Open Letter to All Unprogrammed Quakers in the Triangle of North Carolina


Please forgive this bogus use of my blog, but I couldn’t think of a faster way to post my rather unusual request.  I’m looking for members of the Society of Friends who worship in the unprogrammed tradition and would be willing to grow a little Meeting with me outside the constructs of the Yearly Meeting.  We could gather at my house or any other convenient, quiet place.  The catch is that I can only do so in the evenings, after my youngest child is in bed.  I’m well aware that part of the discipline of the Peculiar People is attending Meeting for Worship when it’s scheduled, and while I truly respect everyone at both the Durham Friends and the Meeting in Chapel Hill, it’s just not possible for me to attend on Sunday mornings.  I also hope we can engage in conversation – either before or after worship – on the subject of the future of Quakerism, what needs or must be done to save it.  That conversation can be continued or expanded by e-mail, as well. (I would also be very interested in reading and discussing as a group Brent Bill’s books on Light, Silence, and Discernment.) For those of you who don’t live in the area, but would like to join in the dialogue, I would recommend reading Martin Kelley’s The Quaker Ranter Reader, available on Café Press.  (Just search Quakers and you’ll find not just that book, but ten thousand novelty items devoted to a certain breed of parrot!  Yay!)


Interested Friends can contact me at havenkimmel [at] mac [dot] com, or through the comments section here on the blog.  Peace, my dear chickens of Christ!

Published in: on January 11, 2009 at 1:36 pm  Comments (1,166)  


  1. Very cool, Haven. Our little group (Friends in Fellowship) meets this evening. We gather every two weeks at our farm and have been doing so for almost 2 years. Smallest group has been 6 — largest, 28. We even set up a facebook page (“Friends in Fellowship Gruop” (’cause I can’t spel vary gud)at Any Hoosier blog babies are welcome to attend. Our group is based on “theological hospitality” — and you can read how we started on

    Blessings on this effort!

  2. Brent, I SO wish I could participate in your group. I could learn so much from you and your hospitable friends. If I have any takers over here we’ll have to be content to read your books. I’ll go visit your blog — I can’t do the Facebook thing because I’m not a Facebooker. If there were a website designed specifically for people who hide in barns, I’d definitely sign up there.

    Thanks for your good wishes and support.

  3. Another thing is that our group is open to all who are interested — so we gots the pastoral Quakers, the unprogrammed Quakers, the liberal Quakers, the fundie Friends, and a few Methodists, Jews, and not too sure of anythings who attend as they feel led.

    And speaking of fun Quaker stuff — let’s not forget “Old Quaker Whiskey.” For those times when silence just isn’t enough!

  4. BB, I actually didn’t mean to be exclusive . . . wait, yes I did. Kidding. I specified unprogrammed Friends because there won’t be any pastoral care or influence, that’s all. Other than that I don’t care what form a person’s beliefs take. As my friend Peter once said, “Some of my best Jews are Friends.” Remember, too, that I’m very interested (as is Martin Kelley) in seeing to what extent we can recreate Fox and Fell’s Gospel Order. The communal mysticism that occurs in a gathered meeting is the result of years of practice of active silence; the same is true of a spoken ministry. I feel like there must be more people out there like me, who have practiced alone or in twos — we have something to give one another, I think. If nothing else, we can give each other shots of Quaker Moonshine.

  5. For the record, Blog Babies, Quakers do NOT drink. No cigarettes, no swearing, no exploiting a fellow human being, and no returning violence with violence. Aim high, I reckon.

  6. Regarding the pastoral influence, we have two actual pastoral types in our group and they are among the most comfortable w/ silence — and seem to have no need to “run” anything. At least, this pastor (me) doesn’t. We have no clerk or anything — just settle into the silence. Anyone can end the meeting — when they feel led. But then we don’t pretend to be a “full” Meeting w/ a religious education program or pastoral care (so far — though we do occasionally send a “Get Well” or “Happy Baby” card to group members!).

    And, you are right, we do NOT drink. It is funny, though, how we set some bottles of water out prior to the gathering and later Friends remark on how our well water tastes remarkably like Merlot or Chardonnay? Hmmmmmm…..

  7. I’ve always found it interesting how the most disciplined unprogrammed Friends are also the most wed to their wristwatches. Meeting begins on time and it ends the very moment the second hand reaches the twelve. But the first generation of Quakers met as long as they were led to do so. As for a “full” Meeting, I consider a clearness committee to be the height of pastoral care. Am I wrong about that?

  8. Brent — no Episcopalians? I’ve always been tickled by the tendency of Friends in exile to settle for Cramner’s prayer book, apparently feeling that if you can’t have silence you might as well have the very best language possible.

    And blog babies, while Haven would never dream of telling you an untruth or even a stretcher, I cherish fond memories of a letter to the editor of Friends’ Journal, c. 1973, submitting, as a possible investment which would not feed the war effort, Scottish distilleries The reasoning went that alcoholics don’t drink the top-end stuff. [sic]

    Whimsy briefly and uncharacteristically aside, I am in awe of casually coming across the beginnings of something which may so probably lead to great and frightening things, and equal parts envious and relieved to be excluded by reason of geography.

  9. So far no Episco-quakers in our group. Some have expressed interest, but haven’t made it out to our place yet… perhaps our not having a red door contributes to their inability to find our “church.” 😉

  10. No swearing?


  11. Rams, there is nothing I believe in more completely than the possibility of revolution. Move to North Carolina!

  12. POS, right?!? Dammit.

  13. I love how I changed my avatar about 12 hours ago, only it was called a bravatar. Since it never showed up I went back into the edit function and was told I needed to change my gravatar. So I did that, and there my Christmas tree remains. Oh intertubes? Is there nothing you can’t do?

  14. All TS Eliot lovers and/or haters: Thought you would appreciate this cartoon:

  15. Haven – There is this odd and notable emigration of people from Central New York to North Carolina. Someone will say they are moving, and you respond “Where to?” and they answer “North Carolina.”
    If you truly still had leaves on your trees at Thanksgiving (based on the photos), I can see why they’re heading your way!
    Package in the mail for Gus – arriving tomorrow or Tuesday.

    By the way, I’ll make you an honorary Catholic if I can be an honorary Quaker.

  16. Maureen, North Carolina is truly the perfect state. I encourage all blog babies to make their way here.

    You may most certainly count yourself an honorary Quaker. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here, but I took Catholic instruction for six months when I was eighteen, so I happily accept your offer.

  17. M, that Eliot cartoon is HILARIOUS. I would add you’ll enjoy it if you both love AND hate Mr. Tom.

  18. Oh, thanks! Your rosary beads and scapular are in the mail.

    I had two students in my class a few years ago who were both practicing Quakers. I just adored them. Their mom and had a CSA vegetable farm that they worked with horses only. One of the girls went to Earlham.

    Also my husband’s best friend from college (whom he met at Earlham also) was very Quaker.
    I grew up in an Erie Canal town, so 49% of the people in my town were Italian Catholic and 49% were Irish Catholic. Any other denomination fell into the remaining 2%, but I honestly do not remember meeting anyone Jewish and certainly not Quaker until I got to college.
    I have led a circumscribed life.

  19. I took an entire course on TS Eliot for my Masters. My professor was awful, which didn’t help. We read chronologically, and I barely got through the first half: cabbage stink and hosiery and meaninglessness and scuttling rats. BUT I really like The Four Quartets. That’s some psychedelic shite.

  20. M., there are so few Quakers in the United States it’s more surprising that you’ve ever met one at all.

    Eliot. Can’t live with him, can’t do without him.

  21. Fortunately for me, living with Eliot was never in question. I’m glad I haven’t had to do without him.

    On the returning violence for violence thing…. What about initiating it?

    ~ S.

  22. Spielerfit — that’s the better thing to say about Eliot.

    Poor Quakers: no initiating violence, no returning it, no bitching about it later. I ask you. But our particular form of pacifism was recorded during a period of grotesque political persecution, and it pertains (not exclusively but almost) to the actions of the state. No one in the Society of Friends would advocate staying in an abusive relationship, for instance — a contingency not even considered by the founders. The first, second, and maybe even third generations of Friends married one another, so there was virtually no possibility for abuse. More importantly, men were not privileged anywhere — not as ministers or elders or husbands. Makes a huge difference.

  23. too bad I don’t live closer to you. I have a baby on the way and was so very blessed my husband let me quit my job of 8 years to take it easy. Now we have been joking that once we save up or can afford it we will go to church……

  24. Dave and I are definitely looking for a church now and want to visit Quaker churches first and foremost. We do, um, swear. And drink. So. There is that. But we’re pacifists! How does that count?

    I can at least vouch for some intelligent conversation contributed on Dave’s part, and I will try not to argue as often as I am tempted to.

  25. Amanda, you and Dave would be VERY welcome. I don’t drink, but as you know I swear like a sailor on shore leave. I keep saying I’m going to quit that shit but then the next thing I know I’ve done it again! Go figure!

    Hillary, now is probably the time to move to Durham.

  26. Can we do blog church? 🙂
    What would the silent part look like? Maybe we could send completely blank comments back and forth?
    Kidding. I wish miles and miles didn’t separate us all.
    I’m off to bed and rereading Something Rising. Night all.

  27. Haven, I’m sitting here contemplating the possibility of a world where men “were not privileged anywhere — not as ministers or elders or husbands.”

    I mean no man bashing. I like men. A lot. But imagine a world where all people are equally privileged. Yeah, it makes a huge difference.

  28. Jerri, I’ve been reading books on Quaker history and spirituality for months now, along with the countless thousands of pages the founders left us, and sometimes I’ll be sitting out in the barn taking notes and it will hit me like a wave: from the outset, the Religious Society of Friends held men and women to be equal in all things, and the movement could be said to begin with Fox’s traveling ministry in 1647. Think about that. By 1651 the “new people” had already gathered around him. 1647.

  29. I, too, mean no disrespect, but if I understand correctly, this is the calendar year 2009, and look at the battles being waged by Episcopalians in the U.S., Anglicans in Europe, and Roman Catholics. The mind, she is boggled.

  30. I hope your family is feeling better, Haven. And I tell you what: I’m increasingly intrigued with Anabaptism as a larger fabric. The people I’ve met or with whom I’ve come into contact who are Anabaptist in some form or other (either yourself, for instance, or the Amish customers I have in the bookstore) just often leave me startled with their graciousness…

  31. 1647. Heaven above What a different world it would be.

    It’s been so long I can’t remember whether I read this or a friend told me, but the basic story is that the mother always told her daughter she could be anything. The little girl saw the Pope on tv, loved the outfit, and decided she wanted to be The Pope when she grew up. The mother was stopped cold by the fact that her daughter could not, in fact, be anything she wanted.

    It always makes me sad to see families where the father and sons are dressed in cool, comfortable clothes and the mother and daughters are hobbled by layers and layers of fabric. On a scorching day in Glacier National Park I watched two little boys play at the edge of a lake in shorts and t-shirts while their sisters sweltered in long sleeves, long skirts, and bonnets, grounded on a rock well away from the cool water.

    What might their lives have been if more people held men and women to be equal in all things.

  32. Not just their lives, either. All our lives. Every single one of us.

  33. Jason, I’m so glad to hear from you. I wrote you a thank you letter for the lovely, thoughtful, and much-needed gift you sent me, but I wanted to include a book for you as well. I finally located a copy but it’s used (gently) — I just got it on Friday. I’ll put it in the mail tomorrow.

    Anabaptists (particularly Quakers, in my experience) have more integrity — and I mean across the board — than any group of people I’ve ever encountered. If our culture were, by some strange twist, decimated and needed to be rebuilt, I’d want the Mennonites and the Amish to handle all the practical details, and I’d want Quakers to do everything else. Of course, I’m biased.

  34. I don’t smoke, and haven’t drank (Like one or two a year, tops!) in years. Plus I’m an unbiased non-religious person, you guys could convert me! But, um, I need to keep the swearing, its a trademark of mine. That and making fun of people constantly on my blog. Ok, maybe I’m not a perfect fit for the Quakers, but its great to see you back on here Haven!

  35. Jerri, one of the great fortunes of my life was growing up with virtually no knowledge of other religions. By the time I encountered Catholicism and learned women couldn’t even be priests, I laughed out loud. I remember saying to Delonda, “And people BELIEVE that? The women ALLOW it?” I don’t know if my response was organic or learned, but since about the age of 13 I’ve consciously lived with a particular dark twinkle in my eye; the kind that says, “You want to see what women can do? Because I’m HAPPY to show you.”

  36. Ghetto Girl! You’d be a great Quaker. I freely admit that I’m the worst Quaker in the world and they still love me, so swear away!

  37. Brilliant response, Haven. Don’t fight. Just show ’em.

    And you have.

  38. You got it, Jerri. To fight it is to have already lost. The only option is to not live one’s life based on a lie.

  39. {{{{ }}}}

  40. If I say that I too want to be a Quaker, do I have to admit to drinkin’ and swearin’?

  41. That was an attempt at blog silence but the spaces weren’t nearly wide enough. Oh well.
    Like rams…I too wish I wasn’t so far away from you all…I have met one quaker here though and it was quite a quinkydink as I had just given her a copy of Zippy to read (I think I’ve told y’all this story before). The nearest group to me here is about 1/2 hour away and they are the structured kind, with the pastor and all. I am very very curious about the silence.

  42. Quakerism is sounding better and better…especially since one of the caveats of Catholicism is…”well, if you don’t believe what we believe…then you’re not Catholic…”

    Yessirree bob. It’s a big ol’ caveat. I much prefer what I’m hearing about being Quaker. Perhaps a roadtrip to Durham is in order…

  43. Haven is back, I am a happy girl. I too swear like a trucker and am known to tie on a few, however I was raised Mennonite before I became a disenchanted Catholic so I think that makes me a perfect Quaker candidate.

  44. Who Me, you don’t have to admit to anything. And as Brent Bill hinted, only self-righteous prigs care if you drink. I’ve known very wise, elderly Quakers who still lived as close to the Gospel Order as possible, and drinking or swearing or any act of unkindness just wasn’t who they were. I have great respect for people who live that way, and absolutely no judgeytude for people who don’t. My most beloved professor in seminary, a truly holy man, drank wine with dinner every night and it sure didn’t make him less holy.

  45. Brenda, your visual blog silence was BRILLIANT.

  46. I’m going to have to find me a truck stop and listen to some truckers. No one swore better than my father in law, I learned a lot from him, bless his heart.

  47. HA, Molly — compare the Catholic caveat to something George Fox said all the way back there in the 17th century: You are a Quaker if you behave like one.

    Again, apologies to Catholics. I mean no offense.

  48. Haven! Thank ye 🙂

  49. Amy-in-Ohio, giver of my favorite lip balm ever! Dude, you’re like the RECIPE for the future of Quakerism.

  50. Haven, that just puts me in mind of Ghandi when he said he thought Christianity would be great…if anybody would practice it…

  51. I’ve been wanting to thank you for your enthusiasm for the work of Gregory Maguire, Haven (and others). I had started Wicked several times but never got past the first three chapters.

    After your ringing endorsements, I tried again, and whoa, am I glad I did. The first bit was still tough going for some reason but about 75 pages in, I got it and can hardly stand to work and do the things I must because all I want to do is read.

    I don’t yet know how it ends but imagine there will be echoes of your observation that the only option is not to live one’s life based on a lie.

  52. WHEN THE BRITISH Cabinet Mission went out to India to try to settle the Indian question on the spot, there were two or three interesting Quaker Meetings. Each of them was attended by members of the British Cabinet Mission, by prominent Indian Nationals, including the sister of Pandit Nehru, and by leading Moslems, including Sir Hassan Suhrawardy. Mahatma Gandhi attended the second.

    Mr. Gandhi, at his evening prayers, spoke highly of the calm atmosphere which prevailed there. “I greatly admire the silent prayers,” he said, “We must devote part of our time to such prayers. They afford peace of mind.”

    He also said: “Emptying the mind of all conscious processes of thought and filling it with the spirit of God unmanifest brings one ineffable peace, and attunes the soul with the Infinite.”– William H. Sessions, 1952.

  53. Jerri, by the end of WICKED I could barely breathe. I’m so anxious to hear what you think.

  54. That’s it. I’ve got to find me some Quakers here. I’d like to concentrate less on garbage, what I’ve done wrong/failed to do at all, and more on the Spirit itself.

    I wonder if there’s a Idiots’ Guide to Quakerism…

  55. Lord, I did it again. AN Idiots’ Guide…

  56. ‘no judgeyhood’ – to me that is the epitome of integrity.

    We tried to move to NC . . . it just didn’t work out with jobs/graduate school . . .but it is on our list of 2nd home locations . . . every year we spend lots of time in NC . . .

    It is idyllic.

    Glad Haven is back in the saddle with her cowboy slipper on . . . and glad the rascally varmints haven’t over taken the barnyard.

  57. Wicked . . . all Maguire’s – that is a wicked cool series, I was freaking out I was so excited to read the first one, and I think they get better . . .

    Elfuba Fan Club anywhere?

  58. My late night with Kittery and then grappling with the stupid yearbook has left me pooped.

    Good night, dear ones. Haven, it’s good to have you back (you’re a dear one too).

  59. Not enough time and too much wine (I am not a Quaker, or a Catholic, or really anything for that matter), but I have to say:

    —wonderful to see you back amongst the blog babies, Haven…we have missed you sorely.

    —I got my daughter the “Wicked” trilogy for Christmas and I can’t wait to see what she thinks of them after she’s read them. And then to borrow them for myself, of course.

    —the T.S. Eliot cartoon was priceless! And to see that it was done by Roz Chast, my Favorite.Cartoonist.Ever. was just perfection—thanks Maureen!

  60. Sher! I’ve missed you! I think John wrote to tell you how astonishingly beautiful the new encaustic looks hanging in the dining room. There are now four in there, and two in my study. It’s like a Sher museum.

    Elphaba is one of the greatest literary inventions of our time. I can’t think of another novel that deals with such huge moral questions so deftly. Recently someone asked me about the book and how it departs from OZ, and I thought for a moment then said, “What does it take to make a truly good person wicked?” Imagine tackling such a question in fiction, and not only that, in prose so beautiful it takes the reader’s breath away. Maguire should walk on rose petals and be given a crown. And also a unicorn.

  61. Hmmm, I have missed a lot. Somehow Lightning Bug and Kittery had a late night. The Blog Babies are like atoms, bouncing around, bumping into each other, doing what they will. It’s quite an extraordinary thing.

  62. Molly, I think it’s safe to say I’m currently writing The Idiot’s Guide to Quakerism. Or more accurately, An Idiot’s Book About Quakerism.

  63. Hi. I’m Kate, and I’m a Nazarene.

  64. Hi, Kate.

  65. Let me get my cup of rancid coffee, smoke one more cigarette outside with the old-timers, and then I want to hear how you hit bottom, Cupcake.

  66. Yes, I knew I was spelling Elphabu wrong . . . I loaned out (which I don’t DO anymore) the first 2 books to a friend (who is a friend no more) . . .

    I really want to go back and re-read them after the last few years of experiences, I think I would understand them even more deeply.

    Reading WICKED – it was like discovering a new species or something. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. – I have also listened to the 1st two in audio and that added another layer . . . the well in number two which her son encounters . . . freaked me out – I couldn’t read for days . . . but finally getting back to it was worth it . . .

  67. Kate . . .

  68. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I DO believe in – – that seems so much more uplifting than talking about what I DON’T believe in.

  69. Well, I guess if a person can drink and smoke and swear and be a Quaker, then I can dance and drink and swear and watch movies and wear makeup and jewelry and be a Nazarene!

    Besides, we also have Anabaptist roots.

  70. Sher…EXACTLY. I love that.

  71. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: Gregory Maguire is one of the kindest, most generous, good good men in the world. I count getting to know him among the dearest blessings of my life.

    Also mentioned previously: not true of most writers.

  72. Tolerance.
    True Separation of Church & State.
    Mothers who do not talk on their cellphone when they are with their families.
    Pumpkin pie.
    The Moon.
    Slow kisses that aren’t about sex.
    Helping my co-humans.
    Equality of all, especially the rights of children who can’t speak for themselves.

  73. Maguire. A true original. Wow. I’m glad people rose up and RECOGNIZED his genuis.

  74. Oh Molly (Sister Self Flagellation)! How’d you do today? I woke up at noon and felt like I had a hangover (I’m speculating, I’ve never actually had a hangover) but still .. it was close, I imagine. The weather was bad enough that rehearsal was canceled – and I was glad of it, lol.

  75. Plus Kate? You get to show off with the word “Nazarene.” In Matthew: something something “and he lived in a town called Nazareth.” In fulfillment of the prophets, “He will be called a Nazarene.” In Mark, someone says to Peter, “You were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” Also in Mark: “. . . Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified.” And if that weren’t enough, in the Acts of the Apostles he’s referred to as a ringleader and troublemaker, a member of the Nazarene sect.

    So yeah, I reckon you can do most anything you please.

  76. Sher, those are very, very good things to believe in. 🙂

    And ..

    Hi Haven! :: waves madly :: 😀

  77. SWEET!!

  78. Sher, do I get good mother points if I never even known where my cell phone is?

  79. Hi Kittery! Hi!

  80. I don’t even HAVE a cell phone. Now, that’s all about to change, but for the last 5 years I get mom points for that, right?

  81. Good points!

    I hate my cell phone.

    I only have it so the kids, when they are not by my side, can call me on the cyber umbilical cord . . . also, I feel it is a safety link to them while they are out of the nest – if they need me they can reach me.

  82. but I am so disappointed when I see women out – even in restaurants and they are ‘chat, chat, gossip’ on their phones – they are missing so much. I know things can be necessary, but necessary can take 2 minutes, not 2 hours . . .

  83. my mother-in-law tried to call this morning – she couldn’t get us to answer the house phone (I don’t even know where we keep that, nor do I care) or the 4 cellphones . . . we were all here, so why did we need them???? Besides, I SLEEP from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. on Sundays and if the house is not burning down, nobody is allowed near me . . .

    heaven’s to betsy – if somebody is dead, what the heck could I do about it anyway (insensitive exagerration added).

  84. I have considered blocking all incoming calls except from my husband and 2 teenagers and MAYBE Claire’s nurse? And Haven, and Kate . . . there you go! All the important people (and other blog babies, see this is the dilemna . . .how about housemates, but not blood relatives? . . .

  85. ya’all left?

  86. I’m here.

  87. I’m watching Grey’s Anatomy .. I pop in during the commercials. 😉

    You’re so right about cells. My friends get pissed because my phone is on silent almost 100% of the time. I tell them “my cell is for my convenience, not yours.” Amazing I still have any friends, lol. 🙂

  88. ‘Ello Kate. 🙂

  89. I’m here also. Hi Artist formerly known as Sher. Hi KateCake.

  90. Hi guys and gals!

  91. Kittery, I like your response about your cell phone. I’ve had people mad at me because I wouldn’t answer my phone a) while I was driving. b)while at work. c) while with friends. Sorry, but if it’s that important, there are other ways of getting me.

  92. Isn’t it insane? We lived without these things for hundreds of years. But the thought of giving my phone up does give me an uncomfortable twinge, lol.

  93. By the way, I just want to add that I love the things I am learning about Quakerism. I wasn’t going to join in this thread, because it was obviously not directed at me, but I do think I would love to sit in a meeting, like a fly on the wall, and soak it up.

  94. Kate, me too – I have sat in the back of a few services of various denominations, but always feel pressured, I want to be ignored and be with myself while I am there. the idea of silence is phenomenal. I would definately try this.

  95. When I was in college, I tried different churches, but when people found out I was looking for something different, it was like a competition, “our church is better, let’s try to woo Kittery to our side”. It was too much.

    I like various bits and pieces of different faiths but the idea of committing to one makes me feel like the ties on the straightjacket are tightening ..

  96. My personal journey is still going on. I left the church of my youth, and now I have returned…on my own terms. There are aspects of my life that I keep private, and the things that I agree with I discuss. I’m at this church to love, to give, to fellowship, and to expand people’s minds and hearts, including my own. I may not stay a “Nazarene” forever, but it’s where I am meant to be right now.

  97. KAte – I think that is so brave of you – to admit that you are still on a genuine journey of spiritual discovery. That allows for expotential growth . . . I am trying to keep my heart and mind open and I feel that I am in the place I need to be for now – but that I am open for more? If that makes sense, and to me the label is inconsequential because you are the genuine, authentic article.

  98. This blog has done amazing things to my heart and mind. I have become a completely different person in many ways, and really challenged myself. It’s been wonderful.

  99. Kate, I was just thinking your exact thoughts about the blog and how it has enhanced my life.

    During a 2007 emotional disturbance within my family (the cougars of ILLY) I was bereft. Then I found this blog in 2008 towards the Fall . . . it had been a year since the emotional mourning . . . and I have never, and I mean NEVER, felt as welcomed and accepted (at 99.9 percent of the time).

    I remember saying at some point in 2007 that there were people in the world that would love me for who I was. I have found them. Here.

  100. Lots of businesses in Durham have signs on the door forbidding the use of cell phones, in recognition of our crimes against civility.

    Oh, here’s a story I love. My sister used to have a ghastly mother-in-law, and the MIL’s favorite thing was to call Melinda at six or seven in the morning and, discovering that she was still asleep, screech in her raptor voice, “I’ve been up since 4:30! I’ve gotten a whole day’s work done while you were lounging in bed!” Melinda tried explaining that she’s a night person oh, upwards of 600 times, and then one night at midnight she called her MIL. When Screechy answered, Melinda said, “Were you ASLEEP? For heaven’s sake, I’ve gotten an entire day’s work done between nine o’clock and now, while you were just lounging in bed!” When I heard this I was like OH YEAH. That’s the way it’s done.

  101. Hero – Melinda is now my hero!! Sweet Jesus in Hay – that is BRILLIANT!!!!!


  102. Kate and Sher (and all the rest of you), as far as I can tell you are loved unconditionally here. And I’m not speaking just for myself.

  103. :: sings :: Melinda is amazing.

  104. apropos of cells off –

    I used to ignor my email clicks while I was blogging with you all . . . until I realized that it might be one of ya’all – so I open those, and ignore all the others!!! Blog etiquette you know!


    I get sick of the superiority of all those roosters. Somebody has to know what the night sounds like, what the stars look like. Some of us are just built that way. I actually have an odd quirk where I can sleep VERY deeply during the day, even with sunlight streaming in the windows, but at night the smallest sounds, the slightest bit of light, keeps me awake. I am truly meant to live from noon to 4am, but you know. Kids.

  106. I love unconditional love! It’s my FAVORITE!

  107. :: snickers :: Roosters.
    Is there a positive name for us night people? Other than ‘bat’? I have seen a cute bat in my time but really .. there’s got to be something else.

  108. Owls of course, which you know are very, very wise.

  109. My husband finally gets it – that I work at night . . . he now checks the studio to see what I did the night before . . . you know when the elves come in and do all that work for me – my creative elves . . . only work 10 pm – 6 a.m.

  110. Brandon gave me a great diagnosis – polyphasic!

  111. Ooh elves! ANOTHER GOOD ONE.

  112. my elves got their asses in trouble for staple gun and hammering at 5:30 am . . . I finally decided to go to bed around then…

  113. the moon rise tonight was STUNNING!

  114. For years I used to BEG someone, anyone, to explain to me why daylight is somehow ethically superior to nighttime. What a lame ass, arbitrary convention that is.

    I’m exactly like you, Kate. I can sleep very soundly between six and ten in the morning, but all night I’m on high alert. I listen for Iorek at the front of the house, for Cloud at the back door, to the baby breathing, to John breathing, ack it’s just all too much.

  115. maybe we are the guardians of the night?

  116. I know right? Even when it was necessary for you know, farmers, since when was EVERYONE a farmer? I guarantee William Shakespeare wasn’t up with the chickens.

  117. Owls and elves .. nice.

    I’m envious of all of you. Regardless of when you sleep you don’t need that much. I got mono years ago and it kicked me. Hard. Now I need at least 10 – 12 hours.
    On the bright side, when I do see the sun it’s a pleasant surprise. 🙂

  118. It is a conspiracy against creatives.

    I’m sure of it.

  119. I breathlessly await them all leaving so I can sleep during the day and breatlessly await them all to go to bed at night so I can work.

  120. Ah contraire. I need lots of sleep. It just happens at odd times, whenever I can squeeze it in. I slept twelve hours the other night, and it wasn’t really enough.

    Mono…it will do that. I blame all my current lack of energy, etc on the mono I contracted at age 12.

  121. Speaking of Shakespeare, someone on this blog will find this amusing. I hope.
    When I saw it the first time I nearly died laughing.

  122. Kittery, that is so true about mono – dylan had it and he crashes after school, eats, then goes back to bed, his bus comes at 6:15 a.m. – which should be illegal for growing teenagers.

  123. Damn. There’s no hope for me, is there? I got it when I was 18.

  124. How long was Dylan sick? I had it my entire freshman year at college. During that time, I became very well acquainted with the nurse’s office, my dorm room, some of my classrooms and on occasion, the dining hall .. not. much. else.

  125. dylan was out during 6th grade . . . but he loves learning so actually got ahead as he could work on his own pace

    he is just tired, tired, tired all the time

  126. I also believe that the best cure for anything is sleep.

    sleep begats sleep.

    last week I slept 18 hours at one time . . . it was like getting a new body.

  127. in amy grant’s memoir “mosaic” she talks of meeting an older woman and they discuss the woman’s mourning of her life-long husband. She had taken to her bed . . . amy asked how long, for 2 or 3 weeks . . .and the woman said ‘no, it was 2 or 3 years’

    this idea that we all conform to a set healing time of the body or soul is just ludicrous. or that we all should have the same actions under stress . . . that chaps my ass (which is freezing on the left side, because my studio heater is on my right side)

  128. A couple years ago I wasn’t feeling well and my GP did a series of blood tests. They all came back fine, except I tested positive for Epstein-Barr. I said, “If that’s related to mad cow disease my sister is going to faint with laughter.” He said no such luck, it just means that at some point in my life I had mono. Isn’t that interesting? I had mono and didn’t know it.

  129. Be grateful Haven. Be oh so grateful.

  130. Haven, that has happened to my mother-in-law as well and guess what – they say to AVOID STRESS . . .

    duh, she needs to turn in her personality because she is the precursor to to stress . . . it travels with her and she leaves it in her wake.

  131. Mad Cow Disease reminded me to ask ..

    Have any of you ever read Lab 257? Thoughts, opinions? I’m halfway through the book meself..

  132. See, I don’t think it’s such a great thing to have mono and not know it.

  133. I am currently typing out my notes/theories on Iodine

  134. Right, Kate – but then when you know they can’t help you with anything . . . it is like the mystery ‘fibromyalgia’ or the 80’s ‘epstein barr’ – it is there, but they can’t really treat it . . .

    here is an idea, we could create Sanitoriums like they had for tb and we could go for retreat there . . .

    sit in our rockers with blankies, read, write, chat . . .

    as a treatment center . . .

  135. Claire told me today . . .

    “I know you are busy, like a bee, but I just wanted to tell you I love you. Thanks”


  136. oh, and the best thing. she didn’t want anything from me or for me to do anything for her. just that. to say that to me.

  137. True, I guess. Just…I worry that someone who is ill and doesn’t know it might not get the important rest and care they need.

  138. Aw, Claire’s sweet. 🙂

    Well .. I only meant that if a person had mono and didn’t realize it then the symptoms weren’t debilitating.

  139. I wish I could remember Scott’s favorite scene from Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain. It involved the patients wrapping themselves in fur sleeping bags and standing on a balcony in the freezing air.

    Oooo I would LOVE to travel someplace lovely and tell everyone I was taking a Resting Cure.

  140. Kate . . . I have no faith, no faith in medical people. For 3 years I had a uterine infection after giving birth to Lauren . . . it was in test results from my 6 week, post-birth exam . . . 3 surgeries, six or 7 doctors . . . only after finally finding a doctor suggested by Christaine Northrup did this doctor, the new one, read my original medical reports.

    I thought I was dying. I was rotting from the inside out. I had miscarriages and nobody caught it for 3 plus years . . . they would treat my symptoms, but never the cause.

  141. Kittery, the symptoms may very well have been debilitating. I’m not ruling it out.

  142. The Rest Cure.

    Let’s book it now.

    Have you seen “Welcome to Wellville” with Matthew Broderick . . . fabulous

  143. You are talking to someone who has given birth at home three times. Of COURSE I agree with you.

    I’m thinking more in terms of how it might feel to be low energy, exhausted, tired, sick and not know why…and not take care of yourself because of it. When I had mono I was out of school for three weeks, and allowed to rest. If I had just complained that I was tired my parents might have just rolled their eyes and made me go to school.

  144. Yup, anything that is interferring with your enjoyment of life – migraines, mono, ms, addictions – that would be considered chronic and debilitating . . . Haven, how did you conquer your last migraine?

  145. I think the big signal to us with Dylan was that he had a low grade fever and numerous bouts of strep throat that never really went away. WE ASKED for the work up – because of tight insurance, it seems that doctors don’t like to make diagnosis or search for a cause (at least, in my experiences). If I hadn’t been through my medical past, I might not have been an advocate for Dylan . . . but I wanted to know WHY he had a chronic fever and strep throat . . .

  146. That did occur to me, Haven. I happen to have the tactful gift of thinking something I’m about to say probably isn’t that bright .. and yet, I persist and say it anyway. Ahem.

  147. Oh, Kittery — you didn’t say anything wrong. I actually felt the same way after the diagnosis, as if I’d been lucky not to have my life interrupted.

    This last migraine lasted a month — I’ve never experienced anything like it. My doctor finally figured out it was being caused by one of the medications I was put on following the last seizure. I had to go off it slowly, and I stopped completely three days ago. The headache went away the next day and I don’t have a trace of it now.

  148. I’ve never had a migraine…I cannot even imagine…

  149. Me either. Cripes.

  150. I highly recommend that you avoid them the rest of your life. Having one for a month drove me to the brink of complete and utter despair.

  151. That hurts my HEART. Ugh.

  152. Thank you, Cupcake. But remarkably, now that I’ve recovered from it, I feel enormous gratitude and happiness. Just being myself again is cause for celebration. All day today I thought, “I’m typing! Whee!” And, “Look at me, I’m folding laundry!” I bent over and picked up Gus’s Legos on three different occasions, just because I could. My dad once said to me that when you’re in pain it occupies every action and every thought, and as soon as it’s gone it’s the easiest thing in the world to forget. I’ve found that to be very true.

  153. That’s why women actually get pregnant more than once!

  154. Ha! I almost included that as an exception. Three natural childbirths over here, no intervention, and I remember every agonizing second. I know other women whose memory of the event was completely erased by dopamine. Nope, not Haven. Kat thinks I’ve never experienced the post-birth amnesia because all three of my labors were precipitous, so the censors didn’t get the memo in time.

  155. That’ll do it!

    If I THINK about it, I can remember my labors, but I have to concentrate.

    Right after having Alice I was BEGGING for Hugh to get a vasectomy. Two weeks later I was planning our next child.

  156. The idea of delivering a baby scares me. The idea of doing so without being under the blissful haze of drugs terrifies me. :: sigh :: I think I’m young. Or a weenie.

  157. Kittery, don’t worry — it scares everybody. Just take every drug you’re offered. Epidural, Demerol, something through a mask, helium, bourbon, horse tranquilizers. If a skinny, shifty-eyed guy comes in and offers you heroin, take that, too, and apologize to law enforcement later.

  158. With that advice (that I plan on adhering to, lol) why did you decide to do the opposite? (Nosy, isn’t I? Feel free to tell me I’m a git and to shush).

  159. It just occurred to me. I’m as bad as my niece. Crap.

  160. It’s okay, Kittery, I would wonder the same thing. The first two were born 36 minutes and 24 minutes after I arrived at the hospital, and Gus was born so quickly — maybe 10 minutes after I reached labor & delivery — I had no doctor. I got the attention of a nurse (John had walked down to the car to get my pillow), and she pulled someone out of the hallway. John came running in, the stranger person took the position, and that was that. For all I know Gus was delivered by a janitor. I didn’t even have time to curse God and pray for my own death. Plus I’m fiercely stoic, and once I realized what the situation was I just endured it as graciously as possible.

  161. Man.

  162. Well. Yes.

  163. Lol. I couldn’t think of anything witty. (general, hah) plus that was my first thought. So. I said it. 🙂

  164. After O. was born I couldn’t think of anything witty to say, either. I tried once to tell my sister what seemed to be both a secret and of utmost importance. The baby was six months old and I whispered to M. on the phone that I felt as if I’d survived a terrible train wreck, and no one knew it but me. I believe her response was along the lines of ‘big weeny ass baby.’ You see where stoicism is a reasonable position for me to take. I know now I was in an extended state of shock, but I had only recently moved to North Carolina and I spent all day every day alone with an infant; there was no one I could tell. Every day when Kat got home from school I felt better. Just the sweet and constant light of her saved my life.

  165. Haven!!! I’m so glad your evil migraine is gone gone gone!

    This is quite something, your proposal. Durham may see a spike in the census next go round.

