Tuesday, September 30, 2008

my old boss

My old boss, Congressman David Hobson (R-Springfield) and his wife, Caroline (at least I think that's her), at the Cap rally. I was an intern in his Lancaster District Office when I was in college

Bookshelf: Midwives

I just finished the novel Midwives, by Chris Bohjalian, and it completely blew me away. I'm a bit irritated that I waited so long to read this book!

This novel has been on my periphery for awhile, meaning that it's one of those that I see when I go into bookstores, pick up, read the back, and say to myself I should read this some time. Except it's never "sometime." Until today. 

It is, simply, an amazing novel, one of my five-star reads. The story seems like it will be a typical family drama/courtroom type of novel: Sibyl, an experienced midwife practicing in Vermont, loses a mother during delivery, but managed to save the baby with an emergency C-section once the mother was dead. Or was she? 

But Bohjalian takes what would be good plot anyway and makes it memorable and exciting. The narrator is not Sibyl, but her fourteen-year old daughter, Connie (Constance). She overhears her parents, reads her mother's journal, and hears her parents talking with Stephen, their charismatic lawyer, but her point of view is fairly limited. We are introduced to people in her world--her boyfriend, Tom and her best friend, Rollie--and also, the family of the dead woman. 
The night of the birth is told in a somewhat detached third person, and we don't know everything. 

Instead of a linear story, Bohjalian sprinkles in details throughout the novel. We know from the beginning that Sibyl goes to trial. We hear bits and pieces of testimony as the novel progresses, and we have flashbacks and "flash-forwards." Connie is telling the story from the view point of an adult (whom, we learn, is an OB/GYN and single).  This way of storytelling makes the reader much more involved in the novel, and makes the reading much more meticulous, since all the pieces are introduced at what can appear to be random times. It often feels like Connie is having a discussion with you. 

Every chapter begins with an excerpt from Sibyl's "notebooks"--her three-ring, looseleaf binders that serve as her personal journals. These are the only first-person glimpse we get of her throughout the novel. 

Bohjalian takes what is normally Jodi Picoult territory and elevates it to literature. The characters are real and vibrant and their situation so absorbing that you think about them even after the novel is over. 

(Note: No, I did not know this was an Oprah book club past pick when I picked it up!)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Who DIDN'T take Poli Sci 101?

From The campaign spot over at NRO: (my emphases)
Pelosi, moments ago: "The Democrats more than lived up to their side of the bargain."

Horsepuckey. Pelosi has 235 members. She needed 218. She could spare 17 members and still pass the bill.

The GOP spotted her 65 members, for a bill that made most Republicans' skin crawl in both broad outline and in terms of detail.

That meant Pelosi could afford to lose 82 Democrats.

She lost 95.

Bush and Paulson were never going to pass this bill with House Republican votes. It had to be palatable to the Democrats, and Pelosi and Frank said that it was.

Think about it - the majority party is insisting that the minority party is responsible for the bill not passing with a majority. Do you see the incongruency there? Why is anyone taking that argument seriously?

ME: I think someone needs to fire the Whip. If you can't get the vote count right on something like this, what kind of political skill do you have?

The Simple Woman's Daybook

(with some editions from Elizabeth)


Outside My Window...
The sky is clear with a few wispy clouds. The trees rustle with the soft breeze, and the leaves are green, bright red and dark auburn. 

I am thinking...
that I am ready to get the house in order. 

I am thankful for...
my family. 

From the kitchen...
Chicken breast with burbon bayou glaze (Tastefully Simple), sweet corn, and possible dessert making!

To live the liturgy...
Reading my Bible and saying my rosary, which today is in honor of my cousin Diane's first wedding anniversary (and her soon-to-be-born baby!). 

I am wearing...
gray trousers, a pumpkin colored scoop neck sweater, black socks, a silver heart pendant that I got for Christmas last year. 

I am creating...
my music, which I will be practicing while dinner cooks.  

I am going to breathe deeply ...
and enjoy today. 

Bringing beauty to my home ...
Vacuuming, cleaning, and putting things to rights.  

I am going...
to the grocery store. 

I am reading...
The Common Reader (Virginia Woolf); Truth and Tolerance (B XVI); The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories (Tolstoy), Mostly True (Molly O'Neill)

I am hoping...
for all good things. 

I am hearing...
"Uninvited", by Alanis Morrisette (at least I was in my car).

Around the house...

One of my favorite things...
My digital camera, because I can capture people with it. 

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
Wednesday: Choir rehearsal
Thursday: Karen and Steve's 3 year wedding anniversary!
Friday: Something with Tiff

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

OK, picture thought not working, but go down a few posts and you'll see a picture from my cousin's wedding in Rochester!

Sunday, September 28, 2008


We just hit more than 10,000 hits!
Thanks guys!

Get happy!

Do you need a happiness boost—right now? If so, take a look at this menu of options and make your choices. Remember, the more you tackle, the bigger the boost you’ll receive.

When you’re feeling blue, it can be hard to muster up the physical and mental energy to do the things that make you happier. Plunking down in front of the TV or digging into a tub of ice cream seems like an easier fix.

However, research shows (and you know it’s true) that these aren’t the routes to feeling better. Try some choices below. The more you push yourself, the better you’ll feel; but if you can’t tackle a big task, just do something small. Even a little step in the right direction will give you a lift.

