dual personalities

Category: inspiration

Sieges tremendous*

Now be witness again, paint the mightiest armies of earth,
Of those armies so rapid so wondrous what saw you to tell us?
What stays with you latest and deepest? of curious panics,
Of hard-fought engagements or sieges tremendous what deepest remains?*

Well, another week of Zoom meetings…

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and cramped working space has come and (almost) gone. I can’t complain. Like my DP, there is a part of me that really enjoys being home, far away from the madding crowd. Another part says, Let’s try to make the most of our predicament! And, of course, I am counting my blessings.

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Since it is Friday, I am, of course, thinking of movies to watch over the weekend. Did you watch siege movies last weekend? I watched Rio Bravo (1959) and The Desert Rats (1953)–both were great!  This week’s theme, in consultation with daughter #2, will focus on our other preoccupation–babies!

The 1980s supplies the lion’s share of our titles. (What is with that?) We remember these movies fondly as being lightweight, but fun:

Willow (1988)–Warwick Davis plays a dwarf and aspiring sorcerer, who protects the infant Elora Danan from an evil queen in this fantasy directed by Ron Howard.

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Three Men and a Baby (1987)–Tom Selleck, Steve Gutenberg and Ted Danson play three bachelors attempting to adapt their lives to pseudo-fatherhood. Mishaps and adventures ensue. I had forgotten that it is directed by Leonard Nimoy and is based on the 1985 French film Trois hommes et un couffin, which as I recall, is also worth watching.

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Look Who’s Talking (1989)–A RomCom starring John Travolta and Kirstie Alley. Bruce Willis plays the “voice” of the baby, Mikey. This was the movie that re-launched Travolta’s career.

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Baby Boom (1987)–Diane Keaton as a yuppie who “inherits” a 14-month-old girl. Sam Shepard co-stars.

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Of course, our favorite “baby” movie of all time is John Ford’s 3 Godfathers (1948)–there is no resisting John Wayne, Harry Carey, Jr. and Pedro Armendáriz as the fabled outlaw godfathers of a newborn.

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Meanwhile our own wee babes are sheltering at home and learning like little Einsteins.

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Brilliant.

One of my students shared this with me. It is très amusant.

Have a good Zoom-free weekend! Sunday is Palm Sunday! Can you believe it? Be sure to go to virtual church!

*Walt Whitman, “The Wound-Dresser”–read it all here.

“When through the deep waters I call thee to go…”*

…the rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;

for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,

and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

They sang this hymn in the Morning Prayer service at Christ Church, Charlottesville, which I tuned into remotely as is my new Sunday morning routine. I do not mean to be disloyal to my own Grace Church, but it’s a nice change. Anyway, the words to this well-known hymn are perfect for our time. Read them all here.

So have you resorted to cleaning out drawers to amuse yourself yet? I have. I’m sure you can imagine the things I have found! Lots of snapshots from back in the days (the ’90’s) when we still used camera with film…

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… but survival cards for Southeast Asia?!

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…the Shakespeare Game?

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…and lots of half used candles (for emergencies) and coasters…so many coasters!

I also cleaned up the Florida room and moved all my plants out there.

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Ah, progress.

Besides all this sorting and cleaning, the OM and I went on an outing on Saturday to Lone Elk Park where we practiced social distancing with buffalo and elk.

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This drive-through park is perfect for this time of enforced isolation when the zoo and botanical garden are closed. Of course, lots of people had the same idea–the traffic was bumper to bumper!

Meanwhile the wee babes are hanging out at home, eating outside and studying remotely…

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…and you can picture me at the virtual salt mine…

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Take time to smell the flowers!

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*”How Firm a Foundation” attributed to Robert Keen, ca. 1787.

“Confusion to our enemies. Good luck to our friends.”*

Well, I have to say this telecommuting is not all it’s cracked up to be, especially considering we thought we could get into our offices on Friday, but now the situation is changed yet again and so on and so on. I am stressed to the max.

But what can we do but keep smilin’ through?

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So I will continue to self-medicate by watching my favorite movies and reading good books. Last night I watched My Darling Clementine (1946) which was on TCM. It is really a Top Ten best movie. (It was named the Best Foreign Film of 1948 by the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists. They got it right.) Good medicine indeed. Right now I am reading Hilary Mantel’s new book The Mirror and the Light and it is terrific. It is also a timely reminder that times have always been crazy and politics has always been a cut-throat business (literally in the 16th century).

