’s not permanent hearing loss cheers me. :) My brain could just be defective, but whatever, lol.

  143. Kittery,

    Oh, darn. I was thinking the message meant ‘all-clear.’ Well, you know my thoughts are with you.

  144. Caryl- I will almost certainly be at the Durham gathering and my son, Sam, who will be 16 in February, will be coming with me so we can do a campus tour of UNC that morning. He will have his full blown drivers license by then so he will most likely be driving and I will be white knuckling it in the passengers seat. With our GPS with the proper British accent guiding us.

  145. We thought my son Elliot was losing his hearing when he was four. We took him to the ENT and they said, No, he has beads in his ears. One big bead in each ear. From a craft project they had been doing at pre-school. The doctor fished them out and added them to the glass jar of strange things they had removed from children’s ears and noses.
    When they were done I said, “How’s that, Elliot?” and he practically jumped through the roof because I seemed so loud!
    Sorry, Kittery. I am assuming this is not your issue :-) Just a little comic relief.

  146. Linda, maybe we can do the tour together. Stephany is also 16 and my plan was to take he as well.

  147. Maureen, Molly, and everyone– My daughter’s AP English teacher just sent out an email (which parents are copied on) with upcoming projects. She is asking for ideas regarding studying poetry. Here is her blurb:

    “Poetry – I am always open for interesting and engaging ways to study poetry. Of course, we need to be able to identify poetic devices and get at the meaning- but this can be accomplished in an enjoyable way. If you have some ideas (other than writing poetry) put them on paper or email them to me! I would love that!”

    Any suggestions, oh you brilliant people?

  148. ‘Tis okay George, one bit of good news at a time. :)

    You never know, Maureen. My kitten could’ve dropped a toy mouse in my ear while I was sleeping one night and I rolled over and smushed it in…stranger things have probably happened. ;)

  149. I told me wife that she could learn a few pointers in politeness from the GPS system that came with the car I rented in Florida a couple of weeks ago.

    For example: I made a wrong turn.

    The GPS, a nice low-voiced (think alto or second soprano) lady, obviously low-drama, probably brought up in a small town in Pennsylvania, the gifted daughter of a hard-working blue-collar family, who, despite talents that some regarded as genius, rejected an offer to study cello at Julliard, but instead opted for an upscale private college from which she graduated in 1983 with a double major in microbiology and 19th Century literature, who works full-time at Johns Hopkins but has discovered a lucrative avocation as a soothing voice for computer applications, oh, and, did I mention, tall, dark-haired, active, but not athletic with a tasteful tattoo of an Egyptian ankh near her right ankle, THAT voice merely said:

    “Recalculating.”

    Oh, how refreshing. So much so that I decided to get turned around and slightly lost again and again.

  150. …there’s my tribute to John Updike.

  151. Something wrong with first sopranos, George? :P

  152. …has a typo and a bit of subject-verb disagreement

  153. kit: nothing wrong with first sopranos if you like the sound of broken glass when they reach that double-high c note, otherwise i am for that unpretentious 2nd soprano in the next row with a decent range any day.

  154. Remind me *never* to sing for you George. I’m a first soprano with a “budding coloratura” as my musical director said. :P

  155. WAIT!! WAIT!! (Oh, howdy, all, just checking in and out again quickly)
    There’s a SEQUAL to The Witches of Eastwick????
    I’m so behind all the time.
    Sher: you know Sedona? It’s one of my favorite places, outside of the materialistic touristy parts. It’s getting overdeveloped, but is still beautiful.
    I am in mourning that I can’t come to the reading and holding to the hope of a future one I can make…I have faith!
    LOL

  156. Well, Kit, you being a Haven blog baby, are obviously a special case! Did you have something in mind? Maybe something from Phantom or la Traviata. You could do Violetta just as Callas did. I’d be ok with that. Even send roses to the stage.

  157. I do an excellent (if I may say) Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again (that’s hardly high or coloratura worthy though), but I’m still working on confidence.. ;)
    Roses are good…white ones? :)

  158. red, white and pink for you — four each!

  159. Yay! :)

  160. Sorry for this musical aside, but Kit, speaking of coloratura, I truly was amazed at Laurie Gayle Stephenson, whose voice danced above her required notes during her recent performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber music at the Kennedy Center. Here’s a fact. The staging was so tight, that she tripped on steep, carpeted stairs while wearing high heels, but did she miss a note? NO!

  161. Ohh, that’s the kind of woman I want to be. :)
    Pray tell, what was she singing?

  162. It was the opener…the medley…it might have been something from Evita.

  163. Ooohh. :)

  164. George will you be in Durham in April?

  165. Yes. So looking forward to it. You?

  166. Yes. I am coming bearing gifts, so good to know you will be there.

  167. :)

  168. :: whimpers :: It’s $177 to get from here to Durham, NC by train. This is starting to sound ridiculously feasible…

  169. Kittery,

    Next, they pull out your eyeballs (carefully and temporarily, of course) to examine your brain hymnals and especially to determine whether or not the pygmy dwarf ear miners are diligently cleaning your hearing lodes according to specifications. If not, that could be an indication that they (the pygmy dwarf ear miners, not the hearing lodes) have fallen prey to the insidious yet diagnosable…

    Wait, I’m not sure we’re talking about the same thing. I’ll go read my email more carefully.

    Still glad it’s not nerve damage,
    Sarah

  170. Hah. I look forward to it. :P

  171. Kit, please come.

  172. Such a beautiful post.

    I suppose the 170+ above me have told you that enough. But, in all my humblest of ways, I feel compelled to tell you that seeing someone as talented as yourself doubt makes the rest of us a little more wiser for the journey, thinking maybe – we too- might be overcritical.

    When I beat myself to pieces over silly little vulgarities, I’ll remember this post, not only for the silly beating you started to give yourself, but also for your wisely redirected focus upon your true loves.

    Signed:
    A Loyal Reader

  173. Tasses- oooh- I just looked at your blog. You have an awesome about me list! Fun! I bet you could help me help my daughter’s high school teacher come up with cool ideas for studying poetry. I’m glad you peeked out of the shadows and said hi here. :)

  174. I hate to repeat myself and I hate to whine even more than repeating myself, but I wish so terribly, terribly much that I could go to Durham. I feel like all of my friends are going somewhere cool for Spring Break and I am the kids whose parents won’t let them go:(
    Where the hell is Molly?

  175. Well, I am a fairy friend. But I don’t know why you are laughing. I swear, sometimes I scare myself with how slow and think I am.

  176. Surely there is nothing more enraging than the abuse (and in this case murder)of innocents. The last time I read of such horrors in the national headlines (an incident in which a father threw his four young children off a bridge because he was mad at his wife) it first moved me to hot, furious tears, then to the piano to write a song. A relentless, scathing, rapid-fire song about the incomprehensability of such acts.

    And then I called my mom.

    ~a

  177. Katherine, do you remember your game of hang-man with Henry?!?

  178. Whoa, ok…

    Linda, I’m afraid I can’t give you any advice for your daughter’s poetry project. I quit going to school at 14 so I’m not real good with all that formal education stuff. I can’t wait to hear what the blog babies suggest though, ‘coz it’s a great regret of mine that I snubbed school so early and am now interested in how the formal educational processes work.

    I definately agree that most people who have been damaged in some way, then rise up with compassion borne of perspective, ie having endured hard times themselves etc. I’ve often found, for example, that the poorest of people are the most generous.

    Kittery, I somehow managed to miss hearing all about your deafness issues (oh, ok, pun intended). No really, good luck with that, you have an army of positive thoughts that are with you!

    Um, what else….???

    That’s right, Caryl, I’m still yet to read your email. Please forgive me, I’ve had many spanners, wrenches and other assorted hardware, thrown into the works that is my life, just in the last 24 hours. Indeed I’ll explain via email when I respond. (I’m at the library, btw, and thus not on a ‘puter that allows emails to be sent.)

  179. … or retrieved.

  180. I loved the post. I remember many times when we played together while our mothers talked and shared the laughter that only close friends enjoy. I didn’t know of your mom’s illness and am sorry to hear of it. Our prayers are with her, and thanks again for such beautiful insight.

  181. Hi haven! – she bellows as she smiles, winks and waves!

  182. omg! ok see? slow and thick. it wasn’t even intentional. laugh away monkey girl

    LOOK I WROTE SLOW AND THINK. seriously, I think should be banned from any form of writing.

  183. I think should? I think should not!

  184. I keep going back to that picture of Haven and Delonda…what a couple of handsome ladies! Truly, you two look simply incandescent.

  185. FairyFriends Katherine, on one of my very first comments ever, I made what I considered to be a terrible, terrible typo. I think I typed “your” instead of “you’re” and it simply ate me up. Now I consider typos the earmark of a fast-tracking mind…your fingers just can’t catch up!

  186. Katherine writes like I think.

  187. Quick. Sign of a genius Katherine.

  188. Well, I have bad news. Well, bad for me. I can’t get time off work to go to Durham. A floor manager is taking the two weeks before Easter, and in the words of the store manager, that would leave us short staffed. (Um, aren’t they trying to cut the budget anyway?) So short of being kidnapped or me finding a different employer, I won’t be there with the blog babies.

  189. Jim, I will send you your gift. xoxo

  190. Gift?!? Is it like a consolation prize?

  191. um, duh… is Katherine the same chic as our KateCake or what? I considered pretending to know the answer, just to protect my rather fragile construct of intelligence and ego, but all that silly posturing just duzn’t agree with me. So I thought I’d ask. Am I right? or…

  192. Please do answer coz I’ll check back as always. But I gotta go. Hi jim shue too, btw. See y’all soon! Love Tex xox

  193. I keep missing out on stuff on here. I hate that I have to go to Physical Therapy three nights a week. It’s taking up all my blog reading time. First, you are having the blog babies over sometime? Oh, when? I would love to come … And Particles of Spirit and I could drive together with Amy from Ohio. Someone tell me the details.

    Whoa … who said that to you? I can not understand why someone would take the time to email you hateful things. I get crazy people leaving me mean comments on my own blog all the time … and most times I laugh it off. (My Jon and Kate posts are just war zones!) But when someone sends me an email, that’s serious business. I hate people who are critical. I face it enough in the real world, can’t my online one be more of a HAVEN? I think you are a fantastic writer, but more importantly, you seem like a genuine and fantastic PERSON. I want to beat up whoever made you consider deleting this blog. Don’t you dare.

    Your children are beautiful … and I’m happy that you have them and they bring you joy. I’m a little jealous, but in a good way.

    As for Casey Anthony … I can’t imagine what her parents are going through. I am so sorry for them. Grieving a granddaughter and having to entertain the thought that Casey did that to her baby. I believe Casey did murder her daughter. I was abused by my own bipolar mother so I look at the world in a different way. I know what people are capable of, and it is damn scary the things someone who is supposed to love you can do to hurt you.

  194. No, Katherine and I are not the same person. Katherine is an old friend of Haven, I am new friend of Haven. And I spell my name Katharine.

  195. oh miss kate but the KILLNG JOHN UPDIKE story in augusten’s Possible Side Effects book was just a colossal lark. we never thought he could really die. it was a crazy night that turned into a short story. and within the story, i talk about how if i even saw Updike in person, i would crumple in awe. i would shine little little Yankee shoes and swoon. and i did get to see him lecture in 2006 in SF and he was perfectlt self effacing and charming and relaxed and quietly hilarious. he signed all my first editions when my first book was published with Knopf, because hes been with Knopf since 1958 and becasue he is a sweet generous man. and i feel like he really cant be dead. his words will never be forgotten. anyone who hasnt read him , start with RABBIT RUN and read all four of those RABBIT books. my other most favorites are SEEK MY FACE, IN THE BEAUTY OF THE LILLIES, COUPLES, TERRORIST, and THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK, HIS NEW BOOK, THE WIDOWS OF EASTWICK, is marvelous. he just kept getting better. his poetry is shockingly fine; i recommed his selected poems collection, the big fat one. and his short story collections, the recent big fat one. oh my god. well. a genius, and the finest stylist i’ve ever known. there will only be one updike. the sheer craft and magic of what he creates can’t be described. just read the first page of RABBIT RUN. it’s the finest first page i know. xoxoxo sfc

    “I would write ads for deodorants or labels for catsup bottles, if I had to,” he told The Paris Review in 1967. “The miracle of turning inklings into thoughts and thoughts into words and words into metal and print and ink never palls for me.”

  196. Oh sweetie I was KIDDING. I know you must be sad.

  197. Oh Suzanne, what a beautiful tribute to this man who touched so many.

  198. Kate, do you know where you are staying yet? in Durham.

  199. I was sort of leaving it all up to Sher!!

  200. Suzanne: Will you be coming to Durham?

  201. eek – hotels are up to me – I’ve been looking but not having a lot of success, I guess my main question is price point for everyone. I prefer a suite with kitchenette and separate sleeping/living spaces, but if we can use the meeting house (which the question would be when do we have to leave at night) . . . then the rooms aren’t as important.

    Ideally, I would love to rent a house or condo and just all have a slumber party for 2 or 3 nights – if anybody knows of anywhere like that (I’m having trouble finding rentals) . . . let me know . . . so far we have for sure: me, Kate & Baby Alice, Linda & her son, Caryl and her child, George, I’m crying the Sockmonkey can’t come . . . you know what a cottage that sleeps 8 – 10 would be perfect . . . maybe we should call a travel agent there????

    George – Pocket of Names sounds like a stunning book and I would love to borrow it!

    Maureen – ha! beads in the ears, I LOVE it . . . Claire dearly loves to clean her ears with q-tips – ‘it feels so good’ . . . of course you are not supposed to let them anymore – but I remember having my ears cleans with bobby pins and I LOVED it!

    I ate my mothers pearl earrings as a baby . . . ugh.

    One time claire swallowed a dime that she found in a closet floor . . . it was right before her 1st birthday, and she started coughing/choking – I flipped her, did the himelick (sp?) maneuver upside down and it FLEW across the room and hit the wall. I shook for minutes to come . . . I can’t imagine if I wasn’t in that room at the time . . .

  202. It didn’t get big reviews, but I loved Updike’s “Toward the End of Time” from 1999.

  203. If anyone is interested, Washington Duke Inn will be $189 a night, for two double beds or one king not too bad if you’re sharing. There are also alot of smaller places, but the b&bs I looked at were a little fussy for my taste.

  204. Sorry Sher, I was writing when you were posting. If you need me to do some research for you, I am home all day.

  205. caryl – dual researching would be awesome!

    I think there is something going on at Duke that weekend because lots of the hotels are blocked from the 7th – 11th of April.

    I have to go to NYC in early March, too . . . so I probably can’t swing that much for a room . . . although we don’t know if we are driving in on Wednesday or Thursday . . . but I was planning on staying at least 2 nights . . . wish we could find a house to rent!!!! Then we could cook and sleep wherever . . .

  206. Sher, I will go on vrbo.com which is a site with vacation homes for rent by owner. Let you know what I find.

  207. I want to go so badly .. I’d be perfectly willing to sleep in Iorek’s doghouse and brave the raccoons, if that’s what it would take.

  208. Kittery – you MUST come . . . I actually thought about flying in, renting a car . . . but we are going to drive to save some money . . . I am all about the sleeping on the floor thing because I can bring my air mattress!

    I just need a clean bathroom and wish for a kitchen where I could cook for everybody . . . I also love indoor pools and big lobbies where we can all hang out . . . love that the reading will be at the library – that is what they did for Irving’s last reading here in Nashville . . . but we still have to go to the Regulator Book Store . . .

    Caryl – vrbo sounds good . . . I am needing to knock out soon . . . we have company coming in tomorrow, Donny’s dinner party Friday night . . . I am behind on sleep and everything . . . also hotels have major bed taxes (probably 14 + percent) which is always a shock at the end of the stay . . . the closest condo I can switch for is 134 miles away . . . so I am no help there!

    will check back later (if I can’t sleep) or tomorrow morning . . .

    I am dying to hug everybody . . . what a love fest this will be . . .

  209. Really lovely post, Haven. It would be my highest hope that one of my girls someday finds such words to describe me.

  210. Sher, I am sending you a message on facebook right now, I think I found a condo for you and your posse.

  211. haven – I was just signing off, so this is perfect timing – look at the spotted owl Don photographed in our backyard a few days ago! I just posted it on my Facebook!

  212. Hillary, thanks for song and intro to Aparo. Lovely.
    I’d asked Haven to offer my attic to anyone who has need/desire. It’s nifty and comfy w/ two beds and a hammock.
    Although I’m too figety to attend to blogging, I’m glad you all are coming to Durham.
    Haven, I’m going to finish the hat now
    xo
    Dianne

  213. Yikes – I got Caryl and Haven confused!!! But replied to Caryl on Facebook . . . and everyone is invited to see my photo of the spotted owl

    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1317854389&ref=profile

    Dianne – your attic sounds glorious . . . this is all falling together nicely . . . if we can get a final number of attendees that want to bunk up and/or in nearby units with me, Kate, Caryl . . . once we know bed space we can reserve something.

    My email sherfickart at gmail . com

    Bed and Owen Meany are calling me – am trying to re-read fast so I can join the Owen Meany discussion . . . I decided after laughing out loud 7-8 times, there is something magical about it.

  214. also, if somebody wants fancier digs – we won’t be offended, we will all just gather where we can . . . I say spend the money on food and wine and BOOKS!!!

  215. first, second, third sopranos, or altos or…. and colotura?! Where is Carrie of The Voice? I dunno if I’ll get it unless she explains it to me.

  216. Sher – Where are you in Owen Meany? I just finished “The Angel” chapter so if you want to chat as we go, I’m up for it!

    I just remembered that John Updike also wrote “A & P” which I just love. Molly, I have a parts of speech ID exercise that I do with “A & P.” It’s my way to remind seniors of the parts of speech and foist onto them some Updike unawares. If you’re interested, I can send it to you.

    Not quite a snow day yet, here. All the schools just south of us are closed.

    Hey George, I’m a second soprano! ;-) and I would do GPS voices for any man who describe me the way you described yours!

    Amy – Molly is with her beloved sister.
    Kittery – I’m looking at $200 plane tickets. ANYTHING to meet the blog babies.
    Tex – You up down under? How goes it?

  217. Oh, more to say.
    Kittery – I have gotten an e-mail for Free JetBlue tickets every day for a week. It involves signing up for Free this and that so I am scared of it. But if you’re interested, I can forward you the e-mail. I think you have to sign up for these free offers and then be VERY SURE you cancel again.

  218. What is up with me and my modifiers? I meant I have gotten the e-mail every day for a week, not seven days’ worth of free tickets. Garrrhh! Someone is going to take my teaching license if they ever read me on this blog.

  219. OK. I’m all alone here on the blog. My schools just closed ….. ………. Hooray, anyone? Helloooooo in there ……..

    The dairy farming life is a lonely one sometimes.

  220. Maureen,

    I’m sitting in the dark at the computer, and all the schools in the Fort Wayne area are closed due to overnight snow. My dog Emma is happily eating her breakfast in the kitchen and all’s right with the world.

    I’m reading The Bear Comes Home today and doing some cross-stitch. What will you do?

  221. Oh hi Jodi!!!!!!
    Glad you also get the day off. I’m reading Owen Meany but my husband and I are going to spend some quality time doing our 2009 farm projections. I also have to do some tax crud for our employees.
    BUT my kids are home, I get to do some writing, and I have time to get my awful house cleaned up.
    Thanks for keeping me company.
    What The Bear Comes Home Today? Should I know that book? I have Chocolat from the library so I might also backtrack and read that. I loved The Girl with No Shadow. Thanks for the recommendation.

  222. Maureen,

    Isn’t The Girl With No Shadow grand? I got it out and read through it again while you were reading it. I’m really happy to know you liked it.

    Rafi Zabor is the author of The Bear Comes Home. Haven recommended it to me. You’d want to look it up on Amazon for a better idea, because I’m going to tell you it’s about a talking, saxophone-playing bear and his mis-adventures in New York City, and that’s not exactly what it’s about. Haven, what’s The Bear Comes Home about, for Maureen?

    Regardless of what you have to do today, Maureen, tax crud and cleaning, a paid day that is suddenly clear of your regular job feels like a gift, don’t you think?

    I’m going out to the kitchen to blend an icy Big Train Chai. I’ll be right here if you want to keep each other company.

  223. Most definitely a gift! This is a non-week for me anyway – the high schools are closed except for state exams, so I have no students. I was going to spend the week grading papers and getting organized. I was planning to take one day off this week for tax stuff anyway, but now I get paid AND I don’t have to feel guilty imagining all my colleagues at work.

    I looked up Bear on amazon and it looks bizarrely cool. My dad played the saxophone and used to go to New York to see music. Looks like a book I should read in honor of him.

    You sound like a major cross-stitcher! I am so not crafty – I would shovel manure before picking up a needle. EEk! I have big old Irish fingers that do NOT like small things.

  224. “No student” weeks at school are The Best. I teach choir, so when there’s testing involving core subjects, I enjoy the same privilege you have this week. No fair feeling guilty. It’s a gift from the Universe and you’re meant to enjoy it!

    I’ve done quite a bit of cross-stitch over the years. I started with needlepoint and crossed over to cross-stitching on linen. My favorite designer is Marilyn Imblum-Leavitt. Her designs are at http://www.tiag.com

    I checked out Coldwater Creek online this morning for the last of their semi-annual clearance bargains. My closet is full of their stuff. When clothes are marked down 85% there’s no resisting.

    The snow is still coming down in Indiana. I’ve shoveled off the deck twice since 4:00 am so the dog can get outside. How are the dairy cows on your farm?

  225. Maureen,

    Here’s one of the cross-stitch pieces I’m working on. It’s Bougeareau’s “Innocence.” So far I’ve completed only the madonna’s head! Haven has first dibs on it when I get it finished — probably sometime in 2012.

    http://www.vicstitch.com.au/picture.asp?PictureID=21130

  226. OH MY WORD!!!!!
    I had no idea cross-stitch had progressed to things like that. It must be very meditative – especially considering the subject matter. I actually find farm chores to be meditative – they require a different part of the brain than teaching or reading or writing.
    Oop – gotta go find my power cord.

  227. Durham visit- my son and I will probably just stay somewhere cheap, like a Hampton Inn or something. UNC will be on break the following week so their admissions office will be closed that Friday. So, if anyone wants to do a campus tour it will need to be on Thursday. We will sign up for one. So, we may drive over on Wednesday late afternoon / early evening and then take the tour in the morning. That means we will probably need to return home Friday afternoon because I doubt I can afford more than two nights in a hotel. But, this is just me thinking out loud at this point. My poverty is due in part to the fact that daughter, Emma, will still be deciding on colleges and once the admissions lettes arrive in April we no doubt will need to make a few more campus visits so she can make a final decision. Two of the 8 schools she applied to are in Minnesota and we have not visited either of them yet. Anyway- it is snowing here in Nashville. Not a normal event. Oops. I am rambling. Gotta get back to the paid work. LOL

  228. Linda, if I wasn’t splitting the cost with other people I would probably end up sleeping in Sher’s car.

  229. i have been MIA for a little while and i just read the post from haven. absolutely, without question, 100%, motherhood is the greatest thing to have ever happened to me. and yes, like you haven, my mother taught me everything i know.

    here’s a recent funny thing mason said…we are working on getting him to cover his mouth when he sneezes, coughs and he is getting better, but sometimes needs a reminder. when he remembers all by himself, i usually tell him he did a great job. yesterday, i sneezed and covered my mouth when mason looked right at me and said “great job, mama”

  230. I am snowed in today and loving it. I had to cancel my favorite class last night. Shakespeare. It is 30 miles one way to the prison and even though I’m driving now, I was reluctant to drive over and back in a blizzard.
    I read my daughter’s comment about the price of the murder of a daughter who could grow up to be a friend–and felt so moved. Melinda has been so staunch during this terrible ordeal, driving on ice to the hospital every day, staying all night with me when I came home, going to the grocery for me and being patient with my strange inability to remember names or words like “coffee” these days. I don’t know what I would do without her. I don’t want to find out!! My son Dan is far away, but the sound of his voice on the phone still makes me smile, and his sweet daughter Jenny calls me every two or three days from Tennessee. These grown chldren and grandchildren are the joy of my life.
    Melinda’s Josh baked me a birthday cake and brought it to the hospital (Dec. 24) for a party in my room. Abby and Kalia come over often and go to the store for me, carry groceries in and put them away. How wonderful they are, and I thank God for them all.
    And Haven? What can I say that you don’t already understand–you read the blog, you see the pictures, you know the stories and realize what a treasure she is and has been all her life.
    I remember being diagnosed with uterine cancer when I was pregnant for her and the doctor scheduled a D&C. I wouldn’t go. I had many good friends praying for me, even as during this last bout with the big C. I carried my baby to term and she survived the fact that she is O+ while I am 0- and her cord was in a knot. She is a miracle. So, you know I believe in the power of prayer having seen it at work in my life many times.
    Thank you all for your kindness. I adore the dream catcher, which is fabulous and which I have hung over my bed to help me have good dreams. How thoughtful all of you are, kind and loving and dear.
    I have an Idea for a way to thank you all, and Haven will let me know what she thinks about it.
    Till then, thanks again and again, and much love to every single one of you.
    Dee

  231. LINDA — I am a proud two-time alum of UNC, so if you or your son would like more information about the school, please contact me directly (click on my name for my email).

  232. Dear Delonda, what a pleasure and happy surprise to see you here! So glad the surgery part of your ordeal is over; you have been in my prayers for a speedy recovery.

    Your roll call of loved ones who have been so thoughtful just proves what Haven’s been telling us about you all along, as love outgoing multiples love incoming. And here’s the strangest thing: just knowing of you, never having spoken or written to you, just that there is someone like you in the world has me (and countless others here) directing love your way and praying for your full recovery. Just being — no action required — is enough when you are unadulterated, unconditional Love personified.

    Thank you for being, Dee.

  233. (Whoops — of course I’ve written to you, I refer rather to never having had conversation, written or otherwise. (!))

  234. Linda, let me know what we need to do to sign up for a tour. Thanks. And did you read the post from Dianne, Haven’s friend in town, who is offering up an attic space in her home with two beds?

  235. Perfection Wasted

    And another regrettable thing about death
    is the ceasing of your own brand of magic,
    which took a whole life to develop and market —
    the quips, the witticisms, the slant
    adjusted to a few, those loved ones nearest
    the lip of the stage, their soft faces blanched
    in the footlight glow, their laughter close to tears,
    their tears confused with their diamond earrings,
    their warm pooled breath in and out with your heartbeat,
    their response and your performance twinned.
    The jokes over the phone. The memories
    packed in the rapid-access file. The whole act.
    Who will do it again? That’s it: no one;
    imitators and descendants aren’t the same.

    John Updike

  236. I’d like to call space in the attic for meself, if I could. I’ll bring my sleeping bag and crawl in a corner, if I have to. :)

  237. Jeez. I ought to refresh the page before I put in my two cents. :: sigh ::

  238. Caryl- here is the link to UNC prospective student info which includes campus tours: http://www.admissions.unc.edu/visiting/tours.htm

  239. Thanks Linda. I hope we can take the kids together. Kit, I will put you on my hotel room floor if you get there. :)
    Carrie, that was lovely. Where is it from- she asks hoping it is not something so obvious everyone is sighing.

  240. Caryl, it’s from his collected poems 1953-1993.

  241. Kit Kat, check your email.

  242. I did. :D

  243. Carrie:

    Thanks…I have printed it out. Boy, I’ll miss him, his brand of cool so rooted in that 70ish New Yorker quip-cool.

  244. George, don’t those first two lines just slay you?

  245. Yes…those two lines, to me, are as profound as G.M. Hopkins’, “it is Margaret you weep for.” When I read the poem, I thought of my cool, hip, gambler-good guy uncle Walter who passed away in my presence last April.

  246. This is what I love most about this blog, this sharing of a poem or book that I would otherwise never know of. It makes me a better person, and today I thank Carrie and George for that.

  247. Oh, how I miss true cool. Instead, now, we have cluttering up the place the current disaffected, bored (read: boring), poseur counterfeit flavor. To have had an uncle who was the real thing, well, George, I’m so glad you knew him for what he was when he was alive.

    Margaret … lambs … somewhere knocking about in the back of my mind…

  248. Hi Maureen,
    I’m happy for you that your son is “turning the corner” too. Sorry it took me awhile to get back to the blog and respond. How is Owen Meany coming? I read it but it’s been ages ago so I doubt if I could add much to a discussion about it. Not sure if the Warhol exhibit is the same one your son went to see. I think there are several and I just read where a Picasso exhibit would be coming to the Nasher in Durham this summer. Won’t want to miss that. My daughter has read all of Haven’s books I think (she filched the copies after I was done with them). A love of reading is something she inherited from both of her parents and I’m thankful for that. How strange it would have been to have a child who didn’t love to read?
    I add my regrets about John Updike’s passing. Although I can’t say he was one whose novels I sought out I know he was nonetheless wonderful and talented.
    Mother Delonda – thank you for persevering and giving us Haven. Hope you are doing ok in the snow. We just had a bad rain squall with lots of wind that passed through Cary.

  249. Caryl, I know what you mean: I daily find myself, in my mind, thanking everyone posting here for lessons in how to be.

  250. Hi everyone. I have been trying to work today (on personal, home, farm stuff) but hibernation lethargy is working against me.

    I have an aesthetic question regarding John Irving. I am really enjoying Owen Meany (on a side line: wondering why the movie was called Simon Birch). But I find myself uneasy with what almost seems like at times burlesque. When Owen kills Tabby with a line drive, or when they are passing Owen around in the air – it’s tragic but also feels like a spoof. Like slap-stick. Same thing in Garf when the wife bites off her boy-toy’s .. um.. manhood.

    It almost offends me that Tabby, who is so sweet, is killed in a near-comic way. Perhaps this is Irving’s point? that life is simultaneously tragedy and lampoon?

    With Flannery O’Connor I understand the exaggerations and bizarre situations – she creates enormous grotesques and stick-figures to draw for the blind and speak to the deaf. But I don’t know quite what to do with John Irving when he does this – because the rest of what happens is quite realistic and touching.

    Maybe it’s just me and I’ve been reading women writers for so long that I’m not adjusting to a male text. Or maybe the Asperger’s is rubbing off on me.

  251. “Margaret … lambs … somewhere knocking about in the back of my mind…”
    Carrie – Are you remembering my awful joke about
    “Margaret, are you bleating over wooly-coat unfleecing”

    That was my guess on why Haven’s taxidermy lamb was named Margaret.

  252. Yes! it was the taxidermied lamb, and your line (I like it!), but way back in the gray matter archives, nearly irretrievable, I seem to remember Haven saying she named the lamb Margaret, and George knows why.

  253. No…sorry, it wasn’t me Haven was initially referring to who knew why Margaret was named such…

    I remember that thread, but the Margaret line has been in my head since some lit class in college a billion years ago.

  254. Carrie – You’re right – somebody knows why the lamb is named Margaret.
    Anyone? Anyone? Haven?

  255. Oh, I think I might be on the trail of the Cell Block Scholars documentary. I will keep you posted.

  256. Oh Mother Delonda, I love reading your posts. I just got off the phone with my own mother who is almost finished with Zippy and called me to discuss it. When we were saying our goodbyes she said ” I love discussing this with you.” I told her about Haven’s recent blog and she became quiet and told me once again how I am her best friend. Thank you Jarvis/Hartmann/Kimmel/Svara family for letting my mother and I share your memories.
    I was snowed in today as well ( See Kittery I didn’t even have to lie about the peanut butter crackers!) and I read the most beautiful quote:

    “Barn’s burnt down-Now I can see the moon.”
    -Masahide

    George, I think this goes perfectly with my motto for not worrying so much about what I cannot control in 2009!

  257. To all:
    I just finished watching a recording of Augusten (the grown-up writer, not Haven’s cute, cute baby) being interviewed on CBS’s Sunday Morning program this past weekend. (His brother is also briefly included with him in the interview.) If anyone is interested in watching it, I’d be happy to send it along. It’s a DVR that a friend burnt for me so I wouldn’t need it back. (I’d offer to make copies if there are multiple people interested, but unfortunately I’m just not that technologically savvy, nor is my computer.)

  258. thanks for the heads up katecake. On a completely irrelevant tangent now, I must tell everyone that I just got out a movie called Analyze This with Robert De Niro & Billy Crystal. It was so funy that I watched it twice thru. Needless to say, I reccommend it to all who are in need of a laugh, or just those who regard more laughter as never enough.
    See Yaz. x

  259. Maureen, George, Carrie, et al ~

    You have all the pieces to why Haven’s lamb is named Margaret! By the way, Haven hasn’t said on the blog why — that’s so Haven. Just put the pieces together …

  260. That post was a beautiful tribute to your Mother, who I became familiar with while reading your books.

    And you are so right about Caylee Anthony’s mother. She gave birth to and held in her arms, one of the most precious little girls I’ve ever seen. I don’t understand that kind of evil, where it comes from.

    Like you, I often avoid the news and when I do watch, I always wish I hadn’t.

  261. Delonda, it is SO wonderful hearing from you. Having seen your picture on Haven’s blog so many times, I can just picture your sweet smile as you were writing to us here. Your children and you are so lucky to have each other. Your relationships epitomize what Family is all about. I always love reading about how highly you think of each other as well as the love between you. May you continue to gain strength as you recover from your surgery.

    I have spoken to the male inmates at the prison in Delaware several times in the past fifteen years, about issues related to childhood abuse, and have always found it very fulfilling. I have such admiration for you for all your prison work. Bless you and your big heart.

  262. Ah, so Jodi knows!! — I just thought, after reading the Hopkins poem George cited, that that would have been some of the most brilliant naming I’d ever heard tell of (and isn’t that so Haven). — How was your snow day, Jodi? I’m loving the calm in the eye of the (work) storm, sequestered with Girl with no Shadow and loving it. LOVING it. (Put The Bear Came Home on hold the minute I read you talking about it up there. After “Girl,” your rec list has moved to the front of the reading list recommendations I culled from “our favorite things” posts a month or two ago.)

  263. Ok – so I hadn’t cried since reading last night’s blog – then I get on here (when I should go to bed) and I am booing-and-hooing over Updike (A&P is quintessential short-story and I LOVE stream of conscious writing . . . I think as I ramble on . . ).

    But Amy in Ohio – I just burst into tears about your mom’s appreciation for your sharing something so precious with her. Wow.

