Gratitude Is The Heart’s Memory

Even though Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday (as it is for anyone who loves to eat, drink, make merry, and not have to buy gifts) I’ve never really understood it.  I realize one is supposed to trace one’s hand with a marker and thus create the world’s strangest chicken, but all I see is how my middle finger is so much longer than the others.  I think that makes me a lesbian.  I’ve read the Puritans, I’ve read John Woolman, and I understand that we’re all supposed to wander together in a maze, and wear shoe buckles on our hats.  But recently someone on another blog brought up that Thanksgiving was actually the invention of Abraham Lincoln.  WHAT?  Thomas Jefferson invented everything else and LINCOLN invented this inexplicable but fabulous holiday?  [Aside:  one of my favorite singer/songwriters in the world, Joe Williams, wrote a song about how much he loves to look at his money, he likes to keep it his pants – the Hamiltons, the Lincolns and the Grants.  He describes how each President got a certain sum, and Lincoln may have only gotten the $5.00 bill, and he may not be so pretty but, “He sure opened a can of whoop-ass on slavery, didn’t he?”]

And then there’s all that ‘robbery’ business, about how the Puritans and all the Caucasian peoples who followed them, stole this entire massive country from the Native Americans and I can tell you for a fact that it’s true because I’m sitting right here pretending I “own” this land.  MY DIRT.  And the people who lived here before me, the majestic and proud Hamdurbulls, are nowhere to be seen.  They got marched off to South Dakota or someplace and made to sign “documents” that were really Etch-a-Sketches, and what they lost in the deal was:  everything.  What they gained was smallpox, inexplicable tooth loss, slavery, mass murder, internment camps, and the introduction of whiskey and guns.  So that went well.  If I went to South Dakota this very day, I would have to turn over my uterus at the state line, where it would be placed in a “reservation,” and with enough guns and whiskey they might get a little white baby out of it.  In places like South Dakota, where leaders of the religious right are trying to outlaw abortion in all cases, it’s only because every itty bitty life is preshus preshus preshus.  Except for the millions that aren’t, like the hundreds of thousands of children in foster care, or the men and women on death row waiting for the state to tell them they have done used up their preshusness.

Because of my ongoing confusion about whether Thanksgiving began with William Bradford at Plymouth Plantation, or with Lincoln in celebration of the preservation of the Union, I consider it a holiday personally devoted to me.  It’s a day when I eat what I want, make a list of the things for which I myself am grateful.  Sometimes I am a Pilgrim, sometimes I am an Indian.  I’m allowed to say Indian because at the time of their persecution, they didn’t know they were Native Americans, see, they thought they were People.  The moment you begin thinking you’re a Person, you done lost Louisiana, let me tell you.

Thanksgivings with my immediate family were often joyous affairs and periodically fraught with peril.  One year my brother and brother-in-law got in an argument and biscuits were thrown.  As I recall they were rather tough, as biscuits go.  We all now recall the incident fondly, as families tend to do.  Now this was a good one:  I was, let us say, bound to an extremely unkind man who had done everything in his power to ruin the holiday, ending with marching into the dining room and saying, “Get up.  We’re going home.”  I said something along the lines of, “But we haven’t even had dessert.”  He said, “Then you can walk home, because I’m leaving.”  He had spent the meal, while the rest of us were in hysterics with laughter around the dining room table, watching a basketball game in the living room.  This is the good part:  my brother, who is a very large, very intimidating man, pushed himself up from the table as if in slow motion, never taking his eyes of The Man, and said, “We don’t talk to her that way.”  OH HALLAYLOOB, WHAT A MOMENT IT WAS.  The Man left, of course, and someone else drove Kat and me home later. 

Then all these BABIES started showing up and it became harder and harder to drive from North Carolina to Indiana, and there wasn’t really anyplace for us to stay.  I often insisted on bringing a dog as well, if you can imagine (well!  I don’t like to be without at least one!), so the tradition began of spending Thanksgiving with my Otters.  Except for my children, my Otters are my inner-most inner-circle.  Indeed, gay men have been my inner-circle since I was twelve years old:  imagine accomplishing that in Mooreland, Indiana.  Here are some photographs of the glorious event.  From left to right we have the unbearably rakish  Robert Rodi, my agent Christopher (I don’t think I need to say much more about my insane love for him), Scott (takes care of much of my life), and John (takes care of all of everything else).  And Iorek.  He was festive.


Now we have added the delectable Jeffrey, along with Kat, who seems to find it a tad ironic that she’s the only woman and she happens to be holding food.  Iorek was probably licking his butt off stage.


No, wait!  There he is.  He’s thinking about metaphysics.  If you look closely in the background, you can see little Puppa!  She is small, but mighty.


This was the centerpiece.  Of course it’s a real otter.  And that flower is the very flower Polly Kahl sent me in the skirt she neither made for me nor mailed to me!


Iorek can MOVE.


Eventually Obadiah remembered to get out of the shower, and he joined us outside.  If I were O., I would have nothing to do with adults because I would simply be too fabulous.


Kat, happy!


Iorek and Cloud completely snoot up on poor Jeffrey.


Baby G. knows exactly when to make an appearance.  This isn’t a confession, as it is plainly self-evident, but part of the impetus for always spending Thanksgiving with my Otters is that I do not shop for a single spice, I do not cook one thing, and I do not wash a dish.  In fact, I don’t know my purpose at these functions, but I continue to be welcomed.

The food is always INCREDIBLE.

Beautiful kids.



Beautiful Christopher.  If you look closely, you can see there’s a photograph of Christopher BEHIND the actual Christopher, which makes him meta.


Heaven only knows what was happening here, but it made us all happy which is what matters.


And here’s something to be grateful for, every single day.


I’ll prepare a photo album to go in the photo album hole (Scott knows) of the adventures of Christopher’s Velma doll with my taxidermy.  You won’t want to miss it. 

I’d love to hear how you all spent the holiday, or what you are especially thankful for.  Just as no child can be loved too much, we can never over-appreciate our abundance.  Good lord, I sound like the sort of minister at whom I’d throw gooseberries.

Published in: on December 9, 2008 at 2:40 pm  Comments (711)  


  1. Haawww haaawww, once we were done eating, we set the dogs and cats on the table and let them finish it up, sat there and laughed and watched. Then: snooze till March.

  2. Matt always knows how to take care of bidness.

  3. Oh Haven, welcome back. I have missed you! I am thankful for you and this little community. Thanksgiving is not an exciting holiday for me as my children always leave with their father to visit his parents in Virginia. It makes me happy that the kids get to take this annual pilgrimage, but it makes for a rather ho-hum holiday for me.

    Allow me to comment on your post and photos– Oh my gosh Kat looks like you! I thought that was you in the second photo. All of your precious boys from Baby G. and Obadiah and John to the Otters are too handsome for words.

    In one of the photos Obadiah reminds me of my son, Sam, who ALWAYS has an open cell phone in his hand, texting in progress. O and Sam are obviously both lady killers. We better not get them together as they may simultaneously combust from coolness and gorgeousness.

    Welcome back!

  4. Haven! Haven! Haven! Hi! Hi! Hi!
    Glad you had such a nice Thanksgiving. This totally made my day to see a new post from you. I was starting to feel like we were having a party at someone’s house who was not even there.
    I’ll write more later. I am nailing down details on a major field trip tomorrow.

  5. Baby G. really is a mini-me version of John just like Kat is with you, Haven, isn’t he? ADORABLE!!!

  6. John is the most handsome man in any room.

    That said, it is all SPECTACULAR and i feel SICK WITH ENVY.



  8. I too love Thanksgiving, we have it at our house every year with family and friends and whoever needs a place to go. This year Stephany -my 16 year old- helped me cook which was the best part because she had the blues but totally got into cooking and soon was her normal delicious self. I am always thankful for my family and friends and this year was no exception. I found out my dad had lung cancer the week of Thanksgiving and he passed away last week, and everyone, from my amazing husband who took over the kids and dog and everything else so I could fly up North to be with my dad, to my friends who checked in constantly and helped Pete out with the kids, and mostly my mom who put aside all of her feelings about my dad who broke her heart and left the picture 37 years ago to support my decision to be with him at the end, well everyone stepped up and reminded me of how truly blessed I am. I hope I carry this feeling of gratitude with me through the year and especially through the hectic holidays that are already feeling overwhelming to me.
    I am also thankful for what we have here and for the space to air my feelings.

  9. well i think the otter bar has been set for how to have a sublime yet raucous thanksgiving. yes, the bar is quite high. i got an extreme contact high from everyone featured, especially O, who i notice has the tribal bracelet affixed and yes, is too fabulous to have been there….and yet he was. Saint O. it was a day to be celebrated throughout this time and beyond; it was a miracle in a sea of uncertainty and wackydoodle — proving once more the truth of this quote:

    “The stupendous fact that we stand in the midst of reality will always be something far more wonderful than anything we do.”
    Erich Gutkind

  10. Really, could your boys be any more beautiful? I want Obadiahs hair.

  11. I am grateful for many things, Ms Haven. My friends, my family, a literary agent saying yes to me. But I must say that one thing I am grateful for this very year is that in the past year, I met you! Which has been quite lovely. So Grateful for Haven.

    Now I will go to step aerobics. Because I am NOT grateful for how I look in jeans currently.

  12. You have a golden Thoreau as well as an Emerson! I am gobsmacked and slackjawed. Oh. Oh.

    (Sorry — did you say something? It’s good to have you back. And to see a deck which does not have eight inches of snow on it.)


  13. thanksgiving, ??? that was, like a year ago?, right? can’t remember.

    had a bad hour, broke my hand hitting my steering wheel, I think, but I am typing, so that is a good sign, but it hurts and I can’t get my rings off, which COULD be bad . . .

    I am GLAAAAADDDDDDDDDDDDD Haven is back. maybe I can get my discombobulated self back together now.

    I am

  14. I just washed out my turkey roaster from thanksgiving, YESTERDAY! In an act of denial I had hidden it on the back deck so it could “harden” to be discarded of . . . didn’t work, still there

  15. haven, did you STEAL the sign from Mooreland that is hanging on the barn? If not, did somebody steal it FOR you??? oooooo, I love it!!!!

  16. Hello,

    I’m thankful for my girls. Wife and two dots.

    Had the in-laws over: my brother-in-law
    brought a couple bottles of wine, one of which
    was an Austrailian offering tastefully named
    “Bitch”. Look, this guy brought Shiraz
    about fifteen years ago, so he has good wine
    sense, ergo, Bitch must be good stuff.

    Bitch was nice and dry, although it seemed
    strong, like port. Anyway, after two glasses
    of Bitch we became hilarious, intelligent, and warm. ‘I’ll have some more … Bitch!’ seemed unbearably funny each of the two hundred times
    we said it.

    Then we got headaches from laughing so hard.
    Yes, it must’ve been the laughter.

  17. Everyone, I’m so glad to hear from you again!!! I thought sine_30 had vanished into the ether.

    I went through a phase wherein I called inappropriate objects “bitch,” and always in a very sweet tone, and for some reason it was the funniest thing that ever happened.

    The Mooreland sign was made as a gift for me when I did an evening’s reading at a festival in Huntsville, Alabama. It hung above the stage and was spotlit, and then they even shipped it to me. Thus, I adore Huntsville and will abide no hate toward it.

    Hi, everyone, hi hi hi!

  18. Observations

    …so, let me get this right, you guys had otter for Thanksgiving? How long must it thaw? And is it 20 minutes at 400 degrees in the oven for every pound or otter or is it 5 minutes at 1,600?

    …that baby Gus (dba/Mom’s Little Angel) used up all the remaining reserves of cute when he came to earth.

    …O, you are so cool, and I would love to introduce you to my friend’s son who is about your age who lives in Durham. I just have a gut feeling you guys would be great friends, plus you could text!

    …Haven, were you there or were you and your uterus and your attorney still being held captive in South Dakota writing out a document on an Etch-a-Sketch relating to your imminent release unto John’s custody?

    …Two Indians at Plymouth Rock watch a ship full of white people pulling into the harbor. The one looks at the other and says, “Well, there goes the neighborhood. Our property won’t be worth crap.”


    One of my top things to be thankful for is right here: Haven and her blog babies. Being here has made me a better person this year. You all have my constant gratitude.

  19. M. Stute, just wait till you see the post I’m planning about the Jung action figure.

  20. oh-oh

  21. Hey, Haven & Co. It looks like you know how to do Thanksgiving up RIGHT. Every holiday gathering should look like that, all laughy-happy and well-fed.

    Anyway, my husband and I are far from our families up here in the frozen North, so we usually just pig out ourselves and watch old episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. It’s our little tradition, and I can’t explain it.

    But this year, we were in Seoul, South Korea for the actual day. Lemme tell you, those Koreans are a lovely people, but they care not a whit for pilgrims or Indians or even turkey. So when we got back, we had a late T-Day watching MST3K, and eating Korean take-out ironically. Also we drank our one bottle of Bek Se Ju which we’d managed to bring home – it’s kinda like wine, but with a bit of a fruity-nutty taste. Fabulous, and very fall-appropriate.

    Happy Holidays to everyone!

  22. Eisha, I’ve eaten sarcastically, but never ironically. I’ll have to give that a try.

  23. I spent the holiday in Orlando, where my brother lives with his wife and two little girls. It had been far too long since I’ve seen my nieces and I got to spend a lot of time with them. The highlight of the entire trip was probably being picked by my four year old niece Marianna to read her bedtime story every night was there.

    For those needing a laugh tonight, I offer tickle me Freud:

  24. My Thanksgiving was definately different. It was the first Thanksgiving away from my clan in South Georgia. I am Pregnant for the first time and couldn’t make the journey. I was in a “bitch” mood that day/ My poor husband. I am usually laid back so this was out of character. His people are bible thumpers and love to point out if you don’t follow in their ever so narrow line. Seeing your photos truly makes me miss having MY Thanksgiving and how much nicer it is to share it with people that actually like you.Now I am thankful for all Thanksgiving’s past. Haven I sure hope I have a boy and he is cute as baby G. He simply glows with delight.

    You are blessed 🙂 Hillary

  25. The year my brother died (less than three weeks before Thanksgiving) we skipped Thanksgiving. The following year my mother decided to start a “family tradition” of going around the table and voicing what we were thankful for. We never did this before and it seemed superficial and forced. Guess what – 9 years later we’re still doing it and it still feels superficial and forced.

    Maybe I’m the one who will snap one year and say it’s not a “family tradition” it’s crap born out of pure unadulterated grief.

    Being thankful and grateful is more about what I do every day of the year not what I say one day a year – and I’m get pissed every time I have to sit there and force something out.

    One thing I’m usually thankful for is living within walking distance of Lake Michigan. I’m not very thankful for it – at the moment – since I was just out shoveling ass deep “lake effect” snow.

    Caryl – I was writing you a message on Facebook in response to the post about your father the other day, but I was interrupted (at work) and I forgot whether I actually sent the message or not. Did I?

  26. Though I can’t say that my Thanksgiving(s) were as chock full of handsome people as Haven’s, I did get to have three. My nutritionist allowed me to live through the discovery of a 3 pound weight gain upon that admission. I have been granted a one pound pardon for each separate Thanksgiving dinner.

    The best dinner of all, with the homemade sangria and the pork loins (four of them – four entire loins!), included a prayer that our hostess developed by forcing each of us at battleaxe point to sit down upon entry and write down all for which we were thankful. Of ten entries, one was entirely thoughtful, one was a tribute to Odin, and three included the phrase, “Please make Pluto a planet again so it can be connected to stuff.”

    I am grateful this year to have the internet again (after over a month without it!) in order to lurk here and be entertained and educated. And as always, for bearded men.

  27. Particles I did not recieve anything but I did get your facebook friends request so now we can talk amongst ourselves. I too cringe at the forced gratuity around the table, but I do make everyone gather around for a good Catholic grace before dinner.

  28. Hello, Hello, Haven and all! Hi, Hi, hugs and welcome back, I’ve missed you!
    We had a somber Thanksgiving because of my mother-in-laws’ death (I SO sympathize with you Caryl) but she went peacefully and not unexpectedly. We flew to Iowa for a week to attend the funeral and reconnect with lovely family there.
    I love your pictures, Haven, and I too thought Kat was you at first. also, my 13 year old self is in love with Obadiah (just so he knows, I was gorgeous at that age) He is too cool. Big guy Gus is still aunty cheek smooching adorable. Luckily we had some little ones in Iowa to cheer us all up which they did with abandon. My lovely daughter Alexa did throw us one curve ball at Thanksgiving dinner, though, by calling right before she was to come saying her boyfriends mother was coming (all good) and bringing with her the little Thai wife of her other son who happens to be Alexa’s EX-boyfriend (okay now we sound like a soap opera). The conversation got a little strange since her boyfriends mother works in a funeral home and couldn’t resist telling us all about it while we ate the turkey and sour red berries. I don’t know if it was that conversation or the champagne, but it all seemed a lot surrealistic….it was a hoot, that’s what that was. We laugh about it now, though.
    Oh yes…I did take my flannel sock monkey p.j’s to Iowa and they were a great comfort to me during the time we were there….AND we put the tree up last weekend and there were my two sock monkey tree ornaments to cheer us up.
    Beauty to you all! And George, we are waiting for your Peru stories with great antici–pation!!

  29. P.S.
    Oh! Haven! On Saturday my husband and I were returning home from an excursion to the artists town of Jerome and passed an unfortunately dead Javalina by the side of the road. I mentioned to the beloved and tolerant Dana that Haven would surely love to have that Javalina stuffed and mounted for her collection but he absolutely refused to back up and pick it up and put it in the subaru. It was fresh, too. Sometimes I swear I don’t understand him. He justified his refusal by saying ‘Oh, we can find a stuffed javalina in any antique store’ which is ridiculously untrue, but won’t stop me from looking. Just for the record, I hope being roadkill is not a disqualification to being considered for your collection? After all, there is a cookbook…let me look, I think we have a copy.

  30. Haven and friends,
    I am new to this website, and frankly, a little unsure of how it all works. Haven, some book club friends and I heard you speak and read at Square Books in Oxford, MS, and are now reading Iodine for our book club discussion (this week!) I know Iodine isn’t the current subject being discussed, but I would REALLY appreciate some insight! Is there a different thread to post on? If not, I have some questions, and I hope you all will indulge me for a minute 🙂
    1. Were the animals Trace saw part of her Aura associated with the seizres?
    2. What was the significance of Uncle Eugene?
    3. Was Candy real? Was she EVER real?
    4. Please explain the ultrasound picture.
    5. What really happened to Rita?
    …. and any other brilliant insights you guys may have.

    I’m on my second reading of the book, and I can’t wait to discuss it at book club. Thank you for your help!

  31. Oh goodness Thanksgiving…where to begin? We always spend it at my Grandma’s house. This year I made Senator Russel Sweet Potato Casserole, a southern favorite oft prepared by my husband’s Paula Deenish mother. Hugh swears it contains no actual vegetables, just sugar, butter and pralines. I frequently get confused and refer to it as “General Tsao’s Sweet Potato Casserole” which confuses everyone else as well. I also made Deviled Eggs because I have a Pampered Chef Easy Accent Decorator and it’s SO fun to squirt smushed eggs into those little egg wells. And finally, I made Hanky a yellow birthday cake with fluffy chocolate frosting (his birthday was October 25).

    Hugh and I were in a grand mood, joking and behaving in general good humor, re-affirming my belief that we need our own podcast, but my family was just GRUMPY. I asked Hugh “Do you think it’s because Obama was elected?” It might have been because a certain member of my family who was just married in an elaborate, expensive ceremony is now declaring bankruptcy and was sharing the details with my relatives in excruciating detail.

    We ate the usual fare. Turkey, Mashed Potoatos, Green Bean Casserole (some bastardization my mother loves, made with Hidden Valley Ranch and Cheddar Cheese. It’s good) My mother also makes exquisite pumpkin pie from pumpkins she herself stews, and homemade crust that could only be made better by the addition of LARD. Maybe next year.

    We tried to play “Apples to Apples” but once again, my normally funny and fun family STRUCK OUT. The best way to play this game is to try and play a FUNNY answer, but no one else seems to notice this. My dad, the Rush Limbaugh junkie, got very bent out of shape when I played the word “Fragile” to describe “Freedom.” Well EXCUSE ME, MR. Hannity Pants, but if freedom isn’t so damn fragile why do you have to constantly FIGHT for it??

    I had to excuse myself often, because Alice would not take a nap, no matter if I laid down with her, laid her down on the couch, wore her in a carrier, nothing. I wound up in the recliner nursing her and watching an old episode of NEWHART, which, let me tell you, was GOLDEN. Some of the best lines from Larry: “Miss Stephanie, I’d eat bees for you.” and “I’d rather gargle dirt then make you think that.” I’d forgotten how much I loved that show. When I worked at our local museum in the dress-up section we had one of those stoles made of linked minks, and I named them Larry, Darryl and Darryl.

    Now, the REAL party happened on Saturday, when I got together with a group of friends from high school. We dumped the kids and I took an overflowing platter of oreo bon-bons. I drank a White Russian made in a child’s pink melamine cup, complete with obscure Anime Character on the outside. We danced to 80s music. I know all the words to “Bust a Move” by Young MC. At one point I did a little jig to “Come on Eileen” and my friend Brian shot me an odd look. I cried out “Look! It’s an Ashlee Simpson hoedown!” and he thought I said “It’s an Asperger Hoedown!” So that became a catchphrase. I also sang “Anyway You Want It” by Journey in the game RockBand and I must say, I kicked ass, even though my friend Mika mocked me for being REALLY into the part where I hit the microphone to mimic a tambourine. Whatever. I got skillz.

    Later we played our FAVORITE GAME, The Dating Game. Rules similar to Apples to Apples. No sincere answers. Try to be funny. This game is legendary because once the question was “I would like someone to knit me an all-woolen *blank*” and Brian and I both answered “Codpiece.” He was studying clowning, I was studying medieval costuming.

    The best answers of the evening included “By what method will children of the future be conceived?” I answered “Amnesia” and Brian answered “Making the Beast with Two Future Backs” which made me laugh so hard I gave myself a headache. Only my friend Rebecca and I understood it though, because no one else had a working knowledge of Shakespeare.

    Emily and Mark have a dog that freaks out if you wave your hands near it, and Brian nearly gave that damn dog a seizure because he kept giving it “Jazz Hands.”

    My friend Rachael mentioned that we essentially picked up right where we left off, and we vowed not to let another 10 years go by before we got together again. It was truly one of the happiest nights in recent memory.

    I’m thankful for dear, precious friends who light up my life daily and are kinder to me than I’ll ever deserve.

    I’m thankful for my husband, who is kind, compassionate, funny, and has a sexy beard. Also, he makes a mean bear stew.

    I’m thankful for my precious, adorable, hilarious and creative children, who make me hoot with laughter and melt with joy every single day.

    I’m thankful for my entire family, parents, brothers and wives, and my sweet nieces. I am especially grateful for my mom who will always be a best friend, and for my father, who is diligently seeking healing and is truly becoming the kind, loving person I always knew he could be.

    I’m thankful for a cozy house, for bills paid and unpaid, because having bills means our needs are being met.

    I’m grateful that the thrift stores in town still serve up treasures, and that I can be satisfied by things that other people might find silly.

    I’m grateful for work I enjoy, that I can do from home.

    I’m grateful for the little things I know how to do that light up my life, and that I can use to light up the lights of others.

    I’m grateful for Haven’s little Haven here, and you blog babies! You are great people!

  32. Now I have to go back and respond:

    Dee…I’m one of those people who wishes we’d discuss what we were all thankful for instead of eating ourselves into oblivion and stumbling away to watch TV, I never thought about it making anyone uncomfortable. I don’t force it though…instead Hugh and I had a nice talk with the kids after we all came home.

    Brenda…a JAVELINA??? Oh my. How sad!

    Paula, there is a blog on IODINE located here:

    And welcome!

  33. Also, Haven, of course I love the pictures and descriptions of your celebration. I’m glad you had a good time, especially in light of what happened later with Orri. I’m glad you had that bright, shining, laughter filled time where you never had to wash a dish.

    God bless John, honorary gay with the mad cooking skillz, and The Otters, and your beautiful children.

    I’m glad you have blessings, for you do bless us.

  34. KateCake,

    I am thankful for YOU. Your post about the holiday was just beautiful, in sentiment and in construction. Thank you for making my day brighter.

    Also, PS, we LOVE RockBand, Best Boyfriend Dave and I.

    I hope he doesn’t read this, but Best Boyfriend Dave has been so taken with his mad skills as a drummer in rockband that he is getting lessons for Christmas. DON’T TELL!!!

  35. AAAH! Hugh wants to get a real drum kit!!! I’m like dude, that’s cool, but where are you going to drum? On the ROOF?? Hugh is a kick ass rockband drummer. He’s even better than my friend Rebecca, a dainty little goth who puts a huge amount of ferocious energy and perfectionism into anything she does, whether it’s preparing tax returns, organizing her closet of amazing vintage dresses, or hey, playing drums on ROCK BAND!

  36. Hanky Poo wants me to explain that when I worked at the local museum I was 12 years old. Not only did I give up every weekend of my life to the study of HISTORY at the tender ages of 12 to 14, but I named a mink stole after Newhart characters. When I was 12. WEEP FOR MY LOST YOUTH.

  37. Amanda, I didn’t acknowledge you being thankful for me because dude, I was too embarrassed. I’m thankful for you as well. Especially since you helped Haven get ready for Thanksgiving Gay. If I had tried (and it would have been impossible) we both would have committed suicide by drinking Murphy’s Oil Soap at the end of a fruitless day.

  38. Hello all and welcome back, Haven. You were missed!

    I’m one of the lucky ones who has T-day with my family AND my husband’s family together. The in-laws all like each other and they live within two hours’ drive. It’s our first holiday without my dad but a change of scenery helped my mom and my in-laws entertained her beautifully. So I’m really thankful for one big happy family.

    Now if someone would just have a baby for me to hold…our smallest family member is now 3.

  39. This is so much fun, I want to wake my kids up right now and play Rock Band with them. We have to get that version with Journey. I can sing any Journey song dead-on.

    I also think Gus is the squeaziest, O is the coolest, and John is the hottest. And I also thought Kat was Haven. Haven, she’s got your neck and your unique beauty. Interesting seeing what Christopher looks like too – does he always have such a wry expression on his face? (On the other hand, where else would he have it?) It’s funny looking at the pictures of your home because it’s so like my own. Beyond the hardwood floors and woodwork, our furniture and art are very similar. The only caveat is that my hubby would divorce me if I placed an otter on the table as a centerpiece. Dead or alive.


    “Oh! Haven! On Saturday my husband and I were returning home from an excursion to the artists town of Jerome and passed an unfortunately dead Javalina by the side of the road. I mentioned to the beloved and tolerant Dana that Haven would surely love to have that Javalina stuffed and mounted for her collection but he absolutely refused to back up and pick it up and put it in the subaru. It was fresh, too. Sometimes I swear I don’t understand him. He justified his refusal by saying ‘Oh, we can find a stuffed javalina in any antique store’ which is ridiculously untrue, but won’t stop me from looking.’


    these are some bitchen posts, mon. xo sfc

  41. the storebought slattern’s post-thanksgiving diet:

    buy one big red 24 oz box of sunmaid raisins
    AND one bag of lightly salted almonds

    mix em together and eat nothing else for dinner every night for a week, while reading the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society, which is a funny and elegant and warm perfect winter-at-war novel.

    . youwill lose weight not from calories, but from book-envy, terror and
    fear-of-fiber-incontinence and the andrenalin ALL OF THIS releases.

  42. God, I WEEP for that Javelina.

  43. There was a moment in history when I became aware. I knew that something was different. All the people I acquainted, did not seem to know, I was something I couldn’t quite put the words to, but I felt it deep. And that’s where it stayed until at the age of twenty one, I met someone who helped me bring it out. I am thankful for that experience. And, for those that follow to flower yet.
    As timely my mind expands, I meet more people, have more experiences and am blessed with gifts beyond comparison, unique in pricelessness. I am thankful for these.
    Through these expressions, I have learned. I have made some kind of mistakes but I think I’ve gained from them. I hope those around me have benefitted from something I may carry for them, just as I have acquired from them, these intangible and substantial presentations.
    This thanksgiving, someone cooked. Someone ate. And I saw devoting. I received and in doing so, helped someone one do the better, give.
    A person I know, who’s beginners life is all before them on platters and trays and what nots, is getting better, finally. Someone else is not. Someone else I know is getting an education. And that’s not always easy. Someone else I know isn’t doing anything and sometimes, that can be really good. Each one of those go throughs is another life language I will learn. Thanks for sharing your talent.
    These are just a few of the things I am thanked in. From my eye the salty tear brings astringent, cleansing the palate of the present. Leaving room for the next experience, I hope I do it justice.

  44. I almost forgot. While buckling my son into the car I felt…something. Something gross. I looked down. It was a PIE. A miniature apple pie that my precious mom baked for my kids in one of my great-grandmother’s pie tins. The boys were too cranky to eat them at Thanksgiving, and being the shining, stellar example of a daughter that I am I forgot to bring them in the house.

    The best part? Jarvis said “Oh yeah, daddy saw that the other day.”

    My husband left an ancient pie in the car for me to discover with my fist. That’s LOVE.

  45. The above incident happened TODAY.

  46. I am thankful your you, Cake. How many times have your posts brightened my days since this summer when I started coming here.

    You, too, Suzanne Finnamore. You have one of the greatest wits of the 20th century. Too bad it’s the 21st. Don’t ever stop.

    Amanda: you’re little secret is safe with me, but probably not with Brenda.