According to my ground-breaking happiness formula, to be happy, you need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth. What’s dragging you down? Is it a lack of fun, of connection? Do you feel a lot of guilt, boredom, or anger? Do you feel that something’s “not right” about your life? Do you feel stagnant or stuck? Focus your efforts on the choices that will do the most to address what’s not working in your life.

Your menu of choices -- commit to doing as many items as you can:

__ call or email one of your closest friends
__ call or email three friends to whom you haven’t spoken in a while
__ track down an old friend who has drifted out of your life (I just did this a few days ago, zoikes)

__ add a fun thing to your calendar
__ add a fun thing to your calendar that involves other people
__ add a fun thing to your calendar that involves other people doing something outside

__ think of a subject that you wish you knew more about (be honest! something that really interests you!) and spend 15 minutes on the internet reading about it
__ take a step toward acquiring a new skill that you want – research Italian classes in your neighborhood, order Photoshop for Dummies
__ if you absolutely can’t think of one single subject that interests you, visit two bookstores (one huge, one independent) and browse until some book catches your attention – and buy it

Do good, feel good
__ sign up to be an organ donor, and remember to tell your family
__ give $25 or more to a worthy cause
__ sign up to volunteer or participate in an organization

__ walk around the block
__ take a twenty-five-minute walk
__ go the gym or go for a run

__ clear out the space around your computer
__ clear out a closet
__ walk through your house with a garbage bag, and clear clutter until the bag is full of trash; then walk around again and fill a new bag with things to be given away; repeat

__ make a dentist’s or doctor’s appointment that you’ve been putting off
__ reach out to a family member whom you’ve been neglecting
__ make something right: apologize, confess, repair, replace, or return something you borrowed

Nagging tasks
__ clean out some old emails that you haven’t answered
__ stop off at the drugstore to buy supplies you need
__ stop off at the hardware store to buy supplies you need
__ fix something broken

Good citizen
__ Throw away someone else’s litter
__ Be helpful to an elderly person or a person with small kids
__ Be friendly to a store clerk who seems grouchy

__ Reflect on the following quotation, from Marjorie William’s Woman at the Washington Zoo:
We could hear her friends pull up to the curb. As her momentum carried her to the top of the stairs, Alice looked back and tossed me a radiant smile. She had become my glimmering girl: She looked like a rock star. She looked like a teenager. She looked absolutely stunning. She thundered down the stairs in those shoes, and as the front door slammed behind her, it came to me—what fantasy I had finally, easily entered this Halloween.
I’d just seen Alice leave for her prom, or her first real date. I’d cheated time, flipping the calendar five or six years into the future. The character I’d played was the fifty-two-year-old mother I will probably never be.

It was effortless.

Editor’s Note: A month after Marjorie wrote this, her oncologist concluded that there was no further treatment to recommend. Marjorie died, at home, on January 16, 2005, three days after her forty-seventh birthday.

__ Reflect on the following quotation, Winston Churchill to the House of Commons, June 4, 1940:
We shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do.

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender; and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and liberation of the Old.

__ Reflect on the following quotation, from Thomas Arnold, diary, June 5, 1842:
[Of reading the newspaper] “So much of sin and so much of suffering in the world, as are there displayed, and no one seems able to remedy either. And then the thought of my own private life, so full of comforts, is very startling.”
At the end of the day, look back on your list. Did you hit all the items you checked off? Do you feel happier?

From The Happiness Project

Love in Rochester Part I

Justin and Lisa at the altar


Photos to come!
And I'm going to see SARAH tomorrow!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Going to Rochester for my cousin Justin's wedding, in which I am doing a reading. No idea which one. :)
So no blogging until The Return on Sunday.
Go Steelers!
Apparently either the Browns or the Bengals will win this week, right?

And, the first installment of the Great Election '08 Swag Count (signs, bumper stickers, etc. --one per yard/card)
McCain: 10
Obama: 3

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Because I can

Another picture of my favorite political people:

Monday, September 22, 2008

I knew it!

Your result for The Wizard of Oz Trivia Test...


Ah yes, you are truly worthy of Oz. You know how to get over the rainbow and why there's no place like home. You have traveled the yellow brick road, made friends, defeated a witch, humbled a wizard, and survived a concussion.


So lie down and wait out the dizziness. You should be proud! Good job! Kudos to you and your mad Oz wizardry!

Take The Wizard of Oz Trivia Test at HelloQuizzy

Simple Woman's Daybook--September 22

(with some editions from Elizabeth)

Outside My Window...
The sky is a lovely blue and the leaves are just starting to change color, right in time for the first day of Autumn, my favorite season!

I am thinking...
that after a busy week and weekend it will be nice to have an evening at home so I can get back on track. 

I am thankful for...
My new Amazon books (Macbeth and Tolstoy stories) and my electricity!

From the kitchen...
Chocolate chip cookies!

To live the liturgy...
Reading my Bible, and finding my Magnificat!

I am wearing...
jeans, a royal blue t-shirt, black socks, small gold hoop earrings

I am creating...
I started a new novel today! 

I am going to breathe deeply ...
and do my yoga. :) 

Bringing beauty to my home ...
Fall pillows, and my Angel of Autumn (see below) 

I am going...
Nowhere, for the present time. :) 

I am reading...
The Common Reader (Virginia Woolf); Truth and Tolerance (B XVI); The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories (Tolstoy), Macbeth (Shakespeare)

I am hoping...
that this week will be more calm than the last. 