    Delonda – It is honey on my biscuit, cheese and mac, salt on my pretzel to see you writing and to ‘hear’ your voice in my soul. I have to ask, did you get the painting, and, if so, what did you think???

    I missed the big mailing of good wishes while I was making it . . . our thoughts were with you every moment and with your HAVEN, as always.

    Yes – you protected and preserved her for us! I had a bonus baby, too – which I was advised NOT to by medical staff . . . I almost named her SIDRAH (which means meant to be in Sanskrit) . . . because I just knew that if she made it through all the birth control, my illness, and all that yuck – she deserved a chance to put her mark on the world. Her name means “Light, Bright” and she is and has become one of the brightest lights in my life.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  264. To me there is almost NOTHING more beautiful than a child who “shouldn’t” be here, being here. And showing the world why.

  265. That is why I wish I could adopt 5 more children Kate. Watching Charlie complete our family has been our biggest miracle.

  266. You go girls! Me and my achy back are going to bed with Owen Meany – ohhhh, that is kinky too! I finished the nativity chapter last night . . .

    Hum . . . I think I have had unbelievable, bizarre things happen in my life – um – I don’t just think – I have. I busted my face and front teeth falling into an oven, I had stitches in my hand for performing a poopectomy on my cat’s ass (don’t go there people!) . . . I could go on and on – and, yet, these things are so unbelievable.

    I love me some HEAVY ass literature, but Owen Meany makes me laugh – and, sometimes, that is what I really need.

    Fate/Divine can use major Irony to teach lessons . . . like, ok, what are hemmoroids about? and have you seen a baboon’s ass – who could make that up – no to mention the shape of baboon’s p-bone – – – they are practically barbed on the end . . . that is just W.R.O.N.G. in every way. And slugs eat their own hermaphrodite penises OFF for goodness sake. Life is FULL of unbelievable circumstances. I just fell going UP my stairs, why, why????? what did I learn from that?????

    too silly to type – love you all, solve all the world’s problems for me, no wait – we have Obama, now I can sleep.

    I’m feeling like a spicy Italian tonight . . . it must the painkillers for the horrendous cramps – and that IS “eve’s” flipping fault? Really?

    My uterus offends me . . . if only weren’t connected to my ovaries I would get rid of it in a heartbeat . . .

  267. if they right eye offends thee cut it out . . . ?

    I was ready to take that passage literally last week, but it was my LEFT eye, so I just couldn’t figure out what to do with the gray brain matter leaking out . . .

  268. SHer for the love of God, did you get my stalker emails last night, I know you did. now respond.

  269. Aw Sher, you crack me up. :)
    Also, you’re not alone. I fall UPstairs more often than one should mention.

  270. Haven, I’ve been at the library all day just perousing all things YOU. I’ve read lots of interviews you’ve given, previous blog posts that I’ve missed and also all the wonderful, compelling, insightful (I could go on..) stuff that the blog babies have said throughout. And I really cannot express just how touched I am. You have opened my mind, my soul… I just feel blessed to have “met” you, and indeed the blog babies. My whole spiritual world is a-changing because of your influence.
    Thank you Haven; thank you all!

  271. haha, I was about to say that I manage to fall upstairs too. And sher, what is all this about pooperectomies, baboons asses (I know, they’re funny lookin’) and slugs that bite their own willy’s off?? You are a funny lady. Love your unique perspective on life, I do! Goodnight darling.

    Ps, I woulda thought that having both types of genitalia would be twice the fun, but hey…

  272. Tex,

    I believe the gnawing off only occurs if the slug parties get stuck together…I could be wrong.

    :: sighs :: Why do I even know that?

    Amy,

    Very glad to hear you didn’t have to resort to the peanut butter excuse! I have a feeling it wasn’t a very airtight reason to begin with. ;)

  273. I love the fact that you know that Kittery, no need to sigh. Arbitrary (no good for nuthin’ but laughs) Facts, I believe they’re called. I like collecting them too. Even though they have no practical use.

  274. Mother Delonda, greetings! Hello, how are you?
    It’s always a pleasure to read what you, the giver-of-life to our Haven, has to say. You are every bit as eloquent in writing as your daughter. Daughters actually. I think that Lindy is rather fab too. Your genetics, Mother Delonda, look what you’ve created – magic!!!
    I do hope that all this business with the Big C isn’t too frightfully painful. I can’t bare to think about how unfair it is. (Why don’t we call it the little c, the miniscule c? We don’t want to give it any more confidence than it already has).
    My positive thoughts and best wishes are with you constantly through this enduring time.
    All my love and al the works, Tex.

  275. Plus, plus… I’ve discovered both Jim Shue’s blog (brilliant) and Mrs Heather G’s blog (oh my gawd) and Graeme Mitchell’s blog/site (whoa). I am just awed by all the talent that you people keep revealing. It’s a precious wonder to behold. Wow!

  276. Library is closing, so tada!

  277. booh – wooo – Tex, I can’t sleep and just got back on . . .

  278. Sher how do you survive on so little sleep?

  279. ok – the um ‘Caryl stalking’ – it isn’t really true, I just am bad about switching screens and we were chasing each other from blog, to yahoo, to email, to facebook – I thought I did answer you – somewhere, sometime between 2-4 a.m.

    But alas, it is the message that went ‘poof’ with my brain . . .

    Said question re staying at the same place as you and your dear Steph (she can help with Baby Alice) . . . I say yes, with some bonus points used we can all work that out at the discounted rate. Also if I bring my air mattress with my feather bed top . . . that gives us one more bed available to sleeping surfaces . . . my teens and wee Claire can’t come because it is Spring Break and it would be difficult to make it happen have all HAPPY . . . so granny will come flying in to hold down the fort while I trekk to Durham with Kate and Don will continue to bring home the back and fry it up in the pan.

    Let me know if I need to call and reserve a room under my name or pay whatever, Caryl, I have a bit of time I will be around tomorrow and I always check my main when I get up (could be 8 a.m., could be 1 p.m., could be 3 p.m – you just never know!!!! the main email (they all flood into one account is sherfickart at gmail dot com

    that way the bottom feeders can’t as easily spot me on line and spam me

    Ok – I confess – I actually researced slugs when we had the totem animal discussion. AFter I logged off her earlier, I thought – they are going to lookup “baboon boners” then we are all going to be arrested in Durham for partaking in bestiality porn . . . I will say I am in jail for the write to freedom of speech about baboon boners. I’ve never been in jail before . . . could be fun!

  280. Do I look crazy laughing alone in the kitchen at midnight? I think I may. You are funny, even at 3 am. Okay, Iam going to email regarding the hotel on your main email. I am finally alone, well almost because Steph is puttering around in her room, and I am putting out everything for the am since I do not get up, and the ingredients for slow cooked pulled pork tacos, so I can throw it in before I go to the park. I watched nightline and now I am going to read for a bit. If I can focus. Off to email you now Sher.

  281. In my e-mail, I am being offered free JetBlue Tix EVERY SINGLE DAY! Yesterday, three times. I know this is only because I got those ridiculous Acai-Berry pills over the internet and stupidly gave them my actual e-mail, but I am still taking this as a sign to stop considering a ten-hour drive ti NC and get these tickets. Every time I am on the blog and hearing about April 9, I end up humming the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” for the rest of the day.

  282. btw Caryl, gotcha email, thank you, and replied….
    plus you prob do look a bit crazy laughing alone in ya kitchen at midnight, but at least your not strolling down the street solo and cacking yourself – I’ve done that! Embarrassment it is!

  283. She darling, I too wonder how on earth you survive on such little sleep!? It duzn’t appear to affect your wild intelligence and creativity though.

  284. oops, I meant to begin with SHER darling, not she darling, duh

  285. Good morning, Tex! I was sharing your pictures with my husband last night. He thought the one from your dad was quite hot.
    How are things in Sydney? Are you sure you can’t fly over here for a visit?
    What time is it there? I am an early riser, so it’s always nice to find you here when I get up.

  286. Now I’ve got Wild Horses in my head. Prior to that I had that Jackson 5 song in my head that goes – “I’m goin’ back to Indiana, Indiana here I come, I’m goin’ back to Indiana, ‘coz that’s where my baby’s from… that’s where she is, yeah, yeah, yeah..woo a hoooooo”, d’ya know the one? Every time I think of Haven, Mother Delonda, Zippy doo-dah-day, that song comes into my head I swear!

  287. Now I’ve got “Going back to Indiana” in my head! I had forgotten all about that song.

  288. Morning Maureen,
    Gosh I soooo wish I could hop on a flight, I’m literally dying to meet you all!

    It’s 10.43pm here. I’m an early riser though too, naturally, but I’m having a late night.

    That’s very kind of your hubby to say so. I was actually just being a dickhead dancing when the shot was taken by one of my then flatmates – but there you go, people like it, which is nice.

  289. Now it will forever haunt your brain when you do haven stuff… but in a good way!

  290. I’m getting my kids on the school bus, but I’ll be back.

  291. I’m hoping that you’re snowed in or snowed under or whatever you call it, so you can stay snuggled inside and blogging all day! If not, have a lovely day maureen!

  292. oh hell, we were typing at the same time…. see ya shortly

  293. maureen, that avatar of yours.. a painting is it? who by? It’s too small to tell but I can tell that I like it.

  294. Carrie,

    Happy you like The Girl With No Shadow! Doesn’t it have great winter atmosphere? And the magic of the chocolaterie in a tiny French village — it’s easy to snuggle-in and disappear into the book. Let Haven and me know what you think of The Bear Comes Home when you read it.

    No staying home today due to winter weather. Since our school corporation has now extended the school year to include June 3 (all snow days must be made up), I’ll opt for no more snow days and take my days off in the lovely month of June.

    The Margaret puzzle wasn’t so complex, was it? =0)

  295. That’s annoying Jodes, so must have to pull sickies if you want a day off not in June?! Boo.
    I’ve killed off 8 grandmothers doing that. Just because employers don’t understand that a girl may need a day off once in a while.
    No, really, I am a hard worker, it’s just that occasionally one may need a day off to attend a music festival!

  296. Or a literary reading. Something of that calibre. See most of my past employers have failed to recognize the importance of such things. Thus, the imaginary killing off of relatives.

  297. Russell Brand once said that he had aids to get 2 wks off work to visit his girlfriend in Spain. I’ve never done anything that bad.

  298. Hi Jodi –
    So the lamb is named after Margaret in GMHopkins’ poem? Somehow coupled with Blake “Little Lamb, who made thee”? No day off here either. They would take days from our Easter break eventually. But I work through the fourth week of June!!
    I am simultaneously reading Owen Meany and rereading Solace. Molly and Amy O and I are discussing Something Rising and I had completely forgotten Taos, so I am refreshing.

    Tex – Did the Little House on the Prairie books make it to Australia or is it strictly an American phenomenon? It is a series of books about a girl on the American frontier. My avatar is from the cover of the last book, The First Four Years. The writer was my absolute idol as a girl, and I ended up marrying a farmer – although I am from the city – because I so was taken with her.

  299. My pussy cat, The Varmint, she’s insisted, as usual, to lay on me, head lolling about on my left arm, periodically reaching up to grab hold of my shoulder, with her claws etc… she makes it slightly difficult to type, but god I love her! She’s purring her pretty little head off so I’ll abide whatever position she wishes to take. No matter how annoying and difficult she makes life on the computer, she’s my baby!

  300. Plus, when she falls asleep, she has this gorgeous habit of poking her pink tongue out. I’ve never seen anything more precious!

  301. Maureen, you’re back! Little house on the Prarie did reach us in form of a show, if it got here in book form, I never read it. I do really like the picture though. I’m a city slicker too but I have a thing for farm life and nature. Here we call it – going bush.

  302. Some of my best childhood memories are of riding flat in the back of a ute, under a tarpaulin (to avoid the cops’ detection), on our way to the country (the bush), eating vanilla paddle-pop ice creams horizontal. All the excitement of disobeying the law, mixed with the hell ride in the back with melting ice cream dripping down our faces and into our shirts was just too much fun! I’ll never forget it.
    And then when we arived in the bush, well then there was a whole ‘nuther world of delights for kids to explore! Fun times.

  303. I’m back. Had to go feed the calves.

    “Going bush” would have a very different connotation here in the US. ;-) Ask Sher. I am too abashed to explain.

    The TV show version of “Little House” was horrid. I watched it just because, but I was constantly shouting at the TV:
    “Laura would NEVER have done that! That looks NOTHING like Pa. That is just Little Joe grown up.” (The same actor who played Pa played Little Joe in the Western series Bonanza).

    But the ride you describe sounds like a blast. I have a friend who lives and works in New Zealand, so if I ever get over to that side of the world, I can visit you both!

  304. I think I get the meaning of “Going Bush” that you’re refering to Maureen. I didn’t slide down here on the last moonbeam – and it is indeed crass!

    Yeah I thought the prarie show was crap too. But I believe you that the books are good.

    Honey, i would be so happy if you or any other blog babies decided to come visit Oz!How I would show you a good time…!!!

  305. Feeding calves?? Am I mistaken, I thought that you were a city chic? Oopsie daisy

  306. Used to be a city chick. Now a country chick. I’m off for awhile to grade papers.

  307. oh no, hold on, that’s right, you married a farmer. Where do you live if you don’t mind me asking? What state? How’s farming life etc etc I’m fascinated…..

  308. sometimes I think a dose of rural living would do me a lot of good, to be honest

  309. No worries. See ya sweets.

  310. Everyone should go read Jim Shue’s blog. That’s exactly what I’m going to do now that all of Haven’s Mavens are otherwise occupied.

  311. i must roll my last cigarette, curl up with my daughter – The Varmint – and hit the sack. Good night & happy days my friends. I shall see you all shortly.
    xox

  312. Hello all!

    I ashamed to say I have not even been lurking lately. This week is flying by, and I cannot believe that tomorrow I will be putting Megan back on a plane. I am sad. She has been an amazing help to me this week.

    It’s so good to hear your voices! And so sad about John Updike.

    It was wonderful, too, to hear from Mother Delonda. There are moments when Haven or Mother Dee let something “slip” that puts Zippy and Couch into such a different perspective for me. Uterine cancer? My God. Mother Dee, you are one of the bravest women I “know.”

    Have a good day! I am trying to figure out how to play hooky tomorrow so I can get some extra time with my sister. I was already out Monday…

  313. Hey, yo, Molly!

    I was hoping you were immersed in being with your sister. I’m so glad Megan made the trip, and am sorry she has to leave so soon. Kudos for not slipping out of Georgia your own self, whilst she had your parents distracted elsewhere. That’s quite an undertaking you’ve embraced.

    How are your new glasses and your formerly tender head?

    In homage to the Getting of New Glasses, with a nod to Maureen and her farm animals, I’m posting the following. A friend wrote it and posted it online elsewhere in response to the question (asked in all sincerity), “What do you do for a living?”

    ~ Sarah
    ~~~~~~~~~~~

    My job’s okay if you can stand the smell. I prescribe eyeglasses to farm animals. It gets kind of frustrating at times, the goats are the worst. But I mean really… how can you tell if they can really see the chart or not? I mean they can’t even read. So I usually don’t tell the farmers but I just guess most of the time. Then I try to pick frames that I think would appeal to the opposite sex of that particular species. But all in all, it’s cool. I get free milk.

    Don’t believe me? Ok fine. Really I’m just a printed circuit board designer, designing boards for cell phones.

    But man, that farm animal / eyeglasses job is really calling out to me.

  314. MAUREEN! I DO THE SAME THING! The Little House tv show is a TRAIN WRECK. Beautiful cinematography though.

  315. Hey – I’m taking a brain break between papers.

    Sarah – That is totally funny! My mom sent me a serious article about a guy who makes iPods for cows – piping in rock versus classical to stimulate milk production. At our Walmart (Gack!) the eyeglass store has those little busts that you can place your glasses on? And one is a cow. I almost got it, since I am constantly putting my glasses down at night and then can’t find them.

    KatieCake – The final blow was that episode when baby Charles died and Laura ran off to live with that hermit. And then her wooden cross necklace fell off and floated down the river. NO! NO! SORRY! JUST, NO! And the buckteeth ALWAYS rubbed me wrong.
    AND, a worse insult, the fake Little House books about Ma as a girl? Please! I honor the sacred Laura and do not brook any tampering.

  316. Ok Maureen, you and I are going to write the screenplay for the REAL Little House movie.

  317. Maureen,

    Speaking of The First Four Years:

    Rather than trying to look this up elsewhere, I thought I’d ask you: with the Little House books, is there a known reason for the abrupt change in tone (and even Naming) between The Happy Golden Years and The First Four Years? My younger daughter just read These Happy Golden Years and found in it very welcome distraction. She then jumped into The First Four Years and came to me stricken: Who’s Manly?! Why is he asking Laura to marry him?! She’s already married!! Where’s Almanzo?! Why is Laura thinking all these things?! How come it’s Hard?!?

    It was fairly traumatic to a young heart in need of happy endings, primarily because of the abrupt change between the two books. We double-checked a few times (which makes it, what, sextuple-checked?) that we had the correct next book.

    Thoughts?

    ~ Sarah

  318. Sounds good. The only TV thing I tolerated was a one-shot deal called “Beyond the Prairie” and covered parts of Little Town, Happy Golden, and First Four. I was true to the spirit and story, though John Boy Walton played Pa, not real well. But the love story was sweetly done. My sister taped it for me and sent it to me. If you’d like to see it I can send it.

  319. Sarah – I am pretty sure The First Four Years was never actually finished – it was in draft form when Laura died. It is pretty grim and doesn’t feel like the rest, I think because it was not done. I am not sure who or how it got published. I love it because it feels very true to real-life starting a farm, but it is very different than the others.

    Another choice instead is Let the Hurricane Roar, by Laura’s daughter Rose. I also own Little House in the Ozarks, which is a bunch of columns Laura wrote for the Missouri Ruralist newspaper. These are much happier and show Laura and Manly happy and old in Missouri, but it’s not really for kids.

    Happy to function as the LIW info desk. She is a bit of a “thing” for me.

  320. Manly = ALMANZO.

  321. The tolerable TV special explains the transition from Almanzo to Manly and from Laura to Bess.
    Kate and/or Sarah – send me your mailing addresses and I’ll pass the video along (it’s VHS). E-mail the yahoo group site.

  322. Well ladies, now I have to read The Little House books. I believe I read one in a childrens lit class I took in college but never anything after that. And…I like the television show:) But, in all fairness I bet I would hate it if I had read more of her books!

  323. Sarah – There is also On the Way Home, Laura’s diary of the move from South Dakota to Missouri. But we’re heading into the true groupie zone now.

  324. Maureen,

    Thanks– I think I have your Real email address, so I’ll try that first.

    Kate, yes, we finally figured out that Manly had to be Almanzo, but it was not immediately obvious, and by then the change in tone had proved ungood for my young’uns heart.

    ~ Sarah

  325. Kate / Sarah –
    I am thinking correctly that one or both of you home school?

  326. I’ve read On the Way Home, and I have The Little House Cookbook!!

    I homeschool, but my oldest is getting ready to turn 6, so mostly it means that once in a while my son spells words with his legos :-)

  327. What about the Little House songbook?
    Any word about the job, Kate?

  328. I don’t have the songbook, but I did get a cd from the library that was songs from the book recorded in the style of the times!

    No word about the job. Many people have been out of the office due to the weather.

  329. Kate, do you intend to homeschool going forward? I ask because I have some great material, books and workbooks that I bought to use with Jack and never did. Alot of money spent and I would love to pass it on. Let me know if you’re interested.

  330. LIW – I have been to the house in South Dakota and the Rock Hill Farm in Missouri . . . I had a very tolerant step-father who used to love to ‘explore’ on our 2 week vacations . . . one of our favorite spots was the Badlands of South Dakota . . . I saw in awe the “Give Us Our Daily Bread” real plate from The First Four Years . . .

    I have the songbook, the craft book, the biographies, the journals, and I also have the paperdolls . . . I have tried to find some of Garth’s original drawings from the original books – he is my favorite illustrator.

    Um, how do I accomplish anything . . .

    I am a whirling dirvish when I do work. I work on 10-20 pieces at a time, so I don’t waste time pondering on one thing . . . I work on something else while I ponder the other . . . when I did Mother Delonda’s painting, I made 4 extra during the time I was designing, waiting for the wax to harden – when I am blogging I am also researching, when I am watching TV I am knitting and or researching . . . when I am driving I listen to audio books and take notes . . . even when I listen to music I am thinking about paintings . . . when I do sleep I dream about weird things that lead to artwork . . . I guess it is the ultimate multi-tasking . . . that being said, there are times when I crash for 12 -14 hours . . . I always try to be nurturing myself so that I am not depleted . . . while talking to our family friend yesterday we were overlooking the creek and tree – we watched bluebirds and cardinals and finches and wind blowing the branches – that just restored my soul even though I was exhausted.

    I was exhausted but when Donny got home he was wiped out – he had a seriously difficult day at work, he has the health of people in his hands everyday and he takes it very to heart, he had to quit treating burn patients because it just destroyed him, and he was a great specialist with that . . . he never unloads . . . I knew he was tired, we had to take our friend to dinner, then to the airport and he asked me to drive home (which means he is dead tired) and before we left that parking lot he was unloading and talking and talking . . . and I just love him so much and he works to hard . . . I just have no reason to complain about anything in my life – his support has allowed me to be with my babies when they were little, to get a college degree as an adult, to let me travel for art and literature, to provide this beautiful house and studio for me. I just want to take his heartache and wash it away.

    I remember the first night we spent together (after our 2nd date!) I watched him sleeping and I was just breathless because he is so beautiful and perfect and then I got to know his soul and his heart and it is even more achingly beautiful (in his quiet way) than his physical beauty.

    I just love him so much, it is hurting that he is hurting. It is his birthday tomorrow and I just want to wrap him in bubble wrap for the day (in a protective, non-kinky way!)

  331. Always remember that while your last name is Mother, your first name is Woman.

  332. What you and Donny have, Sher, is very special. You are lucky to have found each other.

  333. Linda, I think so too . . . I’m all weepy for him today . . .

    Re Casey Anthony. Susan Smith.

    I think these evil women who premeditated their children’s deaths, covered them up, accused others through fraud, wasted funds in searches, listen – they should be executed in the form they used to murder their children – ditto (sorry Linda, Iknow that goes against your anti-death-penalty feelings).

    Now, Andrea Yates, she was a very sick woman that didn’t get the follow up care she needed. She was left to the mercy of her psychosis. She didn’t try to cover anything up.

    But these other people, they made conscious decisions to plan, carry out, murder, fraudulent accusations, I have no mercy to provide them. They denied mercy. All of them could have handed those babies over to loving family members and/or adopted them out. No retribution would be enough.

    At some point in their life, their egos were so self-serving that the CHOSE to commit these autrocities to all mankind. The rape and/or murder of a child. There is no excuse or justification. None. They don’t deserve to breathe another breathe . . .

  334. What wonderful things to say about your husband Sher. It’s nice to hear someone speak highly of their spouse instead of bitching about them. Which is what most women do where I work:)
    I too gave it away on the second date..and still got an engagement ring. HA!

  335. Oh, I was just settling down for a little chat but I have a kid issue to run and deal with.
    Sher – I am envious beyond all envy that you have seen all the LIW sites. I live not awfully far from the Farmer Boy museum. That might have to be my first stop.
    Sigh. Back later.

  336. Maureen – maybe we can go to Farmer Boy Farm together – that is actually one of my favorite books of the series! I read all of them to Dylan and Lauren when they were little (4-7) and I haven’t gotten all the way through with them for Claire yet . . . I’ll have to scan my paper dolls and post them somewhere . . .

  337. Farmer Boy is my favorite too!!!!!

    Sher, what you and Donny have is lovely.

  338. I would love to see the paper dolls, Sher. I am really dieing to see Almanzo’s house – I know from the pictures that it is much smaller than I imagined it. Come to New York some time and we’ll drive up to Malone. And I just adore Garth Williams, with Edward Ardizzone the runner-up. Anyone else a fan of Pinky Pye?
    I have a hard time with the ultra-realistic style of illustration for today’s young reader books. The point of reading for me was always to ESCAPE ultra-reality.

  339. Wow! It’s been so long since I’ve checked in that I feel like I’m standing on the cracked and melting asphalt of the playground with my heart pounding, trying to jump into a particularly vigorous game of double dutch. HI EVERYONE!! Okay, first off, even though this topic was covered EONS ago, I have to say this (regarding the critical barb aimed at Haven by the unnamed individual): When I read the post I got so instantaneously angry and I was filled with resentment and the bubbling forth of choice epithets and slaying language as I devoured each line and then I got to this, the line from beautiful and wise Obadiah:

    “Anyone who could accuse you of being shallow? You? She must be the shallowest person on earth.”

    Uh,yeah. That.

    Sigh.

    In other news, I’ve started doing yoga. I’m hopeful it will soothe the savage beast that roars inside me at the slightest provocation. My chiropractor suggested that I supplement my new Zen activity by joining the boot camp for the Derby Dolls, the local all-girl roller derby team. Y’know, just to let the beast out to play once in a while. He’s lost his mind, but maybe I have too, because I’m actually thinking about it.

    There are SO many more topics I want to comment on, but I think I’ll do it in dribs and drabs so it’s not…unseemly.

    Even though I’m all the way across the country, I am now obsessed with the idea of coming to the reading. To be able to put faces to some of your shining voices would be amazing.

    Shanna

  340. Also, I’ve changed computers and I’ve lost the link to the yahoo site. Can someone post it again here, so I don’t have to go on an archaeological dig through past posts?

  341. Hi Shanna! I’m Maureen. Nice to meet you. Here’s the site. I’m off to bed. Moo.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/havenblogbabies/

  342. Shanna, where abouts do you live? And welcome back.

  343. I am loving all the LIW/Little House discussion!

    I think I have mentioned before that I am also a big fan and have visited both DeSmet and the Missouri Ozarks house. The mention of Garth Brooks reminded me of this:

    We lived in California for over 5 years and upon moving back (in 1991) to the Midwest I was determined to visit Laura and Almanzo’s Rocky Ridge Farm in the Ozarks for the first time. So I planned a trip for myself, husband and then-preschool daughter for that fall on a random weekend. It was a GORGEOUS early-fall weekend, just perfect and I soaked it all in! In chatting with one of the ladies at the visitor center/house she mentioned that they were all SO excited…Garth Williams was coming for a visit the very NEXT weekend…his first visit in decades and the first since he came the very first time to meet Laura and discuss the illustrations for the books! Be still my heart! Even then, he was getting up in years and was living in Mexico and not travelling much. They were all as giddy as schoolgirls in anticipation. I’m sure the weekend was jam-packed with people and I could hardly justify returning the very next week anyway, but it was fun to see their anticipation.

    When I returned for another visit several years later with my mom, I saw that the visit he made that weekend was well-documented with photos, articles, autographs and the like.

  344. I am always searching for Garth Williams illustrations or anything . . . they have new covers for the current printing of LIW books and I am just appalled . . . bah hum bug, why mess with perfection??? Laura sitting in the attic with her corn cob doll on a pumpkin . . . Ma in her facy delaine dress? Pa with his fiddle . . . Laura with her hair up as a teacher….why, why – it is the mystery of the universe.

    Laura/Almonzo/Rose actually spent 16 months living in NW Florida, very near where we lived. Of course, that was before the a/c and the mosquitoes et them alive . . . Laura hated it! If you notice, that year is also skipped in the anthology . . . I can’t imagine living in FL without a/c, that is cracked up . . . and it didn’t help Manly’s health, which was the reason they went there . . .

  345. What a quiet night we are having in blog land. I too read LIW, I loved every book, but it seems, like most of my childhood, I don’t remember much of it. I have seen the new covers and just like Nancy Drew which I also devoured, they are just not telling the same story. Or I am getting old.

  346. I am in and out as I am trying to get some paperwork done while everybody else is in bed . . . Donny’s b-day tomorrow . . . it will be busy, busy, and busier!

    Other childhood book series: Nancy Drew, Cheery Ames, student nurse, and I was totally into sci-fi: philip jose farmer: everything!!!

    Other great books from childhood: The 5 Little Peppers and How They Grew. The Diamond in the Window. Rainbow’s End. A Lantern in Her Hand. Anything about the Oregon Trail.

  347. God Sher, with the exception of sci fi we read the same books- I also loved the Bobbsey Twins and an english series Mallory Towers. And Noel Streatfield and his Ballet Shoes and Dancing Shoes. Everything Judy Blume.

  348. Don’t forget the inimitable Roald Dahl people! I loved him to bits as a child. His adult work is great too.

    Caryl – I’ve emailed a super-quick response, but I’ll elaborate later (in a few hours time). I’m loving our chats, they are very soothing, in a weird way. Thank you.

    Sher – I just checked out your blog after Jim Shue’s. I’m entranced. You are a passionate woman. Inspiring you are. I’ll visit often.

    Luv T
    XXX

  349. i do think that Roald Dahl’s stories, when read to, or by children, it excites them about language and what fun can be had with it and storytelling.

  350. that last comment was expressed dreadfully.. but you get my point.

  351. Has anyone read his granddaughters new novel? My daughter and I really enjoyed it.

  352. Tex – you are a sweetheart to say so 8)
    I am freezing and am going to bed with my heating pad a few winks before making donny’s breakfast french toast . . . i wish I could roll him up and carry him around all day.

    Have realized that I had my kinky alien dream after reading the scene in Owen Meany about the patriotic christ child . . .

    does anybody have a hammer with which to knock me out?

  353. “you never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”

    Saul Bellow

    um, what if you never went to bed???? does that count, too????

    just pondering the universe . . .

  354. Sher – On the Florida chapter of LIW’s life, have you ever read the short story that Rose wrote about it? Not sure if it’s true or fictionalized, but her aunt tries to poison her (Rose) with chewing gum! I have a copy if you want me to mail it to you.
    It is from The Little House Sampler, which has a combo of previously uncollected stories and essays and such by both Rose and Laura. I am guessing you might own that book too?
    If not, anyone is welcome to copies of the Florida story. There is even a photo of Laura and Almanzo in front of a palmetto plant! Odd-looking. Poor Laura looks about to expire from heat.

  355. Speaking of childhood writing fetishes, I got very into Maria von Trapp and read all her books, too, after loving The Sound of Music. She was a bit of an odd duck later in life.

  356. Maria Von Trapp – the REAL frauline Maria do you mean??? Goodness, I never knew that she wrote anything. I have always been and forever will be obsessed with The Sound of Music.

    And Sher darling – only the truth comes out of my mouth!

  357. Good morning Tex!
    Yes, track down The Story of The Trapp Family Singers. It’s the book the movie was based on (not quite as dramatic) and continues into their life in America.

  358. Happy Birthday Donny!! :)

  359. I remember when I first Read Matilda By Dahl and I cornered by mom when she was taking a bath and talked to her the ENTIRE time about the book. She politely listened. What a good mom!
    I also loved all Judy Blume (I still reread Blubber,Deenie and Forever every year)The Boxcar Children, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, The Ramona Books, The Great Brain Books,and my all time favorite The Dollhouse Murders.

  360. Hi Amy!
    I want to add to the adored children’s books anything by Carol Ryrie Brink, especially Louly, Winter Cottage, and Caddie Woodlawn.
    Also, all the books by whoever it was who wrote Half Magic and the woman who wrote The Witch Family. Eleanor Estes also. And Nurse Matilda. I preferred going pretty far back in time with my reading.

  361. That’s a sweet story about your mom in the tub. My mom never read a book in its entirety under five years ago.

  362. Oops. until five years ago

  363. I love Children’s Books. Children’s Lit was one of my favorite classes in school. Oh, other good ones Number the Stars, Bridge to Terabithia, and all of those teenage cancer ones. Does anyone remember those? How depressing! And they had titles like ” I want to Live” and ” 16 and dying”.

  364. Caryl, I’m in San Diego. Re: childhood books, I loved Roald Dahl (just bought a copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the used bookstore yesterday), The Borrowers series and my very favorites, The Chronicles of Narnia. I spent more time looking for the door to Narnia in the back of closets than I’d care to admit. I also loooved E.L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (one of my big running away from home plans was to go live at the museum) and Harriet the Spy.

  365. Shanna – Are you right in San Diego? My sister lives in Carlsbad.
    I also loved Mixed-Up Files and Harriet the Spy. My favorite depressing books were From Karen with Love (she had C.P.), Death Be Not Proud (brain cancer), Angels Unawares (by Dale Evans).

  366. The Little House cookbook is the number one favorite of my daycare kids on Cooking Day (once every week), and our second favorite is Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes…We dress up, and make terrible lovely messes.

  367. Oh,oh,oh The Rats of Nimh! Love it!

  368. Reading everyone’s talk about their favorite childhood books makes me want to go to my mom’s house and start digging through the closet where she boxed up all of my kidhood belongings. I wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder. I use to make my older sister play conastoga wagon with me on our old swingset- which entailed me putting this old gymnastics mat across the monkey bars, hanging a sheet over it, and sitting on top of it all pretending to be driving. (We even used to roll leaves up with grass inside and pretend they were prairie sandwiches. I can only imagine what the neighbors thought of THAT.)
    Amy- I think the books you are referring to are the ones by Lurlene McDaniels? We used to call them the tragedy books. Apparently they made an impression on me, though, since I’m about to start working as an oncology nurse…

  369. There was also a fiction series we ate up as kids about teenage girls who survived historic natural disasters (like the 1905 San Fran Earthquake, the flu epidemic, the great Galveston Hurricane, etc.) I just remember the title was always the girl’s first name, and we must have had 50 of them.
    I’m now thinking that perhaps my sister and I were a morbid couple of readers.

  370. For all the Almanzo lovers, I just posted an essay I wrote about meeting my husband to the group files. I might have taken my Laura love a bit too far.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/havenblogbabies/files/

  371. Lurlene McDaniels, yes that’s it! Good for you to go into the medical field! Those books turned me into a hypocondriac.

  372. Maureen! I love the story, I didn’t want it to be over! When did Andy’s Aspergers really start to take notice for you?

  373. I’m glad you liked it!
    I always knew something was different about him. I didn’t know what it was until about a year ago when I heard a story about Asperger’s on NPR. Then I read everything I could find (including Augusten’s brother’s book) and knew we’d finally figured it out.

    I did not know about these Lurlene McDaniels books. I’ll have to check them out.

