dual personalities

Category: family

“January cold and desolate; February dripping wet”*


The OM and I had a fun trip to Jefferson City last weekend. We took the “River Runner” train after work on Friday. The next morning  daughter #1 drove us to Columbia where we checked out the new State Historical Society of Missouri building…

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(The sky was grey and overcast when we visited and there was a much more brutalist feel to the building than in this photo.)

The museum inside was small but very nice with some good paintings and drawings by George Caleb Bingham and Thomas Hart Benton.


It was pretty cool. We had lunch in a hip, Brooklyn-esque restaurant and then headed home to Jeff City where we dropped off the OM at daughter # 1’s charming apartment…



…so that we could do a little mid-MO shopping. After a late afternoon glass of wine, we hopped on the train and returned to Kirkwood. It was a lovely, hassle-free overnight visit with daughter #1.

On Sunday I went to church and came home and caught up on laundry and vacuuming and got ready for the wee babes’ arrival later in the afternoon. I had bought them little Valentine presents, which turned out to be big hits. The Jumping Bear stacking toy was for Lottie who, as you know, loves to stack, and the Fisher Price Nifty Station Wagon was for the wee laddie who loves all things on wheels.

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Note that he has taken out the Dad, Mom and dog and put more cars in the “nifty station wagon”…


There’s a whole lot of concentrating going on here…

I was pleased. My choices are seldom not always so successful…

In other news, I forgot to watch the Westminster Dog Show last week. I always got a kick out of it, but I’m afraid it has become a bit of a clown show…

Screen Shot 2020-02-17 at 1.15.24 PM.pngThat poodle, good grief.

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Here’s to the rest of the week! Maybe the sun will come out!

*Christina Rossetti, “The Months”

A bushel and a peck

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Well, I have had a busy week! I even gave a talk to 150 people and lived through it. “I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling,” wrote Paul to the Corinthians. “And my speech and my proclamation were not in words of wisdom.” This is always how I feel, but according to people in attendance, I did not embarrass myself.

I also went to an event after work for a friend who is running for City Council. Another thing I haven’t done in a long time–go out after work!

Later today, after work, the OM and I are taking the River Runner Amtrak train to Jefferson City.

Screen Shot 2020-02-13 at 11.36.05 AM.pngWe’ll stay with daughter #1 and come home on the train on Saturday evening. Wild and crazy I know!

On Sunday I hope the wee babes will come over with their parents for an old-fashioned Valentine’s Day party like the ones daughter #2 alluded to in her post yesterday.

The wee babes have been wearing Valentine outfits all week.


Lottie is one of only a couple of girls in a class full of boys, so odds are she will make out like a bandit in the Valentine lottery. Unknown-2.jpegUnknown-3.jpeg

The wee laddie has a coterie of older girls (5 year olds!) who follow him around and tell him he’s cute. They can’t keep their hands off him. The acorn didn’t fall too far from the tree…



Love is in the air.

Anyway, have a good weekend! Watch a good romantic movie!

dive for dreams

or a slogan may topple you

(trees are their roots

and wind is wind)


trust your heart

if the seas catch fire

(and live by love

though the stars walk backward)

honor the past

but welcome the future

(and dance your death

away at this wedding)

never mind a world

with its villains or heroes

(for god likes girls

and tomorrow and the earth)

–e.e. cummings

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:7-10)

A little fishing village where there are no phones

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,

well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

–Billy Collins

Older readers will relate to this poem. I certainly do. Billy Collins wrote it when he was 58 and he is still going strong twenty years later, so take heart, right?

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In other news, my vestry retreat went well. It always helps when half the group stops at the Hofbrauhaus in Belleville, Illinois for happy  hour on the way to the retreat. (This is an Episcopal Church vestry after all.)

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I got home in time on Saturday to relax and recover, and on Sunday I got my laundry/ chores/puttering done. But I could definitely have used another day off. The wee babes came over for dinner with their parents and we had a merry time. At one point we were discussing the fact that the governor was in Florida for the Super Bowl and Lottie told me that her Noni and Papa (the other grandparents) were in Florida. I said, yes, I know. There are a lot of people in Florida. She looked at me and repeated what she had said, definitely with a tone.

I am a blockhead.