    I spent Thanksgiving in Lima. We went to Peru to visit the parents and daughter of my wife’s first serious boyfriend with whom she lived in Peru for the latter 70s and early 80s. This may sound soap opery, but they call her daughter, regard me as a pretty nice guy with at least the familial standing of a nephew while I regard my wife’s ex as a good friend, possibly conferring on him first cousin status, and anyway, I shot pictures at his wedding and sneak smokes with his wife.

    So we brought a can of cranberry sauce, some pumpkin pie filling and what all down to Peru and got to be honored guests. We sat in the window-lined dining room on their 13th floor apartment overlooking Miraflores, a suburb of Lima.

    They allowed me to say grace and what I wanted to do was fall to the floor with my face in the carpet and thank God for every millisecond — good and bad — of every moment I have ever experienced on this good earth and brag out loud to the Divine One for the wonderfulness of the people all around me, but I went easy instead, Episcopalian even, and kept my emotions in check. They had prepared a turkey with dressing, my canned cranberry with the can markings still imprinted, a wonderful Peruvian dish of string beans and onions, mashed yellow potatoes, and a wonderful drink called Chicha, made from boiled purple corn, some jugo de pina, which is pineapple juice for you gringos out there and I don’t know what else except that I ate a minimum of three portions of each, much to the amusement of my hosts.

    Oh, and pumpkin pie.

    That night we got in a cab and went into Lima which was still decked out and gorgeous from the APEC meeting that was held the previous week and which was buzzing about the fact that our teetotaling el presidente, who shall soon be beating it back to Crawford Texas, was caught by a photographer at a banquet drinking a pisco sour, an alcoholic beverage. So we got in the cab and went to see the new fountain garden in Lima which features wonderful water tunnels, grand cascading fountains that make the display in Vegas look like a squirt gun and a video and laser show projected against a wall of water and the place was packed with screaming, delighted children and families and lovers kssing openly and for them it wasn’t Thanksgiving but Thursday and yet, it sure felt darned special because a lot of people were acting like it was.

    It was the best Thanksgiving I ever had, beating out those in Evansville, Ind., when we would gobble the gobblers and go to the Shrine Circus (do they still have them there, Kate?); edged out the stoned out T-day in the mid-70s when I smoked a ton of pot and baked a turkey upside down — the turkey being upside down and, well, me, too, I suppose; surpassed the Thanksgivings when I was on the police beat as a young reporter waiting for someone drunk to kill a loved one with an AK47 or butcher knife; was even better than the one I spent in northern Maine when the town’s fire alarm went off and it was so cold that the water from the volunteer firemen’s hoses would hit the blaze, rise in steam, freeze and turn into sooty ice crust over the charred rafters and beams and kitchen chairs and what remained of the the living room sofa.

    Then we took a cab back through Lima’s crowded streets, kiss-kissed each other good night and I sat up late amazed and thankful and smoked a cigarette and listened to the sirens and the traffic below and thought: hey, I am in the Southern Hemisphere and one amazed and thankful dude.

  47. Oh God the CIRCUS! Yes, it still goes on. I went two years ago and ended up crying because my son got overstimulated and wanted to go home to his safe place aka watch a video. I was never a kid like that and I simply didn’t understand. I asked him if he wanted to go this year and he said he would go if I put mud on his eyes and earmuffs on his ears so he couldn’t hear or see a clown!!

    I feel the same way about the dancing bears.

  48. Did I mention I’m thankful for George?

  49. to my blog baby niece:

    your son is a wise man. clowns are weird. But I had a friend who dated a woman whose father was a wellknown clown by the name of Happy Kellams, though Happy was probably not his first name.

    Anyway my friend said to the woman when they first met: I understand your Dad is a clown.

    I always thought that was an appropriate time to get such a comment out of the way early in a relationship because such a phrase inevitably gets said in some form or another

    but now, I am blushing…

    by the way, I put up a couple of shots of the trip. I will have more to say later but I am still weary from the travel and I haven’t completely sorted out my thoughts.

  50. hi everyone, hi haven… paula- i, too, am kinda new here and i see that everyone else knows everyone else already, but i ain’t scared (she said). but i’ve been a fan of haven’s since zippy, have read everything (except the children’s books- they’re next, since i have a 2yr old now, in addition to a 14yr old who is also too cool for words, and thus uses the cryptic shorthand of the texter (ex: sup? ware r u? sk8ng?…). NOT that i’ve looked at his texts. i’d never do that.

    ANYwhoo, we brought thanksgiving to my newly widowed mother-in-law, bad while she ultimately enjoyed herself, she nonetheless fretted over the time i put the bird in the oven (too late), the texture of the stuffing (drier thn hers), the fact that the “baby” wouldn’t eat sitting down but instead ran around the house chasing the dogs and made pitstops for mouthfuls of nourishment (who has energy to chase children on thanksgiving??), etc etc. i love her, don’t get me wrong, but she can WEAR on you. but the meal was fabulous (no feigned modesty for moi) and we were all stuffed and QUIET afterward. now it’s on to christmas! i’m exhausted just thinking of it, but i’m doing alot of my shopping online and making some gifts, so it should be a mellow holiday, god willing.

    i am grateful for my children and husband, for their sweetness, and their edges. i am grateful for early mornings when they’re all asleep and it’s just me and my tea and the blue light of morning. now i can add to that the heavenly-scented christmas tree in the corner, with its lights and homemade ornaments. oh, there are too many things to list, but haven’s mind is definitely at the top.

  51. weird- i menat to say “AND while she ultimately enjoyed herself…” but i typed “BAD while she…” instead. feel free to analyze that for me. 😀

  52. Oh Kate, please don’t weep for the javalina as it sure as hell wouldn’t weep for you…they’re MEAN….they eat small dogs and lost chirren. They give you the stink eye whenever they see you and don’t run away like proper wildlife.
    And George…how astute you are…you are correct in warning Amanda that I can’t keep a secret. A compulsion to reveal secrets was one of the things the fairies laid upon me at my birth and everyone who knows me has been told that so if you want it kept quiet, DON’T TELL ME! What a wonderful Thanksgiving story from you, I just loved it and read it twice…a movie in my head.
    SFC!! How flattering…I love it when people makes my stomach tickle.
    And welcome, all you new blog babies.

  53. Oh, oh Haven, I missed you so!!!! Everyday I would check for a new post and my stomach would sink, thinking ” she must not be ready yet”
    My favorite part of Thanksgiving this year was curling up with my momma in the guest bed and watching The Lost Boys while the menfolk watched stupid football on Saturday night.

  54. Hi Lorraine! I saw your photos on the yahoo blog and thought that you are lovely. Welcome to the pack 🙂

    Paharo- I enjoyed your post.


  55. Brenda, I weep not for it’s death. I WEEP that you were unable to convince your hubby to have it stuffed.

  56. welcome back, haven! missed you tons! let’s see…thanksgiving…since my husband and i live about 10 mins from my parents and about 15 mins from his parents, holidays can get tricky. we end up doing “double duty” every year, which is exhausting–so i think we may just start hosting and whomever would like to come to our house can.

    at any rate, we have a tremendous game of soccer post meal at my parent’s house, and have done this since we we very little. the teams are compsoed of families–team tucker is my cousins, and team grass is my family. we fill in with non-tuckers or grasses as needed—but there are t shirts every single year, which my mom labors over, designs, and gives to everyone. there were 31 people at her thanksgiving table this year. the more the merrier!

    my in-laws attended meal number one with my family as my sister just got engaged and her soon-to-be in laws were visiting from the UK. Many laughs were had, my sweet Mason learned “no hands” in soccer and of course, the food was delicious. we had some family friends visiting–a cousin who grew up in georgia and is now a dancer on broadway–so she lives in NYC, but took the train out for the day. hadn’t seen her in years and it was so fun.

    meal number 2 didn’t get underway until about 8 pm. macy is 27 mos old, so 8 pm isn’t exactly his dinnertime. john’s (my husband) mom tends to way over-drink–so that is great for john who is a recovering alcoholic. the food was good, but i wasn’t very hungry anymore and john was becoming infuriated with his mother (typical turkey day family fight brewing), so we headed out right after the meal, citing our child’s exhaustion as the reason.

    now we are enjoying this time between the 2 big end-o-year holidays and trying to remember what it is all about. i opened door number 10 with mason this morning and he found a creepy, crawly centipede (plastic) in his advent calendar…stickers, crayons, candy and some more creepy crawlies are to follow. the tree is up (we took it from our own property and it looks a tad “charlie brown”ish), the decorations are making their way out. i have a poinsettia. hope everyone is enjoying this time of year and not stressing. i just look at my sweet boy’s face and know that holidays should be remembered fondly. so that is my goal. make mason aware of how good he has it and make some room for some laugh time. we head out to guatemala on the 27th of december–i can hardly wait!!

  57. KATE!

  58. Hello to Haven and all blog babies,

    I haven’t posted in ages but I’ve been lurking and digesting, trying to stay abreast of the goings on here in Havenville. I’m starting to feel as though I actually know some of you. It’s nice.

    The holidays always set me on edge (a sharper edge than usual), and this year is shaping up to be no exception. It’s our first year in San Diego (L.A. transplants) so Thanksgiving now includes an “over the river and through the woods” drive to my boyfriend’s mother’s house. (And by “river” I mean freeway, and by “woods” I mean South Central Los Angeles, which is NOT a good place to try to find an open bathroom on a holiday, just fyi.)

    For me, the blessing about the holidays is that I’m reminded I don’t have the market cornered on family drama. My boyfriend’s mother (whom I ADORE) is a former Playboy bunny (and was featured in the mag WITH HER TWIN SISTER), but somehow I always think of her as “the normal one.” This year I got to hear a fantastic story from my boyfriend’s youth wherein the neighbor ladies–two 350-lb. born again Christians who prayed for Jesus to take the calories out of pizza–befriended my boyfriend’s cousin, who was 7 at the time, and THEN WOULDN’T GIVE HIM BACK. For weeks. It’s a long and complicated story but the point is that it was rendered in such a casual tone (“remember when the neighbors took A and we had to call the police to get him back and, oh, Shanna, do you want whipped cream on your pie?”) and I had a moment of total gratitude for the fleeting insight that other people’s “outsides” are seldom what they seem. Or something like that.

    In other news, a former writing teacher straight fucking lifted a scene I wrote in her class a couple of years ago. It’s in her new book, which is a memoir, so it irritates me on more than one level. It’s not plagarism, per se, but, to me, it’s close enough that my original piece is now dead in the water. Sigh. People suck sometimes. Have any of you ever had something like this happen?

  59. Why wouldn’t that be plagiarism? Perhaps the memoir is loaded with scenes written by students?

  60. Your boyfriend’s family sounds like they would make a good storyline for a book, Shanna!

  61. My friend Dan Carpenter, a columnist at The Indianapolis Star, wrote today that it is the anniversary of the Catholic monk Thomas Merton. Here is the Merton prayer. It’s a good one for all times, but seems appropriate today:

    MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

  62. Oh George, thank you, thank you for this prayer. I feel better all ready.

  63. Thanks for sharing your adventure and the prayer, George.

    Just curious…did praying over the pizza work? 🙂

    Took Spirit’s advice and got me a real avatar!

  64. I like Thomas Merton because he was all about working toward being our authentic selves. Merton appeals to me because I spent so many years trying to be someone else.

    Here are a couple of my favorite quotes.

    “The first step toward finding God, Who is Truth, is to discover the truth about myself: and if I have been in error, this first step to truth is the discovery of my error.”

    “We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill the deepest capacities of our real selves.”
    – Thomas Merton

  65. Thanksgiving is also my favorite holiday b/c it’s the only day of the year that I cook, so naturally I make whatever I feel like eating.

    Haven, thanks for the pictures–especially of the kids and the dogs. If I ever become smart enough to learn how to use my digital camera, I’ll take a picture of my dog Ripley, the sweetest soul on earth.

    Okay, I had a very weird Thanksgiving experience that I thought I’d share. Those of you living in central NC might find it interesting. Before I tell it, I will swear on a stack of 10 bibles that this is true (you can follow-up on the police report if you don’t believe me).

    Thanksgiving night–around 10:30–our last guests had just left and my husband Steve and I were exhausted b/c we had been up since 6:00 am and we’d been entertaining both my family and his since 10:00 that morning.

    Steve took Ripley out in the back yard to “potty” when he heard a strange sound coming from the woods behind our house. I should state for the record that our yard borders a thick wooded area that is owned by the Army Corps. of Engineers b/c Bolin Creek (which feeds into Jordan Lake) runs about 100 feet behind our tree line.

    To make the next part of a long story short, Steve runs in the house and tells me he’s heard Blair Witch noises the in woods–I go out on the back porch–listen–and then proceed to hear the most horrific sounds I’ve ever heard in my life.

    It sounded like a woman screaming, but not a high-pitched shrill scream like someone calling for help. This was a deep, gutteral scream like someone was in excrutiating pain and/or being tortured. Of course, we do have plenty of deer and foxes and owls in these woods, but we could not imagine any of these animals making such a noise. We were both convinced that some poor woman was being stabbed or shot to death and since we didn’t hear any gun shots, we assumed the poor victim was being stabbed…repeatedly.

    So, we called the police who promptly arrived and searched both the woods behind our house and our neighbor’s yards. The heard nothing, they saw nothing, they found nothing. While I was relieved that they didn’t drag some poor woman’s mangled body out of the woods, I was disappointed they hadn’t found anything because I really, really, really wanted to know what it was.

    Steve and I slept with the turkey carving knife beside the bed that night!

    A few uneventful days later, an article appeared in the local newspaper. Apparently, a woman who lives about a mile from our house had reported seeing a cougar in her backyard early Friday morning. This person’s yard also borders Bolin Creek and I thought it was coincidental that she’d seen this animal only several hours after we’d heard strange noises.

    Wildlife officials quickly dismissed this woman’s report and said it was probably just a large dog, and that there aren’t any cougars in the entire state of North Carolina. However, the woman was accompanied by her nephew when she saw this animal, who happens to be 22-years old and from Texas where they do have cougars, and he had seen several before.

    Curiosity got the better of me and I went online to look up cougar noises. Turns out that female cougars have a mating call that’s referred to as a ghost scream. Some of the descriptions I found are listed below:

    –“The cry of a cougar is wild and terrifying. It sounds like a woman in pain.”
    –“The sound of a mating cougar is like that of a wailing woman.”
    –“Cougars make guttural sounds.”
    –“A cougar’s scream is almost vocal.”
    –“A female cougar’s shriek is like that of a human voice in the midst of some sort of torture.”

    Based on those descriptions, I’m convinced we did have a cougar in our back yard on Thanksgiving night, which is a sentence I never thought I’d say.

    For those of you in NC, be careful!

  66. Also, Shanna, I meant to tell you–the story about the big twins and the pizza had me in tears!

  67. I have recently heard about cougars and wildcats making a big comeback in areas they have never been seen in, in recent years! Freaky.

  68. Speaking of wild animals, one of our neighbhors found a dead deer across our creek with this stomach ripped open, as if it had been attacked and another animal had been eating it.

    Now, our neighborhood is not out in the wild. Our creek is really a drainage creek and the woods are not huge – they separate our back yards from the next street over up the hill. But, deer do mozy by from several surrounding park areas. We’ve seen fox, owls, and I did see a coyote recently. But, our neighbor said a coyote probably did not kill this deer. Yikes. I wonder if we have a cougar roaming around too.

  69. Hubby and I were childless this holiday, as the kids were with their mom. We snuck off to New York City and we had a wonderful and stress free holiday. New York is a fantastic city, this was my fourth trip, and hubby’s first, and of course he loved it there. My only sad moment was when I was so dizzy I couldn’t finish walking across the Brooklyn bridge. I had a great holiday and took some great shots, too. Most of the time I kind of hate holidasy because of my childhood, but this was a great one for me.

    Haven, I loved your pictures. And, your little boy is quite a cutie!!!

  70. Linda, that’s really creepy. I’m sorry you had to see that. Do you live in NC?

  71. Dead dear with it’s stomach ripped open?


    Is it knife-hunting season there? Doesn’t knife hunting follow black powder, archery, slingshot, and guided-missile season?

  72. I live in Nashville, Tennessee, Lesley. Within the city limits actually.

    I did not see the deer. Our next door neighbor called and told us about it. Our neighbor three houses down actually found it when she was out in her back yard.

  73. It is always the season for something down here in Tennessee, George. hehe

  74. from Claire Fick, Sher’s 6 year-old:

    Dear Zippy – I really like your stories. One of my favorite is when you were little and when you and your Dad thrEw your bottle in the fire, and when you get your hair and blue slippers. My favorite line, which I can say with you is “THEY’RE MY ACTUAL FEET!!!” I like looking at the pictures in your books Zippy and Couch which my mom showed me. I like the picture of your friend, Julie.
    I like your dogs when you were little, I have one kitten, Snappy. she has a little stump for a tail, because she was born that way, we hope. She naps a lot. We have only 3 pets, 2 are hermit crabs, Ocean and Paco. Snappy has a wet nose. I listen to your stories every night, instead of my lullaby CD.

  75. Claire forgot to say:

    “One time when we moved in this new house, Ocean escaped from her playground box, we found her hours later between two boxes. She almost got dry enough to die. I’m glad my Mommy found her.

    Do you celebrate Christmas? I have my very own Christmas tree I decorated all by myself.

    Thank You,

  76. Sher, that made me weepy. So sweet.

  77. I really can’t remember Thanksgiving it was so long ago – but we had our friends up from the Gulf Coast. When we were the parents of young kids back in 1999 and our daughters were in the same kindergarten we started going out to dinner on Thanksgiving because neither of us could travel to our ‘home’ states for such a short holiday.

    Then we realized we prefered it that way and we are on year 9 – even though we moved away we still spend the weekend either here (tn) or at Santa Rosa beach.

    The weekend BEFORE thanksgiving my sister had a neutral zone dinner for all siblings our side of the family – – including our mother and her husband. we had some tense moments when some siblings were making obama/racial jokes and I was freaking out, but said – ok, you guys are killing me, did you see palin’s pardoning? which chilled out the situation – – – think I met up the ORIGINAL Sock Monkey and his Robbie . . . then the thanksgiving day with our friends . . .

    We do the around the table, what we are thankful for, which we started in 1999 – the thanks have grown from “I am thankful for playdough” . . . “that Obama won” . . . “for our new house” . . . . my daughter’s “for my cell phone” . . . there is no pressure and some people (dylan) talks for 20 minutes, or just one sentence.

    This year I wanted to JUST say “Blog Babies” – but I added the new house, new friends, new studio . . .

    we hung out at the house, I baked and cooked for 4 days . . . including country HOMEMADE from scratch noodles over mashed potatoes . . . everything is real and from scratch, except I did buy a few bakery pies this year due to my tired back and so forth.

    The following weekend my sister, her hubby and my air force released nephew visited for 4 days . . . and we ate fried green tomatoes on rye with muenster cheese and roumalade . . . heaven. We played spades, apples to apples, scrabble, dominoes, and watched movies. also had my birthday stuck in there somewhere where I got Wii music and we now have a partridge family style band and make videos. waiting on rock band as we have guitar hero on other gaming systems, but LOVE the wii . . .

    for xmas the teens go to NJ to the shorehouse and donny and I will be home alone with Claire-bear. We are planning on taking her to the Adventure Sciense Center, playing UNO and don is taking off the whole week . . . it WILL BE HEAVEN!

  78. Kate – isn’t she hysterical!!!

    When my sister was here she let her listen to Zippy (which she has claimed in her room on her CD player) and whispered to Leis: “It is not a secret, Haven’s mom and dad were gypsies and she was born with a tail!!!” She covered her mouth like she couldn’t get the words out – – and that it was so unbelievable to her. Of course, Lisa said “Not really, that was a joke!”

    Claire said “Well I’m glad because why did she get a tail and Snappy (our cat) didn’t get borned with one!?”

  79. dude, there is a new christmas special on tonight “Little Spirit ” it looks good . . . although I am not Charlie Browned, Rudolph or Frostyed out yet – – and I have to save The Christmas Story for closer to the day . . .

  80. whereforartthou?

  81. my brother, a hunter/butcher/now coal miner enlightened me on many versions of hunting, taxidermy, trapping . . . including the fact that some animals commit suicide before they can be ‘downed’ – and that most taxidermy should not cost more than $750 for a good set (proper) – – but finding non-hunted animals does increase the price and make them more rare – – he wanted to know if he hit an animal with his car if they counted as hunted? and we concluded if the intention is death, then Haven wouldn’t want the item – it would have to die naturally of illness, old age, or by complete accident to qualify. This discussion lasted an hour, minimum.

  82. also, humane trapping doesn’t hurt the animal and he tags them for the scientists and lets them go a lot of the time – that is where they get lots of numbers for species listing – and the scientists are paid by the hunter’s fees. Most hunters like the hunt and trapping, and cooning is all about tracking . . . the kill doesn’t have to happen. Sounds more like fox hunting to me. Anyway, I learned a lot.

  83. Lesley, truly weird story. My interest was especially piqued the first time through when I marveled at your insight in intuiting the cougar was 22 and from Texas.

    George, you were so missed! I loved your T-day story (well, I love all your stories), and the Merton prayer (apropos, right now). And how very natural you look alongside a llama. — (side note re gratitude: I was writing to Haven just how much this community has done for me in everyday life, how my best self is emerging with these voices in my head. And of course the first identifiable voice is Haven, but the second is yours.)

    Lorraine, may I appropriate this?: “I am grateful for their sweetness and their edges.” So well put.

    Some truly gifted new voices here — Paharo, Shanna — you take my breath away. Kate Cake, brilliant, funny, wise post. Paul (it is Paul, yes?), so glad to see you back, and I now desperately want to score a bottle of Bitch. For the hilarious, intelligent, warm company it so clearly guarantees as well as for its built-in conversation-lag-eraser.

    And Haven. What a post. As I favor books with pictures, and history, and quirky song lyrics, you are after my own heart. (And I think we’d all thank your brother in absentia for saying what we would have said en masse to the Extremely Unkind Man to whom you were bound.) I’m so glad you had your Otter Thanksgiving. Also — what a beautiful collection of bowls on the sideboard.

    I’m grateful for: all of you.

  84. jim shue – my sister is convinced you ALMOST sold her on some particular items about 4 months ago . . . and how did we get away without taking pictures!!! Argh!!

  85. George, welcome home! So nice to hear everyones Thanksgiving stories, its like I was at each one. Sher, I am hungry and envious of all the cooking you do. I am currently in the planning process of making 6 dozen cookies for a cookie party. The planning involves chosing which cookies to make, buying supplies, thinking about making the cookies, but in the past thats as far as it gets. Sher, you have inspired me to finally follow through.

  86. Oh you people, I have had a DAY. God above. And these postings made me so happy my heart actually lifted, as if in a HYMN. Where is my Jodi? She’d know . . . OH! Love lifted me, love lifted me, when nothing else would help loooove lifted me. That doesn’t mean I don’t need you, Jodi, I still do.

    I shall name some things I’m grateful for:

    1. I’m supremely grateful for Kate, who sent me at least 7,000 cookies today, all of them intricate and so delicious I shall be a Weeble-Wobble by Friday. Also, her posts today were so funny — the pacing was so good, right? that quick quick pace — that I just howled. Also Kate really loves the people she loves, and that is as rare as diamonds.

    2. I’m grateful for Amanda, who spent an entire day with me as I was having a nervous breakdown, and never for a moment was less than sanguine herself. And also she’s a person I would just say ANYTHING to, and did, and how many times do you get someone like that in your life? And her compassion is very, very genuine.

    3. I’m grateful for Polly, who knows why.

    4. George Stuteville, George Stuteville, George Stuteville.

    5. Linda, who is ceaselessly brave and gracious; we should all strive to be so.

    6. Spirit Particles, who is the real thing. I mean she is Spirit in the best way.

    7. The Girl From The Ghetto, who is both tough and kind and works HARD to make her life better. I admire this very much because we came from very similar backgrounds and when I see someone pushing against that history I want to stand up and applaud.

    8. Amy-in-Ohio who by some magic always cheers me.

    9. Matt in Nebraska, who gives his genius and his sweetness and his gorgeous sentence structure away for free, and he sends me wondrous old things he finds in the library even though I never write back because I can’t find even the two minutes to do. But Matt, you are always in my heart.

    10. Dear, dear Caryl Hayes and Jack, whose picture is in my study, and Charlie, and Stephanie.

    11. My gay boyfriend Brandon, who saw a squirrel without a tail, and thus he knew that Stumpy still lives. And Angie, his friend, who came to my reading in Muncie, and Eric, his partner, who is very patient with Brandon having a straight woman girlfriend.

    12. Lorraine, who I hope visits every day. Shanna, Vanessa, Lesley Young, everyone new and brilliant.

    13. I needed that Thomas Merton prayer like you wouldn’t believe, George. Thank you.

    14. I’m grateful an owl lives on top of my barn. I’m grateful for the barn, and for all the animals who lived inside their grace and beauty and then died, as things do, but who have been preserved by taxidermist artists and I am fortunate enough to touch creatures I would never be able to get near otherwise. I’m grateful for people like George, who got it immediately. I held up the wolverine and he rubbed its back and said, “I will never, ever touch another wolverine in my life, and I never thought I would.” Gwen and Mike at Buck Hollow Taxidermy sent me irises when they found out about Orri.

    15. I thank the Powers every day for Jodi, who is like a twin to me, only much smarter. Thank you, too, Jodi, for always having the courage to call me on my crapola, or something I’m misrepresenting even by accident, because that’s a real friend. I love you.

    16. How many people can say — in all honesty — their dearest friends are their mother, their sister, their daughter, and their mother-in-law, Meg? How many people can be wounded by a father and have that wound healed by a father-in-law? There is just one Don Kimmel, and I found him. There was one Orri Putnam, and I knew him fourteen years. And I’m BEYOND grateful to Ben Kimmel, who gave me my glorious son, Obadiah and who let me keep his family, and did so with astonishing grace, as has his new wife, Lori. Huge hearts, those people have.

    17. I’m grateful to Dorian, who has a good heart and doesn’t give up.

    18. John McMullen, you are an angel in this world.

    19. I’m a religious person because of Quakerism, Whitehead, and Kierkegaard. But I believe in God because of dogs.

    20. I live in a neighborhood with a block captain. My block captain’s name is Tom, and he is not only unfailingly generous and kind, he knows everything in the world. He has given me a hammer, advised me on wine, explained why one of my cats has a face two different colors, split right down the middle; stayed with me after I had a seizure; recognized that I was listening to Caruso after hearing three notes out my car window, and yesterday he was the first person I called after I poured boiling water on my hand. Because of his advice I have no blisters. He is not a doctor, he’s an attorney.

    21. I said of Orri that he taught me we choose our family and love them as fiercely as possible. To my chosen family: Beth, my oldest and truest, you are my sister until the day I die. Suzanne Finnamore Cooper, you have seven minutes to look at the jewelry. Dianne and Joe, Tim and Leslie, Brian and Jefferson in New Orleans, and most especially Augusten and Dennis, Robert and Jeffrey, for whom I would walk on broken glass. Scott. Scott again. And ever and ever, my heart’s bright blue and glowing treasure, Christopher.

    22. My three children, whom I was born to love. And Abby and Josh, who taught me how. KALIA.

    23. John: sin usted, nada. I wanted to use the beautiful Latin for, “Without whom, not this book,” but I thought you might be impressed if I used Spanish instead. I mean it either way.

  87. I forgot Jim Shue!!!, because he’s been around so long he’s like a brother to me, and Carrie (Carrie is brilliant, by the way), and good lord SHER, whose art has made my house new. Brendasynch, and the Stephs! Stephanie in Ohio and Steph! I love you all! Eisha and all 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast, because Why Stop At Six? I’m grateful for rams, and I very much like this paharo crees mysterious person, and our new Maureen. If I forgot anyone, please let me know.

    Oh, and how could I forget your kindness to my mother? You have built a kind and better world here, all of you, and I will never cease being grateful to you for it.

  88. Dear Claire Fick,

    I happen to know that it is very good luck to have a cat without a tail. As you will remember, I had my own removed and it was the Gypsies who taught me a lot of secrets. I still wear slippers almost all the time, but now they look like cowboy boots. If you would like a pair and will e-mail me your address and the size of your foot, or BOTH FEET IF YOU HAVE TWO, I’ll send you some and we can be slipper twins.

    I am thinking that you like to have your nails polished, maybe pink or something with sparkles. I highly recommend painting your toenails, too, so they don’t feel left out. Also? Ask Santa for any kind of chapstick or lip balm that tastes like candy. My favorite is Hershey’s chocolate, but really any flavor is good.

    If I were a Claire Fick, here’s what I would do: not watch very much television. I would pretend in my head a lot and even write some pretends down or record them in a tape recorder. I would always be kind to animals and my mom and dad, and I would WISH CONSTANTLY someone would bring me some cookies. I would play outside and run and JUMP as HIGH AS I COULD. I would always be exactly myself and try not to lie and try not to hurt any feelings, but if someone tried to make me be a different sort of Claire Fick? Some feelings might just get hurt, whoops.

    I liked your letters very much, and I love the pictures I’ve seen of you, and I love your mom. It seems as if you got really LUCKY, and also you are smart. Never, ever be afraid to be smart.

    Your Friend,

  89. Oh, oh, oh. I am swooning over Zippy’s letter to Claire. Especially this: “Never, ever be afraid to be smart.” Sigh. Words to live by. Also, “I would WISH CONSTANTLY someone would bring me some cookies.” Well, yeah.

  90. OH GOD, MIRIAM!! I adore Miriam! And I love her novel, and it’s going to be published to great acclaim!

  91. haven, for the record, i am thankful for you. the pictures from our hanksgiving look like what the day should be all about. great friends and chosen family, enjoying each other and lots of delicious food. delectable in every way. so glad to have you back on the blog. i checked CONSTANTLY.

