dual personalities

Category: Weekend

“Blessed be the Lord who daily loadeth us with benefits.”*

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FaceTiming with Mamu and Aunt Mary

This is as close as I got to baby Katiebelle this weekend, but we communicated as best we could. She is truly a cupcake of love.

Daughter #1 came into town for Happy Hour and we pretended we were at Grant’s Farm, eating big soft pretzels and drinking an Anheuser-Busch product in the courtyard of the Bauernhof.

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You gotta make your own fun.

We went to our first estate sale in many moons (wearing masks, of course) and investigated a new neighborhood, but didn’t find any treasures we couldn’t live without. We drove to JoAnn’s Fabrics, but there was a line outside of people waiting to get in (!) so we kept going. The OM ordered a new Cozy Coupe at Target and we picked it up curbside and brought it home for him to put together, which he did with a modicum of cursing.

The updated model is pretty darn cute. Can’t wait for the wee bud to try it out next weekend. Lottiebelle will get her turn, of course, but in reality she prefers to boss her brother around tell her brother where to drive (“Go there!”)

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Driving the old ’88 model

It was a nice weekend, but it’s back to the salt mine and trying to figure out how we’re going to handle taking our courses online in a few weeks. Stressful, to say the least. As always, there was help in the week’s lectionary:

Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person– though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5: 1-8)

Bonus flashback: Remember when Lottiebelle was the same size as the Bitty Baby?

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*Psalm 68:19

“So here hath been dawning Another blue Day…”

So here hath been dawning
Another blue Day:
Think wilt thou let it
Slip useless away.
Out of Eternity
This new Day is born;
Into Eternity,
At night, will return.

–Thomas Carlyle

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My confused Christmas Cactus blooming again!

It was a beautiful weekend in flyover country and I was fortunate enough to be able to spend plenty of time outside soaking up the vitamin D. The boy came over for a chat on the patio on Saturday and shortly after he left to go to work, daughter #1 arrived from mid-MO in time for happy hour. There is nothing better, am I right?

If only, we could have beamed up daughter #2 and DN (a la Star Trek) for an hour or two!

Sunday was Pentecost, which I celebrated with my adopted Christ Church in Charlottesville, VA. My own Grace Church is supposed to start holding in person services next Sunday, but the Diocese has imposed a lot of rules (masks, no singing, social distancing, only 10% of capacity, and so on) so I may just stay home and continue to sing along with Sam Bush.

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I read quite a lot of The Accidental Tourist by Ann Tyler, curious to reread it after daughter #2’s negative review last week. I have to say, I am enjoying it and do not find all the characters to be “weirdos”! As I told daughter #2 when I talked to her on Sunday, clearly she was on edge and not in the right frame of mind to read this particular book. Indeed, I am actually enjoying it more than when I first read it nearly 35 years ago. There is actually a lot of humor in it. The main character, who is a member of a very introverted wasp-y family who really only feels comfortable with his own siblings, seems very familiar to me. On the other hand, a couple of months ago I tried to reread Breathing Lessons, for which Ann Tyler won the Pulitzer Prize, and I found it unreadable, so irritating were the characters. So go figure.

And true to form, the OM sent away and got me one of these very special face masks from the National Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma City! ##HashtagTheCowboy #CowboyTim

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Please keep daughter #2 in your prayers. She is still waiting for the newest wee babe to arrive, now past her due date. It should be an exciting week.

Thought for the day:

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“I see my light come shining From the west unto the east/Any day now, any day now I shall be released.”*

Happy belated  birthday to Bob Dylan who turned 79 yesterday. We love you and God loves you, Bob.

The weekend rushed by and daughter #1 and I had fun doing things we had not been able to do in a long time, like walking around downtown Kirkwood and actually going in a store and buying something! (Don’t worry, we wore masks.) We also sat outside on the patio and drank a cold one. It was 87 degrees!

Their parents dropped off the wee babes for awhile on Sunday morning and they ran us ragged.

We finally had to resort to getting out the giant box of Beanie Babies.

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Hog Heaven

We were done in after that, but daughter #1 did give me a gel manicure. The rain actually held off for most of the weekend until Sunday when the OM decided to barbecue. Then it rained for hours.

We watched The LongRiders (1980) which you may recall is a movie about the outlaw James brothers, the Younger brothers, and assorted other brothers, all played by actual brothers: The Caradines, the Keaches, the Quaids, and even Christopher Guest and his brother. I had not seen it in a long time and really enjoyed it.

Screen Shot 2020-05-24 at 9.58.46 PMRather than being gimmicky, the real brothers lent an air of authenticity to the film which I appreciated. The musical score by Ry Cooder was also excellent. And I enjoyed the Missouri setting and the story of our homegrown famous outlaws.

Today I am celebrating Memorial Day and watching war movies as previously mentioned. I will also toast John Wayne on the 111th anniversary of his birth.

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FYI daughter #2 is scaling back her blog post activity to once a week on Thursdays as she anticipates the imminent arrival of baby U.  L’Chaim!