I am hearing...
blissful silence. 

Around the house...
The kitchen table needs unearthed, as well as some vacuuming. 

One of my favorite things...
My bedsheets--dark purple and so soft!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
Wednesday: Choir rehearsal
Thursday: A blood draw to check new med levels, ballet class
Friday-Sunday: Rochester for Justin's wedding!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...(add your picture here)
My "Angel of Autumn" figure from Willow Tree angels; time to bring her out!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Well, sorry Mel...

Apparently, families should only have two kids (or, ideally, none!)--poppycock!

I love my big family!

Paige (l)--aunt Amy's oldest-- and Jenny (r)--Uncle Tim's youngest (of seven!)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Culture Cat: The Lion King (roar!)

above: "Circle of Life"

When I saw The Lion King at the Ohio Theater on Tuesday night, it was my second time seeing the show (I had seen it during its first trip to town in '04). Last time, the show was a recreation of what is done on Broadway (hence Pride Rock rising out of the stage, as seen in the picture above). This time, Disney Theatricals was trying out a "scaled-down" version of the show, which will make the show more portable and thus able to be seen in more places. In general I didn't really like the changes that were made (what I remembered of them), because I think it hampered director and designer Julie Taymor's original vision. Instead of rising up out of the stage, Pride Rock is sort of wheeled out on a circular track. Also, Mufasa's mask (and I could be wrong here) didn't look like it was as mobile as it was back in '04. If you've never seen the show, you won't notice. But if you have, then you probably will, especially during "Circle of Life."

But to particulars. Just about all of us have seen The Lion King, so I don't need to go into plot particulars. We still have Nala and Simba and Sarabi and Mufasa and Scar, and Zazu. There are a few new songs, some written by composer Lebo M, which are South African chants ("Grassland Chant", "Lioness Hunt"), and there are some trunk songs for the characters (Simba's "Endless Night", Nala's "Shadowlands", Zazu's "Morning Report" and "Chow Down" for the hyenas). There is also the Act II Opener, "The Madness of King Scar" (which for some reason has been shortened), my favorite piece in the show. The new songs integrate seamlessly into the existing pieces, and Tim Rice, Julie Taymor and Elton John wrote the music and lyrics for the new, non-chant numbers.

The cast was very strong, especially the chorus. I have to give them major props because much of their singing is off-stage. Having attempted to do this for J&H, I know how hard this is. It is pitch-black in the wings and the monitors are not very helpful. So kudos to them. Zazu was probably my favorite character, and Young Nala and Young Simba were done very handsomely by the child actors. The wildebeest stampede is an excellent, excellent scene, and probably, after "Circle of Life", the highlight of the show.

If you haven't seen this show it is worth it for the sheer spectacle--the costumes, the scenery, the lighting. The music is impressive, especially the numbers that incorporate chant, such as "He Lives In You" and "Rafiki Mourns." The two solos for Nala and Simba are also very nice and needed additions for character development.

So while the scenery may be simplified, there is nothing quite like watching the elephants and rhinoceri amble down the aisles of the theater and up onto the stage for the opening number. It's thrilling to watch.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Speech recap

So, I gave my first speech for LOOP last night in an educational setting; I had done one before for their Candlelight Vigil in April. This was a bit easier because it was less formal. I didn't have any note cards--totally off the cuff, but since I was talking about myself, it's not as impressive as it sounds (if it sounds impressive at all).

There were about 20 people there (but there was food for 40!). I think it was a bible study or fellowship group. Lauren, from LOOP, did most of the talking--about how donation works, what can be donated, who can donate, etc. I was the "human interest" angle. I made the group laugh a few times, which is always my goal, and I answered a few questions. The whole thing lasted about 40 minutes. The group was very good, mostly people from 40-60ish, and they asked a lot of questions.

I had a lot of fun doing it and I hope I get to do it again. Spreading the word is so important. So, if you're not an organ donor, click here.


Three things:
--Recap of my speech tonight
--Lion King Culture Cat
--Bookshelf--The Other Queen

See what you have to look forward to?
Oh, and if you like/hate/ are indifferent about the new blog look, let me know.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Well of course...

Your result for The Who Would You Be in 1400 AD Test...

The Lady

You scored 26% Cardinal, 36% Monk, 62% Lady, and 49% Knight!

Chaste and pure, you are a good person. You try to help others and do your duty to your family. However, this duty involves you being sold off to a local noble house in order to cement relations between your families. But you know it's for a greater good, and besides you will retain all the comforts and glamour of your position regardless of if you're your father's or you husband's property.

Take The Who Would You Be in 1400 AD Test at HelloQuizzy

Speech! Speech!

Tomorrow I am giving a speech for LOOP at Summit Station United Methodist Church.
I'm excited, since, as y'all know, I love to talk. :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It's back!

The power is, thanks be to God the Almighty, back. Just in time for me to get ready to see Lion King tonight. :)
My cousin Di and her husband had enough foresight to go to St. Louis last week to visit Di's family (my aunt and uncle and cousin). They live in Houston, and Di is pregnant. God knows when they're going to be back......

Monday, September 15, 2008

Channeling Laura Ingalls

So Hurricane Ike has left me (and about 1,000,000 other Ohioans) out of power. I have not had power since 6:30 last night, and I am now at my parents', mooching their electricity/AC/ what have you.

Some notes gleaned from my experience thus far:

--You get a lot of reading done when you have nothing to do but read. I finished Night and Day and read The Covenant, a novel by Naomi Raben, which was really good. I may even add it to my favorites list.

