dual personalities

Month: June, 2017

Two better hemispheres

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The Good-Morrow

I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved? Were we not weaned till then?
But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den?
’Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be.
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee.

And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love, all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown,
Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we find two better hemispheres,
Without sharp north, without declining west?

Whatever dies, was not mixed equally;
If our two loves be one, or, thou and I
Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.


–John Donne

I am off for a week of wedding merry-making! Check back next week for photos of the Big Day.  L’chaim!

“God, the best maker of all marriages,
Combine your hearts in one.”
—King Henry V, Act V

“Velvet I can wish you For the collar of your coat And fortune smiling all along your way”*

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The sign’s up at the boy’s store! He’ll be open for business shortly. Can you believe it?

When it rains, it certainly pours.

Did I just mention rain? I didn’t mean to…

More on this exciting mercantile development later.

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Right now we are trying to focus on the upcoming nuptial events later this week.

But More I Cannot Wish You
Than to wish you find your love
Your own true love this day
With a sheeps’ eye
And a lickerish tooth
And strong arms
To carry you away.

*More I Cannot Wish You, Frank Loesser

“Trouble with you is The trouble with me”*

I spent the weekend cleaning my house so it will be spic and span for all the people who will be arriving this week for the nuptials on Saturday.

The OM and I did make it down to Forest Park on Saturday morning…


to go to the new exhibit at the Art Museum before it opens to the general public.


It was pretty special, and I enjoyed our cultural outing.

1-Reigning-Men-1024x682.jpgWe stopped at First Watch on the way home and I enjoyed my avocado toast. Then we headed home and back to gussying up the homestead.

The weather, of course, was absolutely perfect this weekend. God knows (literally) what next weekend will be like. C’est la vie.

I went to church because I was filling in for a friend as the intercessor. They have switched over to Enriching Our Worship, the modern “supplement” to the BCP, for the summer. “The liturgy is intended to expand the language, images and metaphors used in worship in a more contemporary and gender inclusive way.” Just shoot me. I guess I will be taking the rest of the summer off. I’m sure no one will miss me or my rolling eyes.

We watched Long Strange Trip (2017), the Amazon documentary about the Grateful Dead.


I like the Grateful Dead as much as the next person my age, and Jerry Garcia was a fellow Episcopalian after all, but I was frankly shocked to find out the extent of his drug addiction and the longterm use of psychedelic drugs by the band. As usual, I am not cool enough to understand the Dead. I wasn’t in high school and nothing has changed.

Anyway, I can’t really recommend the documentary. The OM watched the whole four hours (!) but I baled and went back to Absaroka County and reading about Walt Longmire, who, as we know, is more my cup of tea.

And this little guy can now turn over from his back to his tummy. Brilliant.


Enjoy your Monday. Nate and Susie arrive today!

*Casey Jones, Robert C. Hunter, Jerome J. Garcia

You Can Relax

During my epic attic clean-out, of which you will hear more in up-coming weeks, I discovered a small booklet by Norman Vincent Peale titled, You Can Relax (I believe that it belonged to my grandmother Cameron). Here’s a picture of NVP relaxing at his desk.

Since my niece’s wedding is ONE WEEK AWAY and the intervening days are bound to be a little fraught (so much to do, so many people traveling!), I thought it timely to share some of Mr. Peale’s advice. It’s really pretty good. I won’t include it all, but here are some choice suggestions:

  1. Drain Your Mind. Use “the vacuum cleaner prayer” for this: “Dear Lord, by the power of Thy spirit draw now from the unseen crannies and crevices of my soul the dust of the world which has settled there.”
  2. Relax Muscle Tension. This involves some stretching and breathing exercises.
  3. Don’t Take Tomorrow to Bed with You. Don’t think about what you have to do; repeat the Bible verse, Matthew 6:34 “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
  4. Practice the Presence. When you wake up in the middle of the night, assume that the Lord wants to tell you something. Lie there quietly and when He has spoken go back to sleep.
  5. Tranquilize Your Thoughts. This does not involve drink or drugs. Rather, NVP suggests that you hum or sing a tranquil hymn with words like “Drop thy still dews of quietness, till all our strivings cease.”
  6. Relax by Positive Thinking. Before you go to bed affirm, “I am going to enjoy a sound and restful night and will waken with renewed energy and eager zest for tomorrow’s activities.” When you wake up in the morning reaffirm your intentions for the day.
  7. Drop Relaxing Bible Verses into your Mind. Whenever you start to feel anxious, repeat “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself” (Psalm 37:7), or something like it.
  8. Add up Your Blessings. Remind yourself of all that you have to be thankful for.
  9. Become the Expert Forgetter. Don’t hold grudges — let them go. Forget all annoys you.
  10. Rocked in the Everlasting Arms. “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee” (Psalm 55:22).

