dual personalities

Tag: quotes

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock*

Me, oh my, it’s Friday at last. I’ve had a busy week and my mind is mush. I anticipate a quiet weekend.

I need to recharge this weekend, but I am at a loss as to quite how to do that. Sleep. John Wayne movies. Facials. Puttering. Baby exercises.

Estate sales…

Note: empty beer can collection

Well…as old Samuel Johnson (born September 18, 1709) said,

“Pleasure is very seldom found where it is sought.
Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.”

Have a good weekend!

*James Whitcomb Riley

Tuesday musings

Yesterday when I was working upstairs in my guest bedroom/office, I witnessed another amazing “tonic of wildness” event. A juvenile hawk of some kind was engaged in a spirited tussle with a squirrel.

Clearly the squirrel was messing with the hawk’s mind. He would hide under the Hosta and then dart out and up the tree. The hawk would fly around the tree and the squirrel would go back under the Hosta.

See the hawk on the left and the squirrel in the middle of the tree?

Hawks are not designed to fly around trees. The squirrel could have gotten away easily if it wanted, but it kept doing it and the hawk got more and more disoriented.

What’s happening?

Finally the hawk gave up and flew up in the tree. (I hope it didn’t have a vindictive parent.) I bet that squirrel was laughing it up big time with his buddies later.

All this happened in between Zoom calls. What a life.

In other news our powder room renovation was finally completed last week! We started it last year, but it was sidelined along with some other projects. Last week it was painted and the wallpaper went up. It looks great! I can’t take pictures in a bathroom, but this will give you an idea…

The wallpaper is Thibaut and it brings me joy! Elephants, camels, monkeys!

My old friend WWII Guy posted this quote on his Facebook page. We all know the line about an invincible summer from Albert Camus’ essay “Return to Tipasa,” but this enlarged quote seems to be a “fake” (misattributed) Camus quote:

“He said, ‘In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love. In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile. In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm. I realized, through it all, that in the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger—something better, pushing right back.’”

I like it anyway.

The tonic of wildness*

This is the first time I have seen actual red toadstools growing in my yard!

They are not big enough for a bunny to hide under…

But still, kind of exciting. What’s next?

In other flora and fauna news, I nearly stepped on this guy as he blended smoothly onto my welcome mat.

Just a moth you say, but pretty darn cool. The world is more than we know.

“If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable.”

–Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

A guy whose blog I follow writes:

In the last 5 months I have painted a bathroom, 2 doors and 3 windows. Refinished a countertop, 2 desks and a floor. Moved 7,000 pounds of river jacks into a dozen locations. Repaired 2 eaves. Reset a mailbox. Repaired and repainted 3 damaged walls. Recreated a magnetic catch for a large door. Used my plumbing snake, twice, for the first time in 20 years.

I am impressed and wish I could say I had done just a few of those things. I have sorted through stuff. I have played pentominoes with the contents of several closets. I have shredded paper. I have dusted bookshelves and thought about how I need more bookshelves. I have brought toys up from the basement.

And I have managed to keep doing my job. Big points for this!

This weekend will be another quiet one. Probably no wee babes, since they have started back at school, but I am hoping for a visit from the boy later today. Have a good weekend! Chin chin and all that.

*Henry David Thoreau

Another mish mosh

Bookplate image via contentinacottage.blogspot.com

Friday at last! We have had a rainy (but cooler) week here in flyover country with trees down and unfortunately quite a bit of flooding.

Lots of detritus to pick up in our yard.

Weather does spice up our sad, isolated lives though. We have so few diversions, don’t we?

Today is the birthday of Steve Martin (born August 14, 1945) –American actor, comedian, author, filmmaker, and musician. I recently watched All of Me (1984) directed by Carl Reiner. It is pretty silly stuff, but I enjoyed it and there are several scenes that are masterfully done where Martin contends with his own body, which has been partially taken over by the Lily Tomlin character’s soul.

