The three-fold terror of love; a fallen flare
Through the hollow of an ear;
Wings beating about the room;
The terror of all terrors that I bore
The Heavens in my womb

Had I not found content among the shows
Every common woman knows,
Chimney corner, garden walk,
Or rocky cistern where we tread the clothes
and gather all the talk?

What is this flesh I purchased with my pains,
This fallen star my milk sustains,
This love that makes my heart’s blood stop
Or strikes a sudden chill into my bones
And bids my hair stand up?


William Butler Yeats

Published in: on December 24, 2008 at 12:58 pm  Comments (731)  


  1. perfect. thank you. bless you. bless all your family.


  2. Man, Yeats had it going on with his edgy Christmas poetry–I was just (being full of the joy of the season) reading “The Second Coming” with my students yesterday:

    …That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born.

    Were I a pastor instead of just the music director, I’d work these poems into a sermon, I do believe. Just the edgy discomfort Christmas should provoke.

  3. The Secret

    Two girls discover
    the secret of life
    in a sudden line of poetry

    I who don’t know the secret
    wrote the line. They told me.

    (through a third person)
    they had found it
    but not what it was
    not even

    what line it was. No doubt
    by now, more than a week
    later, they have forgotten the secret

    the line, the name of
    the poem. I love them
    for finding what I can’t find

    and for loving me
    for the line I wrote,
    and for forgetting it
    so that

    a thousand times till death
    finds them, they may
    discover it again, in other

    in other happenings and for
    wanting to know it

    assuming there is
    such a secret, yes,
    for that most of all

    Denise Levertov

  4. This is so beautiful, Haven. I also went in search of some art to share in my post today, and found the poetry of a Serbian Orthodox priest and the hauntingly beautiful music of his people, here: May all your Christmases be bright.

  5. Oh, Haven. Hi.
    So extremely After-the-Solstice to log on and see you and your words. “To the lengthening of the days!!”

    My in-laws are – as I type – on the ten-mile journey from their hotel to my house, so I unfortunately can’t stay on for long. Oops! They just pulled in!!

    I am glad you liked the DVD. I’ll send you my mailing address by e-mail.

    So glad Mother Delonda is up and about. I found the trailer for the documentary made about her at the prison and watched it many times on her behalf.

    We love you so.

  6. So my question is, how did Yeats know this stuff?

  7. Maureen first of all I love your name where is this copy of the trailer of the documetary. I think new years should be on the solstice but that would be a bit weird too.

    Yeats is my favorite so thanks for this. All I can say is thank you for everything that you have brought in to my life and I wish you and your family a happy heathy Christmas.


  8. Yeats, Yes!

    But also this (Eliot):

    All this was a long time ago, I remember,
    And I would do it again, but set down
    This set down
    This: were we led all that way for
    Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
    We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
    But had thought they were different; this Birth was
    Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
    We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
    But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
    With an alien people clutching their gods.
    I should be glad of another death.

  9. thank you, baby Jesus.

    Haven – you were in your unfathomable depths and I thank everything that is right in this world that Katherine stormed that barn.

    Yes, the fleece. Just forget it is Christmas . . . just another day that somebody assigned an arbitrary title to . . . (diatribe omitted) . . .

    Yeats . . . I would answer you some Dylan Thomas, but the Yeats is so exact.

    Maybe I can sleep now.

  10. Suzanne – THE SECRET, blow me over, wow, wow – I’ve never heard that and I LOVE to discovery something new . . . I’m savouring it.

    Jon does your Facebook? – – no wonder you took over my status as Queen of Sockmonkey Giverness . . . but tell me you dictate??? ‘Cause you are wicked cool on there!

  11. Hello dear Haven and all my friends-
    This is a wonderful poem. Thank you for posting it. Christmas has always been a difficult holiday for me too. This year has been interesting. Hard to describe, but I think most people I talk to seem to be experiencing it too.

    It is mild and raining here in Nashville. Just stay home kind of weather. Our church does our Christmas Eve service at 5:00, which has always been a bit disappointing to me, but I am ushering at the service and helping with communion so I will be there and I believe my family will come too. My daughter is so sweet, Xmas eve is for her father- they join him after our church service as he makes oyster stew and then Emma and her dad go downtown to the Episcopal church for the 11:00 service. Just the two of them. She says it just does not feel like Christmas until she does that. She loves the incense, the dark sanctuary, the candles, the order of it.

    Suzanne- I bought An Unfinished Marriage the other day as you suggested (Joan Anderson- is that right?) and started into it. It is good. I think it will be helpful. Thank you.

    Love you all.

  12. DUDE. if i could get Jon to write my facebook, i’d have him write a string of commercial bestsellers.

    no, i mean when u go to my facebook photo album there’s jon’s guerilla street art that he does in san francisco. oh he’s wicked good.

  13. denise levertov. adrienne rich. women who lived to write extraordinary poetry.

    We are, I am, you are
    by cowardice or courage
    the ones who find our way
    back to this scene
    carrying a knife, a camera
    a book of myths
    in which
    our names do not appear.

    From Adrienne Rich’s DIVING INTO THE WRECK

  14. for Haven and All

    You did not fondle the weakness inside you
    though it was there.
    Your courage was a small coal
    that you kept swallowing.

    Anne Sexton, Courage

  15. Sarah – I love that Eliot poem!

    Mike – Here is the trailer:

    I have snuck on here. Gone again.

  16. Haven, thank you for this lovely post. And Suzanne, for adding to it. Merriest of christmas , happy everything, and I am sending love and good thoughts out to all of you.

  17. May Sarton has a poem about the Annunciation that would take your breath away, but it was too dark, I feared. Gorgeous, brilliant — one of the best poems I’ve ever read, but this was not the place for it. And I contemplated the Eliot, Sarah, of course — all of us who love poetry love or hate Eliot, and generally the feeling is difficult to parse. Love? Hate? I come down on the love side, as long as I don’t think about him as a person too long.

  18. Oh, and I highly recommend the documentary about Delonda. The first time I watched it and they are filming her walking up the sidewalk toward the prison, pulling her papers and books in a small wheeled briefcase, and she’s moving so slowly because her knees cause her so much pain, and yet she carries on just the same, I burst into tears. The person you see in that film is absolutely her, start to finish. The way she talks to her students, virtually all of whom will never be free again, is to see the meaning of love. And she’s not mushy, either. She’s steely and tells them the truth and they adore her.

  19. I LOVE W.B.Y. I did a whole term paper on him and it really got me into his writing.
    and also, I’m currently reading “She Got Up Off the Couch” and I’m loving it! I’ve always wanted to be an author, and it’s inspiring that you came from regular life too and made it so far.
    Thanks for being awesome!


  20. Welcome, Melanie. Alas, I’m sorry to tell you that I did not come from regular life. Regular life wasn’t even visible with a telescope where I came from. Indeed, the vowels needed to spell ‘regular life,’ had not yet reached our county. It would have looked like RGLR LF, and everyone would have thought it was a new kind of pesticide. So you’ll do far better than I have in the world.

  21. Haven –

    you and Delonda must read Wally Lamb’s THE HOUR I FIRST BELIEVED. He (Lamb) talks about his influences in teaching at a women’s prison, and a women’s prison (founded, run by the protagonist family) is the core location of the plots.

    And there is a girl in it – Velvet – that is a Cassie/Ianthe/Trace hybrid. Punk and spunk.

  22. Where can I find the Delonda documentary? What is the full name. On another note, I am feeling very greatful and thankful today. Yesterday my great friend and my mother both hung in the balance….seems horrible things always need company. Thank god they are both here on this planet today.God sent us some Christmas luck.

    Love reading everyones messages throughout the year. Great group here. Have a great Christmas.

    Hillary in Rainy Nashville

  23. Beautiful poem. Not sure I’d ever read that one from him. I have a charcoal portrait of Yeats that I did some years ago looking down on me now, as I write this, from its frame — the best charcoal I’ve ever done. The poem put me in mind of the final stanza of my favorite Jane Kenyon poem, “Mosaic of the Nativity: Serbia, Winter 1993”:

    God thinks Mary into being.
    Suspended at the apogee
    of the golden dome,
    she curls in a brown pod,
    and inside her the mind
    of Christ, cloaked in blood,
    lodges and begins to grow.

    ‘Tis the season, indeed. The world looks different because these poems exist.

    My mother received the book I mailed her on the same day Kelly and I mailed you the gift of a book, Haven, so be on the lookout for it in the post. And the merriest of Christmases again, in the face of everything. Let those who love you shoulder what they can.

  24. Haven, I am so glad to hear Mother Delonda is doing better. She is an amazing woman, and so are you, and so is Melinda. You are rocks upon whom all women can build their faith in female-ability. You are correct when you say you did not come from ‘regular.’ You came from the extraordinary and have not betrayed that. Peace and love to you and your family.


    Instructor Jim Shasky beat out 50 other entrants to win the “Best in Category – Short Form” award for his documentary “Cell Block Scholars” at a Broadcast Education Association media festival convention. Graduate assistant Justin Gladis and two of Shasky’s former students, alumni Scott Swim and Laura Huffman, helped him make the documentary, Shasky said.

    Although being recognized for his work is always nice, Shasky, who has won more than 30 emmys, said he was inspired to make “Cell Block Scholars” after meeting Delonda Hartmann, a poetry and creative writing teacher at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City. Hartmann is absolutely delightful and an inspiration to everyone, he said.

  26. I’m inspired by her and I’ve never met her. I can’t imagine what meeting Mother Delonda face-to-face would be like. Perhaps I’d be able to scale tall buildings in a single bound? Instantly understand the Theory of Relativity?


  27. Maureen–emailed you from my gmail account. I don’t use the yahoo address accept to access the blogbabies site that I don’t know how to use. πŸ™‚

  28. Grapefruit

    I’m eating breakfast even if it means standing
    in front of the sink and tearing at the grapefruit,
    even if I’m leaning over to keep the juices
    away from my chest and stomach and even if a spider
    is hanging from my ear and a wild flea
    is crawling down my leg. My window is wavy
    and dirty. There is a wavy tree outside
    with pitiful leaves in front of the rusty fence
    and there is a patch of useless rhubarb, the leaves
    bent over, the stalks too large and bitter for eating,
    and there is some lettuce and spinach too old for picking
    beside the rhubarb. This is the way the saints
    ate, only they dug for thistles, the feel
    of thorns in the throat it was a blessing, my pity
    it knows no bounds. There is a thin tomato plant
    inside a rolled-up piece of wire, the worms
    are already there, the birds are bored. In time
    I’ll stand beside the rolled-up fence with tears
    of gratitude in my eyes. I’ll hold a puny
    pinched tomato in my open hand,
    I’ll hold it to my lips. Blessed art Thou,
    King of tomatoes, King of grapefruit. The thistle
    must have juices, there must be a trick. I hate
    to say it but I’m thinking if there is a saint
    in our time what will he be, and what will he eat?
    I hated rhubarb, all that stringy sweetness–
    a fake applesauce–I hated spinach,
    always with egg and vinegar, I hated
    oranges when they were quartered, that was the signal
    for castor oil–aside from the peeled navel
    I love the Florida cut in two. I bend
    my head forward, my chin is in the air,
    I hold my right hand off to the side, the pinkie
    is waving; I am back again at the sink;
    oh loneliness, I stand at the sink, my garden
    is dry and blooming, I love my lettuce, I love
    my cornflowers, the sun is doing it all,
    the sun and a little dirt and a little water.
    I lie on the ground out there, there is one yard
    between the house and the tree; I am more calm there
    looking back at this window, looking up
    a little at the sky, a blue passageway
    with smears of white–and gray–a bird crossing
    from berm to berm, from ditch to ditch, another one,
    a wild highway, a wild skyway, a flock
    of little ones to make me feel gay, they fly
    down the thruway, I move my eyes back and forth
    to see them appear and disappear, I stretch
    my neck, a kind of exercise. Ah sky,
    my breakfast is over, my lunch is over, the wind
    has stopped, it is the hour of deepest thought.
    Now I brood, I grimace, how quickly the day goes,
    how full it is of sunshine, and wind, how many
    smells there are, how gorgeous is the distant
    sound of dogs, and engines–Blessed art Thou
    Lord of the falling leaf, Lord of the rhubarb,
    Lord of the roving cat, Lord of the cloud.
    Blessed art Thou oh grapefruit King of the universe,
    Blessed art Thou my sink, oh Blessed art Thou
    Thou milkweed Queen of the sky, burster of seeds,
    Who bringeth forth juice from the earth.

    Copyright Β© 1998 Gerald Stern

  29. Haven and Dear Blog Babies who offer her (and eachother) so much love
    I offer you my demented pagan Jew love via Gerald Stern.

  30. I posted some photos of me with my family on the blogbabies site, if you’re interested in seeing some of the most beautiful children in the world…Aiden of the “I is so excited” fame and Liam who says frequently, “Servo? Crow? Yes? Please?” πŸ™‚ LOVE my boys, miss them so badly. Sigh.

    Anyway, they are beautiful, so I will share them with you.

  31. merry christmas everyone πŸ™‚

    In Nashville, it did not snow. ( Wasn’t really expecting it though)
    Lots of horrible rain, but it’s okay now!

    yay for poetry and Delonda’s documentary!

  32. Oh how I love Gerald Stern: “I have made a feast of my losses/ and my losses are scattered.”


  33. Okay, so all evening, hour after hour, Scott and John and Kat and i have tried to make a gift for all of you, a recording. Scott has gone home to work on it, but it could happen! YAY!

  34. Good-night dear Haven. Merry Christmas.

  35. HAVEN: it’s much like The Layers POEM, THAT ONE line by stanley kunitz:

    I have made a tribe of my affections
    and my tribe is scattered


    haven says you have a copy of the delonda documentary. how did you get it?????

  37. Suzanne, Happiest of what makes you Happy, I love you.


    p.s. All of you. It’s nearly midnight.

  38. How intensely beautiful. I had not read this. Thank you for sharing it. I will meditate on this tonight.

  39. Suzanne –
    I hunted for the “Cell Block Scholars” documentary itself but all I could find was the trailer from an advertisement for the film festival.
    I will keep up the hunt and let everyone know if I find it for purchase.
    Back to Santa-ing.

  40. Jason –
    Would you share your Yeats drawing with us? Can you take a picture and post it to the group site?

  41. Merriest of Holidays!

    Jody and I are camped out at his parents’ house. Northern Indiana’s power outages due to ice storms have us without electricity for the second time in a week. Last night, following a jolly Christmas Eve celebration at our friends’ house, we came home to a cold house AND an inch of water in our finished basement. Our celebration today includes a borrowed gas generator being brought to us on a sleigh by elves, and getting as much water out as possible before the thermometer climbs to 60 degrees tomorrow!

    Happily all the gifts are above water level, and will be opened at a later date.

    Have a Jolly Time Wherever You Are! Merriest of Holidays!!

  42. merry christmas yall.

    i am doing that thing i never do…cooking. yes, even suzanne fennimore cooper must do the nasty deed: cooking. i had the foresight to purchase two frozen cornish game hens ($6.22) a can of sliced mushrooms ($1.50) and four russet potatoes (1.77) and one onion (.37). first you heat the oven to 400 degrees and you crisp the outside of the hens for ten minutes. then you quarter an onion and throw it in the pan with the potatoes which have been diced into chunks. reduce heat to 350 and roast for 30 more minutes or until hens are cooked. take the whole thing out of the oven, remove the hens. now theres a bunch of onions and potatoes and pan drippings in the roasting pan, right? pour off the grease, if you want. put the roasting pan on the stove top and add a quarter cup of water or chicken broth and some fresh rosemary, stir over med. heat until that’s all bubbling. now pour that lovely stuff over the hens. serves two.

    i cribbed this from the only cookbook i ever use, which is pierre freney’s the 60 MINUTE GOURMET, which is the best and only cookbook anyone ever needs. plus he writes beautifully, you can just read the cookbook. and everything in it takes 60 minutes or less.

    i am cooking for Jon and me and pablo, jon’s coming at 11 AM to fix some things around the house and give us presents. jon LITERALLY never cooks, because he is still in the army in his mind. so it’s my gift to him, along with my adoration and affection, which i lavish on him. have i mentioned that Jon looks like Liam Neeson? he do.


  43. Hello everyone. Happy Chrismukah as we say around our house.

    Haven, so nice to hear from you via a new post. Did Baby G have an exciting morning? I hope you don’t mind that your blog babies went on without you covering all manner of subjects. I think we might be ready to set up one of those group cruise vacations! Everyone to the islands in January! We can dream…

    We are thinking of you and your family and sending love your way. My Hannah has decided on a different pair of earrings…she found some cool stones and said “I think Miss Haven would like these because they are more unique.” So a present will be on its way one of these days.

    Suzanne–good luck with those hens and enjoy your day with Liam.

    Off to bake and wrap for the in-laws…have a great day, BBs.

  44. I believe humor is the best therapy for a “rough” Christmas. I know some of you won’t have perfect holidays. If anyone needs a good laugh, you can go to my blog and watch the video I posted today. I know some of you will want one of your own … I think its very funny!

    Merry Ghetto Christmas from The Girl from the Ghetto

    P.S. Haven, I hope your mother is doing ok, and that you and your family are having a good day! It must be hard to have a sick mom today :>(

  45. Happy Holy-Days and Merry Christ’s Mas, every one!! We’ve had quite the busy night and morning, but I wanted to drop in and spread some love to the blog babies!!

  46. We had our big family holiday get-together last night, with about twenty relatives at our house. I made a basic traditional turkey dinner with all the fixin’s, and everyone loved it and went back for seconds. The house was filled with rowdy teenagers, kids running around, and lots of gifts under the main tree. Then this morning we had our private family gift openings, which was lovely. Now that the kids are getting older they are happy with so much less than they used to be, which is a relief as well as gratifying to see them becoming less materialistic. I love Christmas day after the work is done and we’re all hanging out, relaxed and enjoying ourselves. We got some very fun board games from Santa so we’ll dig into them this afternoon. I hope all BBs have a relaxing day and may all your dreams come true.

  47. Yes, well all of that is fine and everything but SOMEBODY GOT THE SOPRANOS BOX SET FROM SANTA. I shall leave at that so as not to sound boastful.

  48. Well, I can’t match the Sopranos box set, but I did get an iPod karaoke machine, and that’s pretty hot too. πŸ™‚

    Merry Christmas, blog babies!

  49. Sher, the diptych I gave John for Christmas is so shockingly beautiful we all went silent when he held the two pieces side-by-side. It’s extraordinary. And I forgot to thank you for the cub encaustic, which of course brought tears to my eyes because I’m pretty much on the verge of crying every moment I’m awake, and thank you for the Hecate book, which I didn’t even know was by EDMUND WILSON! You.


  50. SOMEONE LOVES YOU!!! Yay!!

    Last night I got two gorgeous homemade aprons from my sister in law Jondi, made from retro patterns. I screamed and immediately put BOTH of them on, along with the homemade jewelry from her mom, and the slippers from my grandma and I made Very Merry!!

    Alice has been kissing her new baby all morning, and my sons are so grotesquely spoiled I can’t even explain it, but that’s ok, because Linus says God and Jesus gave Santa his sleigh and reindeer to spread love to the world.

  51. Linus is a wise boy.

    Merry Christmas everyone. I was here earlier this morning and wrote a nice post but my newly wireless computer decided to lose connection right then so it never posted. Poo.

    Today is a pretty and sunny day in Nashville. I see we have more Nashvillians here than I knew of – besides me, Sher and Julie I send a shout out to Kelsey and Hillary. Join our yahoo blog and let us get to know you better! (like the ghost of xmas present). I am going to post this before my connection quits again. But, merry merry everyone and much love to you all.

  52. Haven,

    Sher’s encaustics are mesmerizingly lovely. Can you take photos of all of yours and let us seem them?


    It’s a gift to create something that continually gives the beholder more and more to think about and appreciate. Your art work — which I’ve only seen on your website — and its ever-changing depth of colour and light is magical.

  53. it’s shocking to me how this blog vibrates with the true spirit of christmas every day of the year. people are MESMERIZED by Polly’s Garland of Joy that she gave me. Polly, everyone loves it!!!! me most of all. haven, did you open your gift from polly yet????

    well. you are all so gifted and so lovely, i feel no other gifts are necessary. but Jon brought me flowers and two tee shirts from the STAR WARS COLLECTION for pablo, so i feel perfectly loved. pablo said it was the best christmas yet, which of course is a mother’s delight. we are just so blessed.

    and love love love to haven and john and baby gus and obadiah and kat!!!!!

    what a tribe you have made of your affections, miss kimmel. indeed it is splendid. i thank you. xoxoxooxoxoxxo, miss fennimore cooper, whose four minutes in Jewelry is up!

  54. Haven – I’m a little jealous of the DVD set! I never got to see the last season, as I moved and no longer had free illegal cable. I did however get Iodine from my cat Beatrice, and I’m excited to finally read it!!!

    Sadly, I suffered more injury to my shoulder playing Guitar Hero, and I have to go lay on the heating pad. I think I just may be the worst player in the history of the game. This is why I sold my old guitar for groceries, because I stunk, lol….

    Maureen, I’m thinking of you, as my Aspie stepson has put together three Lego sets already today….

  55. Maureen:

    I photographed the portrait with my cell phone and am in the process of figuring out how to get it from my phone to my e-mail to here…

    A feat that may never happen, I’m realizing…

  56. Big Christmas Love to Haven and the blog babies…I am logging in from Orleans, Mass., on Cape Cod after a wonderful, wonderful day. I was up early this morning and sipped my coffee while looking out over the town cove, watching the wind make itself known over the water. We loaded the gifts in the jeep and drove to my mother-in-law’s house and repeated a loving, over-indulged, laugh-spilled scene that we have done for 15 years now.

    Tonight, I am sitting at the table with a tenuous connection to you all via the Internet, but I have strong, strong connection to you in my heart and spirit.

    We have a type of Christmas every day here, but since this is still officially THE DAY. Merry Christmas you wonderful people. Haven and this blog were truly the gifts that kept giving this whole year. Value = priceless.

  57. I may have gotten the most unique gift although not as eminently enjoyable as Tony and the gang. My husband signed me up for “23 and Me”–the company that looks at your DNA and can find out anything you would ever want to know about your ancestry. You actually spit into a tube and send it to them. Imagine a world where all your history can be gleaned from your spit. I’m wondering if I should brush my teeth first. πŸ™‚

    ‘Night, all. It’s been an exhausting but lovely day.

  58. When I was in Peru, I went to a church in Lima. There, they had Mary at the top of what could best be described as a divine quartet, featuring Jesus, God and and the Holy Spirit. For fingers, Mary had long green neon tubes. It was quite impressive, and I boy was outside the church selling rosary beads and medals of various saints.

    I hated Christmas, too, until recently. I don’t know why this change has occurred. I think it is related to how I feel sometimes like crying at the sight of beauty and innocence and playfulness and earnestness when the early morning crowd at my church gathers around the altar and feeds each other communion as the kids crawl around.

  59. Tonight it is so clear and cold and still I can actually see the stars reflected in the cove…

    oh…nevermind….it’s the lights from the house across the water.

  60. …I don’t mind keeping watch over this blog by night,

  61. I love reading about everyone’s love and joy today. Haven’ you’ve got to show us that diptych for John that Sher made ~ pictures please!

    Suzanne, I couldn’t be happier about your loving your Garland of Joy, and I got an enthusiastic email from Haven too. I am glowing.

    Vanessa, that 23 & Me sounds very interesting. I hope you fill us in on the details. What a unique and informative gift. Much better than owning your own star, imo.

    Ghetto Girl, do you ever sing with Rock Band? I recently bought myself Lips for X-Box 360 because I really wanted Sing Star but we don’t have a Playstation system, so we’ve been singing with Lips for the past couple of days. It’s a new X-Box game so there aren’t a lot of songs like there are with Sing Star, but maybe they’ll add some. Or maybe I’ll just break down and buy myself a PS3 and some Sing Star disks. I’m not the best singer in the world but something about singing just sets my spirit free. Meanwhile I’m just okay on Rock Band guitar and hopeless on drums. Talk about uncoordinated.

    Happy Day After Christmas, everyone.

  62. ok, starters: haven, just always post something just perfect. i feel like i can always relate on some level…

    merry merry and happy happy christmas to all. and happy hanukkah as well. and of, course, happy new year! with the most sincere hopes for a happy, healthy new year. again, cliche (but cliches exist bc everyone says them, and if they don’t–the cliches def cross his/her mind). sweet dreams and happy thoughts these last days of 2008…i am off to guatemala very early on the 27th.

    i feel blessed with family and friends. i wish the same unique christmas/holiday happiness i feel. love, sweets (yum, yum) and hugs — couldn’t be cheesier, but man o man, i love this holiday.

    sending blessings filled with warmth to all the blog babies, haven you get a really meaningful cyber hug, and mother delonda has been being showered with cyber kisses for days.

    love love, hope to stop in via GUATE. xoxoxoxoxo, steph

  63. HAVEN: I have spent days thinking about the concept of fleecing God…days. I have considered it from about every angle that I can conceive of. What I am left with is that it is the most sacramental element of worship and fascination with that which is divine. I also believe that Gideon got a good night’s sleep while waiting for the dew to fall. BOTH nights, in fact.

  64. Steph: hope you SO enjoy Guatemala and come home changed by it. I will never, ever forget being up on Temple 4 in Tikal. I will never, ever forget the scream of the howler monkeys.

  65. It’s midnight. Happy Day After Christmas.

  66. Cake: so good to see you here…I hope you day was gorgeous and I hope you feel enveloped in love. I can see you at your computer now as your family sleeps — they enveloped and drenched in the love you so obviously showered on them. Thanks for your message last night. I saw it on my BBerry. I wasn’t able to visit here until just a while ago when I found this wireless network floating around that I could piggyback onto. I called my Mom in Evansville…I know you had a gorgeous day.

  67. Suzanne and Diane:

    Thanks so much for your poems you posted…


    What you posted left me dumbstruck. That last stanza is beyond perfect.

  68. How Lovely, Evansville Uncle George! We did have a mostly a wonderful day. Hugh and I were up literally all night setting up for today and so we are rather tired and going to bed soon, but I do love to connect with the blog babies!

    Bless all of you dear, sweet people.

  69. Post Christmas thought:

    I was listening to Winter Wonderland a while ago and the verse came up:

    …to face unafraid, the plans that we made…
    walking in a winter wonderland

    Isn’t that a beautiful line?

  70. I’m off to bed, too. I wanted—NEEDED—to check in.

  71. Hello dear friends –

    I have been having a great few days with my in-laws who just left. We had a wonderful, quiet day yesterday: no cow problems, relatively cooperative weather.

    I received three new books from the Loyola Classics series (Catholic literary texts) including one about an Ojibway reservation in Northern Minnesota. The book looks wonderfully snowy. Another was by Rumer Godden (Jodi, I know you’re a fan).

    Other new stuff: an incredibly cute chinchilla for Youngest, shaving supplies for Eldest (yikes!), an I-Pod nano 4th generation black and silver for Middle.

    Steph – Have a great time in Guatemala. My in-laws have stayed many times in Anguilla, at the Thye House? Maybe you know of it since Anguilla is tiny.

    Jason – I look forward to seeing your Yeats drawing.

    Suzanne – I hope you did not yet read the essay I sent a few days ago – I just sent one that I actually PROOF-READ for odd pronouns (thanks to Molly)

    Molly – I’m in the midst of a longish e-mail to you. I have to go shower because I am covering with calf … droppings.

    G from G – Thanks for the Aspie vibes. My Aspie husband ordered himself hip waders and then told me they could be from me.
    This is not as bad as my older brother, who used to buy all his own gifts, wrap them, and then open Dan’s Gift Shop in his bedroom. I could go to his room, tell him how much I wanted to spend on him, and he would hand me a gift. All I had to do was fill in the FROM blank. He was happy. I was happy. But something didn’t seem quite right about it.

    George – Enjoy the Cape. I love New England. When I heard Marilynne Robinson speak (AT THE CALVIN FESTIVAL), she said she got stuck in a hotel on the Cape for a few days, so she sat down and wrote the first 50 pages of Gilead. So do not be surprised if the muse visits.

    I am working on a holiday gift to the blog which I should have finished today. I will let you know when it’s done.

    Hi Haven, our most gracious and wonderful of hostesses! I am rereading The Used World – loving it even more this time through.

  72. Polly – We don’t have Rock Band, but I have sung @ my friends house on her Singstar and that was a blast. I have an old karaoke machine, but the songs are so outdated … I refuse to sing “Baby Hit Me One More Time!”

    Maureen – I think your brother is great! I buy and wrap my own gifts, always. I like knowing what I’m getting, as I hate acting fake and pretending I like something. I think I’m becoming a little Aspie myself.

  73. What I got from Polly will make me start to cry if I describe it. Oh, you can’t see me, so what the hell. She took all the photos of my friends and family, all of those of Orri, John and the baby, EVERYONE, Delonda with Gus, and turned them all into Christmas ornaments. See, now I have to sign off because I’m crying again.

  74. Hello all! I am at work today, but at the moment I am eating some turkey rice soup that I made last night with what was left of the bird. Yummy.

    It is very quiet here. But I am not the only one working. Since Vanderbilt has a medical center, which of course is open 24/7 year round, we do not get the day after xmas off as a holiday.

    I hope you all are enjoying your day. I am grateful for the gift of all of you as this year comes to a close.


  75. Happy Boxing Day, everyone! As you know, this tradition was begun by the British as a way to deplete the leftover frustration of the whole Christmas season. So it’s okay to put on the gloves and swing away at anyone on Boxing Day!

  76. It’s also the Feast Day of St. Stephen, the protomartyr of the Catholic Church. As in,
    “Good King Wenceslaus looked out
    On the feast of Stephen,
    When the snow lay ’round about,
    Deep and crisp and even.”

    That verse confounded me for decades until I taught at a parochial school and learned what feast days are.

    Stephen was killed by stoning in the year 35, by a crowd tired of hearing him drone on and on about his beliefs. Stephen is today beleaguered as the patron saint of stonemasons, rock bands, and daughters-in-law.

    Rock on wit’cher bad self, Stephen. Rock on.

  77. I played that song on the glockenspiel in school in 6th grade. Hmm, that would have been Christmas of 1971 I believe. Just a few years ago. No, I don’t play anymore. I know, wasted talent. Alas.

  78. Why am I still at work? I did some actual work earlier, but now my legs are stiff, my butt hurts from sitting, my right hand is tingling. Oh, and on a totally unrelated note I had a dream last night that I was dating Mike Douglas. Yes, the talk show host of the 70s. It was the 70s wasn’t it? How random is that?

  79. Happy Happy to hear from Haven again…my thoughts dance around you all day during all my mundane activities, wishing you and yours wellness.
    Happy Day after Mithras blog babies, I have missed you all…I have been driving aimlessly (no kidding) around town listening to my NEW audio of ZIPPY that santa gave me for a present plus COUCH!! also. I need to go on a long road trip. ‘course I can listen to it at work on my computer with my earphones when I get back but I don’t think I can wait that long.
    Have been saying my prayers of all kinds for all you kind babies and your babies…our babies here are all the furry kind yet and I envy you with the human ones. Give them hugs from me and snuzzle their necks.
    “a book of myths
    in which
    our names do not appear”
    Oh Man, I loved that one a lot…I can do art with that and I think I will.
    My lovely brother is here visiting us from Virginia. He works for the ‘No Such Agency’ and is on his way to England. The good news is, I get to go visit him there. He made us a roast suckling pig. I couldn’t look at it, but I did eat from the platter. (Is that some kind of metaphor?)
    Please continue to have some family time with those you love and report it here…this year definately NEEDS to end with love.
    xxxooo y’all.

  80. By the way…LOVED the picture…Rest on the flight into egypt…had to google image it….SIGH. Fit the poem, too….also have always loved the slouching toward Bethlehem one, and now Gerald Stern Rocks!! Thank you guys so much for increasing my appreciation of poetry past the freshman literature stage.
    Off to the folk’s house for after christmas dinner leftovers and a movie…probably something irreverant like Run Fatboy Run if brother has his say, which is fine by me. Y’all enjoy!
    {{hugs to all}}

  81. Haven, I’m so tickled you love the ornies! I loved making them for you and your family. George, I love Winter Wonderland too. It evokes such lovely images with its simple lyrics…the quintessential winter/holiday song.


    Questions and Answers about the Diptych Series . . . UNEARTH/Excavations.

    I had the most lovely Day yesterday. Because I have given up doing what I ought to do, and I answer with authenticity and do what I want (or don’t do what I don’t want to do) and I feel so peaceful.

    Don and I were home alone with Claire. We played Yahtzee, Spirograph, cards, phase 10 and colored. napped. ate hibachi at a restaurant. napped some more.

    gloriously peaceful.

    still turning down social events. Just feeling homebody.

    I am headed back for more family time, but wanted to acknowledge the beautiful and graceful posts and compliments.

    Love you ALL. I have more to share, but I need to gather my errant thoughts and visit again later.

  83. I love it that most of you on here are crafty. I am not. Rather, I do not try. I am excited to see pictures of these ornaments. Wow, Polly, what a nice thing to send Haven.

  84. Polly. What a precious thing to make!!

  85. Polly: you are a gorgeous ornament of yourself!

  86. …just a short check-in…this connection seems to work best after midnight. Oh, Haven, it was good to seek you peek in! Sending good strong thoughts your way.

