dual personalities

“I drink to the general joy o’ the whole table.”*

I’m missing a big day in my flyover hometown. As you know, there’s a bridal shower for my beautiful niece,

and everyone will get to hold sweet, sweet babies (I’m SO jealous!).

But even worse, I’m missing my BFF’s birthday today. Here she is circa 1976 with her dog Figaro.

Incidentally, Figi, as he was fondly known, had an impressive set of lungs. Although we lived no more than a block away, I could always track their comings and goings by his barking. The family probably wondered how I managed to turn up minutes after they arrived home — now I have solved the mystery; the dog and I were in cahoots. Ah, those were the days. I wish I could be there to help celebrate my dear friend’s entry into old age — maybe next year.

As you all party amid the spring flowers, think of me hunkered down in the still-frozen north,

missing all the fun and living vicariously through tales of your escapades.

I truly hope you all have a wonderful, super day!!!

*Shakespeare, “Macbeth”

Pick a little, talk a little

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Things are pretty busy around here what with daughter #2 and I checking things off our to-do  list right and left and holding babies. Daughter #1 is arriving today and we have a full calendar of events including lots more baby holding and a bridal shower tomorrow!

Have a good weekend!

Set phasers to stun

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Yesterday William Shatner turned 86, but according to the NYTimes, James Tiberius Kirk won’t be born for another 216 years. Fun fact: there is an actual plaque in the town in Iowa where, according to Star Trek trivia experts, he will be born.

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Well, well.

The OM and I were recently watching some old Star Trek episodes from the first season of the original show. I was struck by several things.

1.William Shatner was really quelle handsome and very appealing. He was, indeed, dreamy…and smart! Basically he is the whole show.

2. Everything else is terrible–from the cardboard sets to the sexist costumes to the ridiculous hairdos. Everyone else’s acting is terrible and the writing is (mostly) preposterous.

3. However, the show is engaging and fun to watch.

This is not logical. I have to conclude that the success of the show is entirely due to William Shatner.

tumblr_nb2ydyiEyo1tyytjio1_400.jpgSo here’s to giving credit where credit is due. Hats off and happy (belated) birthday to William Shatner! May you live long and prosper.

How are things in Glocca Morra?

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Daughter #2 made it safely to flyover land and to my office yesterday where she graded mid-terms and I got some work done.

In the afternoon we went to the hospital to see the both wee babes.

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Later the boy came over to our house with Lottiebelle for dinner (daughter #3 was in class) and we had more time to hold and stare. Nothing better.

Today, we repeat. Have a good one!

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.

How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

Psalm 127: 3-5

“Such rock-ribb’d hills our own New-England gave To mould her sons as rugged and as brave”*

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Did you know that today is World Poetry Day? Me neither.

“Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings. Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures.”

Thanks, UNESCO, for reminding us all.

Of course, the world could not totally agree on when to hold Poetry Day. It is celebrated in October in the UK. Also, FYI, April is National Poetry Month in the U.S. and Canada.

So why don’t we all just agree that every day is poetry day! Here’s a good one for today (“Monadnock Through the Trees” by Edward Arlington Robinson):

Before there was in Egypt any sound
Of those who reared a more prodigious means
For the self-heavy sleep of kings and queens
Than hitherto had mocked the most renowned,—
Unvisioned here and waiting to be found,
Alone, amid remote and older scenes,
You loomed above ancestral evergreens
Before there were the first of us around.

And when the last of us, if we know how,
See farther from ourselves than we do now,
Assured with other sight than heretofore
That we have done our mortal best and worst,—
Your calm will be the same as when the first
Assyrians went howling south to war.

I like the image of old Monadnock as a pyramid. And the last two line are great, don’t you agree? Enjoy your Tuesday!

*H.P. Lovecraft wrote poetry too–who knew? Check out “To Templeton and Monadnock”. The painting of Monadnock is by Dave Dodge.

“Hope does not disappoint us”*

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I didn’t get to see daughter #1 run the New York City Half Marathon on Sunday, but, thank goodness, she had friends to cheer her on and meet her at the finish! You go, girl! I downloaded the app and followed her progress on my phone–aren’t you impressed?

I got my hair cut, went to an estate sale in the neighborhood, went to the NICU to see the handsome little bud,

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went to Steak ‘N Shake with the OM, cleaned the house, did laundry, went to church, had lunch with my pal Becky, and had the boy and daughter #3 over to dinner…with Lottie for the first time!

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The weeks are busy, indeed, but sometimes the weekends are busier. I guess I live in a

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And now it is Monday and it’s back to the salt mine! Daughter # 2 arrives tomorrow!

*Romans 5: 3-5 (from the Sunday lectionary): More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.

“In the falling quiet there was no sky or earth, only snow lifting on the wind.”*

On Tuesday and Wednesday this week we got the blizzard that the weather people mistakenly forecast for NYC. All three of my sons — spread out though they are from DC to Syracuse to northern Vermont — enjoyed days off. Almost everything up here shut down: all the schools, both state universities and most state-run organizations closed; the mail went undelivered, and the garbage uncollected. By contrast, the DH and I received multiple emails reminding us that classes at our universities had NOT been cancelled. Oh, well. What’s 20 plus inches of snow or instructions from the state police to stay home? The show must go on…

Driving home from work on Tuesday in whiteout conditions was exciting to say the least. Unfortunately, my photos don’t capture the howling winds that caused all the problems, but this picture does.