  166. How do you manage stoic when you are in shock, though?

  167. I’m glad you chose stoic. I think you’d be a much different person otherwise.

    (and Melinda doesn’t exactly mince her words does she?)

  168. Carrie, I’m so glad to hear from you. I have two things to tell you: one is that I am having a terrible, grievous time sending my bracelet back to add the last stone, because I can’t let it out of my sight. I’m so afraid it will get lost or disappear. I’m as deeply attached to it as an object as I ever have to been to anything. I’ve considered driving it to you — putting it in a bulletproof briefcase and strapping it to my wrist, but that bears some marks of impracticality. I am gobstopped. I want it to be the right size, because I want to wear it ALL THE TIME, and yet I can’t do the necessary thing to make it the right size. A puzzle.

    The second thing is that I was out with my Meg a few days ago and felt a sneeze coming on. I opened my purse to get a tissue and realized I had failed to put tissues in my new bag. I had also overlooked my wallet, my checkbook, the book I always carry, and my sacred Elvis pocket mirror. Do you know what I HAD remembered? Twelve bookmarks made by you, which I carry in a blue velvet bag. There I was with my sneeze and my beautiful bookmarks. Sometimes I am alarm even myself.

    So glad to see you here!

  169. How do you manage stoic when you’re in shock — a fine question. I’d have to say it goes back to growing up in rural Indiana, where self-indulgence doesn’t exist as a possibility. Also there is no excuse for failing to do what must be done. Feelings are not facts. I felt as if I’d been in a train wreck, but the facts were that I had a baby to nurture and love and protect, and his joy and safety, his ability to relax into the unconditional love of his parents and his sister, trumped everything else. Once you’re a parent you don’t get to fail, even for a moment. Feelings will pass; they’re like smoke. A son is real.

  170. Hmm, so it’s in the hard-wire? I know many parental units unable to entertain the possibility that they can transcend their “mood” to do what must be done. Lucky, lucky Kat, O, Gus.

    And I’m so extremely moved that you like to look at your bracelet. It can’t get lost, I promise. — And the bookmarks are paper, after all, if assistance is required.

  171. And also? I am so beyond flattered that you had those bookmarks, in a blue velvet bag, no less, but not your ELVIS MIRROR!!

    I just knew you needed to have a set.

  172. Right now I have one bookmark in the Albert Speer biography I’m reading (a moss-colored one, to match the cover); a second one in Lauren Slater’s LYING, a memoir of epilepsy (it’s red with gold flowers), and a white damask-looking one in a Hilary Mantel novel I just started. They are such a treasure.

    I am going to man up and ship the bracelet back tomorrow, as profoundly nervous and bereft as it will make me to do so. (Would you mind e-mailing me your address again, just so I’m sure I have it?)

    And no, I don’t think it’s hard-wired in parents to transcend their own moods for the sake of their children. It’s a choice you make every moment of every day — you make it over and over again. I just happen to believe that to fail a child is to fail at life entirely, and if I don’t have the inner mettle to sustain that love, I have nothing of real value. The moment your child is born you have been replaced on the earth: it’s one of the definitions of adulthood. All selfishness and indulgent imbecility should be burned off by the fires of the sublime. Anyone who behaves as if there are other options are terribly, terribly mistaken.

  173. Oh no! I went to sleep and missed GOBS of chatting. This is reason enough to sell the cows!

    As a Catholic-turned-Assembly-of-God-turned-Buddhist/Taoist-tried-Episcopalian-went-agnostic-went-gnostic-returned-to-Catholicism-but-only-the-leftist-variety, I welcome and join in all the Catholic criticisms. I would call myself a Catholic reformer.

    However, I can’t wait to read Quakerism for Dummies. I inherited the Journal of George Fox from Andy’s Quaker buddy – or it might have been required reading while Andy was at Earlham. I must read it.

    I have to go to school, dang, but I will read all 172 comments I missed at 3. Adios amigitas!

  174. Welcome back dear Haven! I hate to say it but I am kind of a rooster these days but only because I have to be. We only have one bathroom and there are four of us here (not counting the animals that is) and that four includes two teenagers. And, as Sher said high school starts at the crack of dawn so we must be out the door early. Today was a rare occasion as Emma and Sam left with their father. He drives them to school several days a year when I am unable to. Like today. My husband has to go back for more shoulder surgery. On the shoulder he busted at Rye Beach this summer. The doctor said too much scar tissue has built up so that needs to be cut out. Yuck. So, I am his driver and nurse today. Actually, it is probably a good thing as I have been thinking that I have been too hard on him lately as my sober time increases. But that is too long a story to take up right now.

    This month at church (Presbyterian here) we are doing a special four weeks exploring several spiritual practices– Centering Prayer, Lectio Devina, Chanting, and Journaling. I went to the Lectio class yesterday. I liked it. The funny thing for me this year is to realize that rehab and AA have actually improved my spirituality more than church has for me in 48 years. Or perhaps it is the addition of the AA to my church life. Or maybe, just maybe, it is not being drunk or hung over every day. Hmmm. Might be that last one.

  175. Lectio Divina. Not Devina. sorry

  176. I looooved Wicked but cannot for the life of me get into Son of a Witch. Did anyone else have that problem? Also, I cannot stop thinking about Solace, I really enjoyed The Used World but Solace literally shifted me internally. Something Rising should arrive this week and according to Molly I should be prepared to lose the ability to speak for a few days.

  177. I could be wrong, but I have a feeling not a lot of blog babies have subscriptions to Entertainment Weekly. Well, I do and was thrilled to see that this review of Stehanie Kallos’ new book, “Sing Them Home” included a shout-out to us! I’m posting it below:


    Fans of Ann Patchett and Haven Kimmel should dive onto the sofa one wintry weekend with Stephanie Kallos’ wonderfully transportive second novel, Sing Them Home. The best-selling author (Broken for You) centers her story in windblown Nebraska, where the already wobbly Jones family gathers to mourn the death of their physician father, Llewellyn. Emlyn Springs is one of those all-too-rare small towns in literature, rich in personality but mercifully free of broad, condescending cliché. The community, steeped in Welsh language and traditions, marks Llewellyn’s passing by the Gymanfa, where traditional hymns are sung continuously for three days to honor the dead and send them on their way.

    The grief of the three Jones adult siblings — Larken, a chubby art-history professor; Gaelan, a gym-obsessed weatherman; and ethereal Bonnie, the sister the others fear is fast on her way to eccentric spinsterhood — is compounded by the childhood loss of their mother. Hope Jones was sucked into the sky by a tornado 25 years earlier, her body never recovered.

    Kallos weaves Hope’s diary entries throughout the novel, fleshing out the family’s complicated history. As the novel floats back and forth from past to present, Kallos patiently reveals the hurt and longing that’s pounding beneath the surface. Especially poignant is Hope’s spitfire best friend and Llewellyn’s grieving mistress, Viney Cross, who holds more secrets than her yoga-toned body can bear. Alas, of all the terrifically drawn characters, brother Gaelan remains a frustrating enigma.

    You should know going in that there are elements of magic in this story, where the dead crowd the sky, murmuring over the living. But the whimsy is grounded by Kallos’ keenly empathetic description of life in a Midwestern small town. The ending may leave you feeling so wistful for these strange, sad people that you find yourself fantasizing about a trip to Nebraska. A–

  178. Three important things:
    1)Haven is precious but North Carolina is to be avoided at all costs. We are in a horrible drought. Our land is evaporating under condominiums. And they keep trying to pave the estuary. Stay away.
    2)I’ve experienced the full cocktail medicalised birth has to offer. I’ve experienced natural childbirth. There is no comparison. You suffer either way. But with natural childbirth you are safer, in and out faster, and empowered like mad. (Witness Haven. She’s done it three times. Have ever seen anyone more empowered?)
    3)Umm, I forgot the third thing. That epidural must still be numbing some crucial part of my brain stem…

  179. haven! i am so happy you are back!
    blog babies! i have missed you all…finally recovering form quite a stomach illness i picked up in guatemala…

    i have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and it is SO frustrating that there is little known about it and it is very difficult to get relief. i am getting acupuncture today–fingers crossed, i hope it helps!

    i would love to join a Quaker meeting–except i live in CT, and driving to NC would be quite long.

    oh, and birth. i was in labor for 16 hours, 9 cm dilated–when i needed an emergency C-section due to Mason’s serious drop in heartbeats per minute. it was scary. and people who say they forget the pain–i don’t understand–i remember every second of that 16 hours–and then of course the recovery from the C-section. i would do it all again (and hope to) for the beautiful child that blesses our lives every single day.

    right after my best friend from college gave birth (i mean, literally right after), she called me from the hospital and said “anyone who tells you the pain will be bearable is an effin liar. no book, doctor, or prenatal class could prepare me for this agony”. it was super timing bc i was 5 mos pregnant at the time. i will say that shelby (my friend) agrees that yes, the pain absolutely sucks, but it is so worth it. she is pregnant again 🙂

  180. Wait, is this my Katherine? Because if so she was my midwife when I delivered O. and was there every second. I would have lost a crucial part of my mind without her. And the full cocktail birth she had the first time was not because she wanted it that way, believe me. Although I do love what she said to the anesthesiologist: the, let us say most acute hour had come round, and she told him to turn up the dial on her epidural. He said if he increased it any more he could cause very unpleasant side effects, like the dreaded epidural headache. She said, in a forceful tone, “I don’t care if it blows my &%#!@ head off my shoulders, turn it UP.” So he did.

  181. Carol in Kansas, thank you for copying that! I adore Ann Patchett; I gave TRUTH & BEAUTY to my daughter only a couple weeks ago. But I do believe they made a mistake in including us together. I am not even remotely in the same league as someone who wrote BEL CANTO. Also she’s gorgeous.

  182. i read The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd) when i was away. it was just beautiful. i also read Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer…he blew my mind with his writing. very very unique. i guess i am out of touch with the movies, bc i didn’t know that both of these titles are movies. i am excited bc i can now watch and see how they compare.

  183. Oh wait, Ya, that third thing. I had to vacuum a while to remember it. Haven said this, WHICH IS OF COURSE BRILLIANT:

    And no, I don’t think it’s hard-wired in parents to transcend their own moods for the sake of their children. It’s a choice you make every moment of every day — you make it over and over again. I just happen to believe that to fail a child is to fail at life entirely, and if I don’t have the inner mettle to sustain that love, I have nothing of real value. The moment your child is born you have been replaced on the earth: it’s one of the definitions of adulthood. All selfishness and indulgent imbecility should be burned off by the fires of the sublime. Anyone who behaves as if there are other options are terribly, terribly mistaken.

    3)Haven is exactly right. It begins in pregnancy and for many, one fire of the sublime is childbirth. When medical intervention is necessary, God Bless It. Other wise, what Haven just said, right there.

  184. Oh Haven, Ann Patchett couldn’t possibly be more gorgeous than you.

    Did you happen to get the email I sent you last week regarding the design class I’m taking?

  185. Dee, I didn’t get an e-mail from you! Will you resend?

  186. Please be prepared for my bravatar/gravitron to change again. The current one was just too black and white.

  187. Haven, I resent it. I have three different email addresses for you (gmail remembers everything) I may have sent it to the wrong address last time. I sent it to the one this time.

  188. Steph (et al),

    The line about “forgetting the pain of childbirth” was written by a man.

    I’ve had babies every which way but orally, and I’m glad no one’s thought of that or someone might have tried that, too. My first was an emergency C-section after hours of labor, and upon his birth the operating room went silent– those were terrible moments and then days, but he recovered in a way no one present thought he would.

    My next decided got himself in a fix, and required removal by salad tongs. Sometime in the 14 hours of labor before that point, I lost part of my mind, *plink*. Something caved in and was gone. In the meantime, the highest-accredited Lamaze people were with me and All Proud of How Well I Was Doing. When I realized that was It– breathing?!– I knew I’d been had. You have GOT to be kidding me. They weren’t.

    I then had my husband hold up his hands so I could punch him with each rapid, breathed-out word: “You-have-no-idea-how-much-this-hurts-there-is-no-way-you-can-possibly-know-how-much-this-hurts-shut-up-don’t-touch-me.”

    I felt much better.

    When I was in labor with my third, I called the hospital and asked for drugs as a condition for showing up. Medical people can be so stubborn. I was still begging for drugs when it was (quickly) time to push, and my daughter appeared. Oh, well.

    With my fourth, I had great drugs. The drug doctor, late to the scene, had some sort of accent, and the whole thing played out like a Saturday Night Live skit.

    Dr. Drugs, holding up and squirting the air out of a Huge syringe (that would go into lines, not into me, but I didn’t know that):

    “Let me read you risk and side effect.”

    Me: “No. Give me the drugs!”

    Dr. Drugs: “You do not want me read risk and side effect?!”

    Me: “No! Hurry!”

    My husband, on the other side of me:
    “You won’t be able to walk after you’re forty!”
    “Your hair will all fall out forever!”

    Me: “I don’t care! Give me the drugs! Make him start!”

    Dr. Drugs began telling me that it would be “one hour to full effect.” I interrupted him at each turn: “An hour from _now_? Or from when you started talking?” A few minutes later, “An hour from NOW?”


    I fully understand that such drugs can be hazardous, and that the timing can be critical even under the best of circumstances. Each of my babies was at risk before and through birth, some more than others, and I do not take _any_ of the miracle of their ultimately safe passages for granted.

    Courtesy of Dr. Drugs and God’s grace, not in that order, my fourth child’s delivery was remarkably peaceful. Having the edge taken off the pain helped me be present in a different way (not better, just different) than I was with the others.

    There was quite a cast of characters in the room by the time our son arrived, some of whom I am convinced were, yes, on the cleaning staff. Many mentioned being deeply moved by the joy with which we welcomed our fourth child, and third son.

    My last baby, the exclamation point at the end of the sentence, was impacted, breech, and a planned c-section.


    Steph, herself, if I have the right “Steph”:

    I’ve been meaning to ask you this: how did you get on the field at Fenway, with The Trophy?!? Oh, my.

    …my youngest son gave me a signed Carlton Fisk card this year for Christmas, proudly telling me I now owned the most valuable card in our household. (It doesn’t take much, but still.)

    When I was little, my grandfather, down in the Big City of Manchester, had more than 3 channels And a color TV; I’d often fall asleep on his couch watching the Red Sox. He died in 1994. I’ve seldom missed him more than in 2004, when the Red Sox won and I couldn’t call him.

    ~ Sarah

  189. Sarah, I’m sorry I laughed at so many parts of your post. Really, you had me at salad tongs.

    I remember reading an interview with Angelina Jolie after the C-section birth of Shiloh. She said, “I was just waiting for that first cry. I couldn’t breathe until I heard the first cry.” God, how universal it is, what women go through.

    Katherine, do you remember the divinely inspired thing you said to me after O. was born, and slightly blue?

  190. Dee, I wrote you back — hope it got there.

  191. Ha hee, hide in barns she says.

  192. Got it thanks. Now if I could only stop watching Dead Like Me, on Netflix, and actually do my homework, I’d be all set. 🙂

  193. Matt in Nebraska, how the heck are you? Come join my Quaker Meeting for Primitive Quiet People!

  194. Sounds good! My ggggg-grandma Grace Cope was a Quaker. Lived in Perryopolis, in Western Pennsylvania. I don’t know how primitive she is, but she certainly is quiet.

    Jeez, I did battle with a huge raccoon in my YARD the other night! All that was handy was a stick. No, I did not engage it mano a mano- tho I would be happy to do so for $10,000, plus expenses.

    It keeps picking fights with the dogs. I do NOT want to pay hundreds of dollars to the vet for a dog-glass-eye! What a spectacle.

    Some good news on this front. Will tell you about it later.

    My daughters’ birthday (same as Elvis’) last week. Big slumber party Saturday night. Crazed revellry. I felt like a talking tree among the goings-on. I guess
    in comparison with them – litle tornados of energy that they are – I am very primitive and very quiet.

    Also, must send what I wrote while waiting in line in the
    department of motor vehicles the other day. Will try to do so today.

    LOVED your M.O.G. post. And the picture. Priceless.

    Hope everyone is well at your place, someone mentioned on here you were getting to be nurse for a few days.

    Later, tater.


  195. Matt, your dogs have fierce genetic heritages — it’s clear from the photos of them. But raccoons are not to be trifled with. Call animal control and have them humanely trap it. I try to never be alarmist but I’ve had some experience with raccoons and thus respect their fearless varmint ways.

    Oh, there was sickness all around in Casa Svara. It was virtually Old Testament.

  196. I think getting the baby OUT is good. I don’t have anything on what it takes to get it out.

    Speaking as one whose births were also aided by the use of tongs, I loved my epidurals.

    My sister had her first three kids with epidurals and planned to do so with the fourth. Things went too quickly, though, and her beautiful girl was born with no drug intervention. Three hours later, I sat with her and held Beautiful Girl while my sister — literally — ate bonbons. Very sweetly, she commented, “Liz. I had no idea I was a screamer!”

  197. Raccoons and I have had a rough history from the time one jumped out of a tree to attack me because I was in his sand box. It was at a camp and it really was his however the bastard could have just been a bit more polite, I was 7 and was in shock.
    Damn raccoons be careful

  198. It was virtually old testament,hehehe.
    Oh and Matt, I have said it before but your posts are positively delightful. I think you are just high-larious.

  199. Sing Them Home. yes the Bunny -Mom called me yesterday to read that passage out loud to me. and yes, haven you are in the same league as ann patchett. SORRY.

    i loved BEL CANTO. im selling my signed first edition of it, along with my Maguires and mu Updikes and my Stegners, because i need to stockpile cash while Rome burns? but i love it. oh they are all without price.

    i am keeping my Kimmels, of course. PLEASE.

    SON OF A WITCH is great. i cant say enough about maguire, yes, i do feel he should have some sort of permanent shrine and prayer cards.and a gift shop and horses with glasses on and so forth. IF YOU CANT GET INTO IT, i suggest the audio unabridged version, avaiable at your local library. i have the cd of A LION AMONG MEN in my car right now, waiting for me to finish MIDDLESEX on cassette, which i am also dying with pleasure over.

    oh and i am reading OWEN MEANY for the first time. it’s a meteor of delight. it’s sacred, as haven said. sacred.

    MISS CAKE? my maternal grandmother was Nazerene, and there never was a more beautiful kind woman, ever. so. she just passed at 97 last december.


  200. oh and haven i just re-read LYING by lauren slater. everyone? lauren slater is a GEM. oh my god. read WELCOME TO OUR COUNTRY her book about schitzophrenics. read everything shes written, in fact. she’s who elizabeth wurtzel wants to be but is too stupid to be.

  201. i live just across the golden gate bridge but iam surrounded by wilderness. so racoons will occasionally break into the upstairs kitchen and hold a rave. they are filthy, raucous debbils and i once stood up to one with babies and she hissed at me and i ROARED at her. buh bye.

  202. flashing lights on and off at racoons also pisses them off and makes them run. like all vicious theives, they are essential cowards.

  203. Raccoons used to be my friends. Until last year. It was my birthday, everyone else was in bed and I was in the kitchen trying to pretend I had the resources of a full-out bakery at my disposal.
    All of a sudden, there was this crash directly outside the back door (the kitchen, essentially). I. Froze. I couldn’t believe a cat had made such a racket, so I was convinced it was a person. So, for the rest of the morning, until the sun rose, I kept baking, convinced it was going to be the last bagel I ever made. Morning comes, I don’t say anything about it to anyone .. my father goes outside, flower pots are broken, stuff on the picnic table has been tossed around, and the barn door is open and the light is on. He asks me if I’ve been in the barn at all. “Noo .. why, did something happen?” So then I told him all about how I thought I was going to be murdered, covered in flour and everyone else was going to be murdered in their beds ..

    He later decided it was a raccoon.
    Good grief.

  204. raccoon are the original gangsters.

  205. I had to skip ahead (WHY WHY WHY do I have this calling to teach but the disposition of the owl instead of the freakin’ rooster) but, Amy-in-O, I bet Something Rising knocks you flat for a few days. IT is so far beyond AMAZING. And yes to Solace shifting something PERMANENTLY within you. There is no going back.

  206. you know, ever since my husband left me i have kept a Louisville Slugger next to me front door. good for anything and everything. i’ve been known to just pick it up and stroke it while soliciters are at my door. they go away real quick.

  207. i just took my house off the market, though i am retaining my same real estate agent. the NEXT DAY a man in a van from maxx REALTOrs came to my door at 7 at night. he said, I see you’ve just taken your house off the market. what if i told you you could sell it within 30 days, guaranteed?

    I didnt pick up the bat but he could see it. i replied, “Get the fuck off my porch, you goddamned carpetbagger.”


  208. “i’ve been known to just pick it up and stroke it while soliciters are at my door. they go away real quick.”

    Suzanne, I’m learning so much from you. 🙂

  209. anyone who shows up unexpected at my house deserves anything they receive in return, including a spray of shotgun.

    i MEAN. REALLY. CAN YOU IMAGINE GOING TO A STRANGER’S HOUSE AT 7 AT NIGHT AND ACTUALLY INITIATING A DIALOGUE? i don’t think so. if i’d had a shaving cream pie with playdoh crust, i would have placed it SQUARELY on his face.

    that said, i adore all my neighbors and welcome them at any time. we often speak to each other by shouting through our windows. canyon acoustics are marvelous.

  210. Haven, I hate to break it you, but there is no one in YOUR league. You outshine them all.

    You go ahead and write an Idiot’s Guide for __________ and I’ll buy it. Fixing a Transmission? If Haven tells me how…Making Bread From The Weeds In The Back Yard…if Haven says which ones…

  211. I didnt pick up the bat but he could see it. i replied, “Get the fuck off my porch, you goddamned carpetbagger.”

    Peeing my pants, peeing my pants

  212. Don’t you just LOVE IT when Michael T appears? He was playing in the raccoon’s sandbox? Reading that sentence is the definition of happiness. And MT, the card you sent me made me teary-eyed. You may be a reckless devil on a motorcycle, but you are a golden soul.

  213. SFC
    that sounds like a place I would love. my relatives live in daly city and pacifica . I would like it there but seems very expensive for a Michigan guy

    Haven I thought you enjoyed the grey goose from time to time well there was picture anyway in the barn i think

  214. wasn’t that a really cute pic on that card I was glad to share it with you sweetheart


  215. “canyon acoustics are marvelous.”

    “if i’d had a shaving cream pie with playdoh crust, i would have placed it SQUARELY on his face.”

    No, Suzanne. You are marvelous. 🙂

  216. MT, it was the sweetest. The picture, what you wrote, everything. Thank you again.

  217. Oh, Sarah! What have you done to me? I had to threaten myself with a severe beating if I did not put down Mere Christianity last night. I’m enthralled by how simple CS Lewis makes it seem. Not easy, mind you, but simple. Thank you!!

  218. Okay, it isn’t just that she wrote BEL CANTO, have you SEEN Ann Patchett? She’s one of those tall cool blondes who can wear her hair in a French twist and it never moves. I am a person who has more than once ridden a horse at a dead run directly into a tree-branch; on one memorable occasion I emerged with bark embedded in my forehead.

  219. Haven? I don’t remember what I said. Did I say, “As long as you can hear him crying, it will be ok.”

    i replied, “Get the fuck off my porch, you goddamned carpetbagger.” –I like that in a woman.

  220. Molly, did you have your reeds handy? :: snickers ::

  221. I think I am mixing Matt in Nebraska and Michael T up or not really mixing up as much as morphing them into one person.
    You are both so,so funny.

  222. MATT T is a sidesplitter.

    lightning bug is a source of light.

    and yes, haven, you are in a league of your own. get used to it, baby love.

    still, BEL CANTO blew my limbs off. it was perfect. i havent gotten into any of her other books yet.

    amy in ohio is beautiful out and inside

    kittery is a luv kitten and so young to know so much. i was an asshole at 22.

  223. Aww, :: blushes :: thank you. 🙂

  224. michael T

    oh yes, it;s a paradise here. just outstanding in a zillion ways. the best of all worlds…. if you don’t mind the golden handcuffs. i mind. im moving my ass to durham.

  225. WHAT DID I SAY? This is killing me because I am sitting here trying to remember. I can remember THINGS. Things I can’t say here. But I can’t remember what I said. I remember the drive to your house with crystal clarity. A mouse ran over my foot as I drove. That has never happened to be before or since.

  226. SFC if you start a commune there let me know.
    Michigan is dying a slow death Im afraid.

  227. oh wait! i did love TRUTH AND BEAUTY. LOVED IT.

    BUT her last novel didnt grab me. was i wrong?

    A COUNTRY YEAR by sue hubbel is one of my alltime favorite books. nature lovers and women who are struggling with independance from men issues and/or poverty should read it AT ONCE. it;s a perfect diamond.

  228. i’m going to read the sequel to the Sparrow. i swore up and down i wouldnt, which – of course — is always a leading indicator that i WILL.

  229. Michael T: move to durham NC. immediately if not sooner. detroit im afraid has become a death star.

  230. K., Obadiah was born (his shoulders were massive), and the doctor put him on my stomach. He was blue and not making a sound. I was already in shock — completely outside my mind and body — and you leaned over and said very quietly and gently, “Say hello to your baby, Haven.” I blinked at you, then said, “Hello, sweet Obadiah,” and the second he heard my voice he drew in a deep breath and turned pink. Throughout that ordeal you were so patient and wise.

  231. can i just say that every single one of elizabeth berg’s novels is a reason to go on living? aEVERY. SINGLE . ONE. when i was in a very bad anxiety/depressed state during the Split book editing, i read every one, from start to finish. re-read, i should say. it was a feast. i adore her. there is no one exactly like her. she creates a home for her readers, the way anne tyler does but more home-y.

  232. I hear the folks are pretty nice down that way. I have been considering that area for a few years. I am single with no kids and very portable.

  233. bel canto is an opera on paper. in fact it should be made into a modern opera. that would be rad.

  234. michael T? go there, now. it’s my final destination. id be there right this moment if the housing market wasn;t shite. it’s wicked perfect and so affordable. yes, we all want you there. xo sfc ps i mean, like, now. give notice.

  235. haven? arent elizabeth berg;s book like a light narcotic drug that soothes while invigorating? i swannee, i had XANAX, BUT IT WAS BERG WHO KEPT ME FROM jackknifing off the roof in fear and anxiety. she holds your hand, is what it feels like, at the same time she’s telling you some really juicy story that you dont want to end. i am always very angry when her books end 😉

  236. Oh gosh, I have chills. I couldn’t remember because I went home and went promptly into shock myself. You know, the way a mother will do after everything is long over and fine?
    That fat pink baby boy…. 🙂

  237. Suzanne, I love you first of all, secondly, ELizabeth Berg has also kept me from going over the edge as well.

  238. Suzanne, thanks. That’s awfully sweet of you. 🙂

    I have added, in the last 5 minutes, a full page and a half in my little notebook of people/books to read. Sheesh. I am going to start a thread on my blog that everyone is welcome to visit and comment on, putting out their favorite reads (or don’t reads!).

    I will do this later on tonight as I HAVE JUST MET MY FRICKIN’ YEARBOOK DEADLINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY I AM FREE-ish TIL MARCH 9!!!!!! A beer is in order.

    Later, my dear ones! I hear congratulatory hops calling my name.

  239. Hey Miss SHER FICK! I sent you an e-mail in the wee hours of the morning but I may have sent it to the pretend address you give to strange men in bars. Write me when you get the chance.

  240. I have so many things to add about natural childbirth, raccoons, and the like (Thanks for the word of affirmation Suzanne) but I am not feeling so light today, and for me the definition of depression is the inability to weigh in on subjects I hold dear. Maybe tomorrow.

    This last month I have been mystified by a low and constant sound of ‘music’ coming from somewhere in our neighborhood…some kind of music with lots and lots and tons of BASE and drums. I was not complaining about this noise because they were always considerate enough to stop by 10 at night, I was just damn curious. So one night around new years, when I heard it again, I decided to go see what it was. This entailed me, with my toasty fleece jacket and giant foot long metal flashlight and lucky red gloves hiking down the hill and around the block of a street notorious enough in the daytime for it’s speeding truckdrivers so I shined the light behind me so I wouldn’t be killed. I treked down the hill and all the way around the block until I came to the house with the incredible sound coming out of the closed up garage. The front lights were on and I had had my vodka tonic for courage, so up the driveway I went and rang the bell. Frankly, I was surprised they could hear it but the door was opened immediately by a teenaged girl, only slightly goth looking and a toddler. I explained that I wasn’t there to complain but was just curious about the music…was it a live band or just a really radical sound system? In this way I got to know that we have a heavy metal live band in our neighborhood and they weren’t too scary either…We talked for awhile and when I couldn’t hear what they said I just did the thumbs up gesture with the red gloves, smiled and went back home. Later that evening I told this little adventure to my daughter after taking her into the backyard so she could hear the Base and Drums and she was amazed at my ‘Bravery’. I was just lucky not to be killed by musicians….also, I was lucky not to see any baseball bats.
    Dana has had great luck, by the way, in fending off the Jehovah’s Witnesses by pretending to be jewish, which seems to confuse them to no end.
    KITTERY: Have you ever seen the play ‘The Complete Works of Shakespeare, abridged’? It’s hilarious and I think there is a dvd. 3 actors to the complete works…laughed so hard my stomach hurt.
    P.O.SPIRIT!! you are my soulmate…I loved Dead Like Me and miss it a lot…Also liked Pushing Daisies and now they’ve cancelled it…seems like if I like something on t.v. they cancel it, so I try not to say I like something…do the midwestern thing and say…’It’s okay, it could be worse’ so it won’t get cancelled.
    Haven and all you birthing mothers: Oh man Oh man Oh man. My labor was easier than any of yours…she was adopted!! (Course I had pre-paid with 14 rounds of chemotherapy which was the why for, but she was worth it) You all ROCK!
    Ta ta for now. Going to the gym!

  242. Brenda, no I haven’t – yet! 🙂 I want to though, badly.

  243. In 1997 Ann wrote an article for Vogue magazine, about finding her dog, Rose, in a parking lot. I wrote to Vogue to compliment their choice of author, and my letter was printed in the June issue.

    BEL CANTO. It was so claustrophic. Beautiful writing, but I couldn’t hang with the minute-by-minute hostage scene. RUN is her latest, and I liked it. TRUTH AND BEAUTY was honest and loving and perhaps her greatest work. THE PATRON SAINT OF LIARS is my favorite of her novels. The uniqueness of the place, characters, and situation is still with me.

    Does anyone else have a favorite work of Patchett’s?

  244. Haven,

    You appeared on The Today Show several years ago with Elizabeth Berg, right?

  245. don’t want to be a book-buzz killer or anything and anything I might say regarding childbirth from a man’s perspective could, at best, be misconstrued…


    I have just spent the last hour watching the tide wash out on the Gulf of Mexico while the sun fell…

    I guess it’s cold elsewhere, eh?

  246. George,

    Isn’t Paradise that much sweeter when you have it all to yourself? Enjoy the ocean and warmth for me, too, will you? I couldn’t be happier for you!

  247. George,

    p.s. Here in the Great White North of Indiana we are expecting up to five inches of snow in the next twenty-four hours, followed by white-out conditions from blowing and drifting.

    Ahhhhh … doesn’t that ocean breeze feel even sweeter? My pleasure.

  248. George I have my snow
    mobile all ready and am going for 5 days the the UP in michigan at theend of the month but I sure would like some tropical breeze right now its gonan be in the single digits by the end of the week here

  249. In our full moon frenzy last night my dsl went out . . . I was screaming at the moon . . . and up until 5 a.m. trying to fix it (failure) . . . now I am so behind in my real work I am freaking . . .

    in case I lose a connection before making it to my email: here is my REAL email, not for stalkers . . . but I am public anyway . . .

    Truth and Beauty is my favorite Patchett. Saw her at the reading of A. Manette Ansey (they are friends) and I was stunned looking at Ann, then Manette and I can remember very little but that I probably made a full of myself. Limbo – Truth&Beauty – Couch . . . . I would pee my pants if they were all authors in the same room . . . maybe I might not belong at the calvin festival.

    I am jumping in the fire tomorrow and for the rest of the week – it is my review with the illustrious Linda Weintraub . . . she is the dali lama of art . . . I am afeared and excited . . .

  250. Micheal it’s more like the end of tonight. The Arcti air is a-coming and there is another friggin’ winter weather advisory. Someone let mother nature know that we give up, she wins.

  251. part of the weather advisory for Ann Arbor MI right near my bedroom

    “You’re ass could die out there son so make sure your shit is wrapped tight”

    Classic Dad Terry

  252. gosh, too bad. guess i’ll just have to sit out on my balconey and count my lucky stars…and guess what? the stars are out tonight!

  253. Michael T – only 10 K for an assasination, hum, pretty good price . . . I have 2 people I would love to send on to their karmic retribution . . . 2 for 15K???

  254. Oh, Michael T that is too funny…..
    and George…I believe I’ll have a glass of wine and watch the sunset over the mountains here and think of you on my back patio…not as tropical as you..gotta have a sweatshirt this time of the year.
    LOL 🙂

  255. George – may you get sand irritation in your tanned crevices . . . hum, no they won’t get the sun . . . just sand irritation in your crevices . . .

    no really – enjoy the sun!!!! Sand!!! Surf!!!!

  256. I think i would rather George sent me a ticket to the gulf before I speak of such things hehe

  257. having coniptions while I am waiting for the varnish to dry – it is TOO cold to dry . . . just having one of my


  258. well they are located in very picteresque locales, you could combine vacation with work . . .

  259. Sher put the wood on a fire that will warm it up so you can varnish it better

  260. You could come visit me in GA. My dad has converted our barn into a very elaborate wood shop.

    Actually, I don’t think that has anything to do with your art, Sher. Hmm. But the invite remains to the blog babies. It’s warmer here than where most of you are.

  261. I was in george robbins Air Force Base for a couple weeks and had a lot of fun in GA. I went night fishing with this crazy ole dude it was great

  262. Let’s see if I have this all down correct. Unofficial Friends meetings in N.C., rampaging raccoons in Michigan, solicitors being threatened with ball bats in California, George is watching the stars in the Gulf of Mexico and talks of births. Oh, yeah. Sher’s DSL outage and subsequent watching of paint drying (or rather, varnish). Did I get everything? Sheesh, I leave to go see a movie and look what happens!

  263. What movie?

  264. Marley & Me

  265. How was it?

  266. Not bad. Pretty much like the book from what I remember. It’s been about 2 years since I read it.

  267. Ah. Nice. 🙂

  268. Okay George, I have to confess I had to come inside to get a jacket…Arizona is nowhere near as nice as where you are….
    Sher…will a blow dryer help?
    Marley and me…really liked the book but we are suckers for dogs here.
    {{{Sending calming vibes to Sher}}}

  269. So is it safe for me to make comments about Marley & Me? I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.

  270. Brenda, I found most of RSC on youtube – hilarious. “You killed my wife and murdered my bairn and did a jobbie in my stew!” Eloquent and succinct. 😉

  271. Posted a severely ABBREVIATED list of blog-baby must reads on my blog. I left my little notebook of books to read at school, dammit, and now I don’t have time to look back through here because I have to write tomorrow’s English test. But here’s the link:

    Also, we’ve cut back my dogs’ feed to a 1/3 can of wet food per dog on top of their Weight Maintenance dry food. They are used to getting a 1/2 can each. As I dished the wet food into their bowls, they sat quite patiently. When I finished, I stepped back and told them they could eat. They just stared at me, the look on their faces saying, “Pardon me, madam, but do you realize, that quite accidentally we’re sure, you’ve only given us **one** can of food rather than our accustomed two?” I stared right back at them and finally, the golden retriever couldn’t take it anymore, and she started to eat. But the Bassets. Whoa buddy, the bassets. They turned those baleful, droopy, accusing eyes on me and slunk to their bowls, cussing and swearing under their breath.

    I’m going to have to sleep with Suzanne’s Slugger tonight.

  272. Suzanne, do I have the right email for you?

  273. I know…the audience participation it is to DIE for…especially the Hamlet part…to this day we chant “maybe, maybe not” when we are indecisive because that’s way easier than ‘to be or not to be’!!

  274. L.Bug…that description of your dogs is also to DIE for! The poor deprived things.

  275. …Brenda, I am living on borrowed time in the short term and for the long haul and don’t I know it!

  276. Thanks, Brenda. The way my babies carried on at supper time tonight, you’d think I was feeding them worms, snails, and POOP.

    Which, by the way, I have seen them eat on ANY NUMBER OF OCCASIONS.

  277. There were so many perfect quotes .. the other chant in the Hamlet section, the one that went something like, “Hamlet you need to man up because my biological clock is ticking and I want babies *now*”. HAH. And, “I am Omelet, the Cheese Danish”. :: sighs happily ::

  278. Aw, it’s cute to see Sister Smite-Me so happy. 🙂

  279. :: grins ::

  280. Oh, Kittery, I meant to say earlier that reeds are far too impractical. They start to fall apart after a while. I use what’s called a “shee-nigh” (phonetic spelling). It’s a tool we used in my father’s karate school to correct stances. It’s made of bamboo, and it makes a very satisfying smack when applied correctly to one’s back.