    Ok, time to return to The Sparrow.

    Love to you all.

  87. … And we just had a (minor) earthquake, with preliminary reports putting it at 3.3 on the Richter scale. The whole house shook. My younger son said it felt like a monster was walking on the house.

    Me, I thought it was the furnace.

    – Sarah

  88. Sarah –
    Wow, an earthquake!
    Your son’s comment reminds me of when my middle son was about four and was playing with his Legos by a large window in our livingroom. Of all strange things, some guy’s entire wheel flew off his car as he drove by and it hit our house exactly two inches to the left of the window. Inside, it blew out the plaster and jarred the window frame and that broke the window, though nothing hit my son. He flew out the back door to find my husband, who was already running to the house. Tristan said “I thought it was Afghanistan!”

    Sher –
    That diptych is truly exquisite. Right now I am sitting at my writing desk looking at My Solitude. I plan to creep off for an overnight to my favorite retreat house for my end-of-year reflection. I think I will have to take “My Solitude” along with me! It refocuses me every time I look at it.

  89. i like the idea of a weekend of solitude and refocus. I wonder if I would get antsy in my aloneness and call someone on the cellphone or troll the Internet?

  90. Sarah, we had an earthquake around the same time, in northeastern PA. Where are you? Our whole house shook and it made a loud BOOM. I’m always nervous, waiting for the next tremor, but no others followed this time.

    Maureen, that story about Dan’s Gift Shop is hilarious. That’s such an Aspergian thing to do. Here’s another. One time when he was in ninth grade my brother decided he was going to write a questionaire and give it to everyone he knew to find out why people didn’t like him and thought he was strange. I suggested he not follow through with his plan because it only would’ve made people dislike him more and think he was stranger. He had no idea how to look into people’s faces or listen to their voices to read their feelings and reactions to him.

  91. Maureen,

    Great story. My son isn’t little anymore, so his description stood out to me all the more. I also agree with him. There be monsters afoot.

    Polly, I wonder how most of us would fare, handing out such a questionnaire as your brother proposed?! I’m glad you dissuaded him. Oh, and: same earthquake; I’m in Lancaster County. Yes, the world just got smaller!

    Molly, thanks for recommending “6 to 8 Black Men.” I unexpectedly (but happily) found myself in a bookstore the day you wrote about that chapter, and took your advice. Oh, did that make me laugh. I’ve since found it online here:

    (There are also YouTube videos and audio offerings online, but I like the text version best.)

    Among many choices, this was my favorite line:
    “It’s nothing I’d want for myself, but I suppose it’s fine for those who prefer food and family to things of real value.”

    We had a very peaceful day here on Thursday, one filled with good things yet without exclamation points. I am grateful.

    ~ Sarah

  92. Sarah, my husband Ken grew up in Lancaster and went to school in Manheim Township. Small world indeed.

  93. Sher…loved the encaustic…especially the rocks and mica worked so well together. Lovely lovely.

    Also, the 6 to 8 black men made me laugh….like they didn’t have enough time to get an accurate count? Loved that part too.

    Gotta go think up something good for supper…I promised the family Moussaka, which I have only made once before and am feeling a mite intimidated. Just a mite. But the recipe calls for red wine, so I’ll have some of that first.

  94. Polly and Sarah- I grew up in Doylestown, PA, in Bucks County. My sister still lives up there in Perkasie. Bryn Mawr is one of my daughter’s college choices, so if she gets in, is offered enough aid, and decides to go there we might be frequenting the old stomping grounds next year. πŸ™‚

  95. oh, dear – I am frittering away more time . . . I slept 12 hours (miraculous) and just replied to some emails I had received a month ago – people want to know where I have been – I think, well you can check my blog or Haven’s blog, because those would be my ‘trail’ . . .

    getting ready for more company tonight and tomorrow . . .

    I have decided to not read the last chapter of books that are freaking me out . . . it can be a good author but I am just pissed at the last chapters . . . I will still, however, read the last chapters of Haven’s work.

    I did manage to read 3 books this week, but have gift certificates to book stores and I can’t wait to print out my ‘blog baby recommendation list’ and hit the store.

    Miss you all.

  96. Back from the traveling, parents back and forth, icy road, Northern Indiana, too many cookies, too loud televisions, not enough reading light, tired, tired, tired…I love you all!!
    Glad to be back!

  97. Kat and I love to quote, from Six to Eight Black Men, “Santa doesn’t HAVE another job.”

  98. There’s also, “Santa doesn’t SPEAK Spanish.”

  99. “Saint Nicholas would kick you?”

    “Well, not anymore,” Oscar said. “Now he just pretends to kick you.”

    “And the six to eight black men?”

    “Them, too.”

    I’d forgotten about this gem. What a good laugh before bed.

  100. “You might want to pack a few things because the former bishop of Turkey will be coming tonight…”
    I might be waaaaay off the quote but I am gigling just the same.
    G’Night friends

  101. Giggling…two g’s stupid.

  102. Just played hours of Wii Fit and am now, 2 a.m., wide awake . . .

    anybody out there??

  103. Hi Friends!

    A real blast from the past last night. I had forgotten what I had put in my Netflix queue, but Meatballs arrived yesterday and we watched it last night. Bill Murray as Tripper, outrageous camp activities director, Spaz, Sprocket and Candace, knee-high striped tube socks, the whole late-70s Gestalt.

    I had completely forgotten Chris Makepeace, teen heartthrob, and the classic David Naughton song “Makin’ It”:

    I’m solid gold
    I’ve got the goods
    They stand when I walk
    Through the neighborhoods

    I’m makin’ it
    I’ve got the chance, I’m takin’ it
    No more, (clap! clap!) no more, Fakin’ it
    This time in life, I’m makin’ it (ooo)

    A true coming-of-age film for me. I thought my brother WAS Bill Murray at the time. Anybody else remember this one?

    I am rereading The Used World and am in love with Claudia.

  104. Good morning. Oh my how I am enjoying Owen Meany. I read it for about 3 hours yesterday. Maybe we can circle back around and considering talking about it sometime in 2009.

    Off to a service of Lessons and Carols at church.

  105. Amy of the Evangelical-Tolle spectrum,

    I just thought of another title that might be of interest: So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore, by Jake Colson. This one doesn’t address challenges to the ol’ brainpan, but I think you might recognize some of the dynamics explored. “Jake Colson” is a pseudonym for two authors who wrote the book together. The story often feels quite contrived (especially towards the end), but having read some of the one author’s non-fiction works I appreciate what he was able to pull off in fiction form. I’ve welcomed the meditations prompted by the book.
    His (Jacobson’s) explanatory FAQ is here:

    (Warning, if that link works properly, it will result in a direct download of Jacobson’s article in .pdf form, “Why I Don’t Go To Church Anymore”.)

    Maureen, some of my kids stumbled upon Meatballs not too long ago. I admitted to -0- recognition of anything on the screen. Unfortunately, they’ve seen pictures.

    Oh, and I followed Amanda’s earlier link to Haven’s Iodine interview, and learned that Haven says “The Used World” differently than I do. I was going to say she says it “wrong”, then upgraded it to “She says ‘The Used World’ funny,” but have edited it to the above, lest the tomatoes start flying.

    ~ Sarah

  106. Linda – I hopefully have A Prayer for Owen Meany on its way to me through interlibrary loan. I would be up for a discussion at some point.

  107. “I think that history has proved that something usually comes BETWEEN slavery and friendship…”

    “Listen, you might want to pack a few of your things together before going to bed. the former bishop of Turkey will be coming tonight along with six to eight black men. They might put some candy in your shoes, they might stuff you into a sack and take you to Spain, or they might just pretend to kick you. We don’t know for usre, but we want to you to be prepared.”

    Love to you all! Glad to know the story could put a smile on your faces. πŸ™‚

  108. Owen Meany. God. Okay. I give in. I will get it from the library. I received zippo in the form of book store gift certificates so I’ll have to settle for borrowing.

    Sarah–I thought it was your furnace too. πŸ™‚

    Maureen–THANK YOU for your email. I will respond to you soon. I got caught up in stuff.

    Dad made manacotti for dinner. Smells delish. Gotta run for now!

  109. Maureen,

    Thanks for recommending the Susan Cooper book. It’s easy to visualize the story from her writing, and her imagination is wondrous. Just right for a winter afternoon.

    As for reading Owen Meany — George and I agreed the first time the group discussed it that we can’t get through it. The story is so manipulated, so non-organic. Irving makes up crazy people and situations to fit standard mythos. I don’t see that as inspired, let alone interesting. I don’t speak for George — myself, I’ll be waiting for the NEXT selection.

  110. Molly – Enjoy the manicotti. Andy is making smoked venison ribs. They smell outrageous.
    Glad you said thanks for the e-mail. I almost retracted it, fearing I was on my protect-my-sister soapbox and had overstepped my boundaries.

    Documentary update: I am still on the trail of “Cell Block Scholars.” I heard back from the film-maker who is now retired and referred me to some other folks at Ball State, probably on vacation, whom I have e-mailed. I will keep you posted. I am sure I will hear back.

  111. Hi Jodi!
    Glad you are enjoying the Susan Cooper. It’s part of a five-book series, all good, but The Dark is Rising is the best.
    I have so forgotten that I am a teacher right now, though I just got an e-mail from one of my students. I am giving myself permission to completely forget until Friday. Then I’ll start with the stressing and the anxiety dreams. It’s fun to pretend I’m a stay-at-home farm wife for a few weeks.

  112. Maureen,

    The goal of vacation is to forget work. You go, girl! =0)

  113. BABIES?

    haven has a HATEFUL lingering migraine. she’s been very logy. so she’s been resting and trying not to move her head too much. i gave her my usual bossy unsolicited advice, and she’s putting Scott on the case to find her a good GP near her who can remedy the situation. i also instructed her to go to the ER tonight if it worsens, and get a shot of Demerol. my ex did that twice w/ migraines. it was over in a heartbeat. Demerol crushes Migraine in one swift round. also, if you take a Vicodin as soon as you feel a migraine coming on, you can often nip it in the bud. longsuffering Quaker or not, i told her to get that migraine gone. period. if i am wrong, i will eat my hat.

    watching haven like the proverbial hawk, while Scott will take care of all the legwork and errand-running.


    so just continue to shower her with praise, love and gifts and all will be well.


  114. SFC-What a wonderful friend you are to Miss Haven.
    Maureen, I have been munching on venison jerky all day like it’s my j-o-b. I bet the ribs are tasty.
    Getting ready to take a bath, put on my new GAP doggy flannel pj’s and crack open The Shipping News. If only I didnt have to work tomorrow, this would be a perfect evening:)

  115. Oi. Does Haven not have her own GP? I will light a candle for you, H.

    Maureen, one of my best friends came into town yesterday with her husband and baby (I’m the godmother!!!!!) so I spent all of yesterday rolling around on a floor with an 8 month old and holding hands with one of my best girls. πŸ™‚ The day before was spent in bed, hiding. No computers. But everything is fine, and I do, truly, appreciate the feedback and advice. If I ever need a Clearness/Clarity committee, I’d ask you to be on it.

  116. Quiet out here tonight. Hope everyone’s doing well. I’m oogling Nikki Sixx currently. There’s something so wonderful about him. I love me some Heroin Diaries. πŸ™‚

  117. Dearest Sarah, thank you for the ‘Jake Colson’ book recommendation. I read the article and found his website to be most interesting.

    I’ve figured out what my problem is with most denominational churches. It’s the absolute moral certainty of belief in the detailed minutae of their credo. And their willingness to use those beliefs to exclude and condemn others.

    Remember the game where you name any 5 people to invite for dinner (present or historical)? I think CS Lewis would be on my list, assuming that Jesus couldn’t make it on account of non-conformance to the strict definition of being mortal.

    I will have to think about the other invitees.

  118. What a great question. CS Lewis is a great choice, and I need a copy of Mere Christianity. I hear it is wonderful in making Catholocism make more sense. I think I’d also like to add Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift to the mix. And also Nabokov. And Churchill. Oh, drat. That brings me to five in no time.

    I’d also like to have some time with Thomas Aquinas. I need him to straighten some stuff out for me. πŸ™‚ And haven of course. And Suzanne and Jim Shoe and George. Oh dear. How about this: all the blog babies would be there AS WELL AS their top 5 choices? This would prolly work out great, as I’m sure several of us would want some of the same people. It wouldn’t be too crowded at all.

  119. Jodi, I read Owen Meany in anticipation of our discussion and then found out we weren’t discussing it. I think I’m probably still outvoted but I really enjoyed it. So what if it was far-out and contrived. I just gave myself up to the experience and went with it and had a lot of funin the process.

    Maureen, please do keep us posted about the documentary. Would love to see it.

    SFC, thanks for keeping us updated on our dear Haven. I hope she babies her noggin. I always wish I was closer to her so I could go over and cook or clean or something.

    Hugs to all BBs, goodnight.

  120. Note to all migraine sufferers (FROM one)
    I swear by Imitrex. I would gladly do a commercial for this medicine. Takes mine away in twenty minutes. GONE.

    George – I started The Sparrow last night and got sucked right in. I am at the part where they just moved Sandoz to Naples and he did that thing with throwing the rocks. Love all the interesting characters: Anne and Sofia especially. I’m just wanting, of course, to know what happened on Rakhat.

    Haven, I know your pain – I truly do. Get better. I am telling those blood vessels to just get back down to size.

  121. Thanks, Polly. I feel the same way about Owen. I am not sure what organic or inorganic writing is, I just know that as I get further into the book (I only have about 100 pages left) I am amazed at how so many things resonate with me. I am not as well read as many of you so I have questions about some references. Maybe it is that I spent my growing up summers at Rye Beach- actually my father spent summers there as a boy with his aunt in the late 30s and 40s – so many of the references are clear pictures in my head and that is interesting to me. Plus, Haven suggested this book in the first place so there must be something to it. I would not have even thought to pick it up if not for Haven’s suggestion.

    Well, I have to work today so I best be getting on. Have a wonderful day everyone as this year comes to a close.

  122. Polly and Linda,

    I’m glad you like “Owen Meany.” Isn’t that what discussions are all about — different opinions?

    To me, the story is un-natural (which is what I meant by ‘inorganic’): it’s contrived to mimic the story of Christ so overtly that it’s more of a cartoon. For example, all of Owen’s speech is in capital letters, mimicking Jesus’ words in the red-letter New Testament. The final scene imitates the Pieta to me in a garish manner. Owen was so freaky that I didn’t care what happened to him, as long as he disappeared, and my respect for the narrator dwindled quickly as he continued to tolerate Owen, the Meany.

    What did you think about it?

  123. As I was cleaning today I found my copy of “The Relation of Creativity and Anxiety” from the Journal of Religion and Health. The writer provides a literature review of thinkers and researchers who have looked at this issue from theological-philosphical and psychological perspectives. At the end he proposes a synthesis.

    Since so many of us seem to deal with the overlap of anxiety, creativity, and spirituality, I thought it might be of interest. It cost me $35 from Springerlink – you can’t find it on-line because it’s from 1970-something, so if anyone would like a copy, send me your mailing address:

    Ciao! I have to go do yucky accounting.

  124. Good morning babies!

    Maureen: I went to sleep last night still vibrating from a 500-mile drive from Cape Cod to Virginia and with a copy of The Sparrow on my belly. didn’t get too far into it, but as slow a reader as I am, you’ll probably pass me up. It is a great read. What really captures my imagination is how the author is taking great pains to make sure the storyline adheres to the physics of intergalactic travel.

    Which is something I cannot say about Owen Meany.

    I tried last fall giving it another shot and I couldn’t get into it. I found myself chucking it in favor of kitchen-cleaning-closet-arranging articles from Real Simple magazine.

    I’m with Miss Jodi, realizing, of course, that others may love it.

    Is the blog thinking about a book discussion?

    C.S. Lewis would be a great author. Has anyone read his book, Surprised by Joy?

  125. George,

    I’m chuckling over your Owen Meany comment: “I couldn’t get into it. I found myself chucking it in favor of kitchen-cleaning-closet-arranging articles from Real Simple magazine.”

  126. I am alive – I’ve been restraining myself and delving back into some neglected projects: my husband, my 6 year old, my house, my cat, my sister and her family, and the still not wholly organized studio.

    Plus: I have read 5 books in the last week. That feels good even if they were not stellar books. I am unhappy with several last chapters, so if it is a toss up, I don’t read the last chapters now (exclude Wally Lamb and Kimmel).

    I have been listening to IODINE on audio. That is a major revelation(s). I actually want to go back to that discussion at some point.

    REALLY enjoyed Haven’s suggestion of Walking Through Walls by Philip Smith.

    Carolyn Chutes: Egypt, Maine books (she has a new one coming out so I wanted to get caught up).

    Read some diaries of Oregon Trail ( one of my childhood favorite subjects) and did some heavy art criticism . . . so I think I am actually back in the swing of reading again.

    Claire converted her 2 cousins (ages 7 & 4) into Zippy fans and they listened to it as the fell asleep two nights . . . it is so eerie, in a way, to walk down the hallway and hear Haven’s voice . . . one upstairs and one in the basement studio . . .

    Migraines: solo mio. I used imitrex for years, but have switched ti FROVA and as long as I take a sleeping pill (Ambien) once or twice a week to get some sleep, I seem to have gotten them under control. They are extremely debilitating – my sister and birth father also suffer from them and we each have our own rituals for treatment. I am allergic to lots of the traditional treatments . . . I used to crave a dark cave and complete hibernation.

    Go for the drugs!

  127. Amy (but not Amy-in-Ohio)???

    Dead on on the demoninational assessment. All I can say, is – exactly!!!!

  128. Molly bug, I love me some Nikki Sixx…The Heroine Diaries and Dirt are two of my guiltiest pleasures:~)

  129. I also had killer migraines, starting when I was fifty. They came out of nowhere and the first time I had one I thought I might be having a heart attack because my chest got all tight and I couldn’t breathe. I actually went to the emergency room and they told me I was having a migraine. I don’t remember the name of my exact kind of migraine but there was always a specific progression: Tight chest, then projectile vomiting, then the headache to end all headaches. I would be bedridden and unable to move and all sounds would be nauseatingly overwhelming. Then I found an article online that connected the late onset of migraines to menopause, and I had also become a raging bitch, so I started taking PremPro (estrogen,) and lo and behold, no more bitchiness, no more migraines. After two years I weaned off the PremPro and now I am hunky dory again. (I realize our Haven’s a little too young for menopause, but maybe this info will help some of our other BBs.)

    I actually became attached to Owen, despite his unpleasant voice and Meaniness. I found it refreshing to read about such an unattractive protagonist. I did find all the clues and references to his impending death to be rather annoying but I thought it was hilarious that he was hung like a horse. I think it was probably a lot of fun to write. But hey, that’s just me.

    I also am reading up a storm. Yesterday I tried to list all the books I read this year, which I plan to keep lists of in the future, and it was impossible to remember them all. I usually read two or three a week and once in a while it may take me a week to read a book, depending on my schedule and the density of the book. I try to offset heavy with light. Last week I read Aug’s Dry again, and two David Sedaris books, and am currently reading Fay Weldon’s autobiography, Annie’s Day of Light (the memoir of an Amish woman, which is surprisingly good and very detailed about the plain way of life), and Don’t Sleep with a Bubba: Unless Your Eggs are in Wheelchairs. I usually only read one book at a time but I became overenthused during the Festivus holiday week and now I’m in the throes of a reading frenzy. I read in bed at night with a flashlight and my battery charger’s really been working overtime for the past week or so.

  130. I love me some Steven Tyler. I mean, can you imagine what kissing that mouth must be like? I’ll stop here before I get myself all in a tither.

  131. BTW Suzanne, I love the reference to you in Dry. You obsessed about your bangs even back then? Hilarious! I love it.

  132. Hi Sher (and others): I’m not Amy-in-Ohio although she is one of my favorite posters here. I’m just Amy (in California). You and I have conversed on the following topics: being brought up Baptist, my comments on your website about the amazing piece that depicted the child on the swing, and your kicky new hairdo. I’m the same Amy (and possibly the only poster here) that works in corporate business but much prefers the company of writers, artists and teachers here in Havenland.

    At one time I considered changing my identifier to Amy-in-California but figured that would just muddy the waters further by introducing yet another Amy.

  133. Polly,

    The “board game aficionado” thing– what are you guys playing these days?

    And (to all): is there a way to find/write to people off-blog, or is not having access to email addresses part of the Point?

    ~ Sarah

  134. Amy in California: I work in corporate-type of business, too, electricity to be specific.

  135. Hi Amy in California…it was nice being mistaken for you as you sound way more intelligent than I could ever hope to!
    I am an insurance adjuster so I am all over corporate business!!

  136. More thoughts on unrelated topics:

    George: I did read Surprised by Joy and loved it. Did you see Shadowlands? The only issue I have with CS Lewis for a book discussion is that his perspective is distinctly Christian and may not work for everyone?

    Migraines: I like Imitrex but experience mild side effects with it. I switched to Axert last year. It’s an expensive new-generation drug but you only need to take one one and WA-LA! no more pain.

    So-so Books: My technique is similar to Sher’s except that half-way through a mediocre book I’ll skip to the end and read only the last chapter. What most disturbs me is reading a good book with a bad ending. I can spend hours mentally rewriting the damn thing myself.

  137. Sarah, Santa got us this really coolio game for Festivus called Sequence, and we got the Jumbo edition which includes a large mat as a playing board. It’s very like Connect-4, only with cards instead of a standup gameboard. (I also highly recommend Connect4.)

    More later. Pateint just showed up.

  138. Amy – I just watched that Augusten Burroughs-John Elder on the tractor video. Thanks for that! My husband is also a tractor guy, though right now he is obsessed with drift fishing for salmon. John Elder really cracks me up – of course so does Augusten.

    This is cool: for all my fellow video game-fearing mothers. My son is playing Halo against his favorite cousin who lives hundreds of miles from here! That’s kind of cool.

    Off to town for a bit.

  139. Amy-in-Ohio: Woman, you write like a writer. And that sentence alone tells you why I’m not one.

    George: Nice try, but too many of us have read your work. I get it though. Electricity pays.

  140. Molly,

    I’d like to meet the Empress Theodora (the bearkeeper’s daughter), though probably not at dinner.

    In fact, as nice as it sounds in theory, I’m not sure a blog baby dinner would be a good idea. Because:

    ~ Sarah

  141. Amy & Amy-in-Ohio –

    I knew there were two and do recognize our different conversations, but I had made a note while reading the blog “Amy – yep on denominations!”, but couldn’t remember which Amy I had taken the note from . . . I should have backtracked and found it, but hey, I take notes to save time!

    now watching March of the Penguins with Claire and my art friend.

  142. Sher~
    I wish I had a Claire…somedays I am adamant on not having children and then I read the letter she wrote to Zippy and I think” How could I not experience that?”
    Ah, you have complimented me in the highest way and that now seals the deal that we are forever friends.
    Really enjoying the Shipping News..I was curled up last night reading it thinking, “this book is really effing depressing..yet I cannot stop reading it.”

  143. Amy(s)

    I loved March of the Penguins — especially the good press they lavished on the father penguins standing around all Antarctic winter long with an egg on their toes while wearing nothing but a tuxedo. Now, those guys are men!

    …and I thought Shipping News was one of the most remarkable books I had ever read from a stylistic point. She is one of the few writers who don’t throw verbs around. (Also, I lived a few years way up North where I was a newspaper reporter for The St. John Valley Times)

  144. Shipping News – loved it and I thought it was a great adaptation into a movie as well – and Kevin Spacey? Good casting. Reminded me of the book/movie adaptation of The Weight of Water . . .

    Now I have a napping art friend and Claire is off “zipping” around with friends – nothing wears her out . . . she was upset that some of the eggs died, but that is life, isn’t it?

    Myself, I would love to have some warm-weather penguins and have a farm . . . I think they would like the rock garden and creek.

  145. Sher: you amaze me, girl. where do you get your energy?

  146. Hi all –

    Amy – the great thing about The Shipping News is how she digs Quoyle out of that deep hole. Keep reading – you won’t have to wait long. One of my favorite books of all time!! Bar none. Top five, I dare say.

    I just ran a 5K on the treadmill while my son had swim practice. Gads! I had been running a lot last winter and then got plantar fasciitis and now I’m finally starting again with custom orthotics. Damn, I’m getting old! I feel like an enormous slow plodding lump. Put weight loss on the resolutions list.

    I’ve got sloppy Joes, a bath, and The Sparrow on my evening agenda. I’m plotting some kind of year-end reflection drinking beer or spiked eggnog kind of thing for tomorrow. I had hoped to sneak off to my favorite retreat center but they are closed for the holidays. My other choice is the hay mow (cold) or the HoJo (needlessly expensive). I could try closing my bedroom door and putting up a sign, but the screams of sibling fighting from below will penetrate the floor. Earplugs?

    Uh-oh. I just had a beer on a very empty stomach and am already tipsy. I am a VERY CHEAP DATE.

  147. Hi all!
    Going on record as saying I Loved Owen Meany and cried big tears at the end. Ah well….and as for C.S.Lewis Surprised By Joy, I was just infuriated almost all the way through…like the woman DESERVED the pain or it somehow PURIFIED her or something…see? I still get angry just thinking about it…and I liked Mere Christianity, I really did!!.
    Where is Kittery, by the way? I need her cooking advice! My family gave mixed reviews on the moussaka…some said not to make it again but then I only had these little bitty leftovers so either they were very very hungry or just liars. Mixed signals are so very mixed, aren’t they?
    As for migraines…I agree with the hormonal theory…mine all went away with a hysterectomy and prempro, too.
    Pobracita Pobracita Haven…sending hugs to you. Stay still in a dark room, but really…listen to SFC please. We love you.

  148. one glass of wine made me about pass out I am so tired . . .

    George, somedays I have to fake the energy. But then I go to bed, can’t get to sleep, so get up until 3 a.m. (like last night) . . . it is between 11pm – 4am that most of my real work gets done . . . I don’t know if that makes me stupid or just an opportunist?

  149. The thing I love about The Shipping News (and this tells you just how shallow I am) is they way each chapter begins with a knot description TAKEN FROM ANOTHER BOOK(!) that somehow ties in to the storyline. It’s a clever trick, a literary artifice and I KNOW it. I just can’t help myself, I get completely aflutter with admiration over the sheer cleverness of it all.

    Whitney Otto does the same thing and it’s probably one of the reasons I read everything she publishes.

    I think this somehow cheapens me, but I can’t find a way to rise above it.

  150. Oh Amy…I for one, love cheap.
    Whatever delights is good.

  151. I need a slap to the face, blog babies. 2 girls I used to live with are pregnant. I introduced one to her husband who was my ex-boyfriend’s best friend, and I DIDN’T GET INVITED TO THE WEDDING though my guy was the best man. The other girl I am not mad at anymore (Looooooong boring stupid story–wrong on both sides, and I hope we make up soon), but I am feeling jealousy in my mean, blackedened Grinch heart instead of happiness.

    It’s been almost 8 months since my boyf and I broke up, and I need to get the hell over it.

    Pity party of one, your table’s ready…

    What kind of mean-spirited person am I?

  152. Darling Molly you may just be . . . . human. If you have not yet stooped to wishing her baby ugly, do so now.

    There. Doesn’t that feel better?

  153. Oh, Amy. Thank you. Currently I am drinking “special” hot chocolate which has a certain amount of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum in it. That’s always good for a cold night.

    They can have pretty babies. But I’m wishing them lots and lots and lots of weight right now. I hope they crave ice cream their ENTIRE pregnancy and get fatfatfat.

    I do feel a litle better. Thank you.

  154. Good girl.

    You know one of my girlfriends had the most astonishingly ugly baby I actually recoiled when I was introduced to her. And I promise you, I do not shock easily. Head shaped like a trapezoid, and nose so big her father took to calling her Alfred as-in-Hitchcock. This story can only be told because today that little girl is fairy-tale beautiful.

    Rum and cocoa sounds quite good.

  155. LOVE that story, Amy.

    Rum and cocoa is good–especially when I made it with Swiss Miss but added a secret ingredient–2 heaping teaspoons of Disney World Candy Cane hot chocolate. It’s perfect.

    Sarah–I laaaaaaaaauuuugggghhhhhhhed when I clicked on the link. Of course, I LOVE dogs, and it would explain why I connect with so many people here…ahem…not that I am exposing my own
    canine-ity or anything (think basset hound!)…or calling anyone here a dog, though to be honest, i know many a person I’d trade for a loyal dog…

  156. So very tired. Good night, blog babies, and sweet dreams to you and your loved ones.

  157. Where are the guys in this blog? That’s what I want to know. OK, CS was a bit infuriating in Surprised by Joy…but when you let its title, taken from a poem by Wordsworth (Words-words my Brit lit prof called him) inform the rest of the text, then the book unfolds a little better. Maybe.

    Cannot tell you all how happy I am right this very minute to sit in my corner, this computer humming on the counter, the dogs at my feet licking their butts, a coffee on the counter cooling, an unfinished book awaiting me upstairs on the bed like an old, friendly lover.

    I am in thought-recovery mode. I am still thinking about my trip to Peru, which was followed by a family Christmas in Indiana, which was followed by another Christmas on Cape Cod.

  158. Sarah, your link was quite perfect timing .. I’ve been sitting here reading the new posts shoving potato chips and onion dip in my mouth.. I can actually feel my arteries hardening. Anyway, I sat here thinking, “I am a pig.” and then I saw the picture .. quite good. πŸ™‚

    George is recovering from his travels, I am wishing saggy, pitiful, post-pregnancy boobs for Molly’s friends (on Molly’s behalf, since she’s too nice to delight in such thoughts, lol), Haven’s recovering from migraines, Maureen is eating sloppy joes in the tub πŸ˜‰ how is everyone else?
    I’ve been cranky and Grinch-like (although I tried to keep it quiet on Christmas) since Christmas Eve (when I didn’t try to keep it quiet, hah). Vicodin, Aleve, staying up all night, sleeping all night – I’m a mess. An’ I don’t know why. 😦 Which is why I vacated my post as Friendly Neighborhood Chef for a few days. πŸ˜‰ But – I have two different (I think) recipes for Mousaka and I will help you if I can Brenda. πŸ™‚

    And … I love you all but I’m going back to my chips and dip. *muah πŸ˜‰

  159. My GOD. How is it I always have so many damn smileys? I feel like the village idiot who can’t speak properly and instead just wanders around with an asinine smile 24/7.


  160. thought recovery mode – George that is lovely and describes that ‘post-lifechanging trip’ feeling to a T . . . I still get goose bumps when I think about a certain locale – Sacred Mountain, Ravenna Cathedral, my first site and smell of an ocean, I think it is displacement??

  161. Kittery – now this is a great issue here, why do the cooks/bakers like to eat junk food, smoke, and drink – all which supposedly kill the taste buds (um, I don’t smoke, but most chefs -and doctors at er’s, do), ok, that is a generalization, but I SEE it a lot with my own 2 eyes, so it is my observation . . .

    for instance, as I am double dipping chicken breasts in quality cheeses and breadcrumbs I MADE . . . I am nibbling on – cinnamon toast crunch cereal OR – confession – fruit loops and I just CHUG the diet cokes . . .

    now the other night I made the BEST fried chicken, cream cheese mashed potatoes and homemade (not bisquick) country biscuits dipped in butter and honey and I ate SALAD (although my sister did buy the Tangy RED dressing from Monical’s pizza and gave it to me for christmas) . . .

    However, I love to eat my own leftovers – especially lasagna or cold fried chicken.

    We are a quandry.

  162. πŸ™‚ 😦 πŸ˜‰ testing smileys

  163. πŸ˜‰ i can do it, too, kittery! πŸ˜‰

  164. Yes, George, WHERE ARE OUR BOYS???

  165. Hahaha, I’m not normally like this. At all. As much as I HATE to use my mother’s cure-all excuse, I think it’s linked to the fact that I’ve eaten my weight in nut brittle (I don’t even like the shite normally!) and B&J ice cream … and that I was acting like House (I know you watch it Girl from the Ghetto, stick up for me!) popping Midol AND Vicodin at the same time and was still in tears. I think I need either, A: a lobotomy or B: a frigging hysterectomy. Too much information, I know…. But really, I’m not the chip snarfling type .. also, your cooking sounds really good. Really good. πŸ™‚

  166. Yay! Smiley solidarity! πŸ˜‰

  167. I hope you and your loved ones had a Merry Christmas. πŸ™‚

  168. Sher,

    Where does one purchase damar crystals? None of the art supply pr woodcraft stores here carry them.

  169. Morning all!

    My cat and dog (both keeping me company here) kept looking up as I guffawed aloud over all the comments since I was last on. I especially enjoyed the trapezoidal head.
    The sloppy Joes were extraordinary (Andy the Aspie chef made them: Do not cook for an Aspie. He won’t like anything you make anyway). I topped it off with spiked eggnog, a long soak in the tub and a few more chapters of Sparrow (Sofia just got freed, George. Where are you? Is this your friendly lover book? I loved that description. Actually, Mary Doria Russell is quite the hottie in person – rather Anne Edwards-like. Though she had her small doggie on her lap the entire time, with a rhinestone collar. She said she enjoys feeling like Britney Spears in this regard.)

    I am off to breakfast with my hubbie and to get a photo of the taxidermy lynx. Will post to Yahoo. The owner is not to be seen, so I have no price yet. Also still on the trail of the Delonda documentary.

