dual personalities

Shelter from the storm

Friday again. The week raced by as it does when you’re busy.

How wonderful to be able to stay home this weekend and unwind!




A cup of coffee, a book, a movie, and some puttering. Maybe I will tackle a project or two and maybe I won’t.


One thing about growing older is that you allow yourself to take a break sometimes. And when you do, you appreciate it.

Of course, we’ll go see the darling wee babes…


Have yourself a good weekend. Here’s a little Bob Dylan to get you started.

(The paintings are by Walter Gay, Susan Watkins, Carl Holsoe, and John Singer Sargent)

“Courage, dear heart”



“Lucy looked along the beam and presently saw something in it. At first it looked like a cross, then it looked like an aeroplane, then it looked like a kite, and at last with a whirring of wings it was right overhead and was an albatross. It circled three times round the mast and then perched for an instant on the crest of the gilded dragon at the prow. It called out in a strong sweet voice what seemed to be words though no one understood them. After that it spread its wings, rose, and began to fly slowly ahead, bearing a little to starboard. Drinian steered after it not doubting that it offered good guidance. But no one but Lucy knew that as it circled the mast it had whispered to her, “Courage, dear heart,” and the voice, she felt sure, was Aslan’s, and with the voice a delicious smell breathed in her face.”

–C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Well done, good and faithful servant

As I have mentioned before, the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church remembers Eric Liddell (1902–1945) with a feast day on February 22.

God whose strength bears us up as on mighty wings: We rejoice in remembering thy athlete and missionary, Eric Liddell, to whom thou didst bestow courage and resolution in contest and in captivity; and we pray that we also may run with endurance the race that is set before us and persevere in patient witness, until we wear that crown of victory won for us by Jesus our Savior; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

On July 17, 1924, less than two weeks after his Olympic victory, at his graduation in McEwan Hall of Edinburgh University, Sir Alfred Ewing – Principal and Vice Chancellor said: “Mr Liddell, you have shown that none can pass you but the examiner. In the ancient Olympic tests the victor was crowned with wild olive by the High priest of Zeus, and a poem written in his honour was presented to him. A Vice Chancellor is no High Priest, but he speaks and acts for the University; and in the name of the University, which is proud of you, and to which you have brought fresh honour, I present you with this epigram in Greek, composed by Professor Mair, and place upon your head this chaplet of wild olive.”

The scroll reads (in English):

The University of Edinburgh congratulates

Eric Henry Liddell

Olympic Victor in the 400 Metres.

Happy the man who the wreathed games essaying

Returns the laurelled brow,

Thrice happy victor thou, such speed displaying

As none hath showed till now;

We enjoy, and Alma Mater, for the merit

Proffers to thee this crown:

Take it, Olympic Victor. While you wear it

May Heaven never frown.”

Eric stated, when compelled to make a short speech, after being carried aloft by cheering crowds and fellow students to the doors of St Giles Cathedral for the University Service: “Over the gate of Pennsylvania University are inscribed these words, ‘In the dust of defeat as well as in the laurels of victory there is a glory to be found if one has done his best.”


(Yours truly in front of St. Giles a few years ago)

Liddell returned to Northern China to serve as a missionary, like his parents, from 1925 to 1943 – first in Tianjin and later in the town of Xiaozhang. In 1943, he was interned at the Weihsien Internment Camp (in the modern city of Weifang) with the members of the China Inland Mission and many others.

Langdon Gilkey, who survived the camp and became a prominent theologian in his native America, said of Liddell: “Often in an evening I would see him bent over a chessboard or a model boat, or directing some sort of square dance – absorbed, weary and interested, pouring all of himself into this effort to capture the imagination of these penned-up youths. He was overflowing with good humor and love for life, and with enthusiasm and charm. It is rare indeed that a person has the good fortune to meet a saint but he came as close to it as anyone I have ever known.” (The Guardian)

Early in 1945, six months before the camp’s liberation, Liddell became ill. In a letter he told his wife that he feared he was having a nervous breakdown. In fact it was a brain tumor, untreatable in those circumstances, and on February 21 he died.

He was buried in the garden behind the Japanese officers’ quarters, his grave marked by a small wooden cross. The site was forgotten until it was rediscovered in 1989 by fellow Scotsman, Charles T. Walker, in the grounds of what is now Weifeng Middle School. When he decided to erect a memorial, offers of help and money came flooding in from Scotland, England and Hong Kong. A gravestone, made of red granite from the Isle of Mull and carved by a mason in Tobermory, was placed near the site in 1991.


Mr. Walker and a group of prominent Hong Kong business and civic leaders announced the formation of the Eric Liddell Foundation, which sponsors athletic training for youngsters from China, Hong Kong and Britain.