The OM was not amused, but when is he?

Sunday is the birthday of T.E. Lawrence, aka Lawrence of Arabia (August 16, 1888 – May 19, 1935). Besides becoming famous for his role in the Arab Revolt, he was a British archaeologist, army officer, diplomat, and writer. 

Early Hittite artifact found by T. E. Lawrence and Leonard Woolley (right) in Carchemish.

Well, I am happy to raise a toast to Steve and T.E.

They kind of resemble each other, don’t they?

And I’ll raise another glass to the wee babes who are going back to school!

And to Marty Stuart who will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame!

There’s always something to celebrate! Have a good weekend.

Grace is the celebration of life, relentlessly hounding all the non-celebrants in the world. It is a floating, cosmic bash shouting its way through the streets of the universe, flinging the sweetness of its cassations to every window, pounding at every door in a hilarity beyond all liking and happening, until the prodigals come out at last and dance, and the elder brothers finally take their fingers out of their ears.” –Robert Farrar Capon, Episcopal priest, Between Noon and Three: Romance, Law and the Outrage of Grace

Masters of the trivial

The Things

When I walk in my house I see pictures,
bought long ago, framed and hanging
— de Kooning, Arp, Laurencin, Henry Moore —
that I’ve cherished and stared at for years,
yet my eyes keep returning to the masters
of the trivial — a white stone perfectly round,
tiny lead models of baseball players, a cowbell,
a broken great-grandmother’s rocker,
a dead dog’s toy — valueless, unforgettable
detritus that my children will throw away
as I did my mother’s souvenirs of trips
with my dead father. Kodaks of kittens,
and bundles of cards from her mother Kate.

by Donald Hall

Trivial, we all know, means “of little value or importance.” Yes, it is true, most of my things are of no monetary value. But trivial in any other sense is in the eye of the beholder. To each his own, I say. I love my trivial pursuits.

The OM and I watched a great movie the other night–Kes (1969), an English film directed by  Kenneth Loach and based on the novel A Kestral for a Knave by Barry Hines. It is ranked seventh in the British Film Institute’s Top Ten (British) Films.

The story is about Billy Casper, a neglected working-class 15-year-old who finds solace and meaning training a kestrel, and it packs quite a punch. It is not an easy film to watch–so dreary and sad and sometimes it’s like watching a movie in a foreign language, so hard to understand are the Yorkshire accents–but it is well worth the effort. A wonderful film. The boy is perfect. We had DVR’d it on TCM, but you can rent it on Amazon Prime.

The world is more than we know.

“He knew then what it was that Liz had given him; the thing that he would have to go back and find if ever he got home to England; it was the caring about little things–the faith in ordinary life; the simplicity that made you break up a bit of bread into a paper bag, walk down to the beach and throw it to the gulls. It was this respect for triviality which he had never been allowed to possess; whether it was bread of the seagulls or love.”
― John le Carré, The Spy Who Came In From the Cold

Hi-diddly-ho

Today in the Episcopal Church we honor William Hobart Hare (May 17, 1838 – October 23, 1909) who was an American bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church, back when that’s what it was called.

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One of the leading missionaries in America, Hare earned the title “the Apostle of the West” for his dedicated work in the rural Dakotas among pioneers and Native Americans. He was also known as the “Apostle to the Sioux.”

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Bishop William Hobart Hare and traveling equipment(

The house of bishops elected him bishop in 1872 and his territory originally included everything north of the Niobrara River in Nebraska and west of the Missouri River as far as the Rocky Mountains. It was not an easy assignment.

He wrote from Cheyenne Reserve to his sister: “I have been on a trip now for ten days or more, a fairly comfortable one, though a heavy storm of wind and rain blew my tent down over my head last Tuesday night and gave me hours of work and much wretchedness, and my horse balked in the middle of the Cheyenne River on Friday last as I was fording it, broke the single-tree loose and left me in the middle of the rapidly running stream with the water running into my wagon-box. But such ills are the concomitants of travel out here, and I am used to them.” (You can read more about his experiences here.)