--Writing by candlelight isn't that bad, except you have to have an awful lot of candles.

--Thankfully it was windy so I just opened the windows and got a good breeze, so I didn't miss the AC.

--No internet, so I was glad I knew what the weather would be.

--When there's no light, you go to bed early--like 9:00. But I didn't sleep well. When my power's off, so my alarm on my clock, and I can't hear my cell phone without my CI in. So I was sort of nervous, leading to a 5:30 wake-up. Hey, at least I got my yoga practice in!

--Putting on make-up in the dark is...interesting. But I didn't look bad!

--I got to the office at 6:40. Oh yeah.

--The boys in my office didn't shave, because they didn't want to shave in the dark. So they looked sort of funny. :)

--I was never so glad to get to my office and have electricity in my life.

--I came home at 4:00--still nothing. So I showered, read a bit, and then went to my parents', where I am now mooching off internet.

--And...kudos to Nutmeg for leading me to the cool site where I got my new background!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Sound of Silence

I was having lunch with my dad last week, and, as is our habit, we took a walk around Capitol Square afterwards. It was a warm August day, just after noon.
As we walked, I asked my dad, "Why does everyone always have iPods in? Don't they ever want quiet?"
"No. They don't like to be alone with themselves."
That's an odd though to me. I live alone, and I like being alone most of the time. I enjoy silence. There are times at my office when things are too loud and I turn off my CI. This actually isn't an uncommon phenomenon for us CI folks. In an article I was reading a while back, a little girl who just got a CI would take it off, hand it to her mother, and say "I don't want my sound right now."

"The world is too much with us," reads one poem. Don't get me wrong. I love my iPod and it's great when I'm in the car on long trips, or working out. But I don't want sound bombarding me every minute of the day. I like to walk alone, or sit alone, and just let my thoughts go. I love singing along with the CD in my car, but there are also times when I like to drive in silence.

At Church, we had to re-institute the idea of "sacred silence" five minutes before Mass, so that people would be able to pray and recollect themselves. It drives me to distraction to see people chattering before Mass. Moments of silence are so hard to come by. But "it is the silence of the heart that God speaks," Mother Teresa said. We can say God doesn't talk to us, but are we actually listening for him? The Bible describes God as the "still, small voice" who spoke to Elijah outside the cave. God rarely does things like in the B.C. comic, where the caveman asks, "God, if you're really there, show me a sign." The next frame shows a huge theater marquee in front of him that says, "I'm up here!"

Most of the time we don't get those. And if we're constantly using our iPod, or cell phone, or whatever, then we're not really paying attention to the people around us. We're only marginally there.

The first retreat I ever went on was a silent retreat. A lot of people, when I told them, would ask me, "Three days of Silence!? I couldn't do that!" But I loved it. It was so easy, so peaceful. At meal times we didn't speak but there was a sense of camaraderie and sense of purpose. We were all fully present, in that meal, in that moment.

I want to be fully present.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 in song

"If I Had My Way"--Linda Eder


Long ago and far away
Before the world had come to this
I took for granted how my life would be
Assuming that my freedom would be free.

Before these evening shadows fell
reveled in the light of day
I rarely ever cried, my patience wasn't tried
And heroes never died

But if I had my way
Things would be different
Danger wouldn't come from a sky of blue
Choices would be clear
Strangers would be kinder
Love a little blinder
As it saved the day
If I had my way

Every now and then it seems
We live our lives to such extremes
Racing all around, never homeward bound
Losing what we've found

But if I had my way
Things would be different
No one would believe that a lie was true
Choices would be clear
Wisdom would be heeded
Warnings never needed
This is what I pray
If I had my way

The milk of human kindness
Would seek us out and find us
And color all the words we say

And hearts would come alive
Instead of breaking
No one would believe
That a lie was true
Angels would appear
Children would be cherished
Hope would never perish
Faith would not betray
If I had my way

You can buy the fantastic album, Gold, here

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


A couple new things on the sidebar....

1) You can subscribe to this blog feed! So you get the Bucket right when I write it! How cool is that?! :) (OK I'm a bit too excited about this)

2) You can be a followed of my blog! That link is right below the subscribe on the right.

The Lipstick-wearing hockey mom

From Nutmeg

More for the aw(e) file


Political Ridiculousness

Well That Changes My Mind, Cont'd [Jonah Goldberg]
Deepak Chopra dubs Sarah Palin the Shadow.

She is the reverse of Barack Obama, in essence his shadow, deriding his idealism and exhorting people to obey their worst impulses. In psychological terms the shadow is that part of the psyche that hides out of sight, countering our aspirations, virtue, and vision with qualities we are ashamed to face: anger, fear, revenge, violence, selfishness, and suspicion of "the other." For millions of Americans, Obama triggers those feelings, but they don't want to express them. He is calling for us to reach for our higher selves, and frankly, that stirs up hidden reactions of an unsavory kind. (Just to be perfectly clear, I am not making a verbal play out of the fact that Sen. Obama is black. The shadow is a metaphor widely in use before his arrival on the scene.) I recognize that psychological analysis of politics is usually not welcome by the public, but I believe such a perspective can be helpful here to understand Palin's message. In her acceptance speech Gov. Palin sent a rousing call to those who want to celebrate their resistance to change and a higher vision.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Aw(e) inducing

From Rush , talking to a Down Syndrome family (their daughter has Down Syndrome) that met McCain-Palin in Washington, PA.