Cheng Hon-kwan, a director of the foundation and a member of Hong Kong’s Executive and Legislative Councils, was a student at the Tiensin school. In 1941, he was 14 years old, and Mr. Liddell, who had returned from relief work, was his science teacher. “He was very well liked by the students,” Mr. Cheng recalled. “We all knew he was an Olympic gold medal winner and that he had not run on Sunday. Everyone thought of him as a hero. He was tall and very fit, but he was bald headed by then. My impression was of a very lively, very likable man.” (NYT)

A toast to Eric Liddell, Christian gentleman.

Carpe Diem


Today is Erma Bombeck’s (1927 – 1996) birthday.  Bombeck, you may recall, was an American humorist who achieved great popularity for her newspaper column describing suburban home life from the mid-1960s until the late 1990s. She also published 15 books, most of which became bestsellers. From 1965 to 1996, Erma Bombeck wrote over 4,000 newspaper columns, chronicling the ordinary life of a midwestern suburban housewife. By the 1970s, her columns were read twice-weekly by 30 million readers of the 900 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada. Wow!

I suppose no one remembers Erma these days. She was unabashedly middle class and unsophisticated. People could relate to her. She was never “cool” like Nora Ephron, although really they wrote about similar things. Well, here are some wise words from this wise lady to think about today.

Someone asked me the other day if I had my life to live over would I change anything.

My answer was no, but then I thought about it and changed my mind.

If I had my life to live over again I would have waxed less and listened more.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy and complaining about the shadow over my feet, I’d have cherished every minute of it and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was to be my only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten popcorn in the “good” living room and worried less about the dirt when you lit the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have burnt the pink candle that was sculptured like a rose before it melted while being stored.

I would have sat cross-legged on the lawn with my children and never worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television … and more while watching real life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband which I took for granted.

I would have eaten less cottage cheese and more ice cream.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick, instead of pretending the Earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for a day.

I would never have bought ANYTHING just because it was practical/wouldn’t show soil/ guaranteed to last a lifetime.

When my child kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now, go get washed up for dinner.”

There would have been more I love yous … more I’m sorrys … more I’m listenings … but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute of it … look at it and really see it … try it on … live it … exhaust it … and never give that minute back until there was nothing left of it.”
― Eat Less Cottage Cheese and More Ice Cream: Thoughts on Life from Erma Bombeck

Still as true today as it was 50 years ago! Let’s have some ice cream!

“And infant voices shall proclaim their early blessings on his name”*


(Napping wee babes who look like they are sitting up, but are not actually.)

Although it appears that spring has sprung here in flyover country, we all know that this is unlikely. Not to say we did not enjoy the weather this weekend!

I worked in the yard and wore myself out, but what a nice change! While outside, I watched a battle royal between a bunch of crows and a red-tailed hawk that was amazing. Such a ruckus. I gather that crows hate red-tailed hawks and with good reason probably, but count me on team red-tailed hawk.

Anyway, no matter what happens now weather-wise, it won’t be long ’til spring.

I went to church and read the first lesson (the Levitcus reading about love thy neighbor as thyself) and was also the Intercessor. The Gospel lesson was the one about “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” which is setting the bar pretty high for this week.

I started re-reading An Uncertain Place by the French mystery writer Fred Vargas, who is a favorite of mine.

Adamsberg imagined Danglard’s mind as a block of fine limestone, where rain, in other words questions, had hollowed out countless basins in which his worries gathered, unresolved. Every day, three or four of these basins were active simultaneously. Just now, the journey through the tunnel, the woman in London, the feet in Highgate. As Adamsberg had explained to him, the energy Danglard expended on these questions, seeking to empty out the basins, was a waste of time. Because no sooner had he cleared out one space than it made way for something else, for another set of agonizing questions. By digging away at them, he was stopping peaceful sedimentation from taking place, and the natural filling up of the excavations, which would happen if he forgot about them.

If you have not discovered Fred Vargas, I recommend her.

Following up on my blogpost on Friday, I watched a lot of Miami Vice, season three.


This is always a good idea.

The boy and daughter #3 came over after a day at the hospital for spaghetti last night and that was fun.

I could use another day after such a busy weekend, but, alas, I do not have Presidents Day off. Lucky you, if you do.

*Isaac Watts (1674-1748) hymn #544

Rest and Be Thankful

I’m beginning to see why people have “therapy” pets.


Have a peaceful, restful weekend. Try to remove yourself from the cares of the world — lose yourself in a book, watch a movie, or take a drive all by yourself so that you can sing along to your favorite music. Turn off, tune out, and just daydream!