  92. ok, that should read “the pictures from your thanksgiving”….oops

  93. For Claire and Zippy:
    I will ask the fairies to wrap up Zippy and Claire in an invisible love blanket. An invisible love blanket is warm when you need warm and cool when you need cool. It stretches no matter how far to include anyone you wish inside it with you. It has securely sewn in pockets for animals of all sizes without ever getting any heavier! It absorbs the colors of whatever you love and when you sniff it, you smell only what is interesting or what you love. It never wears out, and only gets dirty when you play in the mud and then cleans itself while you take a nap. It makes the BEST forts ever. I hope you like it.
    Love, Brenda


    THAT “author” who lifted your bit must be made aware of her error. not for her sake, but for yours and hers.

    EVERYBODY has to read the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society. it’s so funny and smart and poignant and gorgeous. just perfect. FIND. IT.

    EVERYBODY ALSO HAS TO READ “THE WELL AND THE MINE’ by gin phillips. we all just voted it the barnes and noble Discovery Best New Author novel for 2008, but no one knows yet. it’s like harper lee went straight and had a daughter with faulkner who also went straight. it’s beyond the beyond. a paperback…..

    oh and everybody has to get the 2 cd set of VOICE OF LONGING by Rumi and Coleman Barks on cd. you will just be lifted STRAIGHT to heaven and your feet will still be on the precious ground. i sent it to Haven. why? because i know, because i have a great privilege to know what she requires, like all of you also know. you are so beloved.

    so yall ALL DESERVE the best, so go right on amazon now and order those 3 things. i gave em to haven for christmas but dont tell her. it’s a SECRET. well, actually she already has the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society, but she was unaware of its magnitude. i hope she’s reading it tonight. i love you hand pie!!!!


    GEORGE. your compliment and Haven’s made today holy.


    “A lie doesn’t not change to the truth with just talking about it’


  95. I forgot to add one of the odder elements of the Otter-fest. Baby Gus was obsessed with watching “Mary Poppins,” and so it was on much of the time, and somehow all of us ended up sitting in the living room watching it, or parts of it, three or four times. What a strange movie it is! I must say there were quite a few unsettling scenes. Also Christopher and I fought for HOURS because he said that Dick Van Dyke was a HUGE drunk and was just drunk drunk drunk all the time, and he was drunk in every scene in that movie and all others, and I was like liar liar liar, and then we looked it up on Wikipedia and a drinking problem was mentioned.

  96. I have no idea what Suze sent me for Christmas because I am in my fort.

  97. well APOLOGIES to rumi! well i fucked that up good and proper, re shanna’s sticky fingered teacher/”author.”……:

    “A lie does not change to the truth with just talking about it”


    yes. that song/poem is on the VOICE OF LONGING cd.

  98. And I’m grateful that my “sister” didn’t forget me after all. Yeesh! (Yup, I’m back)

    We spent our day baking deserts for two dinners: the first was a lunch at my youngest brother’s place with all of his in-laws. Had a great time (even with some sad news that I won’t get into here) and Riley was a hit, of course. Then we came back to Indianapolis for an evening dinner with our good friends Kim & Rex and their families. Long day but oh so worth it.

    We seem to be very blessed with a lot of people who love and care about us. And more than a few of those are people that I can include from this place. Some of you I’ve met in person – uber-talented Sher – and some of you I’ve gotten to know so well here that it seems like we’ve been friends forever. And I’m looking forward to meeting more as our circumstances allow.

    This year though, I’m most grateful for finding my voice again. I thought it was gone for good. It’s not only Haven who helped me hear it again, but all of you who write on this blog have inspired me, cheered me, and I swear have just plain rubbed off some of you own talent on me. So thank you. ALL of you. You are an amazing bunch of people.

  99. You do know, don’t you, that embroidered on my shirt in my avatar are the words BLADE HOLLISTER TAXIDERMY, with a deer in the middle?

  100. And see how Ms. SFC is? Pops in, says something completely smarty pants and out she goes again! Yes, I’m especially grateful for you, “Suze” Finnamore Cooper!

  101. Dick Van Dyke has/had a DRINKING PROBLEM??

    My world is crumbling!!

    Mary Poppins…I have yet to convince my kids that this is a great movie. Maybe if they heard the soundtrack album on vinyl every day at naptime. “Stay Awake” did me in every time.

    True story…Hugh got “Fiddler on the Roof” confused with “Mary Poppins”. He thought Fiddler on the Roof was about chimney sweeps. With fiddles, I suppose. That man has gaps in his musical theater education that I have yet to fill, but he does love Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and White Christmas, so my work is not in vain.

  102. Have (can I call you Have?) Your avatar is months old and I believe, it is you and Kat at your wedding.

  103. No seriously? I can see it plain as day and it’s my new shirt.

    Kate . . . are you writing to me . . . FROM THE PAST?

  104. Hi all! It’s Maureen aka newvisionteacher the dairy farmer –

    I made it to New York City and back today with 25 teenagers. It was The Hicks Hit the Big City but we had a great time. Saw the big tree and skating rink at Rockefeller Center then saw “All My Sons” with John Lithgow, Diane Weiss, Katie Holmes, and Patrick Wilson.

    We actually saw them all come out the stage door – we even saw Suri!! It was like tabloid heaven. Oh, and the play itself was excellent. I have two tickets – seriously – that we did not use, so if anyone is heading to New York, I will mail them to you and you can call to change the ticket dates.

    I’ll tell ya, East Pharsalia, NY looked mighty small when I just got home.

    I am so buzzed up by running the field trip and being in the city that I had to sit down with a beer and check the blog.

    I am VERY THANKFUL that I had someone(s) – you guys – to come home and talk to. My family has all gone to sleep!

    As I was telling my co-chaperone on the way home (five hours on a school bus each way), I feel like I’ve finally found some friends. There aren’t many people in Chenango County I completely groove with, but now I have found you folks.

    Fellow Merton fans, if you haven’t found it already, an amazing book is The Life You Save Might Be Your Own by Paul Elie. He looks at the criss-crossing literary and spiritual lives of Merton, Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, and Dorothy Day.

  105. I’m in a Jack Finney short story…The Mysterious WordPress Avatar Incident.

  106. That was too strange. In the time it took me to craft that last comment ten new comments got added! I am finally awake at the right time!

  107. Kate – Did your avatar suddenly switch on you? I lost forty years and am suddenly 2 years old covered in pudding.

  108. Mine is the same. For me, the weird thing is that I used to have a quilt block unless I was logged into word press, and then I had that terribly accurate picture of me. I really am red like that. Ask Haven. She met me once.

  109. ANYWAY, now I have the red avatar no matter what. It’s terribly strange.

    Someone, back me up! What does Haven’s avatar look like to you??

  110. I am afeared that if I make her aware of her error and she doesn’t react the way I want her to then I will lose. my. shit. I’m trying to get a little more distance from the situation before I take action. Uh, before I take action with her. Cause I seem to be actively whining about it here quite nicely. The shitty thing is that I loved that little piece (a ribald yet vulnerable short short about bad sex, golden showers and shaky self-esteem) and now I feel as though it’s not mine anymore. Sigh. Bitch. (Yeah, I definitely need a little distance.)

  111. I am glad to know I’m not the only one scanning the road and thinking of Haven. I find myself with my eyes peeled driving the country roads.

    The funniest javelina story I have ever read is the Barbara Kingsolver essay “Making Peace.”

  112. I am glad to know I’m not the only one scanning the road kill and thinking of Haven. I find myself with my eyes peeled driving the country roads.

    The funniest javelina story I have ever read is the Barbara Kingsolver essay “Making Peace.”

  113. Ooop. Submitted twice – read the second one.

  114. I see Haven’s new avatar, the one of the logo on her new shirt. Very strange Katy Cake.

  115. Well . . . I am sorely tempted to sneak in and read Zippy’s letter to Claire . . . but that would be so anti-mother and the poor child (I actually typed power child, which is more true) is already unschooled, jabbers about Korat cats (which we have a tail-less of), the original Dr. Doolittle, she just CHOSE a hershey’s milk chocolate lip balm so I am dying here . . . thank everyone for their patience with claire’s dictation . . . and she typed her own name.

    this reminds of writing to Dick and Jane in my kindergarten class (as well as making a portrait of Spot) and asking that poor teacher for 5 years if they ever wrote back. I’m sure she was ducking to avoid me after year 2. And, I ask, why wouldn’t those publishers have a department for responding to use little readers?

    I passed on (loaned) my copy of Iodine to my sister, telling her not to read the notes (I have TRUE, IT HAPPENED, TOTEM, DREAM, FAGUE, FAGUE, DELUSION, all over that book . . . personally I think she needed a fresh copy, a before Sher read it thrice and marked it with 3 colors of flags and highlighters). I was stuttering as I handed it over . . .”I really, really want this b b bb ack k k . . .”

    Why I love Haven and the Blog Babies.

    a. Haven.
    b. Everybody loves Haven.
    c. Ergo, if a + b = HEAVEN

  116. UM, Claire is schooled, but unchurched . . . i.e., unbrainwashed and at least 4 times a week I say her homework can wait and that her homework is invading our family time and who do those teachers think they are, anyway? Don’t they know we have IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO, like collect leaves, poke at the fish in the pond, fall in the pond and cry “I DON’T LIKE THIS! [BEING WET IN 40 DEGREE WEATHER], riding on the tire swing until we bounce off the tree? Really important things, not to mention driving so we can finish a chapter of Zippy?

    Claire chose these cookie cutters for Thanksgiving: A flag, because we are thankful for America and we LOVE Obama; a heart because that means loves and thankful; squirrels because they are busy collecting their NUTS, acorn shaped because the squirrels need them, turkeys (expected), leaves, cheeries with stems and leaves for cherry pie . . . and, to make it bareable for me, I made teal and vintage pink icing with white and dark chocolate ‘trim’ – – after a week the leftovers were compared to italian tiles, art which was hard as a rock . . . my sister actually put a majolica tile in the box of cookies to show me how ‘alike’ they were . . . but they got eaten.

  117. my haven avatar is definately partying down with another girl on my screen . . . my avatar slipped to an old image and I had to update a “gavatar” on wordpress to get back my, yes it really is, blue hair

  118. hi royal sock monkeyness!

  119. Gin Phillips and The Well and the Mine , she has done something amazing with that novel. You would swear this book was written 100 years ago, thats how real her writing is. I may have my time line wrong, but if you read it will get my point. Don’t forget Disquiet, the little book I just finished.

  120. Hi, Artist formerly known as Sher!

  121. dude! everybody is back – – I’m so happy!

  122. Target’s Nick & Nora has a whole LINE of sockmonkey stuff – – some awesomely Cool socks

  123. Yup. Bought little Sock Monkey her own pair of pjs and the matching robe.

  124. Holiday Conundrum:

    The 10 1/2 foot tree I took 5 hours to decorate LAST week has subsequently decided not to twinkle. These lights are twisted on every branch from the inside to the outside. There are 5 layers of decor.

    a. Leave it be.

    b. Add some carefully placed candleholders and candles and light only a few times.

    c. Take it down and use Claire’s tree up in the rec room . . .

    I am OCD annoyed by this perfectly decorated, artsy, lightless tree.

  125. Hooray for sock monkey pj’s and robe – – hum, does the robe come adult sized??? I better check tomorrow

  126. somebody knew I was a Target fan and built one less than 5 minutes away . . . it is RIGHT there!!!!

  127. I hope the world doesn’t get over exposed to Sock Monkey’s – – they should be rare and real! Like you (Jim Shue) and the original Velveteen Rabbit.

  128. I should start knitting whilst blogging . . .

  129. Haven’s avatar has definitely morphed into some very badass embroidery.

  130. Maureen, I ADORE The Life You Save Might Be Your Own. Very fine recommendation. Does anyone else read Stephen Millhauser? He’s extraordinary.

  131. Also, among the millions of silly things I am obsessed with, flavored lip balm is dang near in the top 10. I kissed Linus yesterday and he said “Why do I have chocolate on my lips?” It’s because your momma was wearing AVON white chocolate lip balm, that’s why!

  132. That book sounds fantastic…filing it away for future reference…

  133. Sher, write me with Claire’s shoe size and your address. I’ve got the page open to our matching slippers.

  134. I bought Linus an AMAZING pair of red white and black cowboy boots at St. Vincent De Paul yesterday, one of many dazzling purchases. They have long horn steer silhouettes and stars. And he immediately asked me if he could paint them BROWN to look like Woody’s boots. I coolly suggested that might not work so well. “Maybe I could just PRETEND they are brown.” Yes, do that.

  135. Hello everyone,

    I disappear on occasion, but I have returned. 😉

    I loovee the otter. It is bloody gorgeous. The otter is my new favorite out of Haven’s collection.

    This is a really odd list but the traditional “I’m grateful for my family, etc” – eh .. I’m not nice and thoughtful like that, so, here is my list. 🙂

    I am grateful for my kitten. She is almost always there when I go to bed and she is always there when I wake up, ready for loves and cuddles. Indeed, in this chilly season, she’s become quite happy to slip in between the flannel sheets and bake under four blankets. It’s a win-win for the both of us.

    I’m grateful for theatre and the world it has opened up for me.

    I’m grateful for Haven and the books she’s given us (those I’ve read and those I haven’t – I have loved what I’ve read so far and I know I have more to look forward to). 🙂
    And with Haven comes everyone else here, I know I’m echoing other people’s sentiments here but it’s true for me also. This blog makes me want to be a better person and I think (although much more improvement is required), that it’s succeeded a little bit already. 😀

    So .. there’s my shortlist. 😉

  136. ? Have I been put in time-out? At the top of my last message it says, “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” Is that the new normal?

  137. Obadiah had a Woody doll that we have all imitated for TEN YEARS. When you pulled his string he said, “Howdy, pahdnah! THERE’S A SNAKE IN MY BOOT!”

  138. Kittery, it’s like I turned my back for ten minutes and WordPress became some weird different animal. Like why is my picture now called a GRAVITAR? That makes no sense. And I tried to edit one of my own comments and got the awaiting moderation button, which I promptly did violence upon because it’s my damn website, I’m not going to be bossed by anyone.

  139. SHEEEERRRRR! Sher Fickle! I must have your child’s shoe size and your address or Claire will be denied one of the coolest gifts ON PLANET EARTH.

  140. Ah shee. Haven? I think WordPress is being a bit schizophrenic .. like Kate not being able to see your Avatar/Gravitar/Whatevah? It’s like this thing has multiple personalities …

    And? That’s the spirit. Tell it who’s boss. 😉

  141. Kittery, that was a lovely post and it appeared prior to the one asking if you were in the time-out corner. I think there is mayhem afoot.

  142. See, by the time I had kids the Woody Dolls were a whole different animal. I’m telling you! Linus had “Fire Fighter Woody” which is just plain silly, and said things like “It’s getting HOT in here!” Linus dipped in a toilet filled with urine, so we got him a much cooler Woody who plays a guitar, but still does not say movie phrases.


    I got that “awaiting moderation” button once and I nearly had a heart attack because I thought I had done something wrong and that Haven had stuck me in the naughty corner, but then I realized it’s probably because I had linked to an outside site and wordpress didn’t trust me. I think that is what happened.

  143. jeez – I sneak over to Facebook and everybody comes home…

    emailed to the mac address Havenness!

  144. this is no joke.

    claire was borned (as she would say) and I looked over at the clean-up/car wash like station and said – – “Look at her feet! They are huge!” (note- I could really only see her feet and her peachbutt, but they were huge).

    she weighs less than 40 lbs., wears a size 7 or 8 slim jean and her feet are now going on 1’s . . . she is going to have size 15 shoes….

  145. My twelve-year-old son is 5’7″ and wears a size 12 men’s shoe. Trust me: I know from feet.

  146. Paris Hilton has what, size 13 shoes?

    That’s not comforting is it.. cookie? 😉

  147. now you all disappear again! I was waiting for claire to reply to Haven’s idea, but as she must sleep to go to the Nazi public school, I answered on her behalf . . . it is better than ruby slippers (which were silver in the book, but that was a good cinematic decision)

  148. I saw the Ruby Slippers on Oprah! They had their own seat in first class and many body guards, and Oprah herself had to touch them wearing white gloves!

  149. yep . . . big feet! Obadiah is so cute but too young for Lauren.

  150. Kate – they are at the Smithsonian….I love shoes, shoes, shoes….but looking is better than wearing those heels . . . I am all about slip on slippers/clogs, and any SLIPPERS than could possible be construed as real ‘public’ footwear. In fact, except for the cold, I prefer barefoot.

  151. hum – did Suzanne ever get her jingle bell socks???

  152. ok – awaiting moderation – that is VERY intimidating.

    I leaves me speechless

  153. I know…and you know I have been to all the Smithsonians except that one? That needs to be remedied.

  154. it is like being locked out of your house when you
    a. really need to pee
    b. really need to vomit, preferably on a floor or in a toilet instead of the bushes
    c. being left out on the top of the front porch in the cold rain because your dad locked your normal ‘sneak in’ route window in the upstairs bathroom

    that really happened to my husband.

  155. It is intimidating Sher! I think my jaw dropped a little when it happened to me.

  156. also they have edith and archie bunker’s chairs? I wanted a real ‘anatomical’ baby joey when I was a kid.

    I was denied!

  157. Kittery – the first time it happened to me, I was like “but I have been so good lately!!”

    It is like getting real coal chunks in your stocking (which actually happened to my father-in-law!) – that is a mommie dearest scenario, right there!

  158. And why would one prefer vomiting on a floor rather than the bushes? Unless the floor was disgusting to begin with, and it was someone else’s responsibility to clean it up .. or the bushes were in full bloom with exquisitely gorgeous flowers .. like happened to my brother when he was on his honeymoon in Hawaii dealing with the effects of the food poisoning from *his own wedding*.

  159. I think “awaiting moderation” is the new Aspberger’s.

  160. Well – see you can clean up the vomit easier on tile than on packasandra, which your mother WEEDS every freaking day . . .

  161. Aww, haha. It’s proof that we love Haven if simple words like, “awaiting moderation” can strike fear in our hearts.

  162. Eeewwww.

    Point taken.

  163. Awaiting Moderation HOEDOWN!

  164. I think the harry conick jr character in PS I LOVE YOU had Aspergers, because he says, ‘my rudeness is an illness’ and he gets a ‘free pass’ – – – I am noticing aspergian traits EVERYWHERE now.

  165. my mother in law once locked me and my kids out of the house because there were ‘too many people’

  166. Awaiting Moderation HOEDOWN!

  167. Kate – are you aware that Laura Harris posted some very VIVID pictures of your Rock Band party on Facebook!

    Now that looks like some FUN was had by ALL!

  168. Hey, I said that TWICE.

  169. I am! I’m so glad facebook allows people to see things like that!

  170. We are blessed to see that joyous occasion!

    I have some suspicious photos of my friend’s 40th birthday, but I still want her to be my friend, so I treasure them all by myself . . .

  171. oh my god – – our friends that were here for turkey day . . . we were looking at old photos and videos and there was one of us all on their sailboat 4th of July 2000 and we were LIT and Don went the length of the boat doing his college-famed knee farts which also propels him forward about 1 ft with each ‘toot’ – – I have never seen anything funnier than that . . .

  172. my son referrs to some people as “the people my parents get drunk with” and now we understand his despair and encredulousness – can’t speel tunite, c?

  173. now this is SCARY if I am the only one NOT in MODERATION purgatory!

  174. Wasn’t Packasandra the prophet who was always right, but doomed to never be believed? She would be vomited upon, poor thing.

  175. I think Haven just dug in her spurs on her cowboy boots! Yippee!

  176. Ohh .. I just cracked up, bad.

  177. Weeeell, good night, boys and girls. It got very quiet here all of a sudden, so I’m going to go crawl into bed and watch Harry Potter movies like the mature girl I am. 😉

  178. I just spent the last . . . long time on the phone with Ms. Sher, who is rapidly becoming the spiritual advisor to us all. I had the same experience talking to her I had when I met Kate, and when Amanda came over: “Oh, there’s Kate.” “Oh good, Amanda’s here.” There is never a moment of disconnect. Augusten and I corresponded at least a year before he came to visit me, and he walked in the house and we sat down on the couch in my study and talked and talked and talked. I felt like I’d known him forever. That’s another of life’s blessings, to be among the familiar. Thank you for that time, Sher. It was good.

    Now I’m going to change my GRAVITRON again, just to see what happens.

  179. Shanna, were you with us for the blog post about the time I spent in Memphis on my book tour? Where my pants fell down in the airport? And I was carrying a taxidermied rabbit in my suitcase called Flat Stanley? I mentioned in the post that someone once stole something very dear to me and it hurt me for YEARS, and that event involved plagiarism as well. I have what the Buddhists call a “temper.” I call it extreme clarity and an understanding of the animal kingdom. So Animal Haven came out for a few days, maybe a couple weeks — Christopher would remember — and then Delonda did what she is so good at: she just said the wisest and most honest thing. “Darling, she may have stolen from you to get what she wanted, but you remain the one with the talent. No one can touch that.” And I just stopped being angry. I continued to be hurt for a long time, but my serial killer gene was no longer activated. If you wrote something well enough that someone else would steal it, YOU are the one with the talent. Don’t forget.

  180. Morning. We’re battening down the hatches here for a big storm – probably a snow day tomorrow. Hoot! Hoot!

    Hey, speaking as the wife of a diagnosed Aspergian, I would love to install “awaiting moderation” on him. It would save us all a lot of problems. But I love him to pieces – it’s the delicious paradox of an Asperger’s marriage.

    In my book I’m working on about it all, I wrote a whole chapter on Steve Martin’s “Grandmother’s Song.” I do believe it is the Asperger’s anthem.

    Haven – TLYSMBYO (Elie) is one of my “bibles”. It sits next to my bed at all times. I have never met another person who has even heard of it much less read it. Then again, I live under a rock. Ah, I have finally found my people!

  181. Isn’t in “Grandmother’s Song” that Martin juxtaposes so genuisely, “Be purple, obese, and eat cactus/ Live in a swamp and be three-dimensional. Put a live chicken in your underwear/ Go into a closet and suck eggs.” Also there are the words pompous and obsequious? HAS THERE EVER BEEN A MORE LOVELY MIND?

  182. Gaaah. I am still in serial killer mode this a.m. Hence, an additional gratitude list (from the bounty of this blog): Iorek’s snoot, Gus’s smile, and the concept of Flat Stanley, taxidermy that travels well.

  183. bliss.

    claire is dying over her letter.

    And as soon as she goes to school I am wrapping up in my Brenda blankie and disappearing for a LONGish nap, wrapped in rainbows (borrowed from Zora Neale Hurston), smelling fresh cinnamon rools, warm and cozy . . . .I think my blankie would have skin absorbing ambien . . .

  184. what’s a rool? a roll – like the kind you make from left over pie dough, spread with REAL butter, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, then roll into a log, slice and bake at 375 for 15 minutes – those kind.

    I have actually made pie dough, just to make the ‘leftover’ cinnamon do-hickeys – pinwheels, oh heaven, the caramelized sugar that sets on the bottom . . .

  185. Sher, my mother made those for me on my very first morning of kindergarten. I sat on the kitchen counter and watched her, and I remember exactly how they tasted then and every time I’ve had them since. They are little biscuity pieces of divinity. Of course I may recall that morning so fondly because once I arrived in kindergarten things went downhill pret-ty quickly. Imagine someone telling me, ME, that I had to put my head down on a hard desk and take a NAP. I would have no part of it. My teacher might as well have said, “Now we’re going to hang you by your wrists from the ceiling and set your feet on fire. Go to sleep.”

  186. When I was in kindergarten I got to bring a blanket and pillow and lay on the floor for a nap. But who could take a nap when there was laughing and joking to be done?

    Movie recommendation – Snow Cake Sigourney Weaver plays a high functioning autistics woman. Thats all I’m going to say. heh.

  187. Oh everyone is here, happy happy Amy! Haven, I too believe in god because of dogs
    This is one of my very favorite Native American sayings:
    God Made the earth, the sky and the water, the moon and the sun. He made man and bird and beast. But He didn’t make the dog. He already had one.

  188. Amy in O! I love that, love it love it!!! Earlier this morning I was saying to John that I have strong feelings of sadness for coyotes. He asked if it’s because they’re misunderstood. I said, “No, that’s why I’m sad for FRANKENSTEIN.” He needs to start taking notes. They make me sad because, as Twain said, they’re the ragpickers of the world. They’re canines, and we revere canines but hate coyotes. They aren’t wolves, who are noble, organized, brilliant animals. They aren’t foxes, which we love. They aren’t domesticated dogs. They are radical outsiders, dogs we actually hate. And I know enough about them to understand why, and heaven knows if one were to invade my personal space it would find itself on the taxidermist’s table. But still I feel for them, they’re beautiful and thiiiiis close to being revered and harmonious with people and other animals. It will never happen.

  189. Haven–the grAvatar that I see for you is a wolf I believe…I never saw the shirt. I’m wondering if I’m in the Twilight Zone of WordPress.

    One of my fabulous daughters, Hannah, absolutely hated pre-Kindergarten because of the nap deal. She quit napping at age 2 and would shake herself awake in the car so she wouldn’t miss anything. She spent all of pre-K nap time making heavy sighs and trying to wake up the blissfully asleep children. Then out of boredom she would hide from the teachers. She didn’t like to read and I was astounded…how could my child NOT like to read? Then in about 2nd grade she found Harry Potter and other reading material that caught up with her. Now she’s a voracious reader. Yippee!

    I often read funny Zippy stories to my other daughter, Rachel. One that has her in stitches is when the prayer cell comes to your house and the mice are having a track meet in the ceiling. We still laugh out loud at that one.

    Thanks for the shout-out. I’m thankful I found your books and now your blog babies. However, many projects go undone because I’m on the internets so much!

  190. I had no idea I was supposed to hate coyotes. It’s probably because I am blissfully ignorant, or maybe it’s because I just read Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. I am afraid of coyotes, to be sure, and I’ve seen enough of them to be a wee bit nervous, but I never hated them.

  191. Kindergarten was the AXIS OF EVIL for me as well. We moved two weeks in and I was taken from a nice, pleasant kindergarten into an evil kindergarten. My teacher, Mrs. Heath, looked EXACTLY like that puppet from Mr. Rogers, Lady Elaine Fairchild. She used to mock me for staring into space because I didn’t want to do the damn busy work, I was too busy being SAD. And when I brought in my special blanket (NOT a blankie. This was not security. This was a TREASURE) that my great-grandmother hand-stitched for me before she succumbed to Alzheimers disease, she very angrily told me to go sit down. She couldn’t understand why I brought it for show and tell, she didn’t ask.

    Years later I saw her at Wesselman Nature Preserve on a field trip. She walked under a tree and a large branch cracked her on the head, and I felt very wickedly happy.

    Have I told this story already?

  192. Javalinas and Coyotes are brothers here in Arizona. They have crazy rebel awaiting moderation parties in the middle of the desert. They conspire to terrorize small things. Their eyes shine out at you from small dark places. They show their teeth when they smile their not-happy smiles. We don’t like them because we’re AFRAID of them. Luckily, the invisible love blankets protect us.
    That and ZZTop played loud on the radio.

  193. Brendasynch, that is a PERFECT description of them. And in the dead of night when I said I was going to change my Gravitron again, I changed it to a coyote far in advance of this conversation. Odd.

    Kate, you are killing me over these past two days. You are harming me with humor.

  194. I’m setting my humor laser from STUN to KILL!

    I cannot believe you said GRAVITRON. MERCY. Please tell me you are talking about a FLYING SAUCER that sucks you up against the side while playing heavy metal music.

  195. I used to go to Wesselman’s Nature Preserve and read my poetry to potential girlfriends who would hear me out and then ask to go back to the car. Sometimes they drove. Those were the ones I liked best. I’d say, “Ok, talk to you later. Ok?” They’d say Ok. I’d watch them drive off. Then I would get a couple of golf clubs out of the trunk of my car and play a quick nine at the Par 3 course across the street. Guess my poetry back in those days didn’t portray me as such a passionate shepherd speaking to his love. I still liked Wesselman’s a ton.

    Oh well…

    I talk about E’ville a lot, don’t I, Miz Cake?


    Gosh, you guys were busy last night. Sorry I missed the party. I am still a little tired and a touch sick with flu-like symptoms.


  196. I have SO MUCH work to do and this blog keeps sucking me back in, rather like a GRAVITRON.

  197. George, Evansville is the second most important city in Indiana, with the second greatest people. Obviously.

  198. George, I too am still a bit jet-lagged and with symptoms of ennui. I had a little extra angst with my coffee this morning, and that helped some.

    I once took a friend (male, gay) out to my car to listen to what I consider to be one of the greatest moments in all of recorded music, a passage of Keith Jarrett’s VIENNA Concert, and right in the middle of it, my friend turned to me and said, “Are you mad at me about something?” So I turned the stereo off, got out my clubs, and ruined a good walk.

  199. …still sorting through my thoughts about Macchu Pichu, too. Some would call it meditating. Bottom line is that all sacredness is about rocks and clouds…trying to get my mind around that…rocks, clouds, and the mean Sisyphean work of shoving those rocks up mountains…why?

    Ok, time for a coffee. Can I bring anything back for anybody and I am NOT going to the Starbucks around the corner.

  200. “No that’s why I am sad for Frankenstein”, oh gawd, I cannot stop laughing!
    My family finds me odd because a few years ago I found a dog ornament on the clearance table at a local craft store and it had one leg broken off. I felt so bad for it and promptly bought it! I now proudly display the 3 legged beauty on my tree!