Snip: (emphases mine)

CALLER:...So we accompanied them up the hill, we went right to the bus, where it was, and Governor Palin, Senator McCain, Cindy, Todd Palin, they’re all standing there. We’re in this inner circle with just us and them, and the Secret Service agent, and they came right up to us and thanked us for coming out, said they loved our sign, and Governor Palin immediately said, “May I hold your daughter?” and our daughter Chloe, who’s five, went right to her, and I have some pictures I’d love to send you maybe when I’m done here, but Governor Palin was hugging Chloe, and then her little daughter brought their baby Trig who has Down syndrome from the bus, he was napping, and Chloe went right over and kissed him on the cheek, and my son Nolan who’s nine, he thanked her.

(For some reason the pic doesn't want to load, but if you click on the link, it's the second one.
And how cute is that?!)

More on Trig and Choosing Life

From Rich Lowry
A bit of it:

As many as an estimated nine out of 10 children with Down syndrome are aborted in the womb, sought out by increasingly sophisticated prenatal tests and eliminated as too flawed, too burdensome, too different to live. This is the ugly eugenic underbelly of American life, even as we congratulate ourselves on our tolerance and diversity.

Parents of children with Down syndrome routinely encounter a “how could you?” disapproval. Former Washington Post reporter Patricia E. Bauer writes that strangers consider her daughter with Down syndrome as falling “into the category of avoidable human suffering. At best, a tragic mistake. At worst, a living embodiment of the pro-life movement. Less than human. A drain on society. That someone I love is regarded that way is unspeakably painful to me.”

Here comes Trig, who — via his mother, especially if she wins — will have a high-profile platform to expose the rest of us to his personhood and dignity. Palin always describes him, aptly, as “a perfectly beautiful baby boy.” After her speech, she held him on stage as she was joined by the rest of her family. Given how dated assumptions are about Down syndrome, he could do us much good growing up in the Naval Observatory.

Monday, September 08, 2008

At home Daybook--September 8

(Totally stole this from Elizabeth)

Outside My Window ...is a beautiful day. The trees are still green but the air is cooler and the breeze is crisp, promising fall very soon.

Towards a daily rhythm ... learning to do what is important first and well, to have time for the fun things later.
I am thankful for ...my faith sharing group; the onset of fall; my friends; the work I did today.
From the kitchen ...
Greek Tuna pasta salad for dinner.

To live the liturgy...
Saying my rosary BEFORE bed, in honor of Mary's birthday. This way I won't fall asleep whilst I'm saying it (as I am prone to do).

I am wearing ... a blue jersey dress and a turquoise cardigan that hits at my waist. All blue for Mary. :)
I am creating ...my schedule for the week.
I am going to breathe deeply ...it's getting cooler this week, so fun fall clothes and activities.
Bringing beauty to my home ...cleaning and setting up the apartment for the onset of fall and winter. trying to obtain real order and not just organized chaos.
I am reading ... Truth and Tolerance, by BXVI; Night and Day, by Virginia Woolf, and The Golden Bowl, by Henry James
I am hoping ... that tonight's Parish Council meeting goes quickly and well (not necessarily in that order)
Around the house ... the kitchen table is still a disaster.

One of my favorite things ... talking politics with my faith sharing group. :)
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Parish Council tonight; Choir on W; Bryan's 23rd birthday (yikes!) and dinner at Scali's on Thursday; Tastefully Simple party on Friday.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing~

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Quotable Quote

A handicapped child, even if it is only one among a thousand healthy ones, has its own life to live, as a unique being, alongside that of its parents and its brothers and sisters. Why does God "allow this"? Let us beware of "glib" answers. Where the question "Why?" is concerned, only the response of solidarity can convince anyone. I, too, might have been this handicapped child. It has the same human existence and the same dignity as I do. It is a living challenge to me: Be the kind of person to me that you would wish for if you were in my place. How much love has come into the world by this painful means!

--Chirstoph Cardinal Schonborn, Chance or Purpose?: Creation, Evolution, and a Rational Faith (102-103)

A good football day...

Because Pitt won. Whew.

100 best

English-language novels since 1900....at least according to one list.
Ones I've read are in bold.

1. ULYSSES by James Joyce
2. THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald

4. LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov
5. BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley
6. THE SOUND AND THE FURY by William Faulkner
7. CATCH-22 by Joseph Heller
8. DARKNESS AT NOON by Arthur Koestler
9. SONS AND LOVERS by D.H. Lawrence
10. THE GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck

11. UNDER THE VOLCANO by Malcolm Lowry
12. THE WAY OF ALL FLESH by Samuel Butler
13. 1984 by George Orwell
14. I, CLAUDIUS by Robert Graves
15. TO THE LIGHTHOUSE by Virginia Woolf
16. AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY by Theodore Dreiser
17. THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER by Carson McCullers
18. SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE by Kurt Vonnegut
19. INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison
20. NATIVE SON by Richard Wright

23. U.S.A. (trilogy) by John Dos Passos
24. WINESBURG, OHIO by Sherwood Anderson
25. A PASSAGE TO INDIA by E.M. Forster
26. THE WINGS OF THE DOVE by Henry James
27. THE AMBASSADORS by Henry James
28. TENDER IS THE NIGHT by F. Scott Fitzgerald