  281. 🙂

  282. Imagine a chair. Imagine a person sitting in a chair normally (the chair has no arms, by the way). Now, imagine me in a horizontal position balancing on my hip ’cause I’m laughing so hard.
    Then again, you are the expert on these matters, hence your name. 😀

  283. My expertise is hard won, dear Kateri. Hard won indeed. It took a long time for my father to realize he wasn’t in the Army any more and my siblings and I weren’t his men. 🙂

  284. Now the whole blog knows my name, MOLLY. 😛

    Anythin’ that doesn’t kill ya makes ya stronger. 😉
    Besides .. I’m sure you paid off at least a little of your Karmic debt. 😉

  285. You coulda played it off. lol. We still don’t know your birthday. 😉

  286. Hahaha. 😛
    Shall I post my SSN? 😉

  287. Could you? My credit’s not what it used to be. 🙂

  288. Sweetie, you’d acquire debt, stealin’ my identity would not be a boon to you. 😛

  289. Given the Quakeresque topic of this post, did anyone see this article this weekend and barf:

    I am so sick of these fundamentalists in all their guises. Now comes a toilet-tongued, women-hating, ignorant “pastor” of this misbegotten “mega-church” in Seattle.

  290. But I could just add to your debt, see? Then you’d be the one paying it off…not me! lol. 🙂

    Where is everyone? Hunkering down for the big storm, I guess…

  291. I’m printing this page out if my finances go wonky. 😛

  292. Ok, here is what I wanted to say earlier when I felt like my head was going to explode.

    Here is my childbirth theory. Information, information, information. It is always best to go into the situation fully informed, only then can you make the best decision. I think it’s wise to do as much as you can without the use of unnecessary intervention and medication. The more prepared you are, the more likely your decisions will lean in that direction. That being said, not everything goes according to plan, and I thank God for interventions, for medications, they do save lives. It’s good to do everything you can to plan to go natural, and to let go of that plan when something goes wrong. Be flexible.

    Don’t be frightened of childbirth, ladies who have not gone on before. Precipitous labor IS harrowing, but it’s also rare, and you really can’t compare anything to it. Giving birth too quickly is just as tough, or tougher, than giving birth too slowly, and feeling deeply affected by that does not make you a wuss.

    I’ll make my last plug. WATER! It’s nature’s epidural!! There is nothing like laboring in a warm tub.

  293. Holy shit, George. This guy sounds like a total asshole.

  294. Speaking of Raccoons:

    When my Aunt Dawn (who is one month younger than Haven) was in college at Purdue University she ran over a raccoon. Now, if it happened to anyone else the incident would probably end there. Perhaps a bit of ribbing would incur, but it would likely be largely forgotten in a matter of weeks. Not so for my poor Aunt Dawn.

    At the time she was dating her future husband, Bruce, who, let’s face it, is EVIL. The campus radio station received a letter from three orphaned raccoons, Ricky, Rocky, and Buffy, asking that the theme from “The Way We Were” be played in memory of their departed mother, who was run down by a maniac on the highway.

    Did it end there? NO. My mother, my evil, evil mother got into the game. She put small raccoon figurines on the back of their wedding cake. She gave Dawn raccoon themed gifts for every occassion, many homemade. When her son was born, she knit him a sweater vest with three raccoons marching across the front with button eyes, their furry striped tails cascading down the BACK of the sweater vest. Even Dawn’s mother in law found her a Swiss Colony chocolate log with three baby raccoons resting inside it, that read the words “Little Orphans” beneath.

    The indignity was nothing more than what a stalwart woman like Dawn can bear, until God got in the act, and sent raccoons to live in their attic. Dawn has now reconciled herself to the fact that that one dead raccoon will follow her to her own grave.

  295. lalalala…”Rocky Raccoon checked into his room
    Only to find Gideon’s bible…” lalalala

  296. Okay, I check in weekly to see that everyone is well, catch up on some good banter, but I feel like I have been gone forever. Has anyone read The Reader? Is everyone really okay in 09?

  297. I read “The Reader” a looong time ago…interested in seeing the movie.

  298. Caryl! I’ve wondered how you were. I’m glad you’re back! 😀

  299. I read the Reader gosh, 5 years ago maybe? I think I liked it..but then again I don’t remember if I did sooo maybe I didn’t?
    Kate, that is a kick ass raccoon story.

  300. Aunt Dawn got back at my mom when Jarvis was born, by giving her a “Granchild’s First Christmas” Ornament featuring…what else? A baby raccoon.

  301. I’ve read Revolutionary Road, the other Kate Winslet movie out, and loved it. This is a completly different story though, I think I will start it tonight.
    Kittery, how are you?? Kate, kids good? Everyone healthy?

  302. Caryl, Hi! Yes, we are all very well over here. I’m waiting to hear some job news. That’s about it.

  303. Kate, the raccoon story, priceless.

  304. Mercy, have I fallen behind. Amanda Clouds came over for dinner and we ended up making with the jibber-jabber with Scout for hours.

    Ms. Jodi, I was indeed on The Today Show with Elizabeth Berg, and we’ve been close friends ever since. She’s an extraordinary woman and I dearly love her. Also, she has a streak of complete unpredictability. For instance, she’s rather dramatically beautiful in person, and when we were on The Today Show — just before we left the green room — she put on a pair of glasses. But she doesn’t wear glasses. They were just something for her to hide behind. I LOVED that gesture.

  305. OOOOOOH…I can’t believe I forgot ANOTHER great raccoon story!

    My friend’s Jon and Chris once drove around town with a dead raccoon on the roof of their car and secretly filmed people’s reactions.

    Girl in Drive Through: “Did you know there is a dead raccoon on the top of your car?”

    Chris: “What? Crab Rangoon?”

    Girl: “You have a dead raccoon on your car.”

    Chris: “Why do you assume it’s dead?”

    Girl: “It’s laying on the roof of your car, and there is blood coming out of it’s nose.”

    Chris: “So, if you lay down and you have a nosebleed do you assume you’re dead?”

    Later they left the raccoon by the door of the Gap. They then ran into a news team from one of the local channels. Jon ran up and said “Are you here because of the raccoon?”

    Sometime during the night they met a couple of EXTREMELY backwards teenage boys. The only thing I remember about their exchange is the question “Do you like to run naked backwards through a cornfield?”

  306. Wait! What? Haven, you have a life outside this blog?!?!

  307. CRAB RANGOON!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

    i am SQUEALING with laughter. oh hell, i just snorted.

  308. I probably watched that video once, ten years ago, and I memorized it on the spot.

  309. God Kate it just gets better with you. Please find a way to get that video on the yahoo site.

  310. JimShue, who would want a life outside this blog? There are mean people and rabies and women with baseball bats.

    I’ll remind you that not so long ago my sister was living with seventeen uninvited raccoons. Seventeen furry, masked sociopaths with opposable thumbs.

  311. They wear those masks for a reason. I bet she couldn’t pick them out of a line-up.

  312. Haven,

    I know you’re not one for the Talkies, but Stranger Than Fiction has a scene in the DVD extras of Emma Thompson as an author (“Karen Eiffel”) being interviewed by a perky airhead talkshow host (“Darlene Sunshine”) played by Kristen Chenowith. Find it, and watch it late at night.

    ~ Sarah

  313. Gads! The only raccoon story I have is one I wish I could forget. My mother’s second husband was an avid hunter/trapper. If it moved, he’d find a way to kill it and skin it and then sell the pelts. He actually brought home a raccoon once, skinned it and put it into a roasting pan (he didn’t believe in wasting any “meat”) My stepsister’s boyfriend walked in, saw the raccoon curled up in the roasting pan and blanched. He said he thought it looked like a baby. Not the brightest bunch of people.

  314. Except there are women with baseball bats on the blog too….which only makes it more interesting to me…

  315. Gaaaaah! Kate! I just snorted. Masks for a reason, she says. My father tried to tame a raccoon once. A juvenile male. Let’s just say that when the little critter didn’t take to being cuddled by my drunken father, he was released back into the wild faster than anything.

  316. Jim, didn’t that exact incident happen in Zippy or Couch or one of those books?

    I had a boyfriend who was a failed mountain man. I’ll never forget seeing the raccoon skin, stretched out and hanging from a tree in his backyard. I’m certain he did not know the first thing about tanning animal skins.

    My sons have a coonskin cap with a real raccoon tail. We were keeping my friend’s cats for a while and they would chew on the tail, and drag it around the house, and occasionally we would find it under the Christmas tree, which made my boys whoop with laughter. “LOOK! Drake is leaving Rugen a present!”

  317. Kate, Haven and I are actually separated at birth (and a dozen or so years)

  318. I mean “were separated at birth”

  319. What I want to know is…did somebody go ahead and tell him it WAS a baby? That’s what I’d do.

  320. I didn’t want to be any part of it. The boyfriend was the same lunkhead who the first time he was over to our trailer (yup, we lived in a trailer, er, manufactured housing), sat his big ass in a chair with a full sack of White Castles in his lap and threw the empty boxes behind him. I think I just checked out for the next few years.

  321. Sounds like roasted raccoon would have been an improvement.

  322. It was better than the muskrat he once threw in a roaster.

  323. Muskrat Love is my parent’s “Song.” Or so they claim.

  324. “snort” The Captain and Toni’s finest song!

  325. Apparently it was the only record in the college lounge. I suppose I should be grateful it wasn’t “Do it to me one more time.” Not as likely at a Nazarene college.

  326. My parents LOVE Muskrat Love….

  327. Well, who doesn’t?

    (note: I have never actually heard the song “Muskrat Love.”)

  328. This has been an interesting day. All in one twenty-four hour block, I have been deemed a “luv kitten”, thank you Suzanne. 🙂 And, “the devil”. Molly’s a sweetheart, isn’t she?


  329. It feels so good to be back.
    Jim Shue how are things?

  330. Sarah, the recounting of your children’s births was phenomenal. wowsers, you are a tough woman.

    fenway, ahhhhhh. my home away from home. i LOVE the red sox with my entire being. i have broken my wrist on 2 different occasions by being hit by a ball. i was also hit directly on my palm as i lunged for yet another foul–that one blistered immediately. my fondest childhood memories are often filled with baseball and fenway park. i played baseball with the boys and became the first girl pitcher, because i LOVED it that much. i even hit a kid on the other team when i was pitching as revenge for mocking my girl pitcherdom.

    but i digress, i touched the world series trophy on the field at fenway when i took remdawg’s tour in 2005. i went into locker rooms, touched the scoreboard, TOOK BATTING PRACTICE where the players do, spat in the dugout, sat on the field and watched the all star game on the jumbotron…one of the greatest days of my life. part of the deal was touching the trophy and getting a picture. we were very sneaky and took our own picture (thank you guy in line behind us) and didn’t have to buy one for close to a million dollars.

    since then–no more fun stuff at remdawg’s party (during the all star break). i raved so much about how amazing it was. my parent’s went and it has all changed. no field, dugout, locker rooms…red sox got wise on HOW AMAZING it was to a FANATIC and made it unattainable anymore. i got very lucky. i am obsessed with the bosox (did that come across?). i call myself supasoxfan on various red sox related sites. i go to spring training. ok, i’m done. i can’t wait for the season 🙂


  331. Sarah, I LOVE Stranger Than Fiction with an unholy passion. That movie just does me in. Especially, of course, his gift of a dozen flours. !!!!

    Kate, I want to know more about water birth. Somehow I have a hard time equating “water” with “spinal numbing medication” – but you said it and so I believe you. Tell me more.

    George, I read the article you linked to and wanted to throw a brick at that man’s head. John Calvin, in my VERY humble opinion, had nothing of Christ in him. Apologies to any Calvinist Blog Babies.

    My graduate class starts tomorrow and I should be in bed early but I am far too stimulated. Mentally.

  332. Amanda, shoot me an email. I wouldn’t put them in exactly the same class, but I don’t know because I’ve never had a medicated birth. I will tell you that I cannot imagine laboring out of the water. The heat and the buoyancy are marvelous pain managers.

  333. Speaking of that article about that oh, so charming man.

    I thought the widely held belief was that God allowed everyone Free Will – they could choose to accept and believe, or they could choose not to. God would not force anyone. Which is why Eve was able to eat the apple and get kicked out of Eden. Doesn’t that kind of negate the theory that before we’re even born we’re already destined for Heaven or Hell? I mean, God who so loved the world separated a few people into the lucky ones and the rest to Hell? ‘Cause God is just awesome and loving like that?!
    I mean, the whole article about the guy sounded completely cracked, but this seemed especially faulty to me.
    (Oh, and let’s not get started that all women are subservient anorexic bimbos! Cripe!)

  334. Is there anything more pitiful than being a failed mountain man? Maybe having the knowledge that people knew you were. Kate Cake, I could read your stories all day. — Also, LB, you are fall-down funny, and you and Sister Smite-Me doing Cirque du Soleil on her chair make me laugh all double-time.

    And Caryl, so good to see you again!

  335. Babies, I’m sad I missed the great conversation on this post. I’m getting ready for the job in Geneva – will find out tomorrow when I leave but likely within the next two weeks. I’ll lurk from Europe.

    I know this is in response to comments days old, but . .

    Sher: “Guardians of the Night” – Hmm . . what a great theme for one of your encaustics (sp?).

    Kate: The reason you can pass for normal is because you haven’t been warped by hearing Muskrat Love, which has been known to cause irreparable psychic damage to a certain generation of listeners.

  336. Kittery,

    some of my closest friends in college, and one remaining from college, are Presbyterian and therefore self-proclaimed Calvinists. It is VERY hard to talk to them about their faith and the brutality (and, to me, futility) of their particular brand. I can only say that they are very good people who love god and believe in Him. (gender intended) I just cannot imagine such a belief myself. For ME it is appalling and the least appealing brand of religion available to a person. (Really, sending babies to hell… kind of hard to be less appealing than that.)

    God, I desperately hope I am not talking about one of the Blog Babies and hurting such a one.

  337. And yes, one more reason to leave Seattle: Cro-Magnan man in the pulpit (I mean no disrespect to Cro-Magnan man). I am within tomato-lobbing proximity. — I went out with a friend last night and the evening’s discussion revolved around our next moves. We had the same criteria: a livable town with an educated population (i.e., readers) who take their spiritual growth seriously, and cost-of-living extremely hospitable to artists. In the states, or Western Europe. Babies, whatchu say?

  338. Carrie, maybe we could just buy our own small country.

  339. I pass for normal??

  340. I’m with Amy!!!!

  341. Steph,

    I won’t attempt to vie with you for superfandom, but I do love me my Sox and your picture caught my eye. Thanks for the explanation! I’m glad you got the whole Fenway Experience when it was there to be had. Wow. My first game at Fenway was on my honeymoon, 20-some years ago.

    When I was a weehunk, my favorite player was George (Boomer) Scott. The rare times the Red Sox were on tv, I’d stop playing when Scott was up at bat, watch him strike out, then go back to playing.

    This article intro chokes me up to this day:
    “ST. LOUIS (AP) — Doug Mientkiewicz clutched the last out in his glove and his teammates raced out of the dugout for a pileup along the first-base line. It looked like every other October baseball celebration, except that the uniforms said Boston.”

    This might sound like heresy, but the Red Sox don’t have to win again for my sake. The 2004 championship filled me full on that count, in a lasting way. Everything else is just gravy.


  342. Amanda you’re talking about my parents, aunts, uncles and cousins, most of them Sunday School teachers or ministers. I’m the black sheep of the family and the one they all pray to keep from hell.

    And my beliefs are rooted in Christianity! I’m just the wrong flavor. And the fact that I still search to discover the true nature of God is a tremendous disappointment. Because it’s just all so obvious to anyone who’s taken the time to listen to Pat Robertson and the 700 Club.

  343. Kate, yes. And wholesome too.

  344. Well, wholesome, yes. I’m basically just a tall, cool glass of skim milk.

  345. Disclaimer: Not that I don’t appreciate prayers to save me from Hell. Anyone compelled to pray for me in that regard is most appreciated.

  346. Amanda,

    So you’ve seen the extra scene of the full author interview (an excerpt of which is seen briefly in the movie, when Harold hears his narrator’s voice in real-time)? Ha!

    ~ Sarah

    “The only way to find out what story you’re in is to determine what stories you’re not in. Odd as it may seem, I’ve just ruled out half of Greek literature, seven fairy tales, ten Chinese fables, and determined conclusively that you are not King Hamlet, Scout Finch, Miss Marple, Frankenstein’s Monster, or a golem. Hmm? Aren’t you relieved to know you’re not a golem?”

  347. Carrie, there is only one place for you: Durham, North Carolina. It was recently named the second smartest city in America (with a population under 500,000). It’s incredibly hospitable to artists, and when I told Suzanne what my mortgage payment is she plotzed. The weather is divine, the restaurants are off the charts, we have one of the best independent bookstores in the country. Obama took 94% of the vote here, and as you may have heard a New People are gathering in the name of a very old spiritual practice. Think about it.

  348. Sarah, do you write? I mean for publication?

  349. Haven, I know you aren’t biased because I have heard the same from alot of people, especially transplanted Californians.

  350. Caryl, actually you’re right — I’ve lived in other places I would be very hesitant to recommend. No one has ever visited me here who wasn’t just stunned by the place. I’ve never been anywhere quite like it: it’s funky, it’s liberal, and there’s a university that’s a model of gothic architecture, with a CATHEDRAL.

  351. The big question is, would Charlie like it? If so I am sold, I so want out of Southern California.

  352. Amy,

    {{ crickets chirping }}

    That would be, Nope!

    ~ Sarah

  353. Amy, are you the smart lady who lives right by me? I seem to remember you were local.

  354. Goodnight, babies!!!

  355. Hi Caryl. Just logged back in. Not having an easy time sleeping this evening. The family is doing great. Like everyone else, the adults are worried about the economy, and the toddler is as clueless as a toddler should be. And she is more funny by the day. No is her favorite word (hope she remembers that when she’s older) and she says it in so-o-o many different ways and inflections. Cracks me up!

    Night Kate

  356. Er, a) we’re only a couple of miles apart and b) you may have confused me with someone else in the Smart Department. I’m the business major who stands longlingly at the edges of the circle of teachers, writers and artists here. And those like Sarah and Ohio Amy, and Kittery and Particles and Amanda Clouds who are writers in the making.

    And DEAR GOD my grammar is so bad you should need no other convincing.

    Apart from that, damn, we should have lunch. Until I leave for this project I’m happily unemployed. Or as my husband would say, a cute parasite.

  357. Durham? Haven, I cannot believe I just described Durham! (Here I thought I’d hear Medford OR first.) I do believe I am due to visit. — Amy, most excellent provider of what would be an otherwise stellar solution, you have forgotten the very dry work of legislating that comes with owning one’s own country. Unless, of course, you agree to be Queen.

  358. Okay, its unbearable we haven’t met. I am happily unemployed as of last June, and I love it. Are you from here, do you have kids, give me your email and we can make a date.

  359. Incidentally: are we looking at your sacred Elvis pocket mirror in your grava-brava-avatar?

  360. Longingly, not longlingly. Does anyone really need any further evidence?

  361. Hi Carrie who could be queen. Seattle is on my husbands must visit this year places, you’re there right?

  362. took me some Celexa, some Naproxen, and some Midol (just for candy) . . . a hot bath and I am now restored to my pre-subtle-panic attack mode . . . still waiting on the varnish to dry

    all my racoon stories are good . . .

    Jim Shue, we are trailer kin???? My neice thought you were the most sophisticated sharpest gay she has ever met and that Robbie was ‘a good match for you’ . . . if you have read MISS AMERICAN PIE by Margaret Scarot (sp???) can’t think of the authors last name . . . anyway her childhood friend came out of the closet in high school, which has also happened to my niece and they had ‘tried dating’ . . . anyway . . . let’s just admit, we have come a long way baby!

  363. Now Amy, I had to read what you wrote twice before I saw the typo, so you are smart Amy to me. When we meet I’ll be the one wearing the dunce cap..

  364. Jim Shue – no is a great word . . .it could be Dylan’s repetitive “yo, beetch” . . . which was his “Go to beach” . . . which is said constantly for at least his 2nd year . . . “Yo, Beetch” . . .

  365. Sockmonkey – you are also spared the humiliation of your babies/toddlers enjoying the sensation of pushing on your breasts . . as they are water balloons or bouncing balls? in many inappropriate locales . . . Claire still likes to do it when we are reading books . . . drives me banananannas

  366. You’re coming here, Caryl? Bring a bag of tomatoes, we’ll go to church! — I’d love to meet you.

  367. Sher, instead I get the great humiliation of having my, um, package used as a pull up device when she wants picked up. Usually when I’m wearing pajama pants (no, i’ve not found sock monkey ones in my size) I also get to experience my lap used as a trampoline. I swear, for the first time in my life, I need to go buy a cup.

  368. I loved Miss American Pie. It still resonates today if you hear my daughter talk. Such a great book. Yes Carrie Im coming, I’ll fill you in when I know more. Do I need to pray for you tonight?

  369. Caryl: Yay! I don’t have kids, but I love them, would love to meet yours, and claim my husband’s as my own.

    I’m at

    Any day this week or next?

  370. Carrie, we were in Seattle summer before last. Had Riley for one whole month and threw her on a plane from Chicago to Seattle. Southwest rocks! The flight attendants took her part way through the flight so that Robbie and I could get some sleep.

    Lovely city! Some of the best restaurants outside of Chicago. Not very accessible for people with strollers. What’s with the curb cuts being any where from right on the corner of the intersection to 15 feet back? My calves sure got a work out.

  371. And Sher, I’m so far removed from the way I grew up that my family doesn’t know what to do with me. Beats me why anyone would want to stay stuck in the past.

  372. Sockmonkey – we must make you a sockmonkey codpiece . . . Don has been ‘unmanned’ several times by the children’s feet and also their headbutts as they like to dart through his tall legs . . . forgetting that they have grown 5 inches in one year . . . the indignities of parenthood . . .

  373. Oh Jim, your “package” as a pull-up device? I laughed so hard I woke my husband up from the next room.

  374. oh, and . . . so far removed from my past . . .that is it I think, I am literally unrecognizable to them in a way . . . it is like they are staring at some new species and don’t get how to act . . .

  375. author of MISS AMERICAN PIE was Margaret Sartor . . . I enjoyed the book but I really wanted her to just have some sex, I think would have really chilled her out as a teenager . . . loved the part about Tommy.

  376. A sockmonkey codpiece!
    On that fine note, I think I’ll say good night, loved ones. 🙂

  377. Luckily, we only lived in the trailer for a few months… then we moved into the roach motel next door. The house had an oil furnace that developed a crack in the burn chamber causing black smoke to billow out of every register in the house when ever the furnace kicked on. It turns out that my grandparents had lived in it when my oldest aunt was born. Our boys bedroom was originally a kitchen and still had the original door to the outside covered with paneling. My bed was right up against it and I would freeze in the winter time under a pile blankets.

  378. Night everyone, good to be back. xoxo

  379. Oh Jim, our girls bedroom was the former living room of the single wide which was attached to the doublewide via the slug-filled connection steps . . . but the toilet didn’t work in the ‘other’ trailer . . . eventually I ended up with my own bedroom in the doublewide, which had the working bathroom, but there was a huge hole (2 ft by 2 ft) where the register had fallen through and we had to climb over that hole to get to the toilet, sink and tub (no shower) . . . also opossums and other animals climbed in through the hole so had to keep the bathroom door shut and hope for the best if we had to pee in the night.

    this was normal.

  380. Caryl, I will never turn down prayers, though pretty much every aspect of my life has been on the upswing for about the last year. Thank you so much for asking, you are so dear. — Do let me know your plans.

    And Sock, yes, it’s not particularly stroller- accessible, and think of the wheelchairs. But it is a pretty city, and very good restaurants. It’s my hometown and I always love coming back here. But after a few years, I always, always get restless. And it’s the city, not inherent restlessness. Can’t parse it, don’t get it, but there it is. — I do love the picture of Riley being the center of all that flight attendant attention!

  381. Night, Caryl, sleep sweet.

    Sock, oh. Ouch. I do like Sher’s idea of a SM codpiece, but I believe reinforcement is key: cup first, codpiece on top. Babies. We are just so much furniture to them.

  382. Jim Shue – I believe I can fashion a sockmonkey codpiece (think of Wlm Shakespeare) from a jock cup and some Sockmonkey fabric I already have . . . I’ll put that on my list of things I must do in 2009 . . .

    anyone can pray for me in any manner you see fit for the next 3 days . . . I am diving into the deep end of the ocean and hope to keep my head above water . . . we will see . . .my rocket is going to soar to the moon and/or rotate and/or crash . . . but at least I am an adventurer!

    Lovely night night’s to all….

    haven, my email is but I might be MIA for a few days . . .

  383. I’m focused on the notion of a subtle panic attack. It’s quite a useful and economical phrase, I think.

  384. Haven – yes that is funny, because I actually called one of my mentors today and said . . .”Quick, I am having a subtle panic attack . . . what do I do”

    She said “Be yourself.”

    I said “oh, o.k.”

    But I also took my Celexa!

  385. I will be awake tonight if needed. What I could possibly be needed for I do not know. I suppose if one of you has a sonnet emergency, I would be the logical place to turn.

  386. I can’t wait to tell Linda Weintraub you are my new “major collector” . . .

  387. I would guess my own panic attacks are subtle as well. Indeed, I am so silent and can sit without moving so long, I might be having a panic attack at any given moment and no one would know it. Does that count, though? Isn’t that more like . . . thinking?

  388. Sher, I’d fill my entire house with your work. It’s stupendous.

  389. I don’t know – I can be still but my mind is in a tornado . . . and my heartbeat forgets to beat, if that makes since . . . I get eye tics . . .

  390. I think . . . I NEED to just go ahead a have a breakdown, but I don’t have time . . . truly someone needs to slap me upside the head

  391. Ah, see, when you involve your heart-rate and a facial tic, that’s a sure sign. Also if you say the words, “I think I’m dying.” Total giveaway.

  392. Carrie, I did wonder how people in wheelchairs navigate Seattle. There are some streets with a doozy of a decline. I imagine they stay away from those or have extremely tough braking systems.

    I hope this link works. Just a few pictures from the Seattle trip.

  393. blushing . . .

  394. Nervous breakdowns are selfish, and never arrive when you need them.

  395. when a family member asks innocently (really sabotageally) “why don’t you paint purty roses?” I say, “well, I haven’t had a pretty life have I?? But I do paint purty dirt and beeswax with rocks!” I’m glad YOU get it . . .

    Ok – I have to go check the non-drying varnish on my altar table . . .

    if I am again sleepless, I might be back . . .

  396. Panic attacks are why I don’t sleep. Nothing like bolting straight up out of bed, sweating with a pounding heart. With no idea what triggered it.

  397. oh – the I’m dying . . .I have said that . . .’if I don’t wake up, I had a heartattack sometime after ___ a.m. – I’ve actually called Don from within the house to tell him to check my body in the morning . . . what will happen is that when this week is over I will SLEEP like the dead for 2 days and then be fine . . .

  398. Jim Shue . . . that does suck . . . I usually skip the sleeping part! Then I am less startled!

    Curiously, like others and their sleep rhythms, I sleep stupendously in the daylight hours . . . very vampirical . . . I guess the bad guys are at work and I can rest easier.

  399. toodles for a while . . . Jim SHue I am awaiting Part II . . .and III????

  400. “Family members” who aren’t your spouse or your children shouldn’t be allowed to ask “questions.”

    Ha! That reminds me of an exchange I had recently:

    DR: I think it’s the best course of treatment.

    HAVEN: I think you’re wrong.

    DR: Well, I am a doctor.

    HAVEN: Any schmuck can be a doctor. I could get through medical school as if on wings, but I’m quite certain you couldn’t write IODINE.

    DR: [silence]

  401. Parts II, III, IV, V, VI and VII… Like I said, it’s too long for one posting.

  402. OH, if I could only do you sleep schedule, Sher, I would be very happy with it. It would interfere with my day job though.

  403. Did everyone go to bed?!?

  404. Puppa is asleep. Iorek is snoring, Cloud is out like a light. Gus & John have been in bed for hours. That’s as many creatures as I can account for.

  405. Sher is watching varnish dry.

  406. Time often passes for me in a similar way, varnish drying.

  407. Yippe – the varnish is dry . . . and I have packed my bags, and cleaned the altar which had been in storage forever . . . and attached the feet that I had forgotten (which meant another round of varnish 😦 ) now I am hoping for some winks of sleep before I start all over again . . .

    I have a schedule????? I swear my schedule is rather like Ianthe’s? Crazy, less crazy, mildly crazy, rare moments of lucidity . . .

    ok, jim shue, just focus on part II . . .

    Have been listening to U2 . . . they are totally amazing. The Saints Are Coming . . . How long now . . . new birth, re-birth, . . . mother on her knees . . . I am an American . . .

    My 18 Videos DVD is what keeps me going at night . . .

    Now, the early birds can come and pick up the left over nightcrawlers . . .

    Peace out,

  408. sarah, so glad that red sox nation is strong and well. i have a keychain that recounts winning both against the yanks (ugh) and then the world series. i listen to it whenever i need a pick me up. i am not exaggerating…it can bring me to tears…when i went to fenway as a kid, my player was wade boggs (3rd base) and my best friend (whose dad had the tix to take us) was in love with jody reed (2nd base).

    and i totally agree. everything after 2004 is gravy–very well articulated. i cried that night. october 27? is that right? there was a lunar eclipse. forever seared into my brain. i can feel my excitement rising as i type this 🙂

  409. sher, the kids and boobs thing…why???? always at the most inappropriate times. we were at the mall doing some christmas shopping (i loathe the mall) and passed victoria’s secret. my son SCREAMED “BOOBS!!!!!!” and went looking for mine. head down, walk fast–no explanations. i am sure it will happen again. forget showering with him. we have to discuss the genitalia of my entire extended family. yes, grampy has a penis, just like you mason. no, mama does not. yes, papa does. i guess men love their penis pretty much outta the gate!

  410. I need to stay up all night, just once so I can watch these conversations unfold! Brilliant! ( clapping hands, clapping hands)

  411. I laughed so hard at the breasts as balloons’man-stuff as bell pull.

    My students want to know what’s damn funny, and all I can do it snort with more laughter.

    I called Kittery the devil, incidentally, because instead of me going to bed when I should (5 am wake up call–argh!), I stayed up LATE talking to her online and reading the most astrocious, hysterically funny, and sadistic articles on

    Carrie–thank you for the compliment. I have not felt funny in quite some time, so it’s good to be getting back to myself.

    Sher–I admire the fact that your panic attacks are subtle. Lately, mine have involved a fair amount of blubbering into my pillow while wondering who’s cosmic leg I pissed on.

    Of course, I am feeling more myself, and like my sis and I decided: it’s just time to work out all my karma before Calvin comes down and throws me into the fiery lake. I hope I’m not being presumptuous, but I assume a whole hell of a lot of the blog babies are going to be down there with me… 🙂 Kittery especially. 😉 We can hold hands while we use my shee-nigh to beat the shit out of people who eat little birds, feathers and all.

  412. Sarah, incidentally, will not be in the fiery lake. Neither will Maureen. And of course Haven won’t be. Pretty sure Amy-in-Ohio is too beautiful to be thrown in the Pit, and Amy-soon-to-be-in-Geneva gets the Swiss neautral stamp, so she’ll be in Limbo at the WORST. Sher’s art is too amazing for her to be condemned…And Kittery and Suzanne are too fricking hysterical.

    Oh hell. I bet it will just be in there. Dammit.

  413. Molly,

    More Sandburg:

    Let hunger and hell come.
    Or ashes and shame poured
    On your personal head.
    Let death shake its bones.
    The teaching goes back far:
    Compose yourself.

    Luck is a star,
    Money is a plaything.
    Time is a storyteller.
    And the sky goes blue with mornings,
    And the sky goes bronze with sunsets,
    And the fireborn– they go far–
    being at home in fire.


    I’ll come find you.

    ~ Sarah

  414. Good Morning!!

    I had a panic attack last night. It’s over now, THANK GOD.

  415. Good Lord, you people are all much smarter than me and I can’t keep up.

    I am standing on I-95 swinging a baseball bat as hard as I can, shouting, “Get the fuck off my porch, you goddamned carpetbaggers.” Which is small minded and selfish and wrong of me.

    Meanwhile Haven is over on I-40 with a basket of muffins calling out, “Hooty who? Over here, ya’ll, come on in!” And for anyone who stops, she is saying all the things I called to tell her in Indiana, lo those many years ago. And you could actually HEAR her scrunching up her face in doubt. CaroLINA?! You think I should move where?

    But what does time teach me over and over again? Haven knows best. So, sigh, come on in, y’all. The water is actually perfect.

    For the record, even though everyone moved on from this conversation about eleventy thousand posts ago, it is much harder to care for ones you love, medically. Its much easier to care, medically, for ones you are simply contracted for. Which is why I can hardly remember what I’d said. All I could hear was my heart thudding in between my brains.

  416. Oh, Sarah. How do you DO that? How do you find the perfect poem for everything? You are a wonder.

    Katherine, I wouldn’t be swinging a baseball bat. In truth, I wouldn’t even be swinging my shee-nigh. I’d have my daddy’s Smith and Wesson .45.

    But then, I’m country like that.

  417. The Jaberwocky

    By Lewis Carroll

    ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.

    “Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
    The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
    Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
    The frumious Bandersnatch!”

    He took his vorpal sword in hand:
    Long time the manxome foe he sought-
    So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
    And stood awhile in thought.

    And, as in uffish thought he stood,
    The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
    Came whiffing through the tugey wood,
    And burbled as it came!

    One, two! One, two! And through and through
    The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
    He left it dead, and with its head
    He went galumphing back.

    “And hast thou slain the Jaberwock?
    Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
    O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
    He chortled in his joy.

    ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did grye and gimble in the wabe:
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe

  418. oh, and i love this: from Kung Fu Panda (i have watched this approximately 30 times-i am unsure why i love it so, but i do) anyway, here is a conversation between Master Oogway and Master Shifu

    Oogway: There are no accidents.

    Oogway: My friend, the panda will never fulfill his destiny, nor you yours until you let go of the illusion of control.
    Shifu: Illusion?
    Oogway: Yes.
    [points at peach tree]
    Oogway: Look at this tree, Shifu: I cannot make it blossom when it suits me nor make it bear fruit before its time.
    Shifu: But there are things we *can* control: I can control when the fruit will fall, I can control where to plant the seed: that is no illusion, Master!
    Oogway: Ah, yes. But no matter what you do, that seed will grow to be a peach tree. You may wish for an apple or an orange, but you will get a peach.
    Shifu: But a peach cannot defeat Tai Lung!
    Oogway: Maybe it can, if you are willing to guide, to nurture it, to believe in it.
    Shifu: But how? How? I need your help, master.
    Oogway: No, you just need to believe. Promise me, Shifu, promise me you will believe.

    Oogway: You are too concerned about what was and what will be. There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.

  419. One of my favorites. I make the kids read it a million times when we come to in in class.

    Whatcha think about this little poem?

    There was a young dog at the Touchtons
    Who loved more than life all her luncheons.
    She eats glasses and nails
    And black garbage pails
    That craxy ass dog at the Touchtons.

    Forgive me if I posted this already. 🙂

  420. er, crazy ass…

    Typos will be the death of me…

  421. molly, i just laughed out loud. i have 3 crazy ass dogs at my house. great poem:)

  422. This is a True Poem.

    She ate my spare glasses and my real pair are currently MIA. Coincidence? I’m beginning to think NOT.

    Steph, are you fully recovered from Guatemala?

  423. Molly you are on fire today..joke, joke, joke..I love it!
    I am going to need your email address once I start reading Something Rising because I have a feeling I am going to need to talk about these things.

  424. hi blog babies!

    i am going to kill my mom. thought you should all know that i will be in prison and so not able to comment.

    that is all.

  425. Good, Amanda. This means I WILL have company in the Fiery Lake. Your Swiss status has been revoked..

    Seriously, are you okay?

  426. Yay! We can be together!

    My mom is a CLASSIC manipulator, which she learned from her mom. I’ve just spent all morning fending off both the tears manipulation, the guilt technique, and finally the joke manipulation. She is a master I tell you.

  427. From Regular Mom (
    Zen and the Art of Being Five Years Old.
    Published December 11, 2008 Hallmark Moments From Hell , Parenting , Snippets 8 Comments


    5-year-old: Mom, can I watch TV?

    Me, loading the dishwasher: No.

    5-year-old: Well, what am I supposed to do until bedtime, then?

    Me, impatiently: I don’t know. Go in the living room and meditate or something until I’m ready to read you a story.

    5-year-old: Meditate? What’s that?

    Me: You know, like Master Shifu in Kung Fu Panda… “inner peace… inner peace…”

    5-year-old, suddenly lifted to penultimate heights of excitement: OKAY!!!