There. That’s better, isn’t it? Don’t you feel more relaxed? Many people find Norman Vincent Peale schmaltzy and out-of-date these days — or at least embarrassingly religious — but personally I think it’s far superior to most self-help advice (aka pseudo-mystical, self-indulgent, New Age navel gazing). Just saying.

Stay tuned for pre-nuptial excitement and remember, all is well and all manner of things are well. And don’t forget to cultivate an “eager zest” for life!



This and that

Tomorrow (June 24) is the 141 anniversary of the formal opening in 1876 of Forest Park here in my flyover hometown.

This 1,380-acre tract had been purchased by the city a year earlier for just under $800,000. Because more than 1,100 acres of its land was forested, the name Forest Park was agreed upon. At the time of its purchase the park was considered ridiculously far from the city–of which it is now a central and integral part. The Republic reported that the opening of the park “was something of a revelation to the public, very many having then for the first time become aware what a really beautiful place the park is, and what delightful possibilities of lovely landscape it possesses.”*


1915 glass plate photo by Thomas Kempland

Well, Forest Park has always been important to me since the days of my youth when we lived just a hop, skip and a jump from it. We never went there without a parent–it wasn’t deemed safe enough, not after our older brother famously lost his fishing rod when some thug took it and tossed it into the pond.  But a trip to the Art Museum or the Zoo was always fun whether planned or spur-of-the-moment. When I had my own children, we also went frequently. There are still a lot of fun things to do there.


In fact, it may be time to venture back for a visit this weekend. (This is opening.)

This also brings to mind memories of the wedding of the boy and daughter #3 almost five years ago…


…which reminds me that a week from tomorrow is daughter #2’s Big Day! And I am freaking out just a little.


Bear with me.

*St. Louis Day by Day, Frances Hurd Stadler

“Don’t call me sweetheart. Call me Batman.”*


The boy and daughter #1 c. 1990 (Check out that wreck of a blankie draped on her lap!)

One consequence of buying the vintage desk the other day was having to move our other vintage desk out of the room, emptying the drawers etc. Inside I found several old desk calendars. One from 1990 was particularly interesting as I had written down notes referring to the infant daughter #2’s progress and also cute comments her older siblings had made during the year.

The three-year-old boy–whom I had forgotten was such a spiritual child–was the star with these classic statements:

[The boy] says at lunch, pounding the table for emphasis, “God made us…with nails!”

“When I drink water God takes a bath.” (He knows God is “inside us all.”)

[Daughter #1] is washing doll clothes in the bathroom sink and [the boy] is bothering her, so she kicks him out, shouting, “I don’t want any company!” “Well,” he replies, “you have company. You have God!”

Comments pertaining to the new baby were also prevalent and reflect the siblings’ healthy self-esteem.


On the day the baby is born I tell daughter #1 that the baby looks like her, and she says, “I knew she would.”

When the baby is six-months old I remark to the boy that she loves to look at him. He says, “Yes, she just loves my brown eyes.”

Anyway, here’s a reminder to write down those wonderful statements your children make. Chances are, you will never remember them otherwise. I sure didn’t.

*The boy, of course

A little Wednesday rant

Daughter #1 just told me something really disturbing.

She said that the Hallmark Channel has announced that it has started production on the At Home in Mitford movie based on the first book in Jan Karon’s beloved series.

There has been talk of this for years and the million dollar question has been: Who will they cast as Father Tim? Most suggestions by fans have ranged from the stupid to the deranged, but the producers have gone beyond deranged, casting Cameron Mathison, a soap star and hunk whose career high point was being on Dancing With the Stars.


O.M.G. Are you kidding me? We’re talking Father Tim–aging, overweight, bald, and diabetic!

Granted Anthony Hopkins (Jan Karon’s choice) and Robert Duvall may not have been available, but there must be some B-list aging actor out there who would have jumped at the chance to play such a great character.


More like it, thank you

Okay, maybe they’re too old now. Shockingly, Father Tim was my age in the first book, so why not


or even


Okay, too high end?  Then find someone like that. Someone who looks like he might have actually read the Bible or a Wordsworth poem and is a little the worse for wear.

Clearly the producers just don’t care. They are going to turn this spiritual book into a folksy Hallmark movie about a folksy small town where romance blooms folksily, i.e. cupid even finds ministers who are hopeless bachelors.

We won’t even go into the fact that Andie McDowell was cast as Cynthia.

Good grief, what is the world coming to? Stupid question, I know.