30. THE GOOD SOLDIER by Ford Madox Ford
31. ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell
32. THE GOLDEN BOWL by Henry James (I'm reading this one)
33. SISTER CARRIE by Theodore Dreiser
34. A HANDFUL OF DUST by Evelyn Waugh
35. AS I LAY DYING by William Faulkner
36. ALL THE KING'S MEN by Robert Penn Warren
37. THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY by Thornton Wilder
38. HOWARDS END by E.M. Forster
39. GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN by James Baldwin
40. THE HEART OF THE MATTER by Graham Greene

41. LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding
42. DELIVERANCE by James Dickey
43. A DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME (series) by Anthony Powell
44. POINT COUNTER POINT by Aldous Huxley
45. THE SUN ALSO RISES by Ernest Hemingway
46. THE SECRET AGENT by Joseph Conrad
47. NOSTROMO by Joseph Conrad
48. THE RAINBOW by D.H. Lawrence
49. WOMEN IN LOVE by D.H. Lawrence
50. TROPIC OF CANCER by Henry Miller

51. THE NAKED AND THE DEAD by Norman Mailer
52. PORTNOY'S COMPLAINT by Philip Roth
53. PALE FIRE by Vladimir Nabokov
54. LIGHT IN AUGUST by William Faulkner
55. ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac
56. THE MALTESE FALCON by Dashiell Hammett
57. PARADE'S END by Ford Madox Ford
58. THE AGE OF INNOCENCE by Edith Wharton (this should be a LOT higher)
59. ZULEIKA DOBSON by Max Beerbohm
60. THE MOVIEGOER by Walker Percy

62. FROM HERE TO ETERNITY by James Jones
64. THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger
65. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE by Anthony Burgess
66. OF HUMAN BONDAGE by W. Somerset Maugham
67. HEART OF DARKNESS by Joseph Conrad
68. MAIN STREET by Sinclair Lewis
69. THE HOUSE OF MIRTH by Edith Wharton
70. THE ALEXANDRIA QUARTET by Lawrence Durell

71. A HIGH WIND IN JAMAICA by Richard Hughes
72. A HOUSE FOR MR BISWAS by V.S. Naipaul
73. THE DAY OF THE LOCUST by Nathanael West
74. A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway
75. SCOOP by Evelyn Waugh
77. FINNEGANS WAKE by James Joyce
78. KIM by Rudyard Kipling
79. A ROOM WITH A VIEW by E.M. Forster (should be higher than Passage to India)

82. ANGLE OF REPOSE by Wallace Stegner
83. A BEND IN THE RIVER by V.S. Naipaul
84. THE DEATH OF THE HEART by Elizabeth Bowen
85. LORD JIM by Joseph Conrad
86. RAGTIME by E.L. Doctorow
87. THE OLD WIVES' TALE by Arnold Bennett
88. THE CALL OF THE WILD by Jack London
89. LOVING by Henry Green
90. MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN by Salman Rushdie

91. TOBACCO ROAD by Erskine Caldwell
92. IRONWEED by William Kennedy
93. THE MAGUS by John Fowles
94. WIDE SARGASSO SEA by Jean Rhys
95. UNDER THE NET by Iris Murdoch
96. SOPHIE'S CHOICE by William Styron (want to read, if I can find a copy)
97. THE SHELTERING SKY by Paul Bowles
99. THE GINGER MAN by J.P. Donleavy
100. THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS by Booth Tarkington

Losing my breakfast

A letter in today's Dispatch almost made me do it.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Party on

From NRO: Earthquake Sarah

A taste:

Sarah Palin has done more than unify and electrify the base. She’s done something I would not have thought possible, were it not happening in front of my nose: Sarah Palin has stolen Barack Obama’s glamour. She’s stolen his excitement, robbed his electricity, burgled his charisma, purloined his star power, and taken his Hope and Change mantra, woven it into a cold-weather fashion accessory, and wrapped it around her neck.

A candidate who is young, funny, well-spoken, intelligent, charming, drop-dead gorgeous — and one of ours? Is this actually happening?

I have personally seen hundreds of crusty, old-school paleocons who despised McCain now saying “He finally listened to us.” By picking Palin — instead of Lieberman, who we all know he wanted — he has told conservatives that he gets it. They’re not holding their noses and voting any more. They want yard signs and bumper stickers — they can’t wait to vote GOP. And the proof of the pudding is in the tasting, folks: they are writing checks.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

2 Sarah videos

First, Piper again, because you might have missed it below

And, the bio video, which was skipped last night but MAY be shown tonight

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

SARAH! (updated with linkage AND VIDEO!!!)

A few points from the speech:

--Wow. She rocked the house.

--My favorite part--the part about special needs kids and their families. I almost cried. How great was that?
Sometimes even the greatest joys bring challenge.

And children with special needs inspire a special love.

To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message: For years, you sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters.

I pledge to you that if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House.

--Watching her family was a hoot. When she was talking about Track you could almost hearing him thinking, "Geez, Mom!"

--Piper is my favorite campaign kid! Did you see her waving on the stage like mad? :) And when she held her brother, she did it with such ease, like "I hold babies all the time."

--Another cute thing she did? She was combing his hair with her fingers. Then she licked her hand and smoothed his hair so it was flat. I just loved that movement; totally natural, like she does this all the time.

--Bristol's boyfriend is quite handsome. ;-)

--I like Willow, too! She had on a great dress.