Fun facts to know and tell

Today is the birthday of Lou Diamond Phillips, born Lou Diamond Upchurch in 1962. His American father was Scots-Irish/Cherokee and his mother Filipina, allowing him to play a wide range of ethnically varied characters.


LDP as the King of Siam

In case you were wondering–as I did–he was named after Marine legend Master Gunnery Sergeant  Leland Sanford “Lou” Diamond (May 30, 1890 – September 20, 1951) who was revered as the classic “Gunny”–a tough, hard-fighting career Marine who served in the corps in the years from WWI through WWII. (Bonus point: Diamond was an Episcopalian.)


Isn’t that interesting? I think so too. Surprisingly, there has never been a movie made specifically about  Lou Diamond, but his “type” is recognizable in many movies and  in NCIS.

Fun fact #2: Lou Diamond Phillips was in the episode “Red Tape” from season three of Miami Vice (1987) in which Viggo Mortensen dies before the credits.


Viggo and Lou play detectives about to get their gold shields, Eddie Trumbull and Bobby Diaz. Following standard operating procedure, they call Rico and Sonny for help executing a search warrant, unaware the residence door has been rigged with explosives until Trumbull dies. Annette Bening also has a tiny part in this episode.

Well, it might be time to unearth this classic episode and watch it tonight.

This is how my mind works. Have a good weekend.

A February face

“Why, what’s the matter,
That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?”
–  William Shakespeare,  Much Ado About Nothing

Cheer up. February is not so bad.

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It is a good month to go to the art museum of your choice…

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…or to a flea market…

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…or to watch old movies…

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…or to study scripture…

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…to have a hot toddy before bed like Mark Twain…

And, oh, hey…

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The Cards are back on the field.

Thank you, Instagram, for the pictures. Have a great Thursday! And put a smile on that February face.

“And one was a soldier, and one was a priest, and one was slain by a fierce wild beast”*


Today the Episcopal Church remembers Thomas Bray, Anglican priest and missionary, who died in 1730.

In 1696 Bray, an Oxford professor as well as a priest, was commissioned by the Bishop of London (Henry Compton) to report on the condition of the Church in the colony of Maryland. He spent only ten weeks in the colony, but he radically re-organized and renewed the Church there, providing for the instruction of children and the systematic examination of candidates for pastoral positions. He founded thirty-nine lending libraries and numerous schools. He fought long to get an American bishop consecrated, but failed. He founded two of our church’s most effective missionary organizations, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (now United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel), both still in operation after two and a half centuries.

Back in England, he worked for the reform of prison conditions, and for the establishment of preaching missions to prisoners. He persuaded General Oglethorpe to found an American colony (Georgia) for the settlement of debtors as an alternative to debtors’ prison. Both in Maryland and upon his return to England, he wrote and preached in defense of the rights of enslaved Africans, and of Indians deprived of their land.

O God of compassion, you opened the eyes of your servant Thomas Bray to see the needs of the Church in the New World, and led him to found societies to meet those needs: Make the Church in this land diligent at all times to propagate the Gospel among those who have not received it, and to promote the spread of Christian knowledge; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

So hats off and a toast to the good reverend Bray. He was quite a guy.

*”I sing a song of the saints of God” by Lesbia Scott (1898–1986)

Love never ends

Looking for a romantic movie to watch tonight? Good luck.

Here’s a list from Vanity Fair that isn’t terrible. It even includes some old movies, which most lists don’t. I don’t agree with a lot of it, but why quibble–although it’s difficult to validate any list which includes the dreadful An Affair to Remember (1957).

What amazes me is that the most romantic movie ever is not on it. What about The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland?


I sent this movie to daughter #2 and her fiancé so they could watch it together tonight. Nate is woefully ignorant when it comes to old movies–but think of what he has to look forward to!

Also missing from this list is Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)–I know I sound like a broken record, but c’mon. I saw this movie again recently and Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard are tops in this film.

Another movie which I  re-watched recently that is surprisingly quite romantic is The Best Years of Their Lives (1946). All three of the returning G.I.’s have romantic storylines. There’s  Myrna Loy and Frederick March as the reunited middle aged couple and there’s dreamy Dana Andrews realizing what a big mistake he made in his quickie war marriage, who finds true love with Teresa Wright. And then there’s poor Harold Russell, who has lost both of his hands in the war, discovering that his high school sweetheart Cathy O’Donnell still wants him.

BEST YEARS-16-L.jpg This is powerful stuff.

Well, to each his own. Maybe you will have something better to do than watch a romantic movie on Valentine’s Day! More power to you.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; 10 but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. 13 So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (I Corinthians 13)