I got this from Google. It’s not my storm, but it could be.

I felt as if I belonged in an arctic horror movie — something with wolves and polar bears lurking. Still, it wasn’t all bad.

Despite the back-breaking shoveling that this storm required afterwards, it also restored my faith in people. Everyone pitched in to help each other. People stopped to chat and commiserate. My heroic snowblowing neighbors rescued the rest of us after the snowplows walled off our driveways. After the storm stranded one family in New Hampshire, several of us dug out their driveway, sidewalk and porch so they could get in when they returned.  The work was satisfying and the cameraderie decidedly uplifting.

Now we have blue skies, killer icicles (note how some have detached and stabbed the snow),

and ice-dam floods. In one nearby town, a mile-long ice dam diverted the river onto the streets with predictable results.

picture from North Country Public Radio

Never mind, spring break began yesterday, and although I have plenty of work to keep me occupied, none of it involves grading. Life is good!

*Truman Capote, “Miriam”

“Oh, Starbuck! it is a mild, mild wind, and a mild looking sky.”*

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“Children are still the way you were as a child, sad and happy in just the same way–and if you think of your childhood, you once again live among them, among the solitary children.”

― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

It has been a busy week. Little Lottiebelle went home.

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She also had her first appointment at the pediatrician’s office.

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The little guy had to stay in the NICU, but he got a new pair of little man boat shoes. OMG. Can you stand it?

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He came through his hernia surgery yesterday like a champ. We are hoping he’ll come home next week.

This weekend I’m going to get ready for the arrival of daughter #1 on Tuesday and then daughter #1 on Friday for a bridal shower next Saturday. You know, this means stocking the fridge/pantry with Diet Coke, white wine, leafy greens, and Flaming Hot Cheetos.

I’ll be ready.

In the meantime, did you know that S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders turns 50 this year? It may be time to re-read this classic.

“I’ve been thinking about it, and that poem, that guy that wrote it, he meant you’re gold when you’re a kid, like green. When you’re a kid everything’s new, dawn. It’s just when you get used to everything that it’s day. Like the way you dig sunsets, Pony. That’s gold. Keep that way, it’s a good way to be. I want you to tell Dally to look at one. He’ll probably think you’re crazy, but ask for me. I don’t think he’s ever really seen a sunset. And don’t be so bugged over being a greaser. You still have a lot of time to make yourself be what you want. There’s still lots of good in the world. Tell Dally. I don’t think he knows.

Stay gold, Ponyboy.”

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Have a good weekend!

*Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; the top photo is little ANC III with ANC jr. on a beach in Italy in the mid-1920s

It is well with my soul

Here is a very popular song playing on Christian radio these days:

I admit it always makes me tear up. Every time.

Christian songwriters these days frequently lift lines right from older hymns or, as in this song, reference other songs: “Give me the strength/To be able to sing/It is well with my soul”.

You will recall that “It Is Well With My Soul” is a well known hymn penned by Horatio Spafford and composed by Philip Bass which was first published in Gospel Songs No. 2 by Sankey and Bliss (1876). Everyone from Tennessee Ernie Ford and Mahalia Jackson to Dwight Yoakam and Jars of Clay have recorded it. The Georgia Southern University marching band Southern Pride even plays the song at the end of each win.

I think that’s interesting, but, then, that’s how my mind works.

Nicely done, Dwight. Have a good day. Here’s hoping it is well with your soul.

A little Wednesday rant

On this day in 1956 Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady opened on Broadway. It was a rousing success, setting a record for the longest run of any show on Broadway up to that time. It was followed by a hit London production, a popular film version, and numerous revivals. My Fair Lady has frequently been called “the perfect musical” (according to Wikipedia).

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One wonders if its plot involving a cockney flower girl who takes speech lessons from professor Henry Higgins, a phoneticist, so that she may pass as a lady would resonate today. Would people today even get it? I imagine they would say, What’s wrong with the way Liza speaks? That’s how they talk on TV. What’s a “lady” anyway?

I mean it never ceases to amaze me how the people who are hired for on-air jobs reading the news ever got those jobs in the first place. They all say “git” for “get” and make grammatical errors right and left. And they all look like they are going out clubbing as soon as they get off work. It’s a little much at 7 a.m.

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Remember how in the old days actors took speech lessons to learn how to enunciate and to get rid of unattractive accents? Remember how actors were chosen because they had distinctive or melodious voices? Think of Henry Fonda or Jimmy Stewart or Irene Dunne or Olivia de Havilland or Errol Flynn. Half the time you can’t understand what people are saying in movies anymore. And you thought Marlon Brando mumbled? They all sound like Jean Hagen in Singin’ In the Rain and no one gets that joke either.

Of course, Shaw was making fun of the whole ridiculous upper/lower class set-up, but I do wish we would remember with Professor Higgins that:

“… you are a human being with a soul and the divine gift of articulate speech: that your native language is the language of Shakespeare and Milton and The Bible; and don’t sit there crooning like a bilious pigeon.”

Not to be harsh, but My Fair Lady does seem to have lost its relevance. And that’s a shame.