--Todd is, well, hot.

PS.: When the family came up onstage at the end and Todd handed her Trig, she said "There's my baby." So wonderful.

--She has incredible presence. She just seemed totally really and fun. I loved the part about putting the jet for sale on eBay.

Peggy and Palin

From the Lovely Peggy:

A Clear and Present Danger
To the American Left
September 3, 2008
St. Paul

Notes from the convention:

Drafts of John McCain's acceptance speech have been bopping around the inside of the campaign for at least a few days, and a question is whether or how much it will be changed to account for the hurricane in New Orleans and the Gulf coast. An early draft is said to have been direct to the point of rambunctious in drawing contrasts between the policies of Obama and McCain. "Lotta biography, lotta foreign policy, taking Obama straight on," said a GOP strategist Tuesday afternoon. The final draft may be different, softer.

Advice? By Thursday night rambunctious will be fine, and a relief. Great political parties must show compassion, but they don't want to wilt with the weight of it.

And: Wit, wit, wit. Humor. "A maid laughing is half taken," said a randy old Elizabethan poet. A voter laughing is half yours, and just received a line he can repeat next weekend over a beer at the barbecue or online at Starbucks. Here is a fact of American politics: If you make us laugh we spread your line for free.

I do not understand the absence of humor, that powerful weapon, that rhetorical cannon, in this year's campaign. There are a lot of things to say here but let me tell you the first I think of. America is a huge and lonely country. We are vast, stretch coast to coast, live in self-sufficient pods; modern culture tends us toward the atomic, the fractured and broken up. When two people meet, as they come to know each other as neighbors or colleagues, one of the great easers, one of the great ways of making a simple small human connection is: shared laughter. We are a political nation. We talk politics. So fill that area with humor: sly humor, teasing humor, humor that speaks a great truth or makes a sharp point.

Obama talked to the audience; he talked TO America. McCain should talk with the audience. He should keep in mind that if his audience is laughing and chanting, it will help him with his delivery. As they cheer he can smile, while checking his next line. I am told alternately that he has given up on the teleprompter and will go straight from text, and that he will use a teleprompter. I assume the latter is true. If it is it will be interesting to see if he has mastered it. That will tell us if he practiced the speech. That will tell us if he knows what this speech IS, which is one big fat brilliant opportunity. If he's reading from text, well, it is not true that this is impossible in the media age. People didn't use teleprompters until 30 years ago. But when McCain reads straight from text we tend to see a lot of the top of his head, with the soft white hair and the pink brow glistening under the lights. Which tends to accentuate his age. So how he does the speech is of more than academic interest.

Watch for this: How does McCain differentiate himself from President Bush – or distance himself from him -- in front of Bush's party?


The choice of Sarah Palin IS a Hail Mary pass, the pass the guy who thinks he has a good arm makes to the receiver he hopes is gifted.

Most Hail Mary passes don't work.

But when they do they're a thing of beauty and a joy forever.


Gut: The Sarah Palin choice is really going to work, or really not going to work. It's not going to be a little successful or a little not; it's not going to be a wash. She is either going to be magic or one of history's accidents. She is either going to be brilliant and groundbreaking, or will soon be the target of unattributed quotes by bitter staffers shifting blame in all the Making of the President 2008 books. Of which there should be plenty, as we've never had a year like this, with the fabulous freak of a campaign.

More immediately and seriously on Palin:

Because she jumbles up so many cultural categories, because she is a feminist not in the Yale Gender Studies sense but the How Do I Reload This Thang way, because she is a woman who in style, history, moxie and femininity is exactly like a normal American feminist and not an Abstract Theory feminist; because she wears makeup and heels and eats mooseburgers and is Alaska Tough, as Time magazine put it; because she is conservative, and pro-2nd Amendment and pro-life; and because conservatives can smell this sort of thing -- who is really one of them and who is not -- and will fight to the death for one of their beleaguered own; because of all of this she is a real and present danger to the American left, and to the Obama candidacy.

She could become a transformative political presence.

So they are going to have to kill her, and kill her quick.

And it's going to be brutal. It's already getting there.

There are only two questions.

1. Can she take it?

Will she be rattled? Can she sail through high seas? Can she roll with most punches and deliver some jabs herself?

2. And while she's taking it, rolling with it and sailing through, can she put herself forward convincingly as serious enough, grounded enough, weighty enough that the American people can imagine her as vice president of the United States?

I suppose every candidate for vice president faces these questions to some degree, but because Palin is new, unknown, and a woman, it's all much more so.


I don't think the most powerful attack line will be, in the end, inexperience. Our nation appears to be in a cycle in which inexperience seems something of a lure. "He's fresh, he's new, he hasn't appalled me yet!" I don't think it's age. While Palin seems to me young, so does Obama. I freely concede this is a drawback of getting older: you keep upping your idea of what "old enough" is. But only because when you're 50 you know you're wiser and more seasoned than you were at 40, or should be.

America, even as it ages, loves youth and admires its strength.

I think the left will go hard on this: Fringe. Radical. What goes on in her church? Isn't she extreme? Does she really think God wants a pipeline? What does Sarah Barracuda really mean? They're going to try and make her strange, outré, oddball. And not in a good way.

In all this, and in its involvement in this week's ritual humiliation of a 17-year-old girl, the mainstream press may seriously overplay its hand, and court a backlash that impacts the election. More on that in a moment.