‘Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice: That alone should encourage the crew…

Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
What I tell you three times is true.’*   

I had such a busy weekend! I accomplished a few things on my to-do list, like getting my hair cut, but not a lot.

Sometimes a thing becomes a whole ‘nother thing and you have to go with the flow and adapt. This happened when the OM and I ventured once again into terra incognita for an estate sale on Saturday afternoon. I was curious to see what the pictures online suggested–a lot of antiques in a modest home in a part of town I do not know well.

It was a nice little neighborhood and the house did indeed have a lot of good stuff. Nothing, however, that I really needed or couldn’t live without at the asking price. (I am so restrained.) Anyway, we had to get on the road to a graduation party for a child of the OM’s cousin (and only living relative with whom he is still speaking) who lives in St. Charles County, so there was no time to dilly dally.

Sunday morning, though, we thought why not check back when everything would be half price? So, of course, we couldn’t pass up a real bargain of a vintage desk. And, of course, it was too big for either of our cars, so we texted daughter #3 to see if we could borrow her SUV. Long story (kind of) short, we then drove to their house to pick up the SUV and back down to south STL, loaded up the desk, drove back to our house, unloaded the desk, and returned the SUV to daughter #3, and (finally) drove home.

Then we had to get ready for our Father’s Day barbecue that evening. The boy then helped us carry the desk up the steep garage steps into our house.

Do other people do this sort of thing?


I didn’t get a lot done on my to-do list, but I did get a vintage desk and we drove all over the place in the process. It’s all about the hunt, right?


Cousin Joshua approves.

*Lewis Carroll

Monday again?

I had such a busy weekend, I didn’t have a chance to write a blogpost for today. All I have is this sweet picture of the wee babes on their dad’s first Father’s Day.IMG_1295.jpgThey had a busy day too, so by the time they came over to our house for a Sunday night barbecue, they were a little fussy. No picture taking. C’est la vie

Have a good week!

An embarrassment of riches

Or, in our case, just an embarrassment.  I’ve been amusing myself this week reading old letters and my adolescent diary (what a bore!). Most of the diary is just angst-ridden drivel and reports on hockey scores, but there are some choice tidbits like this one from 1973, the very year I blogged about last week.

Wouldn’t you know that my idea of fun focused on eating a bunch of candy. Some things never change.

With posterity in mind even as a teenager, I think I kept every letter ever sent to me. In our attic excavation we have uncovered the mother-lode of correspondence, most of it from my college days, but some from that “magic” early 1970s period. The summer before 8th grade I went to visit my aunt Susanne in Massachusetts. It was the first trip I’d ever been on without my immediate family, and it was a long one — I bet I was gone for at least a month. My darling dual personality and I corresponded throughout. She even illustrated her letters — she was quite the artist, don’t you agree? (In case you are wondering, I didn’t tear out the picture. That’s the result of my freeform cut and paste using Paint).

She also included amusing quizzes, one of which I reproduce here.

Quizmo directions: Identify who said these words (the actor)

  1. “I say, Holmes! (clear throat…. chuckle, chuckle)”
  2. “You remind me of a Viennese Waltz”
  3. “Pity! Pity me!?”
  4. “Ouch! Sun-burn pain needs SolarCaine.”
  5. “It is, indeed, a bad scene…”
  6. “I hate to leave you here like this, Digby, but…”
  7. “76 trombones…”

I identified them all except for the SolarCaine one, which was apparently an inside joke that I didn’t get even then. How did you do?

My dual personality wrote very amusing letters. Here are a couple of examples — note the bright green ink on shocking pink paper. Ah, the ’70s…

And this, a few days later:

I have spent a happy few days reading all these wonderful missives, as I’m sure you can imagine. Just wait until I post about my college days! But beyond making me laugh out loud and recall past times, I have come away feeling very loved. My parents, siblings, and friends all wrote funny and informative letters exhorting me to work hard, have fun, and be happy. Not only could they all write well, but they composed long letters. It’s a dying art that we should revive. I  hereby vow to start sending snail-mail letters again!

As a historian, however, I read these letters with a growing sense of unease. What will later generations make of these things? Anyone reading my diary would think I was deeply unhappy and quite dim-witted, but the truth is I only wrote in it when angry, depressed, or bored out of my mind, and I rarely included any actual news. By contrast, the letters, in which I still recognize many hilarious in-jokes, might lead an unknowing reader to believe that we actually liked Barry Manilow, thought Robert Preston the epitome of masculine virtue, called people “peasant fatso” (okay that’s true), and regularly corresponded with someone named Pancho. The mind reels! Perhaps I should annotate them? I’ve already decided to ditch the diary.

Stay tuned for more from the dual personalities’ wayback machine, including my dear sister’s love story in her own words (!), and have a good weekend!