    She then runs into the living room and sits down in a lotus position and starts chanting inner peace… inner peace… over and over again, while I congratulate myself on not only handling that conversation so well, but on finding an activity for her that might possibly help soothe her turbulent 5-year-old soul, and not to mention the fact that it might come in handy on those nights when I just need an extra 15 minutes or so before I sit down to read to her.


    Me, finished with the dishes: Okay… it’s time to pick out a story book.

    5-year-old: WHAT??? NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

    Shen then jumps up from her lotus position and begins stamping her feet in the throes of an escalating tantrum and pretty soon she’s practically throwing herself to the floor and screaming the entire time:


    And the Buddha wept.

    So much for those extra 15 minutes.

  428. I had the wrong person. My apologies, Amy, your status is safe.

  429. Read that to my kids. They loved it.

  430. molly, i can say that i have finally recovered from guatemala. i will put some of the epics up on the blog babies yahoo site! thanks for asking

  431. not the epics, the pics

  432. Michael T, whoever you are, it would appear these people have morphed us. No wonder I appear sort of blurry round the edges today.

    Where should I/we go for lunch.

  433. What in the WORLD? A person goes to sleep for four measly hours and all whackadoodle breaks loose. That reminds me of a time when Obadiah was about four, and he was sitting in the living room watching, for the first time, actual old cartoons — Road Runner, Sylvester & Tweety Bird, and at this particular moment, Tom & Jerry. I was in the kitchen and I heard him laughing so hard he was pounding on the floor. It got to funny I walked in and asked what was happening in the cartoon to unhinge him so. He pointed at the television screen, where (what else) a bigger animal was chasing a smaller animal and he said, “Oh, oh, I can’t . . . it’s . . . it is just MAYHAM IN DOGVILLE.”

    I alone will now reintroduce and carry forth the Quaker theme of this post. Here is a small passage from George Fox, the founder of Quakerism:

    Sing and rejoice ye children of the day
    And the light; for the Lord is at work
    In the thick night of darkness
    That may be felt: And the Truth doth flourish
    As a rose, and lilies do grow among the thorns,
    And the plants atop the hills, and upon them
    The lambs skip, and play.

  434. Mayhem in Dogville..what an articulate child! I knew he looked like a smarty pants:)
    Matt, I believe Michael will want to go somewhere funny.

  435. My favorite part in Kung Foo Panda is the dream sequence in the beginning, when Po imagines himself a kung foo warrior. After a daring fight scene a girl, swooning,says”You are so awesome, how will we ever repay you?” and Po replies”there is no charge for awesomeness. or attractiveness.”
    I use this on my children daily.

  436. fox was so brilliant…thiS was lovely

  437. What a comforting thought: for the Lord is at work in the thick night of darkness.

  438. George, I’ve studied George Fox for more than fifteen years now, and I don’t believe I will ever get my mind around who he was and what he did. Throughout decades of horrific abuse at the hands of the monarchy — ten imprisonments under unspeakable conditions, the seizure of everything he owned, 300 Friends burned at the stake in a single year by Elizabeth — he never bowed, he never bent, he never despaired. He was more than just a mystic and visionary; he was made of steel. Imagine, in the turmoil following the Protestant Reformation and under the ceaseless threat of execution, having the guts to say again and again to priests quoting the Bible for their own ends, to close the book. “But what dost thou say?” he asked, over and over. “But what canst thou say?” His knowledge of both the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament were encyclopedic, and he still refused to consider the Bible an infallible authority; he would not idolize it. In one of his most sublime moments, while being attacked for giving women equal standing in all governance and all ministry, he said that if a Scriptural foundation for equality was necessary in order to please the magistrate, he was quite sure he would think of something to quote. And if there were no such words it didn’t matter anyway, because it was the right thing to do, and the Spirit of Truth is infinitely more real, important, and holy than any text, anywhere in the world. Imagine that.

  439. Haven, where would be a good place to start, if one wanted to read about George Fox?

  440. For me, the part that resonates most is:
    “And the Truth doth flourish
    As a rose, and lilies do grow among the thorns,…”

  441. Matt only one of us needs to go to lunch it will fill us both up apparently.

  442. Hey Amanda Clouds 🙂
    I am Presbyterian. Actually, I am an ordained elder and currently serve on the Session (governing body) of my church. I am a member of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). Your friends may be members of the Presbyterian Church of America. My church, PC(USA), is known for being more liberal. But I think when I say liberal I think inclusive because I think we are a bit more inclusive. Women play a larger role in leadership in our church and we are working hard on the full inclusion of our GLBT brothers and sisters in our church as well. Not to be boring, but if anyone is interested, the following is the
    Statement of Faith for the PC(USA):

    In life and in death we belong to God.
    Through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    the love of God,
    and the communion of the Holy Spirit,
    we trust in the one triune God, the Holy One of Israel,
    whom alone we worship and serve.
    We trust in Jesus Christ,
    Fully human, fully God.
    Jesus proclaimed the reign of God:
    preaching good news to the poor and release to the captives,
    teaching by word and deed and blessing the children,
    healing the sick and binding up the brokenhearted,
    eating with outcasts, forgiving sinners,and calling all to repent and believe the gospel.
    Unjustly condemned for blasphemy and sedition,
    Jesus was crucified,
    suffering the depths of human pain
    and giving his life for the sins of the world.
    God raised Jesus from the dead,
    vindicating his sinless life,
    breaking the power of sin and evil,
    delivering us from death to life eternal.
    We trust in God,whom Jesus called Abba, Father.
    In sovereign love God created the world good
    and makes everyone equally in God’s image male and female, of every race and people,to live as one community.
    But we rebel against God; we hide from our Creator.
    Ignoring God’s commandments,we violate the image of God in others and ourselves,
    accept lies as truth,
    exploit neighbor and nature,
    and threaten death to the planet entrusted to our care.
    We deserve God’s condemnation.
    Yet God acts with justice and mercy to redeem creation.
    In everlasting love,
    the God of Abraham and Sarah chose a covenant people
    to bless all families of the earth.
    Hearing their cry,
    God delivered the children of Israel from the house of bondage.
    Loving us still,
    God makes us heirs with Christ of the covenant.
    Like a mother who will not forsake her nursing child,
    like a father who runs to welcome the prodigal home,
    God is faithful still.
    We trust in God the Holy Spirit,
    everywhere the giver and renewer of life.
    The Spirit justifies us by grace through faith,
    sets us free to accept ourselves and to love God and neighbor,
    and binds us together with all believers in the one body of Christ, the church.
    The same Spirit who inspired the prophets and apostles
    rules our faith and life in Christ through Scripture,
    engages us through the Word proclaimed,
    claims us in the waters of baptism,
    feeds us with the bread of life and the cup of salvation,
    and calls women and men to all ministries of the church.
    In a broken and fearful world
    the Spirit gives us courage
    to pray without ceasing,
    to witness among all peoples to Christ as Lord and Savior,
    to unmask idolatries in church and culture,
    to hear the voices of peoples long silenced,
    and to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace.
    In gratitude to God, empowered by the Spirit,
    we strive to serve Christ in our daily tasks and to live holy and joyful lives, even as we watch for God’s new heaven and new earth, praying, Come, Lord Jesus! With believers in every time and place,
    we rejoice that nothing in life or in death
    can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.

    My faith is really about love, justice and mercy. This is the part I really cling to:

    In a broken and fearful world
    the Spirit gives us courage
    to pray without ceasing,
    to witness among all peoples to Christ as Lord and Savior,
    to unmask idolatries in church and culture,
    to hear the voices of peoples long silenced,
    and to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace.

    Ooops. Lunch is over. Back to work!
    Hope you all are having a great day.

  443. Oh LINDA! I hope, hope, hope I did not offend. My issues with the group are very, very much issues with John Calvin and it sounds like your church is a much more loving body than he.

  444. Amanda, anyone who doesn’t have issues with John Calvin needs to give the situation a rethink. No one practices real Calvinism anymore, because his vision couldn’t withstand the tests of time and reason. The denominations that grew out of his name have evolved in ways he would detest, which is a good thing.

  445. Michael T, you consistently just light up my heart bulb.

  446. Thank you all for this lunchtime spiritual refreshment…besides which I enjoyed the racoons and baseball bats and babies using privates as exercise machines.
    Now will go and look at Durham, North Carolina on and maybe even…..
    just for fun…my hubby is fixated on western Iowa but mayhap I can unfixate him somehow in the next few years.

  447. Calvin Married Idelette de Bure and all 3 of thier children died in infancy which is a shame. It doesn’t change the fact that he was quite a dick tho.

  448. As do you my dear Haven

  449. Caryl, I wish I could say you should start with my book, but alas it isn’t done. I don’t mean that boastfully, only to say that it’s a book about Quakerism for non-Quakers.

    There are Fox’s Journals, which are widely read. Quaker Psalms, a collection of his writings in Psalms format, is lovely. That’s edited by T.H.S. Wallace. A fine biography is First Among Friends: George Fox & The Creation of Quakerism, by H. Larry Ingle.

    But you can’t really understand Fox without also reading Margaret Fell, who was his patron and the moral backbone of the fledgling Meeting. Oldie Quakers like Brent Bill and I tend to even combine their names: Fox/Fell. There are three good books about her: The Messenger That Goes Before, by Michael Birkel, A Sincere and Constant Love, which is a collection of her own writings, edited by T.H.S. Wallace, and Undaunted Zeal: The Letters of Margaret Fell, ed. by Elsa Glines.

    As much as I am stunned and humbled by them, no one in Quaker history and maybe no one in American history compares to Lucretia Coffin Mott. And at the other end of the spectrum is the mystic (a man who was the embodiment of all that is good and right) John Woolman. Quaker Universalists recognize three saints: Mott, Woolman, and Martin Luther King, Jr. That’s just trivia, but I appreciate it.

    You can order any of these books at And of course if you become interested in our spiritual practice, you can’t do better than Brent’s books: Holy Silence, Mind the Light, and the great Sacred Compass: The Way of Spiritual Discernment. Of course I am also deeply enamored of Pink Dandelion’s Introduction to Quakerism. I am enamored of everything about Pink Dandelion, and wish I could adopt him.

  450. See? Do you see what Michael T just did there, about Calvin? Genius.

  451. Haven, thank you for giving direction in the Quaker study department. 🙂

  452. Because Quakers have no theology and no creed, we tend to cling fast to a handful of quotations by Fox. One is “Let us then try what Love can do.” And as you probably know, Quaker Meeting Houses are entirely bare of ornamentation or anything representational. They’re beautiful, but sometimes it’s like looking at the inside of one’s own eyelids. However, in many, many Meeting Houses I’ve visited both in the U.S. and in the U.K., someone has tacked up a broadside with this quotation from Fox (usually on a bulletin board announcing some social justice mission) — it’s probably as close to a creed as we get. “Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations, wherever you come; that your carriage and your life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them. Then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone.” In my study I have my own favorite words of his framed: “Let your life speak.”

  453. The more you write about Quakerism, the more I truly believe that deep down I am a Quaker. And never knew it.

  454. I hope you’ll come and join my Barn Meeting, Sock.

  455. I think that would be the most lovely thing in the world. A Barn Meeting. Simple. Pure. True.

  456. It’s also completely silent, right up until 4:27 every day, when the owl begins to call.

  457. Is that AM or PM I need to get this right in my notes.

  458. I know Jim, I am a Catholic who wasn’t even looking and I find myself fascinated with the whole idea of Quakerism. They seem to have a quiet strength, for lack of a better description, that appeals to me. I cannot wait for your book Haven, but I will start with the above now.

  459. I just ate a tofu scramble. These are words you won’t hear out of my mouth twice.

  460. Sock: If you cannot make it to Durham, there are a couple of meetings I attended when I lived in Indy. They were just a few miles apart on the southwest side of town in Decatur Township. They are Valley Mills Friends and West Newton Friends.

    Both of those places mean a lot to me in terms of helping me clarify what I believe to be true. I go to an Episcopalian church, but my spirit is so…Unitarian, Quaker, Buddhist that it defies most description except in that George Fox snippet Haven sent over.

    AND TALK ABOUT the courage of George Fox…

    Haven, I was generally aware of the persecution, but you made it so real in your posting above. I cannot imagine what type of incredible courage and conviction it required of George Fox to state his truth.

    I can’t get my mind around the possibility of having to pay with my life for what I said with my mouth.

    What, if anything, do I hold sacred enough to pay that price?

    I’d like to come down to Durham for meeting.

  461. Amanda- no offense taken, of course! Just wanted to be a good elder and offer up that there are some good Presbyterians out in the world trying hard to do the right thing. Sometimes we succeed. Sometimes not. But I guess if one has their heart in the right place that is a start.

    Haven, I am reading Brent’s Holy Silence right now and am finding it very helpful in my own search for quiet meditation as well as a better understanding of the Quaker faith.

  462. Caryl, I married into a Catholic family. While I find the religion fascinating what with all the rituals, pageantry and such, (and please don’t anyone take offense at this) but to me there seems to be a lot of mysticism involved. It doesn’t work for me, but it does for a lot of people. And I think whatever works, and by that I mean makes them a better person, then I have no problem with someone’s beliefs. But a very young and oh so very wise person for her age taught me to question anything that is told to me on how I should believe in God.

  463. Also carrying forth the Quaker theme…

    I thought that when I read your Call to a Different Sort of Meeting, I would next see a rash of people here in Durham answering…I thought that there must be others like me who read this blog without participating. Maybe there are, and they have emailed you instead of replying here, but I am using this as a way to finally join in, since I have been insecure about elbowing my way into such a cohesive and amazing group of people who have assembled here.

    So, how is your search for kindred spirits going?

    I am attached to, but no longer regularly attending, the Durham Friends meeting. For years I was an attender, and my children are birthrights through their father, but I never did the clearness committee thing to become a member.

    I’m really interested in your idea of another way of Meeting and would like to hear how you envision it happening…

    I have not been a Scholarly Quaker…more of an instinctive Quaker… Your George Fox quote that you are a Quaker if you behave like one sums it up for me, and that sentiment is what really draws me to your idea.

    I’ve been to Margaret Fell’s lovely house!

  464. But a very young and oh so very wise person for her age taught me to question anything that is told to me on how I should believe in God

    Sock are you referring to your daughter? If so that just made me tear up:)

    Um, I would like to join the Quaker Barn Meeting Group too please and thank you.

  465. Jim, I know what you mean about the rituals, and Pageantry, of a Catholic mass, and it is this that draws me back whenever I stray. I was raised Catholic by my mother and she never let the rules define her relationship with God; she was divorced not anulled and this meant she couldn’t take communion anymore, she went to the priest and told him that wouldn’t work for her, the God she knew did not want her to stay with a man who was abusive. My mom took communion, she actually never stopped, and taught us it is always okay to question ones faith. But, and especially, in raising ones children Catholic today you have to work very hard to make some sense of it all, and maybe I feel the pull of something that would help me answer my own faith needs?

  466. Hi everyone. I am having a really bad week. Many big farm problems and school issues piling up and my sister (she of great wisdom) just got called for a second mammogram.

    Amanda Clouds – Can I have the cell next to yours at the matricide prison? I honestly need some Quaker thoughts on non-violently dealing with my mom.

    It is like a cold drink of water to come here and be with other people who are interested in what I am interested in: books, spirituality, etc.
    Caryl, I am a returned Catholic but I pull in everything but the kitchen sink to my own spirituality.

    I always tell my own kids that story about the four blind men and the elephant. Each one can touch only one part of the elephant and then tries to describe it. So the one on the ear thinks an elephant is large and flat. The tail guy thinks an elephant is like a rope. The trunk guy says an elephant is like a hose and the foot guy that it is like a tree trunk.

    The divine is so outside our own magnitude and we are so blind that none of us can truly describe it or know the “correct” way to worship it. And we have to allow other people their own understanding.

    At this my boys respond with a very sarcastic “Oh yes, Great Mommy-wan.”

  467. Maureen, I think you just described my religion. The whole kitchen sink thing. And I plan on telling the elephant story tonight at dinner.

  468. Oh, and Maureen, if you need anything in the way of prayers or conversation let us(me)know..

  469. Amy in Ohio: That happened over twenty years ago. Credit for that goes to our ringleader here. She thinks she was being evil (by the way, what is in a Shark Bite?) but truly opened my mind and heart up with her badgering. And to be fair, she was only 1/4th of the group who ganged up on me.

    Caryl, one of the things that I can honestly say about Robbie’s parents is that they while they are Catholic, they are true Christians foremost in that they don’t judge and love unconditionally.

  470. Nora, you’ve been to Swarthmore? That gives me chills. I’m not a person who has very much interest in pilgrimages, but I drove a long way on the wrong side of the road to visit the oldest Meeting House in England. I’ve never seen anything like it: the beauty is so spare it made my heart ache. I also went to the Quaker cemetery that appears in Thomas Grey’s “Elegy In A Country Churchyard.” The actual church there was Catholic, I believe, and was nearly destroyed by Cromwell’s men. The ruins are exquisite. Unfortunately, I’d had enough of a particular comment made to me by virtually every British person I met, and Quaker Haven vanished (to be replaced by Usual, Bad Haven). A stranger standing next to me in the remains of the sanctuary said, “This must be quite something for you, yes? Coming from America where everything is new. Not much chance to experience such history there, I’m afraid.” I smiled at him and said, “Perhaps you haven’t heard of the Anasazi cave dwellings. They must be, oh, at least fifty years old.”

    That was an aside, sorry. Only one other Quaker has written to me, and Amanda would like to join us. So far there would be four or five, which is more than Jesus required. I’m very glad this post spurred you to join us; I’m always surprised when I hear from someone who hasn’t joined in out of shyness or hesitation to interrupt our Groove Thang. Trust me: there is no more welcoming group of virtual people anywhere in the world.

    I’m a birthrite Quaker, like your children, but I would never become a member of any Yearly Meeting. I find it contrary to the original principles of the faith. Also I agree with Fox (in a lovely twist, Mark Twain has a nearly identical line) that any time you find yourself in agreement with the actions and philosophies of a group, you need to rethink your life. I most assuredly believe in decision-making by consensus when decisions need to be made, but to me the discrepancy between the most deeply held convictions of the first generation of Friends — that there is one authority and one authority ONLY, and that’s the Holy Spirit — and the endless amount of time one can spend serving on committees as a member of a Yearly Meeting, unreconcilable. Either we believe that the Spirit of Truth speaks to us directly and is the ultimate guiding force for our lives, or we don’t. I try to stay up to date with the Philadelphia Faith & Practice, because I rarely think they’re wrong in establishing positions, but that doesn’t mean I think they have any authority over me or my relationship with the Ineffable.

    If you’ll send me an e-mail, I’ll start making a list so we can all coordinate with one another. Thanks so much for posting here.

  471. Haven, How did your mom become a Quaker? She was raised Catholic, right?

  472. Maureen, your gift to Gus arrived yesterday afternoon, and you could not have made him happier. Nothing bad should happen to you; your karma is golden. No ill winds blowing your way. He got up this morning and even with his confused sleepy face he said, “My tractah? Mayme my one two tractah?” FIRST THING. Bless you, and thank you.

  473. Haven, When and how did your mom become a Quaker? She was raised Catholic, right? How did she discover the Quakers?

  474. Strike that. Reverse it. They love unconditionally and they don’t judge.

  475. Whoa – double post! Oops.
    I’m so glad Gus liked those! My kids loved them at that age and then outgrew them and they looked so sad and unwanted. May he have many happy trips around the field until he can come and visit our farm!

  476. Hey, good comic relief. If the teenagers in your life have not already shown you this, watch Charlie the Unicorn on Youtube.

  477. Well, Maureen, first she was abandoned at an orphanage in Lake County, Indiana, and the woman who dumped her there left a note asking that the baby be raised a Catholic. Her birth parents, Edward Alonzo and Mildred Bartuska, were not Catholic themselves, but Eddie was a very decent man and he sent her to cathechism every week. I don’t know what religion Mildred was at that time, perhaps the Church of Pinchiness and Stupid. Later she was a Methodist. Little Dee-Dee was a curious child, and there were lots and lots of things about Catholicism she just could. not. get. So she asked the nuns. Perhaps she asked them frequently. The answer was always, “Because that’s the way it is done!” and “Because Father says so!” My favorite was, “That’s not for you to know, it’s for you to obey!” The last straw was when she asked if God disappeared if the candle went out. She was excommunicated at the age of ten, the same year her dear father died of a heart attack.

    She tried on quite a few religions in the following years; most notably she became a devout Christian Scientist. Then she and Dad and my older siblings moved to the house in Mooreland, and because she couldn’t drive or otherwise escape without my dad’s permission, she joined the Mooreland Friends Meeting, which was a block from our house. This was years before I was born. As it happened, that church was her genuine salvation, and she’s never left the Quaker fold. When we moved to Muncie she attended the meeting there, and she attended Brent’s church, as well. Now she’s a minister at Pennville Friends. By the time I was born our identity as Quakers was firmly established; I’ve never known anything else. It’s just a matter of bright and shining luck that Quakerism so perfectly suits my difficult disposition.

  478. JimShue, there is nothing more graceful on this earth than people who love unconditionally and do not judge. They are to be treasured.

  479. Believe me, I do treasure them. Sometimes I wish we lived closer. Then I remember that they get a whole lot more snow and cold than we do. They’re north of Detroit.

  480. NORTH OF DETROIT?!? That is where Santa lives!

  481. “Then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone.”

    That, right there is some spiritual balm that is better than Oil or Olay or Vick’s Vap-o-Rub!

  482. Ah, Haven, thank you for filling in the blanks. I remember the excommunication from Zippy. I must confess that part of my own return to Catholicism from circuitous wanderings was because the Catholic Church was close and I liked the architecture.
    I also love the ritual and the comfort of familiarity. It feels also, in a weird way, like submission to something greater – I don’t mean to the Pope because I feel no connection there – but to the liturgy itself.
    Personally, and I agree with Jim Shue on this, whatever gives you connection to the elephant is good. My sister, in contrast, likes a contemporary service that is always changing and people kind of “perform.” My own spirit just wants to feel like I’m sinking into something so much bigger than individuals and that the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist will once again bless me.

    However, I have suffered from the Catholic Gestalt of “If shit happens I probably deserved it.” Short of Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton and the other great Catholics who were fiercely and spiritually political, I always grew up thinking I should NOT confront what I know is unjust. This might just be a McCarthy thing. Thus, my situation with my mother. I can barely talk to her on the phone. Long story.

  483. Which is how he found Riley to leave her presents Christmas morning.

  484. Well actually Santa does live north of Motown but its actually in the U.P. (upper peninsula)
    I met him when I was lost on my snowmobile one year in the middle of a large forest. At first I thought it was God but later I figured out whom it really was when he gave me some gas for my sled and then dissapeared into the blizzard. (true story)

  485. Oh and yes please sign me up for the barn dance err I mean meeting. Hopefully it will be warm out side by then

  486. And personally, I think that spirituality should be a journey and not a destination. If not, then you could end up in the same place I was when a certain young lady here (Haven) found me.

    Ok. Back in a while. Time to fix dinner. Robbie’s off to get Riley from daycare. And then it’s family time until lil’ sock monkey’s bedtime.

  487. another music alert. Leslie McClure is a young friend of mine who is so talented and so awesome. Please buy her cd.

    She is also Presbyterian and both of her parents are Presbyterian ministers. Just too much coolness in that one family.

  488. P.S. All of the money from CD sales will be donated to various hunger programs in Nashville, TN.

  489. You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming. 🙂

  490. Linda, it’s always makes me so happy to read about your tolerant, inclusive Christian church. And that you are an elder? Such fortunate congregation.

    Does anyone know how to get to the yahoo site? I uninstalled my browser without saving an updated version of my preferences, and kaplooey, there went the blog babies.

  491. JimShue – Love the new avatar!

    Carrie – Here’s the site. You’ll need to log in of course!


  492. Any Laurie Colwin fans?
    And how about All the King’s Men (that’s my car book right now off

  493. Linda: I attended 1st Presbyterian in Bloomington, Ind., for awhile and thought it was a great church. It was also a recital hall of sorts for Indiana University music majors. After church I’d go to the Bloomington Bagel Co.

    That link I sent last night on the NYTimes mag piece on the Seattle idiot who is supposedly Calvinistic, bears about as much connection to that theology as, well, whatever. Just watch the news, the guy in Seatle is destined to go down in flames for his brand of apostasy.

    He’s an idiot.

  494. Maureen, I’ve read Laurie Colwin’s novels many times. HAPPY ALL THE TIME is just, it’s perfect. And ALL THE KING’S MEN is next to the chair in my study.

  495. I thought Robert Penn Warren wrote All the King’s Men (one of the best political books ever written, by the way.)

  496. Haven got me going this evening on George Fox. Here are a few of his quotes:

    Be still and cool in thine own mind and spirit.

    I saw also that there was an ocean of darkness and death, but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness.

    Take care that all your offerings be free, and of your own, that has cost you something; so that ye may not offer of that which is another man’s, or that which ye are entrusted withal, and not your own.

    The Lord showed me, so that I did see clearly, that he did not dwell in these temples which men had commanded and set up, but in people’s hearts… his people were his temple, and he dwelt in them.

    When the Lord sent me forth into the world, He forbade me to put off my hat to any, high or low.

    Why should any man have power over any other man’s faith, seeing Christ Himself is the author of it?

    Finally, this:

    Therefore be still awhile from thy own thoughts, searching, seeking, desires, and imaginations, and be staid in the principle of God in thee, that it may raise thy mind up to God, and stay it upon God, and thou wilt find strength from him, and find him to be a God at hand, a present help in time of trouble, and of need. And thou being come to the principle of God, which hath been transgressed, it will keep thee humble; and the humble, God will teach his way, which is peace, and such he doth exalt

  497. Thank you for those, George. I have the Journal of George Fox upstairs from Andy’s Earlham days. It’s getting moved to the bedside table.

    My favorite Laurie Colwin is A Big Storm Knocked It Over – no, I take that back – Goodbye Without Leaving.

    We just a strange catalog in the mail, but it has SOCK MONKEY FLANNEL SHEETS!

    I saw the movie of All the King’s Men – not even close. I think Jude Law is truly gorgeous but part of that book is the prose experience and all the back story that had to get left out.

    Haven are you writing a horror book AND a Quakerism book at the same time or am I confused?

  498. Thank you George. How do you know so much?

  499. Hello? This is a test.

  500. Caryl: You flatterer, you! That’s Google…

  501. OK. Too strange. I have tried sending a comment with a website in it SEVEN times now and it keeps getting rejected, so ….. guessing wordpress does not like the website for some reason, The Vermont Country Store sells SOCK MONKEY FLANNEL SHEETS! They do have a website whose address seems to be being embargoed by Homeland Security so you’ll have to find it on your own.

    George, thanks for those quotes.

  502. Asta manana, night owls! I’m hittin’ the hay.

  503. …actually, I am still reeling from Haven’s posting earlier today about George Fox.

    It really caused me to ask myself this question: “What do you believe to death?”

    I can’t even begin to answer that question beyond the pronouncement that I would die to save a loved one.

    The only time a public pronouncement of my religious (spiritual) belief ever mattered was when I was in Saudi Arabia with the military and I was asked on a hotel form what my religion was. I wrote Christian in the blank.

    But George Fox could have gotten the axe — literally — for what he came to not just believe, but to know, through the revelation of the Divine.

    I knew about about Fox and Quakers from going to Friends’ meetings in suburban Indianapolis. But after reading Haven’s post and realizing what she is trying to do here, I went to the Web for some more enlightenment.

    Fox revealed what he “believed to death.”

    I suppose that I would welcome a mystical sign, a whisper from elsewhere that would either confirm what I profess to believe or offer a shaft of light into a truth I could not help but believe.

    That didn’t happen, nor do I really expect it.

    But these words, related by Haven, written by Fox hit me hard today:

    Sing and rejoice ye children of the day
    And the light; for the Lord is at work
    In the thick night of darkness
    That may be felt: And the Truth doth flourish
    As a rose, and lilies do grow among the thorns,
    And the plants atop the hills, and upon them
    The lambs skip, and play.

    This is so profound it surpasses my ability to describe it.

  504. Okay, I’m going to have to go visit the Quaker meeting in Cottonwood…structured or not. Just to see. I’m not a joiner, but as a friend pointed out to me, I DID join y’all which is a big step for me.
    Thank you, George for those quotes…I feel I need to tatto one onto me somewhere…kindness does not come naturally to my family, we are sarcastic people and it is something I would like to overcome…except with Kate and Kittery who make me laugh so hard I get stitches in my side.
    Gotta fix frozen dinner…LOL

  505. Brenda, me, sarcastic? Never. 😉

  506. I am the soul of sincerity.

  507. I can’t go to ATL for a Friends Meeting. Can I join your group via email? Can I be Catholic-ish and Quaker at the same time? I love the pageantry for the same reason Maureen does–I like submitting to a greater power…but there’s so much crap with it. So. Much. Crap. And there seems to be nothing but beauty associated with Quakerism.

    Amy in O– mollyhtouchton at Write me ANY time. This is my favorite book of all time.

    Maureen. You are loved. And Shit happens. Not because you deserve it but because shit happens. And you are loved. And so is your sister. I’m praying for her and for you.

    IT IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS but there are 2 stories I would love to hear. 1) how, Haven, you went from hating church and refusing the altar call at your Quaker camp and “losing” your little pink bible and 2) how jimshue and you came together in all of you glorious, obvious, devoted love.

    But you can tell me to piss off because it’s certainly none of my business.

    I, too, am ready to kill my parents and my little brother. My dad’s surgery is scheduled for Monday and Bro 2 told me he would be here Monday night, but then he tells me today that because he can’t take his Red Cross awarded EMERGENCY LEAVE in conjunction with a weekend pass, he won’t be here until Tuesdsay night. TUESDAY NIGHT. You tell me how I am supposed to take my kids to ATL (a 2 hour drive 1 way) for a field trip at the Carlos Museum on Tuesday and attend my grad school class Tuesday night if Bro 2 is not here to take care of my mother. And all because he wants to go somewhere this weekend. I am asking for 5 days out of the next 365 and he’s screwing me. Sorry. A little anger issue right now. Believe me, I am trying to cultivate a quiet in my soul wherein I can hear the Lord. But the panic attack’s back.

    So. Enough of me. I’m sorry.

  508. I just choked laughing on my pb & j. Kittery is NEVER sarcastic. EVER. EVER EVER.

    If she were, I’d have to bring on the whippings.

    And now that I have her SSN, I went on a shopping spree at GAP. Thanks for the new trousers, Kit. You’re a dear.

  509. The shyness that comes before joining in comes from watching how effortlessly and gracefully good you all are at what’s going on here…when my daughter was about 5, I heard her say to a friend she was playing with that being afraid of the dark was a fig in her magic nation. This became a beloved family phrase, used for years…appropriate here!

    No real pilgrimage involved, although I know several people who did the Real Quaker Pilgrimage and loved it.
    I’m a self taught life long student of various periods of British history, and when I get lucky enough to be there I wander about on some story path of my own making, entranced and dazed. Here is my Swarthmore memory…

    The very kind and sweet faced Quaker Lady caretaker made us tea, and then when we were leaving she leaned down in the doorway to give my 8 year old son a hug. I have a picture of them, and I always see it as a gracious Margaret, mysteriously wearing clothes from the wrong century. Dazed! (me, not Margaret). We stayed in a bed and breakfast on a misty tree lined road called Beastbank Lane. This called up vampire type images for me, but NO…turns out a farmer in the 1800’s drove his cattle home from their pasture down that sinister road every evening…

    email with contact information is on the way…one other funnyish detail…I was at your reading for She Got Up Off the Couch at the Regulator, and when it was my turn to be signed, I told you that I had just given copies of Orville to all the kids in my home daycare. With one hand on your pregnant with Gus area, you had written down my phone number in about a second and a half while my friend Margaret Sartor (who was in line behind me and whose daughter Eliza was one of my babies) put in some good words as to my character. Alas…you never called!

  510. Here’s a story I love, recounted by the wonderful Jessamyn West:

    When William Penn asked Fox what to do about the sword which he was accustomed, as a well-dressed seventeenth-century gentleman, to wear at his side, Fox reputedly replied, “Wear it as long as thee can.” By which Fox meant: It is not the exterior trapping but the interior state which matters. Until you become a person who cannot contemplate the acts for which a sword was designed, and hence abhor the sword, swordlessness for you is an imitative and even lying state. It disguises the fact that you still have a sword in your heart.

  511. Hi Nora…

    If anyone cares to see a few shots of my trip to Peru, I put some pics up on Facebook.

  512. “a fig in my magic nation.”

    so precious.

  513. can you imagine not even contemplating the acts for which a sword is designed…

    i am agape and i mean that

  514. I love that “agape” in Greek means love. It also has 3 syllables. I love that too.

  515. Bug: you are so smart…I meant it in an Anglo-Greco way.

  516. Nora, I’m not the least bit surprised I didn’t call. I’m phone phobic. But mercy, I love me some Margaret Sartor. She is one of those rare creatures whose heart and mind are equally fine.

    Now if I had called, would it have been to chat, or was there something I offered to do for you? Please recall that my pelvis was broken at the time, and quite often my head was swimming.

  517. George–now who’s smart? I don’t know what Anglo-Greco means.

    I just liked the accidental, sorta sideways double entendre. Agape at the idea of not needing violence…a-gah-pay equalling brotherly love…it was just a bit serendipitous word play.

  518. George, for me, what I would be willing to die would be standing up for things that just come naturally, without even thinking. If I had to think too hard about it I might hesitate. But, if someone were beating a child I would step in. Without hesitating. I have been at rallies against the death penalty. At any protest rally I suppose there is the chance for violence. But, we don’t think about that, do we? No, because it is just right and just. If I was killed doing something I believed in I would hope my family would understand. I think they would. Talking to a homeless person on the street. Actions that may seem small but can make a difference. I am not sure I am making sense, but do you know what I mean?

  519. (and also, my heart is FLUTTERING in my chest to receive such a compliment from George.)

  520. Oh! This is random, but speaking of swords… my gorgeous and talented nephew, Austin, who just graduated from Columbia University’s engineering school last may, is making his t.v. debut later this month. His first t.v. credits will be in Forensic Files. He said, “I got to kill a girl with a sword!” I am just too proud for words. LOL

  521. We may or may not be figs, but we certainly are in a magic nation here. Welcome, Nora.

    And George? You are agape (in the sense Bug mentions) as well as agape in the Anglo-Greco sense. And I join your agapedness about the idea of wearing a sword until you cannot contemplate the acts for which a sword is designed.

    Doesn’t your mind just reel at the hugeness of that idea?

  522. Bug: gimme a break…I ALWAYS compliment you, don’t I?

    Linda: I think I grok you (50s Beat term, right?) What I was talking about was a belief so strong that it could get you killed. That differs, I think, from a reaction to a wrong or to a danger to a loved one.

  523. Jerri: yes, a HUGE idea and my mouth has been sorta dangling wide open since I read that little poem early this afternoon.

  524. Hmm, George, I think….no. 🙂 And therefore, I cherish it in the same way I cherish Suzanne calling me a source of light. 🙂

    So. Happy. Now.

  525. Oh, you should also read the book Peace Like A River by Leif Enger if you have not. It is beautiful.

  526. I read it a few years back.

  527. Oh, yes, I see what you mean, George. I need to think on this topic some.

  528. George, the idea of a belief so strong you would die for it reminds me of Delonda’s question, “Is this the hill you want to die on?”

  529. Thanks for the welcomes…they give my shy self the strength to get up and do what needs to be done…

    Haven…the key words in my anecdote as to why you might have called me are HOME DAYCARE…Maybe you weren’t sure what your future needs would be with the new babe at that point, so you were doing a little networking in the old autograph line…that’s why Margaret was vouching for me (and your words about her are perfect).

  530. Did you not like it?

  531. Nora, I see. I decided just to keep the baby at home, and thus never sleep. Thank you, though — I must have been feeling optimistic on that evening.

  532. Bug: Peace Like a River? It blew me away it was so good.

  533. Another of my favorite George Fox-isms: Love God and do what you please.

  534. If you did what you pleased as an act of loving God then God would be pleased as an act of loving you.

    Haven, I think Peter Maurin could have written the above sentence! God, how I miss Peter and Dorothy.

  535. Me too! My friend Anne gave it to me or I bought it on her recommendation or something and I just loved it.

    “Love God and do what you please?”

    Is this similar to one of those trick things my CRAZY Baptist (not the regular, normal type of Baptists)friend would say–“if you love God, REALLY, you’ll do the right thing”? And in that way, you can’t be a whore AND love God… (for the record, I am not a whore.) I am just curious.

  536. Bug: I don’t think it is about what you are or necessarily how you are, rather, who you are. there is the profundity, as i see it.

  537. See? This is the kind of thinking people need to practice–getting to the heart of the matter and skipping the other stuff that clouds the real issue.

    I go again to St. Augustine (I think) who said something along the lines of, “I’m not sure that what I do pleases you, Lord, but I think the fact that I want to please you, pleases you.”

    I find myself in that area a lot, saying, well, Lord, I do not know what to do, so I will try to do the least wrong.