  374. Yay, someone else read The Boxcar Children. God how I loved those. There must be a hundred of them tucked somewhere in the house ..

    Also, Redwall. I haven’t seen any of those mentioned. Perhaps they’re too new?

  375. I wish I could say I was more of a reader as a child but I wasn’t. My father thought it was more important for us to be active. If we sat around too long, even if we were reading while sitting (how else can you read?) he thought we were being lazy. So, I never a whole series of books or anything like that. But, there are two books I do remember having an impact on me:
    From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (at the time we lived in northern NJ and I thought it would be so cool to run away to NYC and stay in a museum)
    and
    My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
    (hmmm, funny how both books are about running away from home)

  376. Linda, I adored Pippi Longstocking because she was an orphan and lived on her own with her pets ..

  377. Oh my, Kittery! – My youngest son was absolutely possessed with Redwall for about two years. We even had a Hullabaloo at our farm, complete with Scurvy Squirrel Bakes and October Ale. He got into a huge fight at school because he kept insisting that he was an otter.

    I’m sad I did not have those as part of my childhood. All my best 12th-grade writers were all Redwall readers.

  378. Dude (Maureen), your son has amazing taste. Otters are the best. Badgers and hares are also good. ;) I love that you had a Feast (?) at your farm.

    I’m still collecting his books, ’cause I want ‘em all, lol. I was a freshman in college when I found out Brian Jacques was doing a reading/signing near me and I went. And I talked to him (and my sister in-law took our picture) ’cause I’m that much of a dork. ;) It was a little embarrassing, ’cause all the other people there to see him came up somewhere around my hip, but .. I’d been fan longer, and that was nothing to be ashamed of. :)

  379. Pippi Longstocking! I loved her so very much! And my side of the mountain! Linda! I always liked bookS that told you what the characters ate. The boxcar children ate bread and butter and milk for example. I read this like 20+ years ago and I remember that!

  380. In Benny’s little pink cracked cup!

  381. Wow, I just aged myself 20 years, I meant Boxcar Children, not Bobbsey Twins. I also loved The Mixed Up Files.

  382. Meh, I read the Bobbsey Twins and the Happy Hollisters ..

  383. I only read the very first Boxcar Children book- I don’t know if the series was out when I was a kid but I remember my little cousins reading them. I dreamed of someday finding my own boxcar and living off the land. I’m pretty sure that along with playing Conestoga Wagon, we used the sheets over the monkey bars to play Boxcar in the swingset as well, escapist children that we were.

    I’ve never heard of Redwall. What are those about?

  384. Amy, I agree with wanting to know what the characters ate. Chapter One of A Wrinkle in Time? Perfect. Cocoa. Bread and jam for Charles. Tomato sandwich for Meg. Liverwurst for Mrs. Murray, and I believe Mrs. Whatsit has tuna salad.

  385. Ugh – I can’t believe I forgot Pippi Longstocking! she rocketh.

    My son (16) was rabid about Redwall, Harry Potter, Wheel of Time (which I also like), also the Jaspar Fforde books where the literary characters come to life and travel through time and interact: Tuesday Next, etc. – they are fantabulous.

    We dually like Isabel Allende’s kids books (maybe young adults section) – I still shop in the young adults section . . . and from the school recommendation lists . . .

    We have mutliple copies of the last Harry Potter book because we could not wait 1 day for the other to read it . . . dualling chapters and all.

    I must, must go cook and I have a bizzillion work things to do . . . don’t I Caryl. but with 2.5 hours of sleep the couch feels really good, really good.

  386. Happy birthday to Don the husband and a happy day to you and your family Sher. I am off on a road trip with husband and two boys- a three year old in the car for 10 hours. Pray for me and I will touch base when I can.
    Great weekend to all.

  387. Sher – Happy Birthday to Donny!! Enjoy yourselves!
    Have you read Rose Wilder Lane’s story about the Florida years?

  388. I love darn near every single book mentioned here…The Boxcar Children! Mrs. Piggle Wiggle! Mixed up Files!!! I could go on but, you know. Wonderful taste in kiddie lit, all of you.

  389. Hi Haven (and all her adoring fans)! I’m new to posting on your blog, but not new to your work. Not to sound like a total loser, or crazy fan, but, you are truly my favorite author. I just had my book club read Iodine. That was an interesting discussion for sure! Anyways, I thank you for your honesty and the rawness in your blogs. As a writer myself, I constantly struggle with how much of myself to expose and share with the world. You walk the line beautifully while being true to yourself and the craft. Thanks for the lesson, and for sharing a small sliver of yourself with all of us! Happy weekend!

  390. Colleen, you are SO CRAZY!!

    Just kidding…I think we have all felt the same way.

  391. Yes, Colleen — the picture of Maureen hiding behind trees comes to mind (!) Maureen, I loved your story. You are truly living your dream. Such a love letter. Sher — Happy Birthday to Do-on!

    I couldn’t get enough of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. And Pippi. And there was this series — I think the first called Honestly, Katie John — of which I’ve never forgotten the particulars. When she bites off a chunk of the “popular girl’s” lipstick (because she felt herself getting too moony about it) while chewing a big wad of gum moments before being swept onstage to sing, palming the gum/lipstick, then horrified as she remembers they are supposed to hold hands, strings of gum/lipstick suspended and swinging as the equally horrified girl next to her feels this nasty wet mess in her hand and lets go…I’ll never forget that scene. The ultimate in 6th-grade outsider mortification. — I still read juvenalia — Linda, I think it was your recommendation that had me read Mixed Up Files — and whoops! Sher, I did not realize Fforde was for kids, I love the Nursery Crime series (The Big Over Easy — how brilliant a name is that about the murder of Humpty Dumpty!). I was one of four student librarians in 4th-6th grade — read everything fiction before leaving and had a crush on Ronnie Minchow, the towhead boy who read everything nonfiction before he left. (Oh, who I am a sucker for someone with a broad range of interests.)

  392. Caryl, isn’t this the most peculiar feeling: you are asleep and are awoken by the bed shaking and the doors smacking against their frames and you hope it doesn’t get much worse? 5:25 this morning. Such an unpleasant reminder when you are brought up short that the ground is not so solid. The last one here, a 6.8 in 2001, the brick walkway outside was undulating — that one thrashed downtown. Yikes. I really, really do not like earthquakes.

    Safe travel, Caryl — all hopes that the three-year-old is engaged and happy the entire 10 hours.

  393. Geez, Carrie,

    you guys are suffering the wrath of God, what with floods, huge snows, ice and now earthquakes!

  394. Oh! Carrie! I remember Honestly, Katie John! I had completely forgotten that one.

    I remember going to our library during the summer and checking out seven books at a time (the max). I could never decide which one to start with, so I would lay them out on the porch and do “My mother and your mother were out hanging clothes.” I would use the color of the title words as the color of the blood and do you are Not it until I whittled my way down to one. If I felt disappointed, I knew that I really DID know which one I wanted to start with and would read that one first.

    Ah, little bookaholic that I was, still am.

    I’m glad you liked the story. It is one of a bunch of essays I have written about my husband and Asperger’s. I think “Grandmother’s Song” is also in the yahoo files because someone was commenting about Steve Martin.

  395. Carrie – Wow. Earthquake? Where are you?

    Hi George! I was thinking about you this morning. My dad was a frustrated journalist. He was all set to go to Columbia and study journalism (might have crossed paths with Merton there) when his own father died and he had to stay home and take care of his mother. He instead became an accountant, but he still liked to write.
    I was imagining what he might have been like had he had the chance to become a writer as he wanted. Like you, I bet! My dad was a very kind and gentle and intelligent and humble man. He liked to talk about politics and was just a Hoover for information – fascinated by everything. Just wide open to anything that came by him.

  396. Did anyone’s mother read Carl Sandburg’s “The Wedding Procession of the Rag Doll and the Broom Handle and Who Was in It” from The Rootabaga Stories to them when they were small? My family loved the Chubby Babies who marched in the procession and were chubbing their chubbs.

  397. I bet that being a Hoover for info probably made him a darned good accountant. I am amazed at what a good accountant or financial expert can see when they dig into a spreadsheet or an annual report.

    As for me, I really had few other career options. I wanted to be a newspaper guy for as long as I can remember. My grandfather owned a paper and was a printer until well into his 70s. My uncle owned a little weekly in Fort Branch, Ind.

    The only other thing I might have been good for is being a greenskeeper at a golf course someplace. I used to do that in the spring and summer and work at our city’s newspapers during the fall and winter when I was in my teens. I still love the smell of newly cut grass and the sight of a shaft of light coming through trees or the gray green sheen of dew on a field.

  398. “The Chubby Chubs were next. They were roly poly, round-faced smackers and snoozers. They were not fat babies — oh no, oh no — not fat but just chubby and easy to squeeze. They marched on their chubby legs and chubby feet and chubbed their chubbs and looked around and chubbed their chubbs again.”

  399. “Did anyone’s mother read Carl Sandburg’s “The Wedding Procession of the Rag Doll and the Broom Handle and Who Was in It” from The Rootabaga Stories to them when they were small?”
    Jodi – I stumbled upon The Rootabaga Stories myself at about age 10 (my mom was NOT a reader) and loved it/was kind of weirded out by it. And that’s THE Carl Sandburg, right? It’s like finding out TS Eliot wrote Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.

  400. Jodi,

    Yes!

    The Rootabaga stories are phenomenal, and so clearly meant to be read aloud. The Wedding Procession remains my favorite, because it was the first but also because of one of its first lines:

    “But when the Rag Doll married, it was the Broom Handle she picked because the Broom Handle fixed her eyes.”

    That line brings tears to my own eyes, still. Possibly more.

    Other favorites: The White Horse Girl and the Blue Wind Boy; How Bozo the Button Buster Busted All His Buttons When A Mouse Came; and, from New Stories, The Five Marvelous Pretzels.

    Oh, for a long slick yellow leather slab ticket with a blue spanch across it.

    ~ Sarah

  401. Here’s something beautiful for all you beautiful blog babies:

    http://kalman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/29/the-inauguration-at-last/

    The thing is that the revolution of Yes We Can is going to take a long time. We have been dogged by so much wrong-thinking and fear from the previous administration that we cannot easily see the light of day. But it’s coming.

  402. George, right? Where are the locusts? (Maureen: Seattle.)

    I’d be a greenskeeper just on the basis of that description alone. And I hate yardwork.

    A Hoover, that’s it. I am a sucker for a Hoover.

    Sarah, I read that differently — that the Rag Doll’s eyes were fixed on the Broom Handle, maybe ’cause he was so handsome — then reread it after you mentioned your reaction. Then had to brush away my own tears.

  403. Locusts?

    They’re a-comin’

  404. That’s lovely, George — thank you for the link. It will be a long trudge — I don’t expect to see his true stamp on the country until after he’s dug us out of the muck and mire the last administration left us in, but I’m heartened they hit the ground running.

  405. Bite your TONGUE!!!

  406. My great-grandfather had several books from a collection by Nelson Doubleday, 1957, called “Best in Children’s Books.” My favorite tale from this collection is called “Me and the Bears.”

  407. George –
    That blog was just wonderful! I am going to send it to my sister.

  408. Carrie – What’s this I saw about a volcano getting ready to go? That’s not near you, too is it?

  409. I’ll never get totally caught up but here’s another try, until the next time I come on and find two hundred more comments.
    Maureen, I used cheapoair.com to fly to CA the other week and I’ve been getting emails about incredible discounted flights ever since. I’m not able to make it to Durham but for those of you who are and have to fly, this certainly seems the time to do it.
    Jamie, I’d love to see the dvd of the cbs morning show. After I missed the airing I went to the site but there’s no video of it, so if you still have it I’d like to see it, and I’d be happy to send it back or on to the next person.
    Sher, your Donny sounds like a real treasure. I have one of those too, and I wish I could clone him and pass him around to all the women (and men) who need good guys. Honestly, I’ve been with him for 28 years, and when I look around me at all the other partners I don’t see anyone else I’d rather be with.
    Sher and Amy, Ken and I waited three months ~ and let me tell you, that was a record for me. The sparks flew so hard and high I’m surprised we didn’t set the house afire. Yowza.
    Kate, I aplogize because I’ve had a very busy week and still haven’t sent your EBO. Don’t think I’ve forgotten you because I haven’t. And Amy, I will answer your email soon too, so we can make plans to get together in PA.
    I hope everyone has a gloriously fun weekend!

  410. Polly, don’t worry…my daughter isn’t even two yet! We have many years to enjoy the EBO tomfoolery!

    Checking to see if my new BLAVATAR is working.

  411. It’s not. Poop.

  412. Spring and Fall
    to a young child

    Margaret, are you grieving
    Over Goldengrove unleaving?
    Leaves, like the things of man, you
    With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
    Ah! as the heart grows older
    It will come to such sights colder
    By & by, nor spare a sigh
    Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
    And yet you wíll weep & know why.
    Now no matter, child, the name:
    Sorrow’s springs are the same.
    Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
    What héart héard of, ghóst guéssed:
    It is the blight man was born for,
    It is Margaret you mourn for.

    Gerard Manley Hopkins

  413. Evil Poem.

    I mean that in the best possible way.

  414. I always thought I didn’t have favorite books as a child, because I wasn’t an early or voracious reader. I was really really BUSY with other stuff. But once I started to read (and to remember it) I realized, LAWS CHILE, you read a LOT. Here are some of my favorites:

    WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE
    THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE
    both by Shirley Jackson

    THE OTHER
    HARVEST HOME
    both by Thomas Tryon

    THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES
    DANDELION WINE
    SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES
    TWICE-22
    all by Ray Bradbury

    JANE-EMILY
    by Patricia Clapp

    THE GIRL IN THE SWING
    by Richard Adams

    Every Trixie Belden book, and I mean EVERY ONE, even when the whole business between Honey and Jim began to seem distasteful.

    Everything by Stephen King. Everything. I read a super-crap novel of his in one sitting, and found out in the past couple years he wrote it while in a cocaine-whiskey induced blackout. AND IT SHOWED. AND I READ IT.

  415. Aw, now we see Margaret, too!

  416. Hopkins is possibly the greatest poet who ever lived.

  417. I can’t even pick out a favorite line, that would break it up too much – lovely, lovely.

    Jaspar Fforde probably doesn’t qualify as children’s books . . . but my son was reading adult books at 8, so whatever I bought him, I think of as children’s books.

    One of the best gifts I ever received was the entire hardback set of Laura Ingalls Wilder (my mother-in-law gave them to me for my 27th birthday) . . . I promptly came down with the flu and read them all in 3 days . . . it was glorious!

    Haven, is your finger healing from your festering wound?

  418. You were way ahead of me, Haven — I didn’t read Bradbury till 8th or 9th grade, and then I read everything he wrote. The Illustrated Man just knocked me out. — Read Firestarter when I was 22, and that was the last “horror” book I read — it had me jumpy for years every time someone lit a cigarette in my peripheral vision.

  419. I also think of Charles Dickens (esp. David Copperfield) as a children’s book and all the John Jakes novels . . . even when I didn’t understand some of the heavy sex in them, I loved the cloak and dagger danger of our country’s beginnings . . . I was also reading all manner of survival books – like the soccer team that crashed in the Andes and ate the dead bodies (Alive???) I devoured it savagely. And the frontier train that got stuck in the rockies – yep, I like me some cannibalism AND plague is another favorite . . . pair it with time travel and I am a total book whore.

  420. Kate — Ctrl + Shift + delete and refresh the page to see your new blavatar.

  421. anybody want left over margarhita pizza, cheeze calzones or chicken parm stromboli . . . I have destroyed 4 months of workouts TONIGHT . . . but I didn’t eat any desserts . . .

  422. Now I feel compelled to make a definitive list.

    Under the age of 12:

    Little House Books- serious geekery here

    Anne of Green Gables series (including the short stories, etc. That is where I found Jarvis’s name. I didn’t realize who he was REALLY named after until he was 6 months old.) I was obsessed with these books. Probably because I was dramatic and talked too much.

    The Boxcar Children- just the first one. After they left the boxcar I had NO interest. But oh my lord…the idea of finding a junkpile and being self-sufficient and living in an abandoned box car still sounds appealing. I swear I would be a hobo if it weren’t for the fact that I’m a skeerdy cat.

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- Pretty much my fantasy life.

    Many Moons by James Thurber, illustrated by Louis Slobakin- do your kids a favor and BUY THEM THIS BOOK NOW! (Except you Haven…I got your back)

    Pippi Longstocking…more with the kid living on her own thing…I can’t remember the details except that it was wonderful and made my tummy feel funny.

    Mrs. Piggle Wiggle- I was only interested in the first book, full of pragmatism. The introduction of “magic” weakened the story for me.

    Rotten Ralph- THE ART! OH THE ART!

    Helga’s Dowry by Tomie De Paola- I was a WEIRD kid.

    Papa’s Wife and Papa’s Daughter by Thyra Ferre Bjorn- stories of the Old Country!!!

    Jane Eyre

    Classics Illustrated- WUTHERING HEIGHTS!

    I was obsessed with the Lurlene McDaniel Leukemia Books…6 months to Live, I want to Live…! I cannot believe someone else mentioned those!

    A Wrinkle in Time!

    From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler- who DOESN’T want to live in a museum? Someone dumb, that’s who.

    The Best Christmas Pageant EVER
    After age 12:

    Short stories of Shirley Jackson- especially The Witch

    Skeleton Crew by Stephen King

    My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews (SHER!!!!)

    Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger

    About Time by Jack Finney

    Short stories by O. Henry

    To Kill a Mockingbird

    And…tons of non-fiction. I know there is more, lots more, I read a TON when I was younger, but I am forgetful, and I have three kids and every time I had one a piece of my brain fell out. I am trying to re-acquaint myself with the classics now.

  423. Ugh, it’s not working. Do you guys all see the same avatar as before?

  424. Yep, Kate.

  425. Jack Finney! … LOVED Time and Again. I was living between the Dakota and the Natural History Museum right off Central Park when I read it the first time. That those landmarks were visible out my window in (then) present time and 100 years ago. I was so enamored of buildings older than 50 years, back then — having come from a young city like Seattle, historical New York just enchanted me.

  426. Sher, I would read any book about people eating other people, ANY BOOK EVER WRITTEN. Give me the Donner party over Dickinson! In the Andes they sliced off pieces of the dead man’s frozen bottom! GAH it was one of the highlights of my childhood, I swear.

  427. Ooooo Kate’s new graviblar is HOTTIE.

  428. I still haven’t finished Time and Again. I am ashamed. I need to spend more time reading and less time internetting.

    I actually have a slight, strange reading phobia. I LOVE reading, but I have a block about it. I think I am scared of reading something bad, or something I won’t enjoy or understand. Isn’t that bizarre? I think that’s why I read so many books over and over again.

    This is a phobia I need to fix.

  429. But would you have pulled up a chair?

  430. I read that stuff, and I’m in the story, gagging on gristle.

  431. Ooh, nice gravitar, Miss KateCake.

  432. Remember SURVIVOR TYPE? In SKELETON CREW????? Omigod, BRILLIANT!!

  433. I STILL don’t see it.

  434. I would pull up a chair in an instant. Protein is protein . . . I’m not saying I would enjoy it – but all those life and death things . . . the body is just the shell. Spirit is gone, plus the soccer players cooked their meat by using the sun reflecting off foil! Very inventive!

    Kate – I forgot about Papa’s Daughter, etc. – – – Button, she was amazing!!!!! Also Anne of Green Gables – YES – and then the PBS Series, baby I still watch that when it comes on . . .

    Not to mention Secret Garden, Little Princess, Wuthering Heights . . . and my first time travel – Marlys Milner(sp?)’s MIRROR . . . yeah, baby….

    Jack Finney ROCKS it . . .

  435. YES SECRET GARDEN & LITTLE PRINCESS!

    I cannot believe someone else has read Papa’s Daughter!!!!!

  436. Okay, speaking of — anyone read Life of Pi?

  437. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are on Conan Tonight.

    Ask me sometime and Nick Cave and Butt Trumpets.

  438. Also did anybody have the ‘young readers’ collection??? It was hardback and if you flipped it around a different books was on the other side: my favorite duel book: The 5 Little Peppers/Alice in Wonderland . . .

    and those freaking church illustrated bible books with the bizarre Revelations illustrations with the baby’s coming out of the caskets at the Rapture . . . OMG . . . we lived in trailers, but we had hundreds of dollars of those books in the hallway (in the bookcase that came with it) also we had a FANCY ass vacuum cleaner that some salesman convinced my mom to buy – it was worth more than our car . . . seriously.

  439. I’ve read Life of Pi.

    I heard somewhere that if a person eats human, it starts chewing holes through your brain, kind of like syphilis. I’m too lazy to look it up myself .. anyone heard that?

  440. LIfe of PI is great! Dylan has that, too – we are frantically trading books back and forth all the time . . .

    wait-

    Second Son??? where the construction worker falls of the highrise and lives, then has healing powers???

  441. Wish I had that kind of talent. I couldn’t sell air conditioning to a Death Valley bakery.

  442. I never read a book like that, but boy did I watch those movies at church! The woman screaming that she’ll take the mark of the beast and then she gets decapitated??? Uh, yeah.

  443. Kate – books are like friends, you can have simultaneous conversations, which you pick up again at any time . . . which is why I have 20 plus unfinished books, some are because I lost interest, some are because I am trying to DELAY the ending . . . and I vascillate between the genre moods . . .

    oh geez, went into Books-A-Million to pick up a new kayak guide for don’s bday (that cost $12) but I left with 2 bags of books (all the JoAnne Harris’ books) . . . I have no control whatsoever. period. none.

  444. also bought a new copy of Hardy’s Tess of the D’urbervilles . . . due to Owen Meany’s John Wheelright . . .

  445. Kittery – that is true for infected raw body parts – works with pigs . . . basically that is mad cow disease. So would you take the chance of dying from a rotting brain (about the chances of being struck by lightning) or the possible chance of surviving ’til rescued? I’d eat scrambled brain. Everytime.

  446. Pat Conroy’s BEACH MUSIC (great book) has cannibalism and Holocaust . . .the boys get stranded in a boat at sea . . . the sheer contemplation/suspense of what to do was fascinating . . .

  447. Kate – we watched those hell movies on New Year’s Eve at church – all that being eaten by worms in hell shit . . . all produced by Bob Jones University.

  448. BJU still has home ec. degrees (i.e., your MRS degree).

  449. One of my best friend’s husbands WENT to Bob Jones University! He got in trouble for his hair, if I’m not mistaken. And he had to wear a suit, so he wore a green leisure suit.

  450. This is why my all-or-nothing stance re: my book addiction. I had to say NO MORE BOOK BUYING, only library, or I would live (and possibly die!) in the narrow paths between stacks of books. I never used to be able to get out of a book store (even the full-price kind) without a carrier bag full in each hand. I’m better now. Way too much of a fetish to be unchecked.

  451. Honestly, Sher … I don’t know how I’d respond until faced with the situation. I might just decide to pack it in and see if I could find my dog in the afterlife.

  452. Kittery, you’re talking about Creutzfeld-Jakob syndrome, which comes from eating infected prions from any animal source, but almost exclusively from the brain.

    The Five Little Peppers was one of Delonda’s favorite books as a child. She probably could name ten thousand others.

    Does anyone remember the Stephen King story “The Grandmother”? I swear I nearly became incontinent.

  453. Carrie – I was good for a while, but then I had panic attacks when giving some of my books (highlighted with notes) away. Decided I deserved them, they equal the Italian racing bicyclal hanging the garage, superbowl and hockey tickets. . . and I can use them as tax decuctions. And they are my death bed wish . . . that is all want – to get really sick and stuck in bed so that me or someone will read me the marked excerpts from every book I own. I will be so pissed I die from a sudden accident.

  454. Haven, that’s me with every Stephen King novel. (Alright, I read a couple more before I cut myself off.)

  455. Haven – the grandmother was a short story of king’s, right? I think it was also with the Running Man? I know I’ve read that . . .

  456. No, but oh lord I would read ANY scary story about a Grandmother. You should SEE the scary stuff my grandma can do, and she’s a sweet old lady!

  457. Good to know, Haven. :)

    I’ve never read a Stephen King story. I’m a big wuss.

  458. my grandmother used to threaten to spank me with a yellow, butterfly shaped flyswatter . . .

    I don’t know if she ever did – but I can see her standing in the door with that thing raised up by her face – – – eek!

  459. How do you keep from scaring yourself sleepless when you’re writing a horror novel? I know there’s at least one person here that can answer this.

  460. one of my other grannies had love beads for curtains, smoked 4 packs a day, and always had a martini in her hand . . . she was glorious in funky mumus . . . and her animals were named after alcoholic drinks: Daiquari, Shot, etc.

  461. My grandma puts her glasses on sideways, crosses her eyes, sticks her tounge out sideways and walks along with a shuffling gate. OMG!!!!!! SHE IS SO SCARY!

  462. I should mention my Grandma does this purely for comic relief.

  463. is she trying to be scary, or is this normal, Kate – because THAT would be scarier!

  464. Of course you deserve any and all books you desire, Sher! If I didn’t ever have to move them again, I’d have no restraint. Or need for restraint.

  465. for many years I thought that wet noodles were real and that I was going to get a beating with them.

  466. She does it to scare us. My grandparents are/were like that.

  467. Carrie – it took me a few years to justify it – now I am only mildly shocked at myself, and I buy
    TONS of books from used, thrift, goodwill, garage sales. But sometimes I can’t wait!

  468. I was just reprimanded by WordPress for posting too fast.

    I.
    am.
    supposed.
    to.
    slow.
    down.

  469. I don’t go with technology bossing me around. Who does it think it is?

  470. It did that to me a couple times Sher, and I sat here and thought, “excuse me?”

  471. exactly!!!!

  472. Haven, John told me I wasn’t allowed to get a pony ride from Iorek . . . that we have to protect his dignity. I totally agree and that I need to think of horse-sized dogs as pussy cats.

  473. One of Don’s presents was a polar bear that poops out chocolate colored jelly beans.

    it was a hit.

  474. This is what I always loved about the Monks of New Skete — they always insist that you are there to protect the dignity of the animal in your care. You are a buffer between your dog and the child who would very much like to pull its ears off.

  475. OK – when are we doing Owen Meany?

    I became enraptured on page 289 . . . it had really been awhile since I read it. It makes me want to re-read lots more books from earlier in my life.

  476. carrie – good policy.

    If only Snappy wouldn’t LET claire dress her in the doll clothes and lay about in the doll carriages and have her paws tied with bows . . . she is so NOT a cat, I swear, she is an Owen Meany with a pink color and jingle bell.

  477. I don’t know about cats. I always felt sorry for Wegman’s dogs. But cats seem to like the attention. Also the ensembles.

  478. Carrie, John is referring to my actually snapping at two of my beloveds who were jokingly resting their legs on Iorek, who was standing in front of them. I came UNGLUED. I said, “Get your $%@#@ feet off my dog, he doesn’t put his feet on you.” It was a terrifying moment for all involved. John is also referring to a sign I’d like to have hanging in every room of my house: Pretend Your Life Depends Upon Their Dignity.

    I have read almost all of Stephen King’s novels. I found Duma Key to be especially intriguing. The first 400 pages are masterful.

  479. You should hang that sign. It Just Might!

  480. well I was joking of course I would never get near enough to put any body part on him! You would think I have broken my water . . . and also I heard him reacting to racoons? For some reason, I am more comfy with the idea of the wolfcub? maybe I need to ease into a canine situation from the beginning then the size wouldn’t overwhelm me .. . for instance the babies did come out like walking men in anne rice’s taltos series . . . I need that helpless scrawny thing to get bonded to? I’m trying, I actually caught and returned the neighbors pug the other day.

    I was freaking terrified, and it was hard to hold it between all the layers of drooping flesh . . .

  481. I will admit to petting my dog Cady with my feet. She was extremely jumpy when a puppy and didn’t trust that I wouldn’t step on her or any extraneous part of her, so she was constantly tripping me (and everyone else) by jumping up right before you’d step over her. Got dangerous, 85 pounds of obstruction right there in a fraction of a second. Petting her with my feet seemed to convince her that humans had enough control not to mash her where she lay — she lay stock still after awhile when you’d vault over her.

  482. In the cold pottery shed of a friend I would allow her huge yellow lab to sit on my feet . . . I kept thinking, it’s ok it is just a breathing heating pad . . . but then when I would try to give her water I would get scared, run, and drop her bowl before she would catch me. Then, she would follow me around with that bowl . . .

  483. Lisey’s Story. Bag of Bones. some of the newer ones that I adored. Nothing has ever scared me the way Salem’s Lot did in jr. high

  484. Sher!! I’m so glad to know I’m not alone.

    I fear dogs the way I fear GOD. Seriously. Big, kind majestic dogs make me especially nervous. I’m so short…and many dogs like to show their affection by putting their PAWS ON MY SHOULDERS. I’m trying to get over it, and there has been many a dog to win my heart, but it’s not something the comes naturally to me.

  485. Did you have a bad experience with a dog when you were a kid?

  486. See, I’m not sure large dogs should be putting their paws on shoulders. I think it’s aggressive. Blame their caretakers for not teaching them manners. Bumping, too. Aggressive, and to be checked immediately.

  487. Kate – exactly – now I try to think ‘what would Zippy do?” and I try to stand taller (which isn’t much at 5’2″) and speak with authority (which is hard when you are shaking) . . . I do ACT braver when I am around my kids because I don’t want them to see me cowering . . . maybe there is hope

  488. My cousin’s dog bit me on the nose when I was four. There you go.

    Also, there was a time in my life when I DESPERATELY wanted a dog. And when I didn’t get one, it’s like I put the desire out of my mind, and it just sort of shriveled up.

  489. I adore big dogs. Small dogs a close second. My first nanny was a German Shepherd. My mom would put me in a laundry basket in the middle of the front yard and Duke would nose me back whenever I got within a few feet of the periphery.

  490. Carrie – yes, of course it is the unreliable owners, because how do you know how they are/aren’t trained? just like kids, they can look cute and be demons.

    I don’t remember a specific trauma . . . I remember loving a sheep dog and german shephard as a little kid, but then around 8-10 I became very uncomfortable, but like you say, it would happen when they would jump on me, sniff my crotch, slobber on me (my aunt had st. bernards) and they would just push you down from your shoulders . . . maybe I just never knew what to expect after that . . . with PTS I am also very sensitive to noise (barking) – it is ok if it is reactionary but if goes on and on and I wild with annoyance.

  491. That’ll do it. Horses make me nervous because a big old cantankerous Morgan bit me when I was seven.

  492. Kate, your poor wee nose! that is a fear to be bitten. but I don’t think I was ever more than nipped at . . .

  493. Do their feet/hooves scare you, Carrie? ‘Cause if a horse even twitches near me, I’ll dance around it like someone blasted fire ants up my skirt .. even though I’m pretty certain they know where they’re putting their feet, I always think they’re going to step on me.

  494. we are afraid of the unknown, plus I would get attached to a dog and then it would get hit by a car – finally, I quit trying to get to know them – my brother had a irish setter for years – he was gorgeous and sweet, but I kept my distance even then.

  495. Constant barking!!?? That makes me crazy.

  496. our next door neighbor leaves their dog (collie sized) on their upper deck from 6 a.m. – 7 p.m. – it barks all freaking day. I actually feel sorry for it, but come on . . .I have to put music on in the house so I can think, it just jangles my nerves, it is excessive.

  497. that being said, I don’t want a Bob Jarvis/Racoon situation over there, even though they aren’t supposed to do that, I don’t want to stir the pot, you know?

  498. Fire ants up your skirt??!! What a picture!! — Not so much, Kittery — and I really do think they’re beautiful and would love to have a close personal relationship with a horse some day. I don’t stand in back of them, however.

    I went to the Big Apple Circus once. The opening “act” was a small, slim woman in a long skirt and some horses. Now doesn’t this sound like a nothing act? Yet it brought me to tears. She moved very slowly, very gracefully, through this smallish ring with 20 horses galloping around her, in figure eights, in complicated patterns. It seemed there wasn’t a centimeter to spare, but they never touched her. There was so much love and respect and trust in her movements — I couldn’t help myself. I was DISSOLVED.

  499. No dog should ever come up off its front feet in your presence. Any dog who puts his paws on you (god forbid on your shoulders) is essentially explaining that he is the Reichs Chancellor and you’d best salute. They have more subtle dominant moves as well, such as leaning against you, or putting a paw on your knee if you’re both sitting down. To all of these behaviors you must call bullshit in the voice of God. Iorek is so big we saw him, a few weeks ago, standing on his hind legs nibbling on bamboo, and his head was completely above the six-feet-high fence. Imagine that. When I was on bedrest with Gus, I spent the days on the couch, and every couple of hours he’d wander that way and just lean over and look at me. His head was the size of a Buick. We would just look at one another a long time, and then I would say, “I know you could kill me. I’m deeply grateful that you don’t. But also don’t forget who’s smarter, right pal?” And he’d know all was right with the world and he’d go lie back down.

    I took a picture today of the cub with Iorek so you can see the size differential. Let me see if I can post it on the blog babies site.

  500. That poor dog. Me, I’d probably go over there about 6:30 am, bring him over, and return him around 6:45 pm.

  501. I think I love Iorek. He’s good people.

  502. Sher, as for knowing they are demons, I know when to cross a street when I see bad news coming up to me on four legs. Dogs telegraph their intentions — their body language is pretty unambiguous. (Just like people, but not as subtle.)

  503. I’ve also stopped many a dog charging by putting my hand up and hollering, “stop.” We do have the big brains and all.

  504. carrie – that was a thought, kidnap – but the upper deck is way high and doesn’t have a staircase . . . the lower deck opens out onto the hill . . . I can’t get up there. I stand on our upper deck, look him in the eye and firmly say “Champ, sit!” he does, it is quiet for 5 minutes and then it starts again. It is miserable.

    Haven, I would adore, adore to see the cub – oh my goodness, you have been busy . . . See, I love the idea of Iorek and you would be an alpha leader like I would depend on . . . but other idiots, you just never know . . . their dogs jump on you and they say “oh, he wouldn’t hurt a fly . . .” and I think “really, he has no control” . . . also, Don’s roommate once picked up a stray and when the dumbbell got in Don’s room, shut himself in, chewed up Don’s bedding, mattress, dresser legs, nightstand (and the rubbers inside the drawer) . . . the roommate, said “wasn’t he smart to close the door?” – – don therefore began residing full time with me . . .

    also another friend’s dog has ‘separation anxiety” and chewed through their drywall. it was a little rat like dog and it chewed through the drywall.

