Thursday, April 25, 2013

[pretty, happy, funny, real]


My sewing machine. I spent half the afternoon looking at patterns and dreaming up new projects..I didn’t actually Sew anything, but inspiration is half the battle, right?

Nothing prettier than Patron! I love those bottles! I wish I could find huge one to keep my vanilla in..They’re just so heavy and solid looking.

  Look at those tiny leaves rejoicing! It was 60 degrees today & so very sunny!

That's us! At my folks for Christmas a year or two ago, when my hair was still blond.

Yarrow loves ‘Adventures in Odyssey’ but usually can’t make it all the way through an episode..

Winter is rough on the Garden Virgin. She's as grateful for spring as the rest of us.

Every time I get a basket I fill it up right off. This one was supposed to get a liner and become sort of a diaper basket, but now it’s holding fabric, scarves, library books, and things I need to return to the kitchen

See more at Like Mother, like Daughter!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

G.K. Chesterton and Me..or, confessions of a failed lover

In response to Christie’s article at Everything to Someone, which reminds just how much beautiful diversity is in the world, even among kindred hearts.

First, some disclaimers:

1. I haven’t studied Chesterton in depth. Apart from Orthodoxy, The Man who was Thursday, The Flying Inn, most of What’s wrong with the World, bits of Father Brown, and articles shared by mutual friends, Chesterton and I are not well acquainted. He’s like that guy in college everyone wants you date, and you begin to suspect it’s just to get you in a relationship, you go to coffee and leave wondering “is it just because we’re both Catholic..because really who sees me with him?” But your friends mean well, and so - probably - does he. It’s just a missed connection. Chesterton is my missed connection. Our friends want us to get married and have a million babies, but I can’t even sit through coffee with him.

2. We are a missed connection, in part I think, because I’m already in love. Long before I was introduced to Chesterton, I met Soren Kierkegaard, who introduced me to Rainer Maria Rilke, who became my ultimate infatuation. Rilke and Kierkegaard spoke to me, nurtured in my heart the unreasonable love of beauty and magic that grew there, and made me long for kindness and charity in my thoughts. They are the soft-spoken poets, the artists who call out to God in low, rocking songs..leaving them for Chesterton’s loud company made me feel battered, unseen, and alone. He is the mocker, the one who seems to write against individuals and for the masses. They are the mocked, the lonely ones whom God nestles close - and I feel Chesterton’s judgment of them; he who calls on the ‘awful authority of the mob’ against my friends who remember that the mob “is nonsense - a sum of negative ones” of people who have given up themselves. We are starting at opposites and cannot find a place to meet.

3. Apart from this basic bias, I have others. I’m not a feminist, but I have - for better or worse, been influenced by feminism both within and without the Church -and Chesterton’s writing on women grates on me. It’s frustrating. It gives me the impression that he doesn’t see individuals so much as collectives. He has some lovely thoughts: Christie’s blog title being one of them, but the underlaying attitude - the argument for mediocrity in women, the tendency to idealize is something I struggle to read without judgment. I have a tendency to be overly harsh in my reading, I get bogged down in the details, and distracted by small frustrations. Chesterton gives me an abundance of details to pick at, and my reading derails.

 All that said, I know he’s popular with many, many good and holy people. He’s popular with people whose artistic-sense does connect with mine in a deep and beautiful way, whose respect for people as individuals is obvious. So I wonder, would I be more able to forgive him his flaws if I was more taken with his style, or if I had needed a friend in my own dream-like interior life? I still sometimes love his words out of context - many of them are good and true and uplifting. I want to use them sometimes like I want to use the words of other writers I know only lightly and dislike in passing; I don’t, for the most part, because it seems dishonest to borrow words from a man I don’t read.

G.K. Chesterton, in some ways, reminds me of a less saintly version of Padre Pio, a man God loves, a man the Church of God obviously loves, and yet a man I can’t help but dislike. I’m thankful for all the cases of saints disliking each other and arguing amongst themselves. Chesterton is not a saint, so I feel better rejecting him for his different vision and his harsh words. I remember reading ‘The Ethics of Elfland’ - Chesterton writes to tell me I “cannot imagine two and one not making three.” - I realized he wasn’t writing to me, or of me, and that his fairy is not mine. Because I can imagine it (which probably accounts for my failure in math class). And I immediately remembered the connection I felt with Kathleen Norris who has the same tendency to “focus on the fuzzy boundaries where definitions give way to metaphor” where numbers are not so dull as to always come out the same, where the dreams live and shift the world we see.

But I hope I don’t sound too harsh. Christie and Jenna (my dear blogging friends) have a different relationship to him. Christie obviously understands him better than I, she is closer in life and education to British thought, which is really, despite my love of Jane Austen and The Simple Things magazine, foreign to me in so many ways. Jenna is much better at reading critically in charity, and I think, much less self-focused than I am, and less likely to consider her own opinions sacrosanct. My brother - who is welcome to join the discussion on his own blog - is also a student of Chesterton, so I do know there is good there, and deep thought, and probably even charity. I doubt I’ll ever enjoy him, but I’ll try to humbly absorb your thoughts and let them warm my heart a little towards him.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday Love

This morning has been lovely. I’m only now getting my life back in line, after the joyful, fun, celebratory disruption of Easter Week. It’s still Easter though, and I’m still drowning my coffee in
cream each morning and rejoicing in the sunlight. This morning though - bright, blue, and warming quickly - I am finally falling into my old rhythm. I have a list of things to do in blue chalk on my table, a sleeping toddler - who is more and more content with her milk-free nights. Half a grapefruit, and my writing. Today, I am making final comments on a friend’s draft, before sending it home to her, writing the long overdue letters, reading Chesterton ( I promised to give him another chance!), and running again, if I can get my stroller through the driveway! I have yellow roses on my table, tulips on the shelf, and the long-living Easter flowers still laughing on the altar.