    Then I cross my fingers and say a Hail Mary.

  538. (If I become a Quaker, do I have to give up Hail Marys and rosaries and the Prayer to St. Anthony?)

    I have to say, Haven, I love you, but I think you need to hurry up with your book. There’s so much I need to know.

  539. I think Merton said that, Bug.

    But to take it a step further, I am not certain that pleasing God is where it’s at; I am thinking that we exist within God’s pleasure already. Now finding certitude in that, I think, is where it’s at.

    (Why am I using all these 60s terms?)

  540. Oops. Thanks for the quote-clarification, George.

    We-e-ell. Yes, I think I agree we already exist in his pleasure, otherwise, he’d stamp us out like we were little bugs invading his picnic.

    But what good would it be/do to be sure we were in his pleasure if we were not actively seeking to please him more?

    If that makes sense.

  541. Oh Molly, I nearly died.
    Since I am now your benefactor, I do hope your pants fit properly. GAP seems to think everyone has legs that are six feet long (in my case, unfortunately not). In any case, get yourself a nice shirt to go with, eh? If memory serves, GAP has some lovely cardigans on sale. 😛

    and …

    Hullo, Nora. 🙂 I felt the same way when I poked my head in the first time, but as you can see, I am now making Molly choke and giving Brenda stomach aches .. I’m most welcome. 😉 I’m sure you are too. 🙂

  542. Nora,
    Thanks for beating me to the Joining In punch- your admission of feeling shy about it was just what I needed. I’ve been a rallying Haven Kimmel admirer since stumbling upon Zippy at a coffee shop in June, where I devoured as much of it as possible before my friend gently informed me that it was time to leave. I joyfully discovered at the library the next day that this wonderful author had written not just ONE book, but many, which I read as quickly as my nursing school studies would allow. I just recently learned that Haven keeps a blog- the only blog I have read that has both gotten me to laugh out loud in my office (when I’m supposed to be working!) and later be transfixed by such writing.
    Even more recently- within the last week or two- I realized the magic that goes on here, behind the scenes. I spent at least a half hour at my desk yesterday reading these comments, completely engrossed, and when I got to the end of the page, not only had I been so lost within the conversation that it seemed like I was waking up from the most refreshing sleep, the kind where you don’t even exactly remember where you are, I felt wrapped in such a sense of peace that I just knew I had to say something. Alas, though, that shyness took over, as I have never ever jumped in uninvited on any sort of group that seems so cohesive, and so I went back to work, feeling slightly voyeuristic, as though I was 9 again and listening in on a sibling’s phone call.
    Which brings me to tonight, where I conquer that shyness (again, inspired by Nora’s own bravery in piping up.) I have so much more that I know I wanted to say earlier when the words were rolling around in my head, but that’s all left me now, so I’ll just leaving you by saying Wow. Wow to you all. And thanks.

  543. Your 60s terms are groovy, George.

    So is the very idea of existing within God’s pleasure. The Solace of Leaving Early was my introduction to Quaker thinking beyond whatever little we got in American History in elementary school. Haven’s discussions of it blew my mind, man. (That’s for you, George.)

    And now we add “Let us then try what Love can do” and “we exist within God’s pleasure.”

    Such loving, comforting ideas. So filled with peace.

    That George Fox, man. He may be heavy, but he’s still my brother.

  544. Hullo, Jamie! 🙂

  545. It does make sense and that’s the whole problem, I suspect. Here’s where I start veering from traditional Christianity: We cannot please him more. He takes pleasure in us as we are.

  546. Nora and Jamie! Woot!

    I feel a Catholic hymn coming on… “All are welcome…ALLLLLLL are welcome in this place…”

  547. Jerri: you are blowing my mind with what you are laying on me!

  548. But George. I do bad things. I sin. I fail to be kind, to let my life speak in a way that brings joy or beauty to the world (see earlier rant for just one exmaple…).

    There can be no pleasure in this. There can be forgiveness and love because he is Love. But ought not I strive to not fail, to actually bring Truth, Beauty and Goodness?

  549. …all I know is that after Haven’s post, I am going to do a little reading up on George Fox.

  550. The word, strive, is rooted in the notion of fighting and again, I think that is part of the problem. We’re not in a big fight with Divinity to prove our own little lock on it by what we have done or left undone. This is where I veer from traditional Christianity and start meandering around in the world of Unitarians and Buddhists and heck, maybe even Quakers, I don’t know.

  551. where truth flourishes? i’m there. and haven, i adore the fox quotes. what a superfantastic quaker! it makes me LONG to be a Quaker. when i move to NC, i can be dipped in the Quaker batter properly.

    SOCK/JIM SHUE i’ve been working like a stevedore on a long advertising copywriting job that will pay my mortgage; it’s satan’s work but i am not fussy when it comes to impending foreclosure. and i always want to write you back a deep, soulful email, and i shall. never, ever think i am ignoring you. it’s just that you derserve a nice big slice of email, not a smattering. it’s coming. in the meantime, send me more. you haven’t spilled nearly epough pf your guts!

    i ordered that SING ME HOME book from the library, big hugs to whoever recommended it. anyoe compared to patchett and kimmel deserves a looksee. and i thought bel canto was stunning because of the claustrophobia, because of the structure. it reminded me of a film like LIFEBOAT, or DAS BOOT. the end is a massacre of truth and so raw, so poignant. i imagine it was hard for her to kill those people, she obviously loved them so.

  552. Yes, me too. But I have to find those intro books first. 🙂

    Time for bed.

    Thank you for your wonderful insights. I shall ponder them quite carefully and continue reading Mere Christianity. I’ll have my diorama book report prepared by the weekend. 🙂

  553. Dammit Suzanne. A spoiler alert next time, if you please. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Good night, dear ones!

  554. Welcome to Jamie! Could I just copy what you said and make it mine? Thanks…I didn’t think you’d mind!

    As for “Sing Me Home”…after I posted the “Patchett/Kimmel” review from Entertainment Weekly yesterday, my weekly e-mail arrived from the local independent bookstore and who is doing a book signing here but the writer of said book! How serendipitous!

  555. Thank you Kittery

    This reminds me to appreciate how great it feels to rise above one’s usual comfort level and be rewarded by warmth…

    It’s just like my daily adventures in potty training toddlers, only from the receiving side rather than the giving side…

  556. Carol–where are you in Kansas? I’m on the MO side of KC. If the book signing is close enough, maybe I could go, too.

  557. Bug, you are perfect for even asking these questions, and you are human for trying.
    Welcome Nora and Jamie, love new voices. George I emailed you and now I know I can go on the yahoo site to see Peru pics?

  558. Suzanne!

    You come in just as I have to sign off. Big day tomorrow; I need to conk out.

    Tomorrow I leave Florida and go back to DC. Should be an incredible week there next week. I am planning to ride my bicycle to the Mall to see the Inauguration.

    This is the first time since 1989 I haven’t had to “cover” it in some capacity as a journalist.


  559. Jamie, welcome. Let me tell you about a conversation I had with Suzanne a few nights ago. She was marveling at how this blog community is one of the truest, most genuine groups of people she’s ever seen, and how strange that it came about as it did. I said, “I love them all. I truly love them.” She said, “Of course you do — it would fail immediately if you didn’t.”

    That leads me to my beloved Quaker saint, John Woolman, who wrote, “The business of our lives is to turn all the treasures we possess into the channel of universal love.” Jessamyn West says, “And by ‘treasure’ Woolman meant all: money, energy, and talent.”

    This brief description of him (also West) is among my favorites. “Those inclined to gauge intensity in terms of a flamboyant vocabulary and a frenetic rhetoric may miss, in the simple prose of Woolman, the record of a life stretched taut by God-awareness toward as complete an expression of universal love as any of which we have knowledge. John Woolman had nothing he would call a ‘social conscience.’ When a man has turned the whole of his life into channels of universal love, named splinters of it are not recognizable in that flood. John Woolman was all of a piece. The sword he did not wear was not in his heart.”

    So there you go: love.

  560. Hi Jerri–

    I’m in Johnson County; Rainy Day Books is bringing her here…I don’t recall the exact date but it is sometime in March.

  561. Hi, Carol. I thought Vivian might be bringing her in and checked the Rainy Day site. I’m planning to go. Are you?

  562. Nora. Yes, a lot of warmth spoken here.

    Caryl, I put up a bunch of those shots. I started writing some things, too.

  563. Haven: “The sword he did not wear was not in his heart.”

    The beauty of this makes my eyeballs spin in their sockets.

  564. Jerri, George Fox ain’t heavy, he’s my brother made me snort and frighten the dogs.

    And Bug, believe me, I know I have to finish this book. I’ve never been in this position before, where the task ahead of me is so dear and important I’m paralyzed by the thought I might get it wrong. Also, DAMN, 350 years is a long time for a religion to remain so consistently itself, while also suffering upheavals and whatnot. You don’t know how deep the past is until you start at the beginning; after that, one must don one’s Resting Costume.

  565. Goodnight y’all. Suzanne, you were so right!

  566. Jerri–Well, for one thing, I grew up in Nebraska so it seems like a given! And if this book is as much like Haven’s work as EW says (and I trust them), I don’t see how I COULDN’T…count me as a tentative “yes” and I will check calendars and such. If you are on the yahoo site, we can communicate further on there?

  567. I am all a-flutter with thoughts of how to stop carrying in my heart the swords I am not wearing.

    For example, my daughter recently found her birth mother. I have said the right things. As best I know how, I have done the right things. But boy, howdy, I have carried a shiny, well honed sword in my heart, one with which I would duel in a heartbeat if I didn’t know it would harm my beloved girl and gain me nothing.

    Acting as I feel is not really an option. It would be such a pleasure to feel as I act.

  568. Oh Jerri .. your daughter loves you.
    I’m not in a situation like the two/three of you are, but I do know I have a lot of “adopted” family. Adults that love me like I’m their own, and I love them too. You raised her, she is always going to love you. Now, she has someone else to share with. Share being the operative word. It’s not all or nothing.

    I hope I didn’t stick my foot in my mouth and start chewing…

  569. Carol: yes, I am on the yahoo site. Let’s try to coordinate. If schedules mesh and all, perhaps we could have coffee or something before the reading.

    Another blog baby here in KC!! I am so happy.

    Haven: please apologize to the dogs for me. Oh, and what is this Resting Costume of which you speak. Methinks me needs such a costume.

  570. Jerri, you haven’t mentioned that situation for a while, but it hasn’t left my thoughts. If I know you at all, you have loved your daughter all her life without expecting anything in return, because to do so is our grace and our salvation. It’s all that’s being asked of you now: a river flowing only one way, toward her, and in the process you opening your hands and letting go. Not of her, but of the fear chattering away like a little poo-flinging monkey in your brain. You never have to listen to that voice — your power far exceeds it.

  571. Okay, Jerri, I’ll see you on yahoo…coffee or whatever would be lovely. I am pretty sure it is at Unity Temple on the Plaza so there are lots of choices for such an activity.

    Toodles, all…I know this discussion will continue long into the night and wee hours; I look forward to partaking of everyone’s brilliance tomorrow.

  572. No, Kittery. You did not stick your foot in your mouth. You’re absolutely right: it’s not all or nothing. This is not a zero-sum game. In fact, it’s not a game at all.

    I tell myself those things over and over, and I mostly listen. I certainly model my actions and my words on them. But fear is a dark and slippery beast, and just when I think I’ve gotten past it, it leaps from behind the chifferobe and flaps its dark wings in my face again.

    I would love to take that sword out of my heart and not just off my leg. Maybe it just takes time.

  573. I’m afraid if I describe my Resting Costume it will give rise to terrible covetousness, as it is profoundly excellent, and a gift from our own Ms. Jody. Yes, she’s so smart she scares the bejesus out of us all, and not only that, she is enormously generous, and so good at gift-giving it might be her superpower.

  574. The poo-flinging monkey in my brain evoked a snort that woke my dog. Now we’re even, Haven.

  575. According to George, I will still exist within God’s pleasure even if I am covetous of your Resting Costume.

    I am now covetous of Jody’s gift-giving superpowers, too.

  576. Oh, monkey-mind just puts a rash on my ass. Because it’s SNEAKY. I’ll be walking around all in a vexation about something, turning a thought over and over and making myself feel like compost, and that can go on for hours. And during that time I’m not enjoying life, I’m not giving freely of myself, I’m not doing my life’s work. Then something will happen and I’ll see those screechy, mean tricksters swinging by their tails and deafening all of reality with their infernal chatter. As soon as I look directly at them, they go away. THANK GOD.

  577. Thanks for the welcome, all. It makes my hesitancy at piping up seem so, so silly.
    As a girl who grew up in a Catholic church, left it for awhile, came back for awhile, left it again, then started attending a non-denominational church (much to the dismay of her grandmother), I find that my faith is so much my own, rather than what’s prescribed to me in the services. However, I totally agree with the comfort found in the familiarity of a Catholic church. I spent some time running about in Europe alone when I was in my early twenties (quite a challenge to my soul, especially if you consider the aforementioned shyness) and about midway through my adventure, I found myself visiting more and more churches just to sit, be present, and find comfort in the service, even though I couldn’t do much joining in due to my complete lack of ability in all words German or French.
    And learning as much as I have over the last two days about Quakerism (that IS the right word for it, I hope. I’d hate to offend anyone, especially the keeper of the blog, on my first day) has been wonderful. I intend on using some of those recommendations made early on to do some more reading.
    By the way, Suzanne, your story about the baseball bat yesterday almost had me commenting here earlier, but I was too busy being blinded by laughter and admiration. I live alone, and though I live in just about the safest part of the quietest town for miles, I’ve been plagued by horribly realistic home-invasion dreams for weeks now, and have been trying to come up with something to quell my fear that won’t require a hunting license or eventual stitches. I immediately said “WHY did I never think of a baseball bat?” Though I suspect I’d end up breaking a toe with it before I even got it home from the store.

  578. I shall have to take pictures of my Jodi ensemble and post them in that photo area Scott knows how to access.

  579. Jerri, if another perspective on your situation would be useful E-Mail me at

  580. Jamie, you should see my dogs. As an intensely hyper-vigilant person I just decided to take care of that anxiety once and for all.

  581. I shall look forward to the pictures. And I thank you for the images of the tail swinging monkeys. Next time they come to call here in the darkest jungles of what passes for my mind, I shall stand and say, “Let us then try what Love can do.”

    I expect them to fall into silence, possibly even unwind their tails from my oh-so-well branched dendrites and and take seats in the back row. They may even share their peanuts.

  582. That was my problem yesterday. DAMN MONKEYS!!!!

  583. Kate, RIGHT?!? It was your problem yesterday and you totally figured it out on your own.

    I’m hoping my mind monkeys evolve into higher primates, and begin appearing in human clothing. Monkeys dressed like people are a very reliable source of hysterical laughter for me. I also want them to learn sign language, how to operate vending machines, and sit at little monkey desks typing typing, trying to FINALLY reproduce Hamlet.

  584. I think it will take time .. and also? Your family loves you, and so do we. 🙂 That might help in the meantime. 😉

  585. Yup, I’m a schiz. The post above is for Jerri, which I forgot to add until I already clicked submit.
    :: sigh ::

  586. Thanks, Kittery. It does help.

    And Haven–if my monkeys learned sign language, they would only pick up the signs for naughty words, which would help me not at all. And because their language is limited to scatology, they’d probably pound out Canterbury Tales, instead of anything Shaking with Spears.

    Totally useless, those damn monkeys.

  587. Jerri, what if instead of their obscene semaphore, they spoke in very plum British accents and were often distracted by a mathematical proof none of them could solve?

  588. Monkeys with British accents? That might be the first monkey I liked. Intriguing.

  589. I’m going to build a monkey boat for mine, just like the one at our local zoo that HELLO! Nabakov visited and mentioned it in LOLITA!!!

  590. If they live in my mind and a mathematical proof shows up, you can be sure they cannot solve it.

  591. Also, I want mine to be spider monkeys. They are the cutest.

    Ok, here’s a story. We took the kids to a free outdoor showing of Curious George. Jarvis was 3 1/2, Linus was 18 months, Alice was possibly not even in utero. Sitting behind us was a couple of extremely obese women in wheelchairs with their male companion.

    Linus got very into the film…leaning forward in his stroller and crying out “MONKEY- NO!” But he was no match for these ladies. I literally heard this the entire time I was there…

    “Ooooh Nooooo….Oooooh Nooooo…what’s dat monkey gun do? OH NO LOOK AT DAT MONKEY! WHATSHE GONNA DO?”

  592. Jerri, please please email me and tell me how you are handling the situation with your daughter and her birth mother. I have a dual interest in this situation and if I am putting my nose where it don’t belong I am sorry. Either way you are in my thoughts and prayers and your daughter is so blessed you are her mama,

  593. re: monkeys in clothes:

    Saw some of his work in Massachusetts last month. Loved the iconography.

    With that I have covered both monkeys and religion in the same post. Darwin would be proud. Thank you, and goodnight.

  594. I’m thoroughly enjoying the idea of my mind monkeys living in a state of constant distraction. You just know that once they get those Oxford robes they’ll become overly intellectualized nerds; they’ll spend thirty minutes looking for the eyeglasses they’ve pushed up on their monkey foreheads, and their socks will never match, At university social functions they’ll look miserable. They’ll scratch themselves absentmindedly, dash back to their offices, forget to eat; they’ll agonize over whether they worship or despise Bertrand Russell, and why oh why did Wittgenstein abandon pure maths?

    While all that’s going on I’ll be free to attend to my own business, which, sadly, is remarkably similar to that of the monkeys themselves.

  595. Monkeys like that probably would not take kindly to those corn-boobed ladies shouting at them.

  596. God, that JohnM! He’s like a paratrooper!

  597. Jerri, not to be all bossy-pants, but Caryl would be a GREAT person for you to talk to. She’s a kindred spirit in this situation.

  598. Bossy pants look great on you, Haven. And kindred spirits are always welcome. Email on its way, Caryl.

  599. LIGHTNING BUG: SORRY about the spoiler, but the author herself discloses the ending of the book in the beginning of the book, in any case. it’s how it happens that is the story.



  600. Thankyou Haven, thank you Jerri, I really needed this,.

  601. Caryl, Jerri, we all need someone who can speak directly to our condition. It doesn’t happen often enough, so we should take it when it comes.

    In baseball bat news, my mastiffs just hit the front door like rockets, sounding like the hounds of war, and you know what was out there? A damn raccoon.

  602. The raccoon stuck around? If Iorek sneezed at me, I think I’d run like the wind.

  603. Now that everyone is asleep and no one can hear me, I will make my confession, as it has weighed heavily upon my heart today. For months now I have practiced total restraint on the purchasing of taxidermy. I have not even typed in a url address that contained an e, b, a, or y in the same line. Repeatedly I’ve reminded myself that I am powerless again my problem and have turned it over to a the Higher Taxidermy authority. Then today I got an e-mail requesting I leave feedback for one of my favorite sellers, and I was immediately confronted with two exceptionally beautiful mounts and one freakish animal that appeared to have been invented by Dr. Seuss. Naturally, I was overcome with the need for all three. Fortunately, the Lorax was withdrawn from the auction within an hour of my seeing it; the reasons weren’t given but the suggestion was ‘nefariousness,’ ‘fraud,’ and ‘visual horror.’ That left the two masterpieces. In a fit of weakness I placed ONE BID on each, then watched with increasing consternation as the hours passed and not a soul bid against me. I won them both, whilst simultaneously hoping to lose. This is the hallmark of the problem collector. John knows nothing of the secret events, and I predict displeasure on the horizon. Neither creature can be hidden, anymore than I could pretend a tank parked in the living room was a new coffee table. No, no — they are vibrantly present. My only option it to accept the consequences, write letters of apology to everyone I have hurt, and accept that relapses are part of the recovery process. I was tempted to tell him, “They weren’t my pants!” but Lindsay Lohan ruined that one for all of us. Thank you for your attention, and keep me in your prayers. Or thoughts or whatever you do with your brain when not sleeping.

  604. Kittery, the raccoon did that slithery, liquid run that only adds to their petulance and passive aggression. What is it, it’s a waddle, and its leisurely. They are the enemies of innocence, I’ve become convinced.

  605. Hmm .. how important is it that you need to recover right away? You could try, oh I don’t know, recovering after you collect your spoils. 😉

  606. You know what raccoons would do, if it were physiologically possible? They would sit in wheelchairs at children’s movies and shout inanities at Curious George, just for giggles.

  607. It is kind of slithery isn’t it?

    Have you ever had a raccoon high in a tree looking down at you, flapping one paw in your direction (holding onto the tree with the other) while howling very loud death threats at you?
    That happened to my brother, who is very manly and traipses about like he cannot be shaken. He came screaming in the house like a little girl. He loudly proclaimed the raccoon was moments away from jumping onto his head to maul him.

    Coincidentally, this is also the brother that screamed like a little girl (again) when a mouse ran over the top of his foot. He was also wearing shoes at the time.

  608. Kit, you are the voice of wisdom. And yet, there are so many animals in my barn study I have not one square foot to hang another. I ended up moving Ram Dass to the other side of the window, and now he’s so close to Thelonious it appears Thelonious is whispering in Ram Dass’s ear/horn. i rather like the effect — I’m glad they get along well, but these next two are going to pose a problem. Remember when I was content with weasels and fisher cats and precious little ermine? Yeah, those days are over.

  609. I will remind all Blog Babies: raccoons are not to trifled with. They’re always mad, and if you cross them you will find yourself in a fight with a circular saw coated with rabies. Later you will turn into Ann Coulter.

  610. Hmm .. this is difficult. How important is your living room? You could redefine how that space is used…

  611. Is that what happened to Ann Coulter? Or did she arrive in this world naturally petulant and slithery?

  612. My living room is exactly as important as a living room generally is. But I have NO taxidermy in the house, because of Baby Gus. It’s solely my province and my preoccupation, so it stays in the barn.

    Ann Coulter doesn’t even deserve the insult of being called a hologram. She is a stick figure with no soul. I’ve never believed for a single moment that she believes anything she says, and that she doesn’t write her execrable books; she couldn’t, as she doesn’t even have enough conviction to operate as a vehicle for darkness and evil. She’s a well-paid, telegenic doll with a pull-string and a natural streak of viciousness, and she’s been rewarded by whoever issues her orders at the Reichs Chancellory exactly the way you reward a junk-yard dog. Every word out of our mouth is both abhorrent and free of any trace of human intelligence. But who knows, maybe she would have been a good woman if someone had shot her every day of her life.

  613. Really, Haven, it’s not good to hold back..say what you really think. 😉

    I … can’t really give a thorough, coherent thought on her. Someone was reading one of her books (can’t remember which, does it matter?) and told me she was just brilliant and that I should read it, and I couldn’t even finish a sentence. And I can’t remember what that sentence was, ’cause it was horrific and I got PTSD and blocked it out. :: shrugs ::

  614. Since I have not yet changed from the Britches of Bossy, I would strongly advice that you turn your face away from people like Ann Coulter whenever she appears above the witch’s castle with her flying monkeys. You have a beautiful and growing soul, and she is a force for corruption and deception, and in the name of what is most blasphemous, hollow, and dark. Even in photographs her face lacks the most basic illumination, and her stock-in-trade is a combination of shamelessness and cynicism. People like her will happily crush what is trying to take root in you. But without your attention, she loses all power. Her handlers unplug her and stuff her back in her lead-lined box, and everyone is safe again. YAY!

    Dear god, I must go to bed.

  615. Never fear! You may hang up your britches in relief, that was the first and last time I encountered that person.
    Flying monkeys? Isn’t it winged cockroaches? Be more fitting…
    I’ve noticed that about her face .. always thought she needed to upgrade her exfoliating cream, meself.
    “Stuff her back in her lead-lined box”, is there a better image to be had?

    :: nods :: I agree. ‘Tis time for bed, but I can’t pull myself away from watching Blackadder. Bah.

  616. Oh my. I just got up. Damn those cows!

  617. Good morning sunshine! 😀

  618. Hi Kittery! Looks like I missed hours and hours of hilarity and profundity. I might have to actually print all the above out to make sense of the conversation.
    Are you going to bed or don’t you sleep? 🙂

  619. Oh good lord. I wasn’t kidding when I said that seeing the sun was a pleasant surprise. I’m nuts.

  620. Have a great day – or night – or sleep – or …
    I’ll check in later between my two classes. I gots to go feed my bovine babies and then go teach some kids some stuff.

  621. Hahaha, bedtime is fast approaching. 🙂
    Have fun. 😉

  622. Nora and Jamie
    I wanted to join in the general welcome. I lingered in shyness on the edge of the pool for awhile myself before I dove in. This is like the best pool party in an infinitely large pool where everyone brings their best pool toys and shares them and we all splash and jump and have a good time and then float around and talk about what’s on our hearts and then splash around some more.

  623. Ann Coulter does make a profession of shamelessness and cynicism. Not unlike a few of the kids in my middle school classes whose behavior gains them attention that is negative instead of positive.

    What if all things that seem angry and fearful are at their core crying for help?

    When I have calm discussions with students who seek negative attention, in every case they become calm and reasonable, if only while I’m talking to them. By the time they are twelve-to-fourteen years old, a pattern has been set in their lives, and I can’t change it completely. What I can do is make them realize that there’s another way, and demonstrate that by my actions.

    Ann Coulter is a product. She seems to have sold her soul for the attention she gets. “But without your attention, she loses all power,” as Haven pointed out.

    We don’t know who “owns” Ann Coulter. We don’t know her motives. In my opinion she’s no worse than violent video games or demeaning, torturous television shows. My choice is to “leave her to heaven” because she’s so far away from my actual day-to-day world.

    Nature dictates that we reap what we sow. And we can only reap what WE plant. Ann will be left with her own harvest.

  624. nora,
    “fig in her magic nation” I LOVE IT.

  625. whatever haven says, i agree with her.

    she’s gone to bed, i’m on the day shift.


  626. Suzanne,

    As my friend Kathy likes to say to me, “If you’re here … who’s guarding the gates of hell?”

  627. I hate that I work during the day, damn you corporate America, damn you to hell.

  628. jodi

    i love you


  629. i once had a man ask me where i got my tongue sharpened.

  630. The art of it is when you can say what you think and people not only like it, but agree – when everything you just said it counter to their opinions. A smile is usually enough for the general populace. That and a swift, elegant exit.

  631. My current hero is Simon Baker on “The Mentalist.” Always smiling, always calm, and conveniently always two steps ahead of everyone else in a mystical, omnipotent way. His character is disarmingly handsome and charming. If he told me to go to hell, I know I’d enjoy every second of it.

  632. JODI!
    I LOVE Simon Baker, he is flat out dreamy. And I do believe that is the first time I have used the term dreamy. I think it’s the tiny creases around his eyes. Yowza.

  633. JohnM- I love that artist’s work you linked us too. Especially the Wonder Woman. I just set it as the background on my computer. My name is Linda Carter and so as you can imagine I get Wonder Woman comments like there is no tomorrow, even though the actress who played that character in that t.v. show that was on IN THE 1970s!!! spells her first name wrong (with a y instead of an i. LOL) That t.v. show was on when i was in high school. So, by the time my kids dad and I got divorced in the late 1990s I thought no one would remember Lynda Carter when I decided to take back my maiden name. Wrong. Younger people told me how they had wonder woman underware. Do I really need to know that? But, you know, as time went by I started to learn more about Wonder Woman and decided I like her. She has a truth lasso. Just think what Zippy’s dad could have done with that!

    I love Simon Baker too!!!!!!

    And, I despise Ann Coulter even more than I lust after Simon. Just the other day I noticed she had yet another book in the best sellers section at the grocery store so I did as I always do and turned them all around. I cannot bear to look at that woman’s face. Sometimes I even take the books and hide them in other stacks. Is that childish? Hmm, I think not. I am just trying to be a good citizen of the world and rid it this particular evil. Ooh, it must be the wonder woman in me.

  634. LINDA!!! I HAD THE WONDER WOMAN UNDEROOS!! They were very important in my childhood development. I saw them at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum the day I saw Haven speak and oooooh, memories!!!

  635. katecake,
    i had those same underoos with a matching undershirt. if only i could fly.

    does anyone think neil patrick harris is outrageously funny? i just love him

  636. Getting back to the raccoons for just a minute, I had a story relayed to me by a friend once. There had a been a raccoon lurking about their home, knocking things over, eating the cat food, and generally terrorizing her two outdoor cats and her slightly disabled Boston terrier, who has a bum leg which keeps him from reaching his full potential in self-defense. So, one summer’s eve, Shirley is home alone when she hears a terrible racket on the deck. She gathers up all her courage, finds a sturdy flashlight, and just before heading outside to chase the creature away, pulls back the curtain over the window that looks out onto said deck, only the see a giant raccoon (I believe she said it was the size of a grizzly bear) perched at eye level on the table on the other side of the window, staring directly back at her, unblinking, and perhaps even clutching a Louisville Slugger in his man-sized paws. She immdediately terminated the mission, lodged a chair under the door handle, and ran away to bed.

  637. And Steph, NPH is possibly the funniest man on television today. I watched Saturday Night Live this week for him, and watching SNL at all, much less in it’s actual Live state, is a rarity for me. Did you see it? If so, how about the part where he played the Doogie Howser theme on the synthesizer?

  638. If Simon Baker told me to go to hell, I’d agree in a second, if he’d go with me for even a little bit of the way. Though I was disappointed in last night’s episode. Anyone with even passing knowledge of Wicca would know that it’s main deal is “An it harm none.” But my favorite line from last night?

    Woman: How did you get to be so cold?
    Patrick Jane (aka my future husband): Practice.

    Suzanne! Yay re: Bel Canto. I feel much relief. I should have known better than to think you’d accidentally ruin a book for anyone. My humblest and sincerest apologies. 🙂

    Kittery: Blackadder is the font I used today to make the sign for my Limerick Wall. 🙂 And my new trousers fit beautifully because I have a mile of lef. I also got an orange sweater because I like to be the Hitchcokian blot.

    Haven–please put your bossy britches back on, call my little brother, and tell him to get his act together. If anyone could make him see reason, it’s you.

    Also, no pressure on the book, really. 🙂 And anything you put your hand and astonishing mind to will be perfect because of the worry you feel about getting it right. When you get all stressful-feeling, just remember we are your cheerleading squad.

    Is taxidermy bad for small children or just frightening? My dad has, I am shamed to admit, deer all over the freaking house, and some of them (gulp, blush, shuffle feet in agony) have their hooves holding the gun. Classy, yeah?

    Jerri–the beautiful thing about love is that it’s like that candle thing people are always telling teachers ad nauseaum. A candle loses nothing of its flame in lighting another… Same goes with love. Which I know you know. You are strong and brave, and hope one day to have half the courage you show in facing my worries as you show in facing yours.

    Caryl Hayes–thank you.

  639. Does any one else think NPH is outrageously funny?

    I think he’s outrageously sexy and I am saddened beyond all belief that he’s gay. I WANT HIM. Sigh.

    And truly, I can’t hate anyone more than I lust for Simon Baker. His accent. His eyes. That hair.

    DREAMY, Amy O, yes ma’am, you are correct. DREEEEEEAMY.

  640. A boston terrier with a bum leg…I want this dog!!

  641. Anyone else having problems posting?

    Does any one else think NPH is outrageously funny?

    I think he’s outrageously sexy and I am saddened beyond all belief that he’s gay. I WANT HIM. Sigh.

    And truly, I can’t hate anyone more than I lust for Simon Baker. His accent. His eyes. That hair.

    DREAMY, Amy O, yes ma’am, you are correct. DREEEEEEAMY.

  642. jamie,
    NPH is amazing, and yes i saw him on SNL. the synthesizer bit was hilarious. he really is comic genius.

    bug, i so wish NPH wasn’t gay, too. although i am married–but he is a dreamboat and he can act, sing, dance—ahhhhh **and HANDSOME beyond words**

  643. Have you seen NPH in Sweeney Todd? Beautifully played.

  644. do you know NPH as dr. horrible? again, hilarious

  645. Amy in Ohio-
    Jersey (the Boston terrier) and his poor twisty leg are beloved by his family. He currently lives with my friend’s parents and she sometimes alludes to her suspicions that they love him more than her and her siblings. However, we are also Ohioans, so the possibilities of you someday running into him are greater than they’d be for most others.

  646. I missed Dr. Horrible online but just before I settled into despair over it, a friend of a friend send it to me. Joss Whedon + Nathan Fillion + NPH = All Around Genius.

  647. Sorry, “sent”.

  648. Where abouts in Ohio are you Jamie??
    I looove Boston Terriers and want to rescue one terribly however the fiance says ” 2 humans, 2 dogs” no more. I think this is dumbass rule and voice this everyday.
    I can understand how his owners love him more than their own children, I mean come on, have you ever seen the face on a Boston Terrier?:~)
    Funny story,
    I was driving home from work last year and noticed traffic starting to slow on a country road. The semi truck in front of me swerved and I noticed everyone was trying to dodge a Boston Terrier running back and forth on the road. I pulled over, turned on my flashers ( almost getting hit myself) and tracked the dog thru the corn field until she came to me and I could carry back to my car. Luckily she had a collar on with a 1800 number on it for a pet tracker service or something. Anyhoo, I called the number and found that the dog lived just down the street. I pulled up to a beautiful farm house and the lady came out and said oh, I didn’t realize she had gotten out! Being the dog lover I am I clung to her dog and snapped” well why don’t I just take her home then because it’s obvious you don’t want her.” The poor lady looked as if I had slapped her and pretty much grabbed her dog from me and ran in the house.
    Okay, maaaaybe I crossed the line.

  649. I LOVE DR. HORRIBLE. I love it, love it, love it.

    “And sometimes, there s 3rd even deeper level that’s just like the top level. Like pie.”

    I love Joss Whedon, and I am also madly in love with Nathan Fillion Have you SEEN Firefly? For all these men I love, I think I should retract my statement rom last night about not being a whore. Given the opportunity, I think I could take it up pretty quickly.

  650. I completely missed Dr. Horrible. My husband watched it, but who knows what level of La-La Land I was in.

  651. Amy- I live up in the tundra, aka Summit county. (Though, to be fair, most of the Midwest is in the tundra, especially right now.) Where are you? And what a poor terrified little dog you saved. You didn’t cross the line. I mean, sure, sometimes dogs escape (once, as a babysitting teenager, I chased a renegade golden lab through a marshy field in socks- in MARCH,) but c’mon.

    And Lightning Bug- I was introduced to Firefly just about a year ago by a dear friend, and my life basically went on hold until I had finished the series and then the movie. For a week and a half I didn’t sleep, I didn’t socialize, I didn’t leave the couch for anything other than class, food, and the occasional trip to the bathroom (but only till I REALLY couldn’t hold it any longer.) I heart the Cap’n, but only as a friend. Simon is my man.

  652. Bought The Shack last night. I cannot wait to get started!

  653. Hi Molly and everyone else – lunch break. I just yorked down some butternut squash. All of my afternoon students are job shadowing this afternoon, the sun is actually shining (though it’s VERY cold) and life is looking a little better today.
    Molly – I have not yet read The Shack so I am going to grab it and read it too as soon as I finish rereading Something Rising.
    Ruh-roh! One student not accounted for – I must go make phone calls.

  654. Cap’n Tight Pants? Oh hell yes. Especially in Serenity when he wakes up to take Inara’s wave and doesn’t have his shirt on. Joss Whedon made a joke in the commentary because it’s such a close shot you barely see his chest at all. He apologized profusely to we admirer-ers of the Cap’n.

  655. Maureen, you, me and Amy O can have lots of lovely, deep conversations about Something Rising via email. Love it!

    The Shack too.

  656. Something Rising had better arrive via mail today because I am not starting another book. I am mentally preparing myself for this piece of literature.
    The Shack ( writing this on my mental reading list)
    I read The Basketball Diaries and SlackJaw this past weekend. Both were okay.
    I have to open Miss American Pie. This will be next after Something Rising.

  657. Jamie, so you around Akron? I am just north of Dayton so not too terribly far from you. It is snowing like crazy now and tomorrow there is a high of 7 degrees. However, I just purchased flannel lined khakis from Jcrew that totally kick ass and I am rocking those tomorrow.

  658. Amy-
    I’m actually smack dab in the heart of Akron right now. My office has no windows but I just went and looked outside, and it sounds like we might be in the same snow-boat. And I’m completely jealous of the flannel lined khakis. It’s not supposed to break out of single digits for much of the week- this might be the year I break out the long-johns.

    Lightning Bug-
    Did you watch the outtakes on Serenity?
    Or on Firefly, for that matter, now that I think of the closing shot of Mal standing on the ship buck-naked and proud as can be…

  659. Hi Amy and welcome Jamie –
    I am ready to discuss Something Rising whenever. I’m doing a reread, almost done.
    I just chatted for an hour with the one woman in my county who is anything like you all. The problem is I never see her – we both have busy lives and our paths seldom cross.
    Molly – Are you at school? How is it you are chatting? My students are all off in the wide world today, so I am chillin a bit.
    PS I would be willing to kick your brother’s ass for you.

