dual personalities

We have art in order not to die of the truth*

In one corner of my living room hangs a pleasing watercolor that I inherited from my grandmother (father’s mother). You’ve seen it in pictures before. Remember this one taken just after we painted the living room and before the fern took over?


I’ve always loved this painting and wondered about how my grandmother came to own it, and what the artist who painted it, Sears Gallagher, was like.  So I looked him up, and wouldn’t you know, he has a Wikipedia page.


A close-up of my watercolor

A prolific American artist, who specialized in watercolor and etching, Gallagher was born in Boston in 1869. Apart from the obligatory study abroad and summers spent in Monhegan, Maine, he lived in Boston all his life, dying there in 1955. Commercially successful and critically acclaimed, he was compared to the likes of Winslow Homer and James McNeill Whistler, at least according to Wikipedia. The Metropolitan Museum in NY and the Chicago Art Institute are among the museums that own his work, particularly his etchings, which until recently have gained more attention than his watercolors.  Despite his success, he is not what one would call famous. I suspect it’s because too much of his work survives, and also because he lived a conventional, scandal-free life. He occupied the same house in a suburb of Boston from the time he married until he died. He and his wife had two children, a boy and a girl.

image from the Boston Public Library via Wikipedia

image from the Boston Public Library via Wikipedia

He took his art very seriously and even pushed the boundaries of style in his younger days. I really love his watercolors of Maine.


Apparently, he belonged to the artist’s colony on Monhegan Island. This painting of Christmas Cove  is similar to the one I own. He liked to paint the beach and water,

gallagher_sears_christmas_cove_monhegan_sbut sometimes he explored other subjects.


And once in a while, he even did a portrait. I wonder who this lovely lady was? She reminds me a little of my grandmother.


Maybe he wasn’t a grand master, but I bet Sears Gallagher has helped just as many people “not die of the truth”. His painting has certainly made my house a nicer place to live. So tonight let’s make a toast to Sears Gallagher, a wonderful artist and (by all accounts) a good man.

*Friedrich Nietzsche

** all photos via Google image


“It seemed to be a good idea at the time.”*

The reboot of The Magnificent Seven opens today, but you will not catch me going to see this remake of a remake. Please. I mean look at these guys.


Of course, they have changed the story so the bad guy is an industrialist. Of course he is. Bandits are so yesterday. Robber Barons–big time bandits–clever.

Also, you can bet that this new version is 100 times more violent than either of the earlier movies.

So no, I prefer to dust off the original, The Seven Samurai (1954), directed by Akira Kurosawa


and starring Toshiro Mifune as one of the seven.


Or I could watch the original American remake, The Magnificent Seven (1960) starring Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen et al.


I could go either way. You do what you want. You will not hurt my feelings.

Meanwhile the boy and daughter #3 came over for dinner last night. I figured the boy would like to get out of the house since he is still recuperating. (He gets his staples out next week.)


So that was nice. And he looks pretty good, right?

The dining room is looking pretty good too!


Have a super weekend!

*Steve McQueen as Vin in The Magnificent Seven (1960)

This and that

Well, did you hear that Curtis Hanson died? This makes me sad, because he was one of the few directors who made movies that I have actually admired in the last twenty years. Seriously, there are so few. But I liked L.A. Confidential (1997), Wonder Boys (2000), In Her Shoes (2005), and Lucky You (2006). And I am a big fan of 8 Mile (2002)


which starred Eminem, who said, “Curtis Hanson believed in me and our crazy idea to make a rap battle movie set in Detroit. He basically made me into an actor for ‘8 Mile.’ I’m lucky I got to know him.”

So tonight I will toast Curtis Hanson and this weekend I will try to watch one of his movies.

In other news, while the world goes to hell in a hand-basket, my flyover town is all in a tizzy about the new “improved” mascot of the local Jesuit university.


New Billiken

Old Billiken

Old Billiken

I hear that the Billiken’s new look is a hot topic in the twitter-sphere.



Anyway, I found this whole kerfuffle amusing.

Meanwhile the Cards are still in the race for the wild card spot. And we have the best mascot ever.


God’s grace abounds.

“That was the most awkward Wednesday he ever remembered.”*

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien was published 79 years ago on September 21, 1937 to wide critical acclaim. As you know, it is recognized as a classic in children’s literature. And lots of people other than J.R.R. Tolkien have made a lot of money on various movie adaptions.


“Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.”


“There are no safe paths in this part of the world. Remember you are over the Edge of the Wild now, and in for all sorts of fun wherever you go.”


It might be time to dig out a copy and re-read The Hobbit. Well, we’ll see. Hope your Wednesday isn’t too awkward.

*The Hobbit, of course. The illustrations pictured are by the author.


Humble and hearty thanks





Fall arrives tomorrow. However, it is still hot as blazes here.


But that’s all right! Autumn weather is not far off.

Eternal God,
you crown the year with your goodness
and give us the fruits of the earth in their season:
Grant that we may use them to your glory,
for the relief of those in need
and for our own well-being;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–BCP, 2004


First four images via Pinterest; fifth, Virginia Lee Burton, The Little House

Tempus fugit

Happy 5th Anniversary to our blog! How time flies, right? Thanks for reading it! High fives all around.