I'll tell you how powerful Mrs. Palin already is: she reignited the culture wars just by showing up. She scrambled the battle lines, too. The crustiest old Republican men are shouting "Sexism!" when she's slammed. Pro-woman Democrats are saying she must be a bad mother to be all ambitious with kids in the house. Great respect goes to Barack Obama not only for saying criticism of candidates' children is out of bounds in political campaigns, but for making it personal, and therefore believable. "My mother had me when she was eighteen…" That was the lovely sound of class in American politics.


Let me say of myself and almost everyone I know in the press, all the chattering classes and political strategists and inside dopesters of the Amtrak Acela Line: We live in a bubble and have around us bubble people. We are Bubbleheads. We know this and try to compensate for it by taking road trips through the continent -- we're on one now, in Minneapolis -- where we talk to normal people. But we soon forget the pithy, knowing thing the garage mechanic said in the diner, and anyway we weren't there long enough in the continent to KNOW, to absorb. We view through a prism of hyper-sophistication, and judge by the rules of Chevy Chase and Greenwich, of Cleveland Park and McLean, of Bronxville and Manhattan.

And again we know this, we know this is our limit, our lack.

But we also forget it.

And when you forget you're a Bubblehead you get in trouble, you misjudge things. For one thing, you assume evangelical Christians will be appalled and left agitated by the circumstances of Mrs. Palin's daughter. But modern American evangelicals are among the last people who'd judge her harshly. It is the left that is about to go crazy with Puritan judgments; it is the right that is about to show what mellow looks like. Religious conservatives know something's wrong with us, that man's a mess. They are not left dazed by the latest applications of this fact. "This just in – there's a lot of sinning going on out there" is not a headline they'd understand to be news.

So the media's going to wait for the Christian right to rise up and condemn Mrs. Palin, and they're not going to do it because it's not their way, and in any case her problems are their problems. Christians lived through the second half of the 20th century, and the first years of the 21st. They weren't immune from the culture, they just eventually broke from it, or came to hold themselves in some ways apart from it. I think the media will explain the lack of condemnation as "Republican loyalty" and "talking points." But that's not what it will be.

Another Bubblehead blind spot. I'm bumping into a lot of critics who do not buy the legitimacy of small town mayorship (Palin had two terms in Wasilla, Alaska, population 9,000 or so) and executive as opposed to legislative experience. But executives, even of small towns, run something. There are 262 cities in this country with a population of 100,000 or more. But there are close to a hundred thousand small towns with ten thousand people or less. "You do the math," the conservative pollster Kellyanne Conway told me. "We are a nation of Wasillas, not Chicagos."


The mainstream media, which has been holding endless symposia here on the future of media in the 21st century, is in danger of missing a central fact of that future: If they appear, once again, as they have in the past, to be people not reporting the battle but engaged in the battle, if they allow themselves to be tagged by that old tag, which so tarnished them in the past, they will do more to imperil their own future than the Internet has.

This is true: fact is king. Information is king. Great reporting is what every honest person wants now, it's the one ironic thing we have less of in journalism than we need. But reporting that carries an agenda, that carries Bubblehead assumptions and puts them forth as obvious truths? Well, some people want that. But if I were doing a business model for broadsheets and broadcast networks I'd say: Fact and data are our product, we're putting everything into reporting, that's what we're selling, interpretation is the reader's job, and think pieces are for the edit page where we put the hardy, blabby hacks.

That was a long way of saying: Dig deep into Sarah Palin, get all you can, talk to everybody, get every vote, every quote, tell us of her career and life, she may be the next vice president. But don't play games. And leave her kid alone, bitch.


Final point. Palin's friends should be less immediately worried about what the Obama campaign will do to her than what the McCain campaign will do. This is a woman who's tough enough to work her way up and through, and to say yes to a historic opportunity, but she will know little of, or rather have little experience in, the mischief inherent in national Republican politics. She will be mobbed up in the McCain campaign by people who care first about McCain and second about themselves. (Or, let's be honest, often themselves first and then McCain.) Palin will never be higher than number three in their daily considerations. They won't have enough interest in protecting her, advancing her, helping her play to her strengths, helping her kick away from danger. And – there is no nice way to say this, even though at this point I shouldn't worry about nice – some of them are that worst sort of aide, dim and insensitive past or present lobbyists with high self-confidence. She'll be a thing to them; they'll see the smile and the chignon and the glasses and think she's Truvi from Steel Magnolias. They'll run right over her, not because they're strong but because they're stupid. The McCain campaign better get straight on this. He should step in, knock heads, scare his own people and get Palin the help and high-level staff all but the most seasoned vice presidential candidates require.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A meme

Just because...

Favorite room in the house: Bedroom
Guiltiest pleasure: Jeni’s Salty Caramel ice cream
Best Way to Cure Hiccups: Hold your breath
Jump in puddles or step over: Depends on my shoes
Secret talent: I don't think I have one
Desert Island DVD: Pride and Prejudice

Dream job as a child: Actress
Embarrassing crush: Colin Firth
Greatest DIY achievement: learning how to unclog drains and toilets
I have a phobia of: spiders, snakes, creepy crawly things in general
Favorite board game: Cranium
Favorite song to drive to: “Losing My Religion”, REM
Best thing to blow small change on: a book

Best smell of Autumn: burning leaves
I always forget to: take out the trash
Most romantic city: Paris
I’d love to go back to: the beach