dual personalities

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“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.”

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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

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!

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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.

Tidings of comfort and joy

Here are the dual personalities back in 1959–sixty years ago! According to our mother’s penciled notation, the first picture was taken on Christmas Eve. I was dressed like an elf; I probably annoyed my brother.

img010.jpgThe snapshot below was taken on Christmas morning. I remember those dresses–they were red with white pinafores.

img011.jpgThe tree looks kind of sad, but I’m sure we thought it was beautiful. We had quite a haul from Santa.

I was 3 1/2, our brother was 8 1/2 and my sister had just turned one. Tomorrow is her birthday! We wish her a happy day.

In other news, we had a snow day yesterday. It snowed on Sunday and the weather folk presented dire predictions of ice and snow to come. The OM drove me to MoBap for my radiation treatment at 7:30 on Monday morning and we got there and home just fine. I had decided not to go in to work and it was a good call. It snowed most of the day.

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You can hardly tell, but it was really coming down here!

I got out the Christmas tree ornaments in anticipation of the boy coming over tonight to take the tree out of the garage, put it in the stand and hang the lights on it.

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I know, these pictures look the same every year. What can I say?

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We didn’t get a chance to see the wee babes over the weekend, but they did go to the NICU reunion Christmas party where they got to see Santa. The wee laddie had his doubts…

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…but Lottie was cool with it.

Screen Shot 2019-12-16 at 10.48.46 AM.pngThe boy also sent pictures of the babes frolicking in the snow on their snow day.

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“I can’t move my arms!”

Well, that was fun, but here’s hoping MODOT has done its job and we can all get to work today!

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I only have three work days ’til I am off for the holidays, and I can’t wait!

Humble and hearty thanks

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

– 1 Timothy 4:4-5 (NIV)

We have a lot to be thankful for! For instance, I was glad to see that they are still making Thanksgiving art projects (in pre-school) using a handprint as the basis for a turkey.

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I am grateful that the OM and I can make an evening out of a take-out dinner and The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)–which we did last weekend.  Who needs a night on the town? Not us.

I am grateful that I have been able to do the lion’s share of my Christmas shopping online this year, because I have barely been in a store in the last six months! However, I plan to “shop local” this Saturday to support our local economy. I know retailers need that. The boy will be putting in a lot of hours this weekend at his small business!

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Speaking of the boy, I am thankful that we will be celebrating his birthday on Thanksgiving! He was born on the day after Thanksgiving 33 years ago–before the day was universally referred to as Black Friday.

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He has been through a lot in his 33 years…

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…but he knows that adversity builds character.

I am thankful that two out of three of my children will be home for Thanksgiving and that we will enjoy a delicious meal followed by yummy pie and our annual viewing of Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987). (Daughter #2 will be far away but well taken care of.)

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I am thankful that I don’t have to travel anywhere this week.

Although I am thankful for my job and all those I work with, I am also thankful to have a few days off from that job! I will be well rested (I hope) when I start my radiation treatments (28!) after this weekend. I am thankful for those too, right? Yes, I am.

ALMIGHTY God, Father of all mercies, We thine unworthy servants do give thee most humble and hearty thanks For all thy goodness and loving-kindness To us, and to all men; We bless thee for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; But above all, for thine inestimable love In the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; For the means of grace, And for the hope of glory. And, we beseech thee, give us that due sense of all thy mercies, That our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful, And that we show forth thy praise, Not only with our lips, but in our lives; By giving up ourselves to thy service, And by walking before thee in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen.

–BCP, A General Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

“Teach me some melodious sonnet”*

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Lottie is sure styling in her fall ensemble complete with jean jacket…

Another lovely fall weekend has flown by. There are a lot of leaves on the ground now, but even more are still on the trees. We will be raking/vacuuming leaves ’til Christmas around here.

Over the weekend the OM and I hung my latest eBay purchase, about which I am very pleased. I like to peruse eBay, but I have found that most things are overpriced compared to what you can find at estate sales and at auction houses. Nevertheless, I continue to search, because I enjoy it and because sometimes something worthwhile turns up.

Recently I found a mirror with églomisé reverse painted panel, purported to be a Bucks County “Federal mirror with historic history. Originally owned by Ulysses S. Grant’s Great Aunt & Uncle, Benjamin Hough and Hannah (Simpson) Hough.” The seller had all the genealogical info. 

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The mirror even has a brass plate dated August 24, 1791, the day Benjamin and Hannah married.

Well, hold the phone, Hannah is our great-great-great-great grandmother!

The price was too high so I put the mirror on my watch list and waited. Soon the seller made me an offer which I thought was reasonable and I bought it! We had a nice email exchange; she was happy to see it return to its family. She packed it well and it came to me unscathed.

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Well, I am pretty excited to have this piece of Hough family decorative art back in my family!