  201. Okay, one more dog quote that makes my heart burst with emotion.
    “When the dog was created, it licked the hand of God and God stroked its head, saying, “What do you want, dog?” It replied, “My Lord, I want to stay with you, in heaven, on a mat in front of the gate.”

    Marie Noel

  202. Haven: We were formed at the same big bang, I fear. You mention coffee and you can see what I just posted….

    I haven’t tried fresh angst in my coffee. Yet.

  203. I don’t want to see your clubs, Haven. I love you just the way you are!

  204. As George can attest, I have many representations of Frankenstein, scattered here and there. The first sentence I taught Obadiah was, “Frankastein was MISUNNASTOOD.” John is always trying to teach Gus “practical” things like nouns and please and thank you, but I’m working on, “Where have all the cowboys gone?” I want him to shrug and raise his arms as he says it, as if truly puzzled.

  205. Ok, now I’m being harmed with humor here. Oh GOOD LORD.

  206. …and Haven, I love your picture of Frankenstein. It is a guaranteed laugh/smile generator for me in the same way as the Nantucket limerick. All I gotta do is think about it. Guess, I’ll sweeten my coffee with a bit of levity. I don’t want it black this AM.

  207. I was typing about F-stein before you asked for me to attest…weird, huh? I luff, luff, luff that picture…also the bit in Young Frankenstein when they are doing the tune, Puttin’ on the Ritz. That may be one of the funniest moments in the history of humanity.

  208. George!!
    Puttin on the Ritz was EXACTIKALY what came to mind with that one for me, too.
    And please, do they have cinnamon flavored angst for my coffee?

  209. I am supposed to be finishing up my grades, but I had to jump over here for a peek, now I’ve been sucked in by the Gravitrar vortex. Dang.

    I am going to scan and upload Barbara Kingsolver’s hysterical javelina essay because I know you will all enjoy it so.

    Half of our county has just sent all the students home, fearing an ice storm. The other half is still open. I am half asleep because of our field trip yesterday. I am floating in some strange zone here.

    Haven – I think you would get a kick out of my Asperger’s/Grandmother’s song chapter. Out of plagiarism fears I now have, I dare not post anything that has even a ghost of a chance of getting published someday. I’m going to e-mail it instead via yahoo groups.

  210. I am so glad everyone is back and chatty. I am at work and it is cold and wet and windy outside. So, this has been a nice diversion.

    Mary Poppins was the second movie my dad took my sister, brother and me to in an actual movie theatre. The first was Jungle Book. I remember it like it was yesterday.

  211. Linda, remember at the end of the Jungle Book when Mowgli sees the beautiful little girl come out of the Man Village with a jug for water on her head? One day Gus was watching it and the girl came out and his eyes got wide; he pointed at her and whispered, “Tiny Mama.” Then he pointed at me and said, “Big Mama.” Back at the screen, “Oooo, tiiiiny Mama.”

  212. George –
    I am with you on that “Puttin’ on the Ritz” scene in “Young Frankenstein”! That whole movie just slays me!

  213. The first theater movie I ever saw was Dumbo. My mom took us to the drive to see it. I think I was about 4 or 5 and the White Elephants on Parade scared the friggin’ hell out of me. Looking back is was probably a foreshadow of my life to come.

    Are those of you seeing old Avatars signed into WordPress? If you’re not singed in you may see old avatars.

  214. Ok, it is raining/pouring up in here. I’m having surgery on my left hand (my writing hand!) today, a much-needed event I’ve been putting off for entirely too long because I am an avoidant pain wuss. Annnnnd (and this is a prime example of burying the lede), my father died this morning. Whaa? It’s putting the whole plagiarized thing into perspective, also a new thing for my gratitude list: I am SO fucking grateful that I have already swept clean my huge, messy, drippy side of the street with my father. For the moment, a necessary numbness, and soon the grieving I’ve needed to do for decades can begin. It’s so odd that right this minute there’s nothing for me to do but sit in the numb place.

  215. Haven – Is Gus old enough for little toy tractors? I have a really nice selection that my guys have outgrown. They are the four-inch-sized ones.

  216. {{{{{Shanna}}}}}

  217. Oh, Shanna. Oh. I’m so sorry. No matter how you feel about someone that’s such a doubled-over sensation. I’m glad you had closure. Thinking of you.

  218. Shanna: my heart goes out to you, dear. I will think of you today — and others, too — when I go out at lunch time and buy some gifts for kids in a ministry our church supports. Truly, doing that will be the only goodness and kindness I do today and I will do so in your name and in the name of one other I am aware of.

    and by the way, I asked the blog a couple of weeks ago to send healing thoughts to a friend diagnosed with breast cancer. I learned last week that her surgery was successful, with no signs of spread. You guys perform miracles and you guys utter profound stuff. I am blessed being here.

  219. George, bless you. You are so sweet. I’m on hold with my stepbrother and climbing the walls, esp. since I can’t have tea/coffee/a rack of Oreos because of the SURGERY, for God’s sake. This blog is saving my ass right now.

  220. Shanna, dear. Sher and I had a long talk at two this morning about the death of our parents. I told her that my sister called at six in the morning to say our father was dead; he had died at home, in his own bed. I got in my truck and drove to Indiana. My brother and sister and I sat in the front row during the funeral and not one of us shed a tear. We carried his casket to the grave. I came home and grieved as if I would die for three straight months, and then I realized I was free. The Book Of My Father can be written as I choose now — I have the key to the box in which his best self was kept. Not only can I remember and emphasize those things, I can manifest them in myself without his brokenness, his crimes against his children, his dangerousness. I believe him to have been an astonishing, brilliant, fundamentally good man with hundreds of tiny fissures that had become infected. His darkness was a powerful force in my life; I am honored, it’s a joy now, to give him light.

    Whatever your father was to you, I am sorry for the loss.

  221. speaking of dogs, coyotes, cowboys, death, Incas, rain, a snippet of a Neruda poem on the death of his dog:

    Joyful, joyful, joyful,
    as only dogs know how to be happy
    with only the autonomy
    of their shameless spirit.

    a shameless spirit…that’s the key to autonomy, happiness and joy

  222. Oh, Haven, exactly. I know that I have a whole and lasting forgiveness for my father in death that I couldn’t while he was alive. Even though I KNEW what created his anguish and broken-ness, there were too many layers of my dark childhood between us for me to stay in a state of forgiveness with him. And while he was alive, I always had that infinitely tiny mustard seed of hope that he would somehow transcend his limitations and become a father in a way that…he just couldn’t. I’ve known that for years. And now that it’s here, well, for the moment, nothing. But something big is coming. No doubt.

  223. um, I meant to say I know that I WILL have. But kudos to me for the positive phrasing.

  224. I am sending up prayers for you and your family, Shanna. Healing for your hand (my daughter and husband are both lefties), healing for whatever may still need to be healed in your memories of your father, but a celebration of his life and all the good that was in him. And, for his part in bring you into this world, and now into ours.


  225. I’m a lefty, too. As a writer, and, I guess, also as a writer.

  226. Javelina comic relief now available:

  227. After George suggested The Shack some time ago, I read it. The discussion of forgiveness was one of the parts most useful to me. It’s possible to forgive, to choose to focus on a person’s Light rather than their cracks, without ignoring or forgetting the harm done.

    Your ability to do that warms my heart on this cold day, Haven.

  228. Haven,

    What is the Owl’s name?

  229. Matt, I call him The Bard.

  230. Shanna, my dear
    I dread the day I get the phone call that my father has passed. This is not because I will miss him but I am terrified of the what I will realize that I never said to him, never settled, never felt.
    I am proud of you for having the courage to take care of this while your father was still alive.
    xoxox Amy

  231. Jerri, I have taken to looking at the world and the people I share it with and thinking, What Would Amos Townsend Do? What Would Orri Putnam Say? I can always ask my daughter, who is both wiser and kinder than I. I’m a firm believer in behaving AS IF. I took it as my task to think AS IF I had already forgiven my father and could feel complete compassion for him, and if you do that long enough, it simply becomes true.

    Of course, feeling compassion for him broke my heart in ways his misdeeds never had. That kind of love really, really hurts.

  232. I’m sorry, Shanna. :: hugs ::

  233. Haven? I’m in the process of plotting and planning, and I was wondering what your mother’s favorite color(s) are?

  234. She loves maroon and green and gold, Kittery.

  235. Thank you. 🙂

  236. NewVisionTeacher, thank you so much for taking the time to download that article and make it available to us. Jodi is currently having Beauty Parlor but when she gets home I’ll direct her right to it, because just before I read it she and I were talking about our insanity involving animals. As I can always trust her to do, she called Bogus on my feelings about coyotes by saying, “They’re just being coyotes; they don’t give a crap what you think.” Which is of course absolutely true. My whole spiel about them being unloved canines was complete projection on my part and also the common mistake of viewing the entire world through the human compass. Kingsolver is very good at those kinds of essays — weaving in evolutionary theory and Marxism in order to discuss property rights and “ownership” — but I must say the image of the javelinas doing a clog dance on her tin ductwork in the night caused discomfort in my psyche area. I’m against that. I would like the javelinas to not do such things, thank you.

  237. Shanna…hold on, hold on, it WILL get better. Hugs and healing thoughts to you.

  238. Oh, this is funny.

    From WordPress:

    Howdy there bloggers! You’ll no doubt remember that when we acquired, just over a year ago, we intended to fully integrate it into It’s been a long time coming, but we’ve finally replaced the avatar system with those Globally Recognized Avatars. What does this mean? It means your avatar can now follow you around the web. Your avatar can show up on any Gravatar enabled site, regardless of its affiliation with Automattic!

    The old avatar tool in your profiles has been replaced with your current Gravatar. If you click on that icon you’ll be taken to (and automatically logged into your account) where you can easily change your image (right). You can upload an image from your computer, paste in a link to an image on the internet, or even take a picture of yourself using your computers webcam. Cropping and rating your images are as easy as ever. After you finish your new image will automatically attach to your email address (assuming you only have one email address on your account,) or you will be presented with a simple-as-pie list of your email addresses, and you can attach the new image to any or all of them! Just close the Gravatar window when you’re done.

    Of course all of the standard Gravatar features are available to you. Upload as many images as you wish, switch them as often as you like, add as many email addresses as you want to your account, and more features still in the works.

    If you find that you have an “old” image for your Gravatar, simply click on the link to change it and then click on the “Use your last Avatar” link to get the new one back. There are bound to be some small hiccups here and there. Just let Support know when something doesn’t work quite right, and we’ll get everything ironed out in no time.


  239. excuse all the bolding. i only meant to bold the G and the R but I was sloppy with my slash marks.

  240. Shanna,

    my deepest condolences to you. I’ve never met you, but you have both my deep respect and admiration as well as my thoughts and prayers. I wish you peace and strong support from those around you.

  241. I have got to get my wordpress profile thing better figured out! I feel my personality is being disintegrated by the darn thing. I’m like Susanna Kaysen: Blog Baby, Interrupted.

    I am just too inept to get into one place Maureen and newvisionteacher and the correct photo which links me with my dairy cows. I hope I haven’t needlessly confused anyone. We three are one.

    Then again I have to make my students text message for me because I can’t. I put this in the same list with the bi-focals I just ordered and the gray hairs, and the signs are all pointing the same way.

    I am going to submit and hope I see my name and the correct picture.

  242. Clouds – Amanda, right? I was in the middle of commenting when you put on that Gravitar info. Look – I am a quilt block. Grr. Here I go again. Fingers crossed that my multiple personalities will reintegrate.

  243. OK. Now I’ve got me and the cows but not the name Maureen. Giving up and going home. Storm’s hitting: crossing fingers for no school tomorrow.

  244. Maureen (yes, it is Amanda), I have no idea what half of these words mean, but here is the page where I found that information posted above:

  245. thanks to haven and linda for the warm welcome, and thanks to carrie for your appreciation of the edges. feel free to steal that- what’s mine is yours.

    i see that Barbara Kingsolver was mentioned a few times, and i must say that i am indeed grateful for her, as well, since The Bean Trees was the first book that showed me what really good contemporary fiction looks like. i remember reading it on the nyc subway and laughing out loud at some parts. as a result i was pretty much left alone, which can be a good thing on the nyc subway. i also really loved her Poisonwood Bible, which piqued my interest in the Belgian Congo (now the Dem Repub of Congo). of all things. i still have a fondness for the place (though i’ve never actually been) because of her brilliant book.

    i guess this is as good a place as any to mention other authors/books i am grateful for (i’m such the heretic!):

    my life would truly be less full without the characters in Kent Haruf’s books, especially Plainsong and Eventide. beautiful, sparse, and simply good, good, good.

    while knowing that i will never be a motherless 12yr old boy, i can honestly say that after reading Leif Enger’s Peace Like a River, i came as close as i ever will to knowing how it FEELS to be one. a stunningly great book.

    Charms for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons… is SWELL.

    Eat, Pray, Love was my intro to Elizabeth Gilbert, and a fine one it was, but her novel Stern Men was even better. the protagonist was not unlike haven’s in that she was funny and smart and scrappy and could be soft but also ain’t takin’ shit off no one, to quote Sheryl Crow.

    and speaking of music, let’s. i am enamored beyond words of one Patty Griffin. please, PLEASE, if you haven’t heard her or of her, find a cd of hers- any of them will do- and allow her to own you for about 45minutes. you will. not. regret it.

    okay, i guess i’d better get back to pretending to be productively employed. in the words of the great and only tigger, ttfn.

  246. Shanna, I’m sending you love and prayers for the complete peace and joy you so much deserve. I’m glad for the gift of you on this blog, and also grateful for your kindness to me during a difficult time.

    Amy in California

  247. I’m so confused. I didn’t know Maureen and newvisionteacher were one, and I don’t see cows.

  248. Yes, Maureen and newvisionteacher are one because Maureen is a new vision teacher. And a dairy farmer. In New York state. And she has a cow cam to watch the almost daily births of new baby cowlets.

  249. I don’t know about these avatars either because I just switched my to my best dog, Foster, yet all I see is the close up of my goofy face.

  250. i just read that the original Jumbo (whose legs were FIVE FEET AROUND) was taxidermied. jumbo was hit by a train and Barnum had him stuffed. eventually he was donated to Tufts University, but they lost him in a fire in 1975.

  251. I’m a Kent Haruf fan, too. Really loved his control over the language. I find his books to be comforting. I’ve never been able to easily read Barbara Kingsolver though. Always an element of force to it.

  252. Thank you George!

    I had to read The Bean Trees in school and I could not wait for it to be over. I’ve never heard anyone else have anything else to say about Kingsolver other than glowing praise and I wondered if I was defective. If I am at least I’m not alone! 😉

  253. Avatars schmavatars…my picture will forever be a tribute to a Peanuts THANKSGIVING. Blasted things!

  254. I liked Bean Trees and have tried twice to read Poisonwood Bible..cannot get into it.

  255. …so, there you have it…all somebody had to do is point it out. With Kingsolver and Doris Lessing, I have to read like I am driving on a mountain pass. I’m hitting the brakes, watching out for hairpin turns, and all the while worried about running off the road. Others, including authors who frequent this blog on a regular basis (ahem), are much easier to read.

  256. The idea of Jumbo being taxidermied…and then the loss of that…it boggles the mind!!

  257. kate, if i am remembering correctly, the hide itself weighed 1,500 pounds

  258. […] From Haven Kimmel’s Blog: “Blog Gratitude Is The Heart’s Memory.” […]

  259. I am so behind–

    Shanna, I am so sorry about your father. I don’t have the words.

  260. Hey, Jumbo’s hide and I are TWINSIES!

  261. Shanna, I am so glad you and your father made peace. My dad and I have got through some crap, especially recently. Haven’s description of her father fits mine to a T though in many ways they were very different men. He is getting help and changing though, and I’m so glad that we won’t have that horrible chasm between us when the inevitable happens.

  262. I do, however, have a cold. And in true writer style, have made a little (slightly untraditional) haiku out of my pain. My class enjoyed it this morning, even wrote their own about the RIDICULOUS rain we’re currently being bombarded with. What do you think?

    My throat has closed up.
    Talking is overrated:
    Silence prevails.

    My kids said the silence wouldn’t last very long. And they were right. Normally, I sound like Alvin the Chipmunk, but this morning I was, no lie, a mad mix of Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash. I resisted the urge all day to dress myself in black and say, “Hello. I’m Molly Touchton.” I did wail on my air guitar a couple times. The children have come to expect this.

  263. LB, will you come teach my class??

    I once had a teacher who did the whole “Miss Nelson is Missing” routine. It was a stellar moment in my educational life.

  264. …bug, I’d like to audit your class. can i sit in, please?

  265. George totally owes me a coke.

  266. hey miz cake: will it be diet, regular, zero, cherry flavored or lime or vanilla or coke plus?

  267. George, you are from Evansville. Of course you realize that Coke =ANY carbonated beverage.

    I’ll take a Ski in a glass bottle please. And I’d like to drink it with my dead grandfather.

  268. ah, Ski…gimmee a Double. Usually I get a six-pack of Doubles for Christmas from my sister.

  269. That’s a sister for you!!!

  270. …now if someone would send me a BBQ sandwich from Wolfs, a package of Emge Smoky-Links, and some Turtle choclates from Libs and a a mint-chocolate shake from Lic’s….could you do that, Miz Katie Cake? You would have my gratitude.

  271. George, when you come here over Christmas I will personally take you to Lic’s and buy you a milkshake. I will be getting a single dip Peppermint Stick on a sugar cone.

  272. Shooot, I can do all of them for you, really.

  273. Deal…but it might have to wait until after Christmas

  274. …a taste of Evansville!

  275. Ah, Linda – Thank you for knowing me in my three parts. I’ll try to get them in one place. I made a blog for my class,, and now I can’t change my user name so that I come up as Maureen. Still working on the cow webcam

    George – I’m with you on Doris Lessing. I forced myself through The Fifth Child. Loved the new photos from Peru!!

  276. George:
    Did I miss a link to some photos other than the two that were lovely on the Blog Babies site? Did I miss a photo album somewhere?
    A Llama and a mystic stone….so cool.

  277. You mean like that bard up thar in det tree, or bard like a poem maker of the ancient Celts?

  278. Brenda- look again on our yahoo site. George and said llama are indeed there. I saw them with my own eyes.

  279. Shanna – I didn’t address the plagarism question yesterday because I was majorily bifurcated . . . but, it sucks overwhelmingly. I was recently VERY copied by a former professor, the same one who denigrated me and my work – – proving art plagariasm is much more difficult than the written word. If you have anything with that information dated – sue her ass – she is a leach of the WORST kind. I feel that they have the need to KNOW that I know they copied, no matter if I choose to prosecute or not. Somebody needs to call them on their shit. What a coward.

    Also, wow on the timing of this parental passing. They are huge. I appreciate that the general concensus here is that forgiveness doesn’t mean condoning and maintaining an unchanged relationship with the perpetrator of pain. It is work done for your own soul’s purification. Some things are so overwhelming that there is no kind of amends that can be made – I don’t know the details but I do understand the wrenching pain of before and after and I can tell you that in my case, I have buried many living people and greived for their loss whilst they still drew breath – – and that the burial of the physical remains is a rebirth for you. It can be freedom of the like you can never dream of.

    So lovely to see everyone here today, I am nursing a mental hangover headache and a 16 year old who fell on the icy entrance to the school this afternoon – he has an orangish sized concavity on his hip . . . it was very stressful and I was sitting right there in the car when I splatted himself. ugh. will see if we have to do xrays and all that rigamarole tomorrow . . .

    Books –
    I finally finished THE HOUR I FIRST BELIEVED BY WALLY LAMB. It took me a month because I haven’t been in reading mode for a while.

    It is good and I can tell you some of the subject matter which he managed to get into the one book


    Columbine, Survivor Guilt, Forgiveness, Post Traumatic Stree, Flash Back, Pain Killer Dependency, Manslaughter, Literal family skeletons, women’s prisons, heredity, animal totems, eastern philosophy, birth, death, fatherhood, motherhood, abandonment, survival, moving on . . .

    I am still ruminating on the book, and will need a second read to really grasp more of the underlying connections . . .

    still only half way through Sawtelle book – it is good, and if you are a dog communicator/lover – read it, it is fascinating . . . I’m just slow on the turning pages these days.

    I found a book at the Goodwill – Hecate County (can’t think of the author right now) . . . anybody read it?

    Air hugs to all . . .

  280. Just checking my avatar..don’t mind me:~)

  281. Cripes…still the same.

  282. I know this is annoying, last time I promise

  283. I had to go back quite a bit to see Shanna’s post.

    I’m so sorry for your loss–regardless of past relationships he was still your parent at some time. I understand the numbness–as I’ve mentioned my dad just died in July and that’s something you are never ready to believe. The surreal takes over and gets you through. I delivered my dad’s eulogy and didn’t cry either, Haven. Fortunately I had a good relationship with my father. Toxic mother is another story; many things left unsaid and festering. When I get the call about her I’ll feel numb in a different way.

    Shanna, take care of yourself and your hand!

  284. Hullo Blog Babies,

    I made dinner for you all and there is plenty to go around – tossed salad with ‘choose your own toppings’ ranging from dried cranberries, walnuts and assorted olives, Pepper Cheddar bread, macaroni and cheese in individual ramekins and vegetable soup. Dessert was Angelettis – a delightful cookie with loads of icing and Christmasy sprinkles on top. 🙂
    Complete with candlelight and folded napkins. 😉

    If any of this sounds remotely interesting, I shall gladly post the recipes. 😀

  285. Um, Kittery? How do I get to your house?

  286. (I would LOOOOOVE to know more about this Pepper Cheddar bread of which you speak.)

  287. Kittery – I think we need to make a recipe thread – wouldn’t that be fun????

    And an announcement thread: like there is a new movie out with Jeff Goldblum called “Resurrecting Adam” where he plays a concentration camp Jewish survivor who ends up in a mental home in Israel (although those were not actually existing until 1980’s) the author tweaked facts to put in the 1960’s. So, Nazi commandant played by the laudable Willem DeFoe insists that Goldblum’s character entertain him by being a dog . . . that he might save his wife and children if he does a good enough job. So he does. His family dies anyway. It lasts 1 and a half years. . . . . this part is sketchy to me (I haven’t actually seen this film yet, it opens this Friday or next Friday) . . . at the mental hospital there is a feral, wolf-raised boy . . . who just is canine like by nature/nurture. Goldblum’s character is dog-like for emotional protection. . . . a relationship developes between the two . . . I am just dying to see this film. Goldblum was on Martha today and he was so gentle and gorgeous and tall and he was wearing beautiful (yes!) horn-rimmed glasses and making menorrahs from tigs with the Cookie Queen (she had my favorite cookie artist on later in the day) . . . all I can say is that this apparently changed Jeff’s life and he studied all things concentration camp and studied with the dog whisperer, he said it was the hardest part he had ever enacted. It was very moving.

  288. um, menorrah’s from tWigs . . .and my cookie artist totally kicked martha’s ass on decorating . . . it was fabulous!

  289. 1 pkg Dry Yeast
    .25 C Warm Water
    2 T Sugar
    1 t Salt
    .25 t Baking Soda
    1 C Sour Cream
    1 Egg
    2.33 C Flour
    1 C Cheese, grated
    .5 t Pepper

    In a small bowl dissolve yeast in warm water add a teaspoon of sugar. Set aside for six minutes. In a bowl add sugar, salt, baking soda, sour cream, egg and 1.5 cups of flour. Mix with an electric mixer for thirty seconds on low speed. Turn mixer to high speed and mix for another two minutes. With a wooden spoon stir in the rest of the flour and the cheese and pepper. Spoon into two greased medium loaf pans. Let rise for one hour. Preheat oven to 350* F. Bake for forty minutes. Remove loaves and cool on a wire rack.

    That being said, unless you have a capable standing mixer, DO. NOT. even attempt mixing on high for two minutes. You will end up with a world of annoyance. Stick your hands in that viscous dough and have fun. 😉
    (Seriously though, I’ve stuck my fingers in a lot of doughs and batters and this, so far, is the most annoying. Very, very sticky. Have a clean butter knife nearby when you’re ready to get your hands un-caked.)
    Also, don’t give up on the bread. Spooning it into the loaf pans, it just looked pathetic. I guess it’s supposed to. After ‘rising’ for forty minutes it will still look pathetic. I had been whining to my father during the entire process saying how the bread was going to be a dud until halfway through baking it, I turned on the oven light and took a peep and it had transformed. I ran into the other room and said, “the bread is like a very bright but bored child. Give it the right environment and it will flourish.” And flourish it did. 🙂
    One more bit of advice, the bread is definitely worth it, tasty, subtle flavor – worth sticking your hands in and getting dirty, but if you love pepper (as I do) I would add a little extra.

    And thank you, you made me laugh when you asked how to get to my house .. during my sophomore year in college, I lived in a suite (bedrooms, living area, bathroom, kitchen) and *every* night people would bring over food and we’d all gather around the table (after I slaved and everyone else watched, lol) and eat dinner. It was a most excellent time. 🙂

  290. Sher, that movie sounds really, really interesting. Thankee for telling us about it .. I haven’t heard of that one.

  291. i LOVE making/baking bread and i don’t even own a $20 electric beater, so it will be no problem to get dirty.

    i am absolutely going to try this for a holiday get together this weekend.

  292. oh, also? THANK YOU. very much.

  293. Quite welcome. I’m very happy to share. 🙂
    Have you ever seen Stranger Than Fiction? ‘Cause when I saw that, I completely identified with the baker chic (Maggie Gyllenhaal) when she was talking about being at college and baking for her study group. The food got better and the grades got lower. Lol. Perhaps I shouldn’t admit to that? 🙂
    And also – I wish you happy baking this weekend. 🙂

  294. *baker chick. Gah.

    Sher – a recipe thread would be fun. 😀

  295. Stranger than fiction is an awesome movie!!! you know I have a fancy kitchenaid blender thingy – – it has a dough hook and all and I ALWAYS hand knead everything and there is nothing like punching down a heaping mound of raised yeast roll dough . . . or throwing the noodles in the air after you roll and slice them . . . it is magic . . . magic . . . magic.

  296. also on the gravatar situation . . . we and our updated avatars are stuck in very long queue of 17 million other users all being cached for updating . . . those bastards, I hate being in cattle bracing!

  297. Linda – I heard from my local grapevine that Steven Curtis Chapman is going to be on Billy Graham’s Christmas special, also interviewed about the death of his adopted daughter, etc. They have actually been out and about which is good to see . . .

  298. I love kneading bread. The PC bread didn’t call for kneading though, so I was trying ‘mix’ it (read: acting like a four year old with mounds of mud, getting a handful and squeezing it through my fingers, lol).

    Speaking of noodles, do you have a pasta machine? I tried making ravioli a while back and decided that could wait for a time when I had the proper equipment… I did what the instructions called for, rolling it to a 1/8″ thickness but .. after cooking it was more akin to boot leather.

    Re Gravatars: I think it’s so weird .. I don’t have a WordPress account, so I see all of your Gravatars for what they should be (I think), it’s the people with accounts that are having problems..

  299. Well I just want to say that losing a taxidermied elephant is ridiculously careless. How many places could he HIDE? It’s just like when a frenzied businessman has to perform a menial task on his own because he lost his administrative assistant. My philosophy is: you know where your car keys are. Your wallet is probably in plain sight. Those things are MUCH smaller than Dumbo OR a fully-functioning secretary. Try harder, people.

  300. Jeff Goldblum is HOT. Nerdy scientisty guy in horn rims who happens to be my favorite ever, a Jew??? YES PLEASE.

  301. I want our Gravitars to be like Garanimals. We would save SO much time choosing our clothing for the day. Also? Christopher is color-blind, so we could just say, “Honey, the Giraffes are aaaallll Matt. You can’t see them very well, but they match fine. Now the Cow Garanimals are a problem, because there seem to be three choices there. Maybe Maureen, maybe the Teacher, maybe some sort of mushroom. I’d go with whatever makes you look the most thin.”

  302. Does this avatar make my ass look too wide?

  303. No, Kate dear. It does highlight your complexion beautifully though. 🙂

  304. That’s what I really look like.

  305. Lorraine, we do often mention the books we’re reading or dearly love. However, mentioning music is dangerous territory, as very patient Amanda can attest. Today I mentioned to her that I would love to write a book of musicology about a single album, and she INNOCENTLY asked which album it would be and I sent back a list of, what, fifty?

    As it happens, Patty Griffin’s FLAMING RED is one of my favorite albums pretty much ever, and I liked much of 1000 KISSES, but then Christopher got us tickets to see her live and we were forced to declare her new album ‘flaccid.’ I hope she never hears that we used such a word. But do you know what I mean? There is a HUGE difference between Dog comes creepin up behind you/ Sinks his teeth in your leg/ Tells how now things are gonna be a little different/ And he takes you down a peg, and the songs on the last album. And TONY? The very first mix-CD Christopher sent me had that song on it — he didn’t know I adored it, and he said he included it for the specific line, I hated every day of high school/ Funny, I think that you did, too, and it made me cry. Well, I’m sensitive.

  306. Does my ass make my ass look wide?

  307. Pish tosh.
    Although if you’d like it to, I’ll gladly send you these cookies .. so I can give my ass a break. :p

  308. Ladies if your butt is round
    and you want a triple X go down
    Dial 1-900-Mix-A-Lot

  309. :: swoons with joy ::
    I think I adore you, Kate.

  310. I tried to dance to that at our Thanksgiving party, but my friend with six kids was there and she was sending me judgey laser beams with her eyeballs, even though she didn’t mean to. I tried, but I collapsed on the couch laughing.

  311. Kate – you look just like your avatar – it captures your absolute “Kate Cakeness”

  312. oh dear – a judging disapproving mother of six, can there be any worse?