‘I neglect no precautions,’ he had said. ‘The times being what they are, a man may enter the gate as your friend and change sides while he crosses the courtyard.’

Also, I thought this quote from C.S. Lewis was awfully good:

The war [WWII] creates no absolutely new situation, it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it. Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice. Human culture has always had to exist under the shadow of something infinitely more important than itself. If men had postponed the search for knowledge and beauty until they were secure, the search would never have begun. We are mistaken when we compare war with ‘normal life.’ Life has never been normal.”

Found here–read the whole thing.

So keep smiling. You have a nice place to telecommute from and Rice-a-roni in the pan.

*Thomas Cromwell in The Mirror and the Light

“And Joshua said, ‘Sanctify yourselves: for you have not passed this way before.’”*

Did you know that every year March is designated Women’s History Month by Presidential proclamation. The month is set aside to honor women’s contributions in American history. Here is President Trump’s proclamation from 2019.

Americans are so conflicted these days concerning who is a hero/heroine and who is a villain that it makes these honorific months problematic. Take, for instance, the case of  Hannah Emerson Dustin (1657–1736). Hannah was a colonial Puritan mother of nine living in Haverhill, Massachusetts when she was abducted by Abenaki Indians along with her week-old baby and nurse. When the baby would not stop crying, one of the Indians took hold of it and bashed its brains out against a tree. Later, while detained on an island in the Merrimack River, Hannah took an ax and killed and scalped ten Indians while they slept and took off with her friend and the 10-year old boy also being held by the Indians.

Hannah was considered a hero to the following generations and is believed to be the first American woman honored with a statue. There are two statues, in fact, one in New Hampshire and one in Massachusetts.

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But nowadays we can’t be proud of Hannah. No, we even doubt that the Indians killed her baby. Maybe it just died. We can’t hold her up as an example of female bad-assery, a woman who didn’t need a man to save her or wait for one to rescue her to wreck havoc on her kidnappers. No, we are just embarrassed by her wrath–remember this is a woman who has just given birth, her hormones were raging, her milk flowing–and the revenge she dealt to her murderous enemies. It is so typical that people are sympathetic to the poor Indians she “murdered” and not to the kidnapped and traumatized woman.

But no one understands context these days.

There are a couple of good stories based on Hannah Dustin’s story and others like hers, including “The Iron Shrine” by Conrad Richter and Hannah Fowler by Janice Holt Giles.

 

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I recommend them. These authors understood context.

Meanwhile we are still in February through the weekend (leap year!) Daughter #1 is coming into town on Saturday to get the oil changed in her car, so we will be able to do a few things.

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@wanderthewoodddk

Check this out: another good one from my favorite female priest. And in case you missed it, yesterday was the feast day  of George Herbert, priest an poet.

Our God and King, who didst call thy servant George Herbert from the pursuit of worldly honors to be a pastor of souls, a poet, and a priest in thy temple: Give unto us the grace, we beseech thee, joyfully to perform the tasks thou givest us to do, knowing that nothing is menial or common that is done for thy sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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Watch a good movie this weekend! Since it is the last weekend of Black History Month, it might be time to view something from the Denzel Washington oeuvre. The Book of Eli (2010) is a personal favorite.

Have a good weekend!

*Joshua 3:4

Sackcloth and ashes

Daughter #1 usually posts on Wednesdays, but since she is on the road, traveling around the state, I am pressed into service.

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The OM and I went to the pancake supper at church last night as we usually do on Shrove Tuesday. No wild parties for us. Just pancakes–good times.

Now, on to Lent.

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Here are some wise words from Frederick Buechner to get us thinking for the 40 days of Lent:

In many cultures there is an ancient custom of giving a tenth of each year’s income to some holy use. For Christians, to observe the forty days of Lent is to do the same thing with roughly a tenth of each year’s days. After being baptized by John in the river Jordan, Jesus went off alone into the wilderness, where he spent forty days asking himself the question what it meant to be Jesus. During Lent, Christians are supposed to ask one way or another what it means to be themselves.

If you had to bet everything you have on whether there is a God or whether there isn’t, which side would get your money and why?