I don’t write well on bright days, but I edit nicely. My brain is outside, under the trees or slopping in the mud. It’s eight-thirty in the morning, and I’m happy with how I’ve lived those first 4 hours. It’s such a blessing to begin the week this well, I’m grateful and glad.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

[pretty, happy, funny, real]


It was supposed to be a gift...but I'm selfish like that.  I've been using it as an oatmeal's smaller than it looks here..and so very pretty!

Easter flowers..still alive after all this time! Not the sunflowers, unfortunately. I'm beginning to wonder about these.



 Letters from friends make me so happy, especially when I can enjoy them over tea, and write back with more tea, and most especially when they contain the cutest little note-cards ever!

New tattoos make everyone happy! Especially such nice ones. Thanks John Biswell for making this one perfect!


 ..and new tattoos inspire new, little tattoo artists!

 It's not easy to finish 'to-do' lists when small hands smear them away!

round button chicken


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My Husband's Hands..

I’ve already written about my hands. But hands are one of my favorite features to study. They attract me (or repulse me) more than almost any other..and repulsive hands are impossible to ignore, really, I have a hard time getting over hands that repel me. I fell in love with my husband’s hands (and voice) before I fell in love with him. He has good hands, they’re honest and clear, they hate complications. When he took photos of his new tattoo, he was kind enough to include his hand in the photo for me.

He has fire hands, like I do, but they're more stable than mine, because he is essentially a water person. His hands have changed more than mine since we've been married, mainly because, as a mason, they take a beating daily. He has scars from washing brick with acid; deeper, stronger creases than before and he's settled more into a strong sense of self. They're creative hands - more consistent than mine, with a deep, imaginative mind, but a smaller writer's fork. Hand's that laugh often, work hard, and love well. Hands to be trusted. Stubborn though, and a bit too strong-willed - hard to argue with.

His new tattoo is beautiful, isn't it?!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

[pretty, happy, funny, real]


 Easter flowers..Sunflowers are one of my favorites, and one of the flowers we used at my wedding (Five years ago on Good Friday! It was Divine Mercy Weekend that year. We're hosting a baby shower for my sister in law and visiting the tattoo-parlor on our liturgical anniversary, with maybe a dinner out thrown in there somewhere as well! Since we couldn't do much celebrating on our actual anniversary.)

Seth painted Yarrow’s brown shoes bright yellow for the Vigil Mass. The oil paints looked so creamy! And the shoes themselves came out great!


Baby in boots (her mama’s mud boots) and so proud!

Portland from the roof-top (my husband at work). Cities always look so much friendlier from above, don’t they! Makes me almost want to live there...almost.


Napping in a mask..She loves wearing my clay masks!


 The wagon, our only way of hauling in supplies these days..can you see the sap buckets in the background?

 and the driveway: mud, frost-heaves, and puddles - but really not a bad walk, if you can avoid all the sinking pockets of ice! This year we have big plans for the driveway - to make it driveable in all seasons!  

Wesołego Alleluja!

round button chicken

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Christie (at Everything to Someone) and Jenna (at A Light Inside) have recently shared hand photos to study. Here is mine..though it's my left - and less dominate - hand. 

Talk about dirty..and do you see my messy nails? I couldn’t get a proper photo of my right hand, but they’re pretty similar - a have a longer writer’s fork on the palm of my left hand, but a more creative ‘head line’ on my right..The fingers themselves are very similar. I have fire hands (longer palm, shorter fingers), and you can see my little finger curving in toward my ring finger - which shows a tendency to talk, and to play with words, to use language artistically. My ring finger leans away from my middle finger though, which shows my art will never amount to much - financially speaking, I'm too careless, to unfocused. But my index finger leans decidedly into my middle finger, showing I might make some money with freelancing. My thumb has gotten less stubborn over the years, it's now firm, but forgiving. If you could see my palm, you'd notice first my uncommon good luck in love (which you'd notice anyway, if you've met my husband!) - or else my unstable and over-imaginative mind..with the potential for insanity late in life..hopefully I'll manage to hold it together! Or, if hand is pretty certain I'll be joyful all the way through, which is a blessing. I tried to take photos of my palm as well, but the lines didn't Indian musician I met once on a train had the same complaint - your lines are too perhaps my life is still somewhat fluid, nothing set in stone yet - except love and joy.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter Tuesday and St. George

 Easter week is delightful! We have sunlight and warm fires and meats and cheeses and wine. I am twining a red ribbon around my wrist to distract evil and anticipating the feast of St. George, when he welcomes the warm spring and invites that grass to grow again. For now, we have only mud and snow.

St. George is not one of my particular saints, but then, neither was the Infant of Prague until I was overwhelmed with him. In the spring, I start to think of George again, with Joseph and Isidor and Anthony - all the springtime saints. It’s funny, I don’t have any women saints in my spring, but the Marys are so summery, Therese is fall, Paraskeva so autumnal or Lenten, and Agnes is winter.

I have bulbs to plant when the ground is thawed, an edited manuscript to send back to it’s mother, and the mess of my own written ones to collect on the desk yet again. I’ve been rejoicing with thick cream in my coffee and dreaming more and more of dairy goats - unlimited cream being my primary goal in life. Petka has begun picking out letters, but only when they don’t distract her by resembling too much the moon she loves. C is a particular problem.