The wilderness assigned to the young bishop seemed an almost unmanageable field, but he betook himself to tent life and traveled over the wild country and, having thus made himself familiar with it, he gradually divided it into ten departments and placed a clergyman of ability and fidelity in charge of each of these departments and the missionary work soon fell into shape and was carried on with comparative ease.

The development of South Dakota and its final admission to statehood led to a slight change in the territory assigned to his jurisdiction, and in 1883 his title was changed to missionary bishop of South Dakota, and he chose Sioux Falls as the see city of his missionary diocese. He has labored with all of zeal and earnestness and has infused vitality into all departments of church work in his diocese, while he has been aided and encouraged by the hearty and faithful co-operation of his clergy and his people. It has been his to watch the progress of the church in South Dakota from its inception, ever keeping pace with the onward march of the years as they have fallen into the abyss of time. He has guided the destinies of his church with a hand made strong by power from on high, and with the power which came to steady the hand has also come the divine light to illume the way… He has witnessed the rise of the state, where he has served as bishop for thirty-two years, is loyal to it and its people and has the sincere respect and affectionate regard of all with whom he has come in contact as a church man and as a citizen. (Doane Robinson 1904)

The Calvary Church was the first church built in Sioux Falls.

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 11.43.56 AM.pngAs Hare’s congregation grew, he saw the need for a building, “as solid and unmoving as his faith, to stand as the cornerstone for his congregation in the area’s biggest city.” Hobart enlisted the aid of John Jacob Astor III to help raise money for a cathedral. Astor’s contributions were in memory of his late wife, Charlotte Augusta Astor — a patron of Hare’s missions and of All Saint’s School, another Hare creation. Astor’s contributions came to $20,000. The cornerstone was laid Dec. 5, 1888, and Hare’s cathedral was finished a year later. The building itself was constructed of Sioux quartzite.

Bishop Hare, although he died in New Jersey, was buried in Sioux City next to the church under the large cross (below).

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Holy God, you called your servant William Hobart Hare to proclaim the means of grace and the hope of glory to the peoples of the Great Plains: We give you thanks for the devotion of those who received the Good News gladly, and for the faithfulness of the generations who have succeeded them. Strengthen us with your Holy Spirit, that we may walk in their footsteps and lead many to faith in Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Oh and by the way, today is also Bob Saget’s birthday.

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Have a good day. Tomorrow is Friday!

Carpe Diem

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Today is Erma Bombeck’s (1927 – 1996) birthday.  Bombeck, you may recall, was an American humorist who achieved great popularity for her newspaper column describing suburban home life from the mid-1960s until the late 1990s. She also published 15 books, most of which became bestsellers. From 1965 to 1996, Erma Bombeck wrote over 4,000 newspaper columns, chronicling the ordinary life of a midwestern suburban housewife. By the 1970s, her columns were read twice-weekly by 30 million readers of the 900 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada. Wow!

I suppose no one remembers Erma these days. She was unabashedly middle class and unsophisticated. People could relate to her. She was never “cool” like Nora Ephron, although really they wrote about similar things. Well, here are some wise words from this wise lady to think about today.

Someone asked me the other day if I had my life to live over would I change anything.

My answer was no, but then I thought about it and changed my mind.

If I had my life to live over again I would have waxed less and listened more.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy and complaining about the shadow over my feet, I’d have cherished every minute of it and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was to be my only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten popcorn in the “good” living room and worried less about the dirt when you lit the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have burnt the pink candle that was sculptured like a rose before it melted while being stored.

I would have sat cross-legged on the lawn with my children and never worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television … and more while watching real life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband which I took for granted.

I would have eaten less cottage cheese and more ice cream.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick, instead of pretending the Earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for a day.

I would never have bought ANYTHING just because it was practical/wouldn’t show soil/ guaranteed to last a lifetime.