When you look at your face in the mirror, what do you see in it that you most like and what do you see in it that you most deplore?

If you had only one last message to leave to the handful of people who are most important to you, what would it be in twenty-five words or less?

Of all the things you have done in your life, which is the one you would most like to undo? Which is the one that makes you happiest to remember?

Is there any person in the world or any cause that, if circumstances called for it, you would be willing to die for?

If this were the last day of your life, what would you do with it?

To hear yourself try to answer questions like these is to begin to hear something not only of who you are, but of both what you are becoming and what you are failing to become. It can be a pretty depressing business all in all, but if sackcloth and ashes are at the start of it, something like Easter may be at the end.

Whistling in the Dark

Well, there’s some food for thought.

Ad referendum*

Daughter #1 asked me to post today because she got home from her trip to D.C. late last night.

Screen Shot 2020-02-11 at 8.22.28 PM.pngHaving shot my wad yesterday, I was at a loss. [I’ll let Sen. Orrin Hatch remind you what “to shoot one’s wad” means.]

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I haven’t seen the wee babes for a couple of weeks, but luckily the boy keeps me up-to-date with what they are doing at school…

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Lottie staying inside the lines, the wee laddie not so much…

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Learning to toast in preschool (“L’chaim!”)

Today on the Episcopal Church calendar we honor Charles Freer Andrews, an Anglican priest and missionary, who was an educator and social reformer in India. He was a friend and associate  of Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore. Perhaps you remember him as portrayed in the film Gandhi (1982) by Ian Charleson.

Screen Shot 2020-02-11 at 8.42.56 PM.pngGandhi’s affectionate nickname for Andrews was Christ’s Faithful Apostle, based on the initials of his name, “C.F.A”.  He is widely commemorated and respected in India.

Gracious God, you called Charles Freer Andrews to show forth your salvation to the poor: By your Holy Spirit inspire in us a tender concern, a passionate justice, and an active love for all people, that there may be one Body and one Spirit in Jesus Christ, our Savior; who with you and the same Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

And lest we forget:

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*For further consideration

“Go not to the Elves for counsel”*

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A good name is better than precious ointment;
and the day of death, than the day of birth.
It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting;
    for this is the end of all men,
and the living will lay it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
for by sadness of countenance the heart is made glad.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning;
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise
than to hear the song of fools.
For as the crackling of thorns under a pot,
so is the laughter of the fools;
this also is vanity.
Surely oppression makes the wise man foolish,
and a bribe corrupts the mind.
Better is the end of a thing than its beginning;
and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
Be not quick to anger,
for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.
10 Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance,
an advantage to those who see the sun.
12 For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money;
and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.
13 Consider the work of God;
who can make straight what he has made crooked?

(Ecclesiastes 7: 1-13)

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“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”
― William Martin, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents

“Sometimes it’s not enough to know what things mean, sometimes you have to know what things don’t mean.” –Bob Dylan

“Mark it, nuncle.
Have more than thou showest,
Speak less than thou knowest,
Lend less than thou owest,
Ride more than thou goest,
Learn more than thou trowest,
Set less than thou throwest,
Leave thy drink and thy whore
And keep in-a-door,
And thou shalt have more
Than two tens to a score.”
― William Shakespeare, The Fool in King Lear (Act 1, scene 4)

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Be prepared.

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*J.R.R. Tolkien

“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…

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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)

“By perseverance the snail reached the ark.”*

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I know this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. 
~ Philippians 1:19

Paul knew he could trust God to deliver him just as I know it. I take each day as it comes and am grateful for feeling pretty good and for being able go to work. I wish my eyebrows and eyelashes would come back in (not to mention the rest of my hair) but I am learning to be patient.

Sometimes, though, the seriousness of what I am going through hits me. When I went to see the radiologist this week and found out about the regimen I will be put through starting next week, I felt a little panicky. But I just keep breathing and believing that everything will be okay. Many years ago I learned a little trick that helps me a lot. I clasp my hands and imagine that one of them belongs to Jesus and that he is holding my hand. It has gotten me through many a dentist appointment in the past and now it is really helpful. Maybe this is childish, but it works for me.

And you know, “unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

So rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, rejoice.

*Charles Spurgeon

The illustration is by Edward Bawden: Untitled landscape with sunset, 1927.

“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!