We did not watch the Super Bowl. Instead, after everyone had gone home, the OM and I watched The Matrix (1999) at the recommendation of the boy. I had never seen it! I enjoyed it, although I cannot say I really understood what was going on most of the time.Screen Shot 2020-02-03 at 1.43.34 PM.pngWell, I am trying to enjoy the warm spell we are experiencing until the next wintry mix assails us on Wednesday. Par for the course in flyover country!

Keep re-reading those books you’ve forgotten.

“We deliberately forget because forgetting is a blessing. On both an emotional level and a spiritual level, forgetting is a natural part of the human experience and a natural function of the human brain. It is a feature, not a bug, one that saves us from being owned by our memories. Can a world that never forgets be a world that truly forgives?”
― Tim Challies, The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion

Painting by Jacob D. Wagner (American, 1852-1898)

Is it Friday yet?

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And the robin flew

Into the air, the air,

The white mist through;

And small and rare

The night-frost fell

Into the calm and misty dell.


And the dusk gathered low,

And the silver moon and stars

On the frozen snow

Drew taper bars,

Kindled winking fires In the hooded briers.


And the sprawling Bear

Growled deep in the sky;

And Orion’s hair

Streamed sparkling by:

But the North sighed low,

“Snow, snow, more snow!”              –Walter de la Mare

Do you have plans for the weekend? We are going to the annual Elegant Italian Dinner at our church, which, you will recall, is the fundraiser for the youth mission trip. Big Doings. The boy and daughter # 3 are going with us. The wee babes will be in the nursery. If the weather cooperates, daughter #1 will drive in from mid-MO and join us. Since it is an Episcopal church, there will be a cash bar. Good times predicted and one of my first social “outings” in a long time.

In other news, Lottiebelle has continued to build towers…


“The biggest in the world!” with a little help from Daddy

…and the wee laddie continues to improve his driving skills…


And here’s some news you can use:

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Plus, I thought that this was real good.

Have a good weekend!

“So lift your head and keep singing/ Praise the Lord”

As of this morning, I only have two more radiation treatments! I should be finished next week on Tuesday. Praise the Lord. 🙏🙏🙏

Earlier in the week a friend from my former church gave me a prayer shawl which she had made. They have a Knitting Ministry at this church–their mission being “to offer fellow parishioners and friends tangible and spiritual love, comfort and prayers through the knitted objects that they make–Mantles of Comfort, Baby Blankets of Love and Chemo Caps.” I was touched to receive this mantle of comfort. I do feel “uplifted and affirmed.”


Sunday is our mother’s birthday (along with Dolly Parton and Buffy the Vampire Slayer) so I thought I would feature this photo of her and my older brother from the Worcester Sunday Telegram in 1954.

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These days I am am looking a lot like my 3-year old brother here. At least my eyebrows and eyelashes have started to come back. Praise the Lord. 🙏🙏🙏

Thankfully the weekend is upon us. We are probably in for more bad weather, but in the words of the Puritan Anne Bradstreet, “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”

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I’m in.

*Mat Maher

The thoughts you think

This made me laugh…

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And I have to agree with this…

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I am not on Facebook or Twitter, but I do have an Instagram account, so I know about wasting time. But as you can see, it is not all a waste of time.

Classes have started up again at my flyover institute. Busy, busy again. Thankfully I got all my Christmas decorations taken down and stored away over the weekend. The OM and the boy even took the extra leaf out of the dining room table and the wee laddie freaked out, screaming that they were breaking the table (“my table”). Who knew he felt so strongly about the table? Life can be very disturbing.


The wee babes are back in school too. It’s good to get back to a normal routine.

And lest we forget:

“When bad news is riding high and despair in fashion, when loud mouths and corruption seem to own center stage, when some keep crying that the country is going to the dogs, remember it’s always been going to the dogs in the eyes of some, and that 90 percent, or more, of the people are good people, generous-hearted, law-abiding, good citizens who get to work on time, do a good job, love their country, pay their taxes, care about their neighbors, care about their children’s education, and believe, rightly, as you do, in the ideals upon which our way of life is founded.”

― David McCullough, The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For


“High apple pie, in the sky hopes”*


Last year on New Years Day I had no idea what was coming. We never do. But I posted this meme and I still believe it.

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I am making no resolutions this year. I am not going to read through the Bible or give up wine. But I will endeavor to continue to trust God and to love Him.

High hopes indeed.

As for my weekend, I plan to put my house in order after taking down the Christmas decorations. This is always a big job, but I already got the big tree down on New Years Day. It seems like I just got everything up!


“Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This new day is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Collected Poems and Translations 

*Sammy Cahn

“O come, O Bright and Morning Star, and bring us comfort from afar!”*

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Well, we have had a lovely relaxed time, taking it easy over the Christmas holiday. Since daughter #2 and DN left last Friday…

Unknown-3.jpeg…we have eased into our leisure time, going to lunch at some of our off-the-beaten-track favorites, like the Fiddlehead Fern restaurant…

IMG_0644.jpeg…taking afternoon naps, followed by a late afternoon glass of wine in front of the fire…

Unknown.jpeg…and watching movies…

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On Wednesdays we wear pink.

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The OM was in complete and utter hog heaven watching this movie. I really enjoyed it too.

I also went to the funeral of my dear friend Ruby. Daughter #1 kindly drove me to St. Charles, Missouri across the river where we found her Episcopal Church next to the campus of Lindenwood University. It was packed, because, of course, she was a devoted and active member. The service, which she had specified down to the last detail and saved in her safe deposit box, was Rite I and Rite II (the communion) and included her favorite hymns. It was lovely and nearly two hours long. Her ashes were buried afterwards in the memorial garden of the church, but not in a niche–in the ground. We all threw some dirt on top of her ashes (half of which are going to Wyoming) which I had never done before. I found it to be very meaningful.

Ruby was born and raised in the Flint Hills of eastern Kansas and she loved the wide open sky there.

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The Flint Hills, photo from National Geographic

She would get choked up talking about it. Several of her hymns reflected that:

The spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame,
Their great Original proclaim.
The unwearied sun from day to day
Does his Creator’s power display,
And publishes to every land
The work of an almighty hand.

–Joseph Addison, hymn #409

Anyway, her funeral was a true reflection of Ruby, which is as it should be. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

Meanwhile, I was back at work Monday to check on things and go through 150 emails…Today we get ready to celebrate the new year: 2020! Can you believe it? Twenty years into the 21st century!

Then it’s back to the salt mine for real on Thursday. Speaking of salt mines, this made me laugh.

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Happy New Year! Make good choices!

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*John Mason Neale (1851)

There’ll be much mistletoeing/And hearts will be glowing


The Christmas cactus bloomed on schedule and we had a lovely week, full of family and friends and good food.

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It went by too fast–daughter #2 and DN are leaving today! Hopefully next week I’ll be able to process it all and I’ll have a few more postcards from our flyover Christmas. Let’s all try to hold on to the good vibes.

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One thing and another

As I have mentioned, I am reading the book of Luke, one chapter a day, in the month of December. I am enjoying it very much. It is all very familiar, but it is amazing how you forget specific things, such as this great passage in chapter 18:

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

What a great reminder to all of us that we Pharisees need to be mindful of being sinners ourselves. “God be merciful to me a sinner!” indeed.

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 9.32.03 PM.pngIn other news, it took two days, but we finally got the big tree up! The boy came over twice!


We had to go to Walgreen’s twice to buy more  lights! Are we getting old or what? Don’t answer that!

It is that time of year when TCM Remembers all the Hollywood types who have died during the year:

There are a lot of familiar faces in there, including Valentina Cortese, Albert Finney, Rip Torn, Stanley Donen, and, of course, Doris Day. I was surprised to see Herman Wouk included–I somehow missed that he died in his sleep at the age of 103 in May. He was an interesting guy who wrote some good books that were made into good movies. Also, it might be time to dust off The War Wagon (1967) in memory of Robert Walker, Jr., who played Billy, the demolition expert, so affectingly.

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Anyway, I also just heard about a dear friend and fellow Episcopalian who died shoveling snow earlier in the week. Ruby had to be in her mid-eighties at least, but no one was going to tell her not to shovel her own driveway. I always said that Ruby would have made a good pioneer and, indeed, she died with her boots on, literally. I will miss her so much.

Into paradise may the angels lead you, Ruby. At your coming may the martyrs receive you, and bring you into the holy city Jerusalem.

On the brighter side, daughter #1 comes home for Christmas today. Daughter #2 and DN are driving here from Maryland and should arrive on Monday.

O God, our heavenly Father, whose glory fills the whole creation, and whose presence we find wherever we go: Preserve those who travel; surround them with your loving care; protect them from every danger; and bring them in safety to their journey’s end; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Even I am getting excited.