  170. Oh hi Jodi!
    You posted while I was composing. You’re up early. Hard to break the teacher schedule, isn’t it.

  171. Kittery, I feel kind of cranky too. With me it is usually a “what goes up must come down” kind of thing and I was pretty up and happy on Xmas day. That was a good thing and I was glad of it. But now I am kind of blah. I am meeting my AA sponsor for coffee in an hour. We’ll see what is in store for me for the new year. I am looking forward to Friday because it is my annual pilgrimage to Montreat, North Carolina with the college students for 4 days. Driving with me will be very young, gay boyfriend, Luke, who is from Australia. He has the bluest eyes I have ever seen. His partner is from Toronto so together they make a lovely pair just to listen to. I am feeling better already just thinking about the mountains, hordes of interesting young people, blue eyes and an Australian accent. πŸ™‚


    Last night, before I did a little writing and crawled up to my bed for some reading of The Sparrow, I watched a fine little flick, Happy Go Lucky. I admired nearly every aspect of this movie. As for the movie itself, it was basically a series of episodes involving the main character, a 30-year-old British woman who is…well, terminally happy, cheerful, silly, brilliant, sassy, complicated. What I liked most about it is that while moviews have forever been great at exploring the dark side or heroic sides of human nature, few have successfully navigated the cheerful side. This notion of cheerfulness and happiness is different from comedy and can easily come apart in a narrative. I think that Forrest Gump was an attempt to explore cheerfulness, but it quickly fell apart in sentimentality. Movies that come close to the existential happiness I saw in Happy Go Lucky are films like Life is Beautiful or Zorba the Greek, possibly City of Joy and Little Miss Sunshine …maybe I will think of a couple of others. The genius of this movie is how the winsomeness of the main character is set within life as it is lived. Other movies exploring happiness do so by juxtaposing it as a countervailing emotion or response to some greater dark thing in the world, such as grinding urban poverty or fascism.

    So, bloggoes, blogginistas, bloggintoes, if you want to end this year or begin next year on an up beat, I think you won’t go wrong with Happy Go Lucky.

  173. …oh, I forgot, to say that the acting of the main character reminded me so much of Charlie Chaplin. She uses the devices of mockery and exaggeration and diminuation so perfectly.

  174. Jodi – it is frustrating, most normal art supply/craft stores do not carry the crystals . . . here is one of the places I buy from on-line:

    to crush them I place them in a tyvek envelope and beat it with a hammer on a firm surface . . . then hold it AWAY from your face and try not to breathe anything in, it is kind of dangerous like fiberglass if it gets in your lungs . . . I also try not to touch it . . .once it is powdery it is quickly melted into your heated beeswax (I am assuming that is what you might be doing) . . . for encaustics the “bible” is Joanne Mattera’s “the Art of Encaustic Painting”

    other stores that sell damar crystals: rfpaints, fineartsuppy, and daniel smith.

    Let me know if you have any more questions about it! Good Luck!

  175. George – – Life is Beautiful, Zorba the Greek, you are talking some of my favorite movies . . . will definitely find Happy Go Lucky for some viewing pleasure.

  176. “The thing I love about The Shipping News (and this tells you just how shallow I am) is they way each chapter begins with a knot description TAKEN FROM ANOTHER BOOK(!) that somehow ties in to the storyline. It’s a clever trick, a literary artifice and I KNOW it. I just can’t help myself, I get completely aflutter with admiration over the sheer cleverness of it all.”

    resenting what TSN does with knots is uppity, i think! i love you! and i love the way she uses the knots as a metaphor and goes to the experts instead of PRETENDING to know all about knowts and JAMMING it into the narrative. resenting the knots????well, to me that’s like hansel and grethel resenting breadcrumbs.

    the author did that in THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES and i loved it there as well. and i’m using that same “artifice” in my next book, entitled MATCHBOOK. so. YES YES YES YES.

    HAVEN? i hope you have a GP by now and i hope you’ve listened to all these migraine stories. the beatings will stop when your health improves…..


  177. AMY IN OHIO

    you are sooooooo going to have a baby.

    i’m a witch. ask haven. she’ll tell you. so, i know. you can resist it all you like, but start thinking about names.


  178. oh man, after several hours in the studio last night, I lulled myself to sleep by visualizing all the hotels we stayed at in Italy (this is similar to my ‘how were the houses decorated/laid-out insomnia remedy) . . . so I am having a wonderful dream about a spicy Italian who is giving me wine tastings and fixing me rocket salad and noodles and I hear the squeaky voice ‘Mommy, when are they getting here’ – reality, 6 year old desperate for her friends to come play . . . VERY early in the morning, now I get to survive on a 2 hour nap. and I’ll never know how the wine, noodles, salad, or spicy Italian turned out.

  179. PS TO AMY

    i like Rafael for a boy and Carmen for a girl.

    OH and i get to be godmother. i’m serious. nobody’s asked me to be a godmother , yet. so i’m available.

    pss i dont make a habit of urging women to have babies because that’s fascist. BUT i do make a habit of soothsaying.

  180. Sher,

    Thanks for the information!! =0)


  181. Anybody here have any resolutions for the new year?

  182. Suzanne: You left me laughing on your blog, girl.

    Sher: As you can see, I really liked that movie.

    Jodi: Just a big hello to you.

    Haven: Look for something in the mail to chase that headache away.

    Resolution: I think I am going to take up encaustic writing. Either that or the piano.

    Observation/Question: Today I put on a pair of pants that I haven’t worn in a long time. I found a golf tee in a pocket. Should I regard that as a turtle on a fencepost kind of thing and use the waning hours on 2008 playing golf on a freakishly warm day?

  183. Suzanne I swear to you right now that if ( or when) I have my child you will be the godmother. I too have never been asked to be a godmother or a maid of honor. Seriously?! All of my girlfriends have sisters and therefore they always get picked.
    And pssst…2 of my most favorite girl names have always been Caroline and Suzanna.
    I think I am just petrified I will be a terrible mother or what if I have a child who grows up to be a homocidal maniac and takes a gun to school.
    And there you have it folks…this is where the Zoloft comes into play. I am WORRYING ABOUT A CHILD I DONT EVEN HAVE!
    Ahh, there’s my resolution George..this year I will stop worrying so much.
    Here is my favorite bible verse
    Matthew 6:34
    Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
    Amy in O

  184. I am not making any resolutions. I figure I have my hands full with today. Can’t think about tomorrow or the next day.

  185. sfc: Irrational resentment is one of my specialties! Actually, I’m not sure I resent the knots so much as I’m disappointed that in a book this powerful the knots are what impress me. I feel the parrot who’s distracted by shiny objects.

    A-in-O: That may be one of the more profound verses in the Bible and one of the most difficult to execute. You must be Divine – I so needed that this morning.

  186. AmyO: Have you ever read Mad magazine? Its mascot was a character called Alfred E. Neuman and his slogan was: What, Me Worry? Just thinking of him as anti-anxiety archetype tended to banish worrying for me. But, being from Indiana, worrying does come pretty natural, so it is a tough thing to overcome.

    For Bible quotes, I have also liked Psalm 23 — especially the goodness and love closing lines which follow an unafraid person.

  187. Psalm 23, just beautiful.
    George, I am adopting that slogan this year!!!!
    Hoping to finish The Shipping News tonight, gads you people sure know what you are talking about, I love it!
    My amazon order should be here tomorrow and I am getting Solace of Leaving Early, cannot wait to start that!!!

  188. AmyO, here you go:

  189. George,

    I’ll study encaustics with you (maybe Sher will help us). And I’m a pianist by trade, so advice on that subject is free.

  190. Amy in O and Suzanne–I’d like a baby, too, please. πŸ™‚

    Resolution? That 2009 brings me options that I am brave enough to accept.

    I am also going to buy Iodine today. And some karaoke CDs for Amber’s New Year’s Eve party tomorrow night. πŸ™‚

    I love that quote about not worrying. I also like the part in the gospel of Mark when Peter walks on water to Jesus and starts to sink. It makes me feel better because Peter got to SEE everything Jesus did and STILL worried. That is me to a t. πŸ˜‰

    Kittery–I too love the emoticons. unfortunately, I can only do three.

    πŸ™‚ 😦 πŸ˜‰

  191. And I now have a new desktop background.
    Thank you George!
    Hey Molly, do you know what verse that is? I would love to read it.
    I have a confession…I tried to read Iodine and found it too painful. I had to put it away. I know I need to try it again. I did feel better when Sher said she almost threw up when she was listening to it. I didn’t feel like such a wimp.

  192. You did say that right Sher? Or am I imaging things?

  193. Amy-in-O –

    Yes, I definately almost threw up while listening to Iodine.

    And I did several times while reading it 3 times.

    In my original (pre-BlogBaby) review of the book, I say this: Iodine is a book to be endured.

    What I find most compelling (in the same way I find “citizen x” to be compelling, is that what is alluded to is not shown. It is a fact that the unnamed is more terrifying. So for me, some of the allusions took me flashback in time and made some skeletons grow back their skin.

    I no longer define books as good/bad/entertaining/fun . . . they either MOVE me in some metaphysical way or they do NOT – that movement/or reader activation can be any of the human emotions, but I need some movement, even if it is terrifying or pure hysteria . . . feeling nothingness, i.e., losing my humanity is my deepest fear. Of litereally losing my thinking mind and my feeling heart – because that is where the monster lies.

    So in this way of classification – Iodine is the most MOVING book I have ever endured.

    And I am better for it – because if this can also happen fictionally, than I am not alone.

  194. also, I have had milliseconds of time where I felt my soul slipping away, in much the way that Trace’s fades in and out (to which I have theories, but the effect is the same, whether or not I am right). Trace, unable to grapple emotionally/psychically with facts, allowed that empirical self to mutate – it is almost the same escapism I tried in suicide as a child. That crux of moment – – it is sustained throughout the book and it truly ripped me apart.

    The most ideal thing is that HAVEN left it authentically occuring, she didn’t try to literaryially(sp? or even a word) wrapped it in a bow or even untie a tight knot (deneoument) . . . she let it set there and marinate. I greatly admire that. Because I book can be MOVING and then a false ending can rob it of all its MOMENTUM . . . Why do authors carry that egg on a spoon for miles and then throw it in your face at the end – I feel like they are saying – you dummy, this is just a joke.

    I love symbols, archetypes, devices, anything whether subtle or unsubtle – – in art and in literature.

    GEORGE & JODI – I am so available for helping with your encaustic endeavors. I taught myself and it was confirmed two years later when I took a workshop that I knew what I was doing . . . should we do a weekend workshop here in Nashville??? That would be SO FUN. I am serious! Haven and anybody else can come and read aloud to us while we work, we can encase our writings into paintings . . . fun, fun, fun!

  195. Amy in O–Whoops. It was Matthew. Matthew 14:22-33. It makes me feel less bad for those days when I cannot feel the Lure.

    I’ve never had anything bad happen to me like in Iodine, and my heart goes out to those like Sher who have withstood such terror and hardship. It was a hard book to read. A very hard book to read. And there’s one part toward the end that was like a punch to the gut, though I won’t say what since we have a few who haven’t read it it yet. I want to find the audio but am going to have to really look as I can’t afford to buy it yet. Drat these Catholic school salaries!

    My father’s estranged sister is about to descend on us–quite unannounced–so I am going to keep my mother from going into a tailspin. Since she’s in a wheelchair, she leaves doughnuts on the hard wood, and I’d have to wax the floors again…. πŸ˜‰ Peace and love to you all!

  196. George–That golf tee is most assuredly a turtle on a fence post. Go play in the sunshine.

  197. Too late, my dear friend, it’s already dark…watch your inbox….

  198. Sher,

    What a generous invitation, to study encaustics with you!! (I used to live in Nashville, in the Hermitage area, and worked at Opryland when it was a park, not a mall!) Wouldn’t a weekend be FUN, just as you described??! You’re a sweet soul to make such a gracious offer. I’m not sure when it would fit into my working calendar … Maybe over summer vacation? =0) We’ll keep talking, okay? And George — you started this with your encaustic “writing” comment! Be careful what you wish for when you’re talking to Sher!!!



  199. Thanks Sher.
    The sad part is I didnt even get that far in the book to encounter anything is particular, I think it was the unexplanation of her friends dog being gone and then I was afraid something was going to happen to Weeds and…maybe I am afraid of what it will make me feel? Like Molly I too have no history of abuse thank the lord so if you are brave enough Sher, then I can be too.
    Notice the trend of innocent animals being harmed that can deter me so easily? Because if they animals get me that upset, then lordy what will happen when the human characters start to fall apart?

  200. Trace doesn’t know she is falling apart. We get to peek in through a microscope and she doesn’t even know we are there. The animals are totems and also symbols/dopplegangers of other characters/parties in the book. It is so bizarre because reading it was so different from listening to it.

    I am also overwhelmed at the fact that Haven got to just use ALL her intelligence and knowledge in this book, she didn’t have to hold back and I love the rants of deep thoughts/philosophy that Trace/Ianthe/and her others go off into. I usually try to keep my mouth shut so I don’t get that glazed over eyes responses . . . so as much as the book brought me to my knees, I was also jumping on a metaphorical trampoline cheering – – –

    all this intellect and I need to go corral some 6 year olds OUT of the creek . . . which is cold, WHY do they do this???? There is a croc floating done the creek now . . .

  201. Hi everyone –

    I just got back from running 347 errands. I have had several very Tasmanian Asperger’s days in a row here. Ugh. I am going to catch an asteroid to Rakhat and escape my household. I am actually starting to WANT school to be back in session. That’s not good.
    Do you think it’s safe to hitchhike to Nashville?

    George – Thanks for the nostalgic cartoon! My brother subscribed to Mad magazine for years. I don’t know how my mom allowed it. She wouldn’t let us watch The Three Stooges because she thought it was idiotic. Of course I snuck the copies whenever he was not home.

  202. Iodine was the first book by Haven that I did not zoom though and then re read right after I finished the first time. I am attempting a re-read starting tonight after work. I work afternoons as a computer tech. I dont have a computer at home 8 hours is enough every day for me. I have been away as of late whilst you all have been going on so ive missed a lot.

    I was snowmobiling in the great north woods of Michigan. I hope every one had a nice christmas.

    Haven I hope you are feeling better soon.
    Love to all
    Michael T

  203. Watching that inbox like a hawk, George. Like a hawk.

  204. Hello, all — a belated Merry Christmas and an early very Happy New Year! — We finally, after four days of rain, are able to navigate around the remaining snow. (This city is pitiful when it comes to snow management, pitiful, I tell you!). Power outage on Christmas morning and subsequent DSL with a pace as glacial as the melt, but all is well JUST in time to say I MISS you all, before I go up to the studio and torch whoo-hoo!

    Jerri, I got your package and your beautiful note and was in awe and in tears, too — snail mail on its way.

    Sher, here’s from the small world cavalcade: I was over at my friend Linny’s a few weeks ago, talking about encaustics (I’ve wanted to learn the medium since seeing an installation four years ago that was hundreds of small encaustics, playing card size, threaded into a curtain, as a comment on the lives lost in Iraq; then your gorgeous pieces brought that desire back up anew) — she handed me a book a friend of hers published — yes! Joanne’s! I imagine she will be gratified to hear of your referring to it as a “bible” — apparently it was quite a labor of love a-borning.

    George, you must someday give us an essay on what compels you to golf. I imagine its metaphysical aspects are not insignificant, though that said, I do think it is the bitch-man-ass-clown of games that will have even the finest, calmest golfer weeping in fetal position at least once. I’d love to know your take.

    And I was so over the moon to hear of Delonda’s better health. And oh so sorry to hear that Haven suffers migraines. I was fortunate to dodge the DNA that has my sister (and had my mother) regularly incapacitated by migraine. My mother had a chiropractic adjustment that completely cleared it up (and her sinus infections too), but it was so painful, she refused to go back. Of course, this was before Imitrex, which my sister swears by.

    Love you all, more in 2009!

  205. Yippee – another Boy rejoined us – – – I am on my last 2 discs of Iodine (listening 2 or 3 times each, taking notes) . . . I’m hoping I get it by the end of that, each minute I realize something else, it is bizarre that I get more out of hearing it than reading, I guess it might be easier to hear the big picture . . .

    just read Claire some “Little House in the Big Woods” and she thought the pig butchering was ‘weird’ – – – we have come so far, but necessarily better, from the life on the land with the food we eat, growing and catching it, what is the connection you get at the grocery store in its sterile light and packaging . . . I want some land

  206. ok – after fishing in the creek (for children, caught 3 and numerous shoes) and I taking my bonus anti-anxiety treatment, one glass of Italian red.

    10 breaths in, 50 million out

    Can’t believe I duel posted and missed Carrie, boo hoo . . . you know somebody who knows Joanne Mattera – – – I kid you not that IS my most read book in the house . . . anybody even slightly interested in encaustics must have it, even if you own an encaustic work you will appreciate it. It is the MOST frustrating, rewarding media I have ever worked with – – it is the one medium that has not bored me after I figure it out – it is limitless.

    In 25 minutes (at 10 eastern time) there is a documentary) NEW on PBS on Eddie Beale of the Grey Gardens Fame . . .

  207. Carrie–so glad to hear the package reached you. Happy, happy.

    Here’s my view of the golf thing, although George will undoubtedly speak for himself.

    In a research study, three groups of rats were put in cages with little bar-type levers. In one cage, each time the rats pushed the bar, it delivered a pellet treat. After a while, the rats got tired of the treats and quit pushing the bar. In one cage, no pellet treats were ever delivered no matter how often the rats pushed the bar. Quite soon, they ignored the bar completely. In the third, treats were delivered randomly–sometimes pushing the bar resulted in a treat, sometimes it resulted in nothing. Those rats never, ever stopped pushing the bar. Couldn’t keep their ratty little paws off the thing.

    Most golfers try to do exactly the same thing with each swing but hit a really good shot only once in a while. They can’t keep their ratty little paws off those clubs.

    And….well…there is that whole slow/fast, force/gentleness thing, too. I don’t love golf myself, but do realize it’s all about balance.

    Sure would love to hear your take, George.

    And Carrie–all blessings to you.

  208. Merry Christmas and Happy New Years, all! πŸ™‚

  209. Jerri – golfers = lab rats, it is the same with tennis!!! Good study!

  210. Hey Sher! Happy New Year to everyone. And dammit! Eli Stone just came on. Now, after what feels like an eternity away. The only TV I actually watch. See you all in an hour. Oh, yeah. Almost forgot. Sher, I put a link to your website on my blog. Hope you don’t mind. I talk about it all the time at work. (Your art, not my blog.)

  211. Four minutes! Missed by four minutes! Where did everyone go? Back in 21.

  212. JimShue–thought of you so often as I made sock monkey pajamas for my niece for Christmas. Hope yours was merry and bright.

  213. Very Merry and Bright. Spent time with the people I love and who love me back. Who could ask for a better Christmas than that?

    Plus, Michigan had a foot and a half of snow! Bonus! Glad we could get there to be with Robbie’s family. Indiana was just icy.

  214. “Spent time with the people I love and who love me back.”

    That’s one of the secrets of life, isn’t it?

  215. am I too late?/

  216. I mean really Jerri & Jim Shue show up while I am taking a bath, dropping my new Carolyn Chutes in the bubble bath, it is a travesty beyond all

  217. The travesty is that there aren’t hidden cameras while you’re taking a bubble bath.

    “Naughty, wicked, little monkey!”

  218. Wow! I’ve never been the last one to bed and the first to come back. Hello? anyone? (tumbleweeds roll across the empty prairie as crickets chirp)

  219. Sher,

    It’s fascinating to hear you talk about making your encaustics: “It is the MOST frustrating, rewarding media I have ever worked with.” After spending lots of time on your website looking at all the encaustic works pictured, I’m more intrigued than ever.

    I just finished Carolyn Chute’s “Merry Men,” and am well into the new one, “The School on Heart’s Content Road.” I think Chute’s gift is describing lives that are so bleak in a way that keeps the reader thinking and laughing and involved in the turns of events. I read a few chapters of “The School,” then I have to temper it with something merrier. Which of her books are you reading, and what do you think?

  220. Hi Sock! Hi Jodi!
    We’re having a blizzard here, so we’re “hunkering down” for New Year’s Eve.
    Ow! Shoot, a snow-blown tumbleweed just whacked me in the face.

    I’m at my desk writing under Sher’s encaustic. I’m writing about the early years here on the farm, so I just changed my gravatar to Laura and Almanzo. We’ll see how long it takes to show up.

    What are you all up to today and tonight? My kids discovered a webcam for Times Square, so I think we’re going to celebrate Hogmanay and watch the ball drop by internet.

  221. Sniff. Where’d ya go?

  222. Hi Jim, hi everyone!
    Half day of work today, thank you lord!
    Fancy dinner out tonight with the fiance and maybe a movie afterwards? And I will get to work in a delicious nap after work today. I love to nap. Will check back in later. Be safe everyone!!!!

  223. Hi Amy!
    Have a quick work, a restful nap, and a delicious meal! George says to see “Happy Go Lucky”

  224. Yow! Watch out for the snow covered tumbleweeds.

  225. My beloved daughter is just now heading back to her home in Minnesota (I’m in Missouri). My beloved father is heading toward the Light (slowly, I hope). The new year is starting with good-byes.

    I keep thinking of Alice Walker’s The Way Forward Is with a Broken Heart, how the stories remind me that loss and love and life are inextricable. Every joyful moment comes at a price, and every difficult one pays some unimagined dividend.

    Gratitude is the only rational response.

  226. And keep an eye out fer cattle rustlers. They hide in drifts.

  227. Yeesh! I try to be funny and Jerri pops in with something profound. My hat’s off to you.

    “Every joyful moment comes at a price, and every difficult one pays some unimagined dividend.

    Gratitude is the only rational response.”

    Wonderful thing to remember in the coming year.

  228. Funny IS profound, Sock.

  229. Aw, Maureen,

    SORRY about the blizzard! It’s reassuring to know you have that generator outside your door in case of power outage — even if it is loud! We had no power for four days last week due to half-an-inch of ice coating everything here in northern Indiana. I hope you only need to hunker down for a short time and don’t become inconvenienced by the snow!

    Aren’t Sher’s encaustics fascinating? Yours is lovely — I’ve seen it on Sher’s website.

  230. Four days without power! Are you on NIPSCO? Ugh. I can tell you that the CEOs of the utilities my association represents have daily heartburn over reliability. This is no hype, but keeping lights on is their number one mission.


    Sher’s encaustics are fascinating…I love the idea of multi-dimensional, multi-media art like that.


    Jerri: I got tired last night and hit the sack. I will be sending you the email as promised.


  231. Jerri: “The new year is starting with good-byes.” How shockingly beautiful, dear. Let’s let one of those good-byes be said to the old fears and familiar doubts that hold us fast to what is when what we yearn for is a release into the world of what could be.

  232. “the world of what could be.”

    Now THAT’s shockingly beautiful.

  233. I concur. George, that was truly breathtaking.

  234. I’m partial to the Will-be that was:

    A song not for Now
    You need not put stay
    A tune for the Was
    Can be sung for Today
    The notes of the Does-not
    Will sound as the Does
    Today you can sing
    For the Will-be that was.

    (Walt Kelly)

    This piece of seeming-whimsy tears my heart.

    In other news, I try to wash our kitchen floor when it starts to pull our socks off. Today’s the day. I surely hope this doesn’t become a tradition.

    ~ Sarah

  235. George,

    NIPSCO is our gas supplier, but it was Indiana & Michigan Electric that let us down. It does my heart good to know that “keeping lights on is their number one mission.” The grid we happen to be on loses power two or three times annually. It’s annoying to drive through our addition and see lights on in nearby streets while ours were out.

    Thanks for your sympathy! =0) The good news is that, although our basement flooded as a result of the power outage, our insurance will be buying us lovely new carpeting to replace what was damaged.

  236. Hey again –
    I was out in the barn “moving dry cows” – the wet ones get to stand still πŸ™‚
    I managed to avoid most tumbleweeds and rustlers and the snow has stopped!

    George, we needed NIPSCO last night. At 7 PM our electricity went out. There was no wind, no snow, no ice. We knew it was a purposeful shut-off to fix something, but how long does one wait? Can’t they wait until the dairyfarmers are done milking? We waited five minutes and then got the tractor hooked up and switched over to the generator. In that period of time the barn went from 45 degrees (perfect for cows) to almost 80 degrees (very bad for cows). The generator ground away for about five minutes and then NYSEG returned. Better safe than sorry.
    Hey, I am to the point in The Sparrow where everybody is in the asteroid heading out (which happened rather abruptly, I thought). I really fear to find out what happened to Sandoz.

    Jerri – My thoughts are with you and your dad. It reminds me that I started typing up something for the blog and got distracted from it by Tasmanian episodes. I’ll get back on it today.

    Jim Shue of Sock Monkeyness – I don’t think I have yet told you how adorable your daughter is. But how could you not know? I also like your new avatar-gravatar. I am Laura and Almanzo on the cover of The First Four Year.

  237. Hi everyone. Quiet day at work today. I will probably get to leave a little early since so many people are going to watch Vanderbilt play Boston College in the Music City Bowl football game. Not me. My son will be there with his dad but I will just say a little cheer for them from my warm house. I am tired today. And achy. I finished reading Owen Meany last night. Now I need to digest all my feelings about it before I am ready to share about it.

    Thankfully I am going to the mountains of North Carolina on Friday for 4 days. I am taking three students with me. We are going to Montreat for the College Conference, the theme of which is Outrageous Generosity. Here is the link to it if anyone would like to read about it

    I love going there. The mountains are beautiful and it always gives me so much to think about and be grateful for. Several of you have mentioned gratitude and I agree that it is so important. I need to always keep it in the front of my mind and heart so I don’t allow my self to wallow in self-pity. Today I am very grateful for so many things.

  238. Sarah – “In other news, I try to wash our kitchen floor when it starts to pull our socks off. Today’s the day. I surely hope this doesn’t become a tradition.” LOL! I’m not alone!

    One day when the kids were just barely old enough to be alone in the house, Andy and I were both in the barn. When we came into the house, the boys had poured a gallon of maple syrup on the kitchen floor and were skating in it! We didn’t know whether to laugh or to yell. I think we went with laughing.

  239. Maureen: you are catching up to me. I am at the point where they have landed on the planet. This book is getting better and better by the page!

    Your outage yesterday could have been “planned.” My association represents electric cooperatives across the country. We have some co-ops that cover areas larger in size that the state of Connecticut. I have only been with these guys for six years, but I have learned a whole lot about electricity and the grid. It’s pretty fascinating…but I am still more fascinated with a pretty turn of phrase or a writer showing me a situation or person completely out of my own experience or expectation.

    Hi JimShue!

  240. Hey George. Just popping in and out today. Trying to get the daughter to take her first nap of the day. So far, not working. We have out of town guests staying for a couple of days and I need to make it so that their socks don’t stick to OUR kitchen floor. Ha!

    Maureen: Everyday I’m just amazed with her. She’s really a very easy girl to love. It helps that she thinks I’m very funny. Knew one day I’d find someone who appreciates my sense of humor!

  241. Linda: I would like to live my life this year in the awareness of gratitude: to be thankful for every single second — the good and the bad — of life.


  242. Linda,

    I think you are an amazing person. I don’t think you yet realize just how far you have come. And that’s perfectly alright. Don’t look back yet, but keep looking forward and one of these days someone will remind you just how far you’ve come. And at that time, you’ll know how true it is, because someone else who matters to you will have noticed.

    Trust me. It happened to me. And he is 8 years later he is still one of my best friends. (I’ve knnow him for 13.)

  243. Jodi,
    Thank you for acknowledging the good things the insurance co is doing for you. I get sick of being yelled at:)
    I bought my mom Couch audio for Christmas and she emails me everyday to update me on what part she is on which I LOVE! She is enjoying it so much and I have this weird sort of pride like I wrote it, or better yet I like I created Haven who then wrote it.

  244. Linda: What JimShue said…double ditto that for me! What a year you had and thanks for so courageously revealing it and trusting us here. You are a champ in so many ways.

  245. Speaking of Haven….

  246. Amy – I gave Couch to my mother-in-law and I hope she enjoys it as much as your mom is.
    And let me add my appreciation for the world of insurance. Medical, farm, worker’s comp, auto. Thank God for it! The Securian Life Insurance we must have to cover our farm loans just sent us our 2008 premiums back because they had had a good year (how that was even possible amidst the financial wreckage I don’t know).

  247. ugh, I keep losing my post before I submit – this happened twice last night . . . will try to start over . . .

  248. ok – I am doing this singly,

    Jodi!!! I was re-reading THE BEANS OF EGYPT, MAINE to warm myself up for the new one (which I have waiting on my nightstand) of SCHOOL ON HEART’S CONTENT ROAD . . . but half way through it, it splashed in the bubblebath . . . ugh . . . plan on starting the new one tonight. In BEANS I adored little Earlene and half fell in love with the pimply Beale. Earlene reminded me somewhat of Trace in Iodine. Before reading Iodine, I re-read THE USED WORLD, so I think I do that to re-enter that author’s orbit . . .

    Encaustics. The techniques are so different from anything else I have ever done, there is this very reflective preparation time before you can work – arranging the hot palette, waiting for it to warm and then it is so spontaneous, you even have to paint each stroke IMMEDIATELY or it gets lost (hardens on the brush) . . . my favorite thing is scratching in, painting over, then scraping (unearthing, revealing) to see what is left behind.

    It is also a very physical process, the first few days after I start something new my right arm, hand & shoulder are really sore . . .

    I especially like working 3-D with it

    in honor of Haven, there is also an ssemblage with encaustic titled “My Migraine” – if you forward from the KERPLUNK work it is in with the sculptures.

    going to post this before it disappears!

  249. “No. Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.”

  250. Jim Shue – so sad I keep missing you!

    I tried this new bubblebath last night and then turned on the jets – – the bubbles were over my head, flowing over the tub, it was insane . . . it was a volcanic sacrifice of a great book.

    Where can we see pics of Riley’s Christmas??? I have been posting most new pics to Facebook . . . I seem to get lost on the Yahoo thing . . . lots of blogbabies are there, too . . .

    so I am working on two new blog posts for me, so will see you all soon.

    I want to talk about the real reasons I made goals and also post my altered books I’m working on . . .

    will check in later

  251. OK, so I finally figure out how to use the yahoo group page and now I hear there is a Facebook page too? Arga. How do I get to that?
    (Hi Sher)

  252. Maureen- this is the link to the Facebook group. Hopefully it works:

    The group is called Haven Kimmel’s Blog Babies!

    We have not done a whole lot with the group though. There is much more activity with the yahoo group.

  253. When did the Facebook group happen?!?!? I can’t keep up! 😦

  254. I need a bit of help here I am re starting Iodine I am only on the 3 rd chapter and im confused. Now yes I was a 70’s child but I would think I could get further than this with out being confused but guees not.
    Here is my question
    What was/is up with billy what did he do and does Trace really sleep with someone she hates in order to help him and or her sisters kids ?
    Sorry but im confused and feeling a bit stupid

  255. MT: Feeling confused and stupid…no way you can feel any dumber than me when I outlined my take on Iodine directly to Haven and discovered my whole basic premise of the characters was wrong, wrong, wrong. Haven was gracious and didn’t bitch-slap me or anything, but she would have certainly been within her rights to do so.

    My advice…just stick with the read…it is remarkable — especially the way Haven fragments time.

    …and speaking of Haven…

  256. Michael T . . .

    hum, see this is the big mystery of Iodine, isn’t it?

    **#))$)$ Possible Spoiler Alert, Iodine *****

    Haven wants YOU to figure out what is real and what isn’t . . . as you make your way through the book you will get more clues as to the status of these characters. If you look on her IODINE thread she does make a definate statement that her sister and the nieces are VERY real.

    If you clink on my name, you can send me an email from my blog, and I would love to have discussions about Iodine, I have changed my theories 1 million times and am still working on this situation . . .

  257. Michael T –

    Here is the link for the Iodine discussion, it might help out . . .

  258. Thanks I zoomed past the spoiler alert so as not to spoil it so I will keep on with the read. Then when im done im sure I will still have more questions πŸ™‚

  259. about new year’s resolutions . . .

    I hate calling them that . . . but I do them, not always on jan1, usually in late november or december around my birthday.

    I access if I am balanced and moving forward with my goals in life – – in all areas: couplehood, motherhood, sisterhood, daughterhood, friendhood, career, physical body, mental health . . . and then if something seems out of wack or not on the right track, I try to think of actions I can DO and goals I can have to get those things going in the right direction . . .

    am I being true to my ‘calling’ in life? If not, what can I do to get there? Where am I unbalanced?

    Especially with my career, this seems to work with amazing effects. I have reached 5 year goals in just 2 years and have had to make new ones early. As I tend to feel underaccomplished (couldn’t I have done more), this helps me see that I am progressing, even when I feel static.

    2008 has been a stellar year. I can only hope that 2009 is as good and/or better.

    2008 brought me YOU, the blogbabies, a new home and studio, career highlights, renewed friends and family . . . I’m excited to start a new one.

    Linda – you have done so much, every day you are a victor!!! Celebrate yourself and your strength – you are inspiring to me, I love you and am so proud of you!

  260. Jerri,

    It’s really something, isn’t it? That which makes today bearable, and even welcome, renders every tomorrow potentially unbearable.