  660. Thank you, Maureen. I teach 6 classes a day but they’re doubled…2 6th English, 2 6th Lit and 2 6th math.

    They had a test today in Math, so I had 2 “free periods.” lol. Usually, I don’t have this kind of time to post. 🙂 I love it when I do.

    We should wait for poor Amy in O for our SRLAS discussion. I’ll pray to the Ebay gods that it gets here quickly.

    I have watched all the Firefly everythings a thousand times. 🙂 (Jayne! The man they call Jayne!) 🙂

    Time for a faculty meeting. Someone just want to kill me right noq?

  661. Molly, have you gone to the bathroom recently? Are you sure you’re ready to be killed? 😉

  662. Eek – faculty meeting! I avoid at all costs.
    Kittery – Did you sleep?

  663. Anybody familiar with novelist Paul Cody? He wrote The Stolen Child, Eyes Like Mine, So Far Gone, and Shooting the Heart, none of which I have read.

  664. My recommendation for a fine book to settle in with on a snowy evening is Joanne Harris’ follow-up to “Chocolat”: “The Girl With No Shadow.” The story takes place in the winter, has lots of magic, mystery, and creeping terror, set in a tiny French village. Delightful.

  665. Yes’m, Maureen, finally. At 9 AM. Ho hum.

    And I haven’t read any of his books either. Should we do so?

  666. Jodi – Ooh! That sounds really good. 🙂

  667. Molly,
    You and Maureen are lovely and much appreciated to wait for me to catch up:) I paid the Ebay person promptly so why tell me, are they not as prompt when they mail???

  668. I don’t know much about him. I was asking because he’s the novel workshop instructor at a conference I maybe going to. I was hoping it would be Jennifer Vanderbes. She wrote Easter Island, which I really liked.

  669. Thanks, Jodi – that sounds good. I confess I never read Chocolat, just watched the movie and lusted for Johnny Depp.

  670. Amy – Have you also tried Amazon used? You can get great bargains, and Amazon must not pay their sellers until they ship because those books seem to come lickety split.

  671. “just watched the movie and lusted for Johnny Depp”

    Wasn’t hard, was it? 😉

  672. That is my favorite of his roles – Irish, long hair, gypsy, ah – though I also find him sexy as Jack Sparrow.

  673. Hahaha, the rotten teeth aren’t much of a detractor, are they? 😉

  674. It must be the accent, the earring, the eyeliner, and again – the long hair. I loves a long-haired man.


    “Remember when I was content with weasels and fisher cats and precious little ermine? Yeah, those days are over.”


    “…they left the dead raccoon in front of the Gap….”


  676. Hi Suzanne –
    My husband says the picture on your blog is very sexy!
    Is Split now out in Europe?

  677. Yes!! His voice (and the eyeliner certainly doesn’t hurt!).
    I got over my eyeliner/long haired guy thing in college though .. dated a guy – he wore eyeliner, bought me some actually .. a new brand that I hadn’t used yet (in that regard, he was handy), he had longer hair than I did and eventually, I found out he owned more skirts than I did. Things ended. Pretty quickly.

  678. My husband wore a skirt once in a while and had long hair before I met him. Darn. I want to get him into a kilt. Never did the eyeliner thing though.

  679. Kittery…I once was friends with a straight guy who wore skirts and makeup and I wound up thinking of him as “one of the girls.” MISTAKE. You have not known horror until a man in hot pink lipstick leans in to kiss you because you “must have a soft tongue.”

    He wasn’t one of the cute kinds of men in female garb. He was just scary.

  680. Kate – HORRORS!

  681. Hahaha, oh, kilts are a different matter entirely.
    :: sigh ::

    (Oh, this guy also wore nail polish, the sparkly kind. That alone should have been a tip-off)

  682. I screamed and ran away. LITERALLY.

  683. Speechless.

    That is true terror.

  684. I am off to the li-berry to load up with books and go shake my fat around on the treadmill. Back later.

  685. I wanted my husband to wear a kilt to our wedding because he’s Scottish. He was not amused.

  686. Kate, I would have “lost” his tux and conveniently placed a kilt in his dressing area. 😉

  687. Hello. Just got back from taking my son to get his braces off. Now he is so handsome he will crack glass. Not that I am biased or anything. Then I went downtown and early voted against the stupid ass referendum that is wasting so much money it makes me want to spit. It is “English Only” which = take away the ability to help people already struggling and make it more difficult for people who need help to get it. Ok, there is more to it than that but it is unnecessary and divisive and something Ann Coulter would support. Nuff said there.

    Whew. Didn’t mean to get myself all worked up. LOL
    I have finished my hot cocoa and catching up here so I am afraid I must get back to my paid and much less fun work.

    Oh, almost forgot… it makes me so happy to know that so many of you had wonder woman underroos. That does not make me feel old at all. (that was being sarcastic) Sigh.

  688. Obviously I’m still here. We had a bagpiper at our wedding – he had a kilt on! My husband is half Scottish and half Swedish – I should have suggested a kilt for him.
    Speaking of which, anybody a fan of Monarch of the Glen? It’s a Scottish soap opera/mini-series, available on BBC America or Netflix. Lots of good-looking Scottish guys in kilts and also very funny with beautiful landscapes.

  689. I did not have Wonder Woman Underoos but I did ALMOST have all the Charlie’s Angels bubblegum trading cards and almost completed the full poster-sized puzzle you could make with the backs.

  690. Yeah but Kittery…I really DID want to marry him. I wasn’t too keen at being left at the altar.

  691. Aw, Kate. 🙂

  692. He’s the kind of person who is PROFOUNDLY uncomfortable with drawing attention to himself.

  693. Hmm .. I can see how wearing a kilt would’ve been problematic then.

  694. Kittery – Do you have photos on the group site or anywhere?

  695. Due to my Ascendant being in Scorpio, I am a mystery, an enigma. 😉

    In other, non-smartarse words, nope. I don’t.

  696. Ah, Mystery Woman! OK, I’m really going now.

  697. :: snickers :: The treadmill is rotten, you should stay here. 🙂 Besides, science proves that if you’re less stressed, you lose weight more easily (and let’s face it, the treadmill is stressful). 😉

  698. A girl could get dizzy trying to catch up here!

  699. Count me in on the NPH admirers. I think he can do anything. For instance:

    Jodi — will “Girl” give me bad dreams? Chocolat: I loved the book, and the movie too for very different reasons. Okay, not so different from all of you, and his initials are JD. And I loved what Juliette Binoche did with her character.

    Jamie — spit-take alerts, please! You make me do Kittery’s Cirque du Soleil thing! So glad you started posting. You too, Nora.

  700. Does anyone watch How I Met Your Mother? NPH is brilliant in the character of Barney.

  701. Isn’t he? I’m trying to cut down TV, so that’s off the schedule (the rest of the cast doesn’t move me), but he’s brilliant, anything he does. Loved him in Harold & Kumar.

  702. I missed most of the NPH SNL on Sat…I had to tend to a child. Oh well, I’m sure they’ll show it again!

  703. I know, I could do with more Barney and the big guy less everyone else. It is always good for a laugh though, and after homework and a 2 year old I take it where I can get it..

  704. The she-male who tried to kiss Kate doesn’t hold a candle to what happened on her worst-ever date. I’ll leave it at that.

    As for taxidermy being bad for children, since I don’t know the answer I’m not taking any chances. Obadiah comes out to the barn all the time, and mostly he just says, “Good lord, Mom.” But many people, upon my opening the door, gasp and step backward in complete terror. Curiously, the room has the opposite effect on me.

    I had a set of those scandalous Superman underthings Barbra Streisand wore on the cover of her album by the same name. I also had her nose.

  705. Haven, I am all a-fever waiting for Outlaw Quaker Girl, though your reason for not having finished it is so understandable. You could always publish the introduction as a pamphlet: “So You Want to be A Quaker…”.

    Further to the contemplated new Quaker meeting — I was thinking conference call, but I’m resigned that the Silence would lose something in the translation. We distant participants could always start at the same time, sitting in silence, but how would we know when you call time? Not such a tragedy: I guess the world can always use more silence.

  706. You know, I think I even posted a link to that disaster and no one commented. They must not have READ it.

    Ooh, I just googled Streisand. Nice underoos.

  707. No, Haven, yours is the one I would have pointed to if they gave me an option during one of my three childhood rhinoplasties. Barbra’s is quite…ummm…beaky. Though if she’d ever changed it, she wouldn’t sing like that. Not my cup of tea, but even I can hear she’s a good singer.

  708. Kate — where? Where’s that link?

  709. Oh Kate … oh Kate.


  710. Carrie, the fastest way to get through to my heart (besides a sharp knife) is by praising my decision to never alter my schnoz. Thank you very much.

  711. Wait, Carrie — three childhood rhinoplasties? Is that something you care to elaborate in exacting detail? I personally have broken my nose three times.

  712. Was one of those times when you came away from the tree with bark embedded in your forehead?

  713. I must really get off on public humiliation.

  714. No, Kittery, my rhino was spared during the tree limb incidents. I do always think I see a dent in my forehead, however.

  715. It’s a dark (and too long for here) story as to why it happened — Freud would have had a field day with this one — but at 10, I ran through an old-style sliding glass door with old-style glass. My nose was cut from brow to nostril, my upper lip shredded, my lower lip to chin slashed. I had two reconstructive surgeries, one at 12 and one at 14. I should post a picture in the yahoo group of what I looked like in my twenties when the scar tissue had settled — it’s clearest how fine a job that plastic surgeon did — the upper lip and chin scars are starting to be more noticeable now.

    My parents were out of town when it happened, I’ll regret my lack of alertness forever just for the look on my mother’s face when she arrived at the hospital.

  716. Kate, I feel it was your date’s just punishment for having the temerity to say something amounting to calling you “for-hire.” So funny. Kate and Clueless, sitting in a car with a visible green miasma. Fit for an animated short.

  717. Carrie,

    W o w.


    When I was young, I had to have my tongue mostly sewn back on after biting mostly all the way off in a skiing accident.

    My mother didn’t have to face as much as yours, but I know she never imagined I’d home from a day of skiing with my tongue sewed back on.

    ~ Sarah

  718. Yes, I can write.

    I just thought I’d leave out random short words this time, to see what your brains would fill in.

    “I haven’t slept for ten days, because that would be too long.” (Mitch Hedberg)

    ~ Sarah

  719. Oh Kate, is this for real. We are so fart phobic/obsessed in this house- you can be both by the hypocrisy in your behavior between your fart and someone elses-that this story is actually refreshing in its gastro-honesty. Thanks for sharing.
    God Carrie, what an awful thing to happen.

  720. Haven- did you break your nose when you fell off your bike when you were riding it with no hands while holding the cookie sheets? You were sure one tough little cookie yourself.

    Oh, Carrie. That is awful. You must have been a pretty strong 10 year old, though. So, kudos to you on that account.

    Kate. Oh my. You are too much!!!!!! 🙂

  721. Carrie, that’s horrifying — you could have been killed. I’m scared for you in reverse.

    And Sarah, I too nearly bit my tongue in half, during a grand mal seizure when I was sixteen. Interesting.

  722. I also knew someone who had to have her tongue sewn back on! She bit it off while jumping off a tire swing. She has a completely charming lisp.

    I have never broken anything but my dignity.

  723. Also, my nickname when I lived in a houseful of girls? Rotten Butt.

    I have since learned to control my…ahem…problem through dietary adjustments and the occasional probiotic.

  724. Oh my Kate – I just read that fart story!!

    We recently watched Blazing Saddles. My boys – who are into all things butt and fart – were just dying at that scene where the cowboys are all eating beans and then farting.

  725. Kate,

    Fortunately for me, the consequences of the accident were relatively short-lived– no lisp, at least, not from my tongue.

    When I returned to school, my was white, and no one would be in my reading group. It was my first experience going from eccentric to outcast.

    ~ Sarah

  726. Laws chirren, don’t get Kate started on the probiotics. Next thing you know she’ll have you ordering them from extremely dubious sources.

  727. Oh my God did it not help?

  728. No, I’m fine! It’s the fact that you had me order medicine from eBay, and not only that, from Indonesia!

  729. Whole Foods Haven, not ebay!

  730. Kate made me get it on eBay. Oh, I was afraid.

  731. She made it up to me, though, by sending me these cookies she makes that are so delicious and addictive I’d gladly trade my soul to the devil to have a constant supply.

  732. Kate is also much younger than us, she can afford the risk.

  733. You said it, Caryl. She’s young, she’s pretty, she wears great lipstick. In essence she owns the world.

  734. I used to be young. Now I take 15 vitamins AND probiotics just to get through the day.

  735. Oh my goodness…I go off to make a shopping list and make a cheeseburger pie and wow!

    For the record, when I ordered the medicine I got it from Alaska. I really didn’t mean you had to order it from that particular dude! Lots of people sell it. Oh my, I am embarrassed! No wonder you accused me of working for them!!

    I need to get cracking on some more cookies…

  736. But Kate, you rule the world..Haven said so. That must count for something.

  737. Caryl, I was talking to an old friend years ago, and she asked me how old I was (she was in her mid-30’s at the time). I said I was 26. She sighed and said, “God, I wish I was 26.” The idea stunned me so much all I could think to say was, “But you WERE 26.”

  738. I’m skipping posts for just a sec.


    I’m just saying. I rock out.

  739. Carrie and I have been talking astrology. Our charts almost mirror one another — I mean they’re reversed and still similar. Scorpio is a major player in Kittery’s chart where? It’s my ascendant.

  740. I’m totally outing the mystery woman, who has quickly become ONE OF MY FAVORITE PEOPLE OF ALL TIME.

    Sorry, my dear Sister-Smite Me Kittery. Haven, I trust you understand the information I’m about to impart means I am taking my life into my hands. Kittery’s a Taurus, with Scorpio rising. (Kit, I’ve got the shinai (aha! the correct spelling finally!) out. I’m applying it to my back right now.)

    I am a Virgo, Libra rising. This sucks because, basically, that makes me a Virgo who can’t make a decision. Imagine the the agony I’m constantly in. I see all sides of the argument at ALL TIMES. I hate it. Plus, my birthday is 9/11.

    Also, I’ve been absent only 3 hours (after the fucking (pardon me) awful faculty meeting, I went straight home and tore my house/car apart looking for my frickin’ glasses. My headache is now 2 weeeks old, and my eyes have trouble catching up to my head movment. It’s like being drunk but minus the buzz. I NEED MY GLASSES!!!!!), but you all have made me snort. SNORT. I love your posts. You are the funniest people.

    Kate. I simply love you.

    Kittery, we are soul sisters. We really are. Thank you for reminding me to pee before asking someone to kill me. The devil sure would have a hey day with that.

  741. A boy named Stephen broke my nose. He was my boyfriend in 4th grade. He broke my nose in 9th grade. We had not been an item in sometime.

    He was fixing the buttefly press and long story short, he said he had the arm when he did not. It swung around when HE JUST LET GO and broke my nose.

    Incidentally, I set my own nose 24 hours later when, after sneezing, I was pushing my nose back and forth as I blew it.


  742. Hmmm, I would say a Taurus with a Scorpio rising could very well get the best of both worlds.

  743. Amber, who only peaks in from time to time because she is VERY shy, is a Taurus, and she is my very best friend of all time. Tauruses are LOVELY, and as a rule adore them.

    Scorpios usually scare me.

    Haven and Kittery do not.

    Well, I guess Kittery does, ‘cuz I am afraid she will kill me for divulging her Ms. Mysterio information…

  744. My beloved Beth is a Taurus and there’s no better person in the world.

    You should be afraid of Scorpios. My sun is in Pisces, moon in Cancer.

  745. “But you WERE 26.”

    This reminds me of another Mitch Hedberg funny:

    “One time a guy handed me a picture of himself and he said, ‘Here’s a picture of me when I was younger.’ Every picture of you is when you were younger.”

    ~ Sarah

  746. Sarah–you slay me.

  747. My moon’s in Aquarius. And if you believe the Birthday Book, 9/11 is the Day of Dramatic Choice. My chart is littered with Libra otherwise, which is somewhat problematic, as I come off as a ridiculous flirt……who at 27 has only ever had 1 serious boyfriend. 🙂 Men are constanly confused by my lack of lying back. I’m confused by their expectation.

  748. Sarah, your Mitch Hedberg collection is flawless.

    Bug, John is a Libra and as far as I can tell he’s a blueprint example.

  749. How would one go about learning more about astrology? I’m very curious, having read those last dozen or so postings, and also having had a friend just recently tell me about the Birthday book. His words were: “Dead on.” (He’s a concise fellow.) My astrology knowledge is limited to what Yahoo tells me when I check my email, and I feel like it’s a subject I’d like to be more educated on.

  750. Libras are extremely fair–to a fault, I would say, as they (we, I should say, since Virgo is a mutable sign) are always seeing the other side of the argument and are fabulous, expert flirts.

    Being Southern, I’ve developed flirting to an art. Not only is it nature, it is nurture.

    John, I hope, Haven, you’ll allow me this impertinence, is also beautiful, another attribute of Libras. My Virgo-ness mitigats this. 🙂

    Haven, my nephews are Pisces, and whenever I am with them, we spend most of our time curled up together in big love ball.

  751. I’d have to concur about Scorpios. Never, ever make one angry… you’ll regret it.

    And, no, I’m not one. Gemini here. Both of us. HA!

  752. Where should Jamie begin? I grew up with astrologers, so I don’t know.

  753. I wish I knew what I was astrologically speaking I was born may 27th 1962 please tell me.

  754. I don’t know much about astrology. I was born July 23, 1960. Molly bug?

  755. Oh, Jamie! Be prepared for the Birthday Book. Mine was FRIGHTENING. It used words to describe me THAT I USED MYSELF.

    A GREAT and easy to use astrology book is called, lol, The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need. It’s very user friendly. Another WONDERFUL resource is Linda Goodman. She breaks things down for you, but also allows for more accomplished amateur astrologers to do some legwork themselves. Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs is a must read–but it’s important to know your ascendant because, like in my case my Sun sign is mutable, which means my Ascendant is more powerful in the actions/how people perceive me area while my Sun sign is me “deep down.” (Hence why men think I’m easy/willing to be convinced, and then are confused when I don’t have sex with them. 🙂 )

  756. How about Linda Goodman’s “Sun Signs” as a start?

  757. im a gemini witha attiude rising I think but would seriously like to know. I would pay for a cool chart

  758. Ha. Thank goodness someone else is asking, Michael. And we asked at the same time. yea!

  759. Michael T. I need your birthtime and where you were born.

  760. about 7:02 AM

  761. Haven, Only a Pisces could do as many things as you do simultaneously. If you’re like my husband (also a Pisces) you begin everything at once; your methods appear chaotic but you see a pattern and can’t bear to have anyone ‘straighten things out’; you’re extremely creative in everything you touch; your moods change like the weather and are as obvious.

  762. oh my goodness…just checking in to see what was happening and as usual you have all been merrily swimming not only in the deep end but in the lovely shallow end with your see thru sock monkey innertubes!!
    Jamie and Nora…Welcome!! I remember my shock and delight at finding this place.


    they did a lovely job I think.
    KITTERY….’winged cockroaches’. I shall have Nacht Mares!

    SFC: one of my most favorite quotes whenever I sense impending doom of any kind is from Dorothy Parker: “What Fresh Hell is This?” It fits so many situations I use it all the time!

    BUG!!..can we get a PICTURE of the deer holding the guns with their hooves? I mean, seriously, that has got to go on some kind of book cover with a title like “It’ll Behoove Ya Ta Listen Ta Me!”

    JAMIE AND BUG…Firefly (one more t.v. show I loved so they cancelled it)..and did you see the cap’n when he did his gig as a religious zealot preacher on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I loved that, too, sigh)

    MAUREEN: Dana and I loved Monarch of the Glen…it was so quirky….especially the battle with the pike!

    and finally, BUG, how do you know about the astrological stuff? I am clueless.

    Gotta go finish fixing supper. Love you all but really, I’ve never seen a racoon…I’ll have to go google image one….Maybe it’s just a fig in Y’all’s magic nation :_)

  763. Michael, May 23 should be Gemini, The Twin. But it’s pretty cuspy–meaning you could have some major Taurus influence. And…depending on the year (I don’t have my book with me! I’m SORRY!) you might actually be a Taurus with major Gemini leanings.

    Linda, July 23rd is Leo but again, pretty cuspy, so you could have some major Cancer influences. But same goes as for Michael.

  764. So im a stuborn bull and unreliable as the twins are flittery as butterflies ?? Would this be a good assement? maybe I will wait for a professional like you L bug to do a chart I am serious I would send a check for a cool one !

  765. Michael T. I will need some time as, alas, my book is in NH with 98% of my other stuff I couldn’t afford to move “home” to Ga. But I will get with you soon.

    I know about this astrology stuff because my sister ROCKS OUT in a major way. She is awesome-ness embodied (very Kung-Fu Panda–she doesn’t charge for this side benefit…) and I learned from her. I can also read Tarot cards. 🙂

    As far as my Catholicism goes, I’m going to hell based on these 2 things alone.

  766. Michael T, you can dowload SUN SIGNS free, but I don’t have the link. Just look around for it.

  767. Pish posh, Michael T. No charge. You may just have to wait awhile until I can get my hands on my book. Sigh. I’ll also need an email. Or you can have mine. Whatever you like.

  768. Wow, thanks, guys. I jotted those down and, if not it’s not covered by 12 feet of snow tomorrow afternoon, will be stopping by the library to see if they can offer either of those.
    As of right now, I know I’m a Leo, and that’s where it ends. Ascendant is a completely new term for me. Does the birthtime and place factor into that? And signs being mutable? New. All new. Should I wait till I’ve read the book and then ask questions?

  769. Bug, you have an ephemera?

  770. As a child raised catholic its bad enough that we are gonna go to hell for our idolatries but damn do we HAVE to feel guilty about it too. grrrrr


    Linda Goodman download-able!

    Yay, Haven, for knowing that!

  772. Jodi, no fair! You know me too well!

  773. I still have the birthday book, I used it on a few of us ages ago.

  774. I have a copy of Goodman’s RELATIONSHIP SIGNS, which is basically a primer in the practice of astrology as a whole. I’ll send it to whoever would like it.

  775. **hanging my head** Haven, my definition of ephemera doesn’t fit this discussion. Could you expand?

  776. Relationship Signs, I found, takes considerable effort. Just a warning. 🙂 I gave my copy to my sister who reads it as if it were as straightforward as Dr. Seuss.

  777. ephemera ? temporary thing ??

  778. Here’s a website to find your moon sign:

  779. Brenda- I saw dear Mr. Fillion as a preacher long before I knew him as the Cap’n. (I had a roommate back in the early 2000s who had a major Buffy problem- I mean there was a shrine set up in our sunroom, action figures and all- and I, since there was just one TV, have seen every Buffy episode at least once.) Moral of that is: even though that was years ago, and I didn’t even know his real name then, he did such a good job of playing a creepo that I immediately recognized him in Firefly and felt chilled at his past creepiness. Then I fell in love. (I reiterate for Simon Tam’s sake, whenever he becomes a real person and we meet, that my love for the Cap’n is purely platonic.)

  780. Bug, sorry, I should have used ephemeris. It’s a massive book that gives all the latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates along the zodiacal ecliptic. Also ascensions, declinations. It has the Cartesian coordinates for every minute of every day all over the world, dating back at least a hundred years. An ephemeris is used by astrologers exactly the way it’s used by astronomers, believe it or not.

  781. Sorry, Michael — that was a slip. But an interesting one.

  782. There seem to be different theories on the Ascendant. One site (Kittery gave me) says my Ascendant is Virgo (making me double Virgo and a 27 year old nervous break down waiting to happen). However, the other way to decide an Ascendant, the Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need way sites me Libra–which makes a scary kind of sense.

    You have mutable signs (influenced by other signs in your chart, most especially your Ascendant, then Moon), Cardinal signs (very strong signs) and Fixed signs (the kind who are what they are and everything else plays a far 2nd fiddle).

  783. There are moon signs AND sun signs? I may be getting in over my head. It may break my sore little brain, but I’m going to check out those links.

  784. What site did you go on Bug?

  785. All this talk of astrology….is Neal Stephenson lurking about somewhere…I would love to have my chart done. We shall have to investigate around hereabouts.

  786. I just read that link yes in someways the mercury man is in me ! I tend to perform a bit at gatherings.

    Sometimes a bit can be the perfect amount.

  787. I do not have such a wonderful book, but I sure would love to have one. Most of my learning comes from Linda G. and the other book. In my experience, combining the two brings about scarily accurate results. Man. I will have to look for an ephemeris. That sounds FANTASTIC.

  788. Each planet (this includes the Sun and Moon as planets) has it’s own sign. For instance, your Jupiter might be in Aries…

    I posted the Linda Goodman link just a few posts ago, though I use her book Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs.

    Her daughter, Jill, incidentally, is also an astrologer, and she publishes a daily horscopes that is tear off, like those little desk-top calendars. She is also scarily accurate. You can get it at Borders or Barnes and Noble (and also Toadstool, an indie b-store in Keene, NH.)

  789. Michael T–if your sun sign is not really ALL you, then your Ascendant and Moon will prolly help fill in the blanks.

  790. Sorry to change the subject for just a second but when i read you last post L Bug about toadstool

    does any one remember a strore in the 70’s called that they sold the coolest furniture like bean bags only they were really thick velour on the outside and stuffed with chopped up foam rubber in the inside. Really looked nice ( for the 70’s) hehe

  791. Ooh, Haven. “A freudian slip is when you say one thing and mean your mother.”

    tee hee hee.

  792. I had to go away and work (how inconvenient) but was so very happy to come back to a conversation on astrology!

    Thank you Caryl, Linda, Sarah for your reverse sympathy and Haven for being scared for me in reverse (which — !!! never occurred to me, but it does now! it did come very close to my carotid, and I didn’t get to the hospital right away. But I highly recommend shock as a pain management system). I posted some pictures on the yahoo site
    that were a few years after the last surgery so you can see what a good plastic surgeon is worth. (I even posted a vintage one, for Sher).

  793. Kittery–I posted my tattoo pic to my site. I didn’t want to inflict it on the other blog babies if they didn’t wanna see. I managed to keep all booty-skin out of the pic. 🙂

  794. Damn no booty skin

  795. Ok, ok. We can add Carrie to the ridiculously beautiful list of Haven bloggers.

  796. Did anyone go to the NPH YouTube post I put up earlier? It’s a faux musical and he sings REALLY well, but it’s also a cast of thousands (ok, tens) including Margaret Cho, Kathy Najimy, Sarah Chalke, Andy Richter, John C. Reilly, and Jack Black as Jesus. It’s a response to the passing of Prop 8 and is probably giving everyone who voted for it buyer’s remorse right now. I mention it again because I’ve watched it probably 8 times since I found it last night.

    Once more, that number is:

  797. Michael T. Snort. You don’t want my booty skin. Fat rolls, darling, fat rolls. Sigh. Diet necessary.

  798. what kind of tattoo did you get ?

    Thanks I need more education on astology to understand my Ascendant and Moon. I find it really interesting though

  799. Oh, no Bug. That was back in the day. And I always thought of myself as merely average looking.

  800. And where? where is your tattoo? It’s not in your album, it’s not in new photos.

  801. LBug that tattoo ROCKS I love the A/W shirt too !!

  802. Carrie. Fan-tabulous. I love it. LOVE IT. Jack Black as Jesus? HIGH-larious…

    Can I say without getting booted off the blog that not ALL Republicans are the devil?

  803. I didn’t want to inflict my backside on the whole of the blogbabies if they weren’t interested. 🙂 Just click my handle here, and it will take you to the pic.

    Carrie. Shut up. You are beautiful.

  804. Carrie-
    When I saw the link you had posted earlier, I clicked on it, and just before it loaded I was thinking “NPH was in the Prop 8 Musical- that would be something good to share.” Then the site loaded, and that was it! So, I watched it again. It’s disappointing that California can’t go back in time and rethink their decision. I was never more tempted to write a scathing letter to a state than I was when that passed.

  805. Carrie, people seldom get tattoos in their albums. I suppose it COULD be done.

  806. Thanks, Michal T. I am very much partial to it. 🙂 It gives me comfort. Incidentally, this is the tatoo my students and priest got an eyeful of the day I chased the skink around my classroom…

  807. That would have been a day I would never let you forget, not that you would.

  808. Molly, you are going to kill me if you keep this stuff up. And yes, I think we are soul sisters. 😉

    Oh, and to allay your fears, even though I am part fearsome Scorpio, I shall not kill you. Instead, you need to go to confession. I expect you to give a detailed account of your misdeeds to Fr. Sod Off Already.

    And also? What is this “the devil” nonsense? His name is TOBY. Informal as well as infernal. Remember?!

  809. This is the website I sent Molly. I recommend Obtain Your Natal Chart and Personal Numerology (I think). Yes. That sounds good.. enjoy! 😉

  810. Carrie, lord above. You are BEAUTIFUL. And I can’t see any scars, no matter how hard I look.

  811. Scars where? Carrie you are a knock out.

  812. Well I am off work now and have the hour drive home in this insane weather. Maybe on later but if not good nite to you all

  813. Lightning Bug- Of course not all Republicans are evil! My best friend is a Republican, and I love her dearly. As is my father, and a number of other important figures in my life. We just avoid the subject as much as possible. And anyway, “Republican” and “Democrat” are just names. It’s more important how a person lives his/her life and treats other people, in my opinion.

    By the way, I now know my moon sign and my ascendant sign. It’s been a big night for learnin’.

  814. I am the biggest moron. EVER.


    :: mumbles :: just call me Tardy :: mumbles ::

  815. Jamie, well said.

  816. But, Kittery, I posted my tattoo for you! Doesn’t that mean anything?

    And yeah, I’m way over due for a turn at the confessional. Though I confess ::grin:: that I like the closed off little room. I feel better not having to meet the priest’s eyes as I tell him all “the bad things I done that I’m not gonna do no more” (love me some Guys and Dolls!) Plus, I’m the opposite of claustrophbic and enjoy the snuggly tight sensation of a small area.

    Ok, Kittery, ok. For the sake of clarity, not all Republicans are named Toby. This is a link that you all need to see. Kittery sent it to me last night, and I peed myself a little bit laughing. This is what she sent me.

    Michael T., If you have not read the skink story, I shall have to recount it for you some time. It was very funny. At least to me. Maybe not so much for the priest. I do not embarrass to easily at all. 🙂 This is a story I love, though of course, it worried me a bit at the time. I have signed a contract which contains a MORALS clause, after all.

  817. Scars stem to stern, Caryl! I guess they’re more noticeable to me. And thank you all, but those pictures were taken decades ago. Though I still like my face. I guess that’s something, since the face you come into this world with is an accident of birth; the one you have mid-life is the one you’ve made.

  818. The hell with a ‘morals clause’. If ya do sumpin’ wrong, you give yourself a good flogging. Seriously. Sister, I believe we need to have an outreach program for our newly sprouted convent .. get the word out, ya know?

    (about your tattoo, yes dear, read your email) 😉

  819. Michael T – you and my youngest niece have the same birthday. 🙂 Aside from year. Obviously.

  820. Yup. When Caryl and Haven agree, you know you’re right. I’d love to see a current Carrie picture. And then I’d be proven right for-ev-er.

    See? That was the Virgo in me coming out. I am almost always right. 🙂

    I responded to your email, Sister. I saw pppbbbbttttthhhhh!

  821. Er, my Bloom County raspberries were somewhat marred by the “I saw” rather than the “I say” it should’ve said.

  822. I wondered what the hell that meant, hah. 🙂

  823. Oh shut up. 😉

  824. On which? Email, the blog or chat?


  825. Good night, and safe driving, Michael T.

  826. “In the beginning, you’ll have trouble deciding if your Cancerian girl is a gentle moon maiden or a wild loony-bird. In the end, you still won’t know.”

    Right, so, um has this Linda Goodman been talking to my family or something? Sweet lord in heaven, she should have just put AMY right in the center of it all.

  827. :: mumbles :: just call me Tardy :: mumbles ::


  828. The power of astrology done well is that it speaks directly to every individual, and yet is universal. Miss Amy.

  829. Molly~
    The ebay gods and the united postal service have failed me yet again.
    Tomorrow I shall set up camp on my front porch holding protest.
    Okay not really but I will sulk and bad mouth them both from my cubicle tomorrow.

  830. And that’s what scares the bejeesus out of me Haven! I know that there are millions of other Cancers reading that thinking, cripes-that’s me! Isn’t just amazing that it works that way?

  831. At this rate, I may have to send you mine, and you can pretend I have not written in it and cried all over certain pages and underlined and written exclamation points all over…

  832. Just wait, Amy O, until you learn about ascendants et al. SCARY.

  833. Amy O, what site were you on?

  834. Caryl~
    I followed the link that Molly posted above…and now I can’t find it…so many posts!

    Here’s a question though: How much of astrology is a person “wanting” to relate to their sign? How many people really say ” nope. not me.not even close. I am so not a sagitarius.”

    I must go to bed, this is the middle of the night for me!

  835. Amy, when I did the reading on Cafe Astrology, I went into it laughing with a bunch of my friends, and (I read it out loud) and I’d pause and go, “oh my god.” and all my friends would be nodding .. it was specific stuff, too. So .. I dunno. What am I saying?

  836. Hey! I’m a Taurus!

  837. Oh, Kate. That makes me love you more!

  838. Yay!!!

  839. Kittery, I know what you mean. I was just brushing my teeth and I had to log back on because I felt as though I came across as saying I don’t believe in Astrology because I most certainly do..I just know that sometimes my girlfriends will read their horoscope for the day and will say “yeah, a new love interest coming my way, you know that one guy was talking to me, etc.” But I guess there is a HUGE difference in sun sign profiles as opposed to you love life preview for 2009 in Glamour magazine or something:~)

  840. God I am annoying even myself, but just to be clear te site is Cafe Astrology? I am pisces with slow rising..

  841. And you and Kittery CRACKED ME UP with your bad date stories. OH MY GOD. You’re hysterical.

  842. Just doing my job, ma’am.

  843. Good night, dear ones!

  844. Do you think it’s a Taurus thing to have excruciatingly awful dates?

  845. Question: Was it Lightning Bug that wanted to know how Miss Haven and I met? I’ve been writing a post for my blog that isn’t quite ready yet. The short of it is that a friend of mine was taught in high school by Mother Delonda. She introduced me to Delonda and her lovely youngest child (the heathen on the masthead of this blog) one evening and it was love at first sight. At least on my part. And it was because that wise beyond her short number of years, young woman was able to see me.

    Long story, but it actually started as a first date (?) with said friend – Kate, a date not as worthy as your first date story – that started with a viewing of “Heavy Metal” and ended with drinks with Haven and other friends. Shark Bites, Haven has reminded me… apropos of everything and nothing.

  846. Hmmm…my Aunt Stephanie is also a Taurus and is the Queen of Bad Dates so yes, I’d say it’s possible.

  847. Dang! I think I just missed LB!

    Kittery: I don’t think Taurus has a lock on bad dates. Seriously. Heavy Metal as a first date movie?

    In high school a first date movie was to have been “Oh, God” but the reels didn’t show up in time. Instead we got to watch “The Hindenburg”. The night was one disaster after another. She ran from the car at the end of it.

  848. I went to see “Aladdin” on my first real date.

  849. Hi Caryl!

  850. i know little to nothing about the zodiac and astrology/signs in general. i would love to read more…haven, can i borrow that book, Goodman’s RELATIONSHIP SIGNS?

    i was born on feb 4, i am an aquarius. my husband is dec 17, sagittarius and my son is sept 18, virgo. that’s all i got.

  851. Hi Amy. How are you handling this unseasonably hot weather we are having? Which I know just sounds cruel to our east coast/midwest friends, but I am hating it here.

  852. Aladdin, The Hindenburg … I think I may collapse.

    Oh, and just to add to the collective horror – I told Molly about Spanky .. (first/blind) date. He stuck his hands down his pants not once, not twice – THREE times. The first time I coughed politely. The second time I coughed less politely the third time I just said, “OH *COME* ON!”. And his hand slithered out of his pants, not “oh shit, yeah, I’m a dirtbag” but more like, “well, maybe next time”. BAH.

    Yeah and in case you were wondering, that was also the LAST date.

  853. Yeah, um, Caryl? The high here tomorrow will be 8. 😛

  854. Aladdin boy and I tried to hold hands, but it was impossible. I have tiny, childlike hands, and his were what we like to refer to as “pork chops.”

  855. Oh, do you rename your failed attempts too, Kate?

  856. Sometimes. Right now I’m doing it for the sake of brevity.

  857. I don’t mind the heat but just to allay any possible feelings of envy, we in California are experiencing Santa Ana winds. Hot dry dusty wind that makes you itch in places you didn’t think were possible.

  858. Kate, I figured, but I wanted to know for sure. 🙂

    Amy .. that sounds .. lovely.