*Bob Dylan

 

“Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.”*

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The iris are budding!

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Well, we made it through another week (and another month!) and I scheduled and led my first Zoom meetings, another milestone. I mean I’ve participated in plenty of Zoom meetings, but this was a first. This just goes to show that teaching an old dog new tricks may not be pleasant, but it is not impossible either. Yay for old dogs.

Besides that, it hasn’t been a terribly notable week. I brought the shredder up from the basement and I have been going through old files and shredding like crazy. This is somewhat therapeutic. However, my closets are still filled with stuff–files are just thinner. Progress is slow.

Today is the birthday of film director Henry Koster (1905 – 1988) who, though not as famous as some, directed quite a few good movies, including several of my favorites: The Bishop’s Wife (1947), Harvey (1950), and The Robe (1953). Here’s a list.  It is also the birthday of the actor Glenn Ford (1916 – 2006) who was in a lot of movies, none of them favorites of mine, except maybe Pocketful of Miracles (1961), which I saw recently and enjoyed.

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It is also the birthday of Tim McGraw, (b. 1967), American singer, actor, and record producer. Movie viewing possibilities open up considerably. We have Friday Night Lights (2004) and The Blind Side (2009)! The choice is:

Bad father of a football player–

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vs. Good foster father of a football player–

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What do you think? Friday Night Lights has the added inducements of Lucas Black and Billy Bob Thornton.

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I may watch both. We’ll see…

I put this classic video from 1980 in my bi-weekly email newsletter to my students…

…and one of them commented, “Didn’t understand a word of the song, except for ‘Don’t stand too close to me.’  Apparently, I don’t speak rock.” Apparently you are not as cool as I thought! There is even a reference to Nabakov!

I continue to amuse myself as usual.

Have a good weekend. Maybe I’ll finish the puzzle.

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*Luke 24:29

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.

“This lemonade is insane!” “That’s because it’s a Margarita, Paul”*

We had a super fun visit from daughter #2, although she left a day early (😭) because DN was worried that she might get stuck here and then what would he do?! (He’s very sweet.) Well, all is well, and no one will be traveling for awhile.

Besides gabbing at home, we did go out to eat a couple of times–in restaurants that were half full. The wee babes came over a few times to see their Aunt Susie. And, of course, we went to the lovely baby shower hosted by my BFFs Becky and Carla.

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Live from Portland, it’s Edwina!

IMG_3810.JPGEverything was perfect and little baby Underland will be well supplied and adorably dressed when she arrives.

On Friday night when daughter #2 hung out with her friends who had flown in from Denver for the shower, daughter #1 and I stayed in and watched Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009), which is one of our favorite go-to stress-reliever movies. And, lord knows, we are all stressed, right? So I recommend Paul Blart.

Screen Shot 2020-03-16 at 2.26.44 PM.pngSunday night, after everyone had gone home and I was sunk in despair, I chilled and self-medicated by watching The Fighting Kentuckian (1949) which featured John Wayne in buckskins…

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Yes, that’s Oliver Hardy with the Duke!

and a really good score by George Antheil, American avant-garde composer, of all people.

Yesterday it was back to work as my flyover university endeavors to figure things out and we edge closer to telecommuting. Heavy sigh. This too shall pass.

Take it easy and wash your hands!

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Jesus said to his followers, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27).

*Paul Blart: Mall Cop

Keep calm and carry on

As you can  imagine, all hell has broken loose at my flyover university and my own institute with on campus classes being canceled through April, etc. etc. etc. due to the COVID-19 hysteria. I endeavor, along with the Queen, to keep calm and carry on.

Screen Shot 2020-03-12 at 5.17.38 AM.pngMeanwhile daughter #2 arrived yesterday and we are going on with our baby shower. Don’t worry, attendees will keep a reasonable social distance from each other–no hugging! Maybe I’ll wear gloves–like the Queen!

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The boy brought the wee babes over to our house later in the afternoon to see their aunt.

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Today I am back at work trying to sort things out, but I’ll head home in the afternoon to hang out with daughter #2 and daughter #1 who is driving home from Mid-MO. Weekend fun ahead–within limits, of course!

Have a good weekend. Keep calm and carry on.

“All men live enveloped in whale-lines. All are born with halters round their necks; but it is only when caught in the swift, sudden turn of death, that mortals realize the silent, subtle, ever-present perils of life. And if you be a philosopher, though seated in the whale-boat, you would not at heart feel one whit more of terror, than though seated before your evening fire with a poker, and not a harpoon, by your side.”
― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

“So the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain”*

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“When the groundhog casts his shadow
And the small birds sing
And the pussywillows happen
And the sun shines warm
And when the peepers peep
Then it is Spring.”
― Margaret Wise Brown

Well, it is the second day of March and I  must say I am ready for spring! Aren’t you?

What a gloomy winter! It was great to see the sun this past weekend! Soon it will be daylight savings time and the days will lengthen. The local news stations here have started reminding us already–we are such children–good grief.