    This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
    To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

    ~ Sarah

  261. “I am also overwhelmed at the fact that Haven got to just use ALL her intelligence and knowledge in this book, she didn’t have to hold back and I love the rants of deep thoughts/philosophy that Trace/Ianthe/and her others go off into.”

    i feel the same. it goes farther than any of her glorious previous books have. i own the audio cd and the readers edition and haven sent me a signed copy.

    happy new year, babies!!!!!! shine in 09.


  262. Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone! Hopefully 2009 is a good year for all of you (and me!). πŸ™‚

  263. Off to be Cassie for a few hours – shooting pool with friends . . .

    May your 2009 shine brighter than your 2008’s!!!

    Love ya! See ya next year!

    Sher (who also made 2 new blog posts today – getting on top of my new year’s promises early)!

  264. Sarah: you got it exactly.

  265. Happy New Year!!!!

  266. Happy New Year Everyone!!
    thinking of you all today as my family made another trek to the quirky and entertaining town of Jerome, Arizona not far from our house as my brother wanted to find some fun things which we did…Jerome is known to us all as “the hard drinking town with an artist problem” and I love it. Lots of artists of all kinds and fun to walk about in…we even took off our jackets in the sun….and I was just feeling jealous of all y’all cause you’re clustered there in the east coast except for Amy and me here in the west until the sun hit us all in the face over there, now I just feel sorry for you in the cold (except how would I make it to Sher’s encaustic workshop?).
    We bought my parents one of those digital picture frames for Christmas so I began to scan a few family photos. This has evolved into a huge project to scan in about 1/3 of all our old photos but has become a fun project…we are finding old goofy photos of family members and sentimental ones, historic ones and just plain bizarre ones of people we don’t even recognize…but somebody will. We are having fun…thank goodness for digital cameras so we don’t have to do this in the future!!
    Hope you are all warm and having a happy and restful start to your new year.
    And thanks all, for the bible verses of comfort and anti-worry…much appreciated.
    Good night all!

  267. Happy New Year!

    For those of you who are football fans- my Vanderbilt team actually beat Boston College in the Music City Bowl yesterday. This is huge for Vandy. They have not been in a bowl game for 26 years. It is always nice when the underdogs triumph. My son was at the game with his dad and a friend and they got shown on t.v. (on ESPN). Sam (my son)had given his friend, Zach, his yellow fan hair to wear and he also wore big 2009 party sun glasses. And they were just in the third row in the endzone. So, I guess they were easy to spot. I always love it when my kids have experiences that I know they will remember for the rest of their lives. This will surely be one for Sam.

    Have a wonderful day y’all!

  268. Happy New Year everyone!

    I finally finished my “gift” for you. I wanted to share one of my very favorite Christmas stories called “To Everything There Is a Season” by Alistair MacLeod. I discovered him after reading The Shipping News and wanting more about that area. (I had already discovered and read everything I could by Howard Norman.)

    So I found Alistair MacLeod’s short stories and it was one of those experiences of being completely awed by someone’s prose. Most likely you all know of him already and this was just me getting a glimpse of the sun from under my rock. But just in case, I wanted to recommend Island, which is a collection of all his short stories.

    I wanted to at least link everyone to this one holiday story, but I could not find it on the internet, so I ended up typing it all in, which was a good exercise in its own right. My gracious husband kindly read it aloud for me while I typed.

    Because I know not everyone can get on the yahoo group, I put it on a blog that I am playing around with. I also put a story I am sure everyone has read “A Christmas Memory” by Truman Capote.

    Here is the link: (Saint Mo is what Andy’s parents call me for marrying their son)

    What is so heart-wrenching, I think, about both of these stories is the bitter-sweet nostalgia of Christmas memories, with all the beautiful, warm, sacred feelings that surround them, mixed with the truth of time’s passing and its accompanying loss. As so many of you have shared, that seems to be the poignant way of the human experience, especially at this time of year.

    I hope you enjoy them.
    Blessed New Year, everyone! Did you notice the sun is on its way back toward us?

  269. 09 is here. i’ll make it a great year whether it likes it or not.


  270. Sher, love the migraine piece, and the goody two shoes too.
    Suzanne, love “shine in ’09” – it’s my new slogan. I’m going to say it to everyone I meet. Maybe we can turn it into a national slogan. So much better than “Where’s the beef?”
    Haven, dear Haven, I hope your head is healing!
    Happy New year to all! Ken is having a couple of guy friends over to watch football today, and the kids and I will be playing board games and avoiding the testoterone flooding the family room. Later we’re broiling lobsters with drawn butter and crab cakes which will be aoccompanied by twice baked cheddar bacon potatoes. (high cholesterol surge, anyone?) Have a great lazy day everyone.

  271. Happy New Year, babies!

    The sun is shining in my neck of the woods. It’s cold (for me) and gorgeous out–the perfect start to a wonderful year. 2008 is gone (and good riddance, you old pleasure boat slut!) and I wait with an open heart and busy hands for all the wonder I know is coming.

  272. Suzanne: I’m with you…I insist on having a great year and I won’t settle for anything less. This past year had its ups and down, but hey, that’s life. I plan to be amazed a lot in 2009 and delighted. Suzanne, I am so glad we had a chance to “meet” through this blog. You are such a great insightful writer.

    Maureen: HUGE thanks to you for that blog. I loved the Capote story. I never knew it existed. What a love offering to this group.

  273. George – Oh, I am so glad you liked it! When I was in high school, my English teacher used to give us copies of Literary Cavalcade, a publication about writing for students. I still have my copy from 1983 in which I first read that story. Even as an awful teen, I was really knocked flat by that story. I could never have found the words to describe why back then, but I was responding to it in all its beauty and craft.

    Did you say you were a reporter in St. John’s? Were you a fan of Great Big Sea? I went through a pretty intense infatuation with Alan Doyle for awhile.

  274. Happy NEW YEAR!!!

    I am off to see the wizard (john m) in illinois and to survive 3 days with the people who share my blood.

    You, the chosen ones, will be greatly missed and frequently thought of as I don’t believe DSL or Broadband is available in the hamlet of Olivet IL . . .

    Played 8 and 9 ball last night and I was the designated driver, enjoyed the chill with a great bonfire!

    Happy New Year!!!

  275. Good Job Sher I worked last night and im back again today. But its double tiome and its slow.

    If we all do meet there should be a pool tourny involved hehe

    Happy New Year everyone

  276. Happy New Year!
    So glad to hear everyone enjoyed the holiday and stayed safe! I was woken up after a pretty tame holiday celebration to a doggy who decided to empty his full bladder on our bed. I spent the rest of the night ( into morning) washing sheets, duvet cover, down comforter and my pjs.
    Maureen I have a quick question that I hope you can answer and I am so happy to have someone I trust to ask!
    I started drinking organic milk and love it. However, why is the expiration date, like 30 days after the purchase? How can it stay fresh so long??
    Molly bug~ I will be trying to change my avatar and will do it in honor of you so be on the look out~)

  277. Haven – Just read you have been under attack from a migraine. Ooh, I feel bad for you. I’ve had them since I was 12, and I take Relpax. These pills work wonders, but once I got my Endometrial Ablation my migraines have almost completely gone away. I had period-induced migraines (Sorry fellas!) and once the periods stopped, most of the migraines did too. Sadly, now I get nausea, dizzy spells, and evil headaches that feel like a band around my head, since I have an over-active Vagus nerve. I am a prison of head pain, so I always feel bad to hear of anyone else who suffers, because IT SUCKS!

    I finished The Solace of Leaving Early last night. Loved it! Thank godness I’m a nerd and I stayed in reading.

  278. Oh Saint Mo, just gorgeous! Thank you, thank you.

  279. AmyO: I feel your pain. Got home last night and saw the cat’s cack-up on the bed right before we left to go out for New Year’s Eve dinner.

    Maureen: It was the St. John Valley in Northern Maine but we used to get a very weak tv signal from
    st. John’s NB and I watched nothing but Canadian television for about three years.

    One good thing about living in DC is the Kennedy Center and we just returned from there after watching a production of Andrew Lloyd Weber music. As I sit here, I hear the Phantom, Cats, Evita, JC Superstar tunes echoing in my brain. What a way to kick off 2009.

  280. Hi everyone – My kids have been monopolizing my computer, so I have not been on as much as I wish. I have instead not been able to put down The Sparrow. Where are you George? I am thinking I might finish it today and then I would love to chat with you about it.

    Amy – I did some research about organic milk shelf life (we are not organic) and found the article below, which is from a source I would trust. It looks like the organic processors ultra-pasteurize their milk, which kills every single possible organism and so NOTHING can grow in it. In Europe they even package it in cardboard containers and keep it on the shelf. Non-organic milk is just pasteurized. There are pluses and minuses for both methods.
    Do you have any dairies that bottle their own milk near you? I won’t get on my soap-box about organic versus non-organic – it’s quite the controversy in the farming world. But I would say your very best bet is to get LOCAL organic milk. Try a health food store. Always happy to answer cow questions.
    Here is the article:

    Molly – I haven’t forgotten my promised second e-mail. I need full brain to write it and haven’t had access to it.

  281. Thanks Maureen, I really appreciate it. I only do organic because I want to make sure the cows get plenty of fresh air and are treated humanely. I really don’t care about what I put in my body ( regarding additonal hormones and antibodies)…is that weird? However, is it guaranteed that organic milk producers do these things? How about I just get my milk from you! Wouldn’t that be great!

  282. Oh Amy, I would gladly give you milk! We drink our own all the time, always have, never even pasteurize it!

    Did you finish The Shipping News? I loved all the hardship and bracing against tough things (portrayed as healthy) and real down-home life. It always makes our existence here seem more romantic somehow.

    I just got back from all day at the mall (gag, gag). I hate to shop. My 11-year-old got his ear pierced, so I got a cartilage pierce with the other stud. I bought Harry Potter in Spanish (I figure that’s the best way for me to learn) and my 13-year-old just dyed his hair aqua. Ah, life with teenagers.

    I’m off to finish The Sparrow, or as much as I can before I fall asleep. Later!

  283. Oh Maureen, I’m jealous. When I was thirteen, I wanted to dye cherry red streaks in my hair (with Kool-Aid! far from permanent) and I wasn’t allowed to.
    :: sigh ::

    I think you must officially be labeled a Cool Mom. πŸ™‚

  284. Just finished The Shipping News!! Loved it. What a brilliant bunch you all are. It somehow makes me look forward to our first big snowstorm which we have yet to have! On now to The Solace of Leaving Early and I also bought Miss American Pie today per Haven’s earlier suggestion.
    Hey Kittery!

  285. Hey Amy. πŸ˜‰

  286. George,
    That Andrew Lloyd Weber production sounds wonderful, I am so jealous. What a treat to experience. “Midnight, not a sound from the pavement..” Aggh, my poor fiance and dogs, I shall be singing this the rest of the night.

  287. GEORGE: oh i do love his music, ALW. Memory is a beautiful piece.

    Evita and JCS are masterpieces. I saw EVITA twice on stage. i became obsessed with her life, and at Berkeley I published a poem about her afterward, it’s on my blog. (do you know that her body was deliberately whisked away after her death and buried not in Argentina, but in Madrid — in a plot marked “Maria”, a plain unassailable grave, the details of that are at the poem’s end.)

    regarding Phantom? i am so ashamed. i have to say that l snorted and chortled uncontrollably throughout the original broadway show of Phantom in nyc. i went with a writer friend and we both were helplessly appalled ; we found its staging and costuming and acting preposterously overdrawn – a parody of itself. in the forth row orchestra seats, TEARS were rolling down our faces as we tried to stifle our hysteria — and to be as moved and serious as the rest of the audience, who were casting us filthy, outraged looks. i almost kept it together until my friend leaned over midway and whispered to me ‘….it’s a play about a chandelier…” and then i screamed into my velvet handbag and doubled over in an attempt to climb under my theater seat.

    i don’t know about other productions of Phantom, but in the popular nyc run the fucking chandelier kept lowering itself up and down, sometimes with frightening and silly malfunctions. or were they intentional?

    i guess we’ll never know.


  288. Suzanne,

    Oh jeez! I saw Phantom a couple years ago on Broadway, and if the acting was atrocious I didn’t realize it… and since I was sitting almost directly under the chandelier, I don’t remember seeing any malfunctions. It only moved around when it was supposed to..
    Perhaps by ’05 (or was it ’06? I can’t remember) they got their act together?

  289. we won’t even discuss the bombastic earsplitting organ music that assaulted us every fourth minute of Phantom. it was like being repeatedly attacked by large inanimate objects, some with pipes and some with sharp crystals that tinkled like Satan’s sleigh.

  290. Hah. So all in all, not the best show you’ve ever seen?

  291. oh yes. this was in the early stages — the nineties — and it was HARROWING and SCREAMINGLY FUNNY.

  292. Man.

    So what’s your favorite show? Is it Evita or do you have a supreme favorite?

  293. that said, i loved the soundtrackcd from the recent-ish film of phantom. LOVED it.

  294. Ooh, I know. For my friend, the ultimate Phantom is Crawford, but I say Butler. Any day. πŸ˜€

  295. i saw the original broadway production of RENT, with the original broadway cast. it was nothing short of stunning. i sobbed often. and i still play the RENT cd every christmas, to remind my son and i that christmas is not all posh and perfect for everyone.

    i love A CHRISTMAS CAROL at ACT. loved it.

    i love a good production of anything good, really. i saw a small berkeley stage play about sylvia plath called LETTERS HOME that changed me forever.

    and i am an unapologetic OPERA fan. i bawl, i gasp, i go into an emotional state which fills me with passion and love and awe. SF has a superb Opera company. but i saw operas in Prague for 5 bucks that gave me equal thrills. i went every night. i worship at the shrine of renee fleming and placido domingo. i prefer leontyne price to callas, but they are both supreme beings to me. TOSCA is my most favorite. and i loved that raw opera scene with tom hanks in Philadelphia, it tore me UP. which aria was that he was listening to in that scene? i think it was from Norma?

  296. I must confess, I got shivers and stopped reading when I saw that you were at the original RENT.
    My god. I think if I got to see it, it would be a religious experience for me.

    I had a dream a couple months ago where I was up in the nosebleeds in this crappy, crappy space, but it was Idina and Anthony, all of the originals … incredible. I think it was my way of making peace with the fact that I will probably never see them all on stage, but I still get to keep a little part of what it was about with me…

    I haven’t seen Philadelphia yet. I know I need to. Thankee for the reminder. πŸ™‚

  297. well. it’s kind of slow, so i’m posting 3 mark strand poems. i saw him read when i was 19 and that was it for me.

    What To Think Of

    Think of the jungle,The green stream rising.
    It is yours.You are the prince of Paraguay.
    Your minions kneel
    Deep in the shade of giant leaves
    While you drive by
    Benevolent as gold. They kiss the air
    That moments before
    Swept over your skin,
    And rise only after you’ve passed.
    Think of yourself, almost a god,
    Your hair on fire,
    The bellows of your heart pumping.
    Think of the bats
    Rushing out of their caves
    Like a dark wind to greet you;
    Of the vast nocturnal cities
    Of lightning bugs
    Floating down
    From Minas Gerais;
    Of the coral snakes;
    Of the crimson birds
    With emerald beaks;
    Of the tons and tons of morpho butterflies
    Filling the air
    Like the cold confetti of paradise

    β€”mark strand


    Men are running across a field,
    pens fall from their pockets.
    People out walking will pick them up.
    It is one of the ways letters are written.
    How things fall to others!
    The self no longer belonging to me, but asleep
    in a stranger’s shadow, now clothing
    the stranger, now leading him off.
    It is noon as I write to you.
    Someone’s life has come into my hands.
    The sun whitens the buildings.
    It is all I have. I give it all to you. Yours,

    β€”-mark strand


    The professors of English have taken their gowns
    to the laundry, have taken themselves to the fields.
    Dreams of motion circle the Persian rug in a room you were in.
    On the beach the sadness of gramophones
    deepens the ocean’s folding and falling.
    It is yesterday. It is still yesterday.

    – Mark Strand

  298. Amy and Maureen,

    I have been puzzling over the shelf life or organic milk for so long and I am so glad that Amy asked and Maureen answered! I actually was hoping it was because organic milk used local farmers and didn’t need to be trucked for so far and so long. I am, I assume, very naive re. this.


    You are reading The Sparrow too?!?! With George?! Can we have a discussion about this on facebook or somewhere? I am so enthralled by that book and the very, very good questions it raises. I love it.


    Boyfriend Dave is now Fiance Dave and will very soon by Husband Dave. I was surprised, am currently delighted and ecstatic and impatient, and am now immersed in the painstaking process of planning and extra extra low budget wedding. Advice is welcome but I will preface with this: I am paying nothing for the ceremony location, it will be outdoors, and the reception location will be in a city building so also super cheap, and I work for a wedding photographer from time to time so I can expect a discounted price there. Where ELSE can one save money???

    (The wedding is happening sooner than later because Baby Oliver’s parents are very, very important people in our lives and we are all praying that Oliver will still be with us at the time of our wedding and his parents will be able to stand up with us in joy. Whatever happens, we want to be flexible if possible and available for whatever they need. They are having a difficult holiday right now and could use your prayers, if you don’t mind.)

  299. Congratulations Amanda! πŸ™‚

  300. Thanks Kittery! Dave and I were made for one another, I have no doubt. I can’t wait to be legally married to him.

    also, ps to everyone: the internet! works! people, if you’re looking. fateful, fateful

  301. AMANDA!! YAY!!! Congrats!!

    SFC- I LOVED PHANTOM, but I was also 15 or 16 when I saw it and very emotional. It was like my “Twilight” (not that I know anything about that) I think the film shows much of the show’s weakness, but at it’s heart it’s a fantastic story.

  302. i miss all the blog babies!! i have been “missing in action” bc i have been in guatemala (i am still here in guate)…just wanted to send happy new year thoughts and i can’t wait to be on the blog again daily! montezuma took his revenge on me and then my husband…so we were bed ridden for a couple of days (taking care of a 2 year old while vomitting–phew—not easy)…but we are in the clear (i hope) and will be traveling home on sunday. best wishes to everyone…happy 2009! love, steph

  303. oh amanda, how wonderful.

    major huge hugs and congratulations. and you’re not the first couple i know who met on match….som like, is it me?//

    but honestly i dont know if i can FACE another round of Match. tell me what to do so i can up my odds and overcome my reluctance!


  304. amanda!
    money saving tips:
    have the reception at 2 pm when everyone will have had lunch or at least breakfast already. buy a case of frexinet champagne (the black bottle) and a case of bottled water at trader joes or your local discount wine shop. and get someone u know to make the cake…or cupcakes!!!! THAT’S IT, NO OTHER FOOD EXCEPT TONS OF FRESH FRUIT BEAUTIFULLY DISPLAYED WITH THE CAKE. have your champagne toast and serve the cake/fruit buffet right away.

    and find a vintage wedding dress or just look for dresses you love and wear long white gloves. viola!

  305. Hah! I’m going to file this information away for my far-off imaginary wedding. πŸ™‚

  306. tenuous connection via the closet in my mom’s illinois house . . .filching from the 1 neighbor of 400 that have a wireless!!

    I am wicked.

    meeting john m in a few hours . . .

    kate – when I drove past the ghetto evansville mcdonald’s – i was, I am so sad I don’t have time to see kate.

    harrowing story 1:

    dylan and lauren’s plane from nyc was due to come in at noon on new years day (in Nashville) . . . delayed until 4 pm and then 4:50, which should have allowed me enough time to get ready and pack for illy . . . however, i arrive at the airport with claire in tow and CANNOT FIND MY DRIVERS LICENSE. on new years eve don had removed it from my wallet to copy for the refinance mortgage lady who came to our house to sign the paperwork…i took 5 minutes out of the studio . . . anyway, the license was in the copier AT HOME

    i still attempt to retrieve my children from the continental gate – first showing my picture ID sam’s club card and BCBS insurance card, no go – they wanted credit cards – (I left my purse in the car because I hate anything slowing me down at security) – so I go back to the car which was parked in alaska (dragging claire) and get 10 credit cards and the snarky ticket agent said “all I needed was one”

    don has already been called and is driving to the airport . . . but I am still trying to retrieve the kids who have now landed and are waiting at the gate….

    the flag me “additional” screening and I move on to the machine line (long) I get taken into the glass booth and patted down and so does CLAIRE . . . then I get further removed and Strip Searched…

    awful . . .

    I offered to let them keep the kids. no go.

    more than an hour later we leave the airport and don is there with my license. he would be in the dog house but we don’t have one and since I am out of town anyway it is pointless

    made it to illy in 5 hours and 15 minutes.

    i did break down and get a quarter pounder with cheese and a strawberry shake – it was that or find some drug dealer….it all went to my ass.

  307. Suzanne,

    I UNDERSTAND your desire to never, ever, ever, ever, ever, again go on a first date. They are one of the circles of hell, and the number fluctuates depending on the date.

    For me I only know (you will hate me for this) that I met Dave EXACTLY when I was ready.

    Advice: be creative in your profile. Don’t be generic. Not that I think you COULD be!!! Do various types of searches, including things you might not normally consider. DON’T waste a dreaded first date. You can more or less tell in a few emails whether or not the date will be pleasant, painful, or somewhere in between. Don’t go out with anyone that doesn’t give the “pleasant” vibe. Don’t waste time on email. If they don’t respond quickly or if the emails go longer than two weeks without mentioning a face to face meeting, it’s time to move on. Don’t expect them to find you. If I had not done a different search and uncovered Dave’s profile, we never would have met. Be bold when you find someone who gives you hope for the entire process. That’s a good sign.

    I’m rambling I think. Also I am in love. Feel free to email if you just need a cheerleader! Last bit of advice: don’t give up. We were both within days (me) or weeks (he) of giving up on the entire thing. He is the best man I have ever known and I respect him and love him more than any man I’ve ever known. When it works, IT WORKS.

  308. amanda – for party favors for my mom’s wedding we bought flower bulbs and put in tiny painted clay pots . . . also we had a pack of flower seeds and printed tiny slips of paper and stapled on a bow . . . big lots has cheap seeds and clay pots were on sale 10 cents each at a hobby lobby . . . i decoupaged them with floral tissue paper and used a gold pen to write the name of the bride and groom and the wedding date . . .

    my sister is a semi-professional wedding planner and at my niece’s wedding we did a candy bar – cheap glass dishes from goodwill/in different heights, put gauze and white lights tucked around them, and bought candy (10 cent each rock candy sticks from cracker barrel, etc) then we made tiny bags that each person filled with what they liked . . .

    one gorgeous real calla lily with the stem wrapped makes a beautiful bridal bouquet

    for another nieces wedding we had 5 wedding cakes in different flavors . . . and asked different family members to make and bring . . . one was chocolate chocolate and we decorated it with CHOXI chocolates from TARGET (which are on clearance right now) . . . also an old-fashioned butter and buttercream cake . . . etc…..only one cake had some cake jewelry (wire flowers) and people got to choose their flavor . . .

  309. Oh Sher I hope we can do Mickey D’s again some day!!

  310. am freezing my quarterpounder with cheese ass off in the drafty closet….and I have on my penguin longjohns….need my beauty sleep…

    night night

  311. kate’s back!!! I’m up

  312. we will – we will, if I ever drive through there at any other hour besides midnight!!!

  313. i bought myself black embroidered cowboy boot slippers today!

  314. suzanne, including amanda & her dave, and kate and her hugh – that makes 6 couples (happy) that I know who met on or one of the other web matching sites – there is hope…..

  315. freezing…chattering teeth….home on Sunday!


  316. Sher,

    Your advice is GREAT. And what’s so funny is that my idea from the beginning is to carry 3 calla lilies tied with a bow, and the bridesmaids can carry one with a bow. I’m glad to know I am thinking along great mind channels so far.

    I’ve been wanting to have an ice cream bar, too. Instead of candy. A few flavors and a lot of toppings choices.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, for these tips!

  317. Sher! I emailed you!

    I actually met my husband on a message board…just hanging out…he was so cute and sarcastic! It was not too different from here, really. I think the net can be a wonderful way to meet people!!

    My brother had ice cream novelties instead of cake at his wedding. It was so cute.

  318. Oh Amanda. Congratulations. Big smile as I type this. If you have friends and loved ones that cook consider a buffet. Splurge on the one wonderful thing that matters most to you. Mine was the photographs and my favorite shot is the one that was unposed, the one where my head is thrown back in laughter at my husband’s gentle teasing.

    My best advice is to give yourself over to the moment and really enjoy your wedding. Enlist people to help so you’re not a nervous wreck.

    I’m so glad for your happiness.

  319. Amanda! Wow! Congratulations!!! May your marriage be a joyous and enriching one – it sounds like it will be.
    I am almost finished with The Sparrow and would be more than happy to discuss with you and George and anyone else. Wow, it raises a lot of interesting questions. I had read her book A Thread of Grace a few years ago and really liked it, too. My copy of The Sparrow has an interview with her and Book Club questions, I am not sure whether to read that or work it all out on my own. And of course I saw her speak at (don’t shoot!) THE CALVIN FESTIVAL. She spoke with Lilian Nattel about historical fiction.

    Sher – What a horrible (but comic) airport story! Argh! Talk to you tomorrow (unless you can sneak on again).

    Kittery – I’m with you on Gerard Butler as the Phantom. I was half-way through watching the movie before I realized it was him (I got it from Netflix to see Patrick Wilson, whom I had just seen live on Broadway – proclaimed “a luscious hunk of Broadway love” by someone standing next to me at the stage door). I would take Gerard Butler as ANYTHING!! My favorite of his roles is in Timeline. Give me that man and let him drag me off to medieval France ANY DAY.

    My boys are now into Phantom and we blast the old soundtrack and sing it in the house while cleaning.

    Though, and I know there are many here who agree with me, Evita is my favorite, probably because I love singing all her songs – such a huge and awesome female part.

    I still think we ought to do a rewrite called Sarita (Sarah Palin). I’ll start it on my blog if anyone would like to join in. This is a favorite activity in our house – rewriting song lyrics about random things, like Weird Al.

    OK. I am majorly procrastinating.

  320. NO! NO! NO! Say it ain’t so, Huck!!!
    I just saw that “The Sparrow” is being made into a movie with Brad Pitt as Sandoz (gag gag) and Angelina Jolie as Sophia (gag gag)
    I want Antonio Banderas and … Penelope Cruz.

  321. Congrats Amanda!!!!! My wedding is in nine months and I have been engaged for a whole year already so needless to say I have a frickin phd in wedding planning. Let me know if you have any questions at all!!
    Sher, That is a HORRIBLE story!!! I am glad you’re okay.
    Oh, also I am going to a wedding in July…I think that site is magical.

  322. just finished THE SHACK and i’m deep into THE SPARROW, which is epic.

    brad pitt used to be able to act. i loved him in that Monkey movie and fight club. but you know who should play the jesuit? the guy who played the killer in CAPOTE. the sophia woman should be selma hayek.

    oh dont worry, they’ll fuck it up in hollywood. plus i dont see people flocking to a movie called the sparrow. no pun intended.

  323. i really felt the Shack answered questions for me. i loved it.

  324. Amanda!! What wonderful news!! It’s been so clear how in love you are — I’m just so very happy for you. And oh you will be glad it is sooner rather than later when you find you have little opportunity to get all tied up in knots. What a way to start the New Year!

    Sher, you are the Queen of Debacle Description. What an awful story, and you still manage to find the humor. — Also, I bought Joanne’s book. We went through my friend’s pictures last night, and she showed me a news clipping from when she and J first opened their weaving studio, back in the day.

    Sparrow on hold, I am intrigued. And may I nominate Paz Vega? I don’t think there is an actor working who gets that close to truth in every word, breath and gesture. Even when she’s speaking Spanish and I don’t understand the words, I understand what she’s saying. Just entrancing, everything she’s done. — And oh yes, Maureen — Antonio in anything.

    And who said to read Richard Russo? I’ll have to look it up and thank you personally. I’m halfway through Bridge of Sighs and love how he writes. Layers on layers of longing.

  325. Hey people of the blog!

    I finished The Sparrow Thursday night and, oh, I don’t know, was vaguely disappointed with the ending. I thought it was a great book in so many other areas, particularly in its discussion of language and linguistics and the impact of language on culture and anthropological evolution. Lots and lots of ideas and the author was so careful, you could tell, in her presentation of the case for intergalactic travel at near light speed. It would be a good discussion book.

    I thought The Shack was pretty darned good, too. It answered some questions and confirmed some suspicions.

    I would rate The Shack right up there with the top books that rearranged my life this year.

    The others include: Couch and Zippy, which I count as one book, and Solace and Something Rising, which I also count as one book.

    I would have to go with Breakfast With Buddha and Golfing with God (twofer by the same author) as a book that changed me in 2008.

    Add to that list: Proust Was a Neuroscientist, Ike

    …oh, crap, now that I started this, others are flooding into my brain, including, ta-da, Split, by our own Miz Suzanne….

    By far, a certain Robert Bly poem Haven gifted me, was the most important poem I read this year for a lot of reasons. Here it is:

    Snowbanks North of the House

    Those great sweeps of snow that stop suddenly six

    feet from the house …

    Thoughts that go so far.

    The boy gets out of high school and reads no more


    the son stops calling home.

    The mother puts down her rolling pin and makes no

    more bread.

    And the wife looks at her husband one night at a

    party, and loves him no more.

    The energy leaves the wine, and the minister falls

    leaving the church.

    It will not come closer

    the one inside moves back, and the hands touch

    nothing, and are safe.

    The father grieves for his son, and will not leave the

    room where the coffin stands.

    He turns away from his wife, and she sleeps alone.

    And the sea lifts and falls all night, the moon goes on

    through the unattached heavens alone.

    The toe of the shoe pivots

    in the dust …

    And the man in the black coat turns, and goes back

    down the hill.

    No one knows why he came, or why he turned away,

    and did not climb the hill.


    Good to see you all this afternoon. I have floors to vacuum, laundry to wash, coffee to drink, as I get the house ready for a big game tonight watching the Colts kick ass. I’ll be back for the victory celebration.

  326. …been writing some poetry lately, here’s one I will share with the blog, written on Christmas

    Heron stands here on the edge in the rushes
    Divining the water, aware the ripple, the flash of fin, his own reflection with the clouds, the splash

    And owns the air! Flash of wings
    This being of worlds — the shallows and the sky.

  327. I call it, Heron.

  328. George – That poem was lovely! πŸ™‚ We have herons on our farm who fly back and forth between our two ponds and to the swamp across the road. Andy calls them all Gill Scott. It is always a happy day when they come back in the spring.

    I JUST finished The Sparrow – had to force myself through the last bunch of pages – painful. And then went out for a walk in the cold with the dog.

    Suzanne, since you’re reading it too, we’ll wait until you’re done to discuss it. I threw a post on my blog so we wouldn’t give away what happens to anyone who plans to read it later.
    Or we can chat here.

    George – My son really liked Freakonomics. I am trying to find him Proust Was a Neuroscientist. Do you think he would like it? He is a very intense 16-year-old. He is currently reading Utopia and Brave New World for fun.

    How is Haven?

  329. Lovely poem George…we call all the herons at our lake ” George.” Oh the irony:~)

  330. Or would that be a coincidence and not irony?

  331. Molly where are you??? You need to comment on my Motley Crue avatar!

  332. Molly where are you??? You need to comment on my Motley Crue avatar!

  333. Hi Amy! Is your avatar Nikki Stixx? Did I get the name right?

  334. The last time I talked to H. she was working out the logistics for visiting Mother Delonda. As always, love and prayers to the whole family!

  335. My love to Haven and sincere hopes she in in Muncie w/ Mother Delonda.
    Maureen~ Nikki Sixx, but close enough! I love him. Sigh.
    Ran to Target tonight and picked up The Middle Place while I was there. It’s a memoir by Kelly Corrigan. I have been sailing thru it, simple read but a touching story.

  336. I don’t know where you are, Amanda, but if you want a great dress at a bargain price check out this store in San Francisco. The bargains are great and there are usually a variety of beautoful dresses and gowns to choose from.
    And maybe you can have lunch with Suzanne while you’re there!

    That was quite an adventure, Sher. Impressed that you survived it with such good humor…in retrospct at least. I’m sure you weren’t laughing at the time.

  337. Thank you everyone for the advice and the congratulations. You are wonderful, wonderful people.

    Polly, the book I bought on discount weddings also recommended that source! I live almost as far as one can get from San Fransisco but I might be able to shop online?

    I desperately want to have a discussion on The Sparrow. George, I enjoyed and appreciated your observations. I think the main question the novel raises for me is on the nature of God and God’s knowability.

  338. haven is caring for john and gus, who both have scarlet fever. she is as feisty and beloved as ever. she is ancxious to get a new blog post up but i encouraged her to slow down and get well and get her family well before she tries to attend to the rest of her crazed adoring public. she won’t take mt advice, if i know her. expect a blog from her at any moment. we were emailing at 3 AM her time, so. she’s a rocket, that one. i ended up staying up all night reading LYING by lauren slater. every book lauren slater writes is pure poetic genius. i can ihghly recommend LYING as well as WELCOME TO OUR COUNTRY. she’s genius, plain and simple.

    just like haven. but lauren has one chid and haven has three. so. you know. chaos!