  313. I am in John Mellencamp heaven tonight – – 3 bios and a new concert filmed at the Crump in Seymour – — can’t believe I missed it

    I was born in a small town . . .
    provides little opportunity . . .

    I’ve never forget from where it is that I come from . . .

    f-in great . . . except I can’t relate to the people that love me or that I get to be just what I want to be [in that small town] . . .

  314. I feel bad even mentioning it, I might have been projecting a wee bit but…no. I don’t think so. She was not having very much fun because her husband and kids weren’t there and I think they are usually all shoved into a huge woolen sock together that they bounce around in, like a sack race.

  315. ok the magic ingredient for authenticity/success/reaching your potential is


    I freaking had the audacity to be more than what I was cast into.

    I had the audacity to change and to grow and to TAKE RISKS and try, to just start to do something

    even though I didn’t know what the QUAN I was doing

    Haven and Augusten have done that. Suzanne, too – – and probably each and every one of you here.

  316. Disapproving without the kids present? That’s curious.

    I tried to send you a present, Kate, but I can’t, ’cause Gmail is mean and doesn’t like pictures.

  317. Listen Kate, Jeff Goldblum had me in raptures of logos lust. I cannot tell you – I have a thing for those nerdy or very professional looking dudes (and Tim Gunn, too), that professorial demeanor . . . oh baby, and his hair is graying – he is BEAUTIFUL.

  318. Sher what you just wrote reminded me overwhelmingly of Obama. I thought you would be happy to know. 🙂

  319. Listen Kate, Jeff Goldblum had me in raptures of logos lust. I cannot tell you – I have a thing for those nerdy or very professional looking dudes (and Tim Gunn, too), that professorial demeanor . . . oh baby, and his hair is graying – he is BEAUTIFUL.

  320. I have NEVER met another person who lusts after JB the way I do. Oh YES. He is beautiful.

    Also, Tim Gunn. But you know, he wouldn’t feel that way about me or you *pout*

  321. Kate and Sher – me!!
    It’s been a closet crush though, ’cause the few times I mentioned it, I got laughed at. Heartily.
    Foolish, blind people.

  322. Yay for kindred spirits, joined in lust!

  323. :: grins ::
    For the enjoyment of all, I provide: Eye Candy. 😀

  324. Kittery – – oh my god, I am compared to Obama . . . I am fainting

    I have his articles about his election traisping down the basement staircase as I descend into my heaven . . . the studio. I pound the walls with high 5’s both hands . . . all the way down . . . it must sound like Haven’s ‘herd of elephants’ – —

    Let’s start a Jeff Goldblum ‘we adore your glasses’ club – – really you should try to find this appearance from today, he was mesmorizing and I wanted to rush over and have tantric non-sex with him

  325. I think we could light Tim Gunn’s non-physical fires, intellectual intercourse, so to speak – and there is no harm in flirting, in fact it is SAFE to flirt with our darling gays.

  326. I’ve become brave, after finding out that I’m not alone in my love for Jeff … how does anyone feel about Alan Rickman?

  327. You know, Kate, if your friend and her husband and six kids are all in the same woolen sock, it makes it much easier to just toss them in the river before they spread the parvo all over the barnlot.

  328. Big sock.

  329. Allen Rickman’s voice is unlike any I have ever heard, and I mean that in a GOOD way.

  330. Alan Rickman is tremendous. Jodi and I were just talking about actors on our Free Celebrity Sex List, and I could only think of Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard. But then Jodi mentioned Vincent D’Onofrio, and I TOO FIND HIM STRANGELY COMPELLING. But my Dead Celebrity Sex List is where it’s really going on.

    1. Jimmy Stewart as he appears in The Shop Around the Corner in 1947.
    2. Gary Cooper, whenever, wherever.
    3. Ed Ames as Daniel Boone’s Faithful Indian Companion. Wait, I think Ed is still alive.

  331. Carrie!


  332. The thing with these people…it’s complicated. They are funny, lovable, smart, he’s absolutely one of the finest artists on the planet earth, but…they also kind of have the Duggar Family thing going on and it gives me the heebie jeebies, even though I love them and their precious kids.

  333. 1. Jeff Goldblum (There’s a line from when he guested on Will & Grace years ago, “did he look like a big sexy stork?” I have a friend with whom I swoon over JG, and a mutual friend who says, whah? I don’t understand her)
    2. Robert Downey Jr.
    3. Matt Damon

  334. Jimmy Stewart – yes!

    And I agree about Vincent D’Onofrio .. although I think (for me, anyway) it’s just in his Law & Order role .. I saw him in The Break-Up and uh, not my favorite..

  335. Haven! — Alright, I would have admitted to Jimmy Stewart if it didn’t seem so unoriginal. And Cary Grant if he didn’t turn out to be a pedophile.

  336. Cary Grant was a pedophile?!

  337. I refer to his marrying women 50 years his junior.

  338. Atticus Finch was a pure pure man! He practically invented our feelings toward the Modern Negro!

  339. I am indeed a gullible fool. :: sigh ::

  340. HAVEN…I found an ED AMES record sleeve at St. Vincents with NO RECORD IN IT!!!

    Can we play Free Celebrity Sex List??

    Conan O’ Brien- this is based strictly on personality

    Paul Rudd- face of angel, incredibly funny

    Jeff Goldblum- tall, quirky, nerdy jew. My favorite ever

    James Frain- looks EXACTLY like my husband. In fact, it was at a preview for the film “Where the Heart Is” that I realized I loved him.

    Frank Langella in Dracula was my sexual awakening. Unfortunately, I was four years old when I saw it.

    William Petersen as Gruesome Grissom on CSI- I have had dreams where he was my boss.

  341. I still love his famous quote, “everyone wants to be Cary Grant. I want to be Cary Grant.” Can’t help but love him.

  342. dead celebrity . . .

    James Dean
    Heath Ledgar
    Fra Angelico (he was a womanizing monk)
    Jim Morrison
    Thomas Jefferson -oh lord, yes!-
    Julius Caesar

  343. St Francis of Assisi if he would have me

  344. Kate, you sound like my friend Linda (re: James Frain):
    “Linda! What’s your type?” “Tall, thin, funny, slightly balding.” “Linda! You just described your husband!”

  345. JAKOB DYLAN. Oh My GOD!!!! How could I forget him? Yeah, he’s perfection.

  346. Julius Caesar!!?? Explain, please!

  347. OMG, Katiecake, I can’t believe we share Frank Langella AND Gus Grissom!! I’m completely in love with him. He’s similar to Jean-Luc Picard, in that he’s very erudite and has complete integrity and he’s alone, he’s just outside the circle of normal people. I can’t believe it.

    Greatest sex scene in all of cinema in Langella’s DRACULA.

  348. Kate, your husband looks like Cromwell? My my. (I love The Tudors .. I can’t help myself).

  349. Live – –

    Jeff Goldblum
    Will Peterson – yes!!!! yes!!!!!
    Matthew Macaughnehay (can’t spell his name)
    Tim Gunn (I know, I know, but this is fantasy)
    JD from INXS (he is the new lead singer)
    Jason Mraz
    Jacob Dylan
    Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, but not at the same time!
    Any Italian, they could just talk to me in that accent and they are SO sexy

  350. Well for Heavens Sake if her own HUSBAND isn’t her type then she’s in trouble.

    My husband has naturally curly hair, green eyes, long eyelashes and looks quite Jewish, plus he’s tall. Yay!

  351. Hugh Laurie and Sufjan Stevens. Mmm.

  352. Did someone say THE TUDORS? Have all my gays arrived? Because it is just Tudor Tudor Tudor with them. Either that or accusing Dick Van Dyke of being overserved.

  353. more dead ones –

    Elvis in the 50’s or 60’s condition
    Johnny Cash at any time

    which leads me back to live ones-
    Joaquim Phoenix, but more than that BRAD BITT in his vampire costume with the long hair, and Edward Norton, again not at the same time!

  354. Sher, I don’t want to be, you know. But Elvis and Nathaniel Hawthorne have prior obligations, and no, eternity is not their free-time. It’s their Me time.

  355. Haven, can you blame them? It’s delicious. And yes, I nearly cried at the end of Season 2 when they did away with Anne. It’s that damn good.

  356. Sher, it begs the question, WHICH ones at the same time??

    Dick Van Dyke admitted he was chronically overserved. He served himself.

  357. I believe I have sufficiently made my point with the angry coyote Garanimal. I shall look for something new. Maybe a quilt square.

  358. not free-time, ME TIME??? I just WOKE THE NEIGHBORS!!

  359. oh yes – Jonathan Rheis . . . he is hot, hot, hot . . . and the gays are delectable in the Tudors, where are they, the gays and the tudors, they are all mia

    I feel in lust with Julius while reading McCullough’s First Man in Rome series . . . italian, no less, yum

  360. Why not feature Twain for a bit? He’s very handsome.

  361. Sher, the way you feel about Italian men? That they could talk and that’s all it would take?

    My friends now refer to any Irish guy as “Phonebook” because I once said that a guy with an Irish accent could read something as boring as the phonebook to me and I’d be completely mesmerized.

  362. I have not seen these Tudors! I am an Anabaptist! I shun the monarchy! Also I’m a straight woman and I have no idea what it actually is or when it’s on or really how my television works.

  363. Yes, but Kate, we were discussing her Free Sex list. I love that she only wants him. (Still. 20 years later.)

  364. I would do Jean-Luc Picard. Definitely. So would my friend Rebecca, who has a life-size cardboard cutout.

    Harrison Ford as Han Solo


    I never really thought about it, but yes, Jimmy Stewart is completely sexy in MANY shows, Shop being one of several. Plus it’s just completely perfect as a film. EVERYONE. GO WATCH IT.

    Humphrey Bogart

    John Cusack

    I’m slightly in love with Bill Heder from SNL, mostly because he does a STUNNING Marcello Mastriano imitation.

    Basically, any funny nerdy man gives me unchristian thoughts.

  365. I don’t know how my tv works, either. I just know that if I press the red button, pretty pictures appear. 😉

  366. Yes, Twain it shall be. He is either pensive or inscrutable, I can’t tell which. I love him very much. He gets a special Beauty Parlor sometimes that involves positioning his tail in a fetching manner.

  367. I say burn the manual. It is your Anabaptist-ness that makes you so utterly original. Jonathan Ries played a fine Elvis and that’s all I need from him.

  368. hoot, howl

    hee hee hee

    none at the same time, it just is too torrid . . . I would want to give them each my full attention . . .

    my mother once had 3 boyfriends at the same time and went on a date with the wrong class ring on her hand . . . I once went on 3 dates in 3 nights and saw the same movie every night ’16 candles’ and had to make sure I didn’t laugh BEFORE the funny scene.

    I also have a note I wrote my family one Saturday . . .

    “home from work, but going out on a date with _______________, then __________ is coming over later to pick me up and go to a movie – wish you could meet them”

    oh dear, it is rather flippant, isn’t it!?

  369. Sher, can you powder me with a little of your magic dating dust? Mine seems to have died.

  370. um, Haven, Tudors is probably available soon on a DVD disc for Season 1 at least – you could do a Tony Soprano marathon and it is REALLY good – it is not complimentary to the monarchy AT ALL . . . it has gay and straight sex so it is pleasing to all and the clothes and the fabrics and the jewels . . . lust

  371. I need to work on both my pensive and inscrutable looks. (I once taught myself to raise only one eyebrow by practicing in the mirror. Very effective, if timed correctly.)

  372. Season 2 is available now as well! 😀

  373. I once went on a weekend with girl friends to Destin, FL and I actually trained them on how to flirt.


    2 of the 3 were married within a year.

  374. great – see that is probably at least 24 hours of Tudors right there . . . I actually hold off on watching some shows so I can do a ‘stay at home’ day marathon with DVD’s – it is bliss

  375. Where is Sock Monkey? I believe he can describe a certain period in my misspent youth when I had four boyfriends at the same time, none of whom were aware of the other. Somehow, MAGICALLY, they all showed up at the house at the same time. I sent one upstairs to Jim Shue’s room, put one in my room, planted one on the couch, and begged Mother to entertain the fourth in the kitchen. There were moments of discomfort. I started to say a shirt was set aflame, but actually it was a chest.

  376. Don and I still flirt incessantly, it drives the children mad with disgust . . . ha on them, someday the will be gone and I can hang him from the chandeliers again . . .

  377. Sher I’m going to wake up my parents who are sleeping three rooms away if I keep laughing.

  378. Seriously? I was lucky to have one boyfriend, ever.

    I once liked two boys at the same time, and it literally sent me into a PANIC.

  379. Yep, Haven I am with you – see you can date many boys if they don’t go to the same school, right???? And then I also had my ‘friends with benefits’ on the side that I didn’t ‘date’ shall we say . . . I was a black widow of a teen.

  380. Kittery, come to think of it, it was a chair he was tied to and we were UNDER the chandelier – sorry for that wicked visual

  381. That takes talent, Haven. I never had that many concurrently (oh, the possibilities!). The thing I used to do was get the guys I was dating, and the guys I knew would be next on the list and get them all together and see what they did. Horrid of me, but vastly entertaining, nonetheless.

  382. and now my poor son has to deal with these same type of wicked girls, that drop you like a fly and he crushed . . . and he is so sweet, he would be the boy I would have eaten alive and left for dead, I was evil, I tell you, evil!

  383. My specialty was going out with a guy, not realizing I was on a DATE, and then freaking out halfway through because I felt like I had been HAD.

    It was weird. I feel sorry for anyone who liked me back in the day. Essentially for me, if it wasn’t my idea then it wasn’t happening at all.

  384. I need a lover that won’t drive me crazy, someone to show me the best time I’ve ever had . . . and I got him, or he got me, it was kinda mutual

    ‘member that moment you realize you fell in the bucket of slop love?

  385. it is hard to be gotten when you are mystery to even thy ownself

  386. Sher, for a second I thought that was a Tina Turner song.

  387. Probably now is a good time to close the curtain on my experiences with the males of our species.

    I couldn’t find the Twain I wanted so I’m Garanimaling my brother, instead. There were no matching bracelets for his hat, but I got some great socks. What Garanimal would he be, I wonder? Oh who am I kidding, I knew the answer before I’d even formed the question. He’d be a Kamchatka grizzly bear from Russia, the ones that regularly reach ten feet in height and weigh in excess of 1,500 pounds. They eat scientists, at least they have TAKEN UP eating scientists, I don’t think this is part of their lore.

  388. I would like to take this time to tell everyone that Jarvis, my son, who cannot read yet, seems to have THE ESP. Tonight he convinced his brother that the urban area we live in is overrun by COYOTES. Yes, COYOTES that can open our van door with their claws WHILE OUR VAN IS MOVING, and eat us.

  389. John Mellencamp, Katie Cake – – I am on hour 6 of my Mellencamp jam session

    life is short even in its longest day
    . . . but deep down in your soul, you know you ain’t got no flame, who knows which way to go, that is when life is short, even in its longest day

    all i got here is a rearview mirror
    reflections of where i’ve been
    so you tell yourself . .

    ….nothing last forever

    sometimes you get sick and you don’t get better, that is when life is short even in its longest day

    this album slayed me, his granny (age 100) said the “life is short even in its longest day . . .

    i would sleep with the edge and larry mullin jr from U2, but Bono and John Mellencamp are off limits because they are prophets, as is Obama.

  390. Aww. I don’t know if that’s sad or wickedly funny.

  391. I forgot to mention that Delonda held one young man at bay in the kitchen for twenty minutes or so by explaining to him that she was distantly related to the King of Prussia. Then she fled to the basement and left me to my own devices. It turned out the devices were two motorcycles, one lit cigarette, and a singed chest.

  392. Twain also appears in the new Wally Lamb – – it has a certain amount of time travel as a character finds his grandmothers journals from that time of post civil war . . .

  393. Jarvis happens to be correct about that. Just to tell you.

  394. Mellencamp does have some sex appeal though.

    Haven is exactly the kind of girlfriend I would have had in high school, who would drag me around while committing mayhem and heresy. My job would be to stand there and watch, bug-eyed, and pray I’d make it out alive.

  395. May I share your mother with you? If I had been in that situation, my mother would’ve looked at the guy and said (in a very deadpan way) “she’s upstairs with her other boyfriends” She’ll get around to you if you wait long enough.”

  396. Where is my new identity?? These WordPress shenanigans are going to cost us the election, Nebraska Matt!

  397. I am cornfused

  398. ok, dudes John’s 13 year old son is playing guitar in his band . . . he looks amazingly like Obadiah, but his hair is curlier…..

    I fight authority, but authority always wins . . .

    my anthem, not my theme song though, that is “Tubthumping – I get knocked down, but I get up again” or Everything’s I got the HOOCH

  399. Plates, sticks, air, boyfriends — it’s all talent. And some motherly subterfuge. God bless Delonda. I knew she was a queen.

  400. Hehehe. I tried playing Tubthumping for my friends but they shot me murderous looks and stalked over to the CD player hitting (harder than necessary) the Off button. I didn’t understand. I still don’t.

    And in the list of gorgeous men – Daniel Day Lewis.

  401. Kate – you could be my wingman, too – but I didn’t even drink til my senior year, but I was having sex like there was no tomorrow, I was using them and throwing them away, not the other way around, mind you – – evil.

    Haven – we are in queue on WordPress, we are behinds MILLIONS of new updates, we are in Gravatar purgatory!!!!

  402. the sexiest guys are the ones who don’t KNOW they are sexy

  403. Kate, you described our pretend high school friendship very well.

    I can’t believe I have lived this long. Once I was with four other girls in Indianapolis — we were going to a show at Market Square — and it was cold outside and I didn’t want to walk, so I stood in the middle of the street and stopped the first car that approached. It was a young man alone. If I spent five minutes I could tell you the make and color of the car. At any rate, I opened the passenger door and said, “Thank you so much for taking us to the Arena,” as I shepherded my friends into the backseat. “As you can see,” I continued, “there are five of us and only one of you, so you should consider yourself outnumbered even if you’re Ted Bundy.” He drove us right up to the entrance without EVER SAYING A WORD.

    It was a two-tone Chevy Chevelle, maroon and white.

  404. Sher — what was your lesson plan in Destin? There are some interested parties here.

  405. Was the drinking age 18 or 21, Sher?

  406. What color were the young man’s eyes?

  407. There was a drinking age? Not at Dick Van Dyke’s trailer, there wasn’t!

  408. YES. I would have been shepherded into that car, about to VOMIT. But I would keep coming back for more.

  409. Kate – I would have left – – to be denied that song . . . hello, it is anthem, it is rabid foot stomping, head banging JOY . . . unbelievable!!!

    Ok then what about LOVESHACK – you could have been IN that video with Rupaul honey, I was in the yard when they filmed it . . . that was the biggest party I have every attended and I wasn’t even legal back then….I can scream every word of that song, jumping straight up and down, with Killians Red spilled all over my size 3 white walking shorts . . . with my yellow and white striped Madonna torn, off the shoulder mesh shirt with a tank top underneath . .. . I may have even had a lace bow in my head holding down the mall bangs . . .

  410. Some know-it-alls say there’s a drinking age ..
    :: shrugs :: I made up my own. It was two months before I turned 19, lol.

  411. If I look on YOUTUBE can I spot you in it?

    Also Sher, is this a CLUE to your sordid past???

  412. Carrie, he resembled a young Andrew McCarthy, but with wider eyes (fear), probably a non-descript blue. Fuller lips. But that same sort of easily athletic, floppy brown-haired boyishness. He was wearing a blue shirt and blue jeans, and the interior of the car was maroon.

  413. If my little postage stamp of identity doesn’t change soon, Cain will be raised.

  414. I was very illegal until 21, when I legally got wasted

    Ok – flirting 101 – dressing to kill without looking trashy. breast cupping and bottom hugging with covered fabric is much more sexy than low cleavage – in fact a good bra is the best weapon – – shape under tailored clothing

    um, emphasis your eyes and your mouth – besides the breast that is all the men are interested in gazing at.

    have confident fun but don’t be silly with your girls, then you look down and GLANCE back, with head still a bit bowed, so your eyelashes are very prominent – don’t giggle, hold the gaze like a laser for 1.5 seconds. then act like nothing happened and he will be tapping your shoulder in 1.5 seconds – 10 minutes depending on how shy he is . . . Don was very, very shy . . . I had to tell him dirty jokes while he was giving my massages (note: he was my physical therapist) to loosen him up, and watching him blush and his ears turn red under his luscious tan was so adorable . . .

  415. That is impressive indeed. Not that I’d forgotten that there was never a time you weren’t a writer, but still.

  416. Kate – if you can spot me in a yard of 1500 people and then match me up with someone in that crowd you are a master . . . and crap on me, I am cursing my flapping jaws right now….

  417. Whoops. Italics gone crazy.

    You hear all the time how women like dangerous men. I think men are completely enamored of dangerous women. I’ll be that was fear/lust.

  418. men driving 50’s Ford pickups are hot . . . well not granpies, but hard working farmers that look like a young mel gibson from THE RIVER . . . lord, get me a church fan from the funeral parlour, quick, or I will get the vapors!

  419. “with covered fabric is much more sexy than low cleavage”
    Thank you! I’m not a puritan by any means, but lordy am I sick of women with a few strands of dental floss wound artfully around their chests..

    Now, question, oh Flirting Master – I have a pitiful little mouth. How would one emphasize that? I have the eyes down quite nicely, but I just ignore my mouth. Unless it’s chapstick.

  420. Like Michael Perry in Truck… loved that book, and he’s gorgeous even with a unibrown. Changed my mind about hunting.

  421. Not a UPS jumpsuit, a UNIBROW.

  422. One of my comments was just eaten. What I said was, CupKate, Sher will never tell you her dark liaison. I know because she wouldn’t tell me, and I can keep a secret longer than a priest. For instance, I knew who J.T. LeRoy was — not just that he didn’t exist, but who the real author was — for three years before the news broke, and I never told John. He was flabbergasted. I said, “I was asked not to tell.”

  423. UNIBROWN! It’s like the Sad Family!

  424. I’m just yanking Sher’s chain.

    I love you Sher!!

  425. What WHAT is the Sad Family?!

  426. ha – I once had a ups dude and his friend make a pass at me during the UPS strikes in 1997 – I was celebrating my 30th birthday by a whirlwind 4 days in NYC with a former party friend (we were then 30 year old mothers with 4 kids between us, we went alone to NYC) . . . it was stellar.

    Ok – thin mouths. I would suggest having a slightly open mouth relaxed look which will increase the visual size of your mouth area – – and not to apply really vivid lip color because that would only emphasize the diminished size of the lips? So a more natural color based on your skin tone with a tiny bit of gloss to reflect light . . . dazzle, and smiling also increases your mouth size, but you can’t smile sexily, it should be friendly so that you are welcoming AFTER the mysterious eye lock . . .

  427. Thank you Haven dear!

  428. I wasn’t! I really want to know!

    Here’s a time I made Christopher laugh REALLY hard. Sometimes I can make him laugh so hard he has to take off his glasses, because tears are squirting out of his eyes. One of the Otters wrote and asked what was the first concert we ever attended. Crispy wrote back, in his crisp way, “I went to see the Cowsills at the Dayton Auto Show with my dad.” I wrote back, “Very similar to mine, except it was Foghat.”

  429. Carrie, the UNIBROWNS! Sad.

  430. All this fun and I am headachy from non-sleep . . . and I have to pee, won’t the boys be flabbergastd when the arrive later? We had a hen fest, and I believe this is EXACTLY what used to happen at quilting bees!

  431. Oh I do stay away from the bright colors .. unless it’s for theatre and then I’m uh, generous with the lipliner, lol.

    Thankee for the advice. 😉

  432. Oh, believe me. I’m dying to know. But I respect Sher’s steely reserve even though keeping a secret like that is like lighting me on fire. AGONY. Sher, you have POWER OVER US.

    My first concert was…Radiohead with REM?

  433. How does Sher know all this cosmetic and decolletage witchery? I feel like I’m reading Greek.

  434. oh yes, theatrical makeup – – – the grease involved to get it off is just -ick!

    You realize I never really know where all this information comes from and that I could be completely wrong, right??? As Claire said about the snow today

    “It just came out of nowhere – Poof!”

  435. The other day I tried to show Hugh how BADASS I am by melting my eyeliner with a cigarette lighter before smudging on some cat-eyes. He hates it when I reveal trade secrets like that. But then I put on red lipstick in front of him and all was FORGIVEN.

  436. ok, I would sleep with the 1984 John Mellencamp . . . and I love ‘bad’ dancers . . .

    What about the dorky guy in Footloose you know – – – wasn’t that Sean Penn’s brother, I could have tutored him!

  437. Lol. My nephew and I used to say, “we were born with knowing this”.

    Did you ever use Ben Nye makeup? It’s good stuff..not the typical axle grease.

  438. You make tears squirt out of my eyes. Frequently.

    So, Foghat at the Dayton Auto Show?

  439. To make your lips look bigger you should wear TWO complementary lip shades…a darker, matte shade on top and a gloss on the bottom lip.

  440. Yes Kate! I do that too!
    Have you ever iced your lipstick? It keeps it from bleeding out or smudging.

  441. oh – yes, now I can see Kate putting on her red lipstick, he probably fell to his knees . . .

  442. Someone once said very snottily to me “Oh yeah? What if your future husband doesn’t LIKE lipstick and perfume and all that?” and I replied “Then why would he be interested in me?”

  443. How do you ice your lipstick? Is this like frosting a cake, or more like 9 1/2 weeks?

  444. I cannot, of course, speak for Sher, but I can tell you that one musician is very like any other. Lead singers are ALWAYS predator dogs; bass players are depressed and tired of getting leftovers; lead guitarists like to have a lot of fun they won’t remember later, and drummers. They will overcompensate in whatever way they can, because THEY are back there doing something incredibly difficult and muscular and sweaty and it requires tremendous skill, but it’s STILL happening at the back of the stage and everyone is paying attention to Dipdong noodling around because he can’t really play, and ESPECIALLY they’re paying attention to the lead singer, who is slightly lionesque and variously tattooed, and he’s definitely MALE but there’s a very subtle vulnerability — maybe in the length of his eyelashes — that makes him hypnotic, and if drummers had ambition? They’d kill the rest of the band.

  445. Hahaha. I torch my eyeliner and I ice my lipstick.
    It’s simple, you just put on your lipliner, apply the lipstick, let it set for just a second, then take an ice cube and run it over your lips.

  446. I have heard that about Nye makeup and some artists use it on their canvases, can you imagine the fun of making your own makeup like the Egyptians did – it would feel like casting spells and boiling brew . . . I put on my makeup in 5 minutes or less and only use mirror for applying concealer – – I HATE getting ready, I am splap dash and DON prefers a sporty look, yoga pants and a fitted lycra sport tops, so it is just not so much fun sometimes . . . he also thinks sweatshirts are cute, so it can be a bit anti-climatic to dress up . . . but I prefer him in some nice fitted jeans myself, so I guess we aren’t real fancy with that

  447. Hugh likes me kind of punky, kind of rockabilly. Fishnets, red lipstick, pencil skirts, etc.

    So of course I spend almost all of my time in pajama pants, novely socks and ancient Smith’s tshirts.

  448. It is downright surprising there isn’t a tradition of drummer-mass murderers, what with all the hijacked attention and the drummer jokes. Always the drummer jokes.

    Exceptions: upright bass players. They are what saxophonists were in the 80s and lead guitarists are at any given time. They know they got it going on too.

  449. I cannot believe you are all up so late. And the posts are genius, what a treat.

  450. Haven – that is the nail on the head – – I am hot for Larry Mullen, Jr – he is the brain behind U2, he hand picked them!

    bass players are just so mopey . . . dang you are so astute (since George isn’t heard to receive that commendation you get it today)

  451. I’m going to sleep. Goodnight, all.

  452. I must make sense tomorrow relatively early, so I’m off to bed — good night all, and thank you Sher for the seduction instruction!

  453. Hah, I wear pajama pants and hoodies so often, if I finally put on a ‘real’ shirt and jeans, it looks like I dressed up.

    My instant dress up trick though? My 3″ knee high black boots. I pretty much broke my ankle wearing them one time (March 19th, 2006), but it’s a love affair that will never die, lol.

    You only use the mirror for concealer? How in the name of all that’s sensible do you manage eyeliner? Mascara?

    Another trick – when using powder blush, put a little lipstick on the apples of your cheeks. It adds a “luminous glow”.

  454. G’night, Kate!

  455. confession: I drove to school to pick up Dylan banking on the fact that I wouldn’t have to get out of the van, ok? It was raining all day and I couldn’t sleep, but I never actually got dressed and it started snowing . . .

    So I had on a nightgown last night, but I was too cold so I put on a pair of sweatpants (with paint all over them), and was still cold so put on a hoodie sweatshirt (also with paint all over them and it was sky blue), the nightgown was black and blue floral and the sweatpants were black velvet . . . and I had on monkey and banana socks in brown and yellow . . . I neither brushed my hair or washed my face today (I did brush my teeth at least 3 times, because I am obsessed with that). . . I looked like flock of seagulls meets bag lady . . . when the girls ran up to my window and screaming that Dylan had fallen at the school doors on the ice . . .

    I quickly pulled up my nightgown and tucked it into my sweatshirt, slipped on my clog like felt slippers and dashed into the school (remember if now have blonde and blue hair).

    It was stunning. I was almost hysterically laughing that I had to get out of the car. And poor Dylan was looking up from the ground “Mommy?” and the nurse kept looking at me strangly? oh dear, what an impression. I haven’t had on a bra for 36 hours.

  456. The upright-bass player constitutes a different sort of band. My description doesn’t apply to Arcade Fire or Neutral Milk Hotel or Elbow. But a touring rock band? Trust me.

  457. Hahaha, that sounds stunning. You ever gone to Denny’s wearing rolled up Happy Bunny pajama pants and flip flops? I was a sexy critter that night, hah.

