dual personalities

Saddle up

I have a busy weekend ahead, which follows a very busy week. I was on the radio yesterday–interviewed on the local “classical” station about our flyover institute! Also, an old friend was in town for our Veterans Day event today and I had lunch with him. Then daughter #1 drove into town because she was leaving early this morning to go to a wedding in D.C. We watched The Magnificent Seven together! Sometimes when it rains, it pours!

Tonight the OM and the boy and I are going to see Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder at the Sheldon, which is a relatively small venue that we like very much. It should be a rip-roarin’ good show.

web 900 x 600 Ricky Skaggs02.jpgOn Sunday I have tickets to see the STL Winter Opera production of The Student Prince! It is cultural overload this weekend, right?


I grew up listening to the Mario Lanza LP, so I am well versed in this light opera. Remember that album cover? Remember this song?

Good stuff. Anyway, two musical events in one weekend is way more than my usual quota.

And as I mentioned, Veterans Day is tomorrow and we should all have a thought and a prayer for all those men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Here’s a prayer:

Gracious God, we give thanks for military men and women, both from the past and present, and for their courageous service and sacrifice to our country and its people to secure the blessings of life, liberty, and justice for all. May our remembrance be a timely reminder that our freedom was purchased at high cost, and should not be taken for granted. Give us resolve to labor in faithful service to you until all share the benefits of freedom, justice, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

And here are a few great scenes: from Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) with John Wayne as Sgt. Stryker

…and Gregory Peck in Twelve O’Clock High (1949):

…and from Life Is Beautiful (1997):

How and why we fight.

Have a good weekend.

“You come with me, we hunt buffalo, get drunk together! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”*

This November, we celebrate Native American Heritage Month, a time to honor the history, culture, and traditions of Native Americans past and present.

On September 28, 1915, President Calvin Coolidge issued a proclamation that resulted in the first Native American heritage celebration in the United States; he declared the second Saturday of each May as American Indian Day. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November as National American Indian Heritage Month.

We will try to be more respectful in our celebrations this month than might be suggested from our entertaining, but culturally appropriative, singing of “Ugga Wugga Wigwam” to the wee babes the other night.

Perhaps we will watch the final season of Longmire, which premiers next Friday.

But I doubt it. Since reading all the books last summer, I am loathe to watch the show, because in my opinion, the video version and its ridiculous story lines do not compare positively to the books. I mean, there is no torture of people (Indian or white) in the books (see trailer)! There is no evil Indian bad guy in the books! And I’m sorry, Walt is a lot smarter in the books! Furthermore, Walt has a good relationship with the Cheyenne in the books, not the relationship fraught with drama portrayed on the tv series. All the racial unrest on the show is inserted to heighten the drama and that drives me crazy. Ugh.

We’ll have to think of something to do to celebrate Native American Heritage Month, such as visit one of the various American Indian sites throughout our state. There are several–for instance, I did not know there is a restored and authentically finished 1790-1815 French and Indian trading post and village, at Fort Charrette Village and Museum, 10 minutes east of Washington, Missouri. The fort includes five log houses, one of which is believed to be the oldest log house west of the Mississippi River. All are furnished with 1700s American antiques. There is even a winery nearby!

In the meantime, here is something beautiful and perceptive from Willa Cather:

“It was the Indian manner to vanish into the landscape, not to stand out against it. The Hopi villages that were set upon rock mesas were made to look like the rock on which they sat, were imperceptible at a distance. …

In the working of silver or drilling of turquoise the Indians had exhaustless patience; upon their blankets and belts and ceremonial robes they lavished their skill and pains. But their conception of decoration did not extend to the landscape. They seemed to have none of the European’s desire to “master” nature, to arrange and re-create. They spent their ingenuity in the other direction; in accommodating themselves to the scene in which they found themselves. This was not so much from indolence, the Bishop thought, as from an inherited caution and respect. It was as if the great country were asleep, and they wished to carry on their lives without awakening it; or as if the spirits of earth and air and water were things not to antagonize and arouse. When they hunted, it was with the same discretion; an Indian hunt was never a slaughter. They ravaged neither the rivers nor the forest, and if they irrigated, they took as little water as would serve their needs. The land and all that it bore they treated with consideration; not attempting to improve it, they never desecrated it.”