  339. Good grief, Haven needs a break. I hope John and Gus recover quickly!

  340. Suzanne: dear….YOU are a treasure. Thanks for letting us know about Haven. The troubles just keep coming at our dear friend. Yes, friend. We (I) came here as a mere reader and admirer, but she befriended us. She erased the distances between readers and writers and said to us, “This is me.” And she does it in a vulnerable voice, abandoning any notion of detachment. Of course we love her for this, and so much more. Our thoughts and concerns go to her. But good days will return. They certainly will.

    Of course, Suzanne, you do this, too, appearing in this place, smart as you are, funny, compassionate, worried at times, agitated at times, pensive and practical one moment, and extravagant in soul and outlook at others, and you, woman, writer, FRIEND, we treasure you, too.

    I just picked up a book called Last Night at the Lobster…it has the promise of a great read. I’m excited. Today portends to be a lazy one…lending itself to a bike ride, coffee and a sweet roll, golf balls hit into the winter sky from a heated tee at a golf center, where the yells of football fans in the lounge will carry out over the grounds and linger beneath the floodlights, safely out of reach of even the most errant golf ball. Ok, I’m a nut. I admit this. I am reminded of the story about ex Vice President and former Indiana Senator Dan Quayle when the national media wrote a story suggesting that he was part of a group of DC powerhitters who went to Florida with a bunch of party girls for some wild sexcapades. When Quayle’s wife was asked about this, she replied, “It’s not true. Anyone who knows Dan would also know he’d rather play golf than have sex.” All I know is Quayle was known as the best golfer in the Senate, so there’s the evidence, circumstantial as it may have been. Not that it matters one whit now.

    What a group we are: cowherders, teachers, artists, professional writers, therapists….

    So, should we have a discussion The Sparrow?

  341. I’ve been absent, and I’m sorry. You all are so funny and comforting. Even when I don’t have anything to add, you pick me up. Kate, I too have been–kinda–strip searched, though I was in Philly and they did it right there at the boarding line and people LOOKED and everything. I had to undo the button of my jeans. It was mortifying, but I just reminded myself that my bro-in-law, a US marshal, was on search and rescue for 8 weeks following 911 (my b-day, by the way) and I will take the indignities that now come with air travel. You tell a great story, lady.

    Amy in O–your avatar is still a beautiful blonde for me…I have some EXCELLENT Nikki pictures courtesy of my sis. I will have to figure out how to show them to you.

    Maureen, you do rock out as cool mom. My parents had a freaking COW when I pierced my cartilage in COLLEGE and they almost died when I did my belly button. We won’t even talk about what they thought of my tatoo…. πŸ™‚

    Today is DAd’s b-day, so I have to go clean now. People are coming at 3 and we just got home from mass.

    Suzanne–ordered one of your books today. You should come to GA and sign it!

    Haven–been there with the Scarlet Fever and I know it sucks. Love and kisses and prayers coming at you and your family. I hope they ALL feel better RIGHT NOW.

    love to you all!

  342. Dammit. I meant SHER not Kate. Though Kate tells a good story, too.

  343. I confuse myself with Sher all the time!

  344. Kate – I wish I had your savoir faire coolness, girlfriend . . .

    I am checking her before my email . . . level of importance, don’cha know πŸ˜‰

    Home. slept a bit.

    Stellar day on Saturday meeting John M. and his lovely, adorable wife Sarah – they seem to be the perfect yin-yang combo!

    And, they brought their jewelry creations and then did not let me buy anything!!! Sarah has these bracelets (Kate, they have barbie shoes on them!!!!) and one with tiny little rubber chickens!!!!! And these sterling silver filigree rings – delicate . . .and John needs to be selling his copper/semi-precious stone pendants in the Sundance Catalogue – – they are exquisite and like unearthed artifacts from Atlantis or something . . . if he ever decides on a price we can all FIGHT over them.

    So we chattered and chattered about art and family for an hour (that was the amount of time I had snagged away from my family) and at hour on the dot my phone started ringing.

    We must beg Sarah & John M to share some “Ed Stories” – once I get the pictures downloaded and edited I will share them on Facebook and ATTEMPT to share them on Yahoo . . . or post on my blog (duh) . . . so many places to find you dear hearts.

  345. I demand from the New Year to give Haven a break. The woman must have general emotional whiplash from the beating that 2008 brought her.

    Stop it now! Universe! Grand Hoo-Hah! Sophia, get up off your arse and create some balance here . . .

    2 Red family members – – not fun. Poor little Gussy. I’m sure John still looks gorgeous, even in shades of rose.

    Haven, love you – take care of yourself, too!

  346. Barbie shoes? Rubber CHICKENS? Hyperventilating.

    I cannot believe Haven’s fam has scarlet fever. I started adding up the shitstorm that has come H’s way since I wended my way to the blog and wow. It’s been a lot.

    Get well soon, John and Gus.

  347. Can anyone recommend a good book on the Holocaust — in particular, the group closest to Hitler? And is it true that Eva Braun, Hitler’s paramour, was a photographer?

  348. yes, darling – Barbie Shoes & Rubber Chickens.

    It is stunning and I can’t believe I didn’t take pictures of them – I was hyperventilating . . . prices! John, we demand prices!!!

  349. Poor Haven! Scarlet fever?!?!? Argh! When I was five I had scarlet fever that broke out the day after I had had ten little friends over for a birthday party. My poor mom had to call all the parents and tell them to be on the lookout.

    On the piercing and blue-hair scene here, I am HOPING against hope, that if I allow some small, harmless rebellions my boys won’t feel they need to do any large dangerous rebellions.

    I’m ready to talk Sparrow any time. I put a post on my little putzy blog.
    We can talk there or here.

    I was thinking of what you said, George, about the end, and although it was painful for me to read all the nasty stuff at the end, the Sandoz impasse did resolve kind of abruptly, I thought. After taking so long for him to get to that point, it seemed unlikely that he could be pushed that far in one session and then be the way he was the next day.
    Is that what you found disappointing in the ending or did you not like how she ended things on Rakhat?

    (This is a minor point, I know. The more interesting discussions involve all the issues she raises about spirituality and God’s role, etc.)

  350. Sher –
    I was just looking at your altered book version of Gift From the Sea. That picture of Lauren is just beautiful! What a cool idea – I so live under a rock, I had never heard of an altered book.

    I got a copy of What It Is by Lynda Barry from a friend for Christmas. Have you ever seen that? It’s wild.

    Did Lauren and Dylan have a good trip despite the debacle on return?

  351. Maureen, I am living proof that patiently enduring a bit of rebellion pays off. When my mom didn’t blink at my scarecrow wardrobe and black hair I didn’t bother trying to do anything more outrageous (lets not discuss my boyfriend back then, but hey! That was years ago!)

  352. Maureen – hum, I am going to look that author book up, because I am awful at remembering artists names, I only remember their art!

    Teens are so exhausted, but enjoyed spending all their christmas money on Hot Topic clothes, hair color (lauren is going black/red) and music cd’s, and a new copy of Nightmare Before Christmas . . . they are having a back to school party tomorrow . . . they return on Tuesday for 2nd semester. My ears are bleeding from listening to Lauren talk from Evansville to Nashville . . . I’m not even sure what we talked about – everything. Which is good, yes, but yikes.

    Our favorite ILLY events: eating at Monical’s pizza, seeing cousins . . . Claire still enjoys the lavish attention of being one of the younger grandbabies, so she was happy, too.

    Rebellion: I encourage self-expression for that exact reason – and when else (unless they are artists or writers) will they get to change their hair color with their mood – Lauren got her cartilege pierced last year (only 13) and I was going to do it too, but then I was told it would hurt for months and I wouldn’t be able to sleep – nothing can stand in the way of 12 minutes of sleep for me, let alone months of it . . .

  353. Re photos – I love taking ‘general’ photos where you can’t necessarily tell who they are – then they can be used/enjoyed by anybody – more of a photo session, kids twirling, jumping in puddles, girls in antique baby clothes . . . then you can edit them into sepia in photoediting . . . someday I would like to explore and learn more about photography. I love looking at artists blogs. They have a new quarterly by Somerset called “Artful Blogging” – it is gorgeous and might give everyone some tips for improving your blogs . . obviously, I haven’t really pimped mine up yet, but they have great tips on how to photo things, write succintly (another of my failings) . . .
    and I have found some amazing new artists on there . . .

  354. Sher –
    I went to the mall a few days ago and spent most of my time at Hot Topic and then got my cartilage pierced (to use up the other stud from Elliot’s). I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I had it done three years ago and finally had to let it close – it never healed and always hurt. You probably made a good choice!

  355. Once I bit a halloween spider ring in half and stuck it in my septum and OH MY HELL. It was AWFUL.

  356. Kate – that is a site I would PAY to see . . .

    Maureen – one of my friends had to take her cartilage stud out while she was in the hospital for an extended stay, it closed up made this huge knot on the site – she had to get it needle pierced and bled and hurt her for years . . . I’m too old for that . . . but I am interested in the short-lived pain of the tattoo, still willing to do the “Not Ready To Make Nice” on my ass . . .

    maybe we could all get them next year at the

  357. Hey Sher…do I have your correct email address?

  358. I LOVE tattoos, I have 2 and am deperately wanting a 3rd..I am secretly planning to get it next year on my 30th birthday so we’ll see.
    Rebellion is so natural and my mom handled it with ease as well..tongue ring, smoking, well she was pissed about the smoking:) But here I am without any of my piercings and smoke free with a nice home, college education, and a wonderful relationship with my mom. It all works out!
    Molly I am so bummed you cannot see my avatar!! But alas, thank you my dear for saying that pic of me is beautiful. It’s from my engagement photo session thingy..obviously a professional photographer can make anyone look good.

  359. Kate – I want a picture of you with that spider nose ring! We had a kid in our local high school with a bone through the bridge of his nose – we are talking a Pebbles Flintstone hair-bone sized bone.

    I never rebelled in high school and then I went really nutso in college – got myself into some bad situations.

    Actually, the worst I ever did was in 8th grade during my Ramones phase. My friend and I dressed punk to go to the Sweethearts Dance. This was NOT DONE. Everyone else had on pink button-down Oxford cloth shirts (this was during the Preppie Handbook era). My friend and I danced and every single other person stood in a circle around us and watched us.

  360. kATE – if you emailed yahoo, I am struggling with that one . . . my main one is

    and I didn’t see one from you in that one . . .

  361. Lauren is into ‘skater’ culture, not quite gothic or punk, it is an inbetween . . . I am happy that she covers her skin! I don’t care what color, shape, cartoon . . . she favors dripping smiley faces and anything Pink Floyd/Beatles/Rolling Stones or Twilight & she listens to the music – what more could I ask for in a child

  362. at the calvin festival we could dress up as our teenage selves – that would be hysterical!

  363. Just look for the hippie, then, and you’ll be able to spot me. πŸ˜‰

  364. I wanted to be a flower child/hippie, but I was born TOO late . . . I think I was part early Madonna/preppie, already showing split-personality disorder in the 80’s . . .

    am off to bubble bath and a book (the new Carolyn Chute) . . . replacement.

    will check in later, alligators.

  365. blog babies, it is i, daughterkat, here to bring you all news. i checked in to see how everyone was, and realized you must all be terribly worried about mama/john/gus, et al. the news is that gus is doing much better, sleeping through the night for the first time in a week, and in his usual bright spirit with his sweet smile. though unfortunately he’s learned to scratch when he gets really excited, which has left me and everyone in the family covered with tiny babynail marks. john is recovering, too…last night at dinner he said he couldn’t even go outside for a few days, his fever was so high, but now he seems to be feeling a lot better, due to 3 days of antibiotics. Mom is doing just fine–attending to the health of John and Gus, and to our Indiana family. We have not yet finalized plans for our trip up, but we will soon. Scott and I are around all the time. Things are already looking so bright for 2009, in our family and in our country. Now let’s just stop this Gaza mess and things will really clear up.

    Hoping you are all well and wishing everyone the best happiness this season. And Amanda, best Amanda, CONGRATULATIONS x459083! Let me know if you need help planning. I know of some beautiful, outdoor, free places near us and also remember I’m garden-nursery connected, so can probably assist with flowers. And I think you know where you can go to get some free music/musicians, should you need them πŸ™‚ I am so, so happy for you. Love to all.

  366. I was the ultimate preppy in high school, ultimate. The tongue ring and smoking just blurred the edges a little bit:) Then I was a preppy hippie, which meant adding tevas and birkenstocks to your Jcrew khaki shorts.Ha! I never did the punk/goth thing though.

  367. Thank you Kat!! Good to have an update!

  368. Thank you, Kat! πŸ˜€

  369. Oh Amy, the tongue ring probably helped you. My senior (only) year in high school, the swirling rumor mill had me pegged as a narc. Yup. I was so freaking preppy, they thought I was a narcotics officer. Sad to say, a N.O. probably would’ve dressed cooler than me. :p

  370. JODI yes, eva braun was an amateur photographer. she was working in a photography studio when she met hitler. one thing led to another, and before you could say JIMINY CRICKET they became an item. well, not really. it took years. but i do suggest you go to the library and get THE LOST LIFE OF EVA BRAUN it is fairly recent and there is a lot about not just eva braun but what went on behind closed doors during hitler’s reign…also what led up to it; ** SPOILER ALERT ** the book ends with them both dead in his bunker, of course. but yes, eva braun liked to take photos and it is this hobby of eva’s that gives readers a look into the wolf’s nest. she would take photos at some of the private gatherings and Hitler’s flunkees, and there is also much arcane information about the extraordinarily fucked up maniac who Frida Kahlo called ‘The Lost Son.’

  371. Kat – Thanks so much for checking in and for the update! We love your whole family and get worried and fretful when we don’t know what’s going on.

    I so desperately want to start a new book of my own choosing but have to reread my teaching-life books: Among Schoolchildren (fourth reading), One-L (tenth reading), and Liar’s Poker (first reading). Sigh. There are other things I would rather be picking up. My students can tell when I haven’t actually re-read them.

  372. Thank you Miss Kat! I tend to worry obsessively about those I care for…for once it seemed my antennae was right.

    Sounds like somebody needs some cookies…

  373. Hello! My tatoo is a “tramp stamp.” Well, that’s what they call it though I am no tramp (I am looking into it though πŸ™‚ to loosen up some!;) ) I needed the tatoo to be somewhere easy to hide because of my job, plus since I’ve not had any kids, I didn’t want to put it somewhere that was going to stre-e-e-e-tch. πŸ˜‰ It hurt quite a bit, but it was not unbearable by any means–it was exactly like someone scratching you with a needle… πŸ™‚ My sis’s tatoo (we got them the same day) sits right above her bra clasp on her spine. Hers TICKLED. The bitch. She giggled all through hers while I took VERY deep breaths and clenched my teeth. Incidentally, mine is a black lemur print, as lemurs are so totally my totem.

    Maureen–anxiously awaiting email! πŸ˜‰ Just kidding. Take your time I know how busy you are. Currently, I am scrambling for lesson plans for the week. At least I took care of grades before the break…sigh. Are you in full prep mode?

    I pierced my cartilage in college, and it hurt very much and oozed ickiness until I finally took it out. I loved it though. Thought it was very sexy. The only time in high school I flat-out rebelled against my parents was by dating Rob (of the 8 year relationship). He is mixed–black and Korean–and my parents thought it would just be too hard for us socially. Hrmph.

    Went to Barnes and Noble and they had NOTHING I wanted. I tried to get Iodine. And they didn’t have it. I tried to get Iodine on audio. And they didn’t have it. I tried to get ___fill in the name of anything I could possibly want___ and they didn’t have it. lol. I hate Columbus. BUT I have a Suzanne’s Split on the way, so that’s some consolation.

    Anyway, back to the lesson plan grind stone!

  374. Thanks much daughterkat for the update…the whole family is in my thoughts and prayers…geez, what a rough patch you all are going through.

    Everyone, I am almost finished with Last Night at the Lobster. What a great read. MMMMMMmmmm-good.

    About Sparrow. When I think about it, I don’t think she drew her characters compassionately enough for us to properly care for them. If I had been her editor, I would have asked her to make us love Sandoz as a child earlier in the narrative, much as she did Sophie. That said, it’s a minor point, because this book is very powerful. So powerful in fact that if I had been her editor, I would have challenged her to build on Sandoz’s captivity in the same vein as the prayer Christ said the night before he was taken before Herod and Pilate.

    On the other hand, I have never read a piece of science fiction that dealt with aliens in such a detailed and dispassionate manner. That, in my opinion, was the apex of the story.

    There were some great passages in the book that get to the “knowability” of God. And it makes you wonder why so many of the Christian heavy-hitters come to such crummy ends such as martyrdom.

    More on Sparrow later….

  375. Oh snap! It took me so long to get my post posted, I missed a million more.

    Kat, thanks for the update. I feel relieved knowing your family’s on the mend. I hope you and Scott are managing to keep healthy as well. It’d be awful if you came down with it too.

    And Amanda–yes, congratulations!!!!!! YAY!!!!!, eh? I will have to look into it. I know Suzanne believes in the online thing as well.

    Ok, now really back to work.

    For now. πŸ™‚

    P.S. Where’s Particles lately?

  376. Amanda,

    Oh, congratulations to you and Dave!

    And, commendations for so graciously embracing time constraints you may not have envisioned (or welcomed) as part of that which you’ve longed for. Your willingly yielding priority to Oliver’s parents and their hearts’ needs speaks so well of your own heart.

    If I read you aright, there really is no choice, ie, your love for Dave and his family is such that it displaces whatever you would grasp for your own at this time.

    Yet, your responses, now, point to hard but worthy choices you’ve made along the way, without an audience and to your own cost.

    To all this, I say: well done.

    Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life. May it be so!

    ~ Sarah

  377. …i wasn’t actually a hippie, just dissheveled, which everyone attributed to hippiness, and i didn’t bother to correct them. i still wear a peace symbol in my Crocs and a tiny silver one on my cool leather jacket.

    in the 70s, i did let a woman talk me into getting an ear pierced. i wore a silver stud in it for a week before deciding it wasn’t a part of my self-concept. the piecing closed, but i still have a little bead of flesh in the lobe of my ear more than 30 years later.

  378. Molly – there is another term for your tramp stamp if you prefer! ARSE ANTLERS. :: grins widely ::

  379. Daughter-Kate,
    Thank you, thank you for the update!

    Husbands and babies sick are not the most relaxing situation – Lots of love from the Blob Babies to You and Yours!

  380. Um, I meant Daughter Kat . . .

  381. 1) Maureen, and 2) Those Who’ve Been Discussing The Sparrow and Other Books, and 3) Haven:

    So, I got the Yeats portrait from my cell phone nto my e-mail but can’t manage to get it here. That said, if you’d like to see it, my e-mail address is jason.cooper.mpf@gmail – drop me a note, and I’ll respond in kind with the portrait. As to the larger addressal (is that a word…?) – I’ve got a book club called Searching for God Knows What the lot of you might be interested in. If you’re curious to hear more, likewise e-mail me at the above address…


    As ever, you’re in our thoughts and prayers. I know nothing whatsoever about scarlet fever, but know that I’ll be praying for health in your family with prayers of a caliber intended for pestilence…


  382. Oh and everyone who recommended the Shipping News…the last line of the books made my heart just stop. Pure poetry.

  383. Arse antlers! Ha!!!! I love alliteration.

  384. Oh, and I just call it “the hand on my ass.”

    This is how my students found out about it. **Ahem** I was wearing a new pair of pants that rode lower than I was used to and I had forgotten my belt. No problem. Shirt still covered the top of the tatoo and pants took care of the rest. Well, as I leaned over to take my laptop out of its case, a BLUE TAILED LIZARD stowaway (a skink, for those in the know)ran out of my computer bag.

    Well, the girls were all screaming and some of the boys tried to STEP on the poor thing. I chased it around on my hands and knees going under desks and children etc. I heard the gasp as my pants rode low, and then my classroom door opened and the priest walked in for a quick visit. He was treated to a nice view of my backside (no crack, THANK GOD) as I wrestled desk legs to save the skink.

    I finally won and then tossed the poor little lizard out the window into the grass, but my kids were never the same. I told them it was a birthmark when they asked πŸ˜‰ but They. Did. Not. Believe. Me. The little toads. πŸ™‚ Anyway, it was all over my hall by the end of the day, and I caught more than a few kids eyeing my backside with some interest.

    It was a fun day.

  385. Hahahahaha, oh Molly. That’s beautiful. The priest.
    Have you ever seen Christmas with the Kranks? If you have, you know what scene I’m thinking of. πŸ˜‰
    Luther and Nora are tanning (in the skimpiest of bikinis and a ridiculous speedo) in the tanning salon in the mall when they run out and they see their minister standing there. Bemused, a little shocked and can’t stop staring. πŸ˜‰

    And just think on the bright side – when one of your students starts whining for a tattoo and their parents are vehemently against it, they can pop out with (whining of course) “but my teacher has onneeeee”. πŸ™‚

  386. Oh yes, that last bit is EXACTLY what my career needs…thanks, Kittery. lol. Let’s hope they don’t EVER say that…I will DENY it to the last. πŸ™‚

  387. They can’t *make* you prove it … can they? P’raps you ought to invest in some stage makeup to cover it up if you anticipate that happening. πŸ˜‰

    And I have a question … I know you got it on your back ’cause you don’t want it to stretch out (wise choice) but can you see it without turning yourself inside out? I think I would like one, but I want to be able to see it lol. I’m selfish. πŸ˜›

  388. I can see it by looking over my shoulder (or in a mirror πŸ˜‰ ). It also feels different than the skin around it, so I can touch it any time I need reassurance. πŸ™‚ I thought it was a good idea to put it in a “deniable” place lol but also, if I hated it later, I did want it some place where I wouldn’t be smacked in the face with it every time I looked down. I’ve had it 3 or 4 years now and haven’t regretted it yet.

    No, the admin would never MAKE me show it to them, but I’d prolly get a note in my box asking me to take care to cover it up. Since it’s not actually obscene, I might be able to put a picture on the yahoo site πŸ™‚ if anyone wanted to see.

  389. Ah. The first place I’d want mine is on the side of my stomach, right under my ribcage, ye know? But, if I ever got pregnant, it would look veerry pitiful. So I’m thinking calf area? (I want a phoenix, by the way). But I’m not ready for it yet, so ..

    And I think that’s dumb. A good teacher with the occasionally visible tattoo is better than a crappy teacher without. :: sigh ::

  390. (And yes, you should show us all). πŸ˜‰

  391. A phoenix? I like the idea. Personally I do not care for tatoos on the legs. I think it’s because I’m so private about my body–with the exception of accidents–tee hee–I prefer my tatoo to be secret.

    And honestly, I don’t mind hiding it. Most of the junior high/high school kids I know just aren’t mature enough to decide what they are going to ink permanently on their bodies. lol. They haven’t thought far enough ahead to job interviews and stretch marks. πŸ˜‰ But I appreciate the vote of confidence. πŸ™‚

  392. :: nods :: That’s understandable. Though I figure if I’m going to put myself though either a “tickling” sensation or downright pain, I might as well share it with a few other people. πŸ˜‰

    The stretch mark/saggy ninety year old skin part is what scares me, lol. My friend has beautiful arse antlers, it’s the theatre masks, one happy one sad, you know. I think they’re both going to be sad in fifty years though. :S

    And you’re quite welcome for the vote of confidence. πŸ˜‰

  393. Mine SHOULD be low enough not to sag……..God, I hope it’s low enough not to sag. Though in 50 years, there’s not going to be anyone to see it who wouldn’t have seen it a thousand times already… πŸ™‚

    Gotta hit the sack now. First day of school tomorrow. Jeepers the break flew by!!

    Sweet dreams, babies!

  394. I’m rollerblading in my bedroom … I need a life. Or a real place to skate….

  395. *lacing up my roller star skates to join Kittery*

    Can we skate to Another One Bites the Dust?

  396. Yes, I think we can. πŸ™‚

  397. I’m hitting the sack early, too. Reality is setting in. What a wonderful day today….no demands and a perfect- pitch novel finished in one day.

  398. I’m trying to get Hugh to rent out the roller rink for my 31st birthday. And if we do, guess who is going to be wearing deely-boppers on her head??

    One guess.

  399. Nice! :: sigh :: I wish I could join you. I’ve had my roller blades for a year and a half (two in May). I’ve officially used them once. (My bedroom does not count).

  400. Just in case you were wondering, I am listening to Another One Bites the Dust, skating circles around my room .. when I circle by my table, I check for comments, hah.

  401. WEEE!

    I can’t do blades. They hurt my ankles. It’s old skool or nothing. I think I need some rainbow shoelaces for them though.

    They honestly are white 70s skates that say “Roller Star” on the side.

  402. You do need rainbow laces. ‘Tis a must. πŸ™‚
    I don’t have anything to compare my blades to. These are the only pair I’ve ever had…

    Finally learned how to turn tonight … I should’ve learned much sooner. Going in circles is deeelightful, lol. πŸ˜€

  403. Oh boy. Just fell.
    On my tailbone. And my wrists. The number one places to NOT land on, aren’t they? Whee…think I’m takin’ em’ off now.

  404. I highly recommend getting in a fight with someone and kicking them with your skates on. Hair pulling is good too.

  405. I’ll remember that. πŸ˜‰

  406. Not that I’ve ever done that.

  407. Lol. I was going to ask if that suggestion sprang from personal experience or wishful thinking. πŸ˜‰

  408. It kind of sounds like a Russ Meyer film, doesn’t it??

  409. Suzanne,

    Thanks for the info on Eva Braun. I picked up THE LOST LIFE OF EVA BRAUN over the weekend. What did you think of the author’s inclusion of her own mother’s experiences?

  410. I tried posting about ten times yesterday, all with no success except for one time when I got the message that my comment was a duplicate. Is anyone else having this problem? Hope this one goes thru.
    Amanda, this might sound like crazytalk, but depending on your dress budget I’m wondering if it might be worth it to fly there to shop? I just bought round trip air fare from Pennsylvania to Oakland (right outside San Fran) for $350. I think $120 is the most expensive dress there. And it’s a big place with lots of choices. Another option is a huge wedding dress store names Kleinfeld’s in NY. They have monthly sales and if you look under the News and Events tab they have regularly scheduled trunk shows. I don’t know when it is but they have an annual sale that is attended by thousands at deeply cut prices.

    All this from a gal who made her own cocktail length dress, hired a caterer for 40 guests for about $1000 and had a little Scottish band under a rented tent at her backyard wedding. And I wouldn’t change a thing. But if I WAS looking for a dress, I’d check out these stores.

    Kat, thanks for the update on your family. Glad the Fever is leaving and I hope you all get to see Delonda soon.

    The book on Eva Braun sounds interesting. Wouldn’t it be great if we could have a couple of extra hours programmed into our days, just for reading? A 27 hour day. That’s the ticket.

    I agree it helps the kids not be so rebellious later if we choose our battles early on. Our boys wanted green hair when they were about five and seven and since summer vaca was coming up I was happy to give it to them. I dyed it with some dayglo green punky hair dye from Sally Beauty Supply. The boys were the talk of the municiple pool that summer. They got their curiosity satisfied and now have no interest in doing anything extreme to their hair. The only thing we wouldn’t allow them to do is anything permanent that they could regret when they’re mature. If they want tats they can get them when they’re 18 and we’re no longer responsible for them.

    Have a wonderful day and Shine in ’09, everyone.

  411. I have dragged out the School House Rock for my students. It’s funny how Conjunction Junction is still loved by kids today. And just for good measure, we watched Interjections! and the Preamble too.

    This afternoon we’re getting into limericks. It’s a shame we can’t do any of the dirty ones. Those are the funniest. πŸ™‚

    Hope you all are having a great day!

  412. Molly,

    I pulled out School House Rock recently for some high school people, when I discovered that some in the gang knew not its glories. Just as a book worth reading as a child is worth reading as an adult (as per Lewis, paraphrased), one is Never too old for School House Rock!

    Speaking of Lewis, did you track down a copy of Mere Christianity? We have an extra on our shelves that you’re welcome to, if you’re still interested.

    ~ Sarah

  413. Kat,

    THANK YOU. SO very much.

    Sarah, you are FAR too kind. To be honest, I am thrilled to have the wedding sooner than later. I cannot imagine taking dozens of calls a day from my mother for a year and a half or something.

    Tattoos!!! I love them! I have a lotus flower on my front, left shoulder where I can see it. It’s a little “big” I suppose but looks like a lotus flower in water. Maybe I will post a pic too!

    Back to work…

  414. Not know School House Rock? OH THE SADNESS! Thank God you came along and were able to educate the heathens. πŸ˜‰

    Sarah, I have not managed to do much of anything Molly-related in the past 2 weeks. It’s been all familyfamilyfamily all the time. So, no, there has been no Mere Christianity for me. You are so sweet. I would love a copy. Where shall I send a check? Thank you!

    Got kids swarming me!

  415. JODi

    well i think the author honored her mother by this but i found it of little interest. i’m sure the editor slashed it to ribbons. let me know if you found the mother at all relevant…still you know the whole story is just totally shocking. and yet i found myself realizing i knew a couple young secretary women who could have been eva braun. hollywood seems to lead to complete demoralization. what do you think of eva braun?

  416. Molly,

    No check required.

    Please just send your name (unless Lightning Bug or Molly Bug would do?) and address to me here:
    vollehutte At

    ~ Sarah

  417. AMANDA i am getting a real contact high from your wedding. this is progress. there was a time i though about nothing BUT WEDDings and then after yhe D , i couldnt think of weddings. i seem to have come back to the middle, to quote the illustrious india arie.

    oh you must have KAT sing at your wedding. you must. oh and one thing: invite everyone you want to. i made the mistake of limiting my wedding to minimize cost. i regretted this. better to have cake and fruit and calla lillies and a mass of people!


  418. Molly – I show Schoolhouse Rock to my seniors! They love them! We did all the grammars and a few of the History.
    I actually have had a great day back (only because I slaved yesterday over my lesson plans). But I have calls to make now and I promised myself Oprah time on the treadmill at the Y (I gained FIVE pounds over vacations! Gross!)
    Later, all.

  419. Suzanne,

    Well, we just don’t KNOW about Eva, do we? There’s not enough evidence to prove who she might have been. But I will say this: I never saw her as demoralized or the product of demoralization. Do YOU think we choose who we love?

  420. I think my son is having an existential crisis – 16 – all that angst, here is his newest poem:


    I came from the frost
    It felt existential
    I find that without it I’m lost
    Seeing through ice was essential

    So crystal clear was my view
    And now the new spring mud
    Has made me wish for you
    As it mixes with my mind, soul, and blood

    You have not appeared before
    You do not know me
    And I’ve never seen you outside of lore
    A person to save me

    Bring me into summer’s light
    Otherwise I think
    I might come into blight
    And slowly I will sink

    Back into the cold
    But no longer lost
    The pain twofold
    As I sink into frost

  421. Suzanne,

    You are a prophet! I am using calla lilies for my flowers!

    Also probably lavender.

  422. Hey Sher, That poem sounds like something I’d write!

    Jodi: I do think we ultimately chose whom we love or don’t, but boy, I’d be demoralized, too, if I were Adolph’s companion.

    Polly: I think a little rebellion is healthy and to be encourage. The exercise of courage requires a measure of audacity. My son dyed his hair blue when he was a teen. I have wondered, however, if the colors ran.

    Bug: Great “tail” about the skink that raised a stink.

    Maureen: Yes, to the lad who wanted to tackle Proust Was a Neuroscientist.

  423. {{{{what you all said}}}}
    congrats Amanda!!
    thanks Kat for the reassurances and thanks Sher for the wonderful laugh with the airport story.
    Lovely book, George…I agree about the ending of the Sparrow…a little letdown.
    Tattoos and teachers…makes me giggle.
    Gotta go..back to the gym for the first time since Thanksgiving. I’ll try to sneak in.

  424. George! A pun! I love puns!

  425. Amanda I am using lavendar too!!! That and eucalyptus in my bouquest. They remind me of my Grandma.

  426. Hi everyone! I just returned from 4 days in North Carolina with my Vanderbilt students for a college conference at Montreat. It was great. I will give details later. But, I walked in the door and my daughter handed me my belated Xmas present- the Zippy audio book. Whoo hoo!!

  427. Oh my sister had eucalytpus in her bouquet, and it was lovely. Made me sneeze like crazy (in the days before my beloved Zyrtec D) but it was lovely. Good choice!

  428. sher. tell your son i love his poem. xo sfc


  429. jodi

    eva braun wanted to be an actress. she posed for photos and saw herself as an actress. she really worked at her figure and her image, with that doggedness you see sometimes in the essentially untalented. she was a bit simple, yes? it’s what hitler loved about her. plus she had a killer body. she couldn’t fly to hollywood and act so she got all dressed up and she climbed into the lens. look at the photos. then she scuttled around shooting photos of the third reich.

    yes we do choose who we love, who we live with. certainly. unless our marriages are arranged, and then of course you have an additional option: to commit suicide before the marriage. it happens.


  430. I choose everyday who I will love.

    I am making a conserted effort to spend more conscious time with each of my beloveds (which is, unfortunately, taking from my blog baby time). I worked today and it felt good to focus and organize and, emotionally/physically, clean out some drawers and put things in file folders of the mind/desk.

    thinking of you all ALWAYS . . .