  859. I am going to start calling that guy “Pork Chop.”

  860. Feces-throwing monkey on the loose in Tampa Bay

    CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Wildlife officials said a rhesus monkey known to throw feces when mad is on the loose in Tampa Bay. Authorities have been trying to capture the primate since Tuesday afternoon, but it managed to evade a bucket truck and tranquilizer dart.

    Gary Morse with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the adult male is thought to have escaped from an unlicensed source. It was last seen in Clearwater.

    The monkey is not considered dangerous.

  861. Maybe he is protesting the fact that Adolph Hitler Campbell and siblings were removed from their parents.

  862. No, not dangerous at all, unless the excrement it’s tossing around has the plague or something in it.

  863. I regularly expose my children to Rhesus Monkey Feces to improve their immunity.

  864. That kid’s parents are sick.

  865. Hahaha. So a supplement to vaccinations? 😉

  866. *Instead* of vaccination.

  867. Oh even better. 😛

    What is wrong with people? “It’s just a name”? It’s a bad name. Is “Aryan Nation” just a name too? Good god in heaven.

  868. At least Wal-mart would make his cake.

  869. I am lost. Someone named their son adolph hitler?

  870. Oh jeez, does anyone know the back ground to this story.

  871. or care. forget I asked. poor kids.

  872. Mental illness is a little nauseating? I don’t know anything other than what that and one other (basically identical) article said.

  873. I just read that the children were removed from their parents. That’s all I know for now.

  874. Okay, I am going back to try and decipher my astro chart. So far I am sun in Pisces with Libra ascendant?

  875. I’ll be right back Caryl and then I’ll pretend that I’m Molly and know what I’m talking about. 😉

  876. Helloo? Anyone home?

  877. this whole post is for jim shue

    jim, i wish you had been my first date. you’re kind, you’re handsome, and you love me for who i am. that’s all. i mean, i know we would have broken up. but i have broken up with everyone anyway, or they, me.

    i could never make a character out of you. you’re far too good.

    i could never make a scene with you. you’d steal the shoe. i mean, show.

    i wish you were here in california — no, actually? actually i wish i were in NC. but the gods of the economy have deemed otherwise.

    polly is here and she and i laughed and laughed tonight. we DID. it was my very first blog baby close encounter. it has been great. she’s in pablo’s room right now, asleep. she swears that she snores, but i actually dont mind snoring. it makes me feel i am surrounded by good animals.

    jim, you all three of you are so divine. you make a lovely family. no one wil ever drink too much or leave on purpose to pursue a dream. i wish you knew how crazy busy i been, to have neglected your last email. i felt so stabbed by guilt and an odd longing for you that i just wrote this here rather than go through my emails, most of which are feces thrown my monkeys.



    PS haven has shown me her photographs, she is also a super shutterbug.


    is there nothing this woman cannot do? i despair of finding it. i never want to. haven is our haven. we love you, haven. thank you for loaning me polly. she’s a dearheart.

  878. Oh I love knowing that Polly is with Suzanne, this blog is just amazing.
    And hopefully Polly and I will get to meet up in April so that means I will in a way have met sweet Suzanne as well!
    Hey, I’ll take what I can get.

  879. you’re just so darling. thank you. oxoooxx sfc

  880. Wonderful! I get my butt out of bed and find a love note from Ms Suzanne! You truly are dear. Thank you. We would have had a great first date!

  881. LB- Sun Signs has me as a Cancer. I always suspected I was really a cancer and not a leo. Interesting.

  882. Indiana Boy gets tongue stuck to a light pole!

  883. Carrie!
    That’s a Guild D25!
    … What year?

    I was also going to ask to see something in “blue”, because blue is not a color but a way of life, and there, oh my golly, was Ink Blue and Silver.

    O, yes.

    And, I’m not seeing anything in your pictures other than beautiful you. I’m fearsomely grateful for the expertise of others, on your behalf.

    ~ S.

  884. Wow. You folks are amazing. I regularly cruise by Haven’s website to see what she has to say because, I may as well admit it, if I could pick 3 people I’m likely never to meet but I’d still like to be my friends, she would be 1 (if you’re curious, the other 2 would be Meryl Streep and Rachel Maddow).

    So anyway, I hardly ever click on the Comments because I can’t keep up and it would feel like jumping into a game of jump rope already in progress.
    This time I was intrigued by the Quaker topic, so I took a deep breath and clicked and holy moley: poo flinging monkeys, carpet baggers, raccoons, childbirth, farting, Calvinists, astrology, Barbra Streisand, and oh, Quakers. I’ve had a few out loud laughs this morning thanks to you all.

    I’ll share this tidbit: when I bought the Streisand album in question, my mother found it so “indecent” that the only way I was allowed to keep it was if I used a Magic Marker to cover her up, which I did. I still have it.

  885. hi everyone..spent the whole day yesterday in airports dealing with cancelled and/or delayed flights…but i am back!

    Wow…i can’t catch up with the postings…

    Astrology? JohnS and I share a Libran birthday…

  886. …boy’s tongue frozen stuck on pole?

    now that’s what i call a cold sore.

  887. Love the story Kate!
    When my mom was younger she stuck her entire inner bottom lip to a pole and then ripped it off. Yaaacccckkk! That makes my butt hurt just thinking about it.

  888. I’m almost embarrassed to say this, but when I was about six, I licked an icicle hanging off one of the downspouts on the house next door and the tip of my tongue stuck to it. I did what any six year old would do: I panicked and ripped my tongue loose leaving the tip on the icicle.

  889. this made me weep. it is so sweet.

  890. Oh Shue, that must have hurt so badly!!!

  891. Here’s another version of that lion story, Steph:

    All creation is sentient

  892. Without clicking on the link, I’m going to guess that’s the story of Christian the lion. I saw it on the Today show and when the camera closed back in on Ann Curry, even SHE was wiping away tears.
    If anyone wants to see another amazing animal story, check this out- and even if you begin to get horrified by the tension, make sure you watch till the end because: Spoiler Alert! All ends well.

  893. Jamie. Dear God. A crocodile too? My stomach hurts, even if it does end well.

  894. I know. I was like that the first time I saw it, too. But the part where the whole herd of buffalo comes from out of nowhere l to save the little guy? It’s as dramatic as the men in space suits coming over the hill in ET, only Mother NATURE wrote this one.

  895. …on the other video: that’s not a water buffalo; it’s a Cape buffalo. The water buffalo is Asian and though massive in size, like a Cape buffalo, it is more like a cow that the Cape buffalo. A comparison might be that the water buffalo is more like a float in a parade while the Cape buffalo is like a Sherman tank equipped with nuclear missiles and is not to be messed with. When I was in Botswana, guides said they’d rather deal with a lion, which is somewhat predictable, as opposed to the Cape buffalo. The consolation there is while those guys could and would kill you, they wouldn’t eat you.

    That’s some magnificent footage.

    One other thing I noticed and so admired about the animal predators I saw in Botswana is they had a high failure rate on kills. I admired the hell out of them because of their can-do attitudes.

    In this video, the reason the calf wasn’t killed immediately is because the lion that got him was busy fending off the other lions and, as it turned out, a darned crocodile.

    Amazing stuff…

  896. george, thanks for posting the other video of christian the lion. man, i have cried every time i watch it. when he hugs, wowsers, it gets me good.

    i wanted to share a story from when i was in tanzania…seeing these unbelievable animals in their natural habitats was truly an honor for me. when i was there (and i went on a very unique trip–we woke at 3 am to see specific animals in certain places–i was not herded around in a bus full of screaming tourists…it was sacred and is one of the most incredible journeys i have ever taken) we got to see a lion and a lioness “honeymooning”. that means they have sex around the clock for like 3 or 4 days–and they cuddle. i witnessed it with my whole family and john. some of the most wonderful photos and memories came out of that. it hit me so hard and really made me think just how special it is when a human and an animal connect. it seems that way with so many animals that have been part of my life….dogs, horses, cats. animals have compassion–just like humans…sometimes i prefer them over humans 🙂

  897. Here’s a link to a live webcam that my wife and I helped establish at Mashatu Game Reserve, a nature sanctuary in Botswana. I wrote most of the copy and the interviews in the website. My wife did the contracting for the technical arrangements.

    Just bear with the advertisements, then the camera link will open. I saw amazing things there in Botswana and when watching the live cam on the computer in Alexandria, Va.

  898. I am just sitting at my office computer weeping into two already soggy kleenex over the Christian the Lion video…Gawd I am such a wuss.
    Thanks. sigh.

  899. Brenda if you’re a wuss I am too.

  900. Wow! What haven’t you done, George?!!

  901. I am the biggest wuss, I won’t even watch the video.

  902. Oh, Amy, you should. It’s .. perfect. And I’m crying as I write this, so I’m being pretty wussy myself. 🙂

  903. Okay I looked Christian the lion up on Wikipedia and the story alone made me get all weepy so I will need to watch the video when I get home and am alone.
    So Steph how does one ever get info/find out about/and go on a such a wonderful vacation. I would like to do something like that more than anything.

  904. JIM SHUE: oh, to have been that icicle.

    but how evil of it to take your flesh in payment for the bliss. even i am not so wanton. i would only have rifled your pockets for candy and bits of boy poetry.

  905. I just watched the lion video and it made my crappy day turn around instantly.

  906. Hi everyone! I have had a crazy busy week but I want to say hello before I rush off again.
    Oh, Christian the Lion! Isn’t that just so wonderful! I cried when I watched that!
    George, I just picked up Children of God and am doing eeny-meeny between that and Chocolat and its sequel (thanks Jodi)
    PLUS, I am still up for Something Rising discussions with Amy and Bug if Amy’s book ever arrives! 😡

  907. Why is your day crappy Caryl?

  908. Not crappy exactly, just feeling sorry for myself because Charlie was up every two hours. So its a tired day, and that video was just breath taking and spirit lifting.

  909. How are you doing Jerri?

  910. Devon,

    ME TOO on the Rachel Maddow thing!!!

  911. SUZANNE!
    I kowtow in worship.
    {{{laughing silently because I am in my office}}}

  912. For the Fireflyers:

    ~ Sarah

  913. Maureen,

    RE your comment: “am doing eeny-meeny between that and Chocolat and its sequel,” choose one of the Joanne Harris novels!! Let me know what you think when you’ve read one or both.


  914. (crickets chirping)

    Hello? Anyone here?

    (an owl hoots)

  915. Sarah…thanks for that little movie…I miss that series and Joss Whedon’s writing. Loved the song, too.

  916. Hey JimmyShue…I kowtow to you also…licking an icicle. Is the sweetie pie asleep?

  917. Yup. She was in bed (early) by the time I got home from work. She had a long day at daycare – no nap. She and her friend decided that they would “play” through their pack-n-plays. Apparently, play being the operative word in the name. Maybe they should have called them pack-n-naps instead.

  918. Wherever do they get all that energy? I was exhausted all the time and we kept wondering to ourselves HOWEVER do single parents do it?
    But aren’t they so adorable when they sleep? I could watch them for hours… if I could just get me a grandchild! Pretty sure I was a jewish mother in another life.

  919. Brenda: We know a couple of single parents who went through the adoption classes with us. We ask ourselves all the time how they do it. One woman almost didn’t. She brought a newborn home and didn’t shower for nearly two weeks. A mutual friend finally showed up unannounced on her doorstep because she kept refusing help. She was durn near crazy from exhaustion!

    “Um? You want to come over for a few hours and help out? Hell yeah!” Yup, we let people watch Riley from nearly the very beginning. At the very least, for a few hours so we could have dinner away. I think it makes us appreciate her even more.

    And she is adorable when she is asleep with her butt in the air. I find myself peeking in on her from time to time just to look at her perfect little self.

  920. I’m with you on the grandchild thing. When I was young, I yearned to be older. When I was older, yearned to be in love. In love, yearned for a child. When a parent, yearned for a grand child…and the youth and the desire to be older and even more love to give and accept. Go figure. Who was it who said, “I ain’t ever satisfied.”

  921. AAWWWW…wish I could pop over and grandma-sit for you cause I sure would in a second, they are so fun to watch. Our Alexa had colic and really for real projectile vomiting which I had thought was just a myth doctors used to scare first time mothers. She had it for about 3 months. We almost gave her back. But then suddenly, overnight, it was gone, I guess the stomach enzymes kicked in. She still only ever slept 4 hours out of every 24 until she was about 3, so we were always a little crazed.
    So you better get some shut eye yourself…I am off to do the same; nowadays we just have the dogs and THEY sleep all the time.
    Night, night, hope the bedbugs are just a fig of your magic nation.

  922. I hesitate to mention this, but our little Roo started sleeping through the night a few weeks after we brought her home. She wasn’t even two months old yet! Other parents hated us for that. It’s a rare occurrence when she doesn’t sleep through the night.

  923. My mom always says if she had known grandchildren would be so much fun she would have had them first!

  924. Brenda, you can grandma-sit anytime. She’d be lucky to have you.

  925. …thinking of you, Kate, and you know why. good luck

  926. Thanks George! Everyone, I have a job interview Wednesday. I covet your prayers, good vibes, and astrological laser beams.

  927. Kate, you have something better than luck. You have you. Can’t get better than that.

  928. And yes, prayers, good vibes, and astrological laser beams headed your way.

  929. You people! Can you get any sweeter? Thanks Jim!

  930. Just remember us little people when you make it to the big time.

  931. Yay for Kate! My prayers will go with you.

  932. Good luck, Kate! 🙂

  933. I am freezing my happy ass off in Nashville TN

  934. I wore shorts to the supermarket this afternoon!

  935. Amy – that made me curse . . . shorts!

  936. my kids’ schools are canceled tomorrow because of the cold . . . 2 degrees is LOW for Nashville

  937. Guess what? I got to share some of my newfound Blog Baby Brainfacts this week . . . when someone asked me what my religion was (which normally leaves me stumped – or – I say something snarky like “I am spiritually opposed to organized religion”) so I said: “I am a non-practicing neo-pagan, 100 percent pantheist and 89 percent non-programmed Quaker” . . . the room was filled with stuttering, open-mouthed artists . . . It was a high-light of my week!

  938. I keep a weather watch on Switzerland until I leave. You should be impressed that it’s colder in Nashville than the Alps!

  939. “What’s your religion?” is the weirdest question. It’s right up there with “why don’t you have children?” and “do you use tampons or sanitary napkins?”

    George et al: Please disregard this post

  940. Who was it who said, “I ain’t ever satisfied.”
    George, I believe that was either Mick Jagger or the Rum Tum Tugger. 😉

    Kate – Oh, best of luck (probably not needed due to your brilliance) and mega good vibes and post-solstice energy! “To the lengthening of the days!!”

    I talked to my sis in San Diego yesterday – it was 90 degrees! Argh! It’s -15 here.

    Off to get the guys on the bus.

  941. Hi Jodi –
    Happy day teaching the youth of America. I’ll take your advice and read the sequel first – I need something that makes suffering through winter seem romantic, and a virtual trip to France sounds good right now. Au revoir!

  942. Sher – I made the mistake of telling Tristan that your schools were closed today. He just glared. I don’t know at whom … me? … Nashville? … just THE ADOLESCENT GLARE.
    He is just loving being in the musical. I’m going to take a look at the Algonquin camp. Cross your fingers the milk price goes back up! :-~

  943. Maureen,

    Here in northern Indiana the air temperature is -15 degrees — and every school is closed. You probably shouldn’t mention this to your son … YOU may have the privilege of teaching America’s youth — I will be reading while wrapped in a goosedown comforter and thinking occasionally of how brave you are.

    One more suggestion: watch the movie ‘Chocolat’ with Johnny Depp and you’ll know all you need to know about the book. That way, you can read ‘The Girl With No Shadow’ with the perfect visual of that tiny, snowy French village in mind. I loved this book — waiting for your review.

    Do you have a long weekend, with Monday being MLK Jr. Day? We do. Stay Warm!!

  944. -15 this morning in Ohio…I had no idea my car could register negative temperatures. I am actually mad at mother nature right now, like pissed at the bitch.
    I cannot wait until I am home, in my jams, and reading with a glass of wine.Ahhh!
    St Mo and Molly,
    I am beginning to think I purchased Something Rising from the same piece of shit who ripped Haven off. The book is still has not arrived.

  945. George:
    Isn’t it a sign that we are still alive to never be satisfied? I’m sure that Bhuddists would disagree about the wanting of things being positive, but I look at it that way, especially if the things we want are positive things i.e. grandchildren, eh?
    and JimShue, thank you for your confidence although I must tell you I have been known to read books like ‘The Hobbit’ to toddlers that can barely speak, so I am a threat in that department. 🙂
    Y’all have a good day…it’s Friday! and I get a three day weekend!!
    And KATE: you just need to worry if that company you are interviewing with is good enough for YOU.

  946. Hello. Yes, schools are closed in Nashville, at least the public schools are here in the city where my kids go. The thing is, our public school system has 75,000 students and a majority are low income and qualify for the free or reduced lunch program. So, many do not have warm coats and such so the district was worried about them standing in the freezing temps in the early morning waiting for their busses. We just don’t get cold like this very often. It is very rare. They have Monday off as well for MLK day so my kids were happily sleeping in this first morning of their 4 day weekend when I went off to work. But, the sun is shining, so I am happy about that.

    For all of you in the northern states – be careful and stay warm!

  947. You people…coming here is like drinking a nice warm mug of self-esteem with whipped cream!

    And I need it…it’s sub zero here.

  948. Good luck Kate!!

  949. Brenda:

    Is it Divine Discontent?

  950. Kate – We expect a full report later!
    Jodi – Lucky you! It’s cold but very sunny here. I plan to jump right in to The Girl with No Shadow. Luckily I’ve seen Chocolat (oo la la Johnny Depp, oops, drooled), so I can catch the book version some other time.
    I just realized I left an important folder at home and considering the possibilities of a commando mission 20-mile round trip.

  951. George:
    Must be. Time to grow.
    ‘Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live’ – Dorothy Thompson

  952. I am coming to believe that the interplay of fear and courage is the narrative of humanity. Thanks so much that quote.

  953. Although the Hollywood version of Chocolat has its charms, the book has a depth and ironic complexity that the film does not because of the decision to alter Vianne’s bete noir. I highly recommend reading the novel even if you’ve already seen the film.

  954. Children, thank you for going right on being brilliant without me. I have to take a couple days off because I cut my finger (how, how?) just a TINY bit, and it became infected. I’ve had it lanced twice and the infection keeps returning. It hurts like the devil to type, and I have an entire book on Quakerism to write. This is my evil leaking out. Suzanne insisted I high thee to a doctor, so I’m heading over to Dianne’s in my pajamas and a hat. Once again I look like a tragic vagrant. I shall return as soon as possible.

    Devon, thanks for the phrase ‘Vianne’s bete noir.’ Lovely.

  955. Good healing vibes to Haven’s infected finger. Yowwwch!

  956. Even though it hurt, I bet having it lanced was WICKED COOL.

  957. Do they have anti biotics in NC ?

  958. Devon,

    You’re right about reading the book. It’s a good rule: if the movie is good, the book is probably GREAT.

  959. Thanks for the tip on Chocolat, Devon. I have to sit through a very long swim meet tomorrow, so maybe I’ll have time to read both!

  960. (AP)Durham, North Carolina – World renowned author, Haven Kimmel, has just published her latest novel ‘Quaker Girl’ to much critical aclaim and sold the movie rights for an undisclosed amount estimated to be unprecedented. The publication is made even more poignant by the fact that an innocent cut on Ms. Kimmel’s finger that was left untreated by the simple use of neosporin and a bandaid led to her inability to use the hand to type so that she was forced to finish the manuscript using one hand and one foot. Reporters attempting to get a picture of this amazing feat of coordination were turned away at the barn door by a spectre in jammies and a hat that was assumed to be the neighborhood bag lady.

    {{feet of coordination :-)}}

  961. Well, Haven, now we know why you are also known as Blade Hollister. In the future, though, please save your cutting for your sarcasm. Now, be healed!

  962. Brenda I am laughing like a damn fool

  963. Sher. You have to stop being so funny. I sprayed my computer screen with Coke when I read the, “I am a non-practicing neo-pagan, 100 percent pantheist and 89 percent non-programmed Quaker.”

    SPRAYED my screen.

  964. LOL. Good one, Brenda.

  965. SHER!
    I, too, am amazed at your sassy self…I could never have remembered even half that whole sentence!

  966. Brenda!!!!!

    Haven…I have a MIRACLE CURE. Sprinkle your finger with autism powder.

  967. Autism powder?

    What do you think, Maureen? Could we use a few more Aspies in the world? We’d sure as hell get more done…

  968. So true, Molly Bug! Politeness is way over-rated AND a huge time-waster!
    But you have to be careful with the powder: scratches and cuts won’t bother anymore but a standard cold will be THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT!!!!!!!!!!!

  969. So those of you who’ve kept up with all my drama lately—I think I have had an Epiphany that, while very selfish, rings true nonetheless. I’d be very interested to know if you think I am just smoking crack…

    I’ve been Without Glasses for 3 weeks now, and as I wear trifocals and had a yearbook deadline, the headache accompanying 21 days is atrocious. I actually get nauseated if I move my head too quickly. Well, all this pain and worry about how to afford my Progressive lenses ($300!@#$#@!) ended today with an email from Brother 1. He said, “You know, you have so many metaphorical headaches coming that I can’t do anything about, why don’t I at least take care of the physical one? Send me the name and number of your ophthalmologist, and I will buy you new glasses.” I burst into tears. Then, I protested; they cost too damn much to ask someone to buy them for me. But he insisted (which John never does), and so I gratefully, and a little guiltily, gave in.

    The epiphany starts here: in December, I had complained that while I was perfectly willing to follow these ideas—“Having done all, stand” and “Do that which is assigned to you”— sometimes I need someone to help me “stand,” and my family has been failing miserably in this capacity lately (as I am sure I have failed them too). So it seems to me that this ordeal of being glasses-less has given my brother the opportunity to help me stand. I think I begin to understand (a very, tiny, infinitesimal bit) the purpose of other people’s suffering. While I can in NO WAY compare myself to George’s Man with MS or Jerri’s situation with her daughter or any of the other tragic situations playing out on this blog (not to mention the wider world), in this little way (little for him, HUGE for me) Bro 1 is able to help me in a significant way.

    Like I said, it’s a totally selfish epiphany (possibly conceived to alleviate my guilt about accepting), and that might make it a contradiction in terms, but I can’t help but think if we all responded to one another’s needs like this, doing a small part to lift another’s burden, how much better things would be all around. For me, what John’s done is not small at all, but to him, $300 is barely a blip on the screen.


    I agree with everyone who says Kate’s got nothing to worry about. Having yourself at the interview will be enough knock their socks off.

    Haven, you poor thing. Good luck with the finger. Lancing sounds awfully painful. I hope they gave you a lollipop afterward. Or a beer.

  970. Bug, I hope your headaches go away fast and permanently, too.
    and Haven, I would feel really really bad if you DID have to learn to type with your feet. {gulp}

  971. Yea rah, Bro One! If he has inherited any of the Aspie genes, this might be his way of showing care. Perhaps he doesn’t know how to do the touchy feely but jumps at the chance to help financially.

    Did you have transition tri-focals before? I only ask because I just tried transition bi-focals and about threw them on the floor and stomped them to bits. I finally traded them in on two separate pairs of lenses using old frames. The problem was that I need my distance lenses to see the floor and I had to walk around looking STRAIGHT DOWN in order to get the ground in focus. My eyes ached with them. I would try to look through the bottom to walk around and my eyes would flip out in protest at focusing through the reading part.

  972. Ha, that is fantastic Brenda.

  973. Molly – A small epiphany on my part a year or so ago. Sometimes you deny the GIVER the gift of grace by refusing an offering. I had a very good friend whom I helped a lot, and she was just completely overjoyed when SHE had the chance to help ME with something. I thought that being a good friend was always doing for her but our friendship got much closer when I allowed myself to show her my needs too.

    Curious question: does anyone else have bad dreams about waterfalls or do I get them because I grew up near Niagara Falls and am scared to death of the place?

  974. Another curious question: What is up with John Mayer’s mouth when he sings?

  975. Autism powder doesn’t cause autism, sillies!

  976. Oops … now I feel dumb. What does it do Miss Kate of Great Cakes?

  977. Oops … now I feel dumb. What does it do Oh Kate of Great Cakes?

  978. Now I feel dumber – I double-commented.

  979. I’m not sure I want it to lose it’s mystique. It’s far better to leave you all guessing.

  980. Fair enough, Kate! 😉
    I just wasted an hour looking at dumb stuff on YouTube in order to wind down after the week. I’m feeling guilt-provoked into going and looking like a mom by sitting in my Jeep in a parking lot with the engine running waiting for a kid to emerge.

  981. Molly, I think that is so great that your brother can do that for you, I am one to accept help as I know how much it hurts my feelings when I try to help someone else and they try not to accept it!

  982. Eck,I hate John Mayer.

  983. “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

    –Melody Beattie

  984. Haven – may I ask why you did not use IODINE on your cut????? I still love IODINE, literally. Just bought me another huge bottle and have used it to stain paper for the encaustics, it has a beautiful staining effect.

    Here is an offer I can make you to assist in the creation of Outlaw Quaker Girl. I type 110 words per minute – – you can send me audio files, or speak into the phone, and I will type out for you – there might even be some others that can do some of the typing . . .

    Molly Et AL

    As a giver and general motherhen type, it is nigh on impossible to ACCEPT anything. The mere fact of selling my art (when I really would give it away) is also VERY difficult (I try to think, I am trading this piece for new art supplies and travel that I need for doing more work . . . ).

    Also, believing that I have a strong backbone/’don’t need anybody’/mainly because people have rarely been ‘there’ for me in my past – – – it is a very difficult act to accept not just things, but love and support. Sometimes, I am waiting for the hand that is giving to slap me.

    Taking has been one of the main challenges in my life, it still is. I now trust MORE people and my chosen family is enlarging (like this Blog) so the taking is getting easier and my giving seems more balanced out (not draining, because I am not just giving to the TAKERS exclusively) . . . I am more reciprocal in my relationships now and it feels healthful for my mind and body.

  985. Just popping in .. thought I’d tell all of you warm and cozy blog babies that it was -24 here in Maine last night. It’s supposed to be “warmer” tonight .. only -15 or something. Hah. 🙂

  986. Sher you always write so beautifully.
    Kittery stay warm!!!
    It’s like -1 here right now and I just let the dogs out. I was watching them from the kitchen window and Sanchez stood on the deck, looked both ways, and pooped right in there in the middle. Hey, at least it was outside!

  987. MAUREEN!
    I don’t exactly know why but you remind me so very much of a beloved friend in Iowa who lives on a farm and teaches gifted children in her school district…hers are all grown and gone and she has the same retirement in 2.5 yrs. dreams that I have but your sensibilities and the way you express yourself remind me so much of her that I love you just for that…I bet you two would love each other…maybe someday?
    SHER!! As usual, Iodine!! how apropo…but hey..the Associated Press reported on the coordination of the remaining hand and a foot, so hey, she was saved!!

  988. Molly–think of the George Fox quote Haven referred to the other day: “Let us then try what Love can do.”

    In this case, what Love can do is offer help (your brother) and receive help graciously (you).

    That works.

  989. Molly…
    I saw on your blog today that you have a liking for lemurs…Here in Durham, we have a nifty Lemur Center (at Duke.

    If you ever have any Other reason to come to Durham (!)
    you could see a passel of the little guys…

    Here is a link:

  990. Also, Durham got a little free advertising on ER last night .. 🙂

  991. Do we need to all take up a collection and contract out a special M.D. to take care of just the Svara family? We could offer to pay off a student loan for a med student if they would check in on them daily?

  992. Blog Babies: you all take such good care of Missy Haven, you are treasures.

  993. Brenda – It does sound like your friend and I would have a lot in common. Why not invite her to join the blog!?!?

    George – Thanks for the recommendation on “Happy Go Lucky” – we watched it last night. It looked like me and my husband in that car! The Aspie and the Pollyanna.

    Jodi – Started Girl with No Shadow – got through part one before falling asleep. It took me awhile to catch on to the switching POV. In my end-of-week brain space, a little label like “Vianne” or “Anouk” would have helped, but I picked up on it fairly quickly. I need to look for some pix of Montmarte because I don’t know that I’ve ever seen it.

    Amy in O – If you did not get Something Rising yesterday, send your mailing address to me at

    Out into -24 where everything is either freezing or trying to die. Even my washing machine is frozen! Oh well, we’re used to piles of dirty laundry. A bientot, mes amis! (I speak no French, just in the mood from my book)

  994. Dianedear: we can’t really take care of Miz Haven, aka, Blade, but we sure support her.

    Maureen: Some people might have thought that Poppy was annoying, perhaps even delusional, and I think that was the charm of it. That being a cheerful, upbeat person is not necessarily a reaction to life, or defense, but a state of being, and as such, as valid as the heavy, brooding, dark, introspective personality that seems to be a template for dramas. To me, it was a splendid little flick. Poppy was just as sensitive and deep in her understanding of the world, and realistic in solving problems, but the difference was in her core being. For her, joy was not a place to arrive at, but rather a place to be. People like her are rare.

  995. George,
    Did you see the star of Happy Go Lucky win her Golden Globe? It was so very sweet. I have yet to see the movie but am looking forward to it.

  996. Okay, I normally wouldn’t post a joke but I thought this was so fitting for all of us:

    During a visit to the mental asylum, I asked the director how do You
    determine whether or not a patient should be institutionalized.

    “Well,” said the director, “we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a
    teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to
    empty the bathtub..”

    “Oh, I understand,” I said “A normal person would use the bucket
    because it’s bigger than the spoon or the teacup.”

    “No.” said the director, “A normal person would pull the plug
    “Would you like a bed by the window?”

  997. No, Amy, I missed it. I haven’t watched an award show for a million years or so.

    I guess its pretty darned cold in Ohio.

    I have been sitting up, swilling coffee, listening to the furnace cycle on and off. There’s now a weak sun peeking into the window in the back room.

    But darned cold…and all the more so after spending most of last week in South Florida.

    This whole city is getting ready for the Inauguration, despite the cold.

    There is such a yearning for hope…so many hopes are invested in Obama.

  998. This morning my husband burned TWO of his fingers with hot bacon grease. SOLIDARITY!

  999. I disappeared from the blog on accident. I posted yesterday then went grocery shopping for comfort food (the makings of sweet potato soup, and let me tell you, dear ones, it was fanstastic.) but after gorging myself, I went straight to sleep.

    Thank you for the comments re: “accepting.” I am a giver too, and it is HARD to accept help (though, ahem-Sher if you ever wanted to send someone free, so-gorgeous-it-makes-you-cry art, I’ll send you my address 🙂 ). I’ve learned a valuable lesson. I’m ging to try to keep learning it in the following months as I rely on neighbors and some church ladies to help me make dinner and get my mom showered etc while working full time and going to school at night. sigh. God don’t ask for much, do he?

    But thank God I have people like the amazing Sarah and Maureen and Haven and Jerri and George and Amy in O and Sister Smite-Me Kittery and ALL of your amazing people who have lifted me up these past crazy awful weeks.

    George, George, what a beautiful quote. Thank you for sharing that. It’s getting posted next to my computers (school and home). And also written into my little notebook. And possibly tattooed on backside as well.

    Jerri-thanks for reminding me of that quote. I’m going to add it to the “stand” and “that which is assigned” quotes as a counterbalance. I’ve got the first two typed up very prettily and am going to have my aid laminate them on Wed for my classroom. I’ll just sneak the 3rd one in as well.

    Nora! Can’t wait to look at the site. My friend Amber (my SHY friend) wants me to run up to Durham this weekend to see a family friend at Ft. Bragg whom we think likes me (!!!) as a last (and possibly first hurrah) before my dad’s spinal fusion on Monday…This could be the perfect excuse…I ADORE lemurs.

  1000. and sniff. I guess my research abilities just aren’t what they used to be. I couldn’t find anything any autism powder anywhere.

    Except of course for where it’s mentioned here.

    I did see something about a powder kids should drink to help with their vitamin/mineral deficiencies….but i don’t quite think that’s what the Indomitable Kate Cake meant.

  1001. Molly
    Would you be a doll and post the recipe for sweet potato soup? I could quite possibly eat sweet potatoes everyday for the rest of my life and never get sick of them.

  1002. I would love to share. It’s my sis’s recipe. I make it gluten free, using a GF flour mix my sister made up, but it should work with regular ol’ all-purpose flour.

    2 very fat sweet potatoes
    1 can evaporated milk
    green onions
    8 oz sour cream
    minimum 8 ox of cheddar cheese
    5 tablespoons butter
    1/4 c flour

    1. Peel and chop sweet potatoes into little cubes. Or bigger cubes. It’s up to you. 🙂 Chop green onions but keep separate from potatoes.
    2. Bake as much bacon as you like (I usually go for the whole 16 oz so that I don’t have to cook any more for leftovers tomorrow) at 350 degrees. I like mine SUPER crispy but not burnt; I have no idea how long to bake it. I just peak at it every 5 minutes or so until it’s just right.
    3. Melt butter in a big pot then add about 1/4 c flour to make a kind of white sauce.
    4. Once that’s mixed—should only take a few moments—immediately add the sweet potatoes. Add enough water to JUST cover the sweet potatoes.
    5. Stir to make sure nothing’s sticking, then put it on medium heat. This sorta boils the potatoes. It takes about 10 minutes.
    6. Stir fairly frequently until the potatoes are fork-poke-able. 🙂
    7. Add the can of evap milk and stir. Turn the heat down to low because evap milk LOVES to burn.
    8. In about 5 minutes, add the sour cream then the cheddar, stirring frequently. My sister and I love cheddar, and we usually use A LOT. You can add/subtract to suit your own taste.
    9. I let this cook for another 10 minutes or so, stirring often so it doesn’t stick.
    10. Then spoon soup into bowls, sprinkle with green onions and crumbled bacon. You might also add a little more cheddar on top for prettiness. It should be fairly thick. You can always add more sour cream and/or cheddar if you think it’s too runny.


  1003. I can taste that soup from here!

    That quote seemed just like the thing to offer. Glad you liked it.

  1004. still freezing in TN, stealing wireless signal from neighbors as ours is ‘blinko’ . . . fussy 6 year old in the house, husband painting the master bedroom, teenager getting ready to ‘play’ with her friends, and the 16 year old is on a ski trip . . .

    considering going into the studio and doing jumping jacks between work to stay warm . . .

    miss and love you all.

    started 3 new books last night, but none ‘grabbed me’ . . . decided I couldn’t read 4 Chutes in a row, too ‘close to home’ if you catch my drift

    wondering if I just need to go on strike until Haven has her newest book released . . .

  1005. George – I actually lost in golf to my 6 year old this morning. Does +14 give me a handicap on a 9 hole round?

  1006. Is mail to Delonda still going to the Muncie, Indiana address, does anyone know?
    Keep warm, you guys!

  1007. Ok. Get this. My mom just told me that there’s a glaucoma medication that actually makes your eyelashes grow longer. Now they’re actually talking about it being prescribed for the cosmetic purpose.

    Oh my word. Believe me, I believe in medicating. I really do.

    But paying to make my eyelashes grow?

  1008. Oh my word that soup sounds incredible.
    Sher, don’t you just hate when you can’t get into a book? I finally started Miss American Pie last night and i’s pretty good. I think it was you that mentioned you were waiting for the sex?! I feel that way too! But I also felt that way in the Twilight series until my friend was like ” um well they are for teenagers Amy, so sex isn’t really appropriate.”

  1009. Molly, I have been taking pre natal vitamins to make my hair grow for my wedding. All of my girlfriends who’ve had children keep telling me to as their hair and nails grew like weeds when they were pregnant. I think maybe it was the human inside of them causing the freakish speedy growth.

  1010. I always heard it was the hormones that made hair/nails grow during pregnancy. 🙂

    I guess what I find the most amusing is that it’s a GLAUCOMA medication. I don’t know. It just tickled me. Plus…since it’s not going to be covered by insurance. Phew. $$$$$$$$ 🙂

  1011. Hey Amy…did you quit facebook?

  1012. I’m 22 .. I have glaucoma!
    (Actually, I heard about that medication and thought ‘hm, how do I get me some o’ that?’)
    Hah. Just think, if you have perfect eyelashes (that you paid for) you’d save money on mascara! 😉

  1013. It was -50 yesterday morning in some parts of Maine. *Without* wind chill.
    Is winter almost over?

  1014. hey kit…NOW i remember why I left Maine! that kind of cold is a whole set of physics that doesn’t apply to most of the rest of the planet.

  1015. I did quit facebook, a creepy exboyfriend found me and I just decided to delete the account for the better, I think I am a bit paranoid sometimes:)

  1016. Kittery, I always can romanticize the cold weather in the northeast ( because I don’t live there:) but that is just too ridiculous for words. -50, pish posh. I wave my hand at it, cannot even deal with it!

  1017. Holy cow, I have smiley faces popping up? How did I do that????????

  1018. Hey all – Just back from an all-day swim meet. My youngest is a swimmer. I was a timer. Hoot! Hoot!

    George – I really enjoyed Happy Go Lucky. I thought Poppy was awesome. I won’t give anything away, but she certainly faces several tough situations, duly feels the sadness inherent in them, and yet still decides to maintain her happy attitude. That youngest sister was quite the foil to her!