Death Comes for the Archbishop

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Ruins of Hopi Trading Post by James Swinnerton (1875–1974)


Thomas Moran (1837–1926)


Thomas Moran (American, 1837 – 1926) -“Hopi Museum, Arizona”, 1916

*Pony That Walks in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)

“CAPTAIN Hilts.”

Today we remember Steve McQueen who died on November 7 in 1980. (I’m a day late.)


We miss Steve.

This poster was on the door of the Senior Room at my school in the late sixties.


It represented all things cool to me in the middle school. Indeed, this is still as cool as it gets. I am not wrong.

Although there are many posers out there, no one these days comes close to Steve. The actor who reminds me the most of Steve is Charlie Hunnum.


He can even ride a motorcycle. And wait a minute, he is, in fact, starring in the remake of Papillon. Clearly I am not the only one who sees the similarity. However, I am sure this attempt to remake this movie will end badly.


There is only one Steve.

Tonight we will toast old Steve and watch one of the classics:


The Magnificent Seven




The Sand Pebbles

…or any of these you can get your hands on. I have to admit, I’m kind of in the mood for The Blob.


And, okay, this made me smile/LOL. I mean, I could certainly relate to the two Irish women in their late 60s – one with a “walking aid” – who were able to make off with a 6 ft portrait of Steve McQueen from a Belfast hotel. They were only foiled in their attempt when they couldn’t fit it into their car. How great is that?

No update on whether they caught the “not-so-magnificent-two”.

BTW, the little dude got his first haircut the other day.


I think we know how he felt about that.

Thoughts and (more) prayers


I was going to say something about the latest mass shooting and how thoughts and prayers are openly mocked in this country, but I just can’t. I thought this, written by Ravi Zacharias about this atrocity, was right to the point.

Our only hope is in the Lord.

“See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God”*

As you know, Sunday was All Saints’ Sunday when we remember those who have gone before us in the faith. It is a long service, made longer this year by three baptisms and it was also Pledge Sunday! I didn’t mind, especially since we had a piper and a cake afterwards.

My busy weekend flew by as expected. I got up early on Saturday morning to meet one of my oldest BFFs from high school who was in town. We gathered for coffee with a few other HS friends that I see infrequently and a gabfest ensued.

After returning home, daughter # 1 arrived and we headed out to a few estate sales and lunch. We were successful, picking up some wooden cup and saucer holders and silver trays–the things no one seems to want anymore, but for which I am always looking. I also bought this very cool photo enlargement of the St. Louis levee in 1869.


How cool is that? I’m not sure where I will put it, but for $5, I’m not worrying.

We headed over to babysit the wee babes at 5:00 p.m. The boy and daughter #3 left for their wedding and we settled in with the wee babes. Daughter #1 had brought her bluetooth speaker/phone and we played the soundtrack to Peter Pan, entertaining the wee babes with our singalong and dancing talents: I’ll just call on Tiger-Lily! I’ll just call on Peter Pan! We’ll be coming willy, nilly, Lily! They were duly impressed. Anyway, all this gaiety wore them out and put them in the mood for eating dinner and bedtime.

We watched a little Moana and they were soon down for the count.


Indeed, the evening went quite well except for one huge diaper blow-out with green poop up Lottie’s back to her neck. That onesie is toast.

The grownups started to watch Miss Congeniality II and then I fell asleep. Par for the course.

Daughter #1 headed back to Columbia before church the next morning.  I puttered around after church, catching up on laundry and dusting. I put away my halloween candles and got out my pilgrims and indians.


IMG_2970.JPGSunday night the OM and I Ubered to terra incognita to see an old friend perform a cabaret to a sold out audience of friends and family.


She sang a lot of old standards–Sondheim, Porter, Nelly, and my favorite–a Guys and Dolls medley–with witty chatter in between songs. I have known Cindy since I was in second grade and we went to school and church together and college too. She has been a successful banker and headhunter, but always in her heart, wanted to be a Broadway star. So for one night she was.


More power to her for her courage and chutspah! She gets the “You go, girl!” award this week.

I leave you with this classic snap of the wee babes, which the boy texted me yesterday.

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Haha. Enjoy the day!