The boy and the wee babes came over for spaghetti Sunday night (daughter #3 had work to do on her side-hustle/Etsy shop).  The wee laddie was in a bad mood when he arrived (he had not been allowed to bring his steam shovel) and he proceeded to act badly, which finally landed him for the first time in Mamu’s Time Out. He got over it.

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This was not his time out chair! He was just keeping those micro cars from Lottie…

The babes are getting to be such little people with distinct personalities now that they are approaching three years of age! They really are nutballs.

IMG_4177 3.jpegWell, here’s a great old hymn for Tuesday. We sing it in the Episcopal Church but with an organ accompaniment. However, I do like this rendition.

“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” is a hymn written by the 18th century pastor and hymnnodist Robert Robinson in 1757, but some things never get old.

Have a great week!

 

What’s playing at the Roxy?*

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Oh boy. It’s Friday.

It’s been an exciting week in Missouri. We had a snow day and a meteorite fell to earth.

In the Episcopal Church we celebrated the lesser feast day of Charles Simeon (1759–1836) who was an English evangelical clergyman. This article by John Piper is interesting.

We all need help here. We are surrounded by, and are part of, a society of emotionally fragile quitters. The spirit of the age is too much in us. We need to spend time with the kind of people whose lives prove there is another way to live. Scripture says, be “imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:12). So I want to hold up for us the faith and patient endurance of Charles Simeon for our inspiration and imitation.

And Disney gave us fair warning…Screen Shot 2019-11-14 at 2.59.05 PM.png

Thanks, Disney.

And FYI today is America Recycles Day (ARD)! It is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and buy recycled products. My mother was a recycler. It just seemed logical to her. And her puritan soul did not like waste. I would have to agree. As you know, I buy a lot of recycled items–they’re called antiques! (Vintage is okay too…)

My weekend will be a quiet one and that is okay with me. I will catch up with my reading…

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…do some “desk work” and putter around…

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The usual.

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How about you?

*Guys and Dolls

Mish mosh*

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We had our first snow of the season yesterday and, in fact, I had to call off afternoon classes and send everyone home early.  It is always a bit weird, though, when it snows and most of the leaves are still on the trees. The temperature dropped 40 degrees from what it had been over the sunny weekend.

Daughter #1 came into town on Friday because she was part of the big Veterans Day doings at the Soldiers Memorial downtown on Saturday.

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Members of the Scottish-American Military Society

I liked what Chris Pratt wrote about his older brother, a vet, on his Instagram:

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And this great picture of the Queen with her poppies. She remembers.

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scottmeachamwood @Instagram

I had my last chemo treatment on Friday and it was a surprisingly emotional experience to ring that bell and say goodbye to all those nice people who work in the Cancer Center at Missouri Baptist Hospital.

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Well, on to the next phase.

Over the weekend I re-read Delano Ames’ Corpse Diplomatique which I thoroughly enjoyed. Jane and Dagobert Brown are very diverting amateur sleuths and Jane is always saying things like:

I glanced at him witheringly and risked no comment. But Henry did not wither readily.

And we watched The Ten Commandments (1956). It is hard to beat Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner together in a movie.

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Be still my heart.

This movie holds up remarkably well and the pre-CG special effects–the parting of the Red Sea in particular–are impressive. I will also note that Yul Brynner was also in the King and I and Anastasia in 1956. Seriously–wow–quelle year.

The wee babes came over Sunday night for dinner, but no one took any pictures!

Today I will remind you is the 359th anniversary of the day John Bunyan was arrested and taken into custody for preaching in a Puritan meeting house in England. He was convicted as a dissenter and spent 12 years in jail. While there, he began a book–The Pilgrim’s Progress.

“Mr. Worldly-Wiseman is not an ancient relic of the past. He is everywhere today, disguising his heresy and error by proclaiming the gospel of contentment and peace achieved by self-satisfaction and works. If he mentions Christ, it is not as the Savior who took our place, but as a good example of an exemplary life. Do we need a good example to rescue us, or do we need a Savior?”

No surprise that it is still in print and read all over the world. It’s a story that never gets old. My denomination is full of Worldly-Wisemen, that’s for sure.

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Stay warm and drive safely.

*Yiddish for a motley assortment of things

Praise God from whom all blessings flow

We thank thee, O God, for the saints of all ages; for those who in times of darkness kept the lamp of faith burning; for the great souls who saw visions of larger truths and dared to declare them; for the multitude of quiet and gracious souls whose presence has purified and sanctified the world; and for those known and loved by us, who have passed from this earthly fellowship into the fuller life with thee. Accept this our thanksgiving through Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Redeemer, to whom be praise and dominion for ever.

–Kendall Harmon, A prayer for All Saints Day

So Halloween and All Saints Day have come and gone and we are on the downward slide to the end of the year! Zut alors, the year has sped by.

