dual personalities

Month: December, 2012

With lots of love and happy wishes


Over the holidays I re-read Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart, which I discovered over twenty years ago. It is really marvelous. Here she sums up what I believe to be the very true essence of a woman’s happiness:

“When you think of me you must think of me as one who is truly happy. It is true, I want a great many things I haven’t got, but I don’t want them enough to be discontented and not enjoy the many blessings that are mine. I have my home among the blue mountains, my healthy, well-formed children, my clean, honest husband, my kind gentle milk cows, my garden which I make myself. There are lots of chickens, turkeys and pigs which are my own special care. I have some slow old gentle horses and an old wagon. I can load up the kiddies and go where I please any time. I have the best, kindest neighbors and I have my dear absent friends. Do you wonder I am so happy? When I think of it all, I wonder how I can crowd all my joy into one short life.”

Times have not changed that much if you substitute a station wagon/mini van for the horse and wagon. And don’t kid yourself that she didn’t have a “job”. She worked harder than I ever have at my cushy flyover university. At the center of her happiness is love and the freedom to do what she wants.

I highly recommend this book as a good way to start the new year off on a positive note. It is available here.

Fa la la la lala la la

Well, in our part of the Midwest we haven’t had any snow to speak of. Just a lot of gray skies.

We spent yesterday at the hospital with daughter #2 who was having some ear tube maintenance surgery.


It was a long, but thankfully uneventful day. Daughter #1 had fun entertaining herself with iPhone antics and tweets.

mary hosp

We were glad to go home after 4 hours, stopping at McDonald’s for Diet Cokes and Nuggets (don’t judge us). Later we went to get a prescription filled and to Walgreen’s for NyQuil and throat lozenges. I made hash with the pork tenderloin leftover from Christmas. Daughter #1 made cookies. We watched several episodes of Buffy, including one of our favorites (“Band Candy”) wherein our she-ro made an amusing reference to Nightline. (We live for such moments.)

That was our day. Sigh.

Snow…lots of snow

All through the night it snowed and we woke up this morning to this

Chez Melville

Chez Melville

Even the protected back door had trouble opening

My mudroom is a snow room now

My mudroom is a snow room now

Gallant husband and sons #2 and #3 got shoveling and yes, the snow is up over the car tires.

Darling husband smiles for the camera

Darling husband smiles for the camera

It’s still snowing and is supposed to continue all day and tonight. Fortunately, we have TWO neighbors with snow blowers who very kindly help us out when the end of the driveway gets plowed in. It’s a perfect day for apres shoveling cocoa and a good book or movie. I’d bake cookies if we weren’t replete with Christmas goodies already. How are you going to spend your day?

Merry Christmas!


Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! We got so busy, we forgot to post this greeting. We’ll try to do better, but while daughters # 1 and 2 are home, it s difficult to find the time to post!

All the best to our loyal followers!

Home for Christmas!

Son #1 arrived safely home this morning!

Christmas 2012 004

The tree is up, presents piling up, and the Lego train up and running.

Christmas 2012 005

And as a special Christmas treat, I’ll leave you with this year’s Church Christmas pageant — “Out of the mouths of babes” as they say.

Merry Christmas!!!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

This morning I woke up to this:

My neighbors nice house

My neighbors nice house

It’s very pretty until one faces the reality of ice under snow on the cars and 4 inches of heavy snow on the driveway (the pictures don’t really do the amount justice).


Not only did my hero, our neighbor and his snow blower come to the rescue, but he generously did the rest of the neighborhood as well!

Mr. Peters saves the day

Mr. Peters saves the day

Son #3 had a 9am bell practice at church, so I dug out the cars while he got himself up and fed. It would have been easier if he had walked the 3 blocks, but he refuses to wear a coat, hat, or gloves, and it is snowing quite a lot (though it’s hard to tell from the pictures). Rather than let the church people discover the awful truth about his neglectful parents, I braved the weather. Everyone else in the house was, of course, asleep. It was worth the effort — the village green was peaceful and quiet.

12-22-12 green

Since these pics were taken at about 9am in falling snow, the Christmas lights are off, the decorations obscured, and everything is a muted grey, but you get the idea…

The First Presbyterian Church

The First Presbyterian Church

So I say, “let it snow” — that is, as long as it stops before son #1 is due at the airport in Ottawa tomorrow morning! Merry Christmas!

Home again, home again jiggety jig


Well, after two trips to the airport yesterday, much waiting and anticipation, a plane diverted to Memphis because of wind surges, daughter #1 is home again. Phew.

The airport was filled with frustrated people eagerly awaiting their friends and family members, but everyone was fairly congenial, sharing information and advice. Daughter #1 said that the people on her plane were likewise good-humored about their 8-hour ordeal on the plane, complete with vomiting children.

Anyway, we made it to celebratory margaritas and quesadillas and back home jiggety jig. Onward to Christmas!

Oh yeah, and if the Apocalypse happens…this.

An Updike poem for thursday

This poem is titled “January”, but it describes December just as well I think.

The days are short,
The sun a spark
Hung thin between the dark and dark.

Fat snowy footsteps track the floor.
Milk bottles burst outside the door.
The river is a frozen place
Held still beneath the trees of lace.
The sky is low, the wind is gray.
The radiator purrs all day.

-John Updike-

I grew up with radiators in an old house. They purred, but they were also known to bink and bonk and rattle, weren’t they? In my first house as a married person, we had radiators and I remember worrying that their audible antics might wake up a sleeping baby!

The boy and daughter #1 playing in front of a big ol' radiator.

The boy and daughter #1 playing in front of a big ol’ radiator.

Our house now has forced air heat. It turns on and off and blows quietly. I guess this is progress.

[We are expecting snow this afternoon, so, as usual, the local TV weather people are all in a tizzy. Daughter #1 is flying in from NYC, so let’s pray that she doesn’t get sidelined in Wichita (or anywhere else)!]

Build your own world

Today’s Emerson quote is brought to you by daughter #2 with whom I had a serious intellectual conversation the other day.


Know then, that the world exists for you. For you is the phenomenon perfect. What we are, that only can we see. All that Adam had, all that Caesar could, you have and can do. Adam called his house, heaven and earth; Caesar called his house, Rome; you perhaps call yours a cobbler’s trade; a hundred acres of ploughed land; or a scholar’s garret. Yet line for line and point for point, your dominion is as great as theirs, though without fine names. Build, therefore, your own world.

(from Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson)

It is truly an amazing thing when your children reach an age where they are more knowledgeable than you on certain subjects. It is doubly amazing when that subject is Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Happy birthday, dual personality!

December 18 is a birth-day boasting many “famous” people: Charles Wesley, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, Ty Cobb, George Stevens, Betty Grable, Keith Richards, Steve Biko, Steven Speilberg, Ray Liotta, Brad Pitt, Robson Green, and Christina Aguilera!

Most dear to my heart, of course, is my lovely little sister (and dual personality). Last year I posted a funny picture of her in the 5th grade. Today I will share a more flattering picture of her when she was young and fair and a grad student at Yale. She is holding her nephew, the startled boy (who was a month old and sporting formalwear). Time flies, eh?


Carpe diem, dual personality!