Anyway, I had a delightful weekend. Daughter #1 came home on Saturday and we went to an estate sale and out to lunch. We shopped for baby shower gifts. We toasted leap day and went out to dinner with the OM.  We watched The Professionals (1967) starring Woody Strode.

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He is a permanent fixture on my team.

After church the next day, we did a little shopping and then, since I was worn out, I rested before the wee babes came over. They had also taken advantage of the fine weather and had gone to a park where they had played on the playground and walked on the trails.

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Of course, (unlike me) they did not nap, so they were tired and a little cranky when they arrived at our house.  Their mother calls them “three-nagers” and she has a point. However, the OM and the wee laddie shared a moment when they compared “boo-boos”–the little bud was quite interested in his Pappy’s bleeding hand and wanted to show him all of his wounds (he won). Good to see some empathy developing!

Daughter #1 and I also researched baby shower punch recipes…

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It was delish! Prosecco makes everything better.

I continued to read my Fred Vargas mystery (so good!) and got my laundry done.  Like I said, a delightful weekend.

*Zechariah 10:1

“A lamp shining in a dark place”

We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty…So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

–2 Peter 1:16-21

I read this scripture passage in church on Sunday. I wish it had been possible to underscore certain parts–no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation–but I am not that good a reader! (And we all know there is really nothing worse than a lay reader who tries to make a point.)

My weekend was pretty quiet. I went to four estate sales on Saturday and wore myself out. I didn’t even get anything! But it was fun to be out on a sunny day. On Sunday after church I puttered around the house, doing laundry, vacuuming and catching up on ‘desk work.’

I took a nap before the wee babes descended on us…but it turns out that we wore them out:

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They should have taken a nap!

I finished reading The Chain by Paul Wellman. I am definitely going to look into other fiction from the 1940s…

Screen Shot 2020-02-24 at 4.39.48 PM.pngI have actually read a few of these and some I have heard of because they were made into movies. But who has ever heard of Frank Yerby? Well, turns out he was actually the first African-American to have a book purchased for screen adaptation by a Hollywood studio, when 20th Century Fox optioned The Foxes of Harrow, which was the first novel by an African-American to sell more than a million copies!

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“Three women threaten to destroy Stephen Fox and his Louisiana empire in the passionate days before the Civil War.”

Why isn’t Yerby more famous? 

Anyway, before I check the above titles out, I am going to read the newest Adamsberg mystery by Fred Vargas, The Poison Will Remain. The plot has to do with brown recluse spiders!

And here’s some mid-week inspo from our pal Zach Williams:

Enjoy your Tuesday!

What’s playing at the Roxy?

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What are days for?
Days are where we live.
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?
Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor
In their long coats
Running over the fields.

–Philip Larkin

Another week flies by–the highlight of mine being Tuesday, when the wee laddie came over after work for a wee visit while his dad took Lottiebelle to her dance class. (Their mom was busy practicing with her varsity cooking team.) He was not thrilled about being left alone with Mamu, so we settled down in the den and watched quite a few truck/construction videos.

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This placated him. (Usually the den is off limits, so the mystery factor played a part in his acquiescence.) Trucks, as you know, are his passion. This is a subject he knows a lot about. And now I know more about it.

On another note I have been reading The Chain by Paul I. Wellman, a bestseller from 1949.

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Why? you ask. Well, I was prompted from something I read on the Mockingbird website:

Well, it turns out there are some conscious Christian masterpieces out there, which were very successful in their day but have been almost completely smothered, in the reception, by This World. I mean, who has ever heard of The Chain by Paul Wellman? Yet it is simply the most touching story of a young Episcopal minister in Jericho, Kansas, who preaches and acts out Grace in a stratified and complacent city with great sacrifice yet great success. The Chain is a must read! Yet it’s been almost completely buried, as have been many other works like it, by “the World, the Flesh and the Devil”.

Long out of print (and not available in my university’s library) I found a used copy online and bought it. Paul Wellman also wrote The Comancheros, so I had heard of him. The novel is pretty dated, especially when it comes to its female characters, but most everybody in the book is recognizable if you have spent much time in an Episcopal church. Times have not changed that much when it comes to power players in a church. I’m sure in 1949 it was considered to be quite risqué and sexy, but it is not in the least shocking by today’s standards. I’m sure you can imagine. Even though I would hardly call it a “Christian masterpiece,” it has held my interest and I want to see how the young minister fairs. I think I may check out some other mid-level fiction from days of yore. It beats most of what’s published today.

The OM and I watched Little Caesar (1931) this week. It is the movie that made Edward G. Robinson a star and typecast him forever. It also features a very young Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. miscast as Robinson’s friend. I can’t say the gangster genre is a favorite of mine–not now, not ever–but Robinson is unforgettable and his death scene is worth the price of admission.

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I could not find a clip, but here’s the Muppet reenactment–almost as good.

I have no plans for the weekend. What are you doing?

(The painting is by Hendrick Averkamp, b. 1585)