*I John 3:1

One equal temper of heroic hearts

It’s November and today is my DH’s birthday! Although it is Saturday, he will spend the day working. Here he is (in back-lit glory) doing the finances this morning.

Never fear, we will celebrate tonight with beef curry and Naan bread, cake, a few gifties, and perhaps a toast to the birthday boy. I quite like this Tennyson:

Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Tennyson, Idylls of the King

The DH’s birthday signals the rush toward Christmas, but November is for giving thanks, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’m thankful for my dear spouse, who, besides incessant work, does a ton of household chores, including (more than) his share of laundry, vacuuming, and cooking. What would I do without him?

I do appreciate other good things in my life as well. Take flowers, for example. Last week a dear friend brought me this lovely bouquet.

What a wonderful way to cheer up a dreary November day. I am fortunate that my son makes me cocoa with whipped cream on top every night, and that I have fairly lights (aka small white Christmas lights) strung around the family room windows to provide the perfect ambiance for movie-watching. And let’s not forget: washing machines, hot showers, and sleeping under piles of blankets; being silly, dressing up, feeling satisfied when a project gets finished, and pictures of ADORABLE BABIES (see yesterday’s post)! I could go on and on…

What makes you feel grateful?


“Hand me down that can of beans”*

I have a busy weekend ahead with a bigger helping of social events than I am used to. How about you?

In addition to the aforementioned social events, the OM and I are also babysitting for the wee babes while their parents go to a wedding. This will entail sticking around for longer than two hours, so daughter #1 has kindly agreed to come into town to help. Phew.


The King of Cool: one-handed non-chalance; he will be one-strapping** a backpack soon…


Nobody puts Baby in a corner.

Here’s hoping the three of us can handle these two goofballs.

In other news, did you read that November 1 was the 50th anniversary of the release of Cool Hand Luke (1967)?

cool_hand_luke_ver3_xlg.jpgFifty years?! Zut alors, that makes me feel old. Not that I was actually old enough to see it at the movies, but almost. I remember my older brother going to see it and hearing all about it afterwards. Of course, he thought it was great, and he couldn’t believe the ending. I couldn’t wait to see it–a few years later and on television. It is one of my Top Ten favorite movies and it is my Friday movie pick. Even if you have seen it 50 times, watch it again. Paul Newman is at his tip-top best and he is ably supported by a terrific cast of up-and-coming actors. The only woman in the cast is Jo Van Fleet and her one scene is very memorable, although the Academy failed to nominate her for an Oscar. As I have said before, Paul Newman was also robbed.

By the way, last weekend I watched Paint Your Wagon (1969) which I had not seen in many years.

paint-your-wagon-movie-poster-1969-1020233870.jpgI enjoyed it a lot, especially Clint Eastwood, who is at the peak of his physical attractiveness and actually, for once, plays a nice guy.


No wonder I fell behind in all my eighth grade classes–I was daydreaming about him! Sigh. In fact, I never caught up with Math and French and was forever relegated to the A1 sections thereafter. (This was fine with me, but I blame Clint Eastwood.) I also was surprised that I still knew the soundtrack backwards and forwards, having listened to it ad nauseum back in the day.


Good to know we don’t forget everything.

Have a great weekend!

BTW, if you are wondering who takes all those great photos of the wee babes, it is their pater, the boy.

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He’s pretty good, right?

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*The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on the Paint Your Wagon soundtrack

**Chan Tatum one-strapping; Jonah Hill two-strappingDF-02838-1024x682.jpg

“I’ve got the sun in the mornin’ and the moon at night.”*


Once again, I relate to Calvin’s father. My favorite refrain (then and now) is, “Put on a sweater if you are cold!” …also “and it builds character!”–but that’s another story…Well, anyway, we turned on the heat in our house, because it is, after all, November. November!

In November we like to try to be more intentionally grateful, so here’s a quote from a book by one of my favorite authors.