  431. Indirect comment on Eva Braun….I am fascinated by her and all things Third Reich/WWII/Holocaust.

    One of my dear friends of the heart (whom I met during a dream interpretation class) was smuggled out of Austria in the first year of the war (she was an infant) – her mother had been a secretary for Hitler!!! I kid you not!!! She relocated to Massachusetts and I have met her and she is AMAZING and I think, well, she could have poisoned his coffee at some point, and we would be a different world (I know that is simplified). She is still alive and kicking . . .

  432. I don’t know how many of you dear bloggers will read this, but please know how much I appreciate the cards, letters, flowers and gifts you have sent to me. How kind you all are. The bouquets brightened my hospital room, the homemade treats were delicious, the beautiful prayer beads were sheltered in a handmade pyramid, and they are wonderful. I cherish each letter and card and thank you all.
    My friend Wanita Spence stayed with me at the hospital so Melinda could get some rest. Cindy Carson came to stay with me here at home in spite of the fact that she has many physical problems that require her to rest often–but that was fine since I need to rest a lot too. Cindy refers to us as “rolling wrecks” and says between us we are one good person.
    My son Dan and his wife Elaine were there when I went into surgery and kept me in their prayers. Granddaughter Abby came to the hospital every day and Jenny cam up from Tennessee and came to the hospital every day she was in Muncie and came by the house after I got home, bless her heart. My friend Rose with whom I went to high school is coming to baby sit with me today.
    Melinda spent the night again and will take me to radiation in a few minutes. It really takes it out of me, but I hope it will be effective.
    With any luck I will be able to finish radiation and go back to work teaching in the prisons sometime soon. So I ask all you dear folks to continue to remember me in your thoughts and prayers, you are very special. Thanks again.

  433. Mother Delonda:

    No matter what good news I hear today; no matter what luck or kindness finds it way to me today; no matter what occurs that brightens my little world, NOTHING and I mean NOTHING could possibly be better than hearing from you like this. Bless you for all you are, have been, and will be! Love you much.

  434. OH Mother Delonda,

    YES To EVERYTHING George said. You have made my week, at the very least.

    You are constantly in my prayers and thoughts. Please let me (and I’m sure that I could say “us” to include all the blog babies) know if there’s anything I can do for you.

    Thank you for writing!

  435. Mother Delonda, you dear, dear lady. I echo everything said above. It’s so wonderful to hear from you. You are deeply loved by all of us.

    If we would like to send out another card, etc do we send it to the same address as before?

  436. mother delonda
    our perpetual lady of grace
    holy portal through which came the great haven, the bird of love and courage on whose wings we glide and swoop and oh we do love your child so, how could you not
    have had her. how could she not have had you. it seems the earth would contract
    and finish itself off without even one of your children. the wren would fal silent
    without delonda
    your name a poem, your life a stanza of devotion to all that is inutterably so.
    i am not a poet, my words
    will fall short of the mark
    you have made in your sweet arc of triumph
    triumph being in your blood in the carriage of your bones
    an example, a way.
    you could have been a signpost for holy days, counted off one by one
    on your fingers. one by one
    we come to you now, in honor, in supplication, in respect, knowing nothing
    of your real life, your cup of courage
    oh we would like to take it from you, to release
    your hands from it, so they could play a grand piano, a concerto of delonda.
    and all the birds would fly home at the sound
    and all the dogs would turn once in their sleep
    and the flock would tighten around itself, secure in the notes
    of your voice, its cadance, its silk, its surety, its enormous boom
    that wakes the saint from the sinner, that prompts leaves not to fall
    but to hold themselves to the tree, to make wholeness last
    just one more beat. delonda
    your name a summon to the angels of city streets
    to the debbils as well, to the in between, to the children
    and all the children never born bend to your syllabic grace
    wishing despite their soft nest of heaven to come down
    come down
    and see
    just to see

    suzanne fennimore cooper
    secret girlfriend of the west to your haven

  437. This article very interesting!!

    I will come back again. πŸ™‚

  438. What a joy to read a message from Delonda, whose cup of courage (thank you, SFC) runneth over and over.

    My candles continue to burn for you, my prayers continue to rise, my heart continues to abide.

    Al blessings to you and those you love.

  439. Mother Delonda – she got up off the couch AGAIN!!!

    Blessed be her name.

  440. Thank you lord, Mother Delonda is our patron saint of courage and strength.

  441. Suzanne,

    About THE LOST LIFE OF EVA BRAUN: My take on Eva is still that she is a vapid, vacuous non-entity. She was no niece Geli, even though she tried to be. Hitler doubtless liked his women stupid, and Eva fit the profile.

    As for the authorship, I skipped all the crap about the author’s mother in Germany. There were too many footnotes – to the point that the author repeated some of the text in the footnotes. Lambert had the audacity to invent Hitler and Braun’s last moments in the bunker as if her telling was fact! And the chapter on the 1936 Olympic Games — why? There was only one line about Braun in the entire chapter. I didn’t learn anything new here — other than what the author invented, I’d read it all in other books. What really made me chuckle were the bad photos, that were poorly labeled or not labeled at all. I drew Hitler moustaches on all of the picture of Eva.

    In your earlier posting you wrote that “there is also much arcane information” about Hitler in this book. I’d really like to know what it was — maybe I started reading too fast and missed it! =0)

  442. Mother Delonda,

    You are amazing. My thoughts and hopes have been with you everyday.

    Love you

    Michael T

  443. Mother Delonda, your post here made my day. I’m adding my wishes to the chorus. May God’s grace continue to sustain you, may you always know how much your life and presence mean to those that have never even met you.

    with love,

    Amy in California

  444. “that wakes the saint from the sinner”

    i could die, that’s how beautiful your words are, suzanne.

  445. Mother Delonda!!

    I’m so happy you’re doing better and I’m sure your treatments will work so you can get back to teaching. It was wonderful to scroll down to see the new posts and one was from you – yay! πŸ˜€

  446. Greetings, Mother D! I just returned from 4 days of worship and fellowship with over 900 Presbyterian college students and their old friends (like me!) at the Montreat Conference Center just east of Ashville, North Carolina. When I returned my kids presented me with a copy of Zippy on cd. We played it on the drive in this morning and they laughed and laughed at the baby book part and the “I’ll make a deal with you” line Zippy says before she surrenders her bottle to her father and he throws it in the fire. What a fine way to start our day! My daughter started the last half of her senior year in high school today. I am happy and sad at the same time about my little girl growing up.

    You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

  447. I can’t believe I almost didn’t check in and would have MISSED a note from Delonda! I am so very glad and we are so lucky to hear from you. Every day driving to and from work I am listening to my Christmas Present of Zippy audio and just got to the part about Easter sunrise services and that is the image I am holding in my mind thinking of you going to radiation…a healing image of sun rising from the plains. I am sending all my thoughts of strength to you and yours all through my day and to my amazement I think it makes me feel stronger to do that and to remain stronger for the ones I love here. I am lucky to have found you all.

  448. Dear Ms. Hartmann,

    Isn’t it nice to have friends and family rally around when you need their love and support? For someone as independent as you are, it might be a challenge to allow so many people to do so much on your behalf. Do you suppose part of what you’re doing is learning to receive as well as give?

    Your job right now is to be Queen of your world. Give yourself all the time you need to sleep. Don’t be in a hurry to do anything, and let all those who love you wait on you hand and foot. Eat good food. Be as happy as you can be, enjoying your friends’ and family’s company. Laugh at every opportunity.

    While radiation treatments don’t take very long to receive at the medical center, they deplete your energy completely. I’ve had them, and while no two people’s experiences are the same, I think I can sympathize with you a little.

    Be very good to yourself, Ms. Hartmann. There are lots and lots and LOTS of people who love you and need you. I’ll be keeping you in my most positive thoughts.



  449. Dear Mother Delonda –
    Thank you for writing to us – you must know how often we think of you and wish you wellness. Your life, your humor, your daughter – you mean so much to us all. I, like many others, hand out copies of She Got Up Off the Couch right and left. You are such an inspiration.
    You are in our thoughts and prayers!

  450. You are all phenomenally good, as in goodness. Thank you. Every day I plan a new blog post (I thought of one a few nights ago — a loooong night) which caused me to become almost hysterical with laughter; I had to leave my own bedroom in order not to wake my barely sleeping ever baby. Writing such a thing is a different animal entirely. HOWEVER! I will get to it soon, I can tell. If O. doesn’t come down with the general plague (he’s escaped it thus far), there is hope. I do appreciate the way you’ve carried on — that alone is a kindness.


  451. Hey sweetheart…nice to see you ’round these parts. Of course, we will carry on in your absences, but rest assured the party is not the same without you.

  452. kate your picture on facebook is so beautiful and sexy! WOW.

  453. *ooh goodness I’m blushing terribly thank you thank you*

  454. Jodi — i think it was the information, what there was of it, of how eva and adolph mixed and the photos she took. that was the information i spoke of in the secret life of eva braun book.

    and yes, entirely vapid, which was what made her slightly less despicable i suppose. maybe. maybe not.

    “a photograph is a secret about a secret. the more you look at it, the less you know”
    dianne arbus

  455. Haven!

    Of course we miss you but take your time. Make sure *you* don’t catch the general plague.
    (Also, I saw a picture of Baby Gus on Augusten’s page – he is adorable!)

  456. Hi Haven! How glorious to hear from you and your mom on the same day.
    Argh on the scarlet fever! Hope everyone is one the mend and that you and Obadiah both stay non-scarlet.
    We look forward to your new post and of course are now drooling with anticipation and ready laughter.
    Take your time, girlfriend. I am awaiting one last component of a multi-part gift for Gus and then it’s on its way. It can be a Just Over Scarlet Fever present.

  457. Good morning everyone! Hi Haven!

    Brenda- I got Zippy on cd for xmas too and I have been listening to it with them on the drive in to school and work. My daughter is serious and a hard nut to crack, but I can tell she is enjoying the stories and Haven’s brilliant reading of them. I think my kids are starting to understand why I love Haven and this community so.

  458. Haven peeped in – yippee!!!!

    After my nap last night I read more of Chutes “The School on Heart Contents Road” – it is great and the style of writing is – freestyle – there are multiple points of view from an all knowing (yet sometimes, to me, fanatical narrator) and there are CODES for each point of view (one of which is a TV) and there is a crazy character index in the back . . . if you are tired of basic fiction – get this book.

    Also I had to get a new copy of THE BEANS OF EGYPT, MAINE because I drowned the other one in the bathtub . . . anyway, this new print version is updated by the author and has a long ‘author’s note’ at the back – it was extremely helpful and I think I really understand BEANS much better now.

    Which leads me to – Roethke. So Chutes discusses the fact that during the 80’s there was true hysteria over incest and child abuse. Which is true, and it is also true that there are real instances of said abuses. But now people seem to seek it out in a voyeuristic manner. Chutes’ BEANS was assumed to be all about that – but there was really only one intended and clear instance of incest . . .

    anyway – I then thought about one of my favorite Roethke poems: My Papa’s Waltz, so wanted to read it again . . . I ended up reading about 150 pages of Roethke last night. It was amazing. I was stunned in College when I realized most of the class assumed that Papa’s Waltz was about incest. To me it was just crazy fun, maybe by a slightly inebriated papa. So why do I, an incest survivor, not jump to the same salicious conclusions?

    It is just a question, I have passed some men in public that made me want to stab them because of there pedophile vibes – maybe I can pick up more directly on the real thing, but I have to say that I don’t want to see the loss of innocent and pure affection to be lost because of an assumption or fear of the development of incest.

    Might be too heave for the morning hours, this is just something I have observed over time and it is directly addressed by Chutes . . .

  459. Good Morning Everyone….

    So good to see you, Haven!

  460. Hi George!
    I ended up with a snow day today so I’m home. I am writing and negotiating fights between my boys – also home on a snow day.

    My copy of The Sparrow had an interview with Mary Doria Russell in the back. She said that she had converted from Catholicism to Judaism and that becoming a Jew forces one to accept that the God you worship allows horrible events to occur to his people, such as the Holocaust. She said she wanted to explore that in the book.

    I also saw in Sandoz’s final trials on Rakhat a way to think about the crucifixion. I have heard some theologians say that Jesus truly had to believe that God had forsaken him to experience what humans do. That submitting to God’s will and God’s way does not mean a life of smooth sailing but instead means you are willing to be lead into the very roughest of waters.

  461. Sher –
    Have you read Teacher Man? It is Frank McCourt’s third memoir after Angela’s Ashes and ‘Tis. He has a chapter toward the end in which he is teaching “My Papa’s Waltz” to a bunch of inner-city New York High School students. One student talks about how he was changed by that poem and how he ended up writing about it in college. It is quite moving. I never read that as incest either, I guess because I am the daughter of an alcoholic. It seems more like love and the willingness to overlook the drink in appreciation for the very hard work the father is willing to do to support his family.

  462. Happy Snowday Maureen. πŸ™‚
    It’s crap here in Maine, as well. Rehearsal has already been canceled (it wasn’t until 7 PM) and my voice lesson too. Oh what *shall* I do with my day? Perhaps finish reading Elizabeth R? πŸ˜€
    Anyone else have a snowday?

  463. On my goodness, now that you mention it – and I love FRANK MCCOURT – I do remember that!!!

    I was looking at the Yahoo site this morning and loving the pics of your boys . . . maybe in a few years time the age difference won’t mean so much – I love Tristan’s purple hair.

    I just died Lauren’s hair a gorgeous blue-black . . . it is stunning, we were going to do purple streaks, but she likes this so much she is keeping it for a while . . .

    she is working on an altered book in art class so we spent most of last night digging through photos and clippings – it was so much to do with her. One page has to be about her fears – so she was screaming as she cut out pics of dolls and clowns – it was very funny!

    I am successfully spending more focused time with each of my dear ones and I am enjoying it . . . just means I can’t blog as much in the evenings when they are all home and I have yet to get out of my pj’s today – I broke my own rule and walked Claire to the bus stop in my green, Xmas Winnie The Pooh flannel bottoms . . . oh dear, the HOA will probably fine me!

  464. why did my gravatar disappear….grrrrr!

  465. Sher, I love that you have Winnie the Pooh pajamas. πŸ™‚
    Lauren is afraid of dolls? Regular, plain old dolls?

  466. Kittery – anything with EYES that LOOK at her – completely freaks her out.

    Not to mention that I have a trunk of dismembered dolls in my studio and I use them for parts . . . she refuses to go in the studio at night . . .

    Also, Claire has LOTS of dolls and Lauren hates them lying around on the sofa or sitting with us at the table in their doll highchairs . . .

  467. I think I will have another nap now . . . wish I could post pictures directly here . . . but I did add some pics of me and John M. on the Yahoo site, and some new ones on Facebook if anybody goes there . . . just TOO many places to keep up with . . .

    If anybody is bored, I have a question:

    What books are on your nightstands??

  468. Hahahaha. I can’t imagine enduring that phobia with a little sister.
    I s’pose she’s not a fan of Raggedy Ann, either .. you know, the dolls come alive as soon as you leave the room? πŸ˜‰

  469. Elizabeth R!
    LOTR: Two Towers
    Intimate Appraisals

    Ahem..intellectual I’m not. πŸ˜›

  470. True – about Raggedy Ann and the one I have is 4 ft tall and I tied a paperbag over its head and painted it by painting my face and then rolling in on the paper bag – it is very eerie (see Sculptures on my blog – “Your Story Begins at Home I” – I also have my vintage Krissy doll which I have cast the face for many sculptures…she is a little worse for wear and is naked . . . possibly my proclivities have caused this phobia? Ya think??

  471. On the bedroom nightstand I have:

    Walking Thru Walls by Phillip Smith (about 1/3 done, LOVE IT)
    Three Junes by Julia Glass (1/3 done) LOVE IT
    A Skeleton in God’s Closit by Maier (not started)
    Light in August by Faulkner (love it, want to re-read)
    Illuminata by Marianne Williamson (love it, re-read a few pages at a
    March by Geraldine Brooks (2/3 done, loving it)
    Wish You Well by David Baldacci (unread)
    The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette by Carolly Erickson (unread)
    I, Mona Lisa by Jeanne Kalogrides (1/3, loving it)

    On the floor: The Hour I First Beloved by Wally Lamb (finished.
    great! still processing and reviewing it as I need to recover ideas)
    The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski (finished. this was
    somewhat of a struggle, finally got into it on page 385, then wish I
    hadn’t read the last chapter . . . if you have dogs, you should read
    it . . . I liked it, but was slightly bored during some of it, and
    disconcerted by the ending . . . would have rather been left hanging).

    Currently reading: The School on Heart’s Content Road by Carolyn

  472. Dude. Imagining your Raggedy Ann is creeping me out. πŸ˜›
    Maybe you are slightly responsible .. just a smidge. πŸ˜‰

  473. Thanks Kittery! Rehearsal for what? You are a singer performer person? I really need to make myself a chart to make sure I know my blog friends’ shtuff.

    Sher – I would love to see pix of Lauren’s new haircolor. Tristan bought brilliant aqua at Hot Topic but it did not stay when we used it. I will check Yahoo group site and see what you’ve added.

    I will have to physically go upstairs and make a list of what’s next to my bed. The pile got so high today it toppled to the floor! Time to weed out.

  474. Upstairs nightstand (where I sleep when I am insomniac):

    The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke

    Purity of Heart Is To Will One Thing by Kierkegaard

    The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant (loving this book)

    Speak Softly, She Can Hear by Pam Lewis (looks good)

    The Position by Meg Wolitzer (love her other stuff)

    If you want to write by Brenda Ueland (love it)

    A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf (for reflections)

    To the Lighthouse (Woolf, for reflections)

    The Secrets of a Fire King by Kim Edwards (unread)

    A Prayer for Owen Meany (to re-read, by Irving)

    Early Frost, The First Three edit. J. Meyers

    The Yellow Wall-Paper and Other Writings – Charlotte Perkins Gilman (when I need a short story, but not in the mood for poetry)

  475. No pile of books can be too high!!!

    Haven’t taken a picture of Lauren’s new hair, but maybe she has on Facebook . . .

    Hot Topic haircolor sucks, I know – we use the bleach/color SPLAT, but this one was a FERIA Loreal product, blue/black.

  476. Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance (or The Slave of Duty). I’m Isabel. πŸ™‚

    It’s just amateur theatre, but it’s a good group. We have (in the past) won awards at international competitions. πŸ˜€ Though that was before my time…

  477. Oh Kittery! Theatre is so fun!!!! My kids do it all Summer at the Algonquin in Manasquan, NJ (where Jack Nicholson trained) . . . the write, produce, do sets, perform, sing, even do chorus lines (which they would never admit to their rural TN friends!) . . . I think it is fab!

    My favorite all time Broadway show: 1992’s THE SECRET GARDEN . . .

    have you done Brigadoon? When we lived in Princeton NJ – I loved going to the ‘ameteur’ theatres up there – culture, culture, culture; we have it in Nashville, but I never seem to make it in there

  478. ugh – I am going to go get some work done, boo!

  479. Kittery – What fun! We just saw Pirates of Penzance this past summer. We have a really old Opera House near and they usually do a Gilbert and Sullivan each summer.

    I was in Once Upon a Mattress back in college – my one foray into musical theater. My sis and dad were the community theater buffs.

    Sher – Thanks for the tip on the hair color. We’ll try that.

  480. Oh that’s amazing! I would love to do something like that. Lucky them. πŸ˜€

    I haven’t done Brigadoon .. there was speculation that would be the summer show (another group) but then bitchy people started disagreeing on whether kids should be included in the shows, or whether it should be exclusively adult or mixed. Admittedly, after doing the Sound of Music DOUBLECAST (FOURTEEN CHILDREN), tolerance might have thinned, but whatever. So now we get no show at all. 😦

    If you need to fit in some culture, come to Maine the end of February/beginning of March! πŸ˜‰

  481. Nice! If you ever have the opportunity to see Pirates on an actual ship – do it. Several years ago, they did that in Camden (during the summer, obviously). Quite good. πŸ™‚

    You should start up again! Get your kids involved too. πŸ™‚ In our G&S group, there’s a lot of kids with their parents..

  482. Actually, my son just started rehearsals for Oliver – he is in the chorus – and I think he’s going to have a great time. This is a school production and the director is a great guy. I am hoping he loves it and will keep on.

  483. Yay! :: claps :: Musical theatre is such a perfect place to start (or stay, lol). Even if you’re in the chorus, you’re still not wallpaper (which is what can happen in a straight play) If you have a principal role, you just get to shine. It’s intoxicating. πŸ™‚

    I think he’ll like it. πŸ™‚

  484. How wonderful to hear the long-lost voices of Delonda and Haven! Delonda, so glad you can be at home and have good friends and loved ones to assist and pamper you. I hope you enjoy soaking up some of the kind of caring you have offered to so many others. Dear Ms. Haven, how are you? I’m visiting Suzanne next week and I’ll give you a report when I get home.

  485. Haven, please check your email at

  486. My nightstand:
    The Historian
    Possible Side Effects
    Fall on Your Knees
    I Hope they Serve Beer in hell ( this book is so obnoxious and outrageous, I read it outloud to the fiance and we just crack up in disbelief)

  487. “If your mother had married a proper decent Limerickman you wouldn’t have this standing up, North of Ireland Presbyterian hair.” She spat twice on my head.
    I love Angela’s Ashes. And his gramma is just like mine. When my sister was dating an Italian (Nunzio), we told Nana his name was Seamus. πŸ™‚

  488. SHER –
    It was good to see the picture of ‘Cassie’ situated in her new home. I’m still as sick as I look in the photo, but I’m getting better.

    LINDA –
    I did a double-take when I saw the picture of your family in front of Adrienne Outlaw’s ‘Vessels of Grace’ sculpture. I’m jealous that you (and Sher) have seen that up close. she’s an amazing artist.

  489. I want to name my next dog Seamus, I love that name!

  490. I love all of Frank McCourt’s books! He did a reading/talk/book-signing here a few years ago. I went and took a friend. He autographed my copy of “Teacher Man” and I got to meet him and speak briefly with him. He’s quite charming, a small man with sparkling, lively eyes.

  491. How wonderful! I would love to meet him–even if Haven says meeting authors is usually a big disappointment. Or was it Suzanne? Ah, well, it was probably both of them. πŸ˜‰

    We’re writing limericks in class, and my kids got a kick out of this one. I’m not Yeats but maybe I should quit teaching anyway:

    There was a young teacher named Molly
    Who realized that teaching was folly.
    She’d much rather marry
    A Rob, Tom, or Larry
    With money enough to be jolly.


    Okay. I promise to keep my day job. But it made me laugh so I thought I would share.

  492. John M – you poor soul, I know you wanted a picture with more of a smile, but this was the only clear shot – and you smiled the whole time we were together . . . Humm, yes Vessels of Grace IS amazing. Unfortunately I have had many drops of blood on that sculpture from disassemblage and soaking it in muriutic acid/vinegar . . . do NOT work with pure brass mesh and hope it doesn’t age . . . actually the piece I have is aged and I love it – but on the huge piece we had to have a more consistent patina . . . did you notice the little slips of paper??? each ‘basket’ holds handwritten notes/prayers of viewers . . . it was originally built for Vanderbilt’s oncology dept – and volunteers sewed many of the baskets/box frames . . .

    You must get better so we can ramble some more about art!!! I am struggling with carpentry issues yesterday and today . . .

  493. I have loved every author reading I have ever attended . . . I haven’t seen/heard Haven yet, but my favorites so far are Ann Patchett and A. Manette Ansey.

  494. Amy in O – I see Nikki Six, but my avatar is a black hole . . .

  495. My nightstand:

    Dominion Power bill
    Dog collar, red and studded
    Crusty cat cack (left corner)
    Orphan sock
    A Drinking Life, Pete Hamill

  496. No it isn’t, Sher. ‘Tis you as a baby.

  497. Maureen:


    I saw the tribulations of Sandoz in The Sparrow as a direct reference to the sex scandals of the Catholic church. In the end (no pun intended) Sandoz never actually submitted as you recall, but lashed out at, killing the little girl. I did see his days back on Earth as a prolonged Gethsmane where he is finally reconciling himself to the will of God — unknowable and seemingly cruel as it is.

    There is a sequel and I am going to scout it out.

    I am now reading A Drinking Life by Pete Hamill and a biography of Andrew Jackson.

  498. OKAY
    on my nightstand (which is actually a big tall DEEP wicker basket with handles, just for books – THEN? i have a regular nightstand on the other side of my bed; whose drawer is filled with XXX evil. as Jon — or for that matter, George, can tell you.)

    THE GREAT MAN by kate christensen
    SEEK MY FACE UPDIKE (reread)

    THE EPICURE’S LAMENT (by kate christensen, who is just so delightfully BRILLIANT. HAVEN AND I BOTH worship her. OH and now? now we know her, too. she is so self effacing and sweet, even though The Great Man won the 2008 PEN/FAULKNER award! she said she was COMPLETELY shocked when she got the call. can you imagine getting that call?)

    THE SHACK (reread)
    THE USED WORLD (reread)
    ANGLE OF REPOSE (reread)
    THE HISTORY OF LOVE (on someon’e advice from here . thank you!!)



    CONVERSATIONS WITH EURODA WELTY (you wanna be a writer? read this)
    A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY (i havent read it yet! im savoring the moment)

    IODIONE READERS EDITION (i am senselessly hoarding the last half until i get her next book, THE FARM. i have severe scarcity issues)

    UK PENGIUN trade paperback EDITION OF SPLIT (it just came out jan 1. there’s a chunky long Split excerpt running in the London Times tommorow. yay!!!)


    THE WELL AND THE MINE GIN PHILLIPS (a little small press book that is flawless, and is about to get a big prize, cuz i voted for it w/ kate christensen!!!! (shhhhh its a secret!)

    in my car on audio i have the following unabridged books on cd:

    MIDDLESEX (loving it so much i scream regularly. genius.)












  499. GEORGE i didnt like A DRINKING LIFE. better books are



  500. I’ve never been disappointed in meeting any author/writer…I think they are fascinating creatures, probably why I like it here so much! One of my favorites was Meg Cabot (don’t hate me!). She could do stand-up…that’s how funny she is!


    I have no personal knowledge about Suzanne’s night drawers!


    Late last year, I read Dry, which made me laugh, and Drinking, A Love Story, which nearly made me cry. Not my own drinking, but alcohol, has left a lot of bruises in my life. Time to deal with it.


    I forgot what I was going to say…something about meeting authors.

  502. George – Yikes! I hadn’t even thought of that – and I’m Catholic. Kind of a recompense idea? (in the end, ha ;)! I’m going to track down the sequel too.
    My favorite Pete Hamill is Snow in August.

    My bedside table:
    Four Loyola classics: In This House of Brede, North of Hope, Five for Sorrow Ten for Joy, and Keys of the Kingdom
    These Happy Golden Years (LIW fetish)
    The Used World (reread)
    Christians at the Border: Immigration, The Church and the Bible
    Enduring Grace: Lives of Seven Female Mystics
    The Eleventh Draft: Essays by Iowa Writers workshop instructors
    Three copies of The New Yorker
    Three copies of Commonweal
    Journal of a Solitude
    The Dark is Rising
    Seven Story Mountain (permanent)
    The Life You Save Might be Your Own (permanent)

    Molly – I’ve been reading your blog posts and enjoying them a lot. I especially loved your list of movies you were allowed to watch. My God The Exorcist had me terrified for months at age nine! Worse than that The Omen. Also some movie where a woman got buried alive. What were our parents thinking?
    Also, how lucky that you have found such good friends. Do you subscribe to Commonweal? If you’re looking for the left-wing literary side of the Catholic Church, you’ll find it there!

  503. Three authors I would like to meet:

    Richard Merullo
    Mary Oliver
    ….ok, so it’s four. I was an English major.

    Four authors I would like to meet in the afterlife:
    Mark Twain
    Katherine Porter
    Harriet Beecher Stowe
    Sinclair Lewis and Upton Sinclair (I count them as one)
    Emily Dickinson
    Gerard Manley Hopkins
    Herman Melville

  504. Suzanne –
    I’m a Carolyn Myss fan too. I just ran across the list of archetypes I chose for myself and my sister and my husband a few years ago.

    If anyone else is interested in this, Carolyn Myss has a theory that we all have a Sacred Contract to live out certain archetypal roles. You can read all about them at

  505. …oh, I forgot Ann Lamott. I’d love to meet her!

  506. George – My sister was so into Ann Lamott that she found out where her church is and attended one day! This is not as stalkerish as it sounds, since my sister is an inveterate church-goer. Any church, any time. And my sister does live in southern California – it’s not like she flew cross-country to do it.
    But she did meet Ann Lamott and Sam.

    In the afterlife I’m camping out with Willa Cather.

  507. I had someone (she was already getting many others from me!) give my daughter Ann Lamott’s book, “Bird by Bird” for Xmas…I may need to borrow it when she’s done.

  508. John- Vessels of Grace currently lives in the fellowship hall area of my church. Adrienne is a member of Second Presbyterian Church. I am on the session there and have been a member for 17 years. Not that that makes me feel old or anything. It is a cool church. Lots of musical talent there too.

  509. George–the sequel to The Sparrow is Children of God, a fascinating look at interdependence. Have read it almost as many times as The Sparrow. Get lost in questions every time.

    On my nightstand: a strand of pearls, a cup of green tea, 2 three-pound exercise balls, a skein of black embroidery thread, *The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters* by Rose George, Tao Te Ching by Stephen Mitchell, Escaping into the Open by Elizabeth Berg, The Essential Rumi, translations by Coleman Barks, and Even the Stars Look Lonesome Tonight by Maya Angelou.

    The Big Necessity is changing my view of the world, page by page.

  510. Hello! I just wanted to pop in to tell Suzanne that I am ADORING The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

    I am reading (really listening on audiobook) it everywhere possible. I’m finding chores to do or errands to run so that I can listen to more. Though I only have one disc left so I’m trying to parcel it out.

    The audiobook is fabulous, with all different actors and I love every person in it.

    Anyway, just wanted to thank you for the recommendation and to tell others that you were totally RIGHT!

  511. I love it when Amber shows up!

    Last night, she forced me to abandon my computer and say, “screw you, yearbook deadline!” so that I could have dinner, a beer, and a fun round of trivia at Mellow Mushroom. Delicious.

  512. And…I have a bunch of romance novels in easy reach of my bed. Obviously, you all are much more serious bed-readers than I am. Though my Haven is always close at hand. πŸ™‚

  513. It is knock out to read everybody’s nightstand lists – I did add any peripheral objects, trying to stay G-rated πŸ˜‰

    Notice that Suzanne & I officially have 2 nightstands!

    During one of our moves years ago I forced myself to give away some books and I was crying and trying to take notes from them before I went to goodwill – and I used to mark little stars by excerpts from the library books in pencil, then transfer them to a journal – needless to say this was all too much stress for me – men have 1K dollar bikes, $500 tennis rackets, I don’t even want to say what is spent on guitars and motorcycles – –

    so my proclivity is BOOKS, I am an official member of THE BOOK WHORE/GIGALO club. As a matter of fact, I am the founding member. I don’t even have the sense to feel guilty anymore (most of my books come from garage sales & Goodwill, and I am allowed 2 new books per month (my own limit) . . . every birthday I buy a special book for myself.

    Maybe I will do a member t-shirt . . . we could shorten it to:

    Book Hoes

  514. Linda – do you know if you have your hand on the wrong keys your name comes out:

    kubda? and mine is sger?

    also, I adore the decor at your church – the pictures you posted were STUNNING, no wonder you feel so nurtured there.

  515. LB – horrible admittance, almost a confession – I have my romance novels in a locked briefcase under the bed . . . I learned way too much from my mom & step-dad’s hidden “books” – namely: The Sensual Man & The Sensual Woman . . . I found way too early, hidden in the bottom of their hamper . . . terrifying!!!! Even my Diana Gabaldon’s are hidden there!!!

  516. Book Hoes! I love it, count me in. Sometimes I will go into my “library room” which is not as cool as it sounds. We just have a 4 bedroom house and 2 people so I have my own room with just bookcases..anyway, like I was saying..I love to go and just look at my books. Read the titles, remember parts that I love. This is odd isn’t it?
    Authors I would love to meet:
    Elizabeth Berg
    Curtis Sittenfield
    Sylvia Plath

  517. Hi everyone

    Well my night stand has Iodine and James Patterson’s Maximum Ride collection which is exellent too

  518. My reading time every night, in bed with a flashlight next to my warm hubby, is one of my fave times of the day. The house is quiet and the time is totally for me. Our kitty cat Sophie is curled up at my feet and when I wiggle my toes he purrs away. We have a propane fireplace in our bedroom and it casts a lovely glow as it comes on periodically during the night. I can read as late (or early) as I want if I don’t have to work the next day because Ken gets the boys on the school bus in the morning. Heaven. My book pile changes almost daily but here’s what’s there right here and now:

    Aug’s Dry
    my psychiatrist friend Robin Altman’s Shrink Rap
    Annie’s Day of Light (fascinating, abt Mennonite life)
    No Lifeguard of Duty
    Haven’s Something Rising
    My Son Marshall, My Son Eminem
    The Other Hollywood
    Prisoner of X
    Don’t Sleep with a Bubba Unless Your Eggs Are in a Wheelchair
    Fay Weldon’s Puffball
    Fay’s Auto da Fay
    Eminem: The Way I Am (love me some Marshall)
    The Spirituality of Imperfection
    Howard Dully’s My Lobotomy

    I’ve been trying to find my copy of Split to read it before I fly to CA to visit Suzanne next week and alas, it is nowhere to be seen. I’ll keep looking. Fun!