  505. Okay, go to my photo album, and the last four photographs are of the canids. The first one is the only one you really need to see.

  506. Carrie you are right. I think I have encountered lots of ruined dogs (ruined by the people that is).

    Iorek also sounds mythic. Like Pegasus or something.

    I’ve loved of my friends’s dogs – so I know there are awesome owners/animal pairs out there . .

  507. I have never once been afraid of a dog in my life. Isn’t that odd?

  508. Oh Haven I wish I lived NEXT DOOR!! I did not know you got a new puppy. — Cubby is a ringer for Cady when she was a pup. I’ll find a picture and post it. And can I say? Iorek is MAGNIFICENT.

  509. Well, you had Kai. He sounds like he could train anyone’s heart.

  510. I think you were born knowing how to be with dogs, Haven. Not odd. At all.

  511. I finally figured out the pics were on the yahoo site and not here and ohh, those animals are just…I need to hug them. Even Iorek.

  512. oh, my – – Cubby . . . leaves me breathless. And Iorek, is that Poppy’s “cement block headed dog” from Something Rising Light and Swift” – – Ok, I am officially no longer afeared of Iorek. I swear – he didn’t eat Cubby so he is a cool dude.

  513. I really should be more afeared of humans than dogs, just historically speaking.

  514. They are GOOD dogs. Great hearts, Puppa and Iorek. The wolf cub will be the magisterium. But Puppa, even though she looks like a pound cake, is smarter than seven other dogs combined. She’s a DOG.

  515. ok – cubby fans, I had 2.5 hours of sleep in the last 2.5 days, so I must crash as this weekend is full of company and I still haven’t cleaned the kitchen from my cooking frenzy . . .

    will try to check in over the weekend . . . happy dreamland when you go!

  516. POUND CAKE!!

  517. My friends, you guys are da bomb!! I was JUST telling my husband that I come to this blog like coming up for air. I have SERIOUS cabin fever. It has been three solid months of snow, snow, snow and cold, cold, cold and being stuck under the rock of this God-and-intelligence-forsaken county I live in.

    I come here to chat and you get ALL my jokes and have read ALL the same books I’ve read and MORE! And you’re all smarter than me and wittier and it feels like I can continue to live on the planet without hurting someone.

    Kate – That gravatar is just way too awesome. I made the mistake of watching the movie Closer last night and finding Natalie Portman so beautiful I just wanted to eat myself past the point of no return into middle age and just be done with it. But there you are looking so cool and BEING cool besides.

    I changed my blavatar too, and I still look, as my husband would say, very Catholic. Speaking of LIW geekitude, I just mailed Sarah a VHS of that TV special called “Beyond the Prairie” which is tolerable if you are a groupie. I also sent “Innocence” by Rose, which you have probably read already, about the Florida years. I asked her to send them both to you when she is done.

    Haven – Oh! I discovered Ray Bradbury in junior high and had Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked practically memorized. I would go outside in the late evening and sit in a pile of fallen leaves under the streetlight and just freak myself out (Something Wicked, of course. Dandelion Wine was a summer-only read). So I was right about Hopkins being the lamb’s name’s inspiration? Thank God, my English degree has not gone to waste.

    Sher – I know I don’t need to sell this festival AGAIN, but Yann Martel was one of the keynote speakers AT THE CALVIN FESTIVAL (Haven, did you go hear him or were you partying down with Elizabeth Berg that night?)

    I have the week of Feb 15 through 21 as vacation so ONE night that week I am going to sleep all day so I can stay up and chat with the night bloggers.

    I have tax deadlines today (employee stuff) so I am chained to my desk. I will drop in for company so I don’t chew my arm off in boredom.

    I would NOT recommend Closer. Jude Law is gorgeous and so is Clive Owen but unless you look like either Julia Roberts or Natalie Portman, it will just make you despair. It’s just depressing Post-Modernist black-and-white London-as-morally-bankrupt drivel as far as I’m concerned. Apologies if that’s anyone’s favorite film.

    Carrie – Have you read The Monks of New Skete’s book In the Spirit of Happiness? That book completely redirected my spiritual life. I actually wrote to the Calvin Festival people and recommended they invite them as speakers in 2010.

    Oh me, I’m babbling. Back to the books.

  518. Maureen,

    Nice to find you here this morning! You have an upcoming week of vacation, mid-winter? What a wise survival technique. I applaud your ingenuity.

    Got anything good on your reading list? Have you read anything by Michel Faber, the Dutch writer? He wrote “The Crimson Petal and The White,” which is a favorite of mine. If you like Victorian England atmosphere and mystery, you’ll really like this. He has a newer book out called “The Fire Gospels,” which I haven’t yet read, about the discovery of the Fifth Gospel and its consequences on the discoverer who publishes his find.

    How about Diane Setterfield’s “The Thirteenth Tale”? Another atmospheric page-turner, with intriguing spooky plot twists. The settings include an antiquarian bookstore owned by the female protagonist’s father, and a gothic mansion inhabited by a famous eccentric elderly author who needs the help of the bookstore owner’s daughter.

    If you haven’t read John Crowley’s “Little, Big,” both Haven and I think you should put it at the top of your reading list.

    You can probably get all of them CHEAP from Amazon’s Used Books division. How did we ever live without Jeff Bezos and Amazon?

    I’m also T-I-R-E-D of snow and ice and inconvenience. The air temperature in Fort Wayne this morning is 0 degrees. This winter has reminded me of the luxury and convenience of electricity (ours was out for four days at Christmas), but I believe I am sufficiently thankful and The Universe can move on into my next Lesson.

    Take lots of breaks from your tax homework today.

  519. Hi Jodi –
    Thanks for the recommendations! Most of those writers you mentioned are new to me. I have taken to just buying books I want to read from Amazon Used because it’s usually cheaper than the late fees I rack up at the library. One of our county libraries (not one convenient to me) charges NO late fees if you are a teacher! Isn’t that nice? No such luck at Guernsey (that’s my library, not-so-ironically a breed of cow). Another library I go to when I am at the far reaches has those grocery store baskets, which I think is a nice idea. The town closest to me just renovated an old church into a little tiny library and community hall.

    I am simultaneously re-reading Solace (for the summer-ness) and Owen Meany (to chat with Sher). I also have Chocolat still home and three new Loyola Classics to dip into.

    Are you going to Durham in April? I had put it out of my mind but I am becoming obsessed with the thought and will probably hitch-hike if necessary.

    Our Feb vacation is a school vacation – a little nuts considering the number of snow days we’ve had already, but I’ll take it. We alternate years with the President holiday: one year it’s a long weekend and the next it’s an entire week. I am hoping we get a little thaw so I can at least feel like taking the three months of recyclables to the landfill.

  520. Speaking of Guernsey, I am also listening to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on CD during my commute. Not sure about it yet. I usually find epistolary novels a little forced. It also is not helping that the actress who reads Juliette’s part is annoying me. I’d probably like it much better in print.
    It is getting more serious as they talk more about the war, so I’m finding it less “triff”y as I go. (I think “triff” is a word my sister and I made up. It means light and frivolous. I also call these Twinkie books, as opposed to wheat bread (as in Danielle Steel), but I am not finding Guernsey to be a Twinkie.

  521. Maureen,

    I have The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on hold now at the library, thanks to your recommendation. I understand your preference for “triffy” in the bleak midwinter we are currently surviving. Short and triffy might even be better. Cabin fever sure depletes a person’s attention span.

    Don’t you hate it when readers on audio books aren’t what you expected? Within one minute of listening to Carolyn Myss read from her books I got a headache and turned her off – forever. One of my dearest friends just loves Myss and had sent me the CD. C’est la vie.

    No late fees for teachers at a library?? I might mention that to my local branch sometime. Brilliant.

    I’m not going to Durham in April. We’re in school then, and I can’t take the time off.

    Does your school also have a “spring break,” sometime in late March/early April?

  522. Jodi – How funny! I only ever heard Carolyn Myss on audio and I love her! I can repeat huge chunks of “Spiritual Madness” by heart because I listened to it so many times!

    In April, we have April 10 (Good Friday) off and then the entire next week. So … my dilemma is taking that Thursday off – that’s usually a big No-no. But I am in good standing at my work, so I can probably finagle it.

  523. Maureen, formerly in Good Standing at her work….

  524. Sarah – It’s true! I’m losing ground quickly due to my addiction to this blog! :-)

  525. I’m BACK!!!

    And I can’t believe I missed the talk on favorite childhood books.

    I can’t believe EVEN MORE that no one mentioned Robin McKinley ANYTHING SHE WROTE or Diana Wynn Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle. The movie of that book, by the way fucking blew.

    I had no idea anyone had ever read From The Mixed Up Files before! Yay!! I knew I belonged to this blog!!!

    Maureen! Back to work, darling. Once you get it done, I give you permission TO POST A MILLION TIMES today. :) Just kidding.

    I dropped Megan off at the airport last night and cried myself home. Then I went to bed at 8 pm and slept until just a little while ago. Sigh. I’m really, really starting to hate Georgia. I am woking on a plan to get to Durham. I don’t know how, but I’m working on it. Was it the 8th of April?

  526. Has anyone ever heard of/used swoopo.com ?

    It appears to be legitimate, and I’m a greedy American, it almost looks too good to be true ..

  527. Hi kids, I’m back, too.

    I read everything when I was a kid, so it’s hard to isolate favorites. I read a lot of boy’s books, and of them, I remember most a book called West Point Plebe. I think I read every single one of those youth biographies. Can’t remember what the name of the book publishers were, but they were all bound with a yellow cover. Does anyone remember them? The first “big” book I ever read was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

    When I was a kid, I was obsessed, absolutely zonkers over microscopes. So I spent a lot of time in the biology, zoology section of the library. I would spend hours looking at everything from feathers to one-celled critters swimming around in droplets of pond scum water. Loved it. Still do.

    Mostly I read magazines. I subscribed to Boy’s Life and Mad Magazine. I also read several comic books a week. I confess that I never read any of the classic books like Treasure Island and such until I was fairly old. When I was a kid, they used to publish comic book versions of them, and I always read those. We used to go to the barbershop a lot, it seemed. This was a real men’s babershop from the 60s, so they were always stocked with comics I didn’t normally read like Little Lulu or Donald Duck. Sometimes, when nobody was paying any attention to me, I would casually grab a copy of Stag magazine and check out the women. I mostly stuck to Batman and Superman, though I also liked Spiderman and I think it is quite possible that I owned Vol. 1, Edition 1. My dad always had copies of Argosy, True West, Real West. I would devour those. My mom always had copies of True Romance or Real Romance. I read those, too. My grandparents always had the classic magazines: Saturday Evening Post, Look, Life, Grit, Harpers…I read those, too, and I always burned through Holiday and Reader’s Digest when I was at the waiting room at the dentist office waiting for the needle and the drill. Calmed my nerves as I wished for once, Goofus would kick Gallant’s ass on Main Street.

    ————–
    Speaking of dogs
    ————–

    Both my varmits and the cat sleep with us. My dog Sadie isn’t comfortable without my leg on her. Gus hates to touch. And Zip goes to sleep each night purring atop my gut.

    ——————

  528. i wish my allergies would allow me to sleep with my pets. :) even being a zyrtec-d junkie doesn’t offer me total relief.

    i loved Highlights as a little girl, but i admit that while I read Nancy Drew RELIGIOULSLY i really wasn’t all the smart ’til i got older. didn’t do much reading. Did a lot of BARBIES! and MY LITTLE PONIES!

    I was in middle school before I started reading all the time.

  529. :: sings :: My little ponies my little ponies my little pony tales ~

  530. So many good childhood books have been mentioned here. I loved Highlights until way after I was too old to read them, and of course there was always Mad Magazine. That always contained some very good social commentary. I started with the Bobbsey Twins and worked my way through all the Nancy Drews. Loved The Little Princess and The Secret Garden best of all my books as a child. Loved the Five Little Peppers and forgot them until they were mentioned above. The Illustrated Classics were great. Read all of Edgar Allen Poe as a child, and all of Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Shirley Jackson, and John Steinbeck. My two fave Scholastic books, which I bought around third grade, were Blue Willow, about a young girl living out west during the depression era, and The Forgotten Door, about a boy who falls into our world through a hole in the universe, then has to navigate amoung our strange ways until he finds his way out and back to his own people again. Did any of you read them as kids? I bought them on eBay a couple of year ago to see if they were as great as I remembered, and they still held up beautifully.

    Suzanne gave me some books when I visited her in CA and then she had the kindness to order me another one which came in the mail about a week later. Still enjoying poring through them, plus I’m re-reading Owen Meany for our future discussion. I was bummed when we didn’t discuss it the first time but I’ll be refreshed and ready for this time.

    Kate, I mailed your EBO this morning, parcel post, and it will be there by them end of the week. I have a delivery confirmation number if it doesn’t arrive by Friday. Can’t wait to hear about your baking adventures.

  531. Sher, I hate your neighbors. Why do people leave their animals outside in the elements all day? Ignorance is the only answer.
    Jodi, I didn’t realize you lived in Fort Wayne! I was born and raised there! Do you mind if I ask where you teach??
    Kate-hot picture!
    Um, My Sweet Audrina was the most effed up book I read as a young adult, loved it!
    I remember growing up I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to read my mom’s VC Andrews books. 8th grade is when she finally turned them over.

  532. Molly, I was a Barbie lover too. I spent hours dressing them and playing with their accessories and hair, and then I was out of this world when I was about eight and my mother made Barbie and me matching pink floral dresses. It doesn’t get any better than that! (for a girly-girl, anyhoo.)

  533. Polly~ I am getting ready to email you back!
    Sher~ I shouldn’t say I hate your neighbors. I am trying to use my words more appropriatly in 2009:)
    Haven- I love Cubby! So you have 2 Mastiffs, Cubby and Puppa? Can I borrow your wonderful husband and let him convince my beloved that the more dogs the merrier?

  534. I just looked up West Point Plebe…it was written by Col. Red Reeder who wrote a bunch of other books and bios, several of which I recognized from my childhood. And darn, I forgot that I inherited a stockpile of Tom Swift books from my cousin. These were all written in the 40s and 50s when I was reading them in the 60s.

    Seemed like I went from those to Jules Verne, then Bradbury, then Vonnegut.

    I know this, when the reading gene was unleashed in my bloodstream, it was Watch-Out from that point on.

  535. Hey guys! I left my tax prep and took a long nap to get my right nostril back functioning. It seems to have worked.

    Molly – Megan’s last name is Bartlett? I wonder if her husband is somehow related to my husband’s family? Where is Megan’s husband from?

    Polly – Ah, The Forgotten Door! Blue Willow! Yes!

    George – Have you read An American Childhood? Annie Dillard? You must! She was also a microscope fanatic! I said hello to you over at Suzanne’s blog!

    It’s bright and sunny here but 20 degrees. Am contemplating a hike in the woods wiff ma dogie.

  536. George – I know what you mean about Gallant. A bit of a dweeb, yes?

  537. Polly – From Scholastic, how about Secret Summer, aka Baked beans for Breakfast? The brother and sister who run away and live by the lake?

  538. Oop. I quadruple posted: four in a row. I appear needy.

  539. Hi Maureen. Maybe I will wander over there to Suzanne’s in a minute. I am “supposed” to be working on some projects here in my office, but my mind is wandering. Gonna get some coffee and focus.

    I still love microscopes and such. I was fascinated by the notion of how things “really” looked.

  540. Maureen: I will get that book by Annie Dillard…right now, however, I am a persona non grata at my local library where I owe $87 in fines for non-returned books. I got some tapes and CDs for a friend who had a stroke back in late October and I just haven’t remembered to get them back to the library. Oh well. I really don’t mind paying out cash to my library. It goes to their operating budget.

  541. Maureen, yep, she’s not a bartlett. Doug’s family’s from Vermont, but they are actually spread out all over NH and VT. It’d be a very small (very happy!!)world, if indeed, we were now related.:)

    Polly–my mother used to make me barbie clothes! I have the most beautiful barbie wedding gown. and a tux for ken.:)

  542. GEORGE!!!! I, too, owe my local library, and though I posted eons ago that with all the book recommendations you all had, I would be forced me to go and pay up………..fear has kept me home. I think I’m going to give my Quiet Friend Amber money so she can go pay for me. She’s already offered to be in charge of my book returns anyway…

  543. I am surprised there is not a Wanted poster of me at my library. Library fines adds up to a major total at the end of the fiscal year for me. I just shop Amazon Used now. It’s cheaper in the long run.

  544. Maureen, the voice of wisdom!

  545. I have no fear or embarrassment — not when it comes to reading and such — I wear my scofflawry et libris as a badge of honor!

  546. It’s my Southern heritage. I can’t stand for people to look at me and think less. lol. I’m working on getting over it.

  547. Yes … southern people who get to laze about in short sleeves and barefoot while some of us get. snowed. in. AGAIN. :P

  548. am watching the godfather. why do i love this movie so much? i just love it.

  549. Maureen: haven’t read that one yet…do you think it would scan for a pantheist like me? I love everything else they’ve written.

    George! Mad Magazine — I used to buy it religiously and devour it immediately when I was 10, 11, 12 — if my father ever read it, he would have banned it, but thankfully I never knew his politics till long after I left home.

    Polly, my grandmother (a gifted seamstress) made my sister and I each a trunkful (alright, a Barbie-case full) of Barbie clothes when we were 6 and 8. I could still describe to the T about 8 of the 25 or so outfits — evening sheaths, Dior-ish big-collared velvet coats, an incredible wedding dress. In duplicate. With our initials embroidered inside. I wish she’d lived long enough for me to get old enough to appreciate what a “collection” she’d put together. She did not have a lot of school (4th grade), did not drive nor work, but in retrospect…well, I so wish she’d lived into my adulthood. She ADORED us.

  550. oh hush you. :)

  551. I meant Polly and Bug and (I know) many others…

    Also, I’m like George — I feel every day I’m fined for a book means the library gets more for their ops budget. I try not to keep it too long for them to waste a stamp following up, though.

  552. that hush was for kittery.

    Carrie, what a wonderful memory to have of your grandmother. i’ve kept all my handmade clothes to pass to my daugher (if god ever gets around to sending me one ;) )

  553. Maureen and Jodi and Kittery — I’m so sorry for your cabin fever and ill-mannered weather. Just the little taste we had over Christmas was more than enough to get me whinging.

  554. I think I once owed the library 50 dollars and the librarian ( the only male working there) was trying to tell me my exact total when he hit the wrong button, and red faced said ” crap, I deleted it. Welp, merry christmas.” I think my fines are only 15 dollars or so now. My friends always joke that my favorite credit card is my library card.
    I just watched the movie ” Waitress” with Kerri Russell. So cute. Has anyone else seen it??

  555. I loved that movie…except I love Nathan Fillion so much that…well, I won’t spoli anything…but still.

    I’d like to try some “hate my husband” pie.

  556. I know, bug — and I have so many others of her. She always called the circus and ice capades and every other extravaganza (I don’t have any memory of ever going with my parents) and bought us all the crap they sold at the concessions. She kept breadboxes for my sister and I, full of craft supplies — the usual, paint and paper and scissors and glue and glitter and all sorts of other stuff. I credit her for my adoration of craft. — Her old wreck of a 3 bedroom house (where my mother grew up, and we spent lots of time) is still standing — only now it is in chi-chi town and a million dollar property. I’d always fantasized about owning it.

  557. I was just thinking of renting that movie last night!! Loved that one.

    You all have some very permissive libraries. If you get up to $10 in fines here, they cut you off — no more holds, no more check-outs.

  558. on my way to a school fundraiser…will see you tonight!

  559. Heya! I’m back from a long cold walk with my dog. He was so happy!

    Carrie – Yes, I think the monks book would be a good read for anyone. It’s along the line of “what do normal people have to learn from monks.” It’s certainly Christian, though. They also have a new book about the spiritual connection between people and dogs. Also Rise Up which is a very nice series of photos and inspirational celebrations of things that raise the spirit. I have a secret desire to go there for a week. I get their newsletter and gift catalog. It’s only about three hours from here.

    The thing I like about my library (well, except that they don’t do the no-fines-for-teachers thing) is that $10 is as high as they charge you. Once you’re there, you have to pay up, but you never have to pay more unless you lost the book. I just pull out a ten every time I check out. Happy to fund more book purchases.

  560. Carrie: that was such a nice remembrance of your grandmother to share. She must have really loved you kids or was a nut herself for Barbie to make that wardrobe. Did any of it survive your childhood? Nothing survived mine. I sometimes am surprised when I meet people who have preserved all these artifacts of their childhood. Not me and brother. I don’t think there is anything left. We have our memories though. Between us and my sister, we can do a good job reconstructing about anything that needs remembering.

  561. Wow Carrie, your grandmother’s Barbie colletion was truly a gift of love. What a sweet memory.

    We had the big family holiday party at our house on Christmas eve this year, and one of Ken’s distant relatives brought her five year old daughter who got a doll and some doll clothes as a gift during the gift-opening portion of the evening. I sat down with her to admire the tiny clothing and I was right back into childhood again. We had a blast styling her doll’s hair and playing with the accessories. Fun!

  562. She was quite something, was Vesta Mae. And NOT a Barbie nut; she just loved loved loved us, and lived for Christmas and the looks on our faces. She taught me to draw and sew and … see things. — The clothes survive, my sister assures me — they are just buried in one of her storage units. I have very few artifacts myself — too many moves — just a few beloved and battered books (the Shirley Temple Story book has some of the most knockout illustrations I’ve ever seen, some of which put the illustrations in my smallish, contemporary collection of illustrated children’s books). Those and my grandmother’s sewing basket.

  563. Kittery, that swoopo.com looks like it could be addictive. Talk about bargains, if you have the stamina to sit there and wiat and not bid until you really have a chance of winning the item.
    Maureen, never read Secret Summer. Was it like maybe a child’s version of VC Andrews’ Flowers in the Attic.
    I saw the film City of Embers on the plane on my way home from CA. It’s kind of a Blade Runner Lite, starring Bill Murray, if anyone’s looking for a good family movie. It also has that “boy and girl running away” theme.

  564. Polly, I love that you sat down and played with that five-year-old — such validation for her that you wanted to play, too! — I’m not sure I’d love paying to bid: swoopo wants you to prepay for your bids of one dollar in packets of 20, 50, 100 or whatever, and once you bid on something, you’re in it to win or you lose the bid you made. You have a vested interest to keep bidding, and each bid extends the auction 20 seconds. Smart business model. The losers pay for your savings.

  565. Amy in Ohio,

    I teach at Shawnee Middle School, which is a feeder school for Northrop High School, all part of Fort Wayne Community Schools. My husband is an assistant principal with the East Allen corporation. I’ve also taught at Bishop Dwenger High School here in town.

    Where did you attend school?

  566. Sorry, Kit! I looked like such a naysayer — still appreciate your passing on what looks good!

  567. Not naysaying at all, Carrie! It looks too good to not be a rip-off, so I was looking for more educated opinions than mine. ;)

  568. I will love Barbie forever. I have a small collection of Vintage repros and several books on the subject. I don’t have most of my dolls now, which is sad, because my mother sewed all of their clothes and they were lovely.

    Ok, you guys need to describe to me what picture you USED to see and what pic you see now, because I still see the same old thing.

  569. Polly – We just watched City of Ember last weekend. I kept trying to place the actress who played the girl and finally remembered she was Briony in Atonement. (Speaking of which, I think we all surely could have kept straight who Briony was in her various ages without her having the SAME EXACT HAIRSTYLE throughout). My middle son, who has read all the books in that series, liked the City itself but was not pleased with the actor chosen for Doon. Nonetheless, it was a good movie – enjoyed it.

  570. You in a striped shirt, Kate?

  571. Oh. I really can’t follow instructions. Before it was a pink drawing that you said looked exactly like you (which it did) and now it’s the striped shirt.

  572. Kate – I see you looking to your right, kind of waist up, wearing what looks like an old-fashioned apron but way sexy.

  573. I used to see a very graphic fuschia and white drawing head and shoulders.

  574. Hi Kittery – Cold and snowy your way? I have got cabin fever to beat the band. You know that chapter in The Shipping News where everyone starts “tearing all their clothes off” because they are all sociopathic? That’s the situation here.

  575. Cold. I’m not sure about snowy anymore.
    I haven’t read The Shipping News :( but that does sound like an apt description. Cabin Fever isn’t really bothering me yet (I’ve been sick all week to take my mind off things, hah). One remedy for Cabin Fever that I’ve heard of is to take a map or an atlas, whatever, and point your finger on a location and try to fit the word “fuck/ing” into the middle of it .. Maine affords some amusing places, like, Passafuckingdumkeag or Millifuckingnocket .. I’m pretty sure you could do the same for New York. Although it really depends on how desperate you are, I think for this method to be successful. ;)

  576. In that case I live in East Pharfuckingsalia. Yes, that does help.

  577. Oh good. :)

  578. YES…it’s supposed to be me in the apron…but I still see me as a comic book character! Aurgh!!

  579. Oh, and both of the pics ARE me. They are just photoshopped.

  580. Kate, I did what Carrie suggested, Shift + Alt + Delete and checked almost all the boxes (there were one or two I left unchecked, can’t remember which). And after that I refreshed the page. Werked fer me.

    The only thing is, I had to reset all of my passwords and sign into everything again – even this page. But .. not a big deal. Good luck. :)

  581. I’ll try it again…

  582. Maureen, do you have Windows Messenger or Google Chat? I could try to divert you from Winter Madness, and you could take my mind off my hateful sinuses. ;)

  583. Does it work on a MAC?

  584. It works on Firefox … ?

  585. Kittery – I’ve got the sinus ailment too, but alas no instant chatty device. You keep me sane here, though! This blog is keeping me sane.

    Kate – I love the new avatar. It reminds me of that bitchin’ photo of Tex in yahoo except with a domestic allure.

    I’m trying to pick a movie to watch with my 11-year-old son and husband off Netflix instant. Any suggestions?

  586. I’m on Firefox and it was actually Shift + Ctrl + Delete, that way no password reset required. Kate, it’s a shortcut — the full menu nav is Tools > Clear Private Data. What browser — Safari?) — But I still see Coquette Kate in an apron. Should it be something else?

  587. Good Night and Good Luck!

    Actually, I have no idea..most of my movies are about Elizabeth I or Jane Austen. :P

  588. People, I have just received a sign:
    Every time I contemplate going to Durham in April, I have ended up singing “Wild Horses” by the Rolling Stones.
    Garrison Keillor and some woman just sang it on Prairie Home Companion. How unlikely is that? I’m asking for plane tickets for my birthday and I am THERE. Wild, wild horses couldn’t drag me away.

  589. Oh, Lord, Kittery — I just watched the Ehle/Firth Pride and Prejudice yesterday for the fifty thousandth time. I never get tired of the language and the articulate rages. Miss Eliza Bennet sure can give a thorough, orderly, lacerating dressing down.

  590. Oooo, Colin Firth. LOVE HIM. Especially in “Love, Actually.”

  591. As much as I love Colin Firth, I think the rewatching is because of Jennifer Ehle. Who could not fall head over heels with THAT Eliza Bennet?

    Here I thought I was all alone in the Austen thing.

  592. Hahaha, can’t she though? Love it.

    You know what else Colin Firth is great in? Nanny McPhee! It’s not a huge part, but I like him in it anyway. :)

  593. Me too! Can’t fault anything that has both Colin Firth AND Emma Thompson in it!

  594. I need to watch that version again, Carrie. I saw her in it last year, and ehh..no. She just wasn’t how I had pictured Elizabeth in my mind.

    I was crushed because I’d only heard good things about that version. I think the problem is me .. I just need to see it again.

  595. I know! And it has … Emily McDonald (I think that’s her name) in it too and she’s in Elizabeth (’98 Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush). So she as an actor has good taste (or needed to pay the rent, either one). :)

  596. Kittery, do you mean the Keira Knightly version that Emma Thompson did a rewrite of or the Sense & Sensibility production that she starred in? I was actually speaking of Nanny McPhee (she wrote and starred with our Colin). I did NOT like the Kiera Knightly version of P&P at all.

  597. I think this is posting lag bedeviling us!

  598. God bless my husband, he thinks Keira Knightley is ugly.

    Just checked for anything Austen on Instant view and I can choose from Becoming Jane (already saw it recently) and Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma. Might have to watch Emma. I wrote my best college paper about the book many moons ago. Couldn’t write that well now to save my soul.

  599. Have you ever posted with Tex Down Under? It’s bizarre the lag. (Weird. That came out kind of Yoda).

  600. Oh, I’m confused, lol.

    The girl that played Evangeline in Nanny McPhee was also in a movie about Elizabeth I. That’s all I was saying there.

    I said that I had some difficulties falling in love with the ’95 Ehle/Firth version of P&P.

    I must confess, I like the Knightley P&P. : /

    And the lag is messing us up. I just checked to see if there was anything new, and there were four new posts. Gah.

  601. Yoda! — your husband and son are willing to watch Emma with you? Your family is the best.

  602. Husband will. The first movie Andy and I saw together (second date) was The Dead by James Joyce in an arty theater near Smith College. He cool like dat.

  603. Well, Kittery — it is an excellent thing that there are different productions, I do believe! (I did finally figure out what you meant when I re-read — I do not always follow instructions carefully.)

    The sun is fading, and it’s time to take a walk — check back in with all later!!

  604. He do be cool like dat! (The Dead — what a great first date movie.)

  605. Have a nice walk, Carrie.
    That’s right – it’s only 4:30 there, yes? My sis lives in San Diego so I deal with the time difference whenever I talk to her.

  606. My other choice is The Age of Innocence: No. I love Daniel Day-Lewis but Winona Ryder makes my skin crawl.

  607. I liked her before she started doing movies with Richard Gere and turned into a klepto..

  608. It is funny you blog babies mentioned The Boxcar children. My stepson was doing a book report on a book I had read 30 years ago … and I remembered it. We were having the worst time pulling out the facts from him (Aspergers, Maureen I know you understand!) and the light bulb went off in my head!

    Haven I love hearing you read King. How does this man have all of these ideas? I loved him dearly as a tween, even thought that word didn’t exist yet. Of course, my favorite books growing up were by Judy Blume and Paula Danziger. And how I loved my Little House on the Prairie books and my Black Beauty, the first hard cover book that was ever bought for me. I miss being young and checking out 50 books in the Nancy Drew series at a time. I did that over spring break once, and read all 50.

    What is everyone else reading these days? I’m reading The Monster of Florence. Good book, and a true story. I’m a sucker for memoirs, biographys and true crime.

  609. Ok, I cleared my tools and now I see my aproned self!

  610. What kind of dog is Cubby? Is he a huskey? He is cute. Gosh, all puppies are cute, aren’t they.

  611. G from G = I like your new pictures on yahoo! Yes, Asperger’s, I’ve had a week of it, I tell ‘ya.

    Kate – Glad you can now see yourself in your coolness. How did you get that picture?

    Just watched Emma. Now off to finish rereading Solace and go to sleep.

    Shift change.
    Hello, night crew! Keep the home fires burning.

  612. My husband took the picture…then I colored it in photo shop? I was dressed up for a parade.

  613. I am test posting here, I am in a hotel room with Peter and the boys and I was so frustrated last night because it would not let me post and Charlie was bouncing off the walls and I needed a reprieve..

  614. It worked. I am connected again. Happy Saturday to all. Or Sunday for those not on the west coast.

  615. Whoops, I am logged on with Jacks user name. Its me Caryl.

  616. …. Caryl?

  617. Ugh. That wasn’t up when I posted!!!! Now I look dumb. :P

  618. Hi Kitkat, it is me, praying Charlie stays asleep and just starting to read Broken for You by Stephanie Kallo. Has anybody read it? I just finished The Piano Tuner and I cannot stop thinking about it.

  619. Hey. :)
    Can’t stop thinking about it .. good or bad?
    I meant to tell you, I saw your pictures of Charlie on the yahoo site earlier, and he is *adorable*.

    I’m sitting up trying to watch The Other Boleyn Girl online .. hideously inaccurate, but oh well. ;)

  620. Insider information:

    Cubby is 87 percent wolf!!! He is essentially, a wolf cub.

    Jodi – omg – I have never, never met anybody else that is a fan of FABER – the Scarlet/ROSE is one of my ALL TIME favorite books, and I am so excited to hear that he has a new book out – – – I’ve been Impatiently waiting for years.

    Dears, I am working on a heavy deadline for Thursday, but will try to keep up with your posts.

    Regarding Children’s Books – I can’t believe I failed to mention Hans Brinker or all the Louisa May Alcott books – my favorite being 8 Cousins.

    Love and miss you all.

    Maureen – I would be destitute if you didn’t make it to Durham – it is an educational conference – I will make you a certificate – for all the teachers . . . seriously.

  621. Eek – life is good.

  622. Hi Sher –
    You’re not still up are you? I hope?
    I am trying to get Elliot into warm clothes to leave with Andy. They have a “man date” with a guy who’s taking them ice fishing on Cayuga Lake (that’s the big Finger Lake that stretches from Cornell in the south to Syracuse in the north.)
    Andy is so excited he’s beside himself.

    On the children’s lit discussion, I was just reminded of the words of wisdom shared by a certain Langston Braverman through Henry Miller through Haven: “I believe at a certain age it becomes imperative to reread the books of childhood and youth. Else we may go to the grave not knowing who we are or why we lived.” Oh, so very true.

  623. Thanks for the offer on the certificate, Sher. Might have to take you up on that.
    I have been besieged by e-mails for free JetBlue tickets. I just have to be disciplined enough to cancel the offers for free Spanish instruction and Acai Berries before I get charged.
    Discipline is not my strong suit.

  624. Helllloooooooooooooooooooooo! Tex? Anyone? Sob.

  625. Good Morning, Everybody ~

    Kittery, the movie The Other Boleyn Girl was all eye candy and little fact, right??!

    Sher, Do you like reading about the Victorian era and seedy London in the mid-1800s? If you love Crimson Petal, you should read Emma Donoghue’s Slammerkin. Prostitutes again, low-life London, stuff I love reading about but would never want to witness.

    Maureen, With your men ice fishing this morning, are you enjoying a quiet house?

  626. Sher,

    Have you read anything by Ariana Franklin? I really like Mistress of the Art of Death. (Appealing title, huh??!) For sheer scary contemporary fun, pick up Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box. (He’s Stephen King’s son.)