    Off to read some Joanne Harris in the tub!

  1019. George – I have Children of God out of the library, but I detoured temporarily for a Parisian winter read. I have Monday off!! So excited!! If it stays this cold I am just going to curl up and read, pet the cats a little.

  1020. I thought that might remind you, George. 😉

    Amy, it’s easy to romanticize it .. even me, and I’ve been out and about .. I crawl out of my warm bed, get into a warm car, and scoot into a warm building. And if it’s not cozy enough to begin with, dancing around at rehearsal gets you that way. 🙂

    It’s really horrendous for the people that have to be out in the elements for unknown periods of time, like EMTs an’ such .. that .. I can’t fathom that.

  1021. just got back from hearing the band, Eddie From Ohio. One word: GREAT.

  1022. After a week of 16-hour days, if I hadn’t come here soon it’d be massive withdrawal symptoms. Thanks for the soup recipe, LB — that will be extra helpful!

    I’m reading “A Death in the Family” (thank you, Haven!!) and am finding it incomprehensible that someone should write how I feel on a cellular level. You think you’re the only one inside your head, and WHAM!!! a man dead 50 years begs to differ. Gorgeous, lush, heartbreaking prose. Never read anyone like him.

    Sarah, how could you KNOW?? Do you play? Do you collect? It was, it is a Guild D25, a 1978. Great guitar. It was my girl Allison’s and she sent it with her ex when they divorced. She and her new husband have a nice, tight collection of about 15 acoustics and 5 workhorse electrics, which I recently visited in L.A. (I should have put the one up with her Martin.) She’s a wonderful singer, just got a MAVRIC nomination for Best Jazz song (and a couple others), it’s “Wired for Business” at this link:

    I put glaucoma drops in my late great pup Cady’s eyes twice a day — $80, every three weeks. If you have a Husky, and she starts pawing her eye, take her to the emergency room IMMEDIATELY and do not accept some doctor’s verdict that it is a scratched cornea without having a pressure test for glaucoma. It’s common in Huskies and other breeds, and they can go blind in just a few hours. I thought I was seeing things, until her eye doc mentioned some people use the drops to make their eyelashes longer, and that her eyelashes seemed more lush and dark and long. I said CADY!! You look so GLAMOROUS!! She growled and looked around for her treat.

    Kittery, condolences. I can’t imagine cold that intense. This makes you some kind of hero, here.

    Amy, very exciting re: Geneva. Promise to do more than lurk.

  1023. Good morning everyone. I kinda felt like crap yesterday- mentally – which made me feel bad physically- so I slept too much and woke up this morning sore as heck. Duh! Plus, I didn’t have any coffee yesterday so I had a caffeine headache. So, I have already had two cups this morning. I’m feeling somewhat better. Church should help. Although, my sweet gay aussie friend, Luke, is going home to Australia next month and won’t be back until he gets accepted into graduate school which hopefully will be Vanderbilt. His partner, who is from Toronto, is in a post doc program at the medical center here. I have only known Luke for about 8 months. Funny how you can get attached to certain people so quickly. So, I will sit with him in church (his partner sings in the choir so he is a choir widow as they say 🙂 ) and hopefully not get too sad. Ha ha. I put his picture up in our yahoo photos. He is a doll, don’t you think? Of course, I could be his mother as I am 20 years older than him.

    Speaking of Aussies- I wonder where Tex has been? If you are lurking Tex come in and say hi!!

    Have a good day babies!

  1024. Linda – Yes! Luke is certainly a cutie! And I finally found the pix of your church (beautiful) AND I just discovered the Haven’s Mavens album and saw pictures of everyone I had no visual for! I am very slow to catch on sometimes. I am still behind on new technology – I can barely use my cell phone. Getting old.

    I just rescued a grackle. I went out to check on the group of weaned calves I moved yesterday, and I saw a grackle whose head had frozen to the eave. I crawled up and was able to hold it because it was stuck and then I peeled his head feathers off the rafter. Then I held him close to me and brought him in the house to warm up because his wings were also frozen.

    How strange to hold a bird! He is now in a little box next to me warming up. The cat, of course, is fascinated. But every time I say “No!” he backs off sheepishly.

    I am hoping he will thaw and I can let him go before my husband gets home. Things are VERY BAD HERE with the cold. We had a cow die (that NEVER happens) and everything keeps freezing and breaking. Husband is not against saving grackles, but it’s hard for him when so many things are going wrong.

    I am going to attempt a download of Chocolat. I’m deep into Girl With No Shadow but I have to do incredibly boring farm accounting crud. I need some entertainment and Johnny Depp as Roux will most certainly do the trick. My back-up is listening to Proust was a Neuroscientist from Audible.

  1025. Maureen. Prayers for you and your grackle and your husband and your cows. I am so sorry.

  1026. Thanks, Bug. How are things your way? Is your dad feeling ready for his surgery?

  1027. I just let the grackle go! I removed the Converse high top that was holding the box closed to see how he was doing, and he flew out and around the kitchen and SMACK into the window.

    Oh no, thought I. I have rescued this bird from death frozen to an eave only to have him bash his brains out on my kitchen glass. AND if Aspie husband comes in here right now, it will be a Very Bad Thing Indeed.

    Luckily I got the window open and shushed my buddy out before either the cat got him or he banged himself to death or the Taz arrived. He flew off happily toward the barn. Good Karma, I hope.

  1028. Carrie,

    Agee: “Gorgeous, lush, heartbreaking prose.” Yes.

    And, speaking of the cellular, that’s the level on which I’ve always responded to acoustic guitars. My first, very own guitar? A ’79 Guild D25, which I bought new in 1980 (I was 15). Thus, the recognition. I mean, I’m a guitar geek and love studying ’em out, moth-to-flame, but I doubt I’d have recognized yours down to the model number had I not known my own so well.

    My Guild has been with me through many dangers, toils, and snares, and the very smell of it is evocative of a whole lot of… mileage. A couple of my kids are now learning to play on it. Just last night my oldest son had it out, asking me to help him work out the timing and phrasing of “I Walk the Line”. This goes in my Timeless Moments file.

    Other than a travel guitar I picked up along the way, the Guild was my only guitar until 4 years ago, when I was given a smaller-bodied Taylor that fills me full, guitar-wise. That it became mine at all, and through whose agency, remains a very holding thing in my heart. …I’ll probably always play with more enthusiasm, or even just Need, than skill, but: I hold my guitar, and God holds me. That seems to work well for both of us.

    Thanks for getting back to me!

    ~ Sarah

  1029. Hi, Haven. I randomly picked up The Solace of Leaving Early at the library a week ago. I’m leaving you a note to tell you that it’s one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read–startling, thought-provoking, comforting, and . . . true. I’m off to seek more information on Tillich now, and I look forward to seeking out your other books, as well.

  1030. Welcome, Sally Parrott Ashbrook…if that is indeed your real name I am in love with it!! I can imagine an entire book around that wonderful name. mystical, I think.
    Dana the beloved and tolerant and I just finished a housecleaning…what would I do without him? Live in filth…he does all the heavy stuff and I do all the dusting and disinfecting. We loves us some lysol. But now we get to spend the rest of the day sitting around enjoying our cleanliness…thinking I will make a variation on Kittery’s soup cause I have a nice ham bone just waiting to be soupified.
    Maureen…great story about the grackel but so worried about the freezing of everything. We are surely rethinking the retirement to the great north because of the cold….but just wait till you all start telling me about your great gardens and spring/summer/fall weather.
    Happy Sun Day, y’all

  1031. OOOpppppssss…sorry…Bug’s sister’s soup…us recipe lovers gotta stick together!

  1032. Brenda is so correct, it is such a lyrical name, Sally, anyone would fall in love with it and you just for bearing it. The people posting here are the best in the world, it’s been confirmed, so do post again and don’t forget the Solace of Leaving Early thread:–

    So Brenda, this means DH Dana is recovering nicely? I’m so happy to read this evidence. You chose a wonderful man, it appears. (Seems to be a theme, here.)

    Sarah — I’d love to hear more about the agency by which your Taylor came to you. — My guitar has been the love of my life, well at least the inanimate (and I use the term reservedly) LOML. I now play an Ovation, which, now that I’ve played it 20 years, blows any other guitar out of the water, including $5000 Martins. — I heard Peter Mulvey last month which made me rethink using open tunings, so I’ve been working with a great one lately: DADADE. I’m working on a sheet of chord forms — open tunings and standards — and will post a link here when it’s done.

    You are very, very witty. Every post a treat.

  1033. Maureen, your trials are dire lately. I’m so sorry about your cow. Awful when it’s unpredictable what fresh hell the weather will bring down upon you. But: your grackle story made my day. Good karma: oh yes. — I’m keeping your sister (and you) in my prayers.

    Linda, I couldn’t find Luke! Which album? I saw Maureen with a calf (nice pic, Mo!) but no Luke? — I’ve been wondering where Tex is too. Tex! Where are you?

  1034. Maureen–glad to hear about the birdie. Today has a very weird feeling to it. My day started with a crazy ass dream that woke me at 5 (I’ll spare you all) and then I heard the telltale noises of Sick Dog. After rushing him outside, my other basset is having a seizure, and I find out later this morning that my dad hasn’t been giving him his seizure medication because he didn’t think it was working…I said, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME? HAS HOOVER HAD SEIZURES I DON’T KNOW ABOUT?!?!?!” Of course the answer is no, but my dad is going crazy, and this is just one more example of it.

    He’s currently sitting at the comp finishing up his will. I want to pull my hair out. The odds of him surviving this surgery are only slightly better than 50/50 AND HE HASN’T FINISHED HIS WILL?!?!?!?!

    Deep breaths. DEEP BREATHS.

    Sarah, I love your posts too.

    Enjoy the soup. I just had me some leftovers. Add a little milk to thin it a bit as it does get really thick overnight in the fridge.

    Haven–I hope your finger is better soon. And I love the idea of some us blog babies becoming your secretaries. I type fast as well, so count me in!!!

  1035. Carrie,

    I thought at first the calf was “Luke”. Beauty being in the eye of the beholder, and all.

    ~ S.

  1036. Amy in O-I hear ya on the creepy side to facebook. I’ve made my profile private so that none of my students can find me. 🙂

  1037. Sarah — HAH!

    LB — What a time for you as well. You are added to the prayer list. — And I’ve done nothing to my Facebook profile, just signed up and thought I’d look around later. I didn’t even think of the profile being able to be made private. I had (have) an AmyO situation. Time to rethink Facebook?

  1038. Also? If Haven can run VirtualPC on her Mac, there are a ton of cheap/free voice recognition programs on and and she could just SPEAK her words right in to her computer. — People know about these sites, yes? Probably my favorite resource on the web, lots of utilities — firewalls, virus protection, backup software — plus games and OCR and Fax and … and … well, you get the idea. (Mac voice recognition software runs $200+, the gougers, vs. free-$40 for Windows utilities.)

  1039. Carrie. I am laughing. For all that I taught computers 2 years (desperate for a living!) your last post was the like teacher-talk from Charlie Brown made visible.

    Yes, you can make your profile private. 🙂 Oh HELL YES. You can also adjust your photo albums so that not all your friends have access to them.

  1040. Ee gads. Carrie, thanks for the add to prayer list. I can certainly use it.

  1041. Just popping in and then back to the couch, I am a lazy ass today and if I am gone too long the dogs will take my spot!
    Praying for Molly and Maureen , as well as all of the babies,hello to you all.
    Stay warm, be safe!

  1042. haven’t caught up on the threads here, but popping by to say that i would swear that i just saw George on tv at the inaugural celebration, singing along to “This Land is Your Land”

  1043. Oh noooo! Teacher talk from Charlie Brown?? I don’t know what my deal is today. (I do love free stuff, though — which might account for my enduring love for those two sites.)

  1044. (I was also informed, between that Charlie-Brown-teacher post and now, that Virtual PC is the last generation. Good thing I don’t teach.)

  1045. Amanda!

    That wasn’t me, but I was singing along to it on the radio. Wow, what an event…what a time…I am so grateful to be a part of this history!!!!

    Carrie: A Death in the Family is great, also, DON’T MISS, his other novel, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.

  1046. Yes, thanks Carrie, Dana has recovered extra quickly and is all his old self again…and yes I picked a good one…37 years now…he has his days but since I don’t know how to shoot a gun, he’s safe. He has already gone on a 3 day canoe trip again and enjoys showing off his belly scar.
    Bug…hang in there, we are thinking of you all, and Maureen, too..I am trying to get my friend to check in here, she is so busy she says…maybe a bribe of some kind.

  1047. George — I got the Library of America copy of Death in the Family & Famous Men (also short fiction) from the library — on your and Haven’s and others’ enthusiastic recommendations — just before Haven sent me Death in the Family. The LofA copy has 60 pages of the Walker Evans photographs from the 1960 edition of Famous Men. You look through these remarkable photos, and it puts you there in your mind’s eye right before you start reading — the penultimate multi-media experience!

    I want a whole bookcase full of Library of America. I love their ribbon markers and onion-skin-thin pages. Bibles. Bibles of literature.

  1048. Brenda — if his old self cleans like that, I’d say the exhibitionism is warranted! So glad he’s better.

  1049. Amanda Clouds! How is the planning going? Have you been successful keeping your mother at bay?

  1050. Oh, I am so glad the bird is ok, Maureen (was thinking of Zippy and the woodpecker) but I am sad about the lost cow. I never really thought about cows dying from the freezing weather, but of course they could. And, I say that knowing I have ground beef in the fridge for tacos tonight. Ah, the contradictions of life.

    I got to sit next to cutie pie Luke in church today so that cheered me up. After church he invited me to go to brunch with him and about 10 other gay men from our church and I cannot believe it but I had to say no. well, I didn’t have to, but I did because I felt I needed to go home. Long story. But, we are going to have lunch this week so all is not lost.

    I went to the Y and exercised today. That makes 2 days this week so I hope I can keep it up. I worry about the extra weight I have around my middle – stress on my heart, diabetes runs in my family, etc. Now that I have stopped drinking and given that time to settle in it felt right to get back to exercising. I was actually an athlete in my youth. It’s never too late, right?

  1051. Carrie: you know, then, that Evans and Agee were on assignment from Fortune magazine to do a piece about rural poverty in Alabama. Agee kept missing deadlines and kept reporting and reporting until the magazine killed the story. That’s when Agee recast it as a book. I am a huge fan of both these guys. I think Agee is such a great writer and I think Evans is an incredible photographer. When I was in Key West a couple of years ago, I was delighted to see an exhibit of Evans’ photos of his other great literary friend, Hemingway. Those shots were made in Havana.

  1052. Linda: it is never, ever too late.

  1053. Hey everyone – Oh, Carrie, update on my sister – back to the doctor and a very identifiable benign cyst: relief! Thank you all for prayers: they worked!

    The cow that died was a fresh cow (just had her calf) and died of some strange metabolic issue, though the cold didn’t help much. Often, when cows have just had their calf, they mobilize so much body calcium into milk production that they run out for themselves and they get all uncoordinated and can go into a coma. We can usually fix this with a bottle of calcium through a needle under the skin, but this one somehow went way off. We tried every trick and nothing worked. It happens.

    Did anyone just hear the piece about Quakers on All Things Considered? Apparently the president being sworn in does not have to SWEAR but can AFFIRM when taking the oath. This was a concession to the Quakers who strictly follow Jesus’ edict “Swear not.” Haven, what do you think?

    Also, turn it on right now if you get it. A bunch of poets are about to analyze Obama’s memoir to assess his prose and what it indicates about his upcoming presidency.

  1054. Speaking of fans, I hope y’all are rooting for the Eagles!!!

    I just looked at the yahoo photos and OMG – Carrie – you are gorgeous! Wow.

    Sorry, first I have a crush on a gay guy and now on Carrie. It must be wacky premenapausal hormones. Eek gads.

  1055. Wow. They are playing chunks of Dreams of My Father read by Obama himself. I am in love. He is handsome, he is decent, and he can WRITE. Sigh.

  1056. Linda – I am with you! Pre-menopausal and in love with inappropriate people like the president-elect.

  1057. Well, it’s still a drag about the cow…but I guess life for life, the grackle turned out ok and things, universe-wise, are still even.

    In church today we sang Lift Every Voice and Sing, a song, which I think is one of the toughest to actually sing…changes in pitch, octaves, cadence…I just belted it out. Felt real good, too.

    I feel good today…really hopeful, really peaceful.

    I just feel like with Obama’s swearing-in imminent, things are about to be balanced again. God I hope so.

  1058. And, if you would like to compare Luke to Carrie (ha ha) the photo of Luke and me is in my Fun Stuff album toward the end. He went with me to Montreat, North Carolina with the Vandy students at the beginning of the month. He is NOT a Vandy student. I don’t get crushes on my students, not even gay ones. Now I am rolling my eyes at myself. Must be the endorphins from the exercise getting to my brain.

  1059. Thanks, Maureen. At least I know I am in good company!

  1060. George – I loved hearing about your singing in church! I missed church this morning, and I’m feeling it. I got to join vicariously with you. I read the first chapter of Children of God today – I am simultaneously reading two books: back and forth.

    I, too, am feeling hopeful. I heard someone on NPR say how they didn’t even realize the pall the Bush administration had cast over their feelings about their country until it lifted. My God, an INTELLIGENT president! What a concept. I used to cringe every time I heard W open his mouth. You could just see the looks of scorn on the faces on the press corps anytime he spoke.

    And hey, Linda, no sweat on the hamburger. For the past twenty years I have rarely eaten a piece of meat I hadn’t known as an animal. We exclusively eat our own. It’s where dairy cows go when they are done with life as a dairy cow. Sad but true and actually not a bad end for an animal that was loved and cared for to the best of our ability.

  1061. Maureen: Every time I looked at him, I saw a panicked man…once scared senseless and made inarticulate by his fears. It was a sad era. We live by narrative and story. Maybe the most important duty of any leader is to construct a narrative that enables people to join into the plot and action.

    When you think about it, that is what has happened here on this blog.

  1062. Linda – I am also back to the YMCA, on the treadmill mostly. When I went on Effexor, I started gaining weight and I also stopped milking at the same time. Result? Twenty pounds! I started running again did two 5-Ks and then got plantar fasciitis and had to stop.

    I would NOT go back to my thin self if it meant having anxiety attacks again. I have orthotics now and am trying to build back up to 5 K. We have a local race called Allegro! in April (it’s a fund-raiser for our Arts Council) so I am training for that.

    Good for you!!! By the way, I want your daughter to be in my class! She is just so cool-looking.

  1063. I did not eat meat throughout my 20s. I got pregnant with Emma when I was 30 and I added turkey burger in and slowly just digressed back into all meat. but, I really don’t eat that much meat. I love dairy. LOVE dairy. So, thank you for that. I could eat nothing but eggs, yogurt, cheese, oatmeal, strawberries, blueberries, honey, bagels, and coffee. I like grits too. Ooh cheese grits. Yum. But, right now I am just drinking water. Ok, I had 8 peanut M&Ms. That was all.

  1064. Church was ok today. Usually we go to the 9 a.m. service. I particularly like it because it’s the one attended by the young families with the squirmy kids. I love looking at their faces and crawling around when we take communion — the whole congregation standing at the altar.

    Today we went to the 11 a.m. service…more sedate and ornate. They bring in the choir which is augmented with members from the national cathedral. The best part today though was hanging around afterward drinking coffee and talking with geezers like me who could remember inaugurations going back…well, a ways.

    I love living in DC, but this is really sad, I don’t think I am going to the inauguation on Tuesday.

    As a reporter, I covered them since 1989 and I just don’t really want to deal with the crowds.

  1065. My daughter would love to have you as a teacher. She is smarter than I will ever be. She is the Latin queen. It is just so hard to believe that she will be in college next year. All the applications are in and now we wait until April 1 for 7 verdicts. And then the big decision! Sigh.

  1066. George – Have you seen the movie W? I feel compelled to come around to some kind of sympathy for the man; I don’t like the amount of hatred I feel toward him. I have a very radical friend (formerly married to Twyla Tharp and a retired art professor from Hunter College in NYC) who said to me once, “If I were ever alone in a room with that man, I would beat the fucking shit out of him.”

    I remember something by Anne Lamott who also tried very hard to get herself to a place where she could pray for him and feel some sympathy. It’s something I’m working on. It took me many years and marrying a political activist to work up some passion for political issues, and now that I’ve got it, I’m loathe to lose it. But the spiritual side of me says it’s unhealthy to feel this way toward anyone.

  1067. I am currently co-reading Mere Christianity sent to me by the lovely Sarah (I swear, in pictures, Sarah GLOWS) and Final Payments by Mary Gordon, sent to me by the equally lovely Maureen. This book has already made me cry. I am NOT taking it to the hospital with me tomorrow. I think tomorrow will be a nice, fun Nora Roberts. 🙂 Love me some romance novels.

    However, I have now added the aforementioned books from George and Maureen to my list. I get the distinct feeling I will never run out of books ever. And this is a great comfort to me.

    Thanks for all the love and support. You are all shining people.

  1068. Booo. Eagles lost. Not that I am upset but my son will be so you know how that goes. First the Titans lose, now the Eagles. Well, on the upside, maybe they won’t watch the Superbowl. or is it Super Bowl? I don’t know. I think I will go fold the laundry. Catch you guys later.

  1069. Hi Bug! I hope those Mary Gordons don’t bum you out! I was thinking more that they might provide some solidarity for you in your situation, and Mary Gordon is so moral and thoughtful and writes so beautiful.

    This just popped up on my son’s horrendous AOL home page and it gives me a trifle of sympathy for our exiting cowboy pres:

  1070. Where does one find pictures of Sarah? I have been worried that she is an anorexic guitar-playing stick person with mere lines for arms.

  1071. Molly – I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow. What time does your dad go into surgery?

  1072. Maureen,

    I Heard that!

    I’m scrawny and scrappy. There’s a difference.

    (Molly, you’re too kind. And, the one [1] picture I sent you was taken when I was standing on my favorite rocks, on the slopes of Mt. Washington, NH in the midst of a long-awaited, hope-fulfilling ascent with a dear friend. You’d “glow”, too.)

    ~ Sarah

  1073. Sarah – Ha! I was referring to your avatar cartoon, which also boasts an amazing smile!

  1074. Sarah – Glad to hear you are scrawny and scrappy. I have a few butts that need kicking if you’re interested, starting with my ex-brother-in-law. I used to be. I was a lean, mean, milking machine before I medicated myself and turned forty.

  1075. Boo. I love the Eagles. Sniffle. However, I will not ignore the Super Bowl because I LOVE Super Bowl commericals. Love. Them.

    As for George W–I can’t feel hate. Sadness yes. But I look at what the man was faced with…His presidency had far more serious challenges than others have faced. We made it through, and we’ll see what Obama can do. I’m glad we had Condaleeza Rice and Colin Powell (who I would have voted for in a New York minute)…

    Whatever, Sarah. I can recognize true beauty. I called it for Carrie and Amy in O. 🙂

    Maureen, he goes in at 5 am. They’ll prolly start around 6 or 7 depending. The book has been wonderful. It’s just sad even while it lifts me up. I wanted to get Zippy on audio for my mother (she has trouble reading now, MS eyes. Grr) but she said she didn’t think she’d be able to concentrate. As if Zippy gives you the option of not concentrating on it. 🙂

  1076. Maureen:

    I don’t have a shed of sympathy for him. He came from privilege and will return to it. His tragedy is his lack of empathy toward humanity. I do think he is a brute, but sentimental. I think that by sentimentalizing people, he abstracts and objectifies them. It’s the same thing as demonizing a person or a group. This ability to objectify, I think, is the basis of a personality steeped in the colossal denial that was on such display last week during his “farewell” speech.

    Ultimately, I believe Bush’s flaw was that of fear and panic. He tried to hide it in so-called self-confidence and resolute actions, but it was actually arrogance used as a cover for a type of cowardice that resided in his core.

    That said, I doubt if you radical friend would beat the shit outta him if they were in a room. Cheney, probably, but Bush is in pretty good shape physically. I bet he’d give a pretty tough fight.

  1077. typo…i think he is NOT a brute…

  1078. The only sympathy I can muster for W is that it is so sad that he does not have the intellectual subtlety to recognize how simplistic he actually is. When I see him speak, he comes across as so absolutely SURE of himself, with a tone of voice that indicates he thinks that what he is saying is so obvious, he is stunned that anyone could think otherwise. But maybe that’s all bluff and blunder. Or maybe he just really does see everything in black and white: Axis of Evil, Forces of Good. People worthy of sympathy, People who need to be tortured or killed.

    Anyway, less than 48 hours to go! We should talk of happier things. The times they are a’changin’!!

  1079. Bug–just stopping by to say you and your father are in my thoughts and prayers. Blessings to you all.

  1080. Bug: Jerri’s sentiments are mine, too.

  1081. Thank you thank you thank you.

  1082. Hi Haven I will keep you “In the Light” for your new group/Meeting. Sounds like something that would inspire me- except I’m in California! There is a sense of renewal that seems to be coming through Friends and it comes from outside the box-as always in RSOF history. Thanks and later Patrick Ruth

  1083. Maureen,

    Unfortunately, I currently need all my scrappiness for battles closer to home. But, I keep my old field hockey stick close by, so if your ex-brother-in-law ever ventures too close, Watch Out. I’ve had a regular ol’ procession of furnace guys through here the past few days, and need to call again tomorrow. Maybe I’ll start asking each furnace guy, in turn, if he happens to be your ex-brother-in-law. Just in case. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Carrie, every now and then I remember that whatever’s posted here goes not only to you or to others “here”, but to the Whole Wide World. Also, shockingly, not everyone finds Guitar Stories compelling. If you wouldn’t mind sending me your email address, I’ll see what I can do. I’m here: vollehutte at

    ~ Sarah

  1084. hey yall

    i am asking for light, prayers and support for my family right now. i’m a little ashamed that it doesnt involve surgery or a new job, but it it serious in my little world.

    a large foundation is attempting to stiff me on $10,000 worth of copywriting work i have already performed for them. needless to say, without child support and as a single mom who was laid off from my staff job in august, this represents a crucial amount of money i was counting on to get me through the next few months; my obscene mortgage is $4k a month — im trying to sell the house but have had no offers in this effed up economy. i feel sick to my stomach, because they are a large foundation and i am a self employed writer. i’m fighting back, but right now i feel a bit defeated and worried. any positive energy would be much appreciated. i am in touch with my ex-sister in law, who is a lawyer in chicago, and she has contacted a colleague in SF who will, i hope, stand by me and at least send a legal letter to this foundation i worked for. i am truly blessed that my ex sister in law is a fierce, good woman. but i am worried. despite all my bravado, i loathe serious business confrontation, especially when it comes to money. i’m going to hope that justice will prevail, but in the meantime i will do everything in my power to get that invoice paid. i am not adverse to going public with their outrageous behavior, should it come to that — they are a foundation that supports women (!) and with fundraising as hard as it is now , i’m hoping that the specter of this questionable policy of stiffing their subcontractors/freelance writers reaching public ears will make them see reason. but i dont want that. what i want is to be paid within the near future for the really good and intense work i performed for them. i even donated to their foundation! boy do i feel like a fool now. it’s a shitty night in larkspur. i feel frustrated, duped, angry, threatened, anxious and afraid, all at once. it makes me want to drink! but i will not drink. i am the master of my domain! 😉


  1085. is anyone up for a sidebar owen meany discussion. i’m almost done with it and i find it absolutely gripping, especially in terms of its theological themes and the way in which owen meany is cast in the role of “everyday saint/mysery mojo dude”. i love John Irving!!!! anyway?

    if so, i’ll post a OWEN MEANY DISCUSSION on my blog….just let me know if any of you want to discuss A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY…..thanks! (on a side note — i’m hoping it will get my mind on more exciting, deeper subjects than money owed to me and bills waiting to be paid, anxiety freakouts, etc…)

  1086. I really, really hope things work out for you Suzanne.

  1087. Suzanne, babe you are in my prayers tonight. Feeling your particular pain a little myself. The consulting company I’m working with sent me a contract for the Europe gig that is officially from Lawyer Hell. Not the least of its offences is that one of the clauses states that if their client doesn’t pay them on time, they don’t have to pay me on time. If only I had such an arrangement with my mortgage company. Bastards! You know what the worst of this is? I’m freaking out over everything equally. It’s like I no longer have the ability to emotionally discern the small potatoes from the big ones.

    Too bad no one at that Foundation seems to have read any of your books. They should be afraid. Very afraid.

  1088. suzanne,

    will add some glory beads to your prayer flag – damn those bitch ass clowns. I once was stiffed $10K for a commercial art job I did for an AUNT . . . I understand your pain. really. you are worth more than that, we know it and you know it.

    during my meetings last week I had a major epiphany . . . my past is extremely bifurcated. I plan of doing my own blog about this, but initially, I am truly amazed that I have survived somewhat intact (yes, I know that statmene tis questionable, but considering . . . ).

    Also, brenda
    “he has his days but since I don’t know how to shoot a gun, he’s safe.” that statement just cracked my ass up and off my chair . . . really, this is the exact reason I do not own a gun myself. There would be dead people surrounding my if this were the case.

    Sending all my love along this stolen wireless highway I am on.

    WE ARE ONE was an amazing concert. I was balling and laughting and jumping and cheering. And W’s farewell speech, I tried to give him a chance for pity and mercy, but FFFFFF he blew that in about 4 minutes and I was having coniptions shits and screaming “you godless motherfffffferQ!! It was hysterically depressing, and not quite as subtle as my last panic attack.

  1089. a. I am drunk because i did drink 1/2 bottle of wine, well tipsy shall we say

    b. i am freezing in trhe driveway

    c. my kids are out of school tomorrow which means i have to get up with the6 year old, the 16 year old is sleeping off his ski trip and the 14 year old is spending the night elsewhere and hubby thinks he is expected at work

    therefore, I have to go to sleep…..haven’t slept for a while….

    will try to steal internet tomorrow, no repairs until tuesday at the earliest….oh, how did we live before this blog, how, how!!!””””????

  1090. forgot to state: BUG, you and your dad and mum are on my 15 minute meditation list for the a.m., also added Suzanne and Maureen, I officially take your sister off, but – I always add a general minute for all the blog babies, Haven’s finger, specifically and YIPPEE for Sally Parrott, I swear I could not have dreamt a better additive to this metaphysical cauldron . . . chocolate dreams and marshmellow clouds . . .

    (yes, I have been listening to the BEATLES)

  1091. Yesterday I swore off reading,
    Last night I started GOAT,
    This morning I swore off again.

    I now return to Owen Meany.

  1092. Now I can’t find Owen Meany . . . anybody know where that was last located, upstairs or downstairs nightstand . . . we painted our masterbedroom today so it is probably lost . . .

    oh, bother – as POOH would declare!

  1093. Good-night dear Sher. I for one wish you did have a gun. I’d completely trust your sense of who to knock off.

    Oh dear Lord I just remembered this is a Quaker thread.

  1094. Jodi – you can understand this – after re-reading The Beans of Egypt, Maine & LeTourneau’s and 1/2 of THE SCHOOL ON HEARTS CONTENT ROAD, I had to take a Chutes’ breather because:

    How in the hell would the trailer/white trashers think to call their space between their trailers/shacks “piazza”s???? I could not take it another page, I just put in my Little House on the Prairie 1976 Library Bookmark and SHUT THE BOOK.

    Please – am I hallucinating?

  1095. Amy in Ohio – I promise to put you on my visitor’s list at the prison for the criminally SANE when I am sent up river . . . my list is LONG . . .

  1096. ok – One other big epiphany, my 6 year old “innocent” Claire told me today that the Wii Music Musician who plays the percussions was ‘Hot”, “really hot” MOM . . it is over, the world is going to hell in the proverbial handbasket

  1097. I’ll come visit you too.

  1098. Suzanne, you are in my prayers…I would be in such despair. The people of this blog can bring a miracle with their prayers, I am sure!


    You tell me where to show up with a weapon of some kind, and if it’s anywhere near me, I will show up, kick ass, and take some names.

    Given the last few weeks, I think it would be therapeutic for me.

    HOW DARE THEY?!?!?!?!?!

    Thank you so much for the prayers and moral support. We are about to leave for the hospital. I will talk to you later!

  1100. Oh, man, Sher! I wish I had been awake last night to chat with you. You were rockin’! Are you still up?

    I saw The Beans of Egypt, Maine on my shelf the other day and almost picked it up. Then I remembered how much it depressed me when I read it the first time. Actually, I LIVE in such a place myself. My nephew was visiting one summer and as we were driving into town he said, “Why do so many people live in houses like Eduardo’s?” meaning a trailer. (We have a very nice one on our farm for our two employees who live here.) I suddenly looked around and realized he was right. About every third house IS a trailer in Chenango County (i.e. Land of the Bullthistle).

    Suzanne – I am praying for you right now that your money is in the mail. Bad, bad foundation!

    I will join you on an Owen Meany discussion if I ever get my copy. I have been on the top of the interlibrary loan list for a MONTH AND A HALF. I am trying to cut down on book PURCHASES, so I decided to use the library and this is what I get. Sigh.

    Jodi – I am SO SUCKED IN to The Girl with No Shadow. SPOILER ALERT: Roux just arrived!!

  1101. Molly Bug – Praying for you and your dad RIGHT NOW!!!

  1102. Sher, re your comment: “after re-reading The Beans of Egypt, Maine & LeTourneau’s and 1/2 of THE SCHOOL ON HEARTS CONTENT ROAD, I had to take a Chutes’ breather.”

    Sher, I will not finish THE SCHOOL ON HEARTS CONTENT ROAD. Chute has left off telling me tales and begun nihilistic rantings about militia groups in Maine. You might consider dropping it in the tub as you did her first novel.

    I truly enjoyed her first three novels, didn’t you? Although how you read them in a marathon is a wonder! I spent yesterday reading in entirety Elizabeth Strout’s ABIDE WITH ME. That’s saying something, because I’m seldom captivated with a single book – but this one had me. Strout’s latest, OLIVE KITTERIDGE, also kept me reading.

    Before reading too much Chute leads you to wonder if the world is going to hell in a handbasket, pick up Strout or Joanne Harris (right, Maureen?) and live a little. =0)

  1103. Maureen,

    I am DELIGHTED that you are enjoying “The Girl with No Shadow.” Doesn’t the story just sparkle and twinkle with night-time falling snow, magic, and glittering window displays in the chocolaterie?

    I hope you are observing MLK Jr. Day with a holiday from school, and that you have time to curl up with “The Girl …” today. As protection against any interruptions, I’ll make the sign of the jaguar — tsk-tsk, begone! — and send Pantoufle to watch over you.

  1104. Well boys and girls. The carbon monoxide alarm is going off. It’s done this before though and we haven’t all died .. what’s the number one sign of carbon monoxide poisoning? Tired/Lethargic. I was just woken up out of a sound sleep. If you don’t hear from me again … you’ll know what happened. 😛
    I. Want. To. Go. Back. To. Bed.


  1105. Jodi – Thanks for the magical protection! We got my youngest a chinchilla for Christmas and it is very Pantoufle-esque. I’ll stick by the critter for added buffer. Wasn’t Abide with Me wonderful? I also liked Amy and Isabel (save it for summer, it’s a very hot-weather book).

    It is VERY MUCH WINTER here and I hope for a day of much reading. Right now I am writing, working on revisions of some essays about Asperger Syndrome. I do have to do some schoolwork. Luckily, in tomorrow’s classes we will be watching the inauguration stuff. I do deliver the kids’ Civics curriculum so it’s completely legit.

    What are you doing on your day off?

  1106. Kittery – Hi! Open a window! Check your furnace! You MAY NOT SUCCUMB! We need you bad!

  1107. Fear not, I haven’t kicked the bucket. 🙂
    Evidently .. when the battery needs to be changed it beeps (just like it would if it was heralding imminent death!) and the “move to fresh air” button lights up (just like it would if it was heralding imminent death!). Instead of, oh, I don’t know, another beep and the “change battery” button lighting up.

  1108. Maureen,

    “Abide With Me” was so good I gobbled it up in one day. I discovered Strout while perusing Monica Wood’s Suggested Reading List on her website. Wood is another novelist whose stories are set in Maine. Do you know her? Like Harris, I actually own Wood’s books, I like them so much.

    Your day sounds much more structured than mine. I plan to read, cross-stitch, putter around the house, maybe venture out for groceries. My favorite days begin as those with no plans, that can veer off any way I choose at any time.

    I’ll be waiting for your further thoughts about the Harris book.

  1109. Uncle Jay cracks me up. Here’s this week’s installment:

  1110. Kittery, Whew! Ours does that too. The noise is bad for an Aspergian, so at that point we just disable it. Better to die from carbon monoxide than from annoying sounds.

  1111. Jodi – Uncle Jay! LOL. Had never seen that here under the rock. Gotta eat and dry off some cows. Later.

  1112. Oops. Th