  519. Sher! I just spit some of my rum and Coke on my computer screen in a horrified coughing/laughing fit, and I am BLUSHING. I meant actual romance novels. Like Nora Roberts and Amanda Quick. πŸ™‚ I regret to inform the blog-baby world that I own no XXX books. Or even XX or X books.

    I have a bookshelf that is within reach of my bed (where the romance novels are!) so that I can choose a book at random at any time. There are probably a hundred books on it, but to name just a few

    Dean Koontz:
    Lightning (wonderful)
    Life Expectancy (fantastic)
    The Taking (thought-provoking)
    The Husband (summer blockbuster)

    Robin McKinley (who has lasted me from my early teens to now; she is wonderful!!!)
    The Hero and The Crown
    The Blue Sword
    both Beauty and the Beast retellings
    The Outlaws of Sherwood (LOVE THIS BOOK!)

    gods in Alabama
    Water for Elephants
    The Thirteeth Tale
    Peace Like a River (read this!)
    A River Runs Through It
    The Golden Compass
    (picnic, lightning)
    Dry, Running with Scissors
    No Country for Old Men
    Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in…
    Many Waters (Madeleine L’Engle)

    Not all my loves are as illustrious as the august readers on this blog…but they make me happy. πŸ™‚

    Good night, babies!

  520. Oh, Maureen! I am glad that you’ve been enjoying the posts. Amber said the Dec. 31st one (“Pots and Pans” ala Laura from Something Rising) made her cry. I wasn’t sure if that was good or not…she said it was but I couldn’t really tell. I have trouble with social cues, too, sometimes. πŸ™‚ My sis jokes autism is contagious.

    I have read and made notes on the last chapter you sent me but haven’t quite finished yet. I’ll have more time next week once my deadline’s past. I promise I’ll have something to you soon though. I simply love the way you write.

    Bed for real now!

  521. Had the day off… whew! Took a lot of time to get caught up. Glad to hear that everyone is doing well. Sounds like the holidays were good for most as well.

    Just one book on my nightstand. It’s collecting more dust as we speak… A Prayer for Owen Meany. I’m just not ready to try it again.

    Love ya all,

  522. Well, after reading my posts, I can see that this was slightly misleading (accidentally, not on purpose) . . . those locked books are just romances with some heavy scenes, but I don’t want the kids to come across them . . . I was stunned and very confused by sex scenes in books (and from the library!!! and I was 7 or 8 . . . checking out Harold Robbins is not advised . . .

    But then I read some of Dylan’s Wheel of Time books and that is some trash sex scenes in those . . . go figure . . . Diana Gabaldon is Time Travel, with sprinklings, ok, heavy spices of sex . . .

    Sock Monkey, what do you want to read???

    Seeing everyone’s list has reminded me of even more ‘favorites’ – and some ideas for some new ones . . .

    thanks for playing the nightstand game . . .

  523. I love Dean Koontz . . . Elizabeth Berg . . . Anne Rivers Siddons (GET King’s Oak NOW, it is so Poisonwood Bible-ish as to ecocentrism) . . . Ann Lamott . . . it goes on and on

    LB – I used to live in Atlanta – THEY Mellow Mushroom, oh honey, that takes me back . . . mmmmmm

  524. When we’re done with the Nightstand Game, can we play the Board Games game? I’d love to hear about everyone’s faves, esp since Santa probably brought some of us some new goodies.

  525. Would you all please move to PA and be my neighbors? Just think of the fun we could have trading books, cooking large meals and playing board games together. We need to all rent a beach house for a week and have fun together. You too Haven and Mother Delonda.

  526. Ok Polly – I will play:

    Board Games –

    I kick ass and take names in Monopoly and it lasts for 4 hours.

    Mexican Domino Train – fabulous

    Scrabble – love it, my sister and mom’s favorite, but my husband is stellar at it, my son just scored a 90 pt. word during Christmas

    Love Card Games – Oh, Well (or Oh, Spit) depending on your area of the country, Spades Partners, Spite & Malice, Three Thirteen (you can get rules online), we play PHASE 10 and UNO with Claire

    Board – LIFE, don and dylan play stratego, we love Sequence, othello (for 2), we adore Scattagories . . . we also like Battleship (for 2) . . . we play games a lot – and have hot chocolate in the winter

    In ILLY they play euchure(sp?), usually with a cloud of smoke and beer burps – I’ve never tried that sober

    Ultimate – we have a Wii – it has been an amazing family event . . . I can’t tell you enough about the Wii Fit, we are all the best at something and try to knock each other off the top score – Claire is best as Advanced Hula Hooping, I am the Queen of the Bubble Balance, Lauren is the Soccer Champ, Don is the ski jumps, and Dylan the Table Tilt – and we get exercise to boot . . .

    as a child I loved parchessi and MOUSEtrap

  527. and – Bunco – holy moly – that rocks!

    oh, and YATZEE

  528. Polly, the bestest board game in the world: Sorry!
    Followed by Clue. πŸ™‚ Classic standbys .. but I believe ‘classic’ is the keyword. πŸ˜‰

  529. I wanted to invite everybody over to cocktails and food with some poets, artists, literature professors . . . you would all fit right in!

  530. me, my headache, and an ambien are tucking into bed with Chutes . . . night night, Polly & all the other late blog babies

  531. and now Kittery is here – but I need sleep girls . . .

  532. My timing is impeccable as always. πŸ˜‰ Nighty night Sher!

  533. Dang it – card game is OH, HELL – – -not Oh, well

    oh, hell – i need some sleep 8)

  534. Lol. I have another variation for you – in Maine/New Hampshire, that game is dubbed “Oh Shit”. πŸ™‚

  535. Love Oh Shit! One of our son’s friend taught it to us about a month ago. I’ll catch you up on our fave games tomorrow, er, later today. Like Sher I must go to sleep. Night all.

  536. Must to join the Nightstand Game before the Board Game Game gets into full swing, as you all will recognize so many of your recommendations in this list:

    just finished (last night):
    Bridge of Sighs / Richard Russo (now, onto everything else he’s ever written, LOVED this)

    The Maytrees / Annie Dillard (my new favorite author-voice)
    Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You / Sam Gosling (like body language decoding, but for stuff)
    Queen of the Oddballs / Hillary Carlip (growing up Hollywood in the 70s — wish I’d had a set like hers when she was 13)

    next up:
    I Was Told There’d Be Cake / Sloane Crosley
    Holidays on Ice /David Sedaris
    Sacred Compass /Brent Bill
    Breakfast with Buddha / Roland Merullo
    Thus Far and No Further / Rumer Godden
    Cottage Style; The Complete Guide to Decorating with Ceramic Tile / by our own dear Jerri Farris
    Taking Flight: Inspiration and Techniques to Give Your Creative Spirit Wings / Kelly Rae Roberts
    The Time Traveler’s Wife / Audrey Niffenegger
    Owls and Other Fantasies / Mary Oliver (poetry/essays)
    Cleopatra’s Nose / Judith Thurman (essays)
    Church of the Dog / Kaya McLaren
    Let Us Now Praise Famous Men; A Death in the Family; Shorter Fiction / James Agee
    Look Me in the Eye / John Elder Robison
    Everything is Illuminated / Jonathan Safran Foer
    The Uncommon Reader / Alan Bennett
    Smart Women Finish Rich / David Bach
    Ten Days in the Hills / Jane Smiley
    Men to Boys: the Making of Modern Immaturity / Gary Cross
    Portrait of My Body / Phillip Lopate
    The Used World / Haven
    If the Buddha Dated / Charlotte Kasl (love this little book!)
    Jumpstart Your Metabolism / Pam Grout
    Write it Down, Make it Happen / Henriette Anne Klauser
    Clients for Life / Jagdish Sheth and Andrew Sobel

    Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha / Tara Brach
    The Master Speaks / Joel Goldsmith
    Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting / Lynn Grabhorn

    and retrieved:
    Strength to Your Sword Arm from the “book room” (really 2nd bedroom) after seeing Sher’s Brenda Ueland title. About 20 of her columns, with my favorite essay ever, “Tell Me More,” on listening intently as a way of giving someone the room to grow, expand, become more of themselves, let their inner spring run clear of all that mud and debris. Reading it hundreds of times gave me an ear for hearing what is not said, what is being talked around.

    Good lord, I’m “eating” well because of you all.

  537. Molly – I love Many Waters! Actually, any Madeleine L’Engle book. Have you read any of her adult books like Live Coal in the Sea or A Severed Wasp? So sad that she died.
    I also love The Golden Compass and I thought they did a really good job with the movie – very much the way I had imagined it.

  538. Carrie – That’s an impressive list! If you like Annie Dillard, For the Time Being just blew me away.
    I am listening to All the King’s Men on audio. That’s quite the work.

  539. Has anyone else “discovered” Elizabeth Strout? I picked up a copy of OLIVE KITTERIDGE and am really impressed with her writing. She has two previous novels, ABIDE WITH ME, and AMY AND ISABELLE.

  540. Good morning. I have not been signing on a home for a while in the mornings so by the time I am at work I cannot remember my nightstand books in enough detail to list them. (early senility I guess) So, I have them next to me now.

    Holy Silence, by J. Brent Bill – really been enjoying reading this.
    An Unfinished Marriage, by Joan Anderson (Suzanne recommended this to me for obvious reasons)
    A Gentle Path through the Twelve Steps, by Patrick Carnes (I am working on my 4th step now. not fun)
    Telling Secrets, by Frederick Buechner
    A Place Called Self- Women, Sobriety, and Radical Transformation, by Stephanie Brown (hmmm, I see a pattern emerging here)
    The Honeymoon’s Over- True Stories of Love, Marriage, and Divorce (alas, another pattern)
    the Bible. Which, strangely, I do not read a lot in bed. I guess I keep a copy there as more of a reference. Well, it is my study bible. I have a small, leather bound bible I keep with me and read on the go. That is when I usually need it most.

    Well, off to hurry the kids and get out the door.

    p.s. Hi Sock!

  541. Hey Jodi!
    (At the Calvin Festival) I was sitting smack dab right next to Elizabeth Strout in the chapel, smiling at her as she read over some papers in her hand. And then the staffer introduced her and she stood up and went to the podium. I didn’t even know it was her!!! I had gone to her talk because she teaches at Colgate University, which is very close to me. After I saw her, I read Abide with me and Amy and Isabel. I haven’t yet read Olive Kitteridge.
    Kittery – I bet you would like her a lot because she writes about Maine.
    Have a good day at school, Jodi. I am about to make the snowy ride into town myself.

  542. Hi Linda! Where are these pictures of your church?

  543. Wow, Maureen. Small World. What did you think of Strout’s writing?

    Did you get to school okay? We had a snow day yesterday — the usual Hoosier “wintry mix” that slicked the roads long enough to call off school. We’ll be trading a lovely day in May to makeup for yesterday. When I was in school (in the 1970s and before) snow days were freebies. Today Indiana demands 180 days of being in school. Are the rules the same in NY?

  544. Hi everyone, I haven’t been keeping up with the blog lately. Can someone update me a little. It appears Haven has not been around? Is she o.k.?

  545. Morning folks…I am up to my ears in planning for a conference we are putting on next week in Marco Island, FL….next month, it is Las Vegas…I think we’ll be in Arizona in late March…a lot of travel up ahead.

  546. oh, already mixed up and confuses…next month it is New Orleans…then Vegas in late March, then Arizona

  547. Carrie–I wish I had a set like Hillary Carlip’s now, let alone at 13. Loved that book. Also–can’t believe you’re reading Spirit Wings. Kelly Rae Roberts is a genius at making the life she wants. Just flipping through that book inspires me, and I’ve tried many of the techniques. Tremendous fun.

    About “Tell Me More:” you’re terrific at picking up the subtext. Fascinating to hear Brenda Ueland played a part in that. In If You Want to Write, she basically says that anyone can write well once they overcome self-consciousness, anxiety and fear of failure. That’s pretty much true of living well, if you ask me.

    I think you’re going to enjoy Time Traveler’s Wife. It took me a while to find its rhythm, but once I got it, it was quite a ride.

    Enjoy your treasures!

  548. POS-Haven had a migraine then John and Gus (but thankfully not O) came down with Scarlet Fever, she’s been nursing them back to health.

    I love a game called Read My Lips where in you mouth words to your team and they have to guess what you’re saying.

    Also, I love Encore. You choose a card with a word on it, and you have to sing 5 words of a song that has that word in it. Once you’ve successfully done that, the other team has to use the same word and you go back and forth til one of you runs out of songs with that word. It’s hard and wicked fun.

    Backwards is another good one. You have to pronounce words backwards and have your team guess what the word is. It’s HI-larious.

  549. Hey, Molly–

    Read My Lips sounds like me in groups of people, trying to hear and understand. And this is… fun?! Ha!

    My favorite board game is crokinole. It’s like combat shuffleboard. My custom board used to be featured here, but has been bumped by newer additions:

    My board is blue-rimmed, natch, with a candlelight stain. The centerpiece is a pewter replica of the geologic pin atop Mt. Washington, NH.

    I bought the replica pin at the summit of Mt. Washington the summer before last, after hiking up and putting my feet on the real thing.

    ~ Sarah

  550. I’ve always wanted to take advantage of the Mt. Washington Observatory summit overnight facility in the winter. I am fascinated by that wild, wild place…right now the wind is blowing nearly 100 mph! They have webcams set up and I frequently check them. Here is a link:

  551. SHER!…my hubby and I watched the season premiere of ‘Anthony Bourdains No Reservations’ last night cause we tivo’d it and I’m telling you (it was Mexico) that if your daughter is scared of dolls NOW, don’t EVER ever ever let her watch that episode…I found it fascinating in a really bizarre Adam’s Family kind of way..a 50 year collection of dead dolls to scare away the drowned spirit of a little girl. As Haven would say; I got the hooky spooks. Big time. And thought of you.
    Bedside table books (well, it’s just a wooden t.v. tray so it’s a small stack):
    Biography of Dorothy Parker by Marion Meade
    A Monk Swimming by Malachy McCourt the other one’s brother
    The Flame Trees of Thika, because I found a vintage copy
    Ines of my Soul by Isabelle Allende because I love everything she writes
    A Graveyard For Lunatics by Ray Bradbury (he rocks!)
    Sacred Monkey River by Christopher Shaw about a canoe trip up the amazon
    English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs because I love the illustrations
    Sagramanda, a tale of future India by Alan Dean Foster
    The Sixteen Pleasures by Robert Hellenga (medieval art and book restoration, nuns find naughty pictures hidden in a book…pretty entertaining)
    WAIT A MINUTE!! Did George just say he was coming to Arizona? Where? When? Can we meet you?

  552. Good lists – I now have (purchased for 2009) a special Blog Babies journal and I jot down all the books I want . . . or movie suggestions . . . etc. I am loving it and it saves me so much time not to be re-reading entire threads to find a book suggestion! And, some of your inspiration words are added, with accreditations to the authors.

    Brenda – we love Anthony Bourdain!!! I will love for that episode. Lauren actually spent 4 hours in my studio yesterday working on her 8 page altered book for her art class . . . she won’t admit to being an artist – but looking at her bent over boxes of inks and threads – she has that bug, I promise! And she is GOOD. I will post her altered book on the blog when it is finished. I think altered books is a great way to marry that love for books with souveniers . . . I have tons of tickets, pictures, maps saved for doing a book for each travel location . . . they are part journal/scrapbook . . . Italy’s book has been calling my name for 2 years

    I once taught a cultural study on Mexico and we made Day of the Dead sculptures – and we have also made actual mummies in coffins for Egypt . . . I love that creepy stuff and the kids seem to grasp the social fabric.

    One more game: Apples to Apples.

    Also the Dictionary game.

    a judge chooses a word in the dictionary . . . each person writes their own definition and all are passed to the judge/facsilator . . . facsilitator reads the word and the definitions . . . everybody says which they believe is right . . . you get points for your definition being chosen . . .

    it is hysterical . . .as readers and writers we would all be pretty good at it . . . we could almost do this online!

  553. George – I desperately wish you had a blog that we could go to where all your stories (published and unpublished) were located . . . also your amazing travels . . . and all those things that mean so much to hear about . . . for instance one place to go to get the whole Georgeness’s Astuteness . . . please??? I run myself ragged chasing all over the place for your viewpoint and photos . . . pretty please with a lollipop on top???

  554. PS to George – you will get beaten with a wet noodle if you ever come through Nashville with calling me and Linda . . .I will even come keep you company at the airport for a layover . . .

  555. Polly, I will be in PA for two weeks in April ( work training)…Mechanicsburg,PA I think. Is that near you?

  556. FANTASTIC idea Sher about the blog babies journal, I am always cutting and pasting so I can print out recommendations you all give.
    Oh my favorite game is Loaded Questions…I literally laugh until I pee, just a bit, in my pants.

  557. Tell me, is Loaded Questions a board game???

    Now I am dressed and can work in the studio for 1/2 hour until the kids get home . . . my work ethic is suffering this week.

  558. Sher – I just saw an advertisement for an altered books workshop nearby! Never heard of them before – now they’re poppin’ up like roses. I am going to go if I can.

  559. Sher~
    It is a board game..there is also a Loaded Questions junior. Never have I played a game so fun. Basically someone is ” the reader” and they pick a question. Everyone writes down their answer including the reader. The person to the left of the reader is “the guesser.”They do not answer the question. The reader then collects all of the answers and reads them aloud to the guesser. You get points by guessing the correct answer.

  560. I love Scene It. But I can’t get anyone to play with me.

    Perhaps I am too wicked good.

  561. Maureen – you would LOVE doing altered books . . . and it is very non-stressful – you will just doodle with various materials, cut and paste – fun fun fun . . .will send you the assignment Lauren’s teacher gave them – it would actually be a fun family project . . .

  562. Sher:
    I wouldn’t go to Nashville without getting in touch. And I would love to do a blog, but I just don’t have time to devote to it. This here is the closest I will come to a blog, but if I had one, since I am not as artistic as you, mine would look a lot like Jerri’s. OK, home to walk the dogs, heat up some turkey tetrazinni, pig out, doze, walk the dogs, go to bed, read a page or two from A Drinking Life, conk out and do it all over again.

    I will be in Marco Island Sunday through next Wednesday, and Brenda, made a mistake. Not going to Arizona, but two trips to Vegas (not my favorite place) after a stay next month in New Orleans (one of my favorite places.)

  563. Ambie! You are picking up my lingo! Wicked good.

    I would play Scene It with you, but since I haven’t seen even a TENTH of the movies you have, I fear you wouldn’t find me much of a challenge.

    I am still at school. Argh!

  564. you are wicked dedicated, bug

  565. George – I will set up your blog and then we could just copy and paste all your links/stories/yahoo group photos/facebook informatin into it . . .

    Seriously. (This is purely for my convenience of course). Also I’m thinking we could have a thread somewhere for book, movie, other recommendations?

    Really – I need a few more things to do you know?

  566. ok – everybody vote:

    We need to make George his own blog??

    Yay –

    Nay –

  567. Yearbook deadline.

    I vote yes for a George blog.

  568. I also vote yes for some company on this blog whilst I work. lol. Empty schools are creepy places. I’m blaring Mama Mia to ward off weird noises.

  569. Bug – I was the editor of my high school’s yearbook . . . I loved it, I got to be BOSSY and creative, that was before computers though . . . we did it all by hand and with cropping tools . ..

    I am in and out while I work on re-designing my blog banner . . .

    we can start a George Stuteville Fan Site without his permission???? He can be a guest author????

  570. Yes for George’ s blog!
    I was on yearbook staff too! We are all cut for the same, eccentric cloth I am afraid:~)

  571. oops,from the same cloth

  572. Have a sore throat, turning in early.
    Goodnight babies!

  573. Just got home. Now I’m abandoning the blog too. Have lost my glasses (dog ate my spare, can you fricking believe it?!?!?!) so after 7 hours of straight comp time, my eyes feel like they are going to explode.

    Have a good night, y’all.

  574. Oh, and feel better Amy! Nikki would have recommended some whiskey for your throat…that’s what I’m having, anyway.

  575. Just checking in from the holidays–my goodness, a lot is going on. What a thrill to see posts from Mother Delonda and Haven. I’ve been so worried and it’s nice to hear some good news.

    At our house we love to play UNO (9- & 11-year-old kids) and my girls play something they invented called “Made Up Word Scrabble.” We also love Taboo.

    My nightstand right now has two Haven books, Dry, and I Was Told There’d Be Cake. Lots of magazines to put me to sleep and reading glasses. After 40 the eyesight went.

    Molly…every Friday we go to pizza and have family movie night. We love Mellow Mushroom and also Avondale/Stone Mountain Pizza Cafe. We must chat about Atlanta sometime…

    Off to watch the end of The Daily Show.

  576. Seriously here




  577. I’m so there.

  578. Vanessa –

    You like the Daily Show??? My husband grew up with John Stewart (he was then John Liebowitz) . . . in Lawrencevill, NJ – we actually have year books, pictures of baseball and tennis teams with he and Donny in them . . . he was 1 year ahead of Don . . . and they rather look alike, too.

  579. Kate ! Kate!!!!!

  580. any news on Haven??

  581. am I still a black hole?

  582. Hello blog kittens,

    I’ve been quiet for a while, but catching up on the goings-on regularly. I’m in L.A. for my father’s memorial service tomorrow (breathe, breathe, pay attention to details to distract me from the dysfunction, breathe, breathe) and there is a couple down the hall in my hotel having the most ludicrously loud and comical sounding sex. If I didn’t know better I would think I was being punk’d, it’s such a ridiculous clamor. Sigh. I think I manifest noisy people around me at the movies and in hotels because I dread it so.

    The books on my bedside table (that traveled with me from SD) are:

    Cheryl Strayed’s Torch
    Haven’s She Got Up Off The Couch (PERFECT for my current state)
    Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road

    At home is:

    George Saunders’ The Braindead Megaphone
    Jonathan Ames’ newest (something like A Diary, A Life, Fiction, Essays)
    Kate Braverman’s Frantic Transmissions To And From Los Angeles
    William T. Vollman’s Poor People
    Juan Carlos Alarcon’s Lost City Radio
    (The last two came from the gift bag at the PEN awards, and I am determined to rise to their occasion.)

    I looooooove games. Board games, party games, you name it. I just played Apples to Apples for the first time–loved it. I’m also a big fan of Taboo and Cranium.

    I’m so grateful for this blog. All of you like-minded people bring joy to my life even though I’ve never met you.


  583. Shanna – I am so sorry to hear about your Dad . . . as usual, there are just no words to help with that pain. I have been there and I think there is a numbing period immediately afterward that helps you function.

    My worst moment was seeing him on family videos the first time after his death, I just gasped and balled my eyes out.

    Noisy sex next door, never travel without earplugs or MP3 player and I always turn on the bathroom fan to drown out any noise . . . barring that – start jumping up and down on the bed, beating the headboard and streaming like Meg Ryan in the Harry Met Sally Movie –

  584. jim shue has a new posting on his blog

  585. Fellow Blog Authors – it is a great idea to apply categories to your blog postings so they will show up in google searches, include your name as one of the categories πŸ™‚ Just a tip!

  586. Maureen — I had the same thought reading your list. If only I had your (or Linda’s) focus! And yes, I can see an exclusively Annie Dillard nightstand in my near future. I’ll pick up For the Time Being. Also? What is this Calvin Festival of which you speak from which all good things flow?

    Elizabeth Strout is, of course, next, given the Jodi push.

    Shanna, I’ve been thinking of you all month — I’m wishing you strength and serenity. Oh, and the Loud Couple is there for comic relief. Enjoy their antic activity.

    And Jerri — you are awfully kind. I really should post the essay on the yahoo site — it was, as they say, life-changing. — I’ll have to pick up If You Want to Write if you recommend it — I can’t tell you how often I read one of your blog postings, or your postings here, and get a start — a jolt-start — from the way you say something. You are so very much one of my favorite writers, for your truth-telling and compassion and humor.

  587. And damn but I’d be wicked good at Read My Lips. Sometimes I practice with the TV’s sound muted on the off chance I am required to do something sleuthy one day.

  588. In other news, I burned a hole in my index finger, by oh so casually brushing it with a hot bead. I got a great bead out of it (see: gravatar), but 10 days later, still a pit where there should be skin. I tell you, a lack of pain where burns are concerned can be deceptive in the extreme. I am hoping Haven will one day share with us her block captain’s secret prescription for burn treatment.

  589. Carrie: your hot bead is…hot. Good thing, because 10 days with a pit where there should be skin is pretty extreme.

    You should know how often I wear the bead you sent me: nearly every day. It reminds me to be kind, to be hopeful, to have faith in what I know and who I am. It reminds me of how much difference someone (you) can make in the life of someone she’s never met (me). It reminds me how much small things matter.

    Be careful. Those fingers have much more work to do.

  590. Sher I am totally down for a day trip, that would be the greatest.

  591. Molly bug– I lost my glasses too! Went to get them this morning and — poof — they are gone. They are just for reading but I did not realize how much I need them until I tried to read then paper. I am now in the office reading my blurry computer screen. Ugh!!

  592. Good morning Babies! I had a nap.

    Now I am sparkly.

    Carrie I always hurt myself when I am tired. My favorite heat gun has this metal guard on it and I constantly lay it down too close and then rest my arm on it . . . of course, I could use the one with the cool-touch tip, but now – it doesn’t ‘FEEL’ right . . . these are our badges of courage . . . I have also severely burned myself dipping yarn into wax to create shoestring weavers for art students – to this day I have a raised strip on one of my fingertips . . . oochie.

  593. I can see you sparkling from here, Sher. You are lighting up the whole city!!

  594. As far as I’m concerned, all you sparkle and each morning after I eat my high-calorie, high-carb breakfast of biscuits and gravy and sausage, you are the high point of my morning!

    Shanna: My thoughts are with you, of course. Also, I am curious about that couple and their loud coupling! Sometimes I get those sound effects when I travel. Once, a woman and man who had been bumping and grinding for a couple of nights across the hall got on an elevator right after me. They were part of a conference I was attending and started chatting. When we arrived at the lobby level, I said, “You know, you both sure sound so familiar to me. You wouldn’t happen to be from Indiana would you?” It was a private little joke, but sometimes you just gotta make yourself laugh — especially when traveling alone!

    Hi Cake…I know you are around.

  595. Hey Dude!!

  596. Carrie –

    I’ll tell you about Calvin if you tell me what the heck a hot bead is πŸ™‚

    The Calvin festival is where I found out about and saw Haven (and Mother Delonda). I was so star-struck I was hiding behind trees as we all left the building.

    I have been twice, in 2006 and 2008 and I felt I had died and gone to heaven because there were all these writers there and they were all the very writers I love most!

    I’ll give you the link and you can check it out. We are booking a block of rooms at a hotel for 2010 for blog babies.

    Here is a link to just the adult fiction writers who were there in 2008. Once there you can go to home and get the big picture.

  597. Maureen: this sounds like something I’d be interested in checking out. Is this held every two years?

    …and yes, what the devil is a hot bead?

    …I’ll have one, whatever it is, though.

  598. If you go to this link you can get the e-newsletter and hear who will be there as they finalize plans for 2010. It’s every two years, alternating with the Festival of Faith and Music.
    And even thought Calvin itself is a Christian college, there are all kinds of religions and denominations represented. The first time I went Salmon Rushdie was a keynote.

  599. St Mo
    I am so there. I cannot wait.

  600. Here is a link to a bunch of the talks that were taped last April (not Haven’s boo-hoo) but there is Mary Gordon and Elizabeth Berg and a bunch of others
    The user name is festival and the password is ffw2008

  601. I want to answer for Carrie . . . because . . . Carrie makes lampwork hot beads (i.e., she makes them at home with a hot torch etc) they are glass and conduct major heat . . . she burned herself . . . here are some examples of lampworked beads . . .

    Carrie has some of her creations on the yahoo site. The beads I bought in Murano Italy stop my heart everytime I touch one . . . they are amazing . . . Carrie is awesome. She needs a fun club, too.

  602. Maureen – I will do a room at the Calvin Fest for ’10 . . . and I LOVE your gravator, Laura & Almonzo, they rock!

  603. Haven, I need a new post. I miss your wonderful words. I hope you are doing well? OMG I finished Iodine last weekend and it was fantastic! I’ll have to comment in the Iodine post soon. The little details about the late 80s made me laugh, I was doing/thinking/wearing some of the same things as your character, or I knew people who were.

    Sher – Anthony Bourdain is filming his show here in Detroit this week, but I have no idea where. I love the show too. I love all travel shows and all food shows. When I was in the hospital this week I watched many Samantha Brown episodes and a great show about the best 10 burgers in America. Now I need to travel to all of those 10 burger joints! OMG, what is better than a cheeseburger, I mean is steak didn’t exist?

  604. If it’s a great cheeseburger you want — one that is even better than in paradise — then haul yourself here to DC and go to Five Guys…yum…I might just end up going there myself in a few minutes.

  605. We have several Five Guys locations in Nashville now but I have never been to one. One of them is across the street from my office. Apparently they give you a hard time if you don’t get fries with the burger. And, apparently, they give you enough fries to feed A LOT of people. I would need a nap afterwards.

  606. They give you a ton of fries and I fling handfuls of them to my dogs, who appreciate it very much. Even without ketchup!

  607. Five Guys burgers are good but the fries are even better. They are the old-fashioned cut potato kind and they do throw in a bunch in a bag. Did you go tonight, George? I have to swear off for a while as I try to lose the holiday 15 lbs.

    Just had my family watch “Roman Holiday” for movie night. Gotta love the classics–Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck are stunning.

  608. And Sher…I love me some Jon Stewart. He was so funny with Dana Perrino last night. I can’t believe I didn’t know he changed his name. The best thing was watching him when he found out Obama had officially won–he was choking up.

  609. Oh George, I am so disappointed you are not coming to Arizona…and that goes for ANY of you babies…I would love meeting you one and all…I am up for a general meetup too except I feel so lonely here in Arizona with just me.
    Love reading about your book picks and your art…great idea on the blank book to jot down books to read…I have them on miscellaneous scraps of paper at home and at my office.
    I am now listening to Couch on my cd player in the car while driving back and forth to work and I am constantly being struck by the links in both Zippy and Couch to characters and themes in Haven’s novels that I NEVER caught while reading which just means I am an incredibly inattentive reader…I will have to slow down and be more aware, but I’m loving it.
    I sent a copy of ‘I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell’ to my brother for his birthday because it looked like a real hoot from what I saw on Amazon…I told him it was on the recommendation of this blog, which he had dissed as an ‘estrofest’ blog undeserving of his macho conservative gun toting attention. That’ll show him.
    night all…gotta get ready to power clean the house tomorrow from the holiday neglect.

  610. Brenda,
    I travel quite a bit in my job so a return to Arizona isn’t out of the question, as long as I stay employed! I want to meet some of these babies, too.

    About Couch and Zippy…I have come to the conclusion that Couch is profound in style and presentation. I would say that to Haven’s face if she were here. I also think Something Rising is a treasure.

  611. …not just some…all of them babies

  612. Thanks for this post, I’ll have to keep it bookmarked so I can link it when some loony throws up on my blog.

  613. Sher — back at you, double! — YOU win the set of luggage, you win the lifetime supply of bubble bath: a hot bead is a big glob of molten glass, about 1400 degrees F. I’m not anywhere as good at melting glass in deliberate manner as I want to be, but at least I’m liking a few of the results. This one in the corner is wrapped in silver wire which balls up in the heat and leaves tracers of the wire behind. I’m headed up to the island to make more tomorrow — I’m taking an aloe plant and some gauze. Here’s someone who makes exquisite beads:

    Maureen — re Calvin: oh, ah. I see. Michael Chabon, who wrote Wonder Boys, which is one of my favorite movies. Elizabeth BERG??!! Yann Martel, HAVEN KIMMEL?? No wonder you never miss it.

    And Jerri. I’m knocked out that a little bead can do anything like reminding you of all those things. I’d just hoped it would work on you this way: as proxy for someone who thinks you are doing a difficult thing with such infinite grace and graciousness.

  614. The bead may be little, but the intentions it carries are HUGE, my friend, and I feel them every day.

  615. OMG fellow babies…I just got off the phone with my macho brother who I had given a copy of Zippy to read on his way home from Christmas…this is the one who dismissed us as an ‘estrofest blog’….and he LOVED IT! Frankly, I really didn’t think he would read it, but he said it was hilarious and his favorite parts were about Zippy’s relationship with her father. (not surprising since he reminds me of him in some ways) We had a good long discussion about it all on the phone and I felt like we had reconnected, since I was feeling a little sad that he has turned into such an emotionally charged conservative (as opposed to my emotionally charged liberalism).:-) So now we have Zippy loving in common as well as a love of cooking and sci-fi novels. Happy Dance, Happy Dance.
    Hope everyone has a good weekend…I am off to do the usual grocery shopping, house cleaning, laundry chores, but will keep checking in to your artistic endeavors…love those beads.

  616. Linda, it’s honestly not so much that my eyes are blurry…my eye problem is more insidious than that. lol. I sound like a conspiracy-theorist. Nothing actually seems blurry; I just get these fantastic headaches that wrap around my head and sneak down down my neck into my shoulders.