  627. Jodi – It’s glorious! Andy and Elliot are fishing. Tristan stayed over at a friend’s and will most likely be there all day. Lyle stayed up all night playing World of Warcraft and just went to sleep.
    So….. I am basically alone and realizing how much I need silence once in a while.
    Doing girl stuff that I suppress when everyone is around, like weighing myself (ugh!) and listening to singing from Taize monastery in France and talking to the cat and dog and chinchilla.
    Seriously doing the tax form for agricultural employees that has to be in the mail tomorrow.

  628. Maureen,

    You weighed yourself? Oh, sister, no. But everything else sounds exactly right. Do you have a nice scented candle or two that you can light?

  629. Oh, I had to. After I went on anti-anxiety medicine four years ago, I started putting on pounds and my BMI has veered into overweight. Actually, I am trying to get back in shape to run a 5K in April (you’ll love this: It’s called the Allegro! and is a fund-raiser for our local arts council). I do like to run and it makes my dog so happy. I want to enter him also. Last year one woman ran with her dog and his number was, ha, K-9.

  630. You have my complete admiration, Maureen. You’re my hero, preparing to run a 5K in April. Where do you find time to RUN in your schedule, other than just keeping up with everything you have to do?

  631. I am always stuck downtown (ten miles from home) until Elliot finishes swim team and Tristan finishes play rehearsal. So rather than drive home and drive back, I go to the YMCA and watch TV while I run on the treadmill. It feels remarkably luxurious to me, actually. No one can bother me!

  632. Good morning babies! Well it is leaning toward afternoon I guess. I am being L-A-Z-Y today and loving it. It is supposed to hit the 40’s so snow and ice are falling from our house hitting the deck and making the dogs bark like crazy! I am heading back to snuggle in bed with Wintering ( sent to me by the oh so wonderful Maureen) and a cup of tea.
    Jodi~ I grew up in the East Allen School district. Southwick feeding into Village Middle ( which became way too dangerous)so I was switched to St. Henry’s and I graduated from Bishop Luers. Best decision my parens ever made, Catholic Schools changed my life.

  633. Amy, you were in the baddest em-e-lentary in East Allen. Good thing you headed for the Catholic side of education.

  634. Jodi,

    You’re completely correct. It was pretty to look at .. I wasn’t expecting a documentary, but still.
    I wasn’t there, but there were several things in the movie that I’m pretty certain were complete crap and never happened.

  635. Amy – Is Wintering good?
    Jodi and Kittery – I ended up watching Emma last night.
    It is ABOVE FREEZING HERE for the first time in darn near two months. I did not realize how much the weather was dragging me down.

  636. When I was at Southwick ( in the early 80’s) it was still a very good school. I had a girlfriend who taught there for a few years in early 2000 and she told me how awful it was. I couldn’t believe it. Well actually I could. I grew up in the “country” ( the border of New Haven and Fort Wayne on 11 acres) so we lived in a wonderful area and commuting to catholic schools you did’t realize how fast the public schools in the area we falling apart.
    Maureen, Wintering is actually very good. I have a weakness for fictionalized non fiction. Does that even make sense?! I just love when authors can recreate true events in their own words.
    I have never seen Emma! Which is so odd because I LOVE,LOVE,LOVE Gwyneth Paltrow. It might be her only movie I have never watched. I am listening to the soundtrack from Juno that I checked out of the library yesterday. That movie along with the soundtrack just break my heart. They are so perfect.

  637. Amy-in-O-I am glad there is a product of Catholic schools willing to say they make a difference. Since I don’t get paid spit, I often wonder if working at one (and taking all bullcrap re: insurance and pay and NO retirement and OVERinvested parents) is realy worth it…

    Also–just emailed you and Maureen about Something Rising. God I love that book.

    I am trying to work it out so my sis can be here so I can go to Durham. Someone tell me if April 8 is the right date? I’m trying to figure out if I really could call it Professional Development…

  638. LB, I honestly don’t know how you could call it anything BUT Professional Development! — I just heard from my best Linda yesterday, and she just accepted a job teaching high school drama. (Ironic that there even is a job description “high school drama teacher,” no?) She’s excellent at it: she always finds the way to harness all that natural talent in service of the play.

  639. I actually had a point: I don’t think it would be a stretch for her to call something like this Pro Dev — and don’t you teach English? — Less of a stretch.

  640. And Jodi — oh, Girl with no Shadow. I didn’t want it to end. Of course when it did I sat for 10 minutes, then put on Chocolat. Such a good book. (I notice she kind of left it open for a sequel.)

  641. Here’s the thing, all you good advice darlings. My school is very strict. And while ALL of us can agree that just seeing Haven, much less meeting her and hearing her talk about her books WITH another amazing writer, Augusten, I’m just not sure my principal will see it that way. And I really dread having to take 3 unpaid days. :(

    Perhaps Haven could call it a “by invitation only reading/writing workshop” lol. Maybe Sher could work up a flyer or something and mail it to my school (I will give you 42 cents for the stamp! :) )? I DO teach English and Lit. :)

  642. Bug – Don’t you have Friday off anyway for Good Friday? Might you even have that Thursday off for Holy Thursday?
    I would only have to get out of Thursday and I could probably swing calling it staff development.

  643. Oh – Got your e-mail. I’m at work, believe it or not, so I have to get home where my book is.

  644. Whoa, holy cow, wait a sec!

    This Durham Dream Trip is during Holy Week? YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    I’ve got a hot little dance number happening now that I can’t wait to show you all!!!!!!

    Maureen–I’m often at school on Sunday. I’m currently writing my lesson plans at home. And reading the blog.

    Mostly reading the blog.
    :)

  645. Kittery ~ There was, indeed, quite a bit of crap in The Other Boleyn Girl. My best buddy and I saw it last year at the theatre, and Kathy is a Tudor expert. She was scoffing all the way through the movie.

    Mauren ~ You went to SCHOOL to WORK? We’re having a warming trend here, and 30 degrees feels like spring. This weather really IS a drag. I’m looking forward to driving past Lowe’s and seeing truckloads of flowering.

    Carrie ~ Happy you liked Girl With No Shadow! Have you watched the movie Chocolat since finishing GWNS? Harris’ books are so atmospheric!! She’s written some other good ones, but nothing like these two.

  646. It’s Puppy Bowl V on Animal Planet! You should turn it on and watch — it’s better than any human bowl game, ever.

    http://animal.discovery.com/ads/ad_interstitial_fill1.html?dest=http://animal.discovery.com/tv/puppy-bowl/puppy-bowl.html

  647. I have Danny Kay’s The Court Jester on for background noise. I love Danny Kay. I lovelovelove him.

  648. Hey all – Back home again. Still ALONE!!!!! I missed out on having the twenty-something apartment alone time of life. I moved here three hours after my last final exam at college. Sometimes its absence makes me nuts and I have to reread Ladder of Years to calm down again.

  649. Danny Kay was so brilliant…I went to a staged retrospective of his life and career a couple of years back. His wife wrote a lot of his early material. They separated sometime in the 50s, but never divorced.

  650. The Puppy Bowl is the best…it’s hilarious…way better than football in my opinion…I keep thanking Dana for not liking football and he thinks I’m nuts for doing so, like he’s the only man in the country who could care less. Bless his heart.

    Mother Delonda: I am so glad you liked the dream catcher….I called my mother and told her and she said “well, you know I left a really big hole for the big bad stuff to go through since you said she was recovering from cancer” and it about made me cry…she had a stroke and lost the sight in one eye and her enthusiasm for doing her crafts, so when I asked her to make you one and she actually, happily, did make it, it was like a little breakthrough for her and I thank you for it and also for having our Haven against medical advice, too. Big hugs from us all down here in AZ.

    Fairyfriends Katherine: My favorite books as a child were all the fairy books…you know the ones that Andrew Lang did with the wonderful illustrations and the different colored covers? I am collecting them, you know the ‘Rose Fairy Book’, ‘The Yellow Fairy Book”, The Grey Fairy Book, etc…I think there are 11 or so…in the meanwhile the fairies actually party in my hair all night because Dana says I have fairy hair when I get up…it looks like I have an actual mohawk. SIGH.

    Amy in Ohio..I can’t go either to the reading although my mind keeps returning to my copious amount of frequent flyer miles….it’s my lack of vacation days from my job (now two) that are standing in my way.

    To all: I just finished watching Mamma Mia the musical and had just a wonderful time singing and dancing along. Dana just thought I was extremely silly and left after the first song…I think it’s a girly girl slumber party movie, but all musicals make him uncomfortable because he thinks people breaking into song in the middle of real life should NEVER happen. I do it to him every now and then just to keep him on his toes…especially ‘You Are My Sunshine” hee hee.

    Haven: Now I Must go buy a book with Gerard Manley (MANLEY!!) Hopkins poems…gave me the shivers big time.
    LOL, Brenda

  651. Jodi,

    I’m glad someone else was scoffing all the way through. Last night, as the movie was unfolding I sat here thinking, “you’ve *got* to be kidding me”. Evidently Gregory (the author) considers herself a historian? My my.
    After I watched it, I went onto IMDb to see what other people thought .. I guess the book is even more inaccurate than the movie? Cripe.

    What movies about Henry/Anne/Elizabeth does your friend like? I haven’t seen A Man for All Seasons yet, although I’ve heard that one is really good .. I also like Anne of the Thousand Days .. not perfect, but infinitely better than TOBG…

  652. George, if I totally didn’t already love you, I’d love you now just for liking Danny Kay as much as I do. I LOVE him!!!

  653. SUPERBOWL COMMERCIALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  654. Brenda,
    This is hilarious!
    but all musicals make him uncomfortable because he thinks people breaking into song in the middle of real life should NEVER happen.

  655. Like certain nameless others on the blog, I too break into song for no other reason than to….sing…

  656. Am I dedicated or what? The game is on in the background, but I have this project I MUST finish.

    Bug: Danny Kaye was positively manic. I love the number where he names something like 50 Russian composers in 32 seconds. The one word that comes to my mind about him is elastic. He had a wonderfully expressive face that matched an expansive voice.

  657. I ADORE him. Simply ADORE him.

  658. I break into dance. I love to break into dance.

  659. I love when people burst into song in the middle of doing something mundane. Molly does that. It’s great.

  660. AMBER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And a 3 way tie posting! How…interesting!

    Amber attests correctly to the fact that I break into song doing nothing. In fact, she catches me singing all the time because I will be singing along with my iPod as I call her and she will answer and not say hello and then I notice it’s not ringing anymore so I stop singing….and there she is. Laughing at me.

  661. I am trying to convince Molly as we speak that a trip to Durham to meet Haven AND Augusten is like a once in a lifetime event and we need not miss it for any reason at all.

    All of you help me. :-D She needs a trip.

  662. I’m working on her too, Amber. ;)

    Well .. sort of. I kind of got sidetracked. Ahem.

  663. You tell her, Amber! We expect you both!

  664. OH, LOOK!

    Now, Quiet Amber has met 2 of my favorite people! Kittery and Maureen!!!!! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!

  665. Ooh, we’re having a movie discussion! I did not enjoy The Other Boleyn Girl. It was kind of ridiculous.

    I LOVE all stuff Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Honestly, I enjoy The Tudors on Showtime, but I know they play with some facts to make it more, um, dramatic? I can’t imagine why, since it was juicy enough.

    Unfortunately, I have only started learning about Elizabeth, so I have no idea how accurate the movies are. I enjoyed the two with Cate Blanchett, having no historical facts in my brain to contradict what I was watching, lol.

  666. And I read From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler! I loved it!

    My favorite book as a kid was Island of the Blue Dolphins. I read it over and over again.

  667. Oh my God. Amber loves banana posicles and she read From the Mixed Up…. I knew we were fated to be friends.

  668. Yay Amber! :)

    (Methinks you should be less quiet .. it sounds like you’d fit in here quite nicely) ;)

  669. Lol, thanks Kittery. I can’t even try to keep up though. I’ll just have to jump into whatever’s going on at the moment.

  670. I tell her that ALL THE TIME, Kittery. All the time.

  671. Did y’all see Bruce just bend backwards from his knees to the stage? Whoa buddy.

    What the heck is Silvio doing up there anyway? LOL.

  672. Yeah, I said y’all. :-D

  673. Ambie, I’m ashamed. Who is Silvio?

  674. Well jump in regularly, would you Amber? :)

    You thought TOBG was ridiculous, like The Tudors but also acknowledges it plays with history (oh, did you like how they cut out the possibility of Mary Queen of Scots existing?) and you loved Island of the Blue Dolphins.

    Good. E. Nuff. For me. :D

  675. Amber- isn’t Bruce amazing? Gosh, his wife is one lucky woman. LOL I need to get his new cd. And, apparently he is going to do another tour. I will definitely go even if I have to travel. Seeing him in August made me question why I had not done so before since I have been listening to him since, oh, 1974. Before some of y’all were even born!!

  676. Okay, I feel silly but I realllly enjoyed The Other Boleyn Girl and The Boleyn Inheritance. I haven’t seen the movie however.
    Do I still have any reason to be here or have I lost all credibility??????

  677. At first I thought Bruce looked a little stiff and then WHAAAA he was all like GUMBY BOSS?!? and I remembered both times I saw him live he was just this monster of energy and joy and depth without pathos for hours and hours.

    Little Stevie INVENTED the character of Silvio. He was already playing Silvio when David Chase cast him. Casted him. Castered.

    At six this morning I got a little ding! e-mail and I thought, Well, there’s my early morning porn alarm, but no, it was Katherine and she said What if I sneak out of my house while my husband and children are sleeping and come join you in the barn, and she said she’d stop and get coffee and I was like THERE IS AN ESPRESSO MACHINE INSIDE OF THE BARN. We had a wonderful wonderful morning. Later I talked to my brother on the TALKING MACHINE YOU HOLD AGAINST YOUR EAR for ninety minutes. Where he lives? the air temperature was -28 degrees of the Fahrenheit, that is with no wind. I presume the air is moving at least slightly or everyone would suffocate.

    Jodi, you and Man Jody better be getting your tight pleather shorts on and watching that video link I sent you, because it is a REASON TO LIVE. As are the photographs of the two of you doing your grocery shopping.

  678. ::::Amy nervously packs her bags whilst waving her Literature Degree…:::

  679. Amy,

    I still like you. :) And you’ll still have a shred of credibility as long as you admit this: you enjoyed the books strictly as historical fiction. :)

  680. AMY, I STILL LOVE YOU! Don’t leave!!! But now…I do have to go to bed.

    Good night!

  681. Awww, hahaha. :)

  682. I was posting simultaneously as Haven, we are soul sistas.

  683. Good night bug, way to be a good girl and hit the hay early!! Remember you are changing lives everyday, teachers saved my life, I mean this!
    Kittery, yes pure historical fiction!! The same reason I love The Red Tent:)

  684. Oh Hi Haven!!! I e-mailed you earlier. Hope life and writing are both treating you well.
    I am NOT watching the Super Bowl because we do NOT have a functional TV!! We are all culturally deprived.
    So….. I’m off to finish rereading Solace. My normal-est son went over to his friend’s house, which is normal, to partake of normality. Not like here.
    I did manage to watch You’ve Got Mail on Netflix Instant. Meg Ryan bothers me because she does the bookish Irish girl thing better than I do.
    Tell Katherine I want to know how her heifer is doing.

  685. Haven,
    We were at a friends last night playing cards and they have a Great Dane that they rescued. He is just awesome. I thought of you however, because I realized he could ( but does not) sit his head directly on their kitchen counter. And while we were there ( maybe 4 hours) he went thru and destroyed 3 stuffed toys. I admire anyone who can own ( and discipline) a dog of that magnitude.

  686. Amy, you’re safe. 2% fact, 98% fiction .. that’s fine. :)

    Maureen, this might have been the most perfect thing I’ve read all day: “Meg Ryan bothers me because she does the bookish Irish girl thing better than I do.”

  687. Maureen, I swear I watch You’ve Got Mail every single time it is on tv. It’s very odd, but for some reason I cannot flip past it. I think it’s because it has to do with 2 of my favorite subjects, books and Christmas.

  688. Jodi, you’ll notice Amy In O said “soul sistas,” so she has OBVS watched the video in question and she is doing the booty walk down into the crowd EVEN AS WE SPEAK. I’ve been doing it myself all day, causing Gus to say, “What Mama doing? Is dance? What Mama doing? Gus is funny.” That last part he adds to many sentences, pay it no mind.

  689. Maureen, I’ll see if your e-mail is in my Junk Folder with my other Farm Family Porn. Raspberry the Heifer is doing very well, but there has been a tragedy involving a lamb. Frankly, I suspect shenanigans. This morning the Closed Barn Mystery of the Disappearing Lambshank came up and Katherine said that Hooba Dooba told her that SHE had a lamb taken by a bald eagle last spring. We were sitting on the bed in my study and I was like, Katherine? She said, “The lamb was outside and Hooba Dooba lives in Oregon.” You can see how I might think it UNLIKELY that a bald eagle opened barn doors, swooped in, got into a closed stall, fetched up a lamb, and escaped without notice in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Although it is the case that a few days ago Kat and I were standing outside and my owl was on a rather low tree limb, bent in two like Gumby Springsteen, staring at me. We stared and stared at one another and then he pooed.

  690. Um Haven, I do the booty walk pretty much anytime life allows me too. I am my best audience.

  691. YES! Bruce Springsteen…my daughter called me up for the half time show so I could see it. I danced and sang and it was great. Then my daughter called me back after it was over (I could hear the party in the background) and teased me didn’t I think he was a little winded and old? (she was giggling so she was pulling no wool over my eyes). It was fun. Brought back lots of old memories. He was on his toes after his knees on that first number, too. Awesome.
    The dogs slept through it tho.

  692. Earlier I booty walked into the living room and said to Scott, MOCHA CHOCHA OOO LA LA LA! He gave me his blank Yankee stare and said, “Do you have any idea what you’re talking about?”

    AS IF.

  693. Haven – Gads! You don’t get those awful bestiality e-mails too, do you? I was looking for something in my e-mail and my laptop was projecting onto the screen in my classroom and something arrived along the lines of
    “Ki nk:y gir l takes gir affe.” I get them EVERY DAY and I can’t get off the list!! My students just started to laugh (they’re seniors, thank God).

  694. Kittery – Glad you enjoyed my ego distress.

  695. I like to walk in to the Family Room in my slipper socks ( which allow fanstatic movement on wood floors) and do a booty/front hip dance while asking Jeff ” do you like my moves?” He usually rolls his eyes and returns to viewing sports on the television.

  696. What is this booty dance video???
    Elliot (aka “Slippy”) wants you all to know that he now a parkour artist. He is leaping from couch to table. He admits to amateur status.

  697. I bow to Elliot and his abilities.

  698. Maureen, I get the animal porn EVERY DAY and the subject line always involves livestock and a teenage daughter. Sometimes a daughter AND a son. Well, you know. Farms. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before the time one of my professors in grad school took a poll as to whether we (students of 20th century American Poetry) would prefer to have sex with a dead person or a live animal. THE UNIVERSAL RESULTS: all men asked, “How dead is she?” and all the women said a live animal. Alas, I was the first to be polled on which animal and without thinking carefully I said a giraffe because they are just GORGEOUS FREAKING ANIMALS that make NO sense at all, and once when John was four years old, he was at the zoo with his parents and a giraffe leaned over and licked him, collar bone all the way up his face. I’m sorry, I know that John was but a toddler and it was a giraffe and there was licking, but that is flat sexy. So I said giraffe and then the whole class was all pigeon-eyes on me. I said, “Oh, excuse me, all you Mr. How Dead IS Shes.”

  699. THANK YOU MAUREEN AS JODI IS IGNORING ME.

    As I said to the Jodi(y)s, turn up the volume on the Internet Superhighway and watch it to the end because it is some sweet sweet action:

    http://jezebel.com/5142713/american-idols-fantasia-barrino-voulez+vous-couchez-avec-moi

  700. Yeah, I didn’t open the one with the giraffe. But unfortunately I opened one just to make sure it was not a pernicious virus and unfortunately witnessed an act that was supposed to be involving a horse. I saw what appeared to be a horse … um … MEMBER but it was not attached to a HORSE as far as I could tell. Nor did it seem possible for a horse to actually be present given the position of the two parties.

  701. Eeeewwww Maureen.

    Haven? NICE. :)

  702. Look at the pride on Ms. Patti’s face! And now, I must dance.

  703. Sorry!!
    Thanks for the dance video!!! Pretty smokin’ moves.

    I remember when that song came out way back and my friends who were studying French said, “Do you know what that means?” Oooooooooo …..

  704. Despite the scintillating talk of giraffes and booties, I really must be off to bed! Night, all.

  705. Oh, how totally lame. An unattached horse member is supposed to get me to sign up for a life of degradation and self-hatred and eventually a perforated spleen? I THINK NOT, NELLIE MACKINTOSH I SHOULD SEE WHAT YOUR APALOOSA AND YOUR “DAUGHTER” ARE UP TO IN THE HAY??

  706. Oooh! That’s exactly why I have two email accounts. One for when I have to give an email at a website that I just know is going to throw me under the internet email bus o’ porn list. And the second is for people I know. The junk one is fun to go through every now and then to see what is coming through. Apparently I’m an impotent, mortgage delinquent, who likes to watch innocent young girls have sex with farm animals. And apparently I’m worried about my boobs being too small.

  707. Sock, those are your ‘moobs’ and they are just fine as they are.

  708. And knock on wood, but I receive non of these dirty junk emails you all speak of. Hmmm.

  709. Moobs.

  710. Amy in O, we can fix that for ya ;)

  711. Haven said moobs!

  712. Amy, ask Sock what’s in them. But don’t expect him to pay your mortgage, because he’ll PROMISE but he’s all SUB-PRIME.

  713. Shark Bite

  714. Taco Bell.

  715. And this just in… apparently I’ve won BIG money:

    This is to Inform you that, during our website Browsing sweep take promo, your email address have been randomly picked as one of the Lucky beneficiary of £858,000 British pounds sterling for browsing the websites.

    Please contact our Prize claim agent Center for approval.

  716. Lorraine? Is that you?

  717. I swear if I get to work tomorrow and my email in box in full of farm animals with moobs who are behind on their mortgage I will curse all of you, curse you I say!

  718. Amy, you’re in Ohio. I think you know who is to blame here. It starts with “B” and rhymes with “uckeye.”

    Yes, Lancelot, it is pink-cheeked and hot sauce blowsy Quiche, coming to you from the past with my corduroy and my confused Christian sexual longings!

  719. Wow! I’m pretty dense. I had no idea!

  720. Hey, Sadie and I celebrated our first ten years together today. I got her on Superbowl Sunday a decade ago, or she got me. I am giving her a Greenie to chomp on. So far, I’ve gotten nothing from her unless you count those presents she delivered on her morning walk.

  721. Damn it, you caught me. Effin Buckeyes. However, I get a special pardon as I was born a hoosier.
    Sock, either way, I am sorry about your moobs.

  722. George,
    Happy anniversary to you and Sadie! May you have another 10!

  723. But they’re nice moobs. Still perky at this age is always a bonus!

  724. perky or murky?

  725. What a night to be at a CHURCH SUPERBOWL PARTY. Ugh. I missed Bruce. But I got to see my pastor’s son play “Holy Ground” on a miniature drum set. That was fun.

    DANNY KAYE!!!!!

    Linus’s favorite animal is the Giraffe “now that I know they don’t actually eat people.”

  726. Yeah, George. That too. Murky, furry, it’s all the same.

  727. Wait…why are we talking about Lady Marmalade?? Is there a DANCE party going on without me??

  728. Sock, you may recall that one of my favorite games was to torture Quiche by telling her we were all going to a drag show at the Cha-Cha, which would get her Jesus drums a bongin. Maybe we would, maybe we’d go see Rocky Horror for the 23rd time, but either way when we got home she would want some DETAILS. And LAWD FORGIVE ME but I gave them to her, whether they happened or not.

  729. The devil, they say, is in the details.

  730. I used to have drag queens over to my house to watch Rocky Horror when I was in high school. That was fun.

  731. Like I said, that explains a lot. No wonder I got my face slapped that one night. I just got tired of the judgmental tirades and told it like it was. Never been so happy to get abused in my life. It was s-o-o-o worth it.

  732. Oh Kate! You are a youngun’ ain’t ya! Why in our day the only way to watch the good Doctor was on the big screen on Fridays at midnight.

  733. Shhhhh. Don’t tell anyone Sock! I’m just now the age that no one is allowed to trust me at.

    Do Kramer and Frank Costanza need to hook you up with a Bro for your Moobs?

    Buckeyes are awesome if they are peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate. But the ones that fall out of trees are pretty sweet too. Not literally. Sweet as in cool. My aunt Stephanie asked for buckeyes for her 4th birthday. And she got them!

  734. The only tv I watched today was Bruce’s performance . . . it rocked, I think he is looking great – don and I both like the new cd . . .

  735. Sher? Is that you? Why are you a quilt?

    And I don’t really have moobs, Kate… thanks a lot, Haven. It’s a carefully sculpted chest obtained by “bench pressing” a 22 lb weight that sometimes giggles when she’s pushed up in the air.

  736. Jodi – speaking of London addictions, I think I read every Anne Perry novel . . . also love seedy, historical NYC – The Alchemist & Angel of Darkness (except I wanted to remove every instance of ‘which’ and ‘that’ from the copy) – he needs a new editor, it drives me bananas.

  737. hum, I don’t know why I am a quilt . . . I am tired, maybe my gravatar can’t catch up with me . . . who knows, I am so sick of techie crap right now . . .

  738. I saw hide nor hair of any moobs on SockMonkey – he is pure debonaire.

  739. Jim, remember I saw you. IRL. I saw no moobs.

  740. I have friends that met on the set of a Rocky Horror production. He was Riff Raff, she was a Transylvanian in stilettos climbing scaffolding. Love at first fright.

  741. Dr. Frank-n-Furter still leaves me sexually confused. WHY is Tim Curry so HOT in that merry widow?

  742. Artist formerly known as Sher! How are ya doing? (other than the techie crap) This is the first time I’ve felt like being online other than to check email since I had my eyes refocused. I should have waited until the air isn’t so dry. I’m putting in drops every 10 minutes or so. And I’m thinking of calling it a night.

  743. Sock, did you get your eyes lasered?

  744. Jim, I’m so happy you got Lasik. But oh, how mad-scientist scary is it to lay strapped down, fully awake, while a LASER comes at your eye??? The thought makes me want to choke on my own vomit. Luckily I have super hero vision.

  745. Sock, it is me,the few days I have been hostess, chef, maid, entertainer, disciplinarian, chauffeur, personal shopper, car mechanic, gardener, storyteller, construction worker, executive assistant,general gopher, the finder . . .

    not sure where I am in there, but hoping to find that person tomorrow . . . under all the detrius . . .

  746. see, even I can get tired and whiny, I wish somebody would send me to my room for a time out. . .

    me sleepy . go night night.

  747. I missed the party. *pouty pants*

    And I was just about to find out if they have Lady Marmalade on Sing Star.

  748. Carrie: Yup. A week ago Friday.

    Kate: I was absolutely, 100% freaked out that morning in the clinic. I knew what to expect. I’ve known probably 10 people that have had it done. Mentally, I knew that it’s a safe procedure. But that morning, the irrational thinking side of my brain took over and said “What the F*@K are you doing?!? Luckily, they throw you a vallium before and after the surgery.

  749. Yay! Sher’s face is back!

  750. My oldest friend is married to a man who was the professor and advisor to the son of the original Riff Raff in the film, WHO WROTE IT. I am never starstruck, but that is wicked excellent.

    Kate Cake, in my book it doesn’t matter if Tim Curry is in fishnets and ready for his Close Up. Hot is hot, and that man has got it. When he sits on the stage and makes that single gesture, miming throwing a hand of cards around a table that doesn’t exist? Ah, the soul, she SINGS.

  751. I still don’t understand…WHY do you have to be awake?

  752. Tim Curry is IT.

  753. How about the shot of the good doctor sitting sideways in that chair/throne? Riff beside him, Magenta behind and Columbia at his ankles with the quick lick of her lips.

  754. I have that postcard, Sock.

  755. There is a dearth of RHPS clips on Youtube. Must be a rights issue. Must check Netflix.

  756. Because dear KateCake, if they put you under, your eyes roll back. You have to fix on a light and then the machine suctions on to your eye to hold it in place. It sounds worse than what it is. But yeah, if I think about it too much (at all), my head starts to swim.

  757. Right issue or it may be that it’s considered too adult in nature.

  758. *thanking the infant Jesus that I was spared my parent’s nerdy eye affliction*

  759. Haven, is there a single man we don’t BOTH have a crush on? Let’s make a list. We obviously can add Tim Curry.

  760. ‘Night all. Eyes done for the night. (argh! he went there!)

  761. Ba da bum *CHING*

    Nice one, Mr. Shue!

  762. Is anyone up? I keep missing the party.

  763. I’m still up. Sick baby.

    Caryl, I think you’re in a different time zone. Tex must be up; it’s summer and oppositeland in Oz!

  764. Hi Haven! Is Gus sick? Oh, little guy!
    I just deleted something that promised Dog Gallery from my e-mail. (I’m going to stop talking about this now. Need to ask our e-mail person to SPAMify that crap.)

    Where is Tex? I am worried about her.
    I don’t even know who won the Super Bowl. Off to check that essential bit of news and take a shower.
    Feel better, Gus-sweetie!

    My e-mail (which could easily have been sent to the manure pile) said I chatted with the student director of Cell Block Scholars and I am on the track of getting a copy. It comes your way if I do.

  765. I come into this way too late, as usual —

    — but I’ve never found anyone else who has read JANE-EMILY, which I loved as a child. I have the most vivid recollection of the plot of that book (and weird details like the dolls, “Flotsam” and Jetsam,” and the mirror ball in the garden, and the image of the little girl, soaking wet, standing in front of the open window …), and I’ve talked about it to so many reading friends, but you, Haven, are the first person who knows what I’m talking about. I felt like I was delusional, like maybe I was telling people about a great book that doesn’t really exist.

    And I threw SKELETON CREW across the room late at night, when a story about rats in a machine scared me so much that I couldn’t bear touching the book that held the words. Then I jumped up, ran across the room, and picked up the book again so I could keep reading.

  766. Hi Liz! Do I know you? Maureen, here.
    Did anyone else read Merry, Rose and Christmas-Tree-June with those fabulous Edward Gorey drawings?

  767. Hi, Maureen!

    I don’t know if you know me — I lurk more than post, but I do post every once in a while. I haven’t seen the books you mention, but I do love his GASHLYCRUMB TINIES — an alphabet book that makes people either choke with indignation or cry with laughter: “M is for Maud who was swept out to sea; N is for Neville who died of ennui.”

  768. Geez, you guys wear me out! I come in here and think of something interesting and unique to write and by the time I read down through all the posts I have just plum forgotten what I was going to say.

    I am sad to report that television sets are appearing from out of no where in my house. I went downstairs to let the dogs out this morning. When we got back inside (it was still dark as it was only 5:30 am)I reached for the box of treat bones that sits on top of the crappy old t.v. that resides downstairs next to my husband’s desk and piles of crap. The box of bones was higher up than usual. Either that or I had gotten shorter over night. Turns out the difference was the old t.v. was gone and a big giant new one was in its place. You all know I am not a fan of television so my husband had some ‘splanin to do. When he woke up some time later I calmly asked him, “where did that new t.v. downstairs come from?” to which he replied, “Clem gave it to me.” Clem is our next door neighbor. He is the neighborhood handy man and is old enough to be my father. He is my husband’s best friend. They bond in yard work competitions. I said, “Why did Clem give you a t.v.?” and my husband said, “He got a new one so he gave me his old one.” Of course being the mean wife that I am I thought, “hell, has he never heard of goodwill?” Like we need another gigantic t.v. in our tiny house.

    Why is this bothering me? Hmmm, I think I need to refer to my AA Big Book. I think I have me some resentments builing up. Not good.

    Sorry for rambling. I hope everyone has a wonderful day. Especially you, Maureen. You are my hero for not having a functioning t.v. in your house.

  769. Jim Shue, this is an email I got on Myspace today. I think it might beat your lottery mail.


    Hello my Angel,

    I saw your advert on my space, and it happens that what i prayed for God have Granted it for me.

    The only one can i here from u.

    God blesses those he wants to bless.

    Please awaits for ur urgent reply.

    James.

    There are a few problems with message.

    1. For some silly reason I don’t see a Myspace page as an advertisement for true love, especially something blessed by God.

    2. I’m far from an angel.

    3. He’s going to be waiting a long time for an
    “urgent reply” because the only urgency I’m feeling is my need to pee.

    4. I might consider it for a half a second or two if the name was Jamie. :)

  770. Linda — My family got rid of our television after this incident: I was sitting at the breakfast table with my three-year-old in 1994. While eating his Cheerios, he was clearly pondering something very important. Finally, he said, “There was blood on the Bronco.” I said, “What?!” He said, “There was blood on the Bronco, but he wasn’t driving.”

    He was talking about O.J. Simpson. We haven’t watched TV since.

  771. What a great story Liz!

  772. Last night I made a very important discovery. I was using Crest White Strips for the first time, and the only way I could speak was to open my lips over my teeth, which greatly exaggerated my speech. I kept talking in this goofy voice and I realized that it reminded me of someone in a movie. This of course drove me INSANE and so I kept talking in an effort to figure out who it was, which in turn drove HUGH insane because he was trying to sleep.

    After about 15 minutes I realized the voice I was using was Prince Chulalongkorn, from The King and I, who, if you recall, spoke in a strangely deliberate and lilting way.

    Then I had to look up stuff about hottie Yul Brynner for a while. Did you know he had an affair with JUDY GARLAND?

  773. Liz- that story is so completely honest in that t.v. just erodes so much of our children’s innocence and curiousity. Your son and my daughter are the same age. My son was born in 1993. But, back then I did not have cable. I didn’t have cable until I married my current husband. Oh how I wish I had put up a fight about that but it did not seem important at the time. Thankfully my son only watches ESPN on cable and my daughter is as anti-t.v. as I am, if not more.
    I don’t have a problem with all of t.v. I just have a problem with it being on non-stop. My husband turns it on at 5:00 and it doesn’t go off until he goes to bed at 10:00. If he goes to bed earlier he now plays shows he has downloaded on his ipod. This is new and it made me say the serenity prayer about 10 times straight the first time he did it.