    The bra thing I could not do.. If I could get one surgically attached like some women get permanent eyeliner tattooed, I would.

  458. I once had a product that was a lipstick, blush and eyeshadow all in one tube . . . it was glorious. I just do it, remember I had 7 siblings, one bathroom with one mirror, a toilet that usually didn’t flush (we had to flush it with buckets of water most of the time when it got ‘full’) – – you learn to adapt to 3 inches of mirror and then nothing. I have to say that I one time applied copper (metallic) eyeliner to one eye, got a phone call, did the mascara (which I do LAST) and forgot about the other eye . . .I went around all day like that and NOBODY told me, I was so mad . . . but that day if I had done it in front of mirror it might have been a good idea . . .

  459. Nobody wears a bra when they have to get out of the car, its some sort of cardinal mother law. Like running in to get coffee in the morning looking like you just described and seeing someone you haven’t seen in forever. Try looking like you have it all together then.

  460. Haven, yes – rock bands that tour, in the vw bus with all their equipment . . . and it smells like farts? yep.

  461. Lol. I was too short for the few, very very few mirrors in the house when I was younger .. then I grew up a little, looked in the mirror and realized I had eyebrows that could’ve been the envy of Peter Gallagher or Eugene Levy. I remedied the situation. Immediately.

  462. I know might amend my theory about not leaving my driveway in pj’s to include those times when I am leaving the driveway in the van.

    Remember when were supposed to make sure our underwear was clean before we left the house? Tim Gunn would be so disappointed in me. I crack up when he makes over the mommies in their ‘running errands’ outfits that are pretty sundresses and 4 inch sling backs. right. I am the slobbification of america.

    i have to pee.

  463. ok me to go to bed now

    night night sweet blog babies

  464. Night!

  465. I wish The Daughter wasn’t sleeping like a normal person, because she tells this glorious story about the day she, what do they do, fly up? from a Brownie to a Girl Scout? And I left my job at the record store/headshop to go watch her. I arrived at the elementary school and behind the double doors were what seemed to be every Israelite standing before the Red Sea. Hundreds of chattering little girls, and their moms in their Disney sweatshirts. And right at that moment I realized I was wearing a dark purple silk shirt, a man’s (much too large) under a black leather biker jacket, with a black pencil skirt and high (not the tens) Doc Martens. My hair was back in a French twist, I was wearing purple/black lipstick and black fingernail polish, lots of smokey eye makeup, and around my neck an all-access pass to see Peter Murphy. I opened the door and aaaallll the little girls and aaaaalllll the pursed lipped Tiggers turned in silence, and that FABULOUS child of mine shouted, from the middle of the crowd, “THAT’S MY MOM!” And naturally, all the ten-year-olds flocked around me like crazed pigeons, asking how did I make my eyes look so green and did that black lipstick come off on, say, a doughnut, and where did you get those BOOTS? The mothers circled like buffalo and I ended up sitting at the very back of the auditorium with a single father who I believe was also a convicted felon.

  466. I don’t do mornings but I am pretty sure no real mom should wear makeup before 8am. That might be why my kids don’t mind dad taking them to school.

  467. That’s too perfect. 😀

  468. When the Otters arrived for Thanksgiving I was dressed appropriately, made up, everything. That evening I said, “Wave goodbye to the makeup, gentlemen, and the contacts, and the very high-heeled Frye boots, because one day is enough for me.” From that point on only Christopher looked consistently very hot. He can’t HELP IT.

  469. Good morning girls, or should I say goodnight? I am taking comfort in knowing all is right in the world when there is an all night chat fest at Havenland. sigh.

    Snow day – no school here in Nashville. We had a blizzard last night (which is Nashville = a dusting to one inch). But, the temps dropped rapidly so there is icing (not the cake kind) and that makes things dangerous. You all know I was born in NJ and grew up north of Philly so it will come as no surprise that I was flabbergasted by the school closings at the mere threat of snow down here when I first moved to Nashville in 1986. But, now I understand. Nashville owns maybe 2 snow plows and Middle TN is very hilly so the hidden back streets can get bad. Plus, many people have to clue how to drive in snow, much less ice. Sorry, rambling. So, my kids get a day off. I, on the other hand, do not, but I get to mozy a bit which is good. Plus, I am getting my haircut at 10:45 (that is correct, 10:45 on a work day- ha ha) followed by a noon meeting with my mentalist. So, really, I will not start working until about 1:30.

    Oh, and on the very important topic of sex with famous dead or alive people…my list would include:
    1. Pablo Neruda. I mean, come on, just read his poetry. How could he not be good in bed?!!
    2. Paul Newman
    3. John Travolta (but I would forbid him to talk about scientology (sp?)
    4. Jack White of the White Stripes and the Raconteurs. I know, a musician, but…I met him and his gorgeous model wife in the Harris Teeter and the man is beautiful. And very talented.
    5. to be continued…

    I need to go eat some breakfast.

  470. Me, too! SNOW DAY! It took forever. The place I work provides educational services, including my quirky classes, to all seven school districts in our county. Our policy is if ONE district stays open, we stay open. Six of the seven closed and the last stayed on a one-hour delay. BUT that one decided not to send their students over to us, so we finally closed.

    Sex offers – only one – Daniel Day-Lewis in Last of the Mohicans. (Kittery, is that your favorite role of his? There will be Blood guy – no way.) D D-L is my kind of man. Unfortunately he married Arthur Miller’s daughter. Or Almanzo Wilder.

    Anyone going to New York City over the holidays? Seriously, I have two tickets for All My Sons that I will send to you. Any takers?

    Haven – I am glad to see your brother as garanimals Gravataritron and hear tales of him. Our respective sibling situations are remarkably similar. I have a much older brother who seems like a walking ball of resentment and does not contact me, ever, nor in twenty years has he ever visited my farm, though I know he loves me. My sister and I are best friends and we talk almost every day from our respective sides of the country. My dad (my soul’s parent) died 15 years ago, so my mom is it. She is nothing like yours, though. I shan’t elaborate here.

    I’ve been worried about your brother and his whereabouts the way I am worried about my own. Mine is having a pacemaker installed – ! – over the Christmas holiday, so my sis and I are forming a plan for a visit to him, whether he wants us there or not.

    I worried all last night if my liking for Barbara Kingsolver was going to distance me from the blog. George doesn’t like her. Amy in Ohio same. A grave concern for me, wishing I had said nothing. I will be ostracized. (This is like early dating.) Then I realized that my love of her springs more from my environmental and agricultural me than from my writerly me. Can I stay? I still like Haven best.

    Haven – I uploaded my “Grandmother’s Song” essay to the group Files. Glad you found the Kingsolver essay useful for animal cogitation. Have you read Animals in Translation? I just adore Temple Grandin both as a farmer and the wife of an Aspergian.

    Back to the farm accounting.

  471. Good morning ladies!

    I missed it last night again, but I caught up on my sleep and you’all did not, so that leaves me basically posting this AM to an audience of one, namely, ME, but that’s ok. I am weighing in on this discussion on celebrity sex with this list:

    Gloria Swanson: I’d do anything to do her — especially travel back in time with a lit cigarette and a bottle of Dom.

    Shelly Winters: oh, baby, those hips! (Marilyn Monroe would work, too.)

    Maureen Ohara: John may have spanked her, but I’d glady kiss and make it better.

    Audrey Hepburn: that delicate, swan-like neck and lips like pillows, baby

    Bessie Smith: one night with her would last a lifetime

    Elizabeth Montgomery: I’m bewitched by her.

    Vivien Leigh: I’d have left Liz any day of the week for her.

    Lauren Bacall: Obviously.

    I would have liked the night with Kate Hepburn but I have a feeling we’d have stayed up until dawn blabbing away in our jammies!

    There are a lot more I could name.

  472. I didn’t say I didn’t like Barbara Kingsolver!

    She’s a tough read for me, that’s all. And I absolutely loved the poem she wrote and recited for the 2008 Duke commencement.

    About Daniel Day-Lewis: when my son and his eight-grade pals were having a band trip to Kings Island back in 1992, that Mohican movie was out and all of his friends had seen it. I was their chaperone for the day. Basically what I did was gather them near the entrance and tell them we had only rule.

    “Did you guys see the Mohicans?”
    “Remember that scene when he was about to go over in the waterfall?”
    “What did he tell his girlfriend?”
    Blank stares at me and indifference…
    “He said, ‘Stay alive.'”
    …so that’s my rule, Stay Alive and let’s all meet back here at 4 p.m.!

    I think the kids respected that, but my own son hung close to me for the day and I respected that.

    “in charge” of

  473. …left you’all speechless, din’t I?”

  474. Wow! Getting caught up in sleep made me miss so much.

    Yes, I do remember “The Night of the Thousand Dates”. Now, I do. It was, to everyone who was in on it, rather amusing. With the exception of Haven. I walked into the middle of the festivities and I have to say that was the ONLY time I’ve seen Haven looking like a proverbial deer caught in the headlights. She thought her panties were toast. Plus, if I remember correctly, two guys were being held hostage together in my room because they were the only ones who knew about the others. And they went to school with Haven. The two downstairs didn’t know anything. Ironic in the fact that they were the older ones, but none the wiser. The one she left with on the motorcycle would have inflicted serious harm on the two in my room. And those two would have relished the idea of “poking the lion with a stick.” It took every ounce of ingenuity to keep them from popping out of hiding just to torment “poor” Haven.

    Really. Four guys. Just greedy. Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. I wouldn’t know what that’s like (three “dates” in one night.)


  475. George, I think we’re the only two awake (besides Linda who’s getting her hair did.) Seems the women folk have chatted the night away and are dreaming of men other than us that they’d like to get horizontal with.

  476. Maureen: I’m a married man, not once, but twice. Plus I am old. I am totally comfortable with the fact that nobody gives a crap about what I think. So forget what I said about Kingsolver…it shows what a dunderhead I am. That said, I would have done anything at all, anything, for Karen Von Blixen or Beryl Markham, who write in the same vein.

  477. JimShue, I think you are right, old chap. I was surprised that neither of our names came up their wish lists.

  478. Good Morning All….I just read all the rest of the blog I missed while sleeping and am still smiling broadly at the mom image of Haven in purple and black…too too great!
    Sexy dead men?
    Yul Bryner
    Isaac Asimov
    Sexy live celebrities?
    Jeff Goldblum also
    Alan Rickman also
    Rufus Sewell…those eyes!
    Frank Langella in Dracula also….see I don’t even have to make a list…y’all are just sympatico.
    Oh yeah..Johnny Depp except not in Willie Wonka…creepy.
    Christopher Walken

    And I wish for Kittery to make us a Haven’s Blog Babies cookbook so we can give it for gifts, eh?…some of my favorite books are the ones with recipes in them:
    Like Water For Chocolate
    The Sweet Potatoe Queens Book of Love
    Aphrodite (Isabel Allende)
    Oh hell, I’ll just read cookbooks just for fun.

  479. Yul Brynner is one of the most beautiful creatures who ever LIVED. ACK. I am slewn.

    I was up all night. I might have to give you an assignment for the day while I finish reading the book I started in the night, because it’s difficult and important and I am going to have to try to get at least 37 more IQ points — maybe on eBay — in order to write what I’m planning to write.

    I have decided to show my brother relentless love without considering if he’s judging me or going to shoot me. LOVE. A tricky strategy.

  480. George – Thanks! Wouldn’t want to be at literary loggerheads with you. Your field trip tale reminds me of my trip to NYC two days ago with 28 teenagers. I said as they dispersed “Don’t get killed. Don’t get mugged. Don’t get lost. Meet at the Schenfeld at 1:45.” Thank God for cell phones. They’re like having a really really long one of those ropes with the rings that the pre-schools use.

    Brenda – Oh my! Johnny Depp in Chocolat! How could I have forgotten?!?! Oh, and Russell Crowe in Master and Commander.

    Nobody’s going to New York City? Might have to venture back down and use my tickets to see 13 with my 13-year-old.

  481. Haven – I know what you mean on that one. I fear to see my brother as much as I long to. And he was so my idol!! I would do anything for him: make Mexican sundaes, be goalie so he could practice slapshots, watch endless episodes of Gilligan’s Island, play backgammon, let him trap me in the TV room. I was his adoring little slave girl.

  482. I’m going to go do something productive so that Haven can read. Otherwise we’ll all never have a new HK book to love.

    I guess it’s a good thing I don’t usually work at home. Blogging is such a fun distraction! La la la. Oh, loving the fact that I’m not at school.

  483. I’m an older brother and you guys give me an insight on the relationship between me and my sister…our first impulse is to protect you…after we torture you, of course.

  484. go ahead and read haven, and you, maureen, go ahead and do something productive…i’ll just sit here by myself, someone should have called and gotten me out of bed last night…all those postings needed a man’s touch, probably literally.

  485. No, I want you to keep talking! This is an article I’m working on, and the strands I’m trying to connect are giving me headaches all over my body and even the couch is sore.

  486. I am going after some coffee for me and cellmates, can i bring anything back?

  487. Wait a second, maybe my head hurts because I’ve been wearing this Socialist hat all night!

  488. Crap, George, why did you write back? I was actually going to stand up. Now I have to comment again. I missed out on the late-night chatter, too.

    Speaking of which, Sher, I am not ever introducing you to my husband, who looks very like Mel Gibson in Country AND always drives a Ford pick-up. Kidding. You’re welcome any time. Keep in mind, however, that we do not have a chandelier.

    George, are you going to the inauguration? Is that something locals actually do or can you make a bundle renting out your house and/or driveway for the millions who are arriving?

  489. Dear little Lamb Jesus, yes, George. I’d like a double cappucino filled with fat and sugar. Thanks.

  490. I’ll probably wander over to the Mall.

    That said, when I was a reporter I covered every inauguration since 1989. Went to the parades and various balls and receptions. It is a magical week and night.

    Rent out my house? I was cracking people up at work with a riff about how I would have to pay someone to stay at our house. They would walk in and immediately get covered by cat and dog hair, the toilet would back up, there’d be a stain on the sheet — possibly peanut butter, let’s hope — and the milk carton would stick to the refrigerator shelf. But other than that it is comfy. I still think I would be liable for damages.

    But Hey…I mean this … if you or any blog baby wants to camp at our house, they are more than welcome. I think my kids might be coming, too, but I cook a great carbo-laden breakfast!

  491. No prob, Haven, vente or grande?

  492. Taj Mahal, George.

  493. you got it, Miz Haven….

    and seriously, for the blog babies, MI CASA, SU CASA, whatever that means…for the inauguration.

  494. …our impulse is to protect our sisters…

  495. Maybe if the big brother feels he DIDN’T protect the little sisters, he’s ashamed? I’m still trying to sort out my brother. Haven, that thing where Daniel (also my brother’s name oddly enough) removed the bathroom door after Melinda tormented him? That’s my brother too. He once got so upset about something that he punched a hole in the sheetrock wall of our kitchen.
    Happy mall hop, George. See you when you get back.

  496. My impulse is to protect everyone.

  497. My brother never did anything like that again, never. I believe his relationship to rage or violence is similar to the trembling, inadequate philosophy of mutual deterrence. He doesn’t push that button because it can only happen once, and the world ends.

  498. Haven – Did you enjoy the Calvin gig? Did you see any of the other speakers while you were there?
    I remember watching you and your mom crossing from where you spoke back toward the chapel. I believe my chin was dragging on the ground in awe, and this was from the branch of the tree I had climbed like Zacchaeus. I am still adapting to writers being real people. I sat right next to Elizabeth Stroud before she talked and didn’t even realize it was her. Did you read her novel Abide with Me?

  499. I fear my brother is in a similar state of repressed violence. Your Daniel became a minister, right? Mine became an engineer, followed right behind my dad into a life in General Motors. Luckily, his division split off and got bought by Delphi and he just became eligible for retirement! Gads!
    The last time the four of us (Mom, me, sis, bro) were together for a meal was over eight years ago. Complicated and sad.

  500. Maureen,

    I love Kingsolver. From a literary and philosophical point of view.

  501. I’m being ousted. Back later.

  502. No, I haven’t read that one, but she and I spent an adventurous few days in Columbia, Mississippi at the Eudora Welty Conference some years ago. Well, I say ‘we’ but what I mean is she was anxious to extricate herself from the situation we were in while I insisted on continuing to play pool until I’d gambled all my jewelry away.

  503. I’m afraid my impulse is to protect everyone, too. That’s good and bad, but I’ll claim it and keep it.

    Maureen: I meant Mall as in the place where Lincoln and Washington monuments abide. But there is a mall across the street where Macy’s abides, Starbucks, too. I have just returned. I overheard a woman saying, “…he just fired me and now he asks me to go to a bar…”

    I thought, this is not big brother behaviour.

    Then I saw a couple walking hand-in-hand. In Peru, I was so struck by all the couples I saw necking in public. Is necking still a term that is understandable by anyone younger than age 45 or not raised in the Midwest. It was sweet to see those couples. In Lima they have been statutes erected showing a couple kissing. I thought DC should have a few more of those and few fewer erected to the memory of some war or another.

    After two nights of marathon slumber and wild dreams, I am finally getting my mind around Machu Picchu. It has to do with the torment of a pursuit, pushing boulders up mountains, leaving things abruptly and unfinished in order to survive…maybe I am dragging some of my own stuff into it. Still thinking, however.

  504. Oh good grief! I just read “Kaline Klattermaster’s Treehouse.” I was reading to myself but in public, so the laughing … raised eybrows, let’s say. I laugh in a way that embarrasses my kids, so that’s good.

  505. George, oops, silly me. Mall, mall. My middle-class upbringing is poking through again. I really and honestly live under a rock here. The nearest town is East Pharsalia, which sounds like a jokey stereotype.

  506. Hi Amanda! I guess I finally got my face and name in the right place. Thanks for the wordpress info.

    I own Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and haven’t yet started it. (Guilt, guilt.) It also took me a few tries to get into The Poisonwood Bible, but then it swept me away and imprinted me with its imagery.
    Gotta confess to an especial liking for Animal Dreams: some great sex scenes in there. And I thoroughly enjoyed Pigs in Heaven and Prodigal Summer.

  507. Mo? May I call you Mo? I call the other Maureen in my life Mo. I love living in the DC area though I often despise it and think I’d really like to be somewhere in rural Indiana, Maine or North Carolina. Go figure that one.

  508. Liz in Virginia, I turned in the last draft of KALINE and then didn’t see the galley pages for quite a while, because the artist was working on them. When they did come I was working on IODINE and I’d forgotten a lot of what that little book was about, and as I proofread it I nearly WEPT with laughter, and I wrote it! I’ve never done that before.

    Maureen, for goodness sake, don’t make tea out of East Pharsalia in the winter; it thins the blood.

  509. George, I could give you twenty-five reasons to move to North Carolina in the time it took to type them. But you already know them all.

  510. Haven–by any chance did a tiny package for you arrive? I realized too late I did not send it priority…

    Everyone is welcome in my classroom! I’d love an audit of that kind to occur. Currently, I have the children jamming out to some Beatles…They got a kick out of “She’s So Heavy.”

    Celebrity Lovers?

    Daniel Craig (new Bond) anytime anywhere any place
    Dnzel Washington
    Joe Flanigan (Stargate Atlantis)
    Harrison Ford
    Paul Newman
    Robert Redford

    These are just a few…my sister and I play this game often, and since in the real world, my lovers number just 1, I am always shocked at how many men have made it onto my list. Because honstly, some of those men are just too beautiful not to have if you’re handed the opportunity. 🙂

  511. Please call me Mo! My family and friends all call me that. There’s usually a two-year waiting period on clearance for “Mo” status, but certain people get the expedited version. Blog babies: cleared.

    I spent two magical summers in DC. My best friend in eighth-grade moved there to live with her mother and stepfather, a man who owned a big movie theater chain. They had an enormous house, a MAID! (My Irish forebearers WERE maids). We went to the theater and the country club often. I am sure I was very hard to tolerate when I returned home.

  512. Barbara Kingsolver is GRAND. Her book of poetry, “Another America,” is violent and heartbreaking and real. “Poisonwood Bible” is a milestone. Who couldn’t love Turtle Greer in “Pigs in Heaven”? She lost me on “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” because I don’t cook and I don’t want to learn to cook and I don’t want to kill my own chickens.

    Haven Kimmel, I believe you are on Day Two without Sleep. Am I correct?

  513. Molly Bug! I was thinking of you this morning, hoping to blow the blizzard down your way so you could also get a snow day. How’s your cold?

  514. Jodi – Is that a cockapoo in the hat? It looks like my beloved dog from childhood.

  515. My son (17 yrs old, so obviously all things fabulous and smoothly mature) is reading it as I write this, and I hear him snorting in the next room.

    Banjo the dog is clearly kin to Jonathan’s horse, Fred. My son would get this look on his face when people used that voice: “Oh, is that your pretend horsie?” He clearly thought they had lost their minds.

  516. Well lord above, Jodi, how am I supposed to keep track of days if I don’t go to bed? It could be March for all I know.

  517. Maureen, That is my beloved Emmeline, a Havanese. In the photo she is tolerating wearing her witch’s hat, suitable for any day of the year. Havanese are a new breed to the AKC, originated in Havana, Cuba (hence the name), and are most closely related to the Bichon Frise, including the hypo-allergenic part. Emma is the wisest being I know.

  518. Mo: thanks for the clearance. My nickname is Bo. I revealed this to someone I met in Peru and within minutes this person was calling me Bo — normally a name that I only hear when I am in Evansville, Ind.

    Haven: at least 25 reasons! At least. Two days without sleep!!! You are probably seeing that aura by now.

    Jodi: So good to see you again. I visited your blog yesterday.

  519. Sweet Haven, did George bring you a Taj Mahal-size double cappucino filled with fat and sugar?

  520. George, the Prince of the Andes! I didn’t even know I have a blog!! And you visited it. Was it … nice?


    What year is this?

  522. Jodi: duh, so glad to see you, I am incoherent or still suffering from Andean altitude sickness. It was Jerri’s blog I visited. Yes, it was nice. And I am certain your blog would be nice, too, if you had one, and I would visit it, too.

  523. …if you had one, which you don’t. Apparently.

  524. Aw, George, George, George of the Jungle. I’ve missed you, too. Gal-LANT and debonair as always.

    Haven, RIGHT?!! It will be a distant year when I have a blog. Did that thought wake you up a bit?

  525. He did, Ms. Jodi, only in the form of two miniature Reese cups.

    And oh yes I most assuredly DID succeed in creating your Christmas card last night, and I expect it to arrive here anon. Alas, the feminine power in question is NOT Marlene Dietrich, it is Greta Garbo. I think of both of them as similar, outrageously beautiful man-women. And I also took many photographs of the art in my house, following the rotation. I’ll send you some — the Chagall is wondrous.

  526. Maureen–thanks for asking. The cold is NOT well. I think I am DYING, and I leave for Disney World tonight to see my best beloveds–my nephews aged 7 and 10–who are the lovey-est, kissiest boys ever. I composed these haiku in my grief. 🙂

    Aiden kisses loom.
    Sickness overcomes my strength:
    That’s ironic.

    Liam hugs approach
    I cannot deny his words:
    “Servo? Hug? Please? Yes?”

    Liam has moderately severe autism, and when he bothers to talk, talks a lot like Yoda.

  527. …speaking of art, Betty Page died today.

  528. I’m actually not tired. Any time I have an idea like this, which is like finding 500 lengths of string on the floor, each a different color, and my job is to turn them into something reasonable and useful, like the cotton gin, I would much prefer to be awake.

    The light in Durham this morning was positively holy.

  529. Hooray! A day of art rotation in one’s home is a restful one. No wonder you’re wide awake and creating lovely Christmas cards.

    Yep, Garbo and Dietrich are often mentioned in the same breath. While I own every film each of them made, there’s something about Dietrich that makes me watch her the same way you and I watch D’Onofrio and Patrick Stewart. And talk about WARDROBE! Greta was a distant star to Marlene’s fiery galaxy.

    Looking forward to seeing Garbo in a Christmas greeting from you. =0) And you KNEW, without me telling you, that I love those two vintage stars. You really are psycho.

  530. Also, Aiden (7) called me last night to continue our countdown to Disney, and when he asked me how many days, I replied with, “What is this ‘Diseny’ you speak off?” And in an outrage only a 7 year old can pull off, he said, “I is ready to faint with excitement and you is making JOKES!”

    Of course, I immediately apologized. I was, you’ll be glad to know, instantly forgiven for playing such a foolish trick.

  531. Also, Aiden (7) called me last night to continue our countdown to Disney, and when he asked me how many days, I replied with, “What is this ‘Diseny’ you speak of?” And in an outrage only a 7 year old can pull off, he said, “I is ready to faint with excitement and you is making JOKES!”

    Of course, I immediately apologized. I was, you’ll be glad to know, instantly forgiven for playing such a foolish trick.

  532. Bug: I may make a sign-off signature of this wonderful quote: “I is ready to faint with excitement and you is making JOKES!”

    That, my dear, may be the most exquisite thing I hear today. Thanks, thanks, thanks!!!

  533. […] From Haven Kimmel’s Blog: “Gratitude Is The Heart’s Memory.” […]

  534. I am in delerium but did sleep about 4 hours total in the last 48 . . .

    I’m seeing more than auras, good time to create.

  535. “Successful Holiday”

    Rules for a successful holiday:

    1. Get together with the family
    2. Relive old times
    3. Get out before it blows.

    ~ Brian Andreas

  536. Aww, George. I am glad I could make you smile. 🙂

    Aiden, of course, had no idea the hilarity playing out.

  537. Whoa. Back from the Worker’s Comp vortex. Our main guy was out for four weeks with a dislocated shoulder and I just had to figure out what we owed him and if we were reimbursed correctly by our insurance. I am not by nature a number person. Yo? English major? And yet I get to do this stuff.

    Molly – hope you’re better soon. I just finally got over a two-weeker. What an adorable statement by your nephew! I can so hear that. Are you going for the weekend or is your Christmas break starting early?

  538. Betty Page has died at 85.

  539. Damn. I’m never here when the subject of the Calvin conference comes up, so I keep missing the chance to tell the story of Haven, foodless and probably sleepless, and the panel on Humor. Delonda was in the front row, so there are witnesses, but no one was enjoying it as much as I was.

    Certainly not the moderator…

  540. I’d love to join this party, but my kids are at a Chinese Restanot eating tortilla chips with Fiddlesticks, a Tinker Toys knockoff.

    I’ll sign off by saying I would gladly be Yul Brynner’s 87th wife, and everything I need to know I learned from Bettie Page. RIP, you lovely lady..

  541. Bettie…was so intriguing…guess I’ll add her to my aforementioned list now that she’s eligible.

  542. Oooh … Rams, do tell! I was at Calvin and I saw Haven speak on Quakerism but I didn’t see the humor panel.

  543. I am going for a few days. I’ll be back in my school saddle on Wednesday; I am being wild and using up my 2 personal days Mon and Tues. Crazily enough, it was cheaper for my parents and me to spend 4 nights/5 days at a resort in DW than to go to New Hampshire for a week at Christmas.

    Also, I’d like to add young Frank Sinatra to my list. Even though he was very skinny and I mighta broken him…:)

  544. It’s like I have literary aspirations or something…

    The upcoming drive
    Is filling me with great Dread:
    Dad drives with the Force.

    Last one. I promise.

  545. Blog babies–have a good weekend! I will think of you and send you the good vibes of the Happiest Place on Earth.

  546. I FORGOT John Linnel from They Might Be Giants. A man who plays the accordion can do anything he wants with me.

  547. Maureen, I love all Daniel .. though I haven’t seen There Will be Blood yet. 😦
    In a very twisted way, Bill the Butcher even worked for me (Gangs of New York).
    My current favorite though? In the Name of the Father.

  548. The past 3 hours:

    1. Frantically searching for a painting that I know I have somewhere and which I sold and must ship ASAP . . . um, I’ve found lots of other interesting things so far, bones, bark, doll heads, mirror shards, pantyhose for barbie (the thigh high kind), memoirs of hecate county by edmund wilson (I think this is headed towards Haven because it is whispering its intentions to me, “Hecate, the queen of the witches, symbolizes the selfish, independent type of American woman who dominates the community . . . three woman are different forms of Hecate . . . in the hero’s nightmare . . . are weaker than the women and more or less at their mercy”), um, I have band-aided 3 six year olds,dried 6 pairs of socks, unpacked and organized 11 boxes in the studio, counseled my son on his love[less] life, discussed the possible censorship of my new non-profit art advocacy group which is making me nervous and ignored many calls and emails (other than from blog babies) . . .

    must get back to searching for said painting . . . somewhere in 4,300 sq. ft. I am getting jittery . . .

  549. I declare myself a Barbara Kingsolver groupie.

    And have you seen the bio on Bette Page that follows her into her evangelical calling where she reads bibles on street corners in huge figure hiding men’s coats and has a discreet scarf tied on her hair? It was disconcerting.

  550. My step-dad used to ‘drive like manix’ if we begged him enough, we loved that tummy flop that happened as we bounced over the gravel road ‘hills’ – – –

  551. Right now my pretend sex list consists of one man:

    Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue. I dream naughtily of him often.

  552. Okay, okay..
    and Tiger Woods. I love him.


    Daddy Jim [driving] whilst listening to Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty,

    Mother [up front with her hair in rollers, tied with a red, white and blue scarf, scaring into space],

    toddler between them on the armrest ‘humps’ . . . maybe 2 toddlers, depending on the year . . .

    Middle seat: teenagers/pre-puberty girls – 3, possibly a 4th if my older stepbrother was disgusted with the little ones shenanigans in the back . . .