We had a lovely weekend visit from daughter #2 all the way from Maryland. She went with me to my weekly chemo session…

Screen Shot 2019-11-04 at 4.30.56 PM.png…and we managed to do some of our favorite things as well. Daughter #1 joined us from mid-MO and we went to estate sales…

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…and went out to lunch. We frolicked with the wee babes…

IMG_3774.jpegIMG_3769.jpegWe watched Spy (2015), which we still think is hilarious,

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and a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie starring Jodie Sweetin which was part of the Countdown to Christmas. (Yikes.)

Screen Shot 2019-11-04 at 4.39.23 PM.pngAnd daughter #2 made her famous macaroni and cheese. In addition, we gave each other foot spa treatments and sat around and talked and talked. And went to bed early.

Nothing better, am I right?

It was a good start to November which is a month when we like to consider how much we have to be thankful for, including these guys.

Enjoy your week!

“Hold the selfies, put the Gram away/ Get your family, y’all hold hands and pray”*

 

IMG_4072.JPGOn Friday I received my copy of Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout in the mail. It was a quick read and I finished it in a day. It was a big disappointment. All of the reviews I have read have been raves, so I am in a distinct minority it seems.

Olive, Again is a sequel to Strout’s Olive Kitteridge, which I loved. I have liked most of her books and almost all of them are tied up in this one. Indeed, in a series of linked short stories, we find out what happens to all those Maine characters who have populated her books. What we find out, basically, is that they are all frightened and lonely people with no spiritual life. It is a bleak world where nothing has much meaning. At the end of the book, Olive writes (spoiler alert!), “I do not have a clue who I have been. Truthfully, I do not understand a thing.”

I could go on, but it is just kind of depressing, so why bother.

Anyway, despite reading this disappointing book, daughter # 1 and I got quite a lot done this weekend, tidying up the house for daughter #2’s visit this coming weekend. I even persuaded the OM to hang up a pair of new drapes in my office. I got them on Etsy.com and I think they look great.

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We also watched Ghostbusters (1984) which I thought held up very well and is kind of a classic at this point.

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The scene at the beginning in the New York Public Library…

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reminded us of Lottie…LOL!

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“No human being would stack books like this.”

Meanwhile, the boy had a fine time at the wedding in Rye, New York.

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There he is to the right of the bride

And now he is home again, home again, jiggety jig.

And now I am back to wondering what to read. Have a good week!

“I don’t myself think much of science as a phase of human development. It has given us a lot of ingenious toys; they take our attention away from the real problems, of course, and since the problems are insoluble, I suppose we ought to be grateful for distraction. But the fact is, the human mind, the individual mind, has always been made more interesting by dwelling on the old riddles, even if it makes nothing of them. Science hasn’t given us any new amazements, except of the superficial kind we get from witnessing dexterity and sleight-of-hand. It hasn’t given us any richer pleasures, as the Renaissance did, nor any new sins-not one! Indeed, it takes our old ones away. It’s the laboratory, not the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world. You’ll agree there is not much thrill about a physiological sin. We were better off when even the prosaic matter of taking nourishment could have the magnificence of a sin. I don’t think you help people by making their conduct of no importance-you impoverish them. As long as every man and woman who crowded into the cathedrals on Easter Sunday was a principal in a gorgeous drama with God, glittering angels on one side and the shadows of evil coming and going on the other, life was a rich thing. The king and the beggar had the same chance at miracles and great temptations and revelations. And that’s what makes men happy, believing in the mystery and importance of their own little individual lives. It makes us happy to surround our creature needs and bodily instincts with as much pomp and circumstance as possible. Art and religion (they are the same thing, in the end, of course) have given man the only happiness he has ever had.”
― Willa Cather, The Professor’s House 

*Kanye West, “Closed on Sunday”

We are creatures, we are creatures of love*

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Over the weekend I put out some of my Halloween decorations…

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Yes, fall has officially arrived, pumpkins and all.

I watched three Charlton Heston movies in honor of Chuck’s birthday: The Mountain Men (1980), The Buccaneer (1958) and Arrowhead (1953). Of the three I can recommend The Buccaneer, which co-stars Yul Brynner as the pirate Jean Lafitte.

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Heston plays Andrew Jackson.

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Historically speaking, I have no doubt that it is rife with error, but I enjoyed it.

Besides these Heston histrionics, it was  a pretty quiet weekend. I puttered around and did some “desk work” and cleaned up my office.

The wee babes came over on Sunday night and the OM barbecued. Before they came over I had cleaned up daughter #2’s old LittleTikes dollhouse and put it out on our coffee table. Lottie ran in and exclaimed, “A dollhouse for Lottie!” The wee laddie was hot on her heels, though, and laid claim to the dollhouse as well. We had to assign the 2nd floor to Lottie and the first floor to the bud (to be used as a garage for his cars and trucks).

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Anyway, a good time was had by all.

Here are some bonus pictures of the wee babes on an outing with their parents to the Eckert’s Fun Farm in Millstadt, IL on Saturday. They had a a super fun time and picked/ate a lot of apples.

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Life is good. Enjoy your Tuesday!

*Talking Heads