    I love how George described it once here- something to the effect of how t.v. sucks the life out of the room. I so agree with that. I do believe my husband is as addicted to television as I was (am) to alcohol. Being in recovery has really crystalized this for me. But I know I can’t make him change any more than he could have made me change. He needs to realize it for himself. And that might never happen. As a wise older woman in one of my AA meetings constantly reminds me, “Everyone has a right to be who they are. I don’t have to like it or stay around them – but they still have the right to be who they are.” That says so much to me.

    Ooops. Sorry for the mini-pity party. Feeling sorry for myself is another thing I am not supposed to do!

  774. Linda, you are definitely singing a song I know!

    My step-sister said the coolest thing, talking about my son the Cheerio-eating t.v. commentator, who is now 17 and experiencing emotional angst over the possibility that he can’t fix his girlfriend’s family problems. My sister said, “He needs to realize that her problems are not inside his hula-hoop.” She said, “Stand inside a hula-hoop. Now look around and realize that the only thing you can truly control is inside the hula-hoop. Everything else — not for you to fix.”

    I love that.

  775. Thanks, Amy!

  776. And you know, about the O.J. Simpson watching three-year-old — that was all on me. I was home with a toddler, pregnant and tired and … well, you know. I had the T.V. on all the time — not secure about my interior life or something.

    No T.V. has been great for my kids, but so healthy for me, too.

  777. Liz,

    I sense definite t-shirt possibilities featuring variations on, “not inside my hula hoop”. Your sister-in-law should look into it!

    ~ Sarah

  778. Whoops, that would be, Step-sister.

    Maybe glasses and sleep, not in that order, aren’t over-rated after all.

    Nah.

    ~ Sarah

  779. Sarah — I would definitely wear that t-shirt!

  780. Okay, I have a dreadful confession to make. I absolutely canNOT wrap my mind around Owen Meany (just can’t, can’t do it and I’ve reaaaally tried because I so want to be part of the cool crowd).
    But luckily for me, the blogversation often veers to topics such as Lady Marmalade and TIM CURRY (whom I have revered for 30+ years, ever since the father of my jr. high school best friend brought RHPS home–on reels of film–for her older brother’s birthday party). Sigh. Let’s do the time warp. Again.

  781. Shanna, don’t feel badly, I can’t get my mind around it either–same deal with Finnegan’s Wake. I am just not meant to understand some works of art. I can accept that.

    Linda: TV is a life suck. It’s also loud. And the flickering images are not good for the eyes or the mind.

    Lady Marmalade: gimme some o that sweet magnolia wine.

  782. Hi George

  783. Liz- I love the inside my hula-hoop phrase too. I am definitely going to use that. My daughter will be 18 in March and she does the same with her boyfriend. Some days I am glad I have such an empathetic child. Other days I worry about her. I think I might actually buy her a hula hoop. :)

  784. Trixie Belden!
    I spent some of my formative years as a rural girl in the country trying to rustle up enough like minded friends to be Bobwhites! I SO longed to solve the mysteries I was sure were lurking in my little village of Pungo Va.

    I might have to start collecting them now that my memories have been activated…the shiny old ones are the ones I had mostly…AND Eight Cousins! Hardly anyone ever mentions that one either…

    Sher…do you know about the youth of Anne Perry? If not, you can wikipedia her to find the lurid details, or watch the 1994 movie Heavenly Creatures where she is played by Kate Winslet. This story falls firmly into the catagory Truth Is Strnger Than Fiction…

  785. Because there are some TV shows I really enjoy, such as Dexter, Deadwood, and Dead Like Me, I’m going to sidestep that topic with something I just don’t understand.

    Why is it people seem to respect their houses so much that they go outside and stand in the freezing cold to smoke? Does that mean they have more respect for wood, carpet, and kitchen sinks than they do their own bodies?

  786. I’ll buy a not inside your hula hoop t-shirt! Gotta say that one to my daughter and to myself every day.
    Plus, on Friday I saw a bumper sticker with the pink breast cancer emblem on it that said “Save the TA-TAs” and I want one of those, too!
    You guys are lovely…making me laugh on a Monday at work…going out to eat mexican food for lunch with a co-worker who is retiring, the lucky dog.

  787. POS, for me it’s an issue of respect for the other people in my household (re: outdoor smoking). And, uh, trust me when I tell you that it’s soooo much more complicated than the simple question of “Do I respect my body?” or “Do I respect my life?”

  788. My favorite Timy Curry movie?

    Muppet Treasure Island. “Upstage, lads, this is my ONLY number!”

    But also Clue.

  789. My friend Nadine used to smoke and she hated the way it smelled and did not want it inside her house, clinging to her furniture, curtains, clothes etc.

    **shrugs** made sense to me. :)

  790. And POS, there are a ton of tv shows I like! (mentalist, lost, CSI(s)). Not to mention National Geographic! Oh I love me some Animal Planet too. TiVo is a good thing.

    Other blog babies, rest assured–I don’t let them interfere with my reading time.

  791. Clue, Clue, Clue! I used to watch that everyday and Tim Curry makes that movie.
    Holy crap, just read about Anne Perry on wikipedia. That is nuts. I’ve never read her books but now I want to.

  792. Norah/”Diane”???

    I am so excite about exploring Anne Perry’s history . . . definately putting the movie on my to be seen list . . .

    One of the main reasons I looked Haven up on-line was to see if she had a list of ‘book recommendations’ as I was getting frustrated with my hit-or-miss method.

    Look what treasures I found, including an endless book/movie recommendations!

  793. I’ve read all of the Monk Series of Anne Perry – I just LOVE them . . . her life sounds fascinating . . . she has a website, too!

  794. Hi Guys –
    Sher, is Lauren going with you to Durham? I am thinking of bringing Tristan with me – he is a good baby-sitter for any littles, but it would definitely be more incentive is he knew someone near his age would also be there.
    I’ve had Lady Marmalade in my head all day!

  795. NOOOOOOOOOO! The video for the link Haven posted was removed. I am heartbroken and must blow off degree progress meeting to search for it online.

  796. Bug – Try this one.

  797. Amy, you don’t know how excited I am that you love that movie too. It is PURE comfort to me.

    “1+2+1+2+1…”

    “Pardon me, is there a powder room neary by?”
    “Oui, oui, madame.”
    “No, I just have to powder my nose.”

    Touchton Classic.

  798. Maureen –

    still working on details, but the kids are on Spring Break that week – I think one of the grannies will come stay here and I will be able to take off alone, p/y Kate & Baby Alice . . . drive to Durham . . .

    we through around the idea of her or Claire going with me, but decided not to subject myself to that misery 8) – or her to mine!

  799. our motto is divide and conquer . . .

  800. Molly are you talking about the jezebel link? It’s there. I just watched it again.

  801. Molly,
    This video was on everyday at our house for years.

    Why would he wanna kill you in public?
    I think she meant he threatened, in public, to kill her.

  802. Okay one more Bug,

    Do you like Kipling Miss Scarlett?
    Sure, I’ll eat anything.

    Giggling Amy, giggling Amy:)

  803. I am in comment la-la-land and I’m not pleased. Trying again.

  804. I CAN’T POST!!!

  805. I see your post Maureen!!

  806. I keep trying to post a you tube address for Molly. Maybe that’s what it doesn’t like.
    Let’s see if this goes through.
    Moll – type in you tube dot com slash and then this
    watch?v=HWzKkK7ncbM
    (I am attempting to fake it out)

  807. Ah HA! The vermicious You Tube blocker!!!!
    Boy, I was getting frustrated!

  808. Amy–for you. But my last one, too, because I could do this game forever…

    Miss Scarlet: Maybe there is life after death.
    Mrs. White: Life after death is as improbable as sex after marriage!

    Maureen–are you postable again?

  809. I wonder if everyone is watching Chuck (like me) or House (like Kittery) and that’s why no one’s posting…?

  810. Oh now if we are going to booty walk then THIS is the ONE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKkXh-Q-1-4
    Raspberry and I practice every morning. We’re taking this all the way to The State Fair. Watch us!

  811. Oh now if we are going to booty walk then THIS is the ONE: youtube dot com/watch?v=xKkXh-Q-1-4
    Raspberry and I practice every morning. We’re taking this all the way to The State Fair. Watch us!

  812. Hey Molly, I was reading and watching Intervention, I love that show.
    Has anyone ever had one of those days where you make a comment that you think is hilarious to a co-worker but which they take insult to? Yep, I did that today and frankly, it makes me not want to go to work tomorrow!

  813. Just go in and apologize.

  814. I already did, at least 5 times.I just feel terrible. I hate hurting someone’s feelings even when it is unintentional.
    Oh well! Just needed to get that off my chest.
    Thanks George.

  815. Love Don’t Dream It, Just be It from RHPS. The water scene always makes me cry. And Tim Curry? Gorgeous, sexy, hilarious, he had it all going on in that role.

    Yul Brenner and Judy Garland? Really? Try as I might I can’t wrap my brain around that one.

    Amy, now you have to tell. What did you say? No matter how bad it was I’m sure some of us can top it. Everyone is guilty of the old foot-in-mouth disease at one time or another.

  816. George and I had cross-posts, Amy. Now I’m sorry I asked you to tell. Sounds like it was more serious than I thought it was. Although I swear, you are certainly not the only one who’s ever done this!

    Did anyone see Augusten’s images on Flickr? He mentions them in his latest blog post. They are incredibly gorgeous. It’s interesting to see the differences between his and his brother’s photos too ~ you can definitely see the emotional vs. the Aspergian perspectives. Check them out, they’re really beautiful.

    We’re gearing up for another snow storm here in PA. I don’t take weather reports seriously anymore but the kids are excited. Nighty night.

  817. Amy, I hope everything goes okay at work tomorrow and you (and your co-worker!) feel better about what you said. Let us know, okay?

  818. Blog Babies – I was such a good girl today – worked from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. (took ‘break???’ to run 14 year old girls around (I sat in car and read art magazines 8) ) then I refused to cook, cleaned out the ottoman/coffee table, recycled and sorted weeks worth of crap-o-lah – I am assuming that I received so many ‘good’ person points that I can sleep the rest of the week, oh – and blog!

  819. as no body is out there in blog land, I will return to Owen Meany (I can see why Haven loves it, I think everybody should wade through it because some sections are just breathtaking in their cultural/literary insights) . . . but I also accept and understand the struggle . . . in honor of Haven, I am continuing on – then I give myself permission to start my Joanne Harris’ . . . .

  820. Oh drat. I’ve been checking back to see if anyone would wander by, and now I’ve missed you. :(

    I suppose I should try to find Owen Meany and read it .. there’s enough books in this house, I’d be surprised if my mother had missed a title, lol.

  821. Sher,

    I played a little on freerice tonight .. I to up to 12600 .. good times. :)

  822. *got up to

    I’m awake…

    I sent my niece the website too – she got to 4400, I think?

  823. I am home, we survived, Charlie did not get us kicked out of the hotel.
    Maureen, I don’t know how old your son-? is, but I am bringing two amazing 16 year old girls, and I know Linda is bringing her 16 year old son, who is also amazing.

  824. Caryl, welcome home! So was Charlie as good in the car as he was at the hotel, or did he make you kinda sorta wish you could be kicked out of the car?

    Kittery, isn’t freerice.com ADDICTING!! I went through all the categories, even the ones I didn’t know, like the table of elements. I learned SO MUCH that night. (Thank you, Sher.)

    Liz, GASHLYCRUMB TINIES!! Isn’t Gorey just creepily fabulous? I’m waiting to find it in poster format.

    Amy — Clue! I love that movie and am seriously impressed with your command of quotes. Small trivia bit: I used to work with Mr. Boddy, at a restaurant in L.A. where everyone sang and played. Lee came into work one day with magenta hair and a spiked dog collar and announced he would henceforth be known as Lee Ving. (He’d just formed Fear (punk band ca. 1980) and all this looked new at the time.) Fastest wit I ever knew. I felt like a knife to a whetstone every time I saw him.

  825. I meant Amy and LB. I could listen to you both play that game all night.

  826. Hi Carrie, Charlie was actually really good in the car, due to the miracle of the dvd player, but he was definitely off his game. He would say every hour or so “Daddy go home” or “Mamas room, mamas bed”. Not ready for the traveling life just yet. What restaurant did you work in, in LA?

  827. Great American Food & Beverage in Westwood (and sometimes Santa Monica). I met lifelong friends there, still go back to visit three of them. Lots of success stories out of the alumni.

    That was a long trip, yes? (I think ten hours sticks in my mind.) Long trips would have been SO much easier with a DVD player when I was a kid; still, excellent on Charlie. He’s only three, isn’t he? — Where did you go?

  828. Oh god the memories I have of Westwood. I hitchiked there on the weekends when I was 16 with some girlfriends, and the stories I could tell.
    We drove up north to Redding. My husbands business, which we own, is up there now that the man who runs the sales part of it moved up there. When I found my birth father it turned out he lived 20 miles away. So we went up for to surprise our friend for his 50th, and also so I could go to the Veterans Cemetary to see my dads headstone for the first time, which wasn’t in yet but I am still glad I did it.
    How long ago did you leave LA?

  829. About 25 years ago. I loved LA — I may be one of the few people that will say that without reservation, but then I lived in Santa Monica within walking distance of the beach. You know how when you are having a peak experience and you say to yourself, I am going to remember this, exactly how it feels, what I thought, those I loved? It was three years of that. Then I broke up with the boyfriend, started having horrendous nightmares…left LA. Breakups are always easiest when reminders aren’t on every corner. — I’ll just bet you have some stories about Westwood! Any you can share here, or shall we save it for when you come to Seattle?

    Caryl, I’m so glad you got to visit your birth dad’s grave. And to have a joyful occasion bookending it — perfect. You are such good friends to surprise your buddy like that.

  830. And to top it off, last night when Peter and the boys fell asleep, I watched Rachel Getting Married on pay per view, which is nominated for something, and was fantastic. Anne Hathaway really surprised me, and I didn’t even recognize Debra Winger. Such a good movie.
    What do you do in Seattle, something with jewelery right?

  831. Haven’t seen that talkie, but now I will. The last good thing I saw was Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, a couple weeks ago. A period piece with Amy Adams, who is perfect, Lee Pace, who is a revelation, and Frances McDormand, who could make anything watchable. She conveys repulsion with a twitch of her lip, a mere millimeter or two. Magnificent.

    No, not jewelry, so much — I am self-employed in what is called a niche of graphic design. Some design, some production, Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite template design and creation. Also, a lot of what George does, these days. I love it, love my clients, love the variety. Jewelry is just … fun. I like to make things (plus you can always make better quality than you could buy). It’s like summer church camp, with better supplies.

    I’m collapsed. Must be up early, and it’s late — sleep sweet, Caryl!

  832. You too. I am so pleased you do something you love, which must be why you have such a goodness about you. xoxo

  833. Carrie,
    What a cool story about Mr. Body! I love this blog and the people I’ve “met”!
    Polly, you are too sweet to me! Actually the comment wasn’t even that bad, I just tend to over analyze everything and then make things so much worse than they are in my head. I’ve always done that, blah! I really need to stop:)
    New day, new attitude!

  834. I’m glad you’re over it Amy. We all have brain farts now and again, right? In the long run the vast majority of things aren’t worth beating ourselves up over, imo.

  835. CARRIE!! I remember Great American Food and Beverage in Santa Monica. We lived a few blocks away and I used to BEG to go. My mother thought it was evil (nothing personal, evil also existed in the TV, any organized religion we weren’t currently endorsing and hippies), but every so often one of my mother’s friends would want to go and I was just in heaven. And Lee Ving came later for me, early 80s, when I was a disenfranchised teenager (18-20) and his angry rants mirrored the chaotic anguish I carried in my body on a daily basis. I just went to a play here in SD with Candye Kane (really more of a one woman show excerpting her memoir, but with her band onstage too and a couple of theater actors who acted out parts as well) and it brought back so many fond memories of that agonizing time (not the oxymoron it sounds like), hanging out at the Masque and Cathay de Grande and…I can’t remember the name of the other place on Hollywood Blvd., seeing Fear, Tex and the Horseheads, Echo and the Bunnymen. Wow. Feels like another life. Interesting that it’s coming up for me from varied sources.

  836. I just googled to try to find the name of the club (that’s going to bug the hell out of me) and then I remembered other bands: X!! (So MADLY in love with John Doe and, sigh, Exene’s gorgeous and completely unknown boyfriend Viggo Mortensen) and THE GO-GOs, when Belinda Carlisle was fat and drunk and really, really angry, before her pop transformation.

    I could go on forever. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.

  837. I wanna go to LA. I have a friend from high school out there who works for Rhythm and Hues–the company that did the FX for Narnia. His name’s actually in the credits! He keeps wanting me to come visit but…well.

    Sher? This trip to Durham is the 8th of April right? I am trying to coordinate things…I am so excited!

  838. Carrie: That was quite a lovely idea you expressed about living in a moment that you want to remember and know you’ll remember. A couple of years ago — about ten years ago, really — I bicycled from Santa Monica to Malibu, Joni Mitchell songs were in my head the whole time.

    Bug: Go west, young girl, go west!

    Linda: Hope you are feeling a little calmer today. Here’s something that should bolster your resolve against tv. http://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=15985

  839. Ghettogirl: I was over at Yahoo looking at picture, geez, your cat and my cat look like they came from the litter. My cat is 16.

  840. Thanks, George. I will definitely read that. Today is another tension filled day as the state of Tennessee prepares to execute Steve Henley at midnigh tonight. I think many of you know that I do not support the death penalty and work with the TN Coalition to Abolish State Killing (TCASK). My friend, Stacy Rector, who is a presbyterian minister and the director of TCASK, has been visiting Steve on death row for 10 years. Steve has been on death row for 23 years for a murder of an elderly couple he has said from the start he did not commit. He was implicated by a known drug addict who turned state’s witness and received 25 years in prison for which he only served 5. Steve was given the death penalty. Anyway, we continue to call the governor to ask that his sentence be commuted to life in prison. They are just exhausting all his options. I know everyone has their own opinions about the death penalty but the bottom line is the system is terrible broken, unjust, and unevenly carried out in this country. Whew. Ok, I am going to read the article George shared with me about t.v…….

  841. Oh, Linda. What a terrible day for you. My thoughts and prayers are with you and with him.

    I finished The Shack las night, and it has given me a whole new perespective on Right to Life.

  842. Linda: God bless you for the work you do. It’s incomprehensible to me that killing is done in my name, that blood is on my hands and I can do so little about it.

    Oh my LORD Shanna, I haven’t thought of those times for so long! Fear made its debut at an after-hours party we had at the Westwood GA (though Lee had been doing those songs acoustically for months, which translated better than you’d think. Weirdly, he was the only other person I knew who’d heard of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross). Exene was so the It Girl back then…and she dated Viggo M.? Remember when the Go-Gos only knew 1 1/2 songs, and played them over and over at their gigs? — You and I were probably neighbors (I lived within walking distance of the SM GA), and I’ll bet I probably even waited on you. I had the time of my life: get up at 10, lie on the beach till 3, go to work, close up at 11, play ALL NIGHT LONG working out harmonies and guitar parts to my and my co-workers’ new songs while drinking box wine, go to breakfast, go to bed, do it all over again. Music parties that lasted three days. I learned how to write from those people; so much talent there. Some write for Disney, now.

    I do believe you may be thinking of Madame Wong’s.

  843. George: Thank you! –it’s always a bit surreal to me that I was even peripherally aware at that point in my life. What a gift to have learned early on to savor peak experiences. It sure has served me well. (Which Joni songs were in your mind?)

  844. Linda, I really admire your dedication to the cause.

  845. Carrie- here is a link to the anti death penalty group in Washington state: http://www.abolishdeathpenalty.org/

    Amy- here is the link to the Ohio group: http://www.ohioanstostopexecutions.blogspot.com/

    If anyone else wants to look into this work in your state, if your state is one that still has the death penalty, you can look it up here: http://ncadp.org/affiliateDirectory.cfm

    Thanks everyone for your good thoughts. They help.

  846. Caryl: I always think the same of you! xoxoxo

  847. Hi everybody –

    Linda: Wow, I admire your work against the death penalty. I was blown away by the movie Dead Man Walking and even more so by Sister Prejean’s book. Bless you in this work.

    Amy: How are things with the not-really-slighted co-worker? Did you see Augusten has Sylvia Plath oven mitts for sale on his website?

    Molly: I bought The Shack because I knew you were about to read it. I’ll get on that speedy-quick. Finished re-reading Solace last night and wrote you and Amy some thoughts.

    Katie Cakester: Where are you? Any news on the web job?

    Sher: I am stalled on Owen Meany but I’ll get to it. I like it, it just takes more brain than I’ve had recently at night.

    George: That anti-TV article reminded me of the book Entertaining Ourselves to Death given to me by my cool friend who used to be an art professor at Hunter College and formerly married to Twyla Tharp.

    Sarah: Package in the mail should be getting to you tomorrow.

    Polly: Thanks for pointing me to Augusten’s pictures – they are lovely!! Where are brother John’s? My husband has Asperger’s so I am interested.

    And …. hi to everyone else: Shanna, Carrie, Caryl (my son is 13. He’s pretty suave and used to hanging around with older kids.) And everyone else ….

    Tex? You OK?

  848. Off to a faculty meeting – thus the rapid-fire post above.

  849. ugh . . . I’m never on at the same time as anybody . . . .

  850. Store Events – April 9, 7:00 p.m.
    Haven/Augusten . . . .

    Time: Thursday, April 9, 2009 7:00 p.m.
    Location: Durham County Public Library, 300 N Roxboro St, Durham, NC 27701
    Title of Event: Augusten Burroughs & Haven Kimmel
    Memoirist Augusten Burroughs will read from and sign copies of his book, Wolf at the Table, which is newly available in paperback. This latest memoir (from the author of Running with Scissors and Dry) is a searing, emotional portrait of a son who wants nothing more than the love his father will not grant him. Also reading will be Durham writer Haven Kimmel, author of the memoirs A Girl Named Zippy and She Got Up Off the Couch, as well as several novels for adults and children.

  851. Folks – I do have to stop and start Owen Meany, it goes in spurts for me, certain sections seem smooth and interesting, then I am . . . stumped, to say the least . . . I am probably in the early 300’s via pages right now . . . 3/4 done?

    When I am stumped I switch to other books and actually started a new memoir last night (new to me) . . . Change Me In to Zeus’s Daughter by Barbara Robinette Moss, I am on chapter three and really entranced.

    Here is an excerpt:

    “I could just tell myself not to die and I wouldn’t. I was that strong.”

  852. Linda, I admire your commitment and courage in this fight. I don’t know where I stand on this position sometimes, but when I hear it personalized like this I fear that the power given to those who make the decisions is abused and for every person wrongly convicted there stands a chance of a terrible wrong being done twice. If you have seen the Changeling with Angelina Jolie, there is a scene where the man convicted of torturing and murdering many children is being executed. If you have ever thought you are sure a man like that deserves to die, and this mans character was loathsome, watching his final moments was horrifying. I just felt in my core the same revulsion for his execution as I did for the acts he committed.
    I will pray for your fight Linda.

  853. Has anyone heard from Tex? I have been out of town and checking in when I can, so I may have missed a post. Just being a mom.

  854. Maureen,

    Everything is great with the co-worker, thank you for asking! I did see those oven mitts on AB’s website ( the pic of him wearing them)!! I tried to link to the guy who made them ( his myspace) and couldn’t find them. I wanted to buy them for myself for Christmas. Did you find them for sale??
    Wintering is just beautiful by the way..I even went at lunch and bought the DVD of Sylvia with my ultimate girl crush Gwyneth Paltrow.
    I am going to watch it tonight while I am on my eliptical machine.

  855. Still waiting to hear about the job…thanks for asking. I do know a lot of people are rooting for me!

  856. It’s strange because sometimes I feel so strongly that the death penalty is just ( child killers,etc.) yet I clearly remember the day I watched Dead Man Walking and how it made me feel. I was in my Moralities class and as they were walking Sean Penn to his death my vision became tunnel and my heart quickened. I had to leave the room and finish out a panic attack in solitude. I always think of that and wonder why I had such a reaction.

  857. Oh wait, found the mitts on the actual website…I think I was looking at his facebook before!
    Also, that picture of Gus painting is adorable.

  858. Amy – I am looking for pictures by Augusten’s brother John, the one with Asperger’s. I saw all of Augusten’s on his flikr album but can’t see the ones that are John’s. Do you see them? Polly, help?

  859. Oh! Never mind. I found it. If you go to johnrobison.com and click on the word photographer, the photos are there.
    Very cool. My dad-in-law and hubby, both Aspies, are both also photographers.

  860. Does anyone know anything about Augustens photos on his site, the ones taken of the interior of a home?

  861. Linda, thank you for the link. I was able to volunteer online. — On the first page: the four who have been executed since 1981. I went to junior high with one them, was friends with his sister in high school. She was as lovely a person as he was twisted (oh, and from early on, I tell you), and yet I know his story and what he suffered (and was likely brain-damaged from beatings sustained in childhood). I don’t know enough about murderers or any criminals (I don’t seek out the knowledge), but I think life without parole would far better suit me as a relative of a victim than the quick (well, after appeals are exhausted) and merciful release of death. State-sanctioned DP is not once removed to me; in my heart, the DP is still me, killing someone.

    I once had a conversation with a friend who was pro-capital punishment — she reads just about every newspaper, and she was not aware of either how the cost with all the appeals exceeds life w/o parole, or how many innocents are executed, or how the ones without money are far more likely to receive the DP. Thank you for what you do.

  862. Shanna: maybe the Whiskey?

  863. The problem is the time-lag. The person that is executed is rarely the same person who committed the crime. They are older; they have changed; time has passed, erasing somewhat the horror of what happened because other horrors have come and gone.

    I once covered a murder trial — this was in Boone County, Indiana. As events turned out, it was the first trial of a newly elected judge. He cried like a baby when pronouncing the death sentence that the jury had recommended. At another trial I covered — this one in Morgan County — the judge was gleeful in giving the death sentence to a guy who had been convicted of robbing, raping and murdering a woman at knifepoint. The jury recommended life, but when the judge found out the killer had tattooed a knife on his forearm while awaiting sentence, the judge rejected the jury’s advice and gave him death.

  864. I found it interesting that three of the four executed here since 1981 volunteered to be executed (all excepting the guy I knew). Could the knife tattoo have come from a similar place?

  865. And George, such a good point re: the time lag. I’d not considered that aspect.

  866. Carrie:

    Hard to say where the motive for the tattoo was. Maybe it was a form of suicide, maybe it was a defiant and evil act, very likely, it wasn’t conscious, but stupidity in the vein of: “Dude, put a knife on my arm after you get finished with that cross.”

  867. Carrie, not the Whisky or Madame Wong’s, although I spent of fair share of time there, too. I remember seeing the Go-Gos at the Roxy and Belinda was so loaded she couldn’t remember the words to…wait, my memories are like an accordion right now, I may be conflating…was it “We Got The Beat?” Or maybe they weren’t even doing that song then.

    Re: the club, it was huge, it was on Hollywood Blvd. and it was really punk. I want to say Babylonian Gardens, but that’s not quite it. Something like that.

  868. I was around a lot of cops and criminals and spent an inordinate amount of time jawing about these issues from different perspectives.

    Generally, I am against the death penalty.

    I am glad that it is an open question in our society — debated among people with strongly differing points of view.

    I don’t think the death penalty is a deterrent to crime. I think it is mostly useful as a bargaining tool during the adjudication process. For that reason, it is probably good to have it on the books.

  869. I had difficulty settling into a position on the death penalty for a long time, until Timothy McVeigh was executed. That day, I felt sick to my stomach all day, and I realized that I was heartsick that the Oklahoma City bombing terrorist would be put to death. That crystallized it for me: if I don’t want Timothy McVeigh executed, I don’t want anyone executed.

    I think the way we go about it makes God sad.

  870. The three celebrities from my hometown of Lockport, NY are Joyce Carol Oates, former super-model Kim Alexis, and Timothy McVeigh. I did not know Timothy, but my best friend’s brother was friends with him.

    I think of Haven’s mom working with those criminals and Helen Prejean and her work. How very odd that the crucifixion was the death penalty of that era. There is that Lennie Bruce joke that if Jesus were alive in this century, we would be wearing electric chairs around our necks.

  871. You’re right about the crucifixion, Maureen. We are so used to the idea of reverencing the cross (I’m especially aware of this as a person who was raised Methodist, put converted to Catholicism as an adult) that we forget that the early Christians shocked people when they chose the cross as one of their “totems.” (That may not be exactly the right word, but you know what I mean ….)

  872. This is tangential, sort of, but I saw a picture of Angelina Jolie the other day and she wears a gold charm around her neck — very delicate and beautiful. When I looked more closely to see what it was, I was startled, because it’s an Uzi. She just seems like a person who gets “sign and symbol” so I wonder what the significance of the gun is.

  873. Liz – I’m also Catholic. Dye-in-the-wool at birth, left it, left everything, explored everything, discovered the Catholic mystics and Thomas Merton and came back.

  874. Oh, but I disagree with about half of what the Catholic Church says.

  875. Hey everyone.

    George, I grew up in Boone County. My brothers live in Lebanon. Do you remember the particulars of that case?

  876. A lot of these criminals change in prison precisely because of the work (miracles) that people like Delonda perform. In the Tennessee case, more than 20 years have elapsed between the crime and the punishment. Justice is such a messy subject in most democratic societies. An absolute position just doesn’t work for me when I consider all the variables.

  877. JimShue,

    The case was venued to Boone from Henry County, I think. It was a pathetic robbery-murder. I don’t remember the particulars except that the murderer targeted the old man, essentially a neighbor — intending to steal a television. I think the old guy fought back, but the thief killed him. He either choked him or beat him to death, I forget. He was eligible for the death penalty because the homicide occurred during the commission of a felony.

    JimShue…another case I covered in Boone County, and Haven will love this, is when Starlight Musical sued Englebert Humperdinck because the singer canceled a show, claiming that he had a throat ailment. Well, after three or four days of testimony, it took the mostly female jury about 1.4 nanoseconds to dismiss the claim against Humperdinck. I loved writing about it, and as events turned out, I was so impressed with the doctors who testified in Humperdinck’s defense, that I sought them out as surgeons for a procedure that I needed at the time.

  878. George, my friend, you have lived. You just keep pulling interesting bits out of pockets we didn’t even know you had.

  879. Maureen–The Shack was very non-Catholic–but not in a bad way. :) It made me cry, a lot, and I feel much better about God and me now.

  880. Hi, Maureen — I’m sorry for the delay in posting — I left for a meeting at church and then came back. I joined the church as an adult because I love the tradition and liturgy, and the notion of continuity that the church seems to embody despite itself. I agree with you — there’s a lot of stuff I can’t get behind. I just have to believe what John Henry Cardinal Newman said: “The voice of the whole church will in time make itself heard.” Cardinal Newman is my homeboy.

  881. I’ve see the good cardinal’s body in Philly. I have pictures of me with him somewhere. I must say, I’d rather see him now as an adult. To me, he just looked like a wax figure. My great-grandfather was one of the ones who witnessed the Cardinal’s exhumation while they were in the canonization process.

  882. I am so fascinated by reactions to THE SHACK. My sister and her husband (uber-conservative evangelical Christian pastor and wife) love it and use it as a teaching text. I have Unitarian Universalist friends who also love it and use it as a devotional guide. I would be so excited to get the Unitarians and the Evangelicals (both loving and wonderful) together to talk about it! I read it and liked it, but it didn’t work as therapy the way it seems to for many.

  883. Hi, Liz! I think it’s funny that ultra-conservatives would use it…it seems very NOT conservative to me. I don’t know that I would have liked it, if I hadn’t needed it for therapy. :)

  884. SHER! Thank you for reposting the info! Thank you! Thank you!

  885. Lightning Bug (you’re Molly, right?) that is the coolest thing ever! I think you’re talking about Cardinal Neumann, right? I love him, too for different reasons. Another reason to be Catholic — you can have a crush on a saint and (other than being a little creepy) you are pegged as “very devout.” The other Cardinal Newman is British and buried somewhere over there.

    Get this: The British Cardinal Newman was exhumed because his cause for sainthood is proceeding pretty quickly now (apparently he is Benedict XVI’s homeboy, too!) BUT — gay rights activists in the UK are up in arms, because Cardinal Newman specifically stated on three different occasions that he wanted to be buried in the same grave with Fr. Ambrose St. John, with whom he lived for over thirty years.

    They wanted to move Newman’s remains so that the faithful will have a relic to venerate (love the ghoulish Catholics). It apparently never occurred to anyone that an accommodating solution would be to remove their remains together.

  886. I know what you mean, Molly, about therapeutic books. I read THE DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD one night, in great big gulps of laughter and tears, and it really was cathartic and necessary — the stuff about mothers and daughters, and forgiveness that doesn’t excuse — it was just what I needed. One scene in BEACH MUSIC was like that, too — with the dying cancer mom (I am the daughter of a cancer mom — so I ring like a tuning fork at that kind of book, or “Terms of Endearment,” or …. you know).

    Maybe TMI, but the point is, I don’t know if the YA-YA book would have made any of my “favorites” lists if I hadn’t needed it so much.

  887. I am loving the Catholic lore.

  888. Liz–I will admit I thought you had just used the wrong spelling **HANGS HEAD IN ABSOLUTEL SHAME**. See? It’s the stupid Southern-ness that encourages me to be tactful and in the end exposes my own IGNORANCE. Sorry. (Although I am glad to now have more info…)

    If they move them together, then they’re admitting good Catholics with good brains who are good people are gay.

    And we all know that’s false. (Good God, what’s WRONG with the catholic church? tell me again what’s wrong with love, in any form?)

    (Yes, I am Molly too. :)

  889. BEACH MUSIC????? I LOVE THAT BOOK!!!!!!!!

    And I find this cool: one of my student’s mom’s name is LeDare, and she is Southern and fabulous too.

  890. Oh yes, Divine Secrets is a great book too (but I thought the movie was a crime…). Little Altars was rip-your-heart out.

  891. Oh, Molly — you shouldn’t hang YOUR head in shame; look at me: I’m a Catholic saint slut — I love ‘em all!

  892. Caryl, feel free to jump in any time! Questions? Comments? I can go into full teacher mode any time. ;)

  893. “I’m a Catholic saint slut”

    I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!