    Back of Station Wagon: childrens No. 4(me, Sissy Kay), 5, 6, and big step brother sometimes

    Note: All suitcases and duffles are tied onto the roof of the olive green, faux wood paneled Country Square Station Wagon . . .all wrapped in plastic trash bags for the inevitable rain . . . no seat belts . . .

    Any child except number 4:

    “WHERE WE GOIN?” which becomes a chorus of all but number 4 (who has her pixied head in a book or is alternatively styling the kinky hair on the black barbies her aunt gave her, of which her mother is pissed about).


    Father: [low, patient, dry voice].
    “Down the road.”

    Groaning from all but No. 4.


    “WHEN WE GONNA GIT THAIR? [fishing for a hint]”

    Dad: [same dry voice] “WHEN WE GIT THERE”

    SONS, 1,2 AND 3 begin imitating father’s responses into their bare feet which they raise to their mouths as microphones “Down the Road” “When We Get There” . . .

    No. 4 is secretly pleased because she has 4 more chapters of her Barbara Cartland novel to finish, two of which describes the lavish wedding which will culminate on the last page.

    Brother 2 (the same one who snatched No. 4 bald-headed after her 1st grade hospitalization FOR NOW REASON) snatches the Barbara Cartland from No. 4’s hands, flaps it in the wind and announces through his feet that

    “BYE, BYE, BAWBWA CAWTLAN” (IN A BARBARA WALTERS SNL way) We loved Gilda Radner.

    Said book flutters out the back window of the Country Squire.

    Parents continue driving, heads straight and start singing ‘ones on the way’

    No 4 then begins elaborate coiffures on the black barbies and sets them up in the ledge of the back window, hoping that some famous Hollywood Producer will notice her skill and will rescue her from the hooligans . . . when family gets out of the car to DESTROY a restaurant, Mother says to No. 4

    “Get them darkies out that winder, people gonna think we’re trash!”

  554. Sher-Tick-le-Me-Elmo, I have a stack of books on the couch beside me right now, and one of them is THE CULTS OF HEKATE IN ANCIENT GREEK RELIGION. Right this minute. And I keep failing to mention that when I first met Orri he had a bullmastiff named Hecate. AND Kat changed her name to Hecate between the ages of six and seven.

  555. Betty Page died!! oh no! I did know she was sad later in life and regretted her younger days. We saw the movie, which made her out as being a sweet girl so I hope it’s true. I bought my husband some magnetic pinups of her last Christmas that he just loves. He put them on the beeridgerator (that’s the old fridge in the garage that is filled with his beers)
    There they will stay as a tribute to her beauty, along with a sticker that says:
    ‘what would Yoda do? Kick your ass he would’
    Sigh. We got class.

  556. Haven, then this book is headed your way . . .

    my butt is in the air, looking through more boxes . . . I think Irma Bombeck said that is how she arrived at every event – ass forward, licking her hand and wiping her kids faces in the back seat. That was before Baby Wipes.

  557. Bettie Page went to my daughter’s high school here in Nashville.

  558. I had photos done as a wedding gift to Hugh where I am dressed up as Bettie Page.

  559. Wow. Blast from the past. I just remembered being fascinated by the book Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth and Me when I was maybe 11. I recall a notebook in which I wrote in my own blood. Do you think all girls go through a witch phase? I also remember The Witch Family with those fabulous Edward Ardizzone drawings being a huge favorite – anything by Eleanor Estes.

  560. Kittery – I hear you on Bill the Butcher AND In the Name of the Father. And My Left Foot. However, not A Room with a View. There will be Blood is brilliant but disturbing. Though I like the actor who plays the strange minister, really liked him as Dwayne in Little Miss Sunshine. That is my son.

  561. Kittery – Did you see this in the New York Times Magazine? Catch the photo half way down.

  562. Hahaha, I love Dwayne. Wasn’t the actor that played him Paul Dano, though?

  563. Oh god, he’s made of sheer gorgeous. You have made my day Maureen.

  564. Yeah, Paul Dano! I couldn’t remember his name. He is D D-L’s victim in There Will Be Blood.
    But I just love Little Miss Sunshine. Two years ago my class read The Grapes of Wrath and then we watched Little Miss Sunshine and noted all the similarities. Tons of them.

  565. Ohh, you’re making me want to run to Movie Gallery and pick up There Will be Blood .. along with every other DDL movie I can find. 🙂

    Really? I need to go back to that, I guess.

  566. I forgot another. Daniel Craig. Hugh and I saw Casino Royale a couple of years ago in the theater and DA-YUM!! And he’s not what I would think of as my type at ALL. But, he was funny.

  567. The only movie I’ve seen Daniel Craig in is Elizabeth and he only had a cameo at that. 😦

    I agree though. Yum. 🙂

  568. I find Helen Mirren very attractive.

    And by the way, Kate looked EXACTLY like Bettie Page in those photographs. It was rather eerie, very gorgeous.

  569. I am so sorry to have to do this, but who gave me the gorgeous DAILY COYOTE book? I had it lying on the bed in my study with the thank you notes sitting RIGHT BESIDE THE BOOK, and then I couldn’t traverse the 25 feet to the barn because of the rain. It ruins my slippers. And now I don’t know who to thank. It’s a perfect gift for me.

    However, I believe it was MOLLY who gave me the monkey socks with individual toes?

  570. The first movie I watched with Daniel Craig was a British filmed called “Enduring Love”. Great film, had to get it through NetFlix. Had a phase where all I was placing in our queue were foreign films. Some were great, some were really bizarre, but most were worth watching. “Enduring Love” was one of the latter. Bill Nighy is in it as well. Love, love, love him.

  571. Haven, I believe the adjective you are looking for is “doughy.”

  572. Hey! Just found pictures of Haven from 1981! Blackmail material?

  573. Jim Shue, don’t bother. Just immediately post them on the yahoo group. Then ask her to forgive you!

  574. Have to wait a a day or two until I can get to a friends house to have them scanned. Old Polaroids… and I don’t own a scanner.

  575. I’ll just post a photograph myself. I CAN’T BE BLACKMAILED.

  576. In one of them, you are “meeting” with your attorney…

  577. Ah, Sher, Sock Monkey is referring to the attorney I dated when I was fifteen; I mentioned him to you on the phone. This is how we met. I was staying in this artist’s community in Indianapolis and went with a bunch of pinko bohemians to a Halloween party. I was dressed as a Gypsy (duh). I walked in the door and there was a a moneyed, rather handsome (he sort of resembled Owen Wilson, wouldn’t you say, Jim?) man leaning against the fireplace, drinking a Scotch on the rocks. He made reference to the authenticity of my costume, and I said, “And as what are you dressed tonight? An insufferable Noblesville attorney?” AND THAT’S WHAT HE WAS. Only it was Carmel, not Noblesville, but that’s a difference so slight it can be ignored. We dated off and on for some time but our relationship was very contentious. I think there were obvious astrological omens, if only we’d been wise enough to consult an oracle.

  578. I have been a gypsy fortune teller for Halloween umpteen million times. I would tell people “Cross my palms with a piece of candy and I’ll tell your fortune.” And then I’d say “You will be conned by a beautiful woman.”

  579. YES!!! Owen Wilson! No wonder Owen always seemed so familiar. So was that the first “outing” of someone in costume that you inadvertently did?

    Kate, I love your fortune teller shtick!

  580. Was Charlie a Scorpio?

  581. My mom thought it up. She’s hysterical.

  582. My! I am dizzy with reading all of you! I’ve been trying to come with a reason why I am seemingly unable to articulate like the rest of you…other than my general lack of writing ability, the best I’ve surmised is that I actually SLEEP when the rest of the world does, unlike yourselves…insomnia breeds creativity?

    I spend hours per week reading all the fascinating and insightful posts on this heaven-sent blog and continue to feel like a kindergartner who has mistakenly been invited to a cocktail party full of college professors—I try to keep up with the conversation, but just cannot. So I just lurk and soak it all up–when you are able to make this into some sort of college course, please let me know where I should pay my tuition!

    That said, it’s great to have Haven back amongst us! And I LOVE the T-giving pics! Not to get all shallow and materialistic on you, but I just must ask you (of all things!) the name of the china pattern of the plates as it looks remarkably like my own, and how weird would THAT be? Well, maybe not THAT weird, but still…

    I added a couple of photos to the yahoo site…as a mere lurker, I’m not expecting to be lauded, but I didn’t want to to think I just posted them and ran away as that would be rude.

    Finally, the about-to-be-21 year old daughter has placed on her Christmas request list “Books (any new novels).” Your suggestions/recommendations are welcome…of course, she has already read “Zippy” and “Couch” (and did quite well in high school forensics with a cut from “Zippy”…thanks Haven!), and Augusten’s books (courtesy of me) and of course, Harry Potter, some Stephen King, David Sedaris, Frank McCourt, Francesa Lia Block…her high school job was working in a library so she is probably more generally well-read than most college students…making this Xmas request all the more challenging. So toss me those suggestions, okay? Many thanks!

  583. Hello Carol! Some books I adore ( that are not by the above authors)
    The Glass Castle
    ANYTHING by Elizabeth Berg
    The Time Travelers Wife
    The Boleyn Books by Phillipa Gregory ( anyone else love those as much as I do?)
    The Red Tent
    Lolly Winston has 2 great books out, oh and Curtis Sittenfield is brilliant as well. She has 3 books out I believe and I own all of them.
    Hope this helps!

  584. Carol in Kansas, I am currently wearing a pair of red thermal pajamas that have little cabins and pine trees on them, and on each sleeve is printed QUAKER HAVEN CAMP, which is the very camp I attended as a child. Our Jodi sent me a whole box of Quaker Haven Celebrity Swag, including ink pens! Now you couldn’t possibly know what this means to me, but let me just say that my family has grown so weary of my saying that IT MADE NO SENSE THAT I WALKED AROUND IN BORING CLOTHES WHEN I COULD BE WEARING BOTH MY RELIGION AND MY NAME that at one point my husband threatened to drive 700 miles to Lake Dewart to make the conversation halt. I never mentioned any of this to Jodi, she thought it up ON HER OWN. I wanted to use the camera on my laptop and show her this wondrous piece of magic, which is that I just happen to have cowboy boot slippers THAT PERFECTLY MATCH the log cabin pajamas, so I held my foot up in front of the little camera eye and photographed my foot. Oh, also I am still wearing the Socialist Worker’s Cap. Then I decided to write a thank you note and hold it up to the camera, but HELLO, it has to be written backward and from right to left, as the Hebrew peoples do. I did that and took the picture and sent it and suddenly realized: I do not behave as other adults do. I carried my laptop in and showed John and said, “Does this look like the work of an adult person?” He said, kindly, because he is kind, “Well, a peculiar one, perhaps.” My point is there is NOTHING to be intimidated by over here in Loony Junction, Tennessee.

  585. YES!! A drunk attorney from Noblesville. To me, the best part of dating him would be the all too perfect locality of living in the same city as DEERCREEK! Well now Verizon ( RIP Deercreek as you will always be to me)
    Did you know that Julia Roberts had her wedding reception ( and I believe the ceremony as well) here when she married Lyle Lovett?

  586. Haven,
    I received a very nice and very suprising cash christmas bonus this year at work and I am buying a pair of cowboy slippers for myself.
    I deserve them yes?
    I found a great red pair on Ebay.

  587. Amy, all God’s children deserve cowboy slippers. I am wearing the sassy red and black pair right now.

    It’s interesting that I said he was holding a Scotch and you assumed he was drunk, because in fact he was always drunk. Good call.

  588. I have known my share of drunk men and can detect them with the slighest hint of description.

  589. Well monkeys it is late for me…off to bed fred.

  590. Carol, she should have all of Gregory Maguire’s novels; at the very least she should be reading WICKED right this moment. All of Kate Atkinson’s novels are wonderful — I would start with BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE MUSEUM, and CASE HISTORIES. She must have the COMPLETE ADRIAN MOLE DIARIES, every volume. Margaret Atwood’s CAT’S EYE and THE ROBBER BRIDE are fascinating, beautifully written. Lee Smith’s ORAL HISTORY and FAIR AND TENDER LADIES. Annie Dillard is a good choice. All of Salinger, if she hasn’t already read them. Donna Tartt’s THE SECRET HISTORY. All of Elinor Lipman’s books. A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY, by John Irving. THE KNIFE THROWER, by Stephen Millhauser. Lorrie Moore’s BIRDS OF AMERICA. If you want to move her toward actual greatness, I’d choose Wallace Stegner’s ANGLE OF REPOSE; THE MOVIEGOER, by Walker Percy, and at least two Virginia Woolfs: MRS. DALLOWAY and TO THE LIGHTHOUSE. I’m sitting in a room with fourteen-hundred-sixty-two-thousand books, and virtually all of them are poetry, literary theory, religious philosophy, biography, or memoir, so I probably don’t know what I’m talking about.

  591. Dammit. I should have specified “COWBOY BOOT” when asking for slippers from Grandma.

  592. Carol, I’m coming in late on the book recommendations, but one author I haven’t heard anyone rhapsodize about here is Louise Erdrich. She writes about the Native American experience better than just about anyone. Her writing is poetic and simply gorgeous. Love Medicine or the Beet Queen are good books to start with.

  593. Yes, but Miss Amy, if you don’t read the last book in that trilogy, TRACKS, you don’t find yourself on an airplane suddenly sitting up straighter because of the magic trick she pulls off by writing the three so they go backward in time. I’m just saying.

  594. Haven, you are so right. In Amy Heaven you and Louise Erdrich live just down the road from me and we all meet for coffee every Wednesday.

  595. I missed the fun again. Shoot. I finally became brain dead after driving with my friend Mikus to Binghamton to trade in his truck. Then, while eating pizza and drinking beer in bed, I watched “Becoming Jane” over the back of my sleeping husband and instantly fell for James McAvoy’s Irishman, though he’s not quite as fetching as he was in Atonement. Austen fans, I’d give the film a tepid recommendation. It’s not as good as an actual Jane-Austen-novel-as-film. But if you’re hankering for some English countryside, the filming is beautiful.

    Had to add in my recommendations for Tracks as my favorite Louise Erdrich (though The Blue Jay’s Dance got me through one of my pregnancies and “Skunk Dreams” is one of my favorite chunks to teach). But Fleur Pillager when she (SPOILER: fells those trees) became my absolute idol.

    Amy – You must go to Calvin Festival in 2010. I don’t know who’s on the docket for that year, but in ’08 Elizabeth Berg was there, and Haven of course, and Marilynne Robinson, Charles D’Ambrosio, Mary Karr. When I went in ’06 I saw Alice McDermott (sigh). It’s like being allowed to take your place at the council fire of the people whose tribe you wish you were born into, or at least to stand in the shadows and watch them all smoke their pipes.

  596. I forgot Wicked and The Secret History..I knew I should have actually been sitting in front of my bookcases while I typed that instead of in my bedroom!
    Also, Go Ask Alice & The Bell Jar.
    Oh, The Heart is A Lonely Hunter and…I think that’s it for now.
    Lot’s of baking to do today!

  597. Mornin’ peeps.
    Carol- you like Texas music so you are A-OK in my book! I believe we all have a place here because we are like a big giant puzzle that would not be complete without every single odd little piece.

    As long as we are asking for gift suggestions – Haven- please help me choose a book of poetry for a xmas present for my daughter, Emma. As I have mentioned before, she is brilliant, like Kat. Emma is (in her own words) “a Latin nerd” and loves anything related to Roman history, but she is also an artist – a painter, a photographer, a mandolin, guitar and sometimes ukeule player. I just asked her what her two favorite books are and she said One Hundred Days of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand and she likes Faulkner. She is a senior in high school and the colleges she is applying to for next year are: Bryn Mawr, Univ of Chicago, Macalaster, Bard, Rhodes, and Vanderbilt (because she was born here and both her dad and I work here and it is a wonderful school and hard to get into but frankly I doubt she will go here unless they offer her the moon which in these economic times is doubtful…) She works so hard and I want to give her something like will give her some peace. Just a quiet place she can retreat to if only for a few minutes that she can return from refreshed and renewed.

    Thank you!

    Zippy on cd is on the top of my wish list. I may have to buy it for myself and put it in my stocking from Santa. Happy happy joy joy

  598. Carol- I just looked at the yahoo photos and JACK! Sigh. A friend took me with her to the taping of the CMT special show (it wasn’t a crossroads show, but something like that) that he did with Miranda Lambert. He is such a doll. It was freakin hot (as in sweaty, too many t.v. lights, OMG it was hot) in the venue and he was dripping with sweat so they kept stopping between songs to fix his hair. Miranda said something about Jack being really vain about his hair. It was too funny. I like Miranda too. She is a fire cracker.

    Did you go through the photos and see me with Pat and with Willy Braun?

  599. Carol~ Had to step away from kitchen and mentioned Wally Lamb. His book “She’s come undone” changed my life.

  600. Linda – If Emma is a Latin nerd, she might get a kick out of Winnie the Pooh written in Latin.

  601. Oh, thank you thank you! Those are all TERRIFIC suggestions…just what I needed! She will need a U-Haul (and a bookcase) to return to college in January. I don’t believe I mentioned that she is also turning 21…ON NEW YEAR’S EVE so this is a big holiday for her/us!

    Proudly, I can say that she has already read The Glass Castle, The Bell Jar and Go Ask Alice. She’s also read some Ayn Rand, but it was likely for school and maybe doesn’t count. If I tell her the book recommendations came from Haven’s blog, she’ll be even more impressed.

    Linda–what you said about us all having a place here was so nice–thanks! And for your sake I hope you spent more time looking at Jack in that photo than me (not hard to do!) I look like a crazed lunatic and really, I’m not. The CMT show he did with Miranda was “Cross Country” and I’m so jealous you got to go! He’s awesome. Tonight Reckless Kelly is playing here and I have to decide whether to go by myself or stay home…boo hoo! But I did buy a ticket this morning to see Todd Snider for the first time next month and that one will be by myself also.

    I have some shopping to do…thanks again for taking the time to share all those great books with me (and eventually, her). If anyone else wants to chime in, feel free. Happy day everyone!

  602. I am perfectly self-restaint . . . it has been many HOURS, almost a day, since I logged on a computer.

    Did you know you can a lot accomplished when you are not sitting in a chair? Hum, anyway I was FORCED to abandon the studio last night to take the Teen Hearthrob to a party in town (where they have malls & such) . . .so I was also forced to go Christmas shopping (never at a mall) . . . and at Tuesday Morning I found a brand new, perfectly dust jacketed copy of ORVILLE!!!! FOR 3.99!
    It was the ONLY one there or all nieces would have received the same thing . . . I went through every single childrens and adult books . . . it was 2 hours of bliss.

    Karen Vreeland, all
    Jung Chang’s “Wild Swans” & “Mao”
    Judith Merkle Riley’s “Vision of Light”
    Ann Patchett – all, but especially “Truth & Beauty
    Anne Sebold – all especially the memoir
    A. Manette Ansey – ALL
    I agree on McGuire
    Wally Lamb – ALL

    There are more, but those are from this bookcase . . .

    Just received my audio of Iodine . . . it will keep my company in the studio today

    My husband is currently chasing 7 six year olds around the outside of our house, this must be an illegal decibel level . . .

  603. Jim Shue, darling, we must remedy this hardware situtation

    1. Riley NEEDETH a desktop so she can play on Nick Jr and PBS Kids . . . HP has all in ones (mine are the OLD 1300’s series) which can be purchased for $30 – $50 and are: scanners, copiers, and inkjet printers.

    2. You can multiply Riley’s handprints, scribbles and what not – – – all that for the cost of 4-6 scotch on the rocks . . . a worthy investment . . . for grannies and family friends, claire has published her own stories and illustrations, all from this CHEAP HP . . . I’m just saying . . .

    3. Plus you can play, is this scannable/copyable? which could be some lovely after hours intertainment as well . . .

  604. Dylan is getting Winnie the Pooh Latin for Xmas – – – you rocketh Maureen!

  605. Linda, I recommend these two books with absolute reverence. If I were left with them alone for the rest of my life, I would be fine.

    SUPERNATURAL LOVE, by Gjertrude Schackenberg


    I just bowed to my computer screen.

  606. i lost mi geeft of spellin hours ugo

  607. Maureen, I forgot to answer your question: yes, Gus LOVES toy tractors. He has three my sister sent him, but I can’t play with him when he has them out because I say things like, “No honey, you need to attach the plow to the bigger tractor, and the hay wagon goes on this one. Wait, wait — see, you’re supposed to put the hay ON the wagon, not in your pocket. This plow isn’t big enough for the job but you HAVE to keep your rows straight anyway — it’s CRITICAL you learn the geometry of the well-planted field.” All the while he’s singing Twinka Twinka wunna whadda ah.

  608. I promise to keep all your secrets about christmas presents (I am SO EASY when I can’t follow my compulsions).
    Zippy on cd is also tops on my list. I got sock monkey p.j.s for the kids on my list.
    Just finished a marathon cookie baking with my mother. My feet hurt, in a good way.
    Gotta go to a work Christmas party tonight, so must attempt to go get glamoured up….now that I know how previous comments.

  609. Thank you, Haven and Maureen. Those three books will be wrapped and waiting for Emma to be surprised on Christmas morn. Last year she asked for Atlas Shrugged. She asked for it for a Xmas present. Sometimes I wonder about that child but I love her anyway. ha ha

    Carol- go see Reckless. GO!! And, then plan to travel to Nashville on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 25, to see them with me at Exit/In. You will not regret it.

    Sher- I miss you. I have a little present for you so I must see you before Christmas.

  610. Looking at that photo of Baby G. above makes my heart melt.

  611. Linda – Nice haircut! I just checked it out on the yahoo group site. I was trying to take some pictures of our newest calf for you, but she ended up looking like a rotisserie chicken because she is still under a red heat lamp. I’ll try again tomorrow in the daytime. Still working on the cowcam – I’ll at least film the next birth I’m in the barn for.

    Haven – Is there secret access to your mailing address somewhere so I can send Gus the hand-me-down tractors from his big blog brothers/cousins? I also have a truly beautiful wooden Noah’s Ark that he could have, too. (Not to denigrate at all the classic version sent by Kate!)

    Carol – Your kids are beauties. Every once in a while, since I have three boys myself, I really hunger for a girl. I ask my husband (the Aspergian) if he feels this way sometimes and he looks at me quizzically and says, “No. That would be like my saying, ‘Gee, I really wish my wife were Hispanic.'” Point taken, I guess.

    We are about to watch “Footloose,” of all things, because I found it for $5 at Walmart today. This was THE movie of my senior year in high school. I only got it because it has both John Lithgow and Diane Weiss in it, and my oldest son and I just saw them live on Broadway in All My Sons. (One of my students couldn’t go on the field trip so I dragged Lyle out of bed and onto the bus.) This ought to bring back some strange memories. I also got it for my middle son Tristan who just auditioned for Oliver! today. As I remember Kevin Bacon – or his double – does some pretty crazy dance scenes.

  612. keven bacon & eggs!

    Linda – I am dying for some Sitar . . . Let me know WHEN . . . I am in Nashville (but all day appointments on Monday . . . I could do any other day next week for Lunch . . . after that it gets Hairy until Jan 15th (when I turn in my artist fellowship application . . . which I have lost online umpteen times because I can’t resist checking the blog – and all my work times out . . ., those bureaucratic bastards).

    I am painting something special right now – – I can smell the beeswax warming up . . . will check in with you darlin’s sporadically.

    Everybody cut footloose, footloose, kick off your Sunday shoes, Please, Louise ……….

    Why was Lori Singer’s prom dress outdated – it was so 70’s and that came out in 85 – this has always BOTHERED me . . .

  613. Late entry to the conversation but…Haven, I spent Friday evening at a party with one of the original Cowsills! Can’t wait to tell him you mentioned him.

    Dated a drummer in college. Great arms! He had no issues with the lead singer getting all the attention (I was secretly glad as well.) His mother, A Catholic, used to call him her “rhythm baby.”

    And Donna Tartt and Elinor Lipman…awesome.

    We are off to the basement for family movie night to watch Miracle on 34th Street. Ever had popcorn with garlic powder and celery salt? Yum.

  614. Hi Everyone (that recognizes me)
    I have been away for a few weeks sadly I had to bury a life long friend who died in a car accident. I have been keeping people and myself together over the last few weeks and just was not in the mood to talk much. I hope you all are well and expect to be around more now that things have settled down.


  615. Oh. Mike – So sorry for your loss. I’m rather new to the blog. But it’s good to know you and I’m sorry about your friend.

    Sher – Wow, it just ended. I forgot how truly 80’s “Footloose” was. AND I never noticed about the prom dress. True. My entire family was just groaning through the whole thing but I was singing along. I remembered every word of “Let’s Hear It For the Boy.” I am not proud of this fact; I just figured I’d find some mutual memory appreciation of 1984 here.

  616. Michael T., I buried one of my favorite people in the world just a week ago. I don’t know if you feel this way, but I keep having the sensation that a gigantic hole has been ripped in the fabric of the world. I’m so sorry about your friend.


  617. Vanessa, I knew some of the New Orleans Cowsills, and my friend Peter was married to one. ODD.

    Maureen, just e-mail me at and I’ll give you my address. Something very odd is going on with me and Noah’s Ark these days. It’s not just a constant topic between Kate and me, it showed up in a book I was reading yesterday by Hillman.

  618. This fellow’s name is Joe S. and he lives in Atlanta. He was telling me about when they opened for the New York Dolls and also The Doors. He’s still a musician and wonderfully nice.

  619. One of the brothers died in Katrina, did you know that?

  620. I think it just took me an hour to read and digest all 614 comments. Wow. A girl gets sick for a few days and misses everything! Please forgive me for the following gigantic comment that is to follow:

    Haven – Wow, thank you for wanting to stand up for me. I just adore you. I loved the girl scout mommy story (And, its called bridging.) I love that you were cool black lipstick chick. I adore Girl Scouts: I was a Brownie, Girl Scout, and a childless Daisy Scout leader. I am charmed by all things Girl Scouts, and when I did not get offered a job with them after three interviews I still feel the pain. I am excited to hear you worked in a music store, and that you thought about writing a book about music. I LOVE music, love it, and miss the god old days of waiting in lines for concerts. And, the album. I mourn the death of music. I’m so over my ipod, I want to move backwards, and go back to the album. I wanted to also say that I LOVE A Prayer for Owen Meaney and Marget Atwood.

    Sher – When you mentioned Fra Angelico and St. Francis Assisi my heart pounded a bit. I love art, and had the best Italian Renaissance grad school class last year. I’m a big fan of both of them. I also agree with your man choices – Joaquin & Ed Norton. OMG, I actually thought Ed was hotter than Brad Pitt in Fight Club. As for Italian men, I married one who is 100%. I’m never allowed to blog about him, but he is hot, hot, hot. I recommend you find one for yourself, and fast!!!

    I forgot who mentioned Travolta, but in 1st grade Vinnie Barbarino was the man for me.

    And Kate – I’m right there with you on John Cusack.

    I’m dying to list my living man list
    1. Ewan McGregor. Anyone ever see Little Voice? We fell in love w/Ewan in this movie. And by “we” I mean my male BFF who is straight.
    2. Ed Norton.
    3. Jake Gyllenhall. He’s too young for me, I know.
    4. Joaquin Phoenix.
    5. Harrison Ford as Han Solo. No hotter man alive than a sci fi rebel with the fastest ship in the galaxy.

    Brenda – Ever read The Hindi Bindi Club. Yummy and yummy, check it out. Like The Joy Luck Club minus all the sadness.

    Amy in Ohio – I just finished The Glass Castle. It overwhelmed me. Its one thing to sleep on a bare mattress with only a cheap comforter to protect a girl from mice (That’s me if you don’t read my blog) but to sleep in a cardboard box bed? My heart breaks for that girl. I wanted to know more about her struggles as a college student in NY. I also finally read Go Ask Alice this summer. As a child I ALWAYS tried to get my gramma to buy that book for me. She knew it was trouble and never did. I found it in Urban Outfitters one day, and found it. Wow, I needed to read that book years ago.

    Maureen – I just bought Footloose at Target for $8. I LOVE 80s movies. I hated the hair and clothes, but the music and the movies rocked. I just got the chills today when I heard Don’t You Forget About Me. The 80s were perfect, and I don’t think so just because I was wearing a size four prom dress.

  621. Whoops, also wanted to say to Haven that my cat, Beatrice, is buying my Iodine for my Birthday next week. Thank goodness for Amazon.

  622. H-I did read about one of the brothers…Barry, I think. I’m guessing my friend played backup for them but he still has cool stories, as all touring musicians must.

  623. You know what was the worst? The prom dress at the end of Pretty in Pink. She took one ADORABLE dress and one with lots of potential and turned it into one HIDEOUS dress. It still shocks me. Also, she belonged with the Duckster.

  624. THANK YOU KATE! Lord that dress was AWFUL! Completely agree about Duckie – she tromped all over him for someone named Blaine. That’s the name of an appliance!

  625. BRIDGING! Thank you! I love it that your cat Beatrice can type. Does she have her own credit cards?

    The concept I love is writing an entire book about a single album, like the one on the making of Miles Davis’s BLUE. But as I said, poor Amanda asked me in an e-mail which album I could write such a book about and I must have listed fifty. I don’t mean to say this boastfully, but I write really well about music — I could easily write musicology or criticism. And I’ve been asked to write liner notes for CDs many times. I was a music lunatic until just a few years ago, and now I spend virtually all of my time in silence.

  626. Sock, you name your appliances? That’s really sweet.

  627. Agreed about the boyfriend choice in Pretty in Pink but I kinda liked the dress.

  628. Michael, I am so sorry for your loss. I’m glad you found your way back here even in this time of grief.

  629. I hated the dress in Pretty in Pink, but I loved the boyfriend choice. Duckie was too ugly.

    Beatrice can do a lot of things, but she is best at being a nurse. She brings me so much comfort when I’m sick in bed all the time.

