Saturday, January 14, 2017

A Random Assortment

~ Patti Smith on singing at Bob Dylan's Noble Prize Ceremony

~ The Secret Auden--an oldie but a goodie. (Is that the saying?)

~ For Ilana (and because it's great): Early Modern Typography

~ The Last Bookbinder on the Lower East Side. (It's wonderful to learn about people who have found their purpose and are flourishing.)

~ What a great film; must re-watch: His Girl Friday.

~ Do we live in a utopia? (A bit of hope from The Economist) This part was interesting:

Unsurprisingly, these aspects of Utopian life have appealed to supporters of communism. (Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels themselves were dismissive, scoffing that “castles in the air” were not particularly useful for stoking revolutions.) 
~ Some great vintage bookplates.

~ Compellingly told: The problem with traffic camera tickets.

~ The Japanese Art of Grieving a Miscarriage--we clearly need some rituals, right?

~ The Pope on motherhood:

In our society, mothers are “the strongest antidote to our individualistic and egotistic tendencies, to our lack of openness and our indifference,” Pope Francis said.
~ "Electronic Baby Toys Associated with Decrease in Quality and Quantity of Language in Infants." (Like so many studies, this result is intuitive, isn't it? A friend told me she bought some pen that reads books to her kids. In addition to sounding expensive, this just sounds bad! There's nothing like cuddling and talking about children's books!)

~ "Why I Married Myself." This doesn't sound exactly like marriage--some of these women are also interested in having a partner who is not themselves. It sounds a little bit like plain old self-esteem and self-care, but why in the world do we have to call it marriage? It seems like a necessary thing for every person. It actually seems like just a coming of age ceremony.

~ Cornel West critiquing Barak Obama.

~ Marcus Aurelius' Morning Motivation

~ Alan Jacobs, wonderful, as always--and more personal than usual.

Friday, January 13, 2017

More Art

Stuck in my mind forever is one image from this painting of purgatory and hell. One character (slightly to the left of the being with the gaping mouth) straddles a huge saw, twice his size. And he works to saw off his arm. (That is exactly how it feels trying to be virtuous even on earth, isn't it? Not that I try that hard.)

P.S. We showed Chester lots of the religious art. He was able to identify St. Christopher and St. Nicholas! So proud.

Thursday, January 12, 2017


Conundrum: Our downstairs neighbor is rarely home, but when he is it is never with the same car.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Art Museum

We finally made it to the art museum's quilt exhibit on its last day.

I thought it was fantastic, although I just caught quick glimpses while running after a certain two-year-old. (Sorry for the phone pics.)

This one is purportedly an Indiana wreath.

After a failed first attempt at quilting in which I cut out a bunch of pieces and proceeded to cart them around for 10 years before off-loading them on Ilana, I'm ready to pick quilting back up.

Just kidding.

Love me some dogwood blossoms.

Said two-year old had a massive potty training accident near this quilt. Good thing I packed a rag. And good thing we stopped to buy a new pair of pants after his water spilled all over his two other backup pairs of pants. Despite the rag, we still had to alert the staff. They were classy and finished our interaction with, "Thank you for visiting today."

This one was, hands down, my favorite. Stunning.

Saturday, January 7, 2017


Day 1 of (attempted) potty-training: Quite possibly the hardest day of parenting since labor and delivery. So glad he's in a diaper for the night now.

Thursday, January 5, 2017


Winter: Cold and coughing

San Francisco.3

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

San Francisco.2

My first time seeing the Ferry Building.

As Chester says about the sun, (which he hates, midwestern boy that he is), "Thank you Jesus for the sun." (I told him to do that so he wouldn't complain so much.)

Put me in a [sunny] city with a camera, and I'm perfectly happy.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


I really do not care about celebrity deaths: I don't want people to die, but people do die. I'm very sad when people I know die, and I feel nothing for celebrities. #myunpopularopinion

That's what I had written, although it felt really too coarse to publish. Terry Teachout says it much better:

Since then, though, I can’t say that the death of any celebrity has “punched me in the gut.” Perhaps this is a function of the fact that I’ve now lived long enough to lose numerous real-life family members and intimate friends, something that was not yet the case in 1983. Whatever the reason, I was unresponsive to the outpouring of social-media sentiment that was triggered by the passing of (among others) Fisher, Reynolds, Edward Albee, Muhammad Ali, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, Prince, Alan Rickman, Garry Shandling, and Gene Wilder. Why should this be so? The reason, I think, is that while I admired some of these men and women, one or two greatly, I didn’t know any of them, nor did their lives and work shape my character or taste.
Nevertheless, there is for me an unbridgeable gap between admiration from a distance, however strong, and the more personal sentiment that for me is inextricably tied up with personal acquaintance.

San Francisco.1

We had a great afternoon at the beach in San Francisco.

And a great day in San Francisco.

What a sublime bridge. But I have a weakness for bridges.

Monday, January 2, 2017

More Movies

Viewed some time ago

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Wow! Maggie Smith is the same. And the great thing is that back then, Maggie Smith was not even in her prime.

It's too bad that the film was made in the late 60s because the fashion is sort of great, although it's not the best era for clothing in my opinion.

Now I must reread the book to see how the book and movie compare. Only the book is still in the boxes that we have not unpacked because the movers broke our bookshelves...

Southside With You

We got to attend a screening of this with the actor, who was very cute. (It is his job to be good-looking, Francisco always reminds me.) What an endearing film--very Before Sunrise. Slow-moving, chatty, and enjoyable.

Halloween Indiana

Thankfully we did not have to see this whole movie; I guess there's something amusing about a very low budget horror film. But only briefly amusing.


I think I liked this, but it was too long ago to be sure, which is why I need to stay better on top of my blogging. Francisco: "I don't think you really payed that close attention; you were in a bad mood." There you have it, ladies and gentlemen.

Sunday, January 1, 2017


Wow--I guess it's been a busy semester. I was meaning to write about this much earlier.

This year was my first Halloween, which we