    Incidentally, it was ex-boy who made me have my eyes tested. He said he was tired of how bad my “headaches” made me feel, which was sweet and self-serving all at the same time. πŸ™‚ We were both surprised when it turned out I needed tri-focals. Apparently my eyes don’t like having to refocus everything I change the depth of where I’m looking.

    Those beads are beautiful. BEAUTIFUL. Jerri, do you have a picture of yours up anywhere? I’d love to see it. Carrie sure does seem to have an inordinate amount of talent…singing, bead making. I’m jealous. πŸ™‚

    The Calvin Festival sounds wonderful. My friend Fe is the asst. dean of admissions at colgate, so maybe I could stay with her in 2010 when we all show up! That’s be so much fun meeting everyone.

    George, Something Rising is so exquisite it hurts to read it but hurts worse to put it down. I reread it cover to cover last night before going to bed. This really is my favorite book of all time, and I am constantly amazed that I just fell into via Amber…serendipitous just doesn’t even begin to say it.

  617. where/how is haven? i know i’m a lurker, but i love this community. best to you all.

  618. Carrie – Anastasia’s beads . . . breathtaking, much better examples than I provided. glass is a media I have never tried, but one that I greatly admire . . . breathtaking! You go, girl!

  619. Ok – I think I can say something here –

    Re Haven . . . Gus is still getting better, rather slowly. Haven is working on details for a visit to see Mother Delonda in Indiana and is researching subjects. She is doing well considering all the extreme things that are going on.

    Just keep sending those fabulously healing thoughts her way.

  620. And George–if you’re ever in Atlanta, let me know. I don’t live toooooo terribly far from there.

    Actually, let me make that offer across the board. πŸ™‚ If you all are ever in ATL, let me know.

  621. Better yet, if you’re ever in Columbus, GA….

  622. Someone named Richard started a Haven Fan Page on Facebook. Everyone must go become a fan. πŸ™‚

  623. thanks, sher, for the update.

  624. Hey all!! So it’s nasty ass icy weather here in Ohio and I am reading the beautiful The Solace of Leaving Early and LOVING it. I haven’t read this or Something Rising so am very excited to explore these characters. Good to hear Haven is doing well, thanks for the update!
    I gave me mom couch audio for Christmas ( which I have mentioned) and she is already listening to it again. She loves that I have this blog in my life and we email each other our favorite parts and our different takes on the book. I was telling her how Mother Delonda’s “Is this the hill you are going to die on” has become my new mantra and she laughed! I am sending her a copy of Zippy audio next week so I think she will be just tickled to no end!
    Oh Molly Bug, I loved the whiskey advice the other night but alas, I drink no brown liquor after a pact I made with God in 1996 when I drank Wild Turkey with my cousin and thought I just might die on her carpet. He let me live and I only drink clear poison.
    Well except for Spiced Rum which isn’t exactly brown and God and I have come to a peaceful agreement on this.

  625. Amy-I have found that God is more interested in the spirit of one’s agreement than the letter. He and I also had a discussion about Jose Cuervo. I won’t imbibe tequila anymore as long as He leaves me everything else.

    Are you feeling better?

    Drinking sparkly wine right now. We just had to put my dog Snickers to sleep and I am crushed.

  626. Molly Bug – Your good friend is at Colgate? Fe? I just found a Fe Vivas at Colgate? Come and visit her, why don’t ya?! I live less than an hour from Colgate, so if you are ever up this way for a visit, I’ll come and grab you both and bring you down here for a farm visit.

    Alas, I have probably confused everyone with my dual C conferences, so to clarify, ahem…
    The Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing is every two years at Calvin College in Grand Rapids in April. It’s all speakers – no workshops. We are THERE, blog babies, in 2010.

    I also mentioned the Colgate Writers Conference which is held EVERY year the last week of June and does involve workshops.

    I have been alternating these for the past three years. I am applying to Colgate for this year.

    Molly and anyone else – The Colgate one is more expensive and you have to apply by March 21. You can apply for novel, memoir, short fiction, or poetry. The workshops are very small and are two hours a day. In addition are public craft talks, readings, writing time, and a fair amount of drinking on the porch of the alumni house. PLUS, if you come for this, I can bring you to the farm for a tour.

    I am also rereading Something Rising – I enjoyed the first hot sunny chapter on this very cold day.

    I am cleaning my room (trying to locate my credit card) and wishing you were all here to keep me company. So I’ll have to just keep hitting refresh and pretending you are here.

    Sher – What is the name of the theater camp youor kids go to? Tristan started Oliver rehearsals this week and is loving it. I am looking for a summer camp for him.

  627. Fe Vivas, now Patriciu. She just got married in P.R. but due to my father’s…erratic behavior, I had to decline my invite. I’ve known Fe since 5th grade, and I was mad to miss it.

    I’ll start saving now for the Calvin…

  628. Shoot – Molly, sorry about your dog. I was composing all that above when you commented. That is so hard. We had to put out hound Zeke down – it was awful.

    I sent three copies of Couch to my good buddy in Bath, NY (as in Nobody’s Fool) and he and his wife who are both in social services jobs, have distributed them to various places as inspiration.

  629. Oh, and Sher, thank you for you comment! I am trying, I promise. πŸ˜‰

  630. I’m sorry, Molly! 😦 :: hugs ::

  631. Maureen–just emailed you your chapter!

  632. Wow, thanks, Molly! Don’t feel obligated. I am jumping over to e-mail. I want you to send me your mailing address.

  633. Thank you. I feel like an executioner, but she was so sick. Kidney and liver failure, congestive heart failure. She was covered in tumors. It just sucks.

  634. I don’t feel obligated at all. I wasn’t kidding when I said I love the way you write.

  635. Aww. How old was she?

  636. She’s a chocolate lab, about 11 years old. She was the orphan of a divorce and when we got her, was about to be put to sleep because the vet, on whom she’d been dumped, couldn’t find her a home. We’ve had her 5 years.

  637. Ohh .. at least you gave her a good home..

    I’m not so sure I believe in an afterlife for people, but I do for animals (weird, I know). Perhaps Snickers has already met my Molly .. I think they’d be friends. πŸ™‚

  638. Kittery,thank you, and I am positive of it. Snickers is a very sweet, social sort. She loves making new friends.

    This has been something that always makes me feel some better. We’ve sent many, many dogs and kitties to the Rainbow Bridge over the years. Snickers feels better now than she did, and I can’t feel sad about that.

    Ok, I promise to be more cheerful from here on out.

    The amazing and wonderful Sarah (of Furnace Fame) sent me Mere Christianity and some chocolate and pretzels. It couldn’t have arrived at a more prodicious time. She is fabulous.

    Thank you, Sarah.

  639. Molly – I am thinking of trying Mere Christianity on my Aspie husband – it’s such a logical apologetic πŸ˜‰ .
    I just e-mailed you back.

    George – I am downloading Proust was a Neuroscientist for my son right now. I am hoping he will actually listen to it. He is usually hooked to Raw Bones Comedy Club from XM when he is on his computer.

  640. Ohh, I’m sniffling. That’s really sweet.

  641. I am really hoping that all these near-death experience people are right and we will be greeted by everyone we loved who died before us, and if that is so, surely all our best beloved pets will be there, too. I want to see Tuffy and Zeke and Kelsey again and my favorite cows.
    Has anybody else looked at those? After my dad died I read all the non-goofy books about it that I could find. People did all have remarkably similar experiences while clinically dead.

  642. We enter this world as strangers .. it would be nice to enter the next one with friends.. I hope they’re right too, Maureen.

  643. Oh Kit. I don’t think we enter the world as strangers. My sis and I are sure we go waaaaaay back. I know it’s ridiculously un-Catholic of me…but I can’t help think we come back again and again to learn the big cosmic, karmic lessons.

    Actually, you may get a kick out of this, but there’s this Native American prophecy that the world’s going to end in 2012. My sis says that she and I got together pre-birth, and said, “yeah. we got a lot of karmic shit to work out before the world gos kablooey in 2012. Let’s choose the Touchtons as our family, and get all of our karmic lessons out of the way…”

    It makes me laugh, anyway.

    Though I do agree, if this life is it, it would be FABULOUS to be greeted by the people who loved and cared about us most. It would seem a lot less scary that way.

    Mo–wrote you back. πŸ˜‰

  644. Also, Kittery, there is a snack bar at the Rainbow Bridge that serves chocolate and nails and any other crazy ass things animals wish they could eat (dirty tissues and underwear are another popular favorite)and angels with whom to play “slime ball.” Anyone who has a dog who likes tennis balls knows this game. Yuck.

  645. Molly – Back at you by e-mail.

    I really should go and do something productive.

    Any short story writers out there? I just got an e-mail from Glimmer Train that their Family Matters short story contest closes January 31. $1200 prize

    Go for it, writers!!

  646. Hahahaha. The snackbar at Rainbow Bridge .. god, let’s see.. Thomas (Maine Coon – big, beautiful boy, died thirteen years ago) he would eat .. lettuce, carrots and black licorice .. Lily (current kitten) would eat plastic, yarn and dried cranberries .. yep. My kitties are messed up. πŸ˜‰

    That’s priceless about getting all your karmic lessons wrapped up in one go with your family. πŸ˜‰ I haven’t completely tossed the idea of reincarnation (I also half think I was Anne Boleyn in a past life, hah), but I think, if it is real, we could still be born into a family of strangers – you know what I mean?

    When I was a little kid, I told my family that babies existed before they were born. They were in Heaven with God and when it was time for us to be born, we’d pop down and slide out the chute. πŸ˜‰ My Catholic family told me that wasn’t the way it worked .. :: sigh :: naysayers.

    Oh! And it’s not just the Native Americans that say the world goes in three years, also the Mayans and Nostradamus. (Seems to be a majority – should we just give up and have a three year party?) πŸ˜‰

  647. I am all about embracing a Epicurean philosophy for the next couple years.

    Now all I need is someone to take care of me whilst I live it. πŸ™‚

  648. Hahahaha. πŸ™‚

  649. God.

    AN Epicurean philosophy…

  650. Teachers. πŸ˜›

  651. It’s so ingrained…I have to feel ashamed…even of typos.

  652. Lol. Catholic guilt and a commitment to excellence. What a combination. πŸ˜‰

  653. Now imagine teaching English AT a Catholic school…LOL. It’s something else.

  654. Oh my. That’s exponential. πŸ˜‰ With a *tattoo* as well .. tell me, do you live in a confessional? πŸ˜‰

  655. confessional=kryptonite.

    I avoid at all costs.

  656. Hahahaha. Shortly before I decided to “un-Catholic” myself, I thought about sitting in a brightly lit room with an aging man saying, “bless me Father, for I have sinned. I have impure thoughts.” the insanity of it made me laugh and alternately shudder with horror. I know whatcha mean..

  657. Here I admit to going for the laugh…I DO believe confession is good for the soul, and there are times when I love going. But all of the things I’ve *really* done “wrong” in the Church’s eyes are actually things I think are okay. So it’s a hard line to walk. lol. But I totally get it when people are anti-confession. πŸ™‚

  658. :: nods :: I understand.

    I don’t mean to make fun of Catholicism or anyone else’s faith. I just – I was raised that way and I was a good little altar server and went to daily Mass and everything and for a while, it worked. But .. the more I thought about things, the less I agreed with the Church’s stance on a number of issues, so .. I thought it best to leave .. I couldn’t keep saying I was one thing and believing another .. (and yeah, not telling the priest that I thought my boyfriend was a hot nugget and pretending to feel sorry for it was just an added perk πŸ˜‰ )
    There *are* things I miss about Mass, but .. not enough to make me want to go back.

    I’m afraid I’m not making a damn bit of sense…

  659. Oh, man, had to jump back in on this one!
    I almost went to confession today! Now it’s true, I go to a profoundly cool Catholic church, but also Carolyn Myss of Anatomy of the Spirit fame, links confession with the throat chakra (vishudda or will power) and also with the Kabbalist tree of life paired traits of judgment and mercy. She puts all of this together to communicate the divine truth “Surrender Personal Will to Divine Will.” I think of it as the yes-no center.

    She says confession can be seen as a power ceremony, where we acknowledge where we have given over our spirit to something that we knew was not a good thing to give our spirit to. We can confess this to ourselves or to God in private, but there is something about saying it aloud to another and hearing them say “you are forgiven” that gives you the power back.

    I fear the dark closet as much as the next person (actually, we have lighted room face-to-face as an option) but this Carolyn Myss concept made the whole less Papist and more power.

    PLEASE NOTE: This is random information only. I haven’t been to confession in seven years, last time because my son was going for the first time. I gave him the same power speech.

    But today, I was feeling the nagging weight of things I have done that I feel bad about, so I almost went. A snowstorm kept me from making the ten-mile trip.

  660. Kittery – I hear you. When I was seventeen I was leaving pamphlets around the house about how Catholic communion is cannibalism, etc. I really find it very hard to abide a lot of what the official Catholic Church says.

    When I read that book The Life You Save May Be Your Own and discovered Flannery O’Connor and Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day, that really opened my eyes to the whole other side of the Catholics. I missed the mass, too, so I went back. Luckily, I have this very cool pastor who had been raised Baptist and has two adopted sons and we have four nuns from India who do chakra healing, so I have access to a unique blend.

    I think spirituality is incredibly personal and individualistic – it’s whatever helps you get access to the spiritual wavelengths. You know personally when you’re plugged in and when you’re not. My husband is like Zippy’s father – his church is out in the woods.

  661. I much prefer that way of looking at it, Maureen. But in order for confession to work (in my opinion) you need to truly have a problem with things that you’ve said/done/not done. The Catholic Church, to me, has a checklist of “Bad Things”, you mentally go over the list, checking off items as you go, and list them off in succession to the priest. He in turn tells you that God loves you and to do a nice thing for someone and say five Hail Marys.
    Also, the Church says that unless you confess everything, hold nothing back, you’re not truly forgiven, so, in my case, I’d be sitting there telling the priest all these ‘bad’ things that I’ve done that I don’t think amounts to a hill of beans…

    (Why oh why don’t I have the gift of explaining myself without sounding snotty?!)

    Did I make sense? At all? My fear is that I’m coming across as, “religion is dumb and so are you” and that’s the last thing I want.

  662. Maureen – the theatre camp is The Algonquin Theatre in Manasquan NJ – I am unsure if it is an overnight camp or just a day camp . . . the kids stay there all summer with their grandma and walk to it . . . I know there are theatre camps available that are overnight/week/month long ones . . . actually Dylan is now too old and serves as an intern at the Algonquin, Lauren will be having her last year next summer.

    Kittery – I infuriated my bible teacher in the 80’s (I went to a baptist parochial school) by saying I had found 123 verses in the bible that ‘spoke to me’ about reincarnation . . .he said “we baptists decided 500 years ago that wasn’t the case” . . .I thought we were supposed to let God speak directly to us?

    Anyway, during my ‘new age’ immersion I was hypnotically regressed for past life and found out I was: Carla, the seamstress/designer for Anne Boleyn and I had married the Court Jester because he was threatening suicide, purely out of compassion and was regretting it – – – I might have been projecting a bit then!!!! However, I do believe in reincarntion and love Edgar Cacye.

    A great novel is Connie Wilson’s PASSAGES which is sci-fi-history-passed life- near-death experiences . . . also about the Titanic . . .it rocks.

    Here are a few more books I unpacked today that some of you might enjoy:

    Heavy philosophy:
    Fritzof Capra’s THE TURNING POINT.

    Memoir/Diary Style, my favorite type of Fiction:
    ODETTE by Reuben Bercovitch

    F. Diane Barth’s (psychoanalyst)
    DAYDREAMING, Unlock the creative power of your mind

    John Bentley Mays’
    POWER IN THE BLOOD, Land, Memory, and a Southern Family

    Molly – so sorry about the doggie, I have never been so connected to an animal, but many of my friends have gone through this – I hope someone will be KIND enough to me to put me to sleep if I reach such a level of suffering. It is always our INTENT that is the key to rightness. Your intent was to spare suffering – I think you did a very brave thing. You might enough this book which brushes on the subject: Island of Capri, Village of Anacapri, Italy: the Villa San Michele. This picturesque building, perched on the mountainside looking down over the lower half of Capri, was built by the Swedish doctor and writer Axel Munthe (1857-1949). THE STORY OF SAN MICHELEH. Because of that book it was one of our spots for our Italy vacation . . .

  663. Correction: Author is Connie Willis, Passages. Sorry, faulty memory.

    Headed to a bubble-bath, wine, and Miss American Pie, biography which came in the mail today . . . I have to wash the sawdust out of my hair and nose . . .

    Kittery and Maureen – you are BOTH making perfect sense to me. One of my dearest, dearest friends is a devout Catholic and what I see you doing is the exact type of philosophy/religion conversations we, too, have. It gives us both a better understanding of our individual beliefs. We both understand OURSELVES and each other better – what a gift!

    Will check in later . . . also, does Cuervo Gold count as a no-no??? I have solved many a world’s problem sipping on that!!!!


  664. Molly,

    You’ll have to let me know which does your soul more good! Happy [pretzel-munching] moms can be good for the soul as well. So I’ve read.

    Do Catholic churches (and others?) still serve the little paper-thin wafers for communion? My first job was making “altar bread”. I filled in where needed, as either a baker (super-pressurized waffle-iron-like machines) or cutter (the wafers were cut one at a time out of the sheets created the day before by the bakers and humidified sheets). Towards the end of my time there, industrial bakers were taking over, though the product was much like styrofoam to us purists. The place I worked sent orders all over the country, but has long benn out of business. I’ve often wondered what churches use, now.

    ~ Sarah

  665. Sorry–I fell asleep. Kittery, hope you didn’t take that as me being mad/mean/judgemental. πŸ™‚

    Yes to both you and Maureen. Isn’t that funny? I agree with both of your perfectly–and I’m fascinated by this chakra business. FASCINATED. I try to balance my chakras at least once a week, but I worry I’m not good at it. lol. I’d hate to screw myself up.

    I like to go to confession and get the things off my chest about which I feel bad: being rude to my parents, being ungrateful for the many blessings in my life etc and honestly, I just leave out the stuff that the church thinks is wrong…going to my bro’s gay wedding and being his best woman, physical relationship with my million year long now ex-boyf. Those are things about which the church has no authority. Being gay isn’t a sin and neither is expressing your love, so I figure the church just has its collective head up its ass. *shrug* It’s also none of their business. πŸ˜‰

    Sher–a long long time ago, I was very sad and for two weeks couldn’t eat because I’d toss it up. Then, the first night I could eat, I decided with my roomies to have a drinking pity-party. We bought the big bottle of Jose, and I drank half of it in shots mixed with GATORADE and spent the night tossing up my hard won dinner in the tub. Jose Cuervo is not a friend of mine anymore. I wish desperately we could make it up but alas. It’s not in the cards. More power to you, though. Drink some for me!

  666. Sarah, many churches buy their Communion hosts from convents. The nuns make them, but I don’t know anything more than that. πŸ™‚

    What a cool job. I never knew laypeople could have anything to do with making the wafers.

    As far as I know, all Catholic churches use the very thin hosts. I could be wrong, but they’ve all tasted the same to me in churches in GA, AL, NH, PA and NJ…

  667. Molly,

    I see your typos and raise you a few, just going by my last post alone.

    The altar bread operation I worked for was convent-owned and nun-run, I but didn’t know that was standard, then or now! I wonder if the old ovens I used to use are still in operation somewhere…?

    ~ Sarah

  668. .. And I just did it again.

    I but didn’t know

    how that keeps happening….


    ~ Sarah

  669. ‘Tis fine, Molly .. I took a bit of time away to ponder whether I was being an irreverent arsehead and then got dinner. πŸ˜‰

    I *completely* agree with you about the pre-marital/gay thing. Completely.

    Re Communion wafers – At ‘my’ church, (five years ago anyway) the wafers came in big plastic bags. It looked (and tasted) mass produced to me. Then again, when I was eight, I had my ‘unofficial’ First Communion at St. Anne’s in Canada .. the priest/old friend of the family that was traveling with us asked me what it was like, receiving Jesus for the first time and I looked at him, was silent for a moment, thinking, then I said, “like cardboard”. I swear, my eighteen year old brother whipped his head around looking for the lightning bolt. He couldn’t believe I’d said such a thing. The priest shrugged and looked at my parents and said, “well. She’s honest.”

    Molly – Gatorade is disgusting. Maybe that’s what did you in, not the Cuervo. πŸ˜‰

    Sher – that’s incredible! I didn’t know the Baptists had definitively ruled out reincarnation five hundred years ago. πŸ˜‰

  670. Nun-run! I do believe that is my favorite phrase for the day. πŸ™‚

  671. Oh Molly, my heart just breaks for you. I am so, so sorry. I feel that there is no other bond like it as the one a human has with a dog. I will pray that your pain quickly fades into happy memories:)
    Speaking of pets and heaven..I am sure some of you have read the Lovely Bones..the part where she gets to heaven and her dog comes running over to greet her makes me sob like a baby everytime I read it.
    Also, roughly 6 mos before I got Mya my black Brussels Griffon ( she is 3 now and we got her when she was 3 mos) I had to put down my 8 year old Maincoon kitty Andera due to illness. It was unbearable, I still miss her. Anyway, I am pretty sure my Mya papaya is Andera reincarnated. God provides when you need it:)

  672. Kittery, cripes, you hate Gatorade??? I don’t think I have ever heard that before!
    Although, I hate chicken and bratwurst which some consider un-American.

  673. Oh, Amy! Maine Coons are beautiful and SMART, aren’t they?

  674. Kittery,

    Where in Maine are you?

    ~ S.

  675. Lol. I’d rather dehydrate. πŸ˜‰

  676. Sarah, in Bangor, roughly an hour away from Acadia National Park.

  677. Kittery,

    Thanks for the reply. One of my dearest friends was from Millenocket, way the hey up there. My husband’s brother is in Freeport. I’m from upstate NH, so PA often feels like exile.

    ~ Sarah

  678. My brother used to live in Freeport! He’s moved onto Brunswick now ..

    You could always leave PA and move back here. πŸ˜‰

  679. They are so smart and beautiful..this cat was incredible. When she was mad at me she would sneak up behind me ( I would be sitting on the couch) and she would hit me with her paw on top of the head! Hard too! Which is funny because when Mya wants my attention she will sit in my lap facing me and hit me with her paw in the face until I pet her.

  680. Almost finished with Solace, Lord Haven, you can write.

  681. Gatorade was the problem. It speeds up how fast/how much you metabolize the alcohol…you want to get drunk quick, mix the liquor of your choice with gatorade. Now, unfortunately, all tequila makes me ill. I can’t even smell it without getting super nauseaus.

    Amy, thank you so much. There are 3 other doggies in my life–2 bassets and a golden retriever. They’ve been extra affectionate today, and that helps. I’m sorry about your kitty. It is hard to lose a pet. They so quickly become part of you.

    Sarah–what’s a few typos among friends? lol.

    Sher–I’d sure love to know which bible verses you’re talking about. Reincarnation is an idea that’s very interesting to me.

    Going to soak myself now in a little James Bond.

  682. Music….
    Just got the newly released Robert Earl Keen tribute cd, Undone, in the mail. Oh my word. I love Texas music and musicians. This cd (actually there are 2 of them) is just perfect. It has all my favorite people singing on it. Sigh.

  683. Oh good lord. I’m starting to get giddy and annoy myself … all because of a boy. That I’ve seen twice in my life. :: bangs head on table ::

    Amy, your kitty sounds hysterical. What pray tell, did you do that would make her that mad?
    Thomas used to babysit my dolls. No joke. Even if he had to use the litter box, he’d hurry to do his thing, keeping an eye on the dolls, if possible, and rush right back. Most of the time, I’d forget I left him babysitting, so I’d come back hours later, apologize and pick up my dolls and he’d take off. Like, “finally. Good grief. I’ve been watching those things for *hours*.” He was a funny boy.

  684. Kittery, that’s awesome, he babysat the dolls. Oh Andera would get mad if I told her to stop batting at the ornaments on the Christmas tree or say, stop eating the leaves on the plants my mom brought indoors for the winter.
    Today I took Mya to the vet for her annual shots and the vet asked me if she was hard to housebreak as she’d heard somewhere that Brussels Griffons were stubborn. I replied no but did mention that when we go on vacation Mya likes to poo in the the general vacininty of our suitcases when we are packing.
    She laughed and said she once had an “animal behavior specialist” tell her that animals were not capable of the emotion “spite”. She told him ” I beg to differ, I have a cat who breaks things when I am gone too long, and then looks at me, just daring me to say something!”

  685. A boy? Do tell…

  686. Molly~
    I just sent a friends request to your facebook..

  687. YAY! I’m on it!

  688. Ok. I just want it out there for the record that Amy-in-Ohio is ridiculously beautiful. πŸ™‚

  689. Hah! Nice. Last year Lily showed no interest in the Christmas tree but this year she had a bit of fun batting the ornaments off the bottom branches and then hauling them around the living room. I let her. She was cute. If, some year, she decides to scale the Christmas tree, she will be reprimanded.

    Maybe it’s just Mya’s way of saying, “my parents went on vacation. They didn’t bring me back anything. This is MY gift to THEM.”

    (And I’m with your vet. Some animals are more than capable of spite. Although in my pets, and in Mya’s case, I’d call it a healthy sarcasm.) πŸ˜‰

  690. And I just want to say for the record that Molly is my new best friend.

  691. My golden retriever, Casey was licking the garland on the tree. Because of her tendency to eat things she ought not, I had to put a stop to that…

    To date, she’s eaten: my spare glasses, 2 pairs of shoes, a glass Christmas tree ball (strangely enough it was in August…), a large plastic cup, and a small garbage pail. We won’t get into the various towels and other woven goods…

    As for spitefulness, my dogs are always happy to see us when we come home from vacation, but after about 20 minutes, they ignore us for 3-4 days, depending on how long we’ve been gone…

  692. As my new best friend, Amy, you’re required to find me a boyfriend who’s going to propose in less than a decade. πŸ™‚

  693. Man, Molly. Hungry pup.
    I’m in the process of writing you an email – it’s taking me a minute to organize my absurd life into a coherent story. πŸ˜‰

  694. She’s very sweet…but will remain a simpleton spinster…

    I look forward to your email. Coherency is overrated, honey. You can just spill. Lord knows I do.

    Amy, did you say you had NOT read Something Rising yet?

  695. Yes! Molly I am up for the challenge. Okay, I’ve had some wine tonight but let me talk freely. I met Jeff ( the fiance) when I was 25 and pretty much convinced that God had given up on me. I was convinced I was to end up alone and then I met him. Everyone said I would find the one when I least expected it and honestly,I did just that. And I met him IN A BAR, so do not let anyone tell you that you cannot meet a man with quality while you are drinking because you can! We will be married in 9 months and it will be a little over 5 years since I met him. He is kind, honest, and has never once lied to me. This is the kind of man God had planned for me but I didn’t realize I was waiting for.

  696. No Molly, I haven’t read it yet!!! I am so excited to. I love, love Solace and am pretty much convinced I am Langston. I hope to have it done tomorrow. I think I will order something rising tonight, as I am as rich as Bill Gates when I have been drinking:~)

  697. Molly, I honestly think you’ll have to drink to understand that email I just sent. πŸ˜‰

  698. Wow. I now know 5 women who’ve met their wonderful husbands (and husbands to be) at bars. I don’t have any single girlfriends to go bar hopping with, but I see this is something I will have to try.

  699. My sister in-law always told me not to find guys in bars. She said to find them in the grocery store. Check that they’re alone, check what’s in their basket .. if it looks like they know what they’re doing – go for it. πŸ™‚

  700. Kittery, what’s the weather like in Maine currently?
    I’ve always had a weird connection for the East Coast. I had a girlfriend in college who was really into ” new age” stuff and she said that if there was a place that you were attached to for no apparent reason and if you had reoccuring dreams then that was something from your past life. I have a devotion to the East Coast and I die in a car accident in my dreams at least once a month…therfore I am convinced that I died in my car somewhere in Connecticut.

  701. Wow, was that a morbid post or what?:)

  702. Amy! It is 1* here. Low wind. S’posed to start snowing/icing late tonight/tomorrow. Not good driving weather. πŸ˜‰

  703. Holy cow, stay inside Kittery!!

  704. Something Rising will blow you away. It’s magnificent. Some people, they like Hemingway, Faulkner, McCullers. Not me. I say screw ’em. Give me Kimmel’s Something Rising any day.

    Kittery–responding now to your email. πŸ™‚

  705. God bless Ebay, I just purchased Something Rising!!
    Alright ladies, off to bed or to read while lying in bed! It’s been great chatting!

  706. Hahaha, par for the course, Amy. πŸ™‚
    I’ll only be mildly irritated if rehearsal gets canceled FOR THE THIRD TIME due to crappy weather…

  707. ‘Night, Amy!

  708. G’night!

  709. A little shout-out to Haven–

    Hope you’re doing well and that you’re family’s on the mend. Don’t forget to take care of yourself too.

    We miss you!

  710. where for art thought blob babies . . . was I abandoned whilst wining and dining and delighting my husband . . . ????

  711. Blob Babies searching for a match made in heaven (what a great movied, btw) . . .

    that is all I will say . . . it has been scientifically proven to work.

  712. Sher, you were left all alone! 😦
    Sorry, Molly and I were setting up our plans for the convent we plan on opening. πŸ˜€



  714. I’m watching House on my computer … lively bunch, ain’t we?

  715. i got in trouble for using the nail gun . . . I guess that noise echoed up 2 flights of stairs . . . oops….

    now I am just buzzing on the computer

  716. Maybe someone will be up soon!

  717. good night . . . .

  718. Up at 6:30 am trying to ward off a migraine, and suddenly there are a couple hundred more posts here since I last visited.
    Amy ~ Mechanicsburg in April – that would be great. It’s about an hour away and I’d be happy to drive there to meet you. Let’s stay in touch about that. BTW, I also met my sweet hubby Ken in a bar at 25. He is a wonderful person and truly the love of my life. Who knew? We were both blasted that fateful night. And young and pretty. Ahhh, memories.
    Molly ~ No tequila for me too. After that time in Mexico resulting in Montezuma’s revenge I can’t even smell the stuff without almost hurling.
    Carrie ~ those Anastasia beads are stunning. Art.
    Sher ~ When you mention New Castle for a get-together, do you mean New Castle, Delaware? I could do that. Or is there some other New Castle?
    I still haven’t gotten around to listing my fave games. Later today I hope. Got to go to bed and lay still in the dark.

  719. Good morning all –

    I didn’t mean to wax all Catholic yesterday and then disappear. The mighty ice fishermen returned and I ended up driving my son’s friend home through a snowstorm and then watching Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Any help on that one? I never took a course on absurdism AND I kept falling asleep. I was working with what English-major brain cells I had left but to little avail. Anybody a big fan and can fill me in?

    Was there a Something Rising post ever? I read it last summer before finding the blog, and I am rereading it right now and would love to hear what you all said.

    Molly, you’re rereading it now too, yes? I remember you saying that it was originally meant to be a sequel to Couch? I can see Haven in both Cassie and Belle – did she bifurcate herself to make those two characters?

    Off to town again to retrieve the missing son (two nights with his buddies at his best friend’s electronics-filled man cave) – back later.

  720. Whoa, Kittery, Molly, Sarah – Are you guys starting a convent? Nun-run? I’m there.
    Sister Mo

  721. Sister Mo,

    IxNay on the convent thing. But I for sure would like to see the vows Molly would draft….

  722. JODI love love love Elizabeth Strout. oh my god yes.

  723. We-e-e-e-e-ll, Maureen, you might not want to join Kittery’s and my convent…

    My name would be Sister Self-Flagellation and Kittery’s is Sister Smite-Me (to sound more biblical). We’d be a very untraditional convent.

    I think we chatted for 2 hours…I was very tired when we got done. I can’t believe Kittery was still on at 4…dear God, woman!

    Maureen, there was indeed a Something Rising discussion. I for one wouldn’t mind doing it again. Haven is the one who originally mentioned SRLAS started out as another book of sketches–for instance the groundhog/hedgehog thing really did happen to her: Melinda actually made her get rid of it…

    Yearbooking again, so I will be on and off…

    Where’s George? Jim Shue? Jerri? POS? Everyone else?

  724. And here’s the link to that post.

  725. Thanks Molly!
    Suzanne – Did you see my embarrassing Elizabeth Strout story? I was sitting right next to her, chatting and smiling, and didn’t realize it was she until she was introduced and walked up to the podium. I felt pretty dumb.
    I really loved Abide with me and Amy and Isabel. Have you read Olive Kitteridge already? I haven’t

  726. Maureen and Suzanne,

    OLIVE KITTERIDGE is fabulous. I just finished it, and will begin the other two novels soon. I am so familiar with the character Olive herself — an irritating, self-absorbed woman with no idea why she isn’t loved.

  727. George is in Marco Island, Florida, soaking up some rays, getting ready to put on an electrifying conference tomorrow on, well, electricity.

  728. George, get some some for me, will ya? Nothing but rain rain rain for the last 2 weeks, it seems.

  729. Oh dear. George, I meant get some SUN for me… ::blushing::

  730. George – you can off my grandfather while you are down in Marco . . . he’s been a pain in my ass his whole life – he would say the same back at me . . . let me think . . . it has been 7 years, but their address is . . . hum, thank god I can’t remember . . .

  731. Very nice site! cheap cialis

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