“What was the world coming to and what hearty pleasures folks today missed out of life! One bag of meal her pap said, used to make a whole family rejoice. Now folks came ungrateful from the store, grumbling they had to carry such a heavy market basket. Was that the way this great new country of hers was going to go? The easier they made life, the weaker and sicker the race had to get? Once a majority of the men got weak and soft, what weak, harmful ways would they vote the country into then? Well, her pap’s generation could get down on their knees and thank the Almighty they lived and died when they did. How would they ever have come and settled this wild country if they said to each other, “Ain’t you afeard?” How would her pappy have fetched them the long way out here on foot if he’d kept asking all the time, “Are you all right! How do ye feel? Do ye reckon ye kin make it?” No, those old time folks she knew were scared of nothing, or if they were, they didn’t say so. They knew they ran bad risks moving into Indian country, but they had to die some time. They might as well live as they pleased and let others bury them when the time came. Now Libby’s generation, it seemed, lived mostly to study and fret about ailing and dying.”

―Conrad Richter, Sayward in The Town

My children would no doubt agree that this sounds like me as well. One could argue that the abundance of things we have has made us ungrateful. That is sad. We take things for granted when we should be grateful.  So look around and be grateful. Count your blessings.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed

When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,

Count your many blessings name them one by one

Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

-Johnson Oatman, Jr. (1856-1922)


*Irving Berlin/image of sampler from Etsy

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”*

Today is the birthday of William Merritt Chase (November 1, 1849 – October 25, 1916) who was an American painter, known as an exponent of Impressionism and as a teacher.

But did you know that he was born in Indiana? Me neither. Although he studied for a short time in New York City as a youth, he was forced to leave New York in 1870 due to declining family fortune and return to St. Louis (!) where his family was then based. While he worked to help support his family, he became active in the St. Louis art community, winning prizes for his paintings at a local exhibition. Chase’s talent elicited the interest of wealthy St. Louis collectors who arranged for him to visit Europe for two years, in exchange for paintings and Chase’s help in securing European art for their collections. Well, well…

Anyway, I especially like his interiors with all their detail…






Self-portrait, 1915

Chase won many honors at home and abroad, was a member of the National Academy of Design, New York, and from 1885 to 1895 was president of the Society of American Artists.  After a long and successful career, Chase died on October 25, 1916, at his home in New York City, an esteemed elder of the American art world. He was interred in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.


William_Merritt_Chase_-_First_Touch_of_Autumn_-_Google_Art_Project.jpgToday his works are in most major museums in the United States. We even have a couple in the Saint Louis Art Museum:

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So a toast to old William Merritt Chase and…one more shout out for 500 years of speaking truth to power…

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*Henry Ward Beecher

“A heretic! [What?] Someone throw me a bone. You forgot salvation comes through faith alone.” *

As you know, Protestants around the world are celebrating the start of the Reformation five centuries ago. It’s been 500 years!

On October 31, 1517, the day before the Feast of All Saints, the 33-year-old Martin Luther posted theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. The door functioned as a bulletin board for various announcements related to academic and church affairs. The theses were written in Latin and printed on a folio sheet by the printer John Gruenenberg, one of the many entrepreneurs in the new print medium first used in Germany about 1450. Luther was calling for a “disputation on the power and efficacy of indulgences out of love and zeal for truth and the desire to bring it to light.” He did so as a faithful monk and priest who had been appointed professor of biblical theology at the University of Wittenberg.

Luther attacked the abuse of indulgence sales in sermons, in “counseling sessions,” and, finally, in the Ninety-Five Theses, which rang out the revolutionary theme of the Reformation: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent,’ He willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance” (Thesis 1).

Here are all 95 Theses, #37 being particularly pertinent: Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has a share in all the benefits of Christ and the Church, for God has granted him these, even without letters of indulgence.

Tonight I plan to watch Luther (2003), which features Joseph Fiennes as ML, and toast the man who was perhaps the first figure in western history to resist visibly and publicly a political superpower (in his case, the papal authority in Rome) and live to tell the story. Indeed, his “Here I stand” moment before Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521 was an amazing act of courage and an astounding break in history.

While we’re at it, let’s include all those brave reformers of yore, and here is an appropriate prayer, which you might have missed back on October 13 when the Episcopal Church remembered Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, Bishops and Martyrs, 1555:

Keep us, O Lord, constant in faith and zealous in witness, that, like your servants William Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, we may live in your fear, die in your favor, and rest in your peace; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

*From The 95 Theses Rap (or, oh, the things you find on the internet…)