  894. Hi everyone. This is such a sad night. I got back a little while ago from a service led by my friend, Stacy, before she headed out to the prison to be with Steve in his final hours. Carrie- I am glad you looked at the web site. Education is the most important thing in this case. Most people just have no idea how unjust and random this system is. The fact is, executions are not painless and they are not quick. The lethal injection cocktail that will kill Steve Henley at 1:00 in the morning is a mixture that was outlawed in this country to euthanize animals. Vets cannot use this mixture yet we use in on humans. And we don’t euthanize them. We kill them. Steve has been on death row for 23 years. He had done many good things in recent years. He has always maintained his innocence yet he has spent his time in prison helping other inmates. Someone at the service tonight said many of the staff at the prison are devastated by this. Several days ago one staff member hugged Steve and told him to please hold on to her infant daughter in heaven when he gets there. Does that not break your heart.

    Oh, I am exhausted. I think I am going to bed. Please just pray for the victims of violent crimes and their families, for men and women in prison and their families, and for all who work in the prisons and for those, like my friend, Stacy, who work day after day to try and fix the system so that we execute justice, not people.

  895. And see, I used to want/need to have my heart ripped out by a book. But I find it harder and harder to open myself to that kind of emotion on purpose. Why is this? I used to say (right after my mom died) that I avoided “grief/angst/despair” books because I had enough of that in my own life, thank you very much. But it’s been 14 years since my mom died, and I am still grief-averse like nobody’s business. It’s very limiting, even just from a cultural literacy point of view.

  896. Carrie: about that bike ride thinking of joni’s songs…joni and i have been together for so long that i can start a medley with the waves of malibu morph into secret place, drink a case of you any chelsea morning while putting on the finest silver with amanda so i could just skate away around and around around in this circle game.

  897. Oh, Linda . . . .

  898. Oh, Linda. I am so, so sorry. I will offer up a rosary for him tonight. I am so sorry.

  899. Linda,
    You’re good, good people!

  900. Linda, I’m so sorry…and the details of his life make it even more devastating. I’ll light a candle for him tonight.

  901. Peace, Linda. You did what you could.

    Have a good night, dear ones.

  902. Linda, you did good today.

  903. I just read the story behind Steve Henleys death sentence and it just confirms for me what I said before. It seems tonight a second crime is going to be committed, and that nobody can do anything to stop it is very frustrating and sad, and Linda I really feel for you and those who were at the service tonight, and his family.

  904. Loved Beach Music – – – especially the fact that it reinforces, as all Pat Conroy’s books do, that the family biography follows and entwines itself into our organic mind/body/spirt/brain . . . and it is only the strongest who survive and triumph over their familial inheritance.

    I am so sad for Linda and your comrades who are having such a rough night for your cause, and all those that will be feeling the consequences of victimhood/guilt/and all those levels that are inbetween.

    Speaking of such, (and Delonda’s work, etc) – Wally Lamb put together a book of his women’s inmate writing workshop – they are really one chapter memoirs – I previewed it at the book store the other night, it is beautiful and is now on my ‘to buy’ list – which is is the van, or I would look the name up . . .

    if you have not read his new novel THE HOUR I FIRST BELIEVED I think it would be a perfect time for many of you to do so – it directly addressed the repurcusions of crime on both the victim, families, survivors, etc. – and includes a great background of a women’s prison, it melds together redemption, suffering, triumph, surrender, breakthroughs . . . I just can’t say enough . . . I read the first 400 pages literally breatless, then stalled the remaining because I didn’t want it to end – my favorite kind of book. I am looking forward to re-reading it and hopefully finding a book club conversation somewhere (or maybe here if we get through Owen Meany)? If anybody is interested let me know and I can work a book thread from my blog if that is easier for Haven (whom I am hoping is doing well)

    Norah, sorry, I just realized you are not the Diane, but not sure if you want the real one broadcasted, but shall we say, it is familiar and I have it all straightened out in my brain.

    I am so looking forward to hugging all of you in Durham and hopefully having a real live all-night blog party . . .

  905. Claire update –

    1. She believes that hiccuping means she is growing – fast!

    2. While studying ‘solids’ she has decided to take in the book of “Zippy” because she can carry it in her backpack which makes it solid (for show and tell) but that she cannot take in the audio CD because Zippy’s voice comes through the air which is NOT solid.

    3. I heard her refer to one of the band guys on Wii Music as ‘hot, really HOT’

    4. If it is this cold out (we are at 4 degress with wind), wouldn’t it make sense that it would ‘snow’ – I am in total agreement

    5. My teenage daughter wants to go on a fieldtrip to the Body Farm in Knoxville TN . . . for fun (she wants to be a forensic scientist). At least she chose something to be interested in. Oddly enough, I am enamoured of it as well and hope to take some great referential photographs. Has anyone seen Sally Mann’s series “What Remains”? fascinating and there is also a BBC documentary by the same name . . .

    6. I love you all. I cannot imagine my life without you.

  906. Linda, that’s heartbreaking. I am so sorry, and appreciate the education you are providing for us here. Please know that you can only do so much but what you ARE doing is making a difference.

    The Shack – funny that should come up here at HavenLand. Suzanne gave me a copy and I am half way through and struggling with it to the degree that I have set it down and am now reading Suzanne’s Zygote Chronicles (love it) and re-reading Owen Meany (re-love it.) I feel so conscious of being manipulated – or at least of the author trying to manipulate me – with The Shack. It also feels hokey to me, in a Nicholas Sparks kind of way (apologies to all you Sparksians out there.) It’s just so contrived, like a Lifetime movie in book form. Am I the only one who feels this way?

  907. Love Sally Mann’s What Remains.

    Maureen, glad you found John Elder’s photos. If you had to identify which of the brothers’ photos came from the gay emotional one and which came from the mechanically inclined Aspergian one, wouldn’t it be easy to figure it out? Yet both brothers are talented photographers in their own way, with obvious sensitivity toward their respective subjects.

  908. I just know as soon as I go to bed the party’s really going to start around here. Alas, the comfort of my bed and my sweetie’s warm back are too enticing for me to resist. Have fun everyone!

  909. Polly I felt the same way about The Shack, but I also felt guilty for feeling that way and almost had to force myself to finish it. It had good intentions, but hokey was exactly what I thought.

  910. Now I have avoided The Shack, because I get worried about the mass appeal (acknowledging to myself that I do not exactly have the 95 percent similarity gene). I say, if they (whoever they are) read Frit. Capra’s Turning Point . . . I will give it a go.

    I’m being elitist, because I have loved me some hokey ass books in my time . . . haven’t read one word of the Shack . . . I don’t even know what I am talking about, and I should be updating all my paperwork for a meeting on thursday OR organizing the studio with my new professional looking furniture – but, here I am, blogging . . .

  911. I love the philosophy of Baby Blues/Zits/Ziggy, in about that order . . . also POOH, although I am a Tigger 363 days per year, and am an Eeyore on the other 2 days.

  912. I posted a new thingy on my blog which had been sitting in blog purgatory for months . . . trying to get myself warmed up to working again . . .

    I have about 30 postings in my queue and can’t seem to finish and post any of them, is that very Eeyore of me, or perhaps Rabbit (my favorite is Owl) . . .

  913. Favorite Tigger quote “I derailed my train of thought.”

  914. Sher, remember when you said you think about a piece for a while, that the creating of it is the last step? You’re not merely “blogging,” you are “gestating.” You contemplate, then create. Everything here feeds into spirit; I’m guessing it will find its way into your art, later.

    Also, what you said up there? I was so moved, and so sure that you’d expressed it perfectly for me, too (and I’m sure so many others here), that I believe I stopped breathing for a minute.

  915. You’re not being an elitest Sher, your being a realist. Most of what gains mass appeal is not up to snuff for us..you have to read The Shack to know what I mean when I say it felt unauthentic to me in some way, or contrived like Polly said. Again, I see its appeal and it definitely does more good than harm.
    Did anyone see the scathing review Stephen King gave the Twilight author?

  916. Caryl!! Simultaneous post!

  917. Oh, and Sher — when I say, “up there,” I am referring to number 6 on the Claire update.

  918. Alright, as long as we’re sharing quotes, I will share my new favorite Dorothy Parker quote: “I’ve never been a millionaire but I just know I’d be darling at it.” — Dorothy Parker

  919. I couldn’t have said it better Dorothy. Carrie, are you one of the bloggers who was reading Stephanie Kallos Sing Them Home?

  920. No Caryl — this week, it is Sacred Compass, The Way of Discernment (Brent Bill), Little, Big and The Bear Comes Home. What did you think of Sing Them Home? It sure has mass appeal; should I load with silver bullets?

  921. I am reading her first book, Broken for You, which I am enjoying thus far. I just finished The Piano Tuner which was amazing, and I also picked Agee today.

  922. I saw your post on The Piano Tuner, which was as fine a recommendation for pushing it forward in the queue as I’ve seen.

  923. I know exactly what you’re talking about, by the way: I walked out of Terms of Endearment feeling manipulated and insulted. I haven’t read the Shack, probably still will, but I certainly catch your drift.

    An early morning tomorrow, so I must say sweet dreams, Caryl.

  924. Boy, its always the two of us saying goodnight now. Have a great day tomorrow Carrie.

  925. Man, I want to quit my job JUST so I can read all the books everyone recommends here AND be always available to chat 24-7 with whoever’s on.

    Where to begin …

    Liz/Molly, my fellow Catholics, my husband calls me a Catholic Leftist, which I just love. That’s exactly what I am. I, too, love the liturgy, the ritual, the continuity “despite itself” (perfect). I believe the Catholic Church is once again renewing itself. I was a post-Vatican II baby and when I was a kid, our church was really warm and fuzzy: guitars, mass in our neighbors’ house by the fireplace. It was home and homey.

    I really love my particular church: our priest (a former Baptist) has two adopted Chinese sons, we have three sisters from India who are into chakras, anyone who is developmentally disabled or foreign seems to go to my church. It’s just a funky Catholic place.
    I am also a saint lover. I am going to put an essay I wrote (and sent to Haven after her saint post) on yahoo because any Catholics (especially you, Liz and Bug) will get the saint-love thang.

    Gosh, Ok, what next …

    Sher. Read Owen Meany the nativity chapter last night. I have all kinds of thoughts. Shall you and Polly and I e-mail? And of course anyone else who is up for Owen Meany chats.

    Molly, I am starting the Shack and looking forward to it. Sher, I am like you. I fear anything with mass appeal, fearing the lowest-common-denominator effect. I finally read The Celestine Prophecy and just sneered. I held off on Eat, Pray, Love forever and begrudgingly liked it, though not the author after I saw her on Oprah.

    My most fabulous sister has offered me a miles ticket (she flies ALL THE TIME and builds up miles until Hell won’t have them). I am trying to convince her to meet me in Durham for Blog Baby Thursday (Holy Thursday with new meaning).

    OK. Back to grading mid-terms. Later.

    Oh, also. I need the power of the blog. Something might be happening for me of an extremely exciting nature. Good vibes in my general direction would be most appreciated. Will divulge more when I feel less terrified about it.

  926. Good Morning, Maureen. You’re obviously a “morning person,” like me. At 5:30 am your post (above) is as bright and sparkly as sunshine on diamond. Morning is my best time of the day, too. I’ll keep a Good Thought for you regarding your “extremely exciting happening.”

    NEW FLASH FOR SHER! Michel Faber has written a few follow-up short stories telling the fates of characters from “The Crimson Petal and the White.” The book is not easy to find — Borders tells me its out of print, and our fabulous Allen county library does not have a copy. But Jeff Bezos and Amazon can help you out. That’s where I ordered mine. I have his latest, “Fire Gospel,” from our library and plan to peruse it later today. I’ll let you know …

  927. Hi Jodi! Are you sure you can’t go to Durham? I would love to meet you. Do you have Good Friday off? Not enough Catholics out your way? The reading is not until 7 PM Thursday night. Drive to the airport. Get on a plane ….

  928. NEWS FLASH FOR SHER, Part II: The Michel Faber book is called “The Apple: New Crimson Petal Stories.”

  929. Good morning everyone. Thank you all so much for your kindness and understanding. Steve was put to death at 1:30 this morning. He had spent the day with his family and Stacy was with him throughout the night. So, he knows he was loved. Now we all just keep on keeping on. To do otherwise would not honor his life or the lives of the victims. I have to promise myself not to read the comments people are leaving online for the news articles. It just scares me how callous and unfeeling so many people are, especially in this state of so many churches and people with their so called faith. It will be a quiet day today. It is freezing, which I guess is appropriate.

    Again, I really and truly appreciate each and every one of you and all that you have brought to my life. Sher- I will pick up the Wally Lamb book. I have been looking at it for awhile now thinking about reading it and you are right that now might be a good time. Love to you all.

  930. Oooh, Maureen! Positive vibes and all good wishes flowing your way!

    I look forward to your saints essay — thanks!

    I’m off to a doctor’s appointment — wish me strong bones!

  931. Good morning, Linda. May God grant you a day of rest and of solace. Know that you did all you could and that your spirit was in the right place and that you stood up for the spirit of love even as you were face-to-face with hate. I’ll be thinking of you and Stacy and of Steve’s family and of all who were affected by this. May love and understanding and healing always be our goal.

  932. Thanks, Liz. Good luck with your bones. Will you be in Durham in April?

  933. Tragically, I will not be in Durham. My husband is on a short-term deployment (foreign service, not military, so he’s in little danger) and my entourage is too big to bring along.

  934. Maureen, You’re warm and sunny on the coldest winter day. Your students surely are lucky, to spend their days with you. I want to meet you, too, and we’ll have to spend an afternoon or two together sometime soon. The Universe will arrange it!

  935. I just read this quote on my daily email from Sojourners and thought it was particularly helpful for me today. Thought I would share:

    “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
    James Baldwin,
    writer and civil rights leader

  936. I’m a bit of a schizophrenic on the topic of commercialism and mass appeal. It usually (but not always) doesn’t work for me in books; it virtually NEVER works for me in spirituality-based books. I loathed Celestine Prophesy and the Conversations with God books. (Remember the craze of those 50 sequels in the 90s? Neal Donald Walsh must be a gazillionaire.) The Alchemist was good, I thought, because it was short and it adhered to a “bedtime story” kind of structure. And I loved The Four Agreements.

    In the world of movies, I am a total commercial sap. I can’t stop myself from watching Pretty Woman every time it’s on cable and I still get teary every time Julia Roberts’ hooker character has her Cinderella moment in the lobby of the hotel in her red dress. You can make me cry just by mentioning the scene in Terms of Endearment where the youngest boy tries to give his candy bar back at the grocery store. (“I don’t need this, Mom. It’s okay.” Gaaaah.) And I just saw The Wrestler, on Super Bowl Sunday in an empty theater, thank god, because I was a heaving, sobbing, snot-dripping mess for 5 minutes after it ended. On the other hand, Fellini movies (and the like) usually leave me confused and resentful. (Wait, what? The crying clown in the rain represents the apathy of society? How do you know that?? I’m gonna need more popcorn.)

  937. Shanna – I can’t bear the scene where Debra Winger tells her son that she knows he loves her, knowing that she’ll never see him again. Ugh, I’m starting to cry right now just thinking of it.

  938. That’s a great quote, Linda.

  939. “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

    Linda – And even your being there, saying or indicating “This is wrong,” starts that change happening or at least makes others realize there is a different point of view.

    PSALM 1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
    But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
    He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.

    Just standing on the side of right. Just refusing to join in the jeers of hate, walking beside those who have no friend, you grow like a fruitful tree and shelter others who sprout in your shade.

    Thanks for being a strong tree for us on this issue.

  940. I’m getting pretty excited about all of you famous blog posters coming to Durham…

    I keep wanting to be helpful in some way, but I’m not sure how…

    Molly…If you get to come after all, and want to visit the Lemur Center, you have to schedule a tour ahead of time, as they don’t let you just show up…here is the link about that: http://lemur.duke.edu/tours/tours.php

    I can still find out about using the Meeting House for cooking and sharing a meal if you are interested in doing that…Sher, I understand your impulse to do that, because I also feel the need to feed people to make them feel nurtured looked after and appreciated…I would be honored to team up with you.

    If cooking doesn’t turn out to be a workable plan, we are awash here in fine restaurants of economic and culinary diversity. Some magazine (Gourmet maybe) recently called us the best little foodie town in America, or some such accolade.

    Also, this might still be happening when you are here:

    Filming for “Main Street” is set to begin March 16 and last several weeks, according to the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau. Officials said the movie will be shot in several locations around town, but they didn’t identify any of them.

    “Main Street” centers on “a diverse group of residents of a small, economically moribund American city facing the consequences of change,” according to Variety.

    Durham native Thom Mount, who produced “Bull Durham” in 1988, is one of the producers for the film. Officials in the North Carolina Film Office estimate filming will create about 300 temporary jobs for acting extras and film crew members.

    “Main Street” was written by Horton Foote after a visit to Durham two years ago. Foote, 93, won Oscars for adapting Harper Lee’s acclaimed novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” for the 1962 movie of the same name and for writing the screenplay for the 1983 movie “Tender Mercies.”

    British theater director John Doyle has agreed to direct the film. He won a Tony Award in 2006 for “Sweeney Todd” and was nominated for another Tony for “Company.”

    Actors will be announced next week…The web site “The Movie Insider” suggests that Ellen Burstyn, Patricia Clarkson, Tim Robbins and Sam Riley are attached to the film.

    Anyway, if there is anything
    helpful I can do for any of you who are coming, please just ask…

  941. Nora – Maybe we could all get to be in the movie’s street scenes?!?!
    No – I have a feeling a group of crazed Blog Babies might not look like “Main street” typicals.

    Thanks for the legwork. I am bargaining with my fabulous sister to join the fun.

  942. Maureen!
    I have been wanting to ask you if you have chickens to go along with your cows…Ever since I got my outlaw backyard chicks, I am obsessed and like nothing better than swapping hen stories, and I’m afraid I’m starting to really bore my chickenless friends…something about their glazed eyes…

  943. Maureen — ! I just read your “Almanzo” essay and the “Saint Mo,” and I have to ask: Who ARE you? — and are we related?! I really was a little freaked out (in a completely great way) after I read about your love for all things Little House (“I, too, sister!”) and your love of the saints (see above) to read your possible Chapter headings: Anne Morrow Lindbergh!?! Willa Cather?!? Oh, my dear — these are all of my beloveds. Whew! I think I have the vapors.

  944. Liz,

    Would you mind describing your “entourage”? Or, how many hula hoops are we talking, here?

    ~ Sarah

  945. Ha! My “peeps” are my 17 year old son, my 14 year old daughter, and my 12 year old daughter. The 12 year old (Claire) will be returning from a Spring Break marine science field trip, while the olders and I will be touring Virginia colleges. If my son were interested in NC schools (and we could afford the out-of-state tuition) I’d be golden.

    And I have been hoisted in my own petard (or trapped in my own hula hoop): sometimes it does feel a little crowded in this hoop!

  946. Liz – That is the absolute beauty of this blog!! Every time I get on here and chat, I say to myself “It’s My PEOPLE! It’s MY TRIBE! Here they all are: the people I was meant to be with, my soul family from whom I became separated at birth!”

    Isn’t it just weird? All these other people, scattered across the country, who love the same writers and think about the same questions.

    Even stranger: I have three children, ages 16, 13, and 11 – a year behind yours. I went through a period of time this past December when I was also in a state of hyperventilation, like finding out I was part of a set of mega-tuplets (what’s the word for twenty twins?) and I just located them all.

    Sarah – Put Liz on the list for the LIW package that should be arriving at your house today, after Kate and all the other LIW junkies.

  947. Yay! LIW package!

  948. Nora – I feel your pain on the chicken fetish. In the little city of Norwich (5,000 residents) where I teach, they just outlawed “farm animals” in the city. There was a household that had a goat and chickens and such.

    Out where I live, the current inventory is:
    cows – 300+
    cats – average of 25 between the barn and the house
    geese – 4 (3 grey and one white)
    ducks – 3 Muscovies with the red masks
    chickens – alas, I think the last one has died. Way back we had lots of them (15?) and we always ate our own eggs. We had Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rocks. I miss them. They were great ambiance and the eggs were so much better than from the store. They got old and we never replaced them. I want to get some chicks – It was just negligent attrition on our part.
    dog – 1, Riley
    chinchilla – 1, Evie

  949. That’s it, I am quitting my job and coming to Durham. I am whining, whining in my head that I won’t be there. Oooh, but I am meeting Polly and hanging out with her so all is not lost!!
    Speaking of “these are my people, this are my tribe.” Do you ever find yourself at night just hanging out reading and then you have to stop and go to the computer to see where everyone is and what’s going on? I really noticed this last night when I was walking over to my computer and I felt as though I was going to call an old friend whom I badly needed to talk to.

  950. Amy – Constantly I am running to my computer to see what everyone’s up to!!! My poor family can barely stand me these days.
    Are you sure Polly can’t just kidnap you and drag you down to Durham? Isn’t that a legitimate excuse to not be at work Thursday or Friday? Then the blog babies can pay your ransom and you’re back at work Monday. Easy.

  951. Sarah – Perhaps when you finish with the LIW paraphernalia I sent, you can add whatever LIW junkie goodies you’ve got and send it on. That would be a chain letter (chain package) I would willingly partake in and wait breathlessly for it to arrive back to me. Perhaps by U-Haul?

  952. Maureen- do you feed the outside cats on the farm or do they fend for themselves by eating birds and mice? Just wondering. I think I would last about a week doing what you do. I am tired just thinking about it.

  953. Nora- there is a Lemur Center at Duke??!!! That is so awesome.

  954. Oh, Liz – some days I am crawling out of my own hula hoop to escape the 3 ring circus inside it.

    For Super Bown Sunday (ba humbug) . . . I went on a long perusal of Lowe’s, picked up a friend who works at retail (their slowest day of the year), went to the abandoned KFC and ate from the buffet for 2 hours . . . I came back 4 hours later and football mania was still on . . . Don said “I thought you went to buy a pack of staples for your staple gun” I said “Yep, I did” . . .

    ha!

    Went to view Revolutionary Road by myself Saturday night (my son’s Forensic Debate bus was running 3 hours late (perfect amount of time to watch a movie, no?) I really LOVED that movie in a Velveteen Rabbit “real” kind of way. It was eery and all I can say is go see it if you are brave enough (I don’t think it is mass appeal because I think the general public is horrified and turn away from its truth and authenticity. I didn’t cry, but I am still quaking inside – in one of those ‘I must have a hysterical cry in the shower’ ways.

    I acquiesce on the cooking in Durham thing . . . but no body said you can’t plug in a crock pot in a room . . .

    Carrie – yes I am gestating and I am overdue! It is like I am frantically getting the nursery ready for the impending arrival!

    You get it girl!

    Ok, I Must get ready for meetings tomorrow.

    I, too, as Maureen did, invoke and requet the power of the blog babies – – I have my future brewing and sometimes forget to stir the pot . . . are we sure Durham can contain us all – we might create amazing rainbows and showers of butterflies while there . . . might not work for the movie set!

    1. when I make listed
    2. some crazy truths
    3. just pop out of my head
    4. and because they are numbered
    5. they carry more weight as facts
    6. you are now part
    7. of my chosen family.

  955. Yes Amy, I do that also…checking the computer one last time before bed, and first thing in the morning before the daycare children arrive…So many of you stay up really late…there’s usually a lot of thought and merriment to be had early!

    And, I am paying way more attention to the weather reports across America than I used to, imagining you all in your different climates and Forces of Nature…

  956. Maureen, I will be forced to stay away from NC due to actual training I am in for two weeks in PA. I don’t fly back home to Ohio until Good Friday. And wouldn’t you know, our office is closed that day so if I didn’t have mandatory training ( which my co has paid a small fortune for me to attend) I could easily have been able to go!!!

  957. Linda – The barn cats eat mice (we rely on the cats to keep the vermin at bay), waste milk (from cows treated with antibiotics – that never goes in the tanker!! Huge huge fines! We dump it in the gutter with the manure) And the absolute favorite food of the barn cats: cow placentas. The cats sit in a circle around the back end of a cow that are in labor waiting for her to deliver her placenta, and then they all fight over who gets to eat it. Usually they split it – not by etiquette but by unintentional division due to ripping.

    Sorry. Gross. But that’s life out here in the rural jungle.

    If the barn cats get very hungry they come up to the house where I take pity on them and give them table scraps.

    We have only one house cat and three or four mud-room cats. These were all orphans that the boys raised by hand.

  958. Hi Sher!!! You vibe my way and I’ll vibe yours! Oooo, that sounded a tad kinky.
    Anywaym want to chat about Owen Meany? I’ll e-mail and then you can e-mail Polly in if you have her e-mail.

    Amy – Shoot. Training shmaining. If I bring my laptop we can just put you on Skype and set it in the middle of the party.

  959. Sher~ I love hearing updates about Claire. She is so funny.
    Cats eat cow placenta? Huh, I have learned so much shit from this blog.

  960. My cat loves it when I pour him a little dish of half-n-half in the AM. I should probably try working some cow placentas into his diet, too. Might give a nice sheen to his already beautiful fur coat. He already regards the dogs as vermin. They, in turn, worship him.

  961. George, I think Maureen could market this into the cat owner industry.

  962. Yes, I am starting to think about this as a source of added income. It’s usually my job to fish the placentas out of the gutter and hurl them into the snow bank. I guess I’ll stash them and package them instead.

    I just remembered that I videotaped a cat eating one for Linda awhile back. I’ll see if I can upload that to the yahoo site. I meant to get a movie of the calf being delivered but I missed it during the ten minutes I went back to the house to eat. But I did get two cats fighting over the

  963. placenta.

  964. Maureen, I am really interested in your saint essay, please post it soon. I am Catholic born and raised, and I am raising my children the same. I don’t attend mass as much as I should, I teach ccd off and on, but I love my faith even when its fallible. I love the term Catholic leftist, that is a group I would join. I was just in Sacramento with my two youngest and we went into a church built in the late 1800’s and the feeling I get walking into that kind of history and faith, not to mention the beauty of building itself, is one of pride and knowing my place.

  965. Maureen,

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but I do not have proper LIW Junkie credentials, nor any LIW goodies to pass along– I simply needed someone to do some ‘splainin’, and you graciously stepped up to the plate.

    Me, I’ll be doing well if I can watch this here VHS tape (which arrived today– thanks) and send it along without mangling it first! No need to worry. Everything is Under Control.

    Any tips on how to discern Kate’s address? Ha.

    ~ Sarah

  966. Oh boy. Maureen, you are true warrior in this adventure called life.

    George, our cat, Iris, is fat and sassy. If I gave her even a drop of half and half she would nag me forever. I am trying hard to ration her dry food but I still leave it out all day which I know I should not do. She is such an emotional eater. LOL

  967. Hi Caryl –
    It’s in the yahoo group files.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/havenblogbabies/files/

    I saw one of the early mission churches when I visited my sister in San Diego. Have you read Death Comes for the Archbishop? That is one of my all-time favorites.

    Also I would highly recommend Enduring Grace: Living Portraits of Seven Women Mystics by Carol Lee Flinders. She is the same woman who wrote Laurel’s Kitchen. It has portraits of Clare of Assissi, Terese of Liseaux, Catherine of Sienna and Catherine of Genoa, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Julian of Norwich, and Theresa of Avila. She talks about them as women, as mystics, and as writers. Fascinating.

  968. Hi Sarah –
    No worries, girlfriend. You’ll be a junkie by the time we’re through with you! Just enjoy the movie. Beware Almanzo’s teeth. Forewarned is forearmed.

  969. Caryl and Maureen — Have you read CLOISTER WALK, by Kathleen Norris? She’s a Protestant who retreats annually at a Benedictine monastery. I loved it. She also wrote AMAZING GRACE: A VOCABULARY OF FAITH, which was thought-provoking.

  970. Liz – I LOVE KATHLEEN NORRIS. I just read Acedia, her new book. Long ago I read Dakota, also hers.
    And, (I know, shut up, Maureen) I heard her speak at the Calvin Festival where I saw Haven.

  971. I always wanted to be the first baptist nun – – i.e., retreat to a cloister, make art and write, let somebody else feed, cloth, support me so I could ‘do my work’ . .. . that never quite worked out, plus the whole celebate thing, meh, I would need a conjugal visit at least a few times per year.

    Anybody know what religion that is?

  972. Where is Haven, John M????? Wah!

    Also, Jodi – yippee on Crimson Petal….just ordered the follow ups . . . I have had a bad credit card week, furniture, 2 bookstores, eek! now amazon . . .

  973. SHEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!! Hi, woman! I gotta go though I want to keep chatting. My little guy is waiting for me.

  974. Real Lemurs???? Really??? Let’s all convene there, too!

  975. I also like to volunteer for scientific studies.

  976. The job I was trying to get does not exist. Damn the newspaper industry.

  977. I have Acedia and Me- a Marriage, Monks, and a Writers Life by Kathleen Norris sitting on my nightstand, I love the title. I will find her other books tonight. Sher, I hear you on the credit cards- now amazon after booking Durham..
    Kate, what happened?

  978. Maureen…

    In addition to chickens in the backyard, I have a 5 foot plaster statue of St. Teresa of Lisieux in my living room… I got her when I was an authentic hippie college student in 1969. A friend whose father was an Episcopal priest whose best friend was a Catholic priest whose church was replacing their statues gave her to me. He brought her to me in a wheelbarrow, and the Little Flower has been with me ever since…

    (I think I have just revealed myself to be the Oldest One Here…oh well…maybe you can use a Mother Figure for this posse!

  979. The position was eliminated and the responsibilities foisted on someone else who already works there.

  980. Oh my goodness, Sher! I read IN THIS HOUSE OF BREDE when I was a Methodist pre-teen — and cloistered sisterhood sounded like the perfect life! I knew I was destined to be a nun. My hopes were only slightly dashed when I found out: The Methodist church ain’t got no stinkin’ nuns. Now I’m married with three kids, and oh, my dear! There are some days when it still sounds like the perfect life!

  981. my cloister is my porch swing haning down in the studio in front of the giant centuries old huckleberry tree . . . unfortunately, nobody brings me food, or limoncello, or art supplies . . . arg! Carrie has said, I need a “theo” for my “vincent” – yip!

  982. Kate, I am so sad that they do not see the indispensableness of your spirit and flair – those rat sucking bastards, wait that is the vampire cats, um – clown-assed bastards . . . tell me whatever you want me to call them and I shall curse to the high heavens.

    Have you checked jobs in Nashville????

  983. spent the last half hour searching for authentic amalfi lemoncello . . . it costs twice as much to ship as to buy . . . dang it . . . I’m all out of limoncello and italian wine . . .

  984. You crack me up, Sher.

  985. Maureen, I would love to kidnaop Amy and bring her to NC, only I’m not coming. I was just in CA and have an upcoming trip to OH to visit a very sick friend, so that’s about all I can take on my plate right now. Can’t wait to see the pictures tho. And Amy and I will have to take some pics when we get together and kick some ass in PA

  986. Liz – I just read In This House of Brede – just loved it. So my husband bought me three more in the Loyola Catholic Classics series.

    Polly – Sob! I’ll have to road-trip down into PA over the summer. Are you up for an Owen Meany discussion with Sher and me via e-mail? And of course anyone else is welcome to join, just don’t want to “clog the blog” with a book no one else is reading.

    Oh, Kate. Shit damn, Tyrone! That just stinks.

  987. Do you say supermarket or grocery store?

  988. Yes Maureen, I am totally up to get Meany with Owen. My e is polly kahl at msn dot com. Looking forward to discussing the funky little guy.

  989. I mean “getting Meany with Owen.” No rush, but I’m ready when you gals are.

  990. Oh Kate!! I am so sorry…one door closes, another one opens, and the new one doesn’t have IDIOTS who don’t recognize brilliance behind it, see?
    All you Catholic and Spiritual people…Still an unbeliever here, but couldn’t resist buying a copy of Anne Lamott’s ‘Grace Eventually’ which I haven’t read yet, but hope it gives ME some hope. I have read several of her other books that I really liked.
    Gotta go socialize with the spouse.
    LOL

  991. I am behind in answering direct questions and in general keeping up, but I did just go through and read every comment. (I’m writing a new post right now about . . . I don’t know what). Liz — was it Liz? JANE-EMILY was such an important to me that when I was interviewed by my publisher at S&S about my favorite books as a child I named it; a few hours later a fact-checker e-mailed me to say no such book existed. And yet it doth sit in my study right this minute.

    Tracy? If Delonda was important to you and you would take the time to say so, and find this blog, then I’d bet my last dollar I knew who you are. Except I can’t bet because I’m a Quaker. So I’ll just say this: I named a character in SOLACE after your mother.

    I’m terribly behind on e-mail; thank you, Maureen, for summarizing. Thanks for everything, actually.

    For all of you coming to the April Love Fest, I have a REALLY nice surprise for you.

    And augh, the death penalty — my heart constricts with horror at the thought of it. I remember watching the news footage of Ted Bundy’s execution, and the people outside chanting “Burn Bundy Burn,” and look: I’ve studied plenty about Ted Bundy. I have an unacknowledged PhD in serial killers. I wouldn’t make the argument that he should go on living; this is, after all, the animal kingdom, and the best thing that could have happened was that he wandered on to private property and some yokel said, “Son, I think you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time,” and blew a hole in his chest. But for the state to kill its own citizens?!? I almost literally cannot withstand the thought. I’m so sorry for all of you who are touched by it.

    The cross-stitch Jodi’s working on is so beautiful I’ve already confessed that I will be stealing it. I won’t even try to hide the theft; I’m just going to knock on the door, have a visit, walk out with it under my arm.

    Love you all.

  992. Haven! I have been thinking about you today and hoping all is well. So good to see you tonight.

  993. Kate~
    I say grocery. That’s it. ” I have to go to the grocery.” And when I go to the grocery, I buy pop.

  994. Oh whoops, Linda! I thought Kate posted that!

  995. Kate, I am so sorry. Those idiots. But yes, channel some Maria von Trapp and Mother Superior. Where God closes a door…..and climb every nountain. You are AMAZING and someone will snap you up soon and be grateful.
    —-
    Yes, I can certainly agree that part of The Shack are awkward. What struck me as hokey were, in reality, all of the human’s part (Mack). It was the God/HS/Jesus part that made me feel better about my place in the universe.
    ——
    I am spreading the Lemur Love! And thanks to Nora Barnacles, I NOW HAVE ACCESS TO REMARKABLE creatures!!!!! sign me UP.
    —–
    I am so sad about some of the babies not coming to Durham. But we will lift a drink (of tea or Coke-a-Cola) in your honor!
    —–
    Linda, I was thinking and thinking of you last night, and the quote from some months ago came back to me: Having done all, stand. You have stood, and I am proud to know you.
    ——
    Tex, as a new friend, I say this in love. Where the hell are you and are you okay? Sending love and prayers your way.
    ——
    Suzanne?!?!?!?!?! Where you be? Are you okay?
    ——-
    Haven, hope you and your family are doing well. Remember not to let anything (your overworked gray matter included) tell you that your work and your very self are not important and loved.