My restful weekend turned out to be anything but that, which is typical, but okay.

Per usual, I went to the grocery store, had coffee with friends, and went to an estate sale where I rescued a needlepoint brick.


I also put a bid in for an antique full size bed. I never win when I bid at estate sales, but, of course, I did this time when I did not have access to a big car or the boy! (What was I thinking?!) So the OM and I went into figure-this-out-mode and managed to rent a pickup truck. Of course, the rental place called on Sunday morning and were like, sorry, there is no pickup truck available–will a mini van do? Long story short, we did rent a large Town & Country minivan which, when all the seats were collapsed, did the job.

Of course, we had to take the bed apart (not a terribly easy job) at the house and then make numerous trips with bed parts down the windy stairs and out to the car. Then we took it home and unloaded it and returned the minivan to the rental place.


Quite the four-hour ordeal. Oy.

The bed will stay in the garage until some day in the future when I have regained my mojo and want to tackle putting it together. Huzzah.

In other news I am still reading The Lamplighter by Maria Susanna Cummins and enjoying it very much.


I am more than halfway through this 424 page opus. The 1850s weren’t perfect by any means, but it is an okay place to escape from the 2010s.

I watched Keanu (2016)–

which is one of those movies where, literally, everything funny is in the trailer. The movie was not good and, as the boy warned me, there is not enough of the kitten in the movie.

I also watched Young Frankenstein (1974), which I realized I had never actually seen from beginning to end. It was funny (especially after Keanu.)


Last week while we were away, the wallpaper went  up in our dining room!


I think it looks fabulous! I still have to put things back up on the walls and hang the curtains, but I did put the china back in the china cabinet.

So now it is Monday and it’s back to the salt mines once again!

And how can man die better, Than facing fearful odds, For the ashes of his fathers, And the temples of his gods?*

Way back before the great Horatius helped the Romans gain their freedom in the late 6th century BC, the Etruscans ruled over them. Livy, one of our only sources for early Rome and a late, inventive one at that,  makes it seem as if the Etruscans were a mean, exploitative lot, who took everything of value from the Romans, including some exceptionally beautiful and highly upstanding Roman ladies.  It seems to me that Etruscan art and artifacts tell a different story.

They seem more like Hobbits than Uruk-hai, if you know what I mean. Take their wonderful necropolis at Cerveteri, for example:


Doesn’t it look like a sort of Hobbiton for the dead?


Curiously enough, while the tombs look round on the outside, the interiors map as rectangular spaces.


One of my favorite structures is the Tomb of the Five Chairs, in which, that’s right, archaeologists found five chairs.


Seated on those five chairs (and with feet resting on the footstools) were five, wonderful terracotta statues, of which only three survive, two in the British Museum and one in the Capitoline Museum in Rome.




I’ve loved those statues since I took a class in Etruscan art in college. Aren’t they fabulous? There’s something extremely endearing about them, and they aren’t exactly what you’d call threatening.  To be fair to the Romans, most Etruscan art depicts full-size warrior types like this:


I wonder who those people in the Tomb of the Five Chairs were. In any case, I love the Etruscans’ cool necropolis with its round tumuli and rectangular subterranean rooms. While I don’t approve of disturbing graves, I confess that I would love to visit Cerveteri. Road trip anyone?

*Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay, “Horatius at the Bridge”

All photos via Google image.



With a knick-knack paddywhack


It has been quite a week and I plan to do very little this weekend.

Here’s Good news for Longmire fans.

And a prayer to begin the day from Samuel Johnson:

Almighty God, the giver of all good things, without whose help all labour is ineffectual, and without whose grace all wisdom is folly: Grant, we beseech thee, that in our undertakings thy Holy Spirit may not be withheld from us, but that we may promote thy glory, and the coming of thy kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

(c) The Collection: Art & Archaeology in Lincolnshire (Usher Gallery); Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Enjoy your Friday!

The paintings are by Edouard Vuillard and Frederick William Elwell.

Home again, home again jiggity jig

The boy is such a trouper. His super positive attitude prevails and he will be fine. The OM and I left him yesterday in Indianapolis,


(the headquarters of Steak N Shake) and headed back to St. Louis and our jobs. He’s in good hands with his lovely wife (and her mother) watching over him and they’ll be home on Friday.

We stopped in Greencastle, IN on the way home for a nostalgic look at DePauw University which daughter #1 attended.




We hoped to have lunch at the world-famous Marvin’s,


but they had just closed. (“Im so darn diggity mad!”)

So we stopped at the Steak N Shake in Terre Haute, which was also something we used to do back in the day.


We finally crossed the mighty Mississippi at rush hour when a Cardinals game was also ending,


so it took another 45 minutes to get home.

C’est la vie. Glad to be home.

The Lord is my refuge


The boy is okay.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

 –Psalm 91 (NIV)

The OM and I are heading back home today. Daughter #3 and her mother are staying in Indianapolis with the boy ’til they release him on Friday or Saturday. We were very impressed with the University Hospital in Indianapolis and the A Team that operated on the boy. All is well.