    Haven, do you enjoy the work of Cameron Crowe? Gosh, I’ve loved him since I was a kid, I actually subscribed to Rolling Stone while in grade school and loved his work back then. One of my dream jobs is to do soundtracks for movies. I always wished I wrote the music reviews in high school, but for gods sake, the would never have a girl do that! My one shot at writing about music professionally was when EW magazine published my letter to the editor about the death of George Harrison. It was the only time I was ever moved to write a magazine.

    Haven, I love it that you are good at music writing, too. Man, I am so jealous but in a good way right now. Oh, you should do the book, or hell, how about a screenplay? That would be great.

    Strangely, now that I’m married I never listen to music. Too many people in a small condo, and if I turn on the radio they freak out, because tv has to be turned down. I’ve collected cds since 1987 and have like 1500 of them. But back in my day, I was the queen of the mix tape, one of the best being Songs to Make Sandwiches By. All 70s singers and songwriters. Hell, I even did the tapes for my friends wedding. I am so weird I want to do all the music in advance for my funeral.

  630. I think John Cryer is DARLING, but I have really weird tastes.

  631. Weird taste can be a good thing Kate!

  632. You mean, someone might think it’s a BAD thing??

  633. GFG, I have wide taste in music critics. Alan Lomax, Peter Guralnick (who writes better about Elvis than anyone on the planet), Robert Christgau, Lester Bangs, of course. I love the way Stanley Crouch thinks about jazz, and Whitney Balliett. What I radically DISLIKE are the tragic types who just want to be near their fantasies; the kind that like virtually everything and praise everyone (no discernment); or who really just want to write about themselves and their experience either listening to music or attending a show or conducting an interview with famous people. I won’t name names here. There aren’t a lot of people who have a fine ear, an instinct for subtlety, an analytical mind, and are good writers. There just aren’t. I’m always looking for rigorous thinking about music, like Nietzche’s essay on Apollonian and Dionysian art. I absolutely revere Glenn Gould. I wish more serious musicians would train themselves to write about what they are doing and why. Those books I would read forever.

    I’ve gotten too old to read someone like Sasha Frere-Jones, even though I like him a lot. But one week he’s writing about MIA and Sri Lankan politics, and the next week it’s the radical birth of Arcade Fire, and then the Mt. Zion Orchestra, and this week’s New Thing, and a couple years later the column is about how MIA has betrayed her politics, and Arcade Fire is overrated, and the influence of Wilco was perhaps exaggerated. I don’t want to keep up with novelty. I want to read things like the New Yorker article on Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, and how they came to recreate an era and a geography not their own, and so uncannily. There’s a moment in that article when the author describes a David Rawlings solo (and anyone who loves him is shaking his or her head in wonder already) and says that again and again he borders on anarchy, and in fact the tension that he will fail gets worse as the solo builds toward the end, and every single time you’re sure he will end up in disaster. And every single time he pulls off a miracle. If you listen to those solos multiple times, you realize the sort of wild run you thought he was making was actually just your own inability to understand how he made the conversions so quickly, and how he’s able to resolve serious contrasts just as you perceive them occurring. In my car I’ve been listening to two songs over and over for months: Radiohead’s “Black Star” followed by Welch and Rawling’s cover of it. I don’t merely want to memorize that song PLUS understand how Gillian makes it a completely different animal, I want to EAT IT. I want to write an entire book on how Joni Mitchell uses slight changes in tone, pitch, and volume to suggest the depth of pathos in “The Last Time I Saw Richard.”

    Oh dear lord, I’ve forgotten the question. I’m just prattling on like a damn fool.

  634. Yes Kate. I think they’re known as “normal” people. Substitute boring for normal and you’d be closer to the truth.

  635. And where is Ms. Finnamore? I thought you gave her a time limit to look at the jewelry.

  636. Not on this blog Kate, but out in the real world, sure. People always think I’m nuts for being weird.

    Haven – Oh, Lester Bangs. Yum. Hey, did you ever read Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield? I really enjoyed his story. But I can’t think of a single article he has ever written for Rolling Stone, which I had to give up after seeing numerous Britney Spears covers. And, I love rambling, its what I do best. I love that I’ve learned a whole new side of you tonight. I’m dying to know what type of music you listened to in college.

  637. While we are now praising famous critics, let’s add the priceless James Agee to the top of the pile. His writing is real and raw, and I am delighted every time I read anything he wrote. He lived hard and fast and died young. His writing reflects his life: unafraid, unintimidated, honest. He was doubtless a pain in the ass to be around most of the time, but aren’t the most interesting people like that?

  638. There’s also a theory that music simply “is.” That what we hear is what we bring to the music. Sort of like … everything else in the world.

    Objectivity – fact or fiction?

  639. I told Haven this, but my husband brought home “Love is a Mix Tape” when he saw her name on the back, recommending it. I burst into tears barely 20 pages in, sobbed the whole time I read it, and when I got to the end I started back at the beginning and read it AGAIN. I read it TWICE in the course of one day. I’m not sure what my kids ate that day, probably dried spaghetti on the floor.

  640. HK – I adore Glenn Gould, and he was a terrific writer. The self-interview portion of ’32 Short Films About Glenn Gould’ was a great dramatization of his erudition and playfulness. I love his writing on music only slightly less than his playing. (I played the ’55 Goldberg Variations every day for *years* when I first found it. It is forever playing in my head.) Geoffrey Payzant’s bio of GG was well-done, I thought, and I like Tim Page’s writing as well.

  641. Kate – I really loved that book, bought it the week it came out, and just tore into it. I’m glad to hear you loved it as well. I’m going to have to reread it now.

    Jodi- My father-in-law ran the music program for a fabulous Michigan school district and my brother-in-law is a conductor. They always have great conversations about music and what it “is.” Cool to see you bring that theory up.

  642. I love to read critics, music or art, or anything – – -but when a friend got a bad review I was quick to tell her

    “There has never been a statue built in honor of a critic” –

    it boosted her spirits!

    I am enjoying the high of art – – warm beeswax, swigging a 2 liter of diet coke, alternatively chugging bottles of water and the Sipanova Italian wine in an antique wine glass – – not simultaneously.

    Joy is:
    never knowing what time it is
    blog babies
    the power to shut up the neighbor’s barking dog
    hearing my sister laugh

    Also, I am listening to Madonna’s “Like a Prayer Album”

    Wow – just wow – it has been a while and now I know why I fought to get this album/cd during my split! That and Robbie Robertson and ALL Kate Bush’s – those were desperate times!

  643. John M – – -!!!! Hello!!!

  644. JohnM, I think about Glenn Gould A LOT. I bought that film so I could watch it over and over, and finally I found a single scene and watched it like thirty times in a row. And curiously, in my Quakerism book (which I was re-reading today) there’s a scene where I lose the chance to pursue what was then the deepest dream in my heart. Delonda says, “You’ve been freed for something better.” And I bark back, “Good lord, Mother, that’s like saying, ‘We’ll just find you something better than Glenn Gould’s Goldberg Variations.'”

    Obviously you’re a man of refined tastes.

  645. Jodi, don’t you think Agee’s A DEATH IN THE FAMILY is one of the finest American novels EVER?

  646. Oh. God. When I read your reference, Haven, to one of the Cowsill brothers gone missing, I did a search, thinking who else could it be. And it was Barry. He played bass in my band in L.A., on my demo in Seattle just before I left for New York, lived with me for the month before I left. I’m just sick at heart. He was just so lost.

  647. James Agee is a wonder. Perhaps one of the great compliments of his life is that the composer Samuel Barber set two of his poetic written works to music. Both are standards in American classical music. Here are Agee’s words for the choral work “Sure On This Shining Night”:

    Sure On This Shining Night
    Sure on this shining night
    Of starmade shadows round,
    Kindness must watch for me
    This side the ground.

    The late year lies down the north
    All is healed, all is health.
    High summer holds the earth.

    Hearts all whole
    Sure on this shining night I weep for wonder wand’ring far alone
    Of shadows on the stars.

    The second Agee/Barber work is “Knoxville: Summer of 1915.” To hear this with orchestra and soloist is to be transported. As you might say, Haven, the music is holy.

  648. I agree with you, Haven, that Agee’s A Death in the Family is one of the finest representations of American literature. It is SO American – it evokes the time period, the geography, the tradition, the beliefs and delusions of the Agee’s family so honestly that it is heartbreaking to read. It is Not To Be Missed.

    Let Us Now Praise Famous Men is also a mirror held up to nowhere-but-America in a merciless manner. Agee reported the facts and in doing so condemned the blindness, the inhumanity of America to its own. Agee should be required reading in high schools and universities, but I fear he has slipped into the background.

    He wrote the screenplay for the movie The African Queen. He was funny and caustic and fearless and outspoken, unswervingly true to his own lights. A son-of-a-bitch, and American to the bone. I miss his kind.

  649. Carrie, I never would have dreamed someone here would learn the news that way, and so casually offered. I’m sorry. I considered mentioning the state he was in, but chose not to. You’re exactly right, he was lost. I knew a brilliant poet who suffered from bouts of crippling mental illness which he referred to as The Black Regard. Barry seems to have suffered under the same menacing gaze for a long, long time. Again, I apologize if I sounded flippant.

  650. Maureen,

    If this links works, this is my Havanese dog Emma as Dog of the Day for Valentine’s Day this year.

  651. Damn! Why must I sleep?? I miss EVERYTHING!

    Jodi –
    I sang that beautiful song in Choir in college! I break into it here on the farm in the summertime when I’m out under the stars. It’s remarkably dark here and the stars are just magical.
    We also sang “Come with Me, Under My Coat” also by Samuel Barber, and I had just met my now husband, who was a sheep farmer at the time.

    Come with me, under my coat,
    and we will drink our fill
    of the milk of the white goat,
    or wine if it be thy will.
    And we will talk,
    until talk is a trouble, too,
    out on the side of the hill;
    And nothing is left to do,
    but an eye to look into an eye,
    and a hand in a hand to slip;

    and a sigh to answer a sigh;
    And a lip to find out a lip!
    What if the night be black!
    And the air
    on the mountain chill!
    Where all but the fern is still!
    Stay with me, under my coat!
    and we will drink our fill
    of the milk of the white goat,
    out on the side of the hill!

    I sang with extraordinary passion. I doubt any of my Amherst peers actually had experienced this, but I had. Well, the sheep version anyway.

    Oh, my, everyone, you must forgive me. I have been friend-starved here, and I have found my people at last. Coming here is like drinking long drafts of cold water. I’m practically in tears every time I’m on this blog. I love the internet!!!!! Thanks.

  652. The interesting thing about Agee’s notorious personality is the juxtaposition to the lyrics you transcribed, which are not only infused with beauty and wonder, but fastidiously crafted.

    Every time I pass my copy of A DEATH IN THE FAMILY I’m tempted to stop everything and just read it again, as if indulging myself. And the greatness of FAMOUS MEN is its clarity and arresting composition, a formal grace in service to the subject of brutality and horrifying poverty.

  653. Damn, Maureen! That song seems pretty sexy for Amherst. I wonder how lustily the Blessed Virgin Emily would have sung it?

  654. I have just drawn a triptych with a ballpoint pen on index cards. The left is Anne Boleyn, the center is the Tudor badge and the right is Princess Elizabeth.

    I don’t know what to make of myself right now. Perhaps that I haven’t been to bed yet and I should get there?

    The Princess Elizabeth is damn good by the way. 🙂

  655. Haven – We Amherst folk tended to ignore poor Emily as any kind of cultural force at the college. I do believe I recall referring to her very unkindly as “Old Dog Face” and I never even visited her house though it was a mere block away. I kind of hate my 20-year-old self.

    We were instead overseen by the very sexy and mysterious statue named Sabrina whose location was a ferociously kept secret. She would get air-lifted in periodically at football games to demonstrate some fraternity’s power.

    BUT I wrote one of my best papers about one of Emily Dickinson’s poems, so I actually DO have the enormous respect for her that she deserves.

  656. I’m tempted to channel Jody here and say that Emily was, by nature, more like the coyote than the co-ed, and didn’t give a shit what anybody felt about her, as long as she got to practice her coyotehood. I’ve had call recently to re-read scores of her letters to her series of male tutors, her “Masters,” and this time saw something I couldn’t have imagined 20 years ago. Her fawning praise and humility is cold; it’s almost comedic. It isn’t sarcasm or irony — something much more subtle. She wanted something from those men and she got it, she outfoxed them (foxes and coyotes of course being in the same family) with their own vanity, which they expressed through pity. Just as I had about the canines Twain called the ‘ragpickers of the world.’

  657. Hmmm … I can see that being so. Reminds me of a line in “Becoming Jane,” which I watched the other night.

    Jane Austen’s dashing cousin arrives, and Jane is actually attracted (though angered) by the fact that he doesn’t seem impressed by her intelligence or words. She attempts to insult him at a dance, to which he replies “And I sense that you feel you are a cut above the company.” She is shocked because she is caught in the act.

    Austen and Emily must have both had a sense that they were far more intelligent than their peers, male and female alike. I could see Em using that: fawning in such a way that her Masters didn’t even sense her irony. They just gave her what she wanted.

    How horrible to be so brilliant and so constricted by her society, as well as her agoraphobia or Asperger’s or whatever she had.

    My 20-year reunion is this spring. I might have to go back to Amherst and make amends by visiting her house. I really disliked the professor I had for the course I took about her. That might also explain my feelings.

  658. Oooo, Haven, don’t you enjoy being Wise and Profound and seeing through to the depths of Emily’s message? Emily laughing at her “Masters” throughout eternity in her writing!! And she buried it like the treasure it is, so that not just anyone can unearth it and hold it up to the light and throw her head back and laugh out loud.

  659. Maureen, I believe Lefroy called her work “accomplished”.

    A backhanded insult indeed.

  660. Aaaaaaargh ! I really have to go do stuff. If I stay up here writing any longer, my Tasmanian husband is going to start whirling. I have calves to feed and a house to clean and stinking papers to grade. Gotta buy the tree and go to church.
    Kittery – I want to see this triptych of yours. Can you scan it for us?
    Jodi – Darn sweet doggie. Looks a little like my old cockapoo Tuffy (I did not pick that name).

  661. Haha, careful what you wish for. Princess Elizabeth is pretty good, I wouldn’t be that generous with the other two. 😛

    When I succeed in burying my pride, I’ll put it up. 😉

  662. Maureen,

    As one teacher to another, I suggest that you check “grading papers” off today’s list by giving each child an A (base it on effort if you need a reason). Write the letter “A” on each paper and use your red pen to make a few red dots on each page of their papers, so the kids will think you actually read it. Only children who did not turn in a paper get a lower grade.

  663. Jodi –
    Great idea. You teach music? Is that right? Sorry. I still feel like I’m just arrived at the party, getting introduced and getting everyone sorted out. I need a table: George, VA, former journalist. Sher, TN, artist. Molly, aka lightningbug, GA, teacher.
    You and Molly are both teachers, right?

  664. Yep, Maureen, I teach music and also have a license to teach English. There’s every way around grading papers. Save part of your day by not grading them. My husband, the administrator, is looking over my shoulder reading this, and gravely shook his head and said, “No. That’s not right.” So I guess it’s up to you.

  665. Don’t tell you husband (STOP LOOKING, HUSBAND!) about the staircase method: Stand at the top of the stairs with the pile of papers and throw them down. Grade the papers by where they landed on the steps in 5-point increments.
    Seriously, I finally figured out that I hate it because it’s BORING. If I watch a movie at the same time, my brain is occupied enough to not be twiddling its cerebral thumbs.
    What level do you teach?

  666. Maureen,

    I teach middle school. The biggest, best-est lesson I teach is “You are kids. I am way older than you, yet I am in charge of engaging you in learning for an hour daily. Let’s do our best to get along. I’ll listen to you and you do the same to me. I promise to follow all the rules you do: no disrespect, cursing, cell phones, yelling, sleeping, hitting each other, you-know-the-spiel. You’ll get a break or two during class to stretch your legs and talk, because you are between the ages of twelve and fourteen and that’s what is natural to Your Kind. You’re not in your living room — you are in school. Remember that, use what common sense you have, and be nice to each other.”

  667. The other thing that reaches kids who see no reason to waste time at school is when I say, “I am here because this is my job. This is how I earn my living and feed my family. Do you have somebody — maybe your parents — who does that at your house? I walked into school this morning with no malice toward anyone, yet look at what’s been said to me by students so far in this class. Can you see how this makes my job very difficult? I’m required to see that you succeed. I can’t just let you fail or my boss the principal will come to me and ask, ‘Why is Bonita failing your class?’ Is that fair? Maybe not, but it’s true. So what I’m asking is that you put forth just a liiiiiiiitle bit of effort on your own behalf, because I’m putting in a LOT of effort for you. And this is my job and I do not intend to catch crap from my boss because YOU can’t sit up and do the work. Questions?” Almost never is there a question.

  668. Jodi – Wow, God bless you. I could not teach middle school. I spent six years teaching 10th grade and then into the most unbelievable situation which I’ll have to describe later because I’m being dragged out to the truck to go get a tree. Talk to you later!

  669. I cannot wait until Haven’s Quaker book comes out.

    Now I must go to church because darling daughter is playing mandolin today with her brilliant teacher, Melissa. And, our minister is doing an Advent class on the Gospels and there is nothing I love more than learning about the Gospels. So, off I go and I will come back this afternoon and write something brilliant on music, literature, philosophy, teaching… oops, wait a minute, YOU all do that! I just praise God for all of you and absorb your wisdom.

    Mike- I will say a special prayer for you.

  670. A mere aside: Dickinson could run rings around Austen. I know Austen fans carry switchblades and have pit bulls named Darcy, but there’s no denying it. Dickinson WAS smarter than everyone around her. She had a blazing, tempestuous, voracious intelligence so perfectly channeled that the moment you grasp what is at the heart of her body of work, it’s terrifying. She’s the only poet in the world who has ever caused me physical fear. It took the American poetry community FIFTY YEARS to get it, and then there were some fireworks in the academy. I could make a pun using ‘canon’ here, but that would ill behoove me.

  671. Haven! Haven! Haven!
    I just went out to breakfast with my beloved husband Taz in the little hamlet of McDonough (first O is long), population 250ish. On top of the coke cooler was a full-sized taxidermy lynx with enormous paws. I made some inquiries on your behalf but the owner was not in.

    I hear you on the Dickinson vs Austen head-on-head.
    I am somewhat serious about the Asperger’s. I have seen references to this. There is a genius to her that is something quite different than normal Austenesque intelligence. ED seems to pick up other vibrations that only a different neurology can detect. Like Einstein, except metaphysical instead of physics-physical.

  672. Jodi – I’m back. What I teach now is so bizarre that I’m just going to link you to the program description. I teach these two myself:
    I teach English for this one and our new one in Business:
    Thus, my completely bizarre blog:
    Most days I feel my brain will fall out by the time I get home. I have new understanding for why T.S. Elliot was a bank clerk.

  673. [QUOTE]I don’t mean to say this boastfully, but I write really well about music — I could easily write musicology or criticism.[/QUOTE]

    (I’m not sure the quote function works on this blog, so y’all may be seeing some ugly html– sorry! Would that had a Preview Post feature.)

    Haven, this begs the question: do you dance about architecture? Because I’ve often enjoyed thinking about Zappa’s quotation (though some attribute this to Elvis– the other one):

    “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.”

    While not taking that statement at face value, I appreciate its nod to the inability to capture the power and essence of a certain genre through the medium of another.

    – Sarah S.
    (Waiting for the unveiling of Haven’s “Architecture Dance”, while images of Rock Lobster begin to intrude….)

  674. SpielerFit, among the philosophers and public intellectuals I most respect, Frank Zappa, curiously, does not appear. That may be due to the fact that while the statement is memorable and pithy, he eliminates both his authority and his logic before the first word, as talking about dancing is identical to writing about music, and a musician using architecture in a syllogism, if indeed his premise is that sound cannot be discussed, makes his argument not just sophomoric, but high school sophomoric.

  675. Maureen? *swallow* A LYNX?

  676. My sense is that Haven would do an amazing architectural dance, because, well, she is an angel of interpretation. The litergy in church this morning was the telling of the angel, Gabriel, appearing to Mary in the book of Luke. Our minister, Jim, said in his sermon that there are angels all around us – in those who give us hope, bring light to our life, give us courage… Haven is an angel. She is to me, at least.

  677. Linda, bless your sweet heart.

  678. Uh oh, lynx lust. — Also, Haven — every time you write about music, I wonder that you don’t play. It’s a waste how many musicians “play” (read: operate) their instrument, even competently, but have a Playskool range of dynamics. Nearly completely absent nuance. Or: do you play? Maybe I’m misremembering.

    It snowed last night! Seattle once had three years without, so this is an event! I took a left turn on my way home from a party, the kind of turn that is routinely 90 degrees, and I MADE IT 180! Drove at horse and buggy speed the rest of the way home.

  679. Maureen, that program looks to be quite progressive. No wonder you are concerned your brain will fall out. Mine gets all heavy just reading the description.

    And all this talk of Agee made me go put the Library of America copy on hold (Praise, Death, short fiction). If I end up well-read, it’s going to be because of all of you.

  680. Haw! (<- that’s for your Zappa comment; of course he eliminates authority and logic before speaking a first word on anything. 🙂

    But see, that’s just it: taking the wise idiot at his premise, write about music, and dance about architecture. Although maybe that’s not worth further thought? Still, I’d like to see an architecture dance at some point….

    In other news, while your avatar regressed to a quilt-ish thing above, it has now returned to your embroidered taxidermy logo thingy, at least on my screen. The funny thing is that before reading your description of it, I assumed it was some sort of white monkey face taxidermy-thingy. Squint, and you can see it.

    Sarah S.

  681. Hunh.

    I didn’t realize that typing


    together on one line results in this,


    thereby losing my closing parenthesis.

    Is there any place one can play on without being live, so as to see what happens to punctuation out in the big world?

    – Sarah S.

  682. Sarah, where are your spectacles? That avatar is a woman (me) at the beach and a man has his arm around her neck and is kissing her temple. I hope you have a Freudian on speed dial.

    That reminds me of how I never tire of telling Scott his Sesame Street bus is just about to leave! He needs to run to catch it at the corner! He does not respond.

  683. sweet baby jesus in the trough, I just LOST my excel program update for 509 addresses . . . I am destitute…

    oh, dear, and I just had 2 margaritas and should not be operating software . . .

    Started a new book this morning at 4 a.m. / / / but I cain’t remember what it was . . .

  684. Carrie, I played the piano and wrote songs for about ten years when I was young. I was as devoted and passionate about it as I am about writing, and I used to stay up all night several times a week, writing songs and smoking cigarettes (not as an affectation — I am averse to affectations) but because nicotine kept me awake. I played professionally for a little while. I was all touch and very little theory. I had a desire to drag some notes or play a single chord with a quick jab and let it disappear. The odd thing is that my favorite composer in the world is Monk, he’s my favorite musician, period, and Duke Ellington is right behind him. And I adore Glenn Gould. I listened to a lot of ways of relating to those 86 keys and I planned to do it forever, and one day I got to work at the record shop and they had just turned on the promo that had arrived that day. It was Tori Amos’s Little Earthquakes (she had grown up so much I had no idea it was the same person who had ushered in the Apocalyptic Y Kant Tori Read) and as I told Jodi, I heard the depth of the lower register in the Bosendorfer, and how she matched her style, her persona, and her impressive talent to a piano I coveted, and I never played again. Because I wasn’t delusional; I didn’t believe I had any great gift, so Monk thrilled me and Glenn Gould was an infinite mind-puzzle, but this was a woman my age who had studied at the Peabody and was clearly in control of her future, and there is no possible way I would have settled for mediocrity. If I couldn’t sound like that, I’d walk away entirely. AND I DID.

  685. Jim, I just realized how often in those years I played the piano all night. Did I keep you awake? God, teenagers are such a pestilence.

  686. Haven – Did it all start with that piano you got at the end of Zippy? I cry when I read that note from Santa. My Dad used to write our Santa notes – in non-goofy rhyme.

  687. Maureen – lauren wants to see pics of the boys . . . off to play tambourine with Claire on Wii music . . .

  688. I just wrote you before reading this, but still, I can’t imagine you’d ever have been anything approaching mediocre.

  689. Hi Guys!

  690. Sher – There is a picture of all three with me on the group photos page. Tris uploaded an older cooler picture of himself. He was head-down-on-the-desk despondent when he realized Lauren was in ninth grade (he’s in seventh). That’s some kind of mega-taboo, I guess, from the girl’s perspective, to go down two grade levels. He was having a great conversation until then. He IS an old seventh-grader AND he likes theater.

    Hi Kate! What’s baking?

  691. Funny you should ask, if I get my kitchen clean enough that I can actually REACH my mixer, then I will bake up the rest of my sour cream sugar cookies. There is a lump of dough in the freezer. I have to make a fresh batch of icing.

  692. Thank goodness my kids bake or we would never have dessert. My eleven-year-old made all the Thanksgiving goodies this year: an apple pie, a pumpkin pie, a pumpkin roll, and two cheesecakes. I had to make him stop there.
    And my oldest, 13 at the time, two years ago made nine different kinds of cookies for Christmas.
    I can’t sew either. I CAN milk cows and shovel manure.

  693. Maureen- when my daughter, Emma, was in 7th grade she liked a boy named William, who was in 5th. They “went out” for about 6 months, which basically meant they hung out together at after care at the school and on the weekends he came over to our house or she went to his. This took some taking because with magnet schools here the kids are all over the county and William lived about as far as one could go toward Kentucky without being in Kentucky. That means FAR. ha ha. So, tell your son that there is hope.

  694. my husband got “Joe’s Garage” (Frank Zappa) for his birthday in the 7h grade from his dad. Pops, which is what John calls him as do i, said this album was must have…even if it included songs like “why does it hurt when i pee”and “crew slut”.

  695. My family was stunned. My dad said he couldn’t envision me as anything but a musician, but specifically a performer. Tori is a performer. She straddles the bench, she plays with unnecessary drama, when I saw her play early in her career she actually made the demand that no one speak, go to get a drink, and make noise at any time during the show, and NO ONE DID. Ani DiFranco is a performer, but I am not. I don’t covet Lacan’s MALE GAZE.

  696. Haven,

    I can’t tell if you’re a-joking or not, about your avatar. I clearly see your embroidered deer on a white background, still (which looks like a shrunken white monkey face at first glance, as previously mentioned). Should I be seeing you on the beach, with a male kissing your temple (ahem)? Are there beaches in Delphi?

    And, no, I don’t have a Freudian on speed dial. Nor even a Jungian, which would be more to my taste. I also do not have anyone kissing my temple, let alone part of my actual head.

    – Sarah S.

  697. The avatars have gone loony. I see Haven looking over at Kat (I think- yes? All dressed up). I think WordPress is messing with us. LOL

  698. i see a man behind a woman and it looks like he is kissing her? perhaps haven in front, i think

  699. This is like a slumber party where we all try to convince the gullible girl that there’s a robber in the house and everyone is seeing a different avatar! GASLIGHT!

  700. Thanks, all, re: avatars. After reading Linda’s and Steph’s comments, I cleared my browser’s cache and refreshed this page, and I think I’m now seeing what others are.

    Or men as trees, walking.

    I’m getting closer, anyway!

    Sarah S.

  701. light as a feather, stiff as a board, light as a feather, stiff as a board….everyone played that, right?

  702. Steph – Oh, yeah. “Light as a feather, stiff as a board, Lift!” and we are all able to raise our 80-pound friend with just our pinkies. Ooh, so cool.
    And then find the sleeper and put her hand in hot water so she pees her sleeping bag.

  703. Musicians – I just demolished the galactic horn on Wii Music – Claire and I made multiple videos – – my secret dream is to sing back up and play tambourine for the Dixie Chicks

    My voice is dissonant, Lauren once mistook my singing for moaning and crying, it is


  704. ouija and of course, the magic 8 ball–which i only believed, like twice.

  705. last one asleep got to put bugles (those crispy corn hornshaped things) in the sleeping girls’ noses and ears . . .

    we used to bring forth Bloody Mary . . . and listen to Sean Cassidy and later Andy Gibb

  706. Maureen – Lauren was screaming at me for hooking her up with a 13 year old . . .

    she was literally sewing 29 stockings for friends & teachers and stuffing them with candy and prizes (she went in with 2 other friends) – – I was so proud of her.

    Don made brownies today . . .

    I haven’t done my sugar cookies for Christmas yet . . .I still need to by embellishments

  707. I do fancy smancy decorated cookies, but my family and kids prefer the

    iced cookies done with almond bark (white or dark choc) which is in the baker’s aisle – you heat it in the microwave, stir it, slap it on, sprinkle on some sugar or candies – – and voila

    they stay moist and taste like keebler fudge cookies . . .

  708. Ani might say that she too is averse to the Gaze (and has the promo pictures to prove it).

    I lamented, in my 20s, my inability to bite the bullet and learn to smoke. In my 20s, I had an industrial-strength flirtation with affectation — which was limitless with a cigarette in hand. Of course, once the seduction of blowing smoke in someone’s face no longer had any currency, you’d have thought that particular affectation would have lost its luster.

  709. Amy in Ohio–Nikki Sixx lights me on fire. My sister too. Have you heard The Heroin Diaries? Oh dear God. It’s fantastic.

    Back from Disney. Hope you all got my good vibes while I was there!

  710. Haven:

    What a nice gathering you had for Thanksgiving. You have such a handsome husband, and beautiful children.

  711. Hi all! Hot picture alert! If Paris Hilton is your fave, then I have a website for you to see. Who wants it?

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