When my child kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now, go get washed up for dinner.”

There would have been more I love yous … more I’m sorrys … more I’m listenings … but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute of it … look at it and really see it … try it on … live it … exhaust it … and never give that minute back until there was nothing left of it.”
― Eat Less Cottage Cheese and More Ice Cream: Thoughts on Life from Erma Bombeck

Still as true today as it was 50 years ago! Let’s have some ice cream!

Have a nice weekend

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Since I will no doubt be stuck at home this weekend due to inclement weather–and today is a snow day–I think I will round up all the Richard Scarry books I have and see if the boy wants to take his copies home to the nursery.

The little, tiny babies won’t be home for awhile…

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…but they’ll be needing books soon, right? Yeah, they will.

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Meanwhile, I am going to try to enjoy staying inside and catching up on all the things that need catching up.

You know, re-organizing my office.

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Putting away the Christmas stained glass which I forgot to do last weekend. Checking to see what other Christmas decorations I missed.

And tonight I’ll toast James Joyce who died on this day in 1941. It was he who said: “I confess that I do not see what good it does to fulminate against the English tyranny while the Roman tyranny occupies the palace of the soul.” [“Ireland, Island of Saints and Sages,” lecture, Università Popolare, Trieste (27 April 1907), printed in James Joyce: Occasional, Critical and Political Writing (2002)]

Good point.

Have a good weekend…It’s a long one too!

“Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second”

“I am done with great things and big things, great institutions and big success, and I am for those tiny, invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which if you give them time, will rend the hardest monuments of man’s pride.”

–William James

Today is the birthday of William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910) who was an American philosopher and psychologist and a teacher (among his students at Harvard were Theodore Roosevelt, W.E.B. Du Bois, Gertrude Stein, and George Santayana). He was also the brother of Henry James. His godfather was Ralph Waldo Emerson! He went in the spring of 1865 on a scientific expedition up the Amazon River with Louis Agassiz! He is considered to be one of the major figures associated with the philosophical school known as pragmatism,  and is also cited as one of the founders of functional psychology.

Although I cannot say I have read widely in his work or am an expert on William James, I aways liked him.

“Keep the faculty of effort alive in you by a little gratuitous exercise every day. That is, be systematically ascetic or heroic in little unnecessary points, do every day or two something for no other reason than that you would rather not do it, so that when the hour of dire need draws nigh, it may find you not unnerved and untrained to stand the test. So with the man who has daily inured himself to habits of concentrated attention, energetic volition, and self-denial in unnecessary things. He will stand like a tower when everything rocks around him, and when his softer fellow-mortals are winnowed like chaff in the blast.”

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What a good face.

He always seemed to have a lot of common sense. And he understood the importance of just being kind.

So I will toast William James tonight. Join me, right?

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The humble James plot in Cambridge Cemetery

An honor just to have them on your shelves

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Books are to read, but that is by no means the end of it.

The way they are bound, the paper they are printed on, the smell of them (especially if they are either very new or very old), the way the words are fitted to the page, the look of them in the bookcase — sometimes lined up straight as West Point cadets, sometimes leaning against each other for support or lying flat so you have to tip your head sideways to see them properly. Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, the plays of Beaumont and Fletcher, the Pleiade edition of Saint Simon, Chesterfield’s letters, the Qur’an. Even though you suspect you will probably never get around to them, it is an honor just to have them on your shelves.

Something of what they contains gets into the air you breathe. They are like money in the bank, which is a comfort even though you never spend it. They are prepared to give you all they’ve got at a moment’s notice, but are in no special hurry about it. In the meanwhile they are holding their tongues, even the most loquacious of them, even the most passionate.

They are giving you their eloquent and inexhaustible silence. They are giving you time to find your way to them. Maybe they are giving you time, with or without them, just to find your way.

–Frederick Buechner

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And isn’t Dolly wonderful?