  996. Damn, it took so long for me to write my piece (neighbor brought my dogs over and then shot the breeze, freaking COLD in my 165 year old house I had to make cocoa), Haven snuck in and posted. I feel a little sheepish now.

    ALSO.

    My tech guy at school HAS BLOCKED THIS SITE. AGAIN. I am going to have a little come to Jesus meeting with him tomorrow.

    Maureen——BIG LOVE VIBES COMING TO YOUR THROUGH THE COLD FOR YOUR POSSIBLY EXCITING NEWS. SO glad to have found you. Sniff.

    Sarah–if you come to Durham, can we willow-willow-wail-y and sing about it gaily?

  997. And where is Kittery?

    Ok, I’m for bed (with sweet dreams of a surprise in Durham!).

    Have a good night!

  998. Molly,

    I’m proud to recall that in no time at all,
    with no other recourses but my own resources,
    with firm application and determination…
    I made a fool of myself!

    All the same, I won’t be coming to Durham in April, and you of all people should remember why: on the internet, no one knows we’re dogs. That’s harder to pull off, face to face.

    ~ Sarah

  999. Tex is okay.

  1000. This willow willow waily … where pray tell is this coming from? I have an idea, but …. you first. :P

    And … I’m here. Been recuperatin’..and somewhat of a hermit. ;)

  1001. Kittery,

    This willow willow waily is a’comin’ from Molly, natch.

    It originates from The Court Jester, a 1955 movie starring Danny Kaye.

    I hope your recuperatin’ is going well.

    ~ Sarah

  1002. Ah, thankee Sarah. The same line is also in a Gilbert and Sullivan song .. I knew it was too much to hope for that someone else was singing G&S songs. :)

    The recuperating is going pretty well .. the cold that knocked me on my arse is finally starting to relent. :)

  1003. hi yall

    im ungodly busy putting the full court press on selling my house. also doing taxes and everything i can to hang onto the farm so da banks dont get it! haven is writing 21 hours a day, i swanee she is. we wave at each other is all. no time to lose when deadlines approach they ROAR

  1004. hi yall

    im ungodly busy putting the full court press on selling my house, AGAIB=N. THIS TIME FOR SURE. so i ainy goin to . also doing taxes and everything i can to hang onto the farm so da banks dont get it! haven is writing 21 hours a day, i swanee she is. we wave at each other is all. no time to lose when deadlines approach they ROAR!!! have mercy on anyone who wants t obe a writer is all i have to say. it’s hard, you get paid last, and people wonder why youre always writing but never at their parties. oh and if youre lucky you may get to do it over and over! i swanee i sat NEVER AGAIN but just like love, i know i will write another book, if i can AFFORD TO.

  1005. ‘Ello Suzanne. :)

    I’ve been wondering how you were. How is your legal action going? Is that company going to pay up soon?

  1006. and yes i am the worst typist, ever. what i meant to say was “so i aint goin to NC until i arrive with a moving van full of my belongings.”. i am missing the april festivities but i know it will be a hoot and i can read all about it here. i loved THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN more than the SHACK, and i love OWEN MEANY more than anyone, in fact haven knows that when i die i want my headstone to read OWEN MEANY. i’m serious, yall. and i want to be burnt but my ahes should be put in a meanie sized coffin, dont go spreading my ahses on some fuckin beach or lovely bay or none o that. ashes, buried, and OWEN MEANY

    i also meant to say, on the above mangled post; ” I swanee, I say Never Again to writing another book, but just like Love i know i will do both if i can afford to.”

  1007. hi ho Kittery! YES, they just settled today,AND i didnt have to file suit. yes i will be paid. their Settlement letter was a little high handed , however, a little nasty? so i threw in my lawyer’s fee as well. really, they should have someone who knows how to write these settlements go over these things , otherwise……

  1008. Hahaha, excellent! :D

  1009. So good to hear from you Suzanne. If I get to SF in the next few monthes can we do lunch?

  1010. I was at the YMCA last night on the dreaded treadmill, waiting for my son to be done with swim practice. I was just getting to the end of my 30 minutes and of course they were playing the classic rock station on the radio.

    Last song I heard? “Wild Horses” by the Rolling Stones.

    This has been the theme song for my desire to go to Durham, despite the fact that it is “unnecessary” (this from my Aspergian husband, though he accepts it; the entire trip will not add up to the hours he has spent off fishing with people HE has met on a blog), and despite the fact that I am going to see a bunch of people I have never met. BUT …. it is a bunch of people that are closer friends within three months than anyone I have known here for twenty years.

    So, I am booking my flight. I think I have convinced my beloved older sis (my Melinda) to meet me there. She is just like me but more so.

    Does anyone have a hotel reservation already? We want the room next door, and if anyone wants to share with us, you are welcome.

  1011. Yo, lightening bug! Molly darling, how’s things?!? I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your concern, but as my darling Caryl said – I’m doin’ OK.
    I’m a bit annoyed at myself for failing to bloggedy blog of late, but shit has been going down. So I’m excused I reckon. I have been thinking of you tho, and your incredibly original lemur hand-print tatt! I’m sure that Sher won’t mind me saying that my next tattoo, which shall be inked on the back of one of my calves… well, it’s her artwork/picture of mother Mary, that I want forever needled there!

    Fuck all that shit though, what, may I ask, is going on in your world darling Molly????

  1012. “Wild Horses” – here we go again Maureen! Just rewind and put the “I’m goin’ back to Indiana” song in that lovely head of yours.

  1013. oh yeah – HI SUZY Q!! Love your work, your humour and your “smarts”. As always!
    Tex X

  1014. Hi Tex! Glad to see you here. I count on you for my early morning chat.
    So, you’re OK? How goes the process? Anything we can do?
    “I’m goin’ back to Indiana!”

  1015. PS I don’t want y’all to think that I can’t spell. Americans and Aussies just spell shit differently. Like Colour and Honour etc
    I won’t go on about the fact that we, the English, MADE words, ‘coz we’re all different.
    I’m just being cheeky and facetious, if ya wanna slap me. This is what happens when I’m left to my own devises late at night.!

  1016. Tex – If you comment again and I don’t respond, it’s because I have to go to the barn and feed my babies.

  1017. Morning Maureen!
    I love the fact that as soon as I start acting silly, you come aboard.
    Gimme a sec, I have to roll a cigarette – I KNOW – then I’ll be back to join you for breakfast!

  1018. okey dokes, see ya soon mate.

  1019. I’ve desperately tried to change my avatar. I’m just not down with the whole pastel green thang, see. I’ve created a wordpress account and uploaded photos, and yet still, I’m flummoxed.
    Can anyone coach me?

  1020. As I’ve said before in our yahoo group – I will share a bed in spirit. I’ll be there, in Durham, in spirit. And I will not allow myself to get jealous. In spirit.
    pshaw – as Zippy says.

  1021. Hi Tex – I’m back: calves fed, kids on the bus, breakfast.
    Shoot … running late for work. I’ll catch you in a bite if you’re still up. Go to sleep if you’re tired.

    Hi Jodi!

  1022. Tex – Do you use Skype? We can bring a laptop and let you be with us online. Check it out.

    Jodi? Oh. Left for work already.

    Bye, Tex. Carry on, girlfriend.

  1023. Suzanne,

    Have you said the house selling prayer to St. Joseph? I need to do that as well but you have to bury a minature statue of St. Joseph in your yard and I haven’t been able to do this for 2 reasons. The Catholic in me feels weird about burying a Saint upside down in the dirt and well, there is like 3 feets of snow in our front yard. Looks like we aren’t moving until Spring.

  1024. wooooooo, I’m so tired, I’m about to lay my head down on a big fluffy, rather inviting, pillow. Nighty night my friends.
    (Ps, I don’t have Skype I’m afraid, so I’ll have to make do with the ‘ol written word.)Thanks for inviting me though. I’m falling asleep now.
    Snooze…. whoosh…plonk.
    xox

  1025. Hey Tex. I’ve been thinking of you. Recovery is tough business, I know, but you are strong. Keep it up. You are a rock star, girl!

  1026. Maureen, in regards to hotels in durham, I have booked rooms at Washington Duke Inn for myself and the two girls, and because I am super controlling I booked Sher and Kate there as well. It is $189 a night for a double, $159 if you do it on Expedia. It is on the Duke University golf course and its beautiful. I know Linda is staying at, oh I cannot remember, but she is booked somewhere as well. I did alot of research and chose this hotel, which is steep but perhaps do-able if shared?

  1027. You’re gonna like Washington Duke Inn, I guarantee it. I probably won’t stay there, have friends in Durham, but I might head over there for a round of golf.

  1028. George, you have to come have a drink with me there. What day are you planning on arriving?

  1029. Gone yesterday, back today!!! Woot!

    Watching a cool video about the Challenger for the THIRD time today. Thought I would check in.

    Tex–glad you’re okay. Was worried.

    Suzzanne–I’m so glad you got those bastards to give you your money. About damn time.

    But Sarah, I LIKE dogs…

    So they sent for a witch with a terrible twitch
    To ask how my future impressed her
    She took one look at me and cried “hehehehehe, HE?
    What else could he be but a jester?”
    A jester? A JESTER? a funny idea a jester
    No butcher no baker no candlestick maker
    And me with the look of a fine undertaker
    Impressed her–as a jester?

    C’mon. Who else is going to sing with me? Quiet Amber, who IS coming with me (YAYYAYYAYYAYYAYYAYYAY!) doesn’t sing. Except when I have poured liquor down her throat and offered as a sign from God–the only karaoke disc Wal-Mart had–The Beatles greatest hits. :)

  1030. My son and I are staying at the Hampton Inn as it is just $109 a night and has free breakfast. My son is 16 so free breakfasts are a good thing. :)

  1031. Jerri,

    Are you out there? Yes, the way forward is with a broken heart, and I think of you often.

    ~~

    A friend of mine died this morning after a prolonged, brutal fight against tongue cancer.

    Early on, it looked like the cancer had been arrested without his having been rendered unable to speak (upon which his career as a lawyer depended, in addition to all the real-life ramifications). Later, after a short-lived all-clear and the cancer revealed itself anew, there was still reason to believe that, even though he would be disfigured and incapacitated to some degree, he would Live. Towards the end… oh, did he suffer.

    Various [inhuman] treatments and measures he tried worked for a few months before the cancer would acclimate to them and rapidly progress again.

    I am relieved that he is no longer in agony, but in the very right now his death is enlivening, not relieving, grief that his span of days had to include such horror. I cannot imagine what his family must have already endured, and is going through now.

    Kevin, fare thee well.

    ~~

    I am coming to finality in a couple other arenas as well, some closer to home than others.

    This morning, I emailed some simple yet hard-quarried statements of truth and closure to a number of friends of varying closeness, regarding a joint undertaking of heart and community in which we’d been involved together for a number of years.

    One of the recipients wrote back immediately and at length, the walls coming down and her heart rising, and spilled forth words and longings of her own that my taking a stand somehow gave her room to express.

    I read through all she sent, marveling at what she was entrusting to me. I was Absolutely O-Kay Fine until her last lines to me:

    “I’d better get going. I will be praying for you and your family.

    “It’ll be okay, honey.”

    Aw, dang.

    (Crying, again. Undone by love, held in a “honey”.)

    ~ Sarah

  1032. Oh, Sarah. I will pray for you, your trials and your loved ones.

  1033. Sarah – So sorry about your friend. My thoughts are with you.

  1034. I am really sorry Sarah.

  1035. Linda and Caryl – Thanks for the hotel info. I’ll get with my homey-sis and see what she wants to do.

  1036. Hi Maureen,

    Sorry I missed you this morning ~ nice to know you were looking for me! It would be FUN if you joined the group on Facebook. Have you taken a look at Haven’s Facebook group? Lots of us you know are there already.

    It’s slowly warming up in Indiana. I’m so sick of driving on ice! Today the sun is shining and the temperature is still about ten degrees. BRrrr!

  1037. Maureen…
    The Marriott downtown is around $129.00. I’m not experienced in these matters…can you haggle with hotels for better deals? I heard that if you speak to a real person rather than booking online, they might find you a better rate.

    Not as fancy as the Washington Duke, but nice… walking distance to the library where the reading is, two blocks from our lovely Saturday morning farmer’s market and new little city park, and a couple of blocks from two of my favorite restaurants which are reasonably priced, especially for breakfast and lunch…Also a great new bar where you can rock and roll to local music called the Pinhook…I love downtown Durham! It used to be a vacant wasteland, and now it’s happening!

    Will you have a car? I think you said you are flying…We now have the super shuttle at RDU airport…just like New York City!

  1038. Sarah, you are a lovely woman, and my heart goes out to you and your friend Kevin’s family.
    Jodi, is there a facebook group? I am on facebook, and chat their with some of our blog friends, but I didn’t know there was a group. Can I add you as a friend- what is your full name?

  1039. Sarah, I’m very sorry to hear about the passing of your friend. It’s a tough thing to go through, I know, but as you said, he is now out of agony and I imagine, residing somewhere joyous and peaceful now. My prayers are with you.

    Molly, I’m a surviver mate. A surviver with a grin. So no need to fret about me, darling.
    And thank you Linda. Every day I’m another step closer to getting off this pain in the ass, thorn in my side methadone. You know the drill.
    X

  1040. oh, dear – I couldn’t stay away another minute . . . I have so much work to do, but just wanted to pop-in, read up on the comments and say “”HI””” . . . so sorry about Kevin, my father-in-law died from throat cancer so I am really understanding the pain of watching that particular cruelty unfold.

    Glad Haven popped-in, too and also glad she is WRITING – yippee, I need me a new Kimmel . . .

    girls – almost done with Owen Meany, shall we set a date for that discussion or should we wait for Haven, et al???? Sounds like Suzanne is up for the challenge, too . . .

    off to work more . . . why isn’t this voice activated, I swear!

  1041. Has anyone played Wii while their dog was watching? Our dog Emma couldn’t figure out why we were “throwing” things, but nothing flew across the room. Jody and I were Wii bowling, and Emma would watch each of us aim the remote then release the button, and she’d race forward, only to stop in confusion when nothing sailed out ahead of her.

    We then took turns playing with Emma as the other took our turn at the Wii game. Poor Emma! =0)

  1042. Hi Blog Babies!
    I just got this in my e-mail. It’s serious. It’s from Geez magazine, a very funky Winnipeg spirituality magazine that I found out about at …. you know where. I dare say we all could take a stab at a Daringly Awkward Sermon.

    1. Enter a sermon
    Please consider entering a sermon in our Daringly Awkward Sermon contest (because social change is a bit awkward!). The deadline is soon, February 28. The entry fee is only $15 (that is, if you’re a subscriber; otherwise it’s $33 and you get a free subscription). Word limit is 800 and we’ll give $400 to each of the top three; many more will get published in the summer issue of Geez. Details here:

    http://geezmagazine.org/contest

    See last year’s winners here:

    http://www.geezmagazine.org/issue10/winners-of-geez-sermon-contest

  1043. Caryl, et al: yes, a drink would be in order. There’s a George’s Garage in Durham that might be fun for a big breakfast get-together.

  1044. Snappy loves it when we play Wii – although she can make yoga a little difficult with tickling our legs while we are trying to stay balanced . . . or grabbing our heels as we walk the tightrobe . . .

    Wii rocks!

  1045. Sher, please tell me that was a typo and you walk the tightROPE…

  1046. yep, tightrope walk . . . sorry, delirious these days . . . what is a tightrobe, what if I wore that while I was tightroping? Don might enjoy that!

  1047. My new gansta name:

    Sher “Typo” Fick

  1048. click ya fingers everybody….
    (on the beat)

    So i met this pretty girl,
    Her name is Sher Fick,
    Whateva she says,
    It really makes me think

    (this is where Carrie has to sing a chorus!)

    ….. hahaha…. I ‘m being cheeky as usual.
    But I do love my darling Sher, she rocks hard!!!!!

  1049. Lightening Bug, Molly….. Can I just say that you very much remind me of an old friend of mine – Lianne. She was in The Navy, actually that’s wrong, she was in The Army for a time. We lost touch, and just tonight, we’ve managed to get back in contact. Anyway, she reminds me of you. Or you of her.
    Just thought I’d speak out loud.
    x

  1050. This is a writing prompt that a sixth-grader did in my choir class yesterday. The prompt was “Describe a place you’d like to visit.” Here’s what he wrote:

    If there was anyplace in the world I could go to I would go to Hell to persuade the Devil to stop makeing people do bad things.
    I like sculls and rock star stuff like that so I wondered if they have cooler clothes down their then up here and all the different kinds of vans and Jordans shoes gallor.
    I really would like to go because of all the famous stars that are down there.
    Well we really dont have to weary we are all going there when we die to pay for our sens so I will get to see them any way.

    The author didn’t sign his work, but I’ve narrowed it down to two boys. Whoever wrote it gets an “A+” for the decade.

  1051. Interesting. Brutally honest, that young man. I like that.

  1052. I’ll probably be assigned to orient this young man after his arrival.

  1053. I love getting children’s takes on morality/bigger ideas than just what’s in our faces. They usually come up with something we “adults” need to think of. For instance:

    Right now, we’re studying expository writing, and one of my girls intrviewed me for it. She asked if I liked yoga, and I said yes because it helps me meditate. She said that’s why she liked it too. I was surprised, to say the least; this is not a girl who seems really self-aware at all. She continued on that she liked to concentrate on being the wind, and let it blow through her mind to clear everything away so she could just **be** for a few minutes every day. I thought that was beautiful. I am going to practice that one myself.

    About hell–I have decided after reading The Shack that hell doesn’t exist. At least, not in the fire-brimstone-people-burn-for-eternity-hell. I think there’s a place where bad things concentrate, and the devil’s best trick was making us think he had cute little horns and a tale…Evil exists, and I think it’s more than just the absence of Light–or maybe that’s just how bad the absence of Light truly is, I don’t know. But for me, I’ve stopped worrying that I’m burning in h-e-double hockey sticks for all my sins. I’m not even sure there’s a purgatory any more (or give serious consideration that maybe THIS life is purgatory and the Catholic Church has had it wrong this whole time.)

    Pop culturistic with mass appeal or not–The Shack gave me that, at least.

    Ooch. Kinda heavy for a morning…sorry. Hoep you’re all hhaving a splendid day!

  1054. GEORGE. You crack me up.

    But just ask Kittery. Toby does the orientation.

  1055. Purgatory has been the one major thing that I do not agree with in my religion. I really believe the Catholic Church has this wrong. And I am on the fence about confession. I mean, God already knows I did it, HE WAS THERE!

  1056. Amy! I always liked the idea of purgatory because then it didn’t mean it was all or nothing…but now I’m like, yeah. That was the point of Jesus dying–forgiveness for sins. What would be the good of him making that sacrifice if we could still end up in hell?

    Confession–well, confession makes me feel better. That’s one I don’t mind at all. I like getting all the bad stuff off my chest. :) I know that makes me weird.

  1057. This is a very good post. Love your blog. Found you through Augusten. I blogged about Casey Anthony too. My blog is for trauma survivors. I’ll keep visiting yours!!

  1058. I hear ya Molly, I like getting things off my chest too. But instead of a priest I call me mom:) She has said ( many, many times) “Amy, I am not a priest. By you telling me these things, it doesn’t free you of them! And you are an adult..you don’t have to tell me everything anymore.” My poor mom! She hears way more than she would like!
    I do like your idea of purgatory being life on earth, I think that really makes sense.
    Sometimes I feel as though there is no hell because when someone dies and they are faced by God, who could ever deny him?

  1059. Tex – see, life is so much fun and here is the amazing thing – being high on life doesn’t require anything more than friends.

    My drug of choice (besides my daily Celexa and Diet Coke): this blog.

    My confessional: this blog

    My hell: the absence of this blog (just the thought of that – eek)

    My heaven: these blogbabies located in a museum which has the biggest bookstore and biggest art supply store with a limitless credit card (or everything is just ‘take for free), musicians, a stocked pantry and gourmet kitchen so I can cook for all the blog babies and their chosen loved ones.

    On a serious note: Teachers, I just adore the fact that the teachers here work so hard at revealing and seeing the young minds you work worth. While I was teaching I was so disturbed by the terrible, mean spirited teachers . . . it gives me hope for my children that there are great teachers out there like you all (I am including Maureen in this, too, along with Jodi and Molly). Also, George – I would love to take a class with you. “Observations of a Lifetime” – that should be the title of your book and class . . . just cut and paste all your posts and you can send it to a publisher NOW.

    When you can invision a better life and world, you can then create a better life and world. (that is my quote and major belief that gets me through some of my dark days).

  1060. Sher: you are a sweetheart, but you already know that, right? If you ever get a chance, I would really recommend to you a book called Pocketful of Names by Joe Coomer. I am just now finishing it, but the main character is an artist and I think you’d really like it.

    Tex: I’d love to sit and talk to you. You have such a profane and profound perspective on so many things. I like it when I see you here.

    Linda! Polly! Jerri? Carri!

    I will be in New Orleans next week. Don’t know what book I’ll bring, though. I’ll have Something Rising — the later chapters — playing in my brain, though, you can bet on that. Also, Haven’s incredibly great poem she wrote last fall. Her line: “the radio is broadcasting hell,” is a perfect one.

    AmyO: Imagine there’s no heaven. I wonder if you can. No hell below us… I am almost embarrassed to admit this, but the descriptions of the afterlife in The Shack and The Five People You Meet in Heaven so accurately portrayed what I had come to think.

    Jodi: I thought was a great story. I copied it and sent it over to my pastor.

    Bug: Confession is good for the soul. I liked your student’s observations about yoga. All I know is that yoga makes me self aware of how chunky I am. I can do the balance poses pretty well and, ironically, savasana, the corpse pose. On another point, I think the Catholic church puts on some GREAT theater.

  1061. I know it sounds silly, especially because of The Shack’s mass appeal (ha! now I’m worried you think I’m less of a reader for being so affected by it…), but now, I honestly cannot think of a God who would willingly put his children in a place so terrible for a moment, much less FOR ETERNITY. The book made me think that if there is a hell, perhaps it’s like the one in What Dreams May Come with Robin Williams, and you…condemn yourself to go there, deny yourself God’s presence.

    Sher, what a lovely thing to say. Thank you. I wish we could do your idea of heaven. I would also like access to the Rainbow Bridge where all animals go to wait for their people to arrive.

    About what you said about mean teachers–my sister reminded me back in my 2nd year of teaching when I was caught up in an UGLY dispute with a teacher from the Hot Locale we’ve been discussing, the only place you find more pyschotic, controlling, OCD behavior than a prison is in a school. It’s too sad that some people do get into the field just so they can be in control. I try to remind myself constantly that something I say or do might be forgotten by me in 10 minutes but remembered forever by my students-good or bad.

    I think, too, about what Christa McAullife said, “I touch the future. I teach.” There are so many professions in which that is true. It’s an important lesson.

    Amy. Your poor mom. She doesn’t need all that info. :) My mom is just starting to figure out (I’M 27!!!!) that I’ve done a few things of which she might disapprove. :) I, like Maureen, and a few others, enjoy the pageantry. I guess that’s why I like the formality of penance. **shrugs** I could just be crazy.

  1062. I love the foramlity of genuflecting and communion and saints so I completely understand your love of confession. I also love the poetry of prayers and the sound they make when murmmered ( did I spell that right? it looks funny) by the congregation. Molly, I will be 29 so my mom is waaaaay over hearing about my antics. Obviously the stories were much more colorful when I was still in college.
    I cannot wait to read the Shack! I am like 221st in line at the library. Very popular book.

  1063. Soul sista!

  1064. Hi everyone! I have had an insanely busy week, so I have not been here as much as I have wanted. I promised to blog only as a reward for trying to be a more conscientious teacher this week and do my job right. I am like Marie in O Pioneers! asleep, crashed in the orchard. “She had lived day of perfect love and this is how it left her.” (that was a paraphrase. I don’t have me copy with me.) Tomorrow I am stuck for ten hours at a swim meet (LAST ONE!!!!!) So I am going to sneak off to a corner and grade the tsunami of papers in my bag. Ugh. I am all taught out. I now remember why at age 40 I decided, you just can’t do everything 100%.

    Jodi and Molly – I think you should enter both of those students’ responses into the Daringly Awkward Sermon contest.

    Molly – I really liked What Dreams May Come – very cool. I just passed along The Lovely Bones to one of my really reader-y students. That is also an interesting take on the afterlife. I agree that it’s a devil trick to think the devil is anything but US.

    I almost snuck The Screwtape Letters onto my son. He got about twenty pages in, liking it, and then said, “Mom? Is this a Christian book?” “What?!” said I. “Christian? No, no, it’s about demons.” He did not fall for it and tossed it aside.

    I am going to jump over to e-mail and start an Owen Meany discussion with Sher and Polly. If anyone else wants in, let me know.

  1065. I was reading on the PC(USA) website about hell and found this paragraph from a nun that I think is spot on. I tell ya, for being the good Presbyterian I am I do love me some nuns. All the nuns I have ever met or read quotes from are so cool. I know, there are probably lots of not so great nuns, too, but…..anyway:

    (How we live can keep a lot of people out of hell, if you ask Sister Carmella Conway. She is a Grand Rapids Dominican Sister who spent 55 years teaching religion. She believes in a gracious God who relies on people to help save others from hell, both on earth and beyond. “We can transform the world by helping others,” Conway said following a morning Mass at Marywood, the Dominican motherhouse. “We’re kind of guilty if anybody goes to hell.” Starvation, war, lack of charity: These sins make life hellish for many, she argues. Between God’s grace and people’s faithful work, very few if any will go to hell, she says. “I think we’re going to be surprised when we get there,” she adds with a smile.)

  1066. Linda–thanks for the quote! All the nuns I know (minus 1) are very cool.

    I had a Baptist friend in high school who wanted to be a “non.” I thought that was rather clever myself. :)

  1067. People, I am ‘tarded on FaceBook. How do I get to the Haven fan club facebook page.

  1068. Also, anyone hip to the Sweet Potato Queen thing?

  1069. Maureen, I’ve said it before and I will say it again about the Lovely Bones ” Please Lord let my dogs smell me coming and greet me in Heaven as Susie’s dog did.” The thought that your dogs will be there waiting for you just brings tears to my eyes.

  1070. Maureen- I think if you just put Haven’s name in the search field in Facebook the group should pop up

  1071. Lovely Bones changed me forever. I just passed one of my copies to a friend, which always makes me happy.

  1072. I know, Amy. Doesn’t that just cut right through you? I gave that book to my favoritest student, she read the whole thing over the weekend, and then yesterday we went to watch a trial of a local 12-year-old girl who had been abducted by the man she was babysitting for who then probably molested her and definitely murdered her.

    My student who had read the book just looked at me, stunned. And another girl in my class who knew the victim started crying and I had to take her into the hall and just hold her.

    Why, you might justifiably ask, did I take my students to this? I have to cover the judicial system and so we always go to a trial if there is one. For better or for worse, they will always remember this. So sad. I know that Alice Sebold was really raped. She wrote a memoir about it that I have not read yet.

  1073. Thanks, Linda. Found it!

  1074. Here’s a really lovely first-person written by Alice Sebold in the NYTimes (I don’t think I want to live in a world without the NYTimes, or Alice, or any of you babies, or Haven.)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/07/opinion/07sebold.html

    Read this and you’ll think as I did: As a reader, she’s one of us.

  1075. Once again I enter the conversation too late ….

    OK, so I’m a Catholic convert, remember, so confessions was one of the major hurdles I struggled with (the other one was the whole Mary thing, but life-changing things happened to me and the BVM was directly involved, so that answered that question!).

    Confession is still something I grapple with, partly because, like you, Amy, I feel like I don’t need an intermediary to receive forgiveness from God. My sister (not a Catholic, funnily enough) says she gets the need for confession because as humans, we need to actually hear the words, “You are forgiven.” That is true, and still I balk.

    My son (17 years old) likes to go to confession, or at least recognizes a need within himself, and asks to go (he doesn’t drive yet). I’m impressed by this.

  1076. Alice Sebold’s memoir is brilliant.

  1077. George – Thanks for that Alice Sebold piece! It was lovely, and yes, it seems she is definitely one of us!

    Liz – I am very impressed your son asks to go to confession. Carolyn Myss calls Confession a power ceremony: you know you have given your power to something, and you need to get it back. There is some kind of added boost in an objective observer saying Yes, you messed up. But you are forgiven. (Amy, if she gave birth to you, I am sure your mother is highly qualified to grant this sacrament).

    Has anyone else read (what a foolish question, Maureen, as if there is any book in existence that someone – more like everybody – here has not read) Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler? It deals with recognizing and making up for a wrong committed. The main character ends up giving his whole life over as a means of making up for a wrong he committed.

    I just came in for a crash landing at the end of a long week. Just got some Boston Legal episodes from Netflix. I am hoping I have the ones where the Aspergian is hired. Asperger’s is hot, don’t you know.

  1078. Anybody else read EVERY BLOODY BOOK ANNE TYLER HAS EVER WRITTEN and is waiting eagerly for the next one? She is nearly as prolific as Joyce Carol Oates.

    Oh, I must share my Joyce Carol Oates story. She is from my hometown of Lockport, NY, (along with Timothy McVeigh) and my Aunt Betty was good friends with her parents. They played cards together. My Aunt Betty was a complete hoot, but, shall we say, not a reader. So of course once I was an obnoxious college Englishy type person and found this out, I pumped Aunt Betty for info. What was JCO like? etc.

    Now Lockport is so far west in New York that it’s practically the Mid-West. We could spit into Ohio. I was mocked endlessly at my New England college for my “eeaccent”. The flat A of Western New York is renowned. (The day I said “cyeardboard” I thought my roommate’s boyfriend was going to pee his pants.)

    So Aunt Betty thought for a minute and then said, sympathetically and conspiratorially, “Well, she was always a streeange little girl.”

  1079. Boston Legal is the BEST thing on TV, I reckon! Love it, love it, love it!!!

    George – you have no idea, just how much I’d like to sit down and chat with you! You are so wise and so lovely. I say that, but I know that I speak for all the other blog babies in saying that. You very much remind me of my father (who I’m very close to), you just have this wonderful way with words and an incredibly sound view of life. Rock on my lovely!!!!!!

    Regarding hell, and heaven and religion in general, this is my 2 cents:- I recently finished reading Fritjof Capra’s book “The Tao of Physics”. I didn’t understand a lot of the latter chapters of the book (physics – it confounds me. I didn’t attend much more than the beginnings of high school remember), but at least, chapters 5 – 10 (inclusive), well, these chapters have changed my life. I’m not a religious person,however, I am a spiritual person – even though I dislike all the wind-chimes and tarot cards and incense. Hehe. But yeah, regardless of what I may look like and sound off about, the spiritual world fascinates me. Having said that, I’ve always believed in astrology, both eastern and western.

  1080. …. and numerology. Numbers don’t lie!

  1081. I say that, even though I’m crap at maths.

  1082. Hiya Tex! How are things down under? It’s cold cold here.
    If you feel comfortable giving me your wordpress login, I can try to fix your avatar.
    You can e-mail it to me at bartletm@dcmoboces.com

  1083. Really? Thanks mate! My darling (new) friend Sarah, she has tried to help me do it. I’m just a bit retarded and can’t seem to figure it out. I’ll email you with details in a sec…..

  1084. It was warm in Nashville today. Very weird. Freezing for several days then the temps shoot up into the mid 60s and my son said he ran without his shirt on at track practice. So, I figure it will snow tomorrow. LOL

    Tex- I swear I will need to visit Australia in the next 6 months. My sweet friend, Luke, just got responses from 2 of the 5 schools he has applied to for his PhD. He leaves next Friday to head back to Australia to finish his undergraduate degree and he can’t come back until he gets into grad school. Think good thoughts for him – UNC, Emory and Indiana Univ. at Bloomington are still out there. Go Indiana, Go Indiana!! George – do you know anyone at Indiana who could pull some strings for Luke. I will pay big bucks. I am not above bribery. I am thinking the worst now. Luke’s boyfiend, Phil, will go back to Toronto and they will live there and then I will never see them again. Boo hoo. Seriously, I am sooooo sad. Let Luke come back to the U.S.! I am starting a protest. Who is with me?!!

  1085. I meant to say, Luke got rejection letters from 2 schools. So, he has 3 more applications out there.

  1086. Geepers. I hate how the refresher thing doesn’t always “do.”

    George, I missed your para. to me earlier. Confession is definitely good for the soul. And the babies here all make excellent priests. The Church does do some great theatre. Sometimes I worry that true meaning is obscured by the pageantry, and that’s why so many people fall away (funnily enough, I first typed “feelings” instead of “people”.)

    Maureen and Liz, something a priest said one time about confession that I kinda liked was how by commiting this total act of submission–bearing your ugly self to someone–you regain power over yourself. I think his implication was that shame can control your actions and by admitting it, you shake it off and can move on. I liked that idea.

    Also, my bro-in-law does a lot of eastern spirituality research, and he thinks the whole bowing your head thing as your pray has to do with aligning your chakras…co-inky-dink? I think not. :)

    And I am all about incense and tarot cards. Shhh. Don’t tell my priest–oooh, my priest who, by the way, Haven, said if I was going to trade in Catholicism, he was glad to hear it’d be for going Quaker.

  1087. Linda my lovely,

    I will meet you at the airport and show you soooo much fun! Please email me if and when you decide to come to Oz. Yippeee-doo-dah-day! I’d love to show you around Sydney!!!!
    (That goes for any blog babies who decide to fly down to Australia.

  1088. Molly, I just realized that what you said about confession is exactly like the 4th step in AA. Hmmm.

  1089. That’s really interesting, Linda. I think it makes sense. It’s hard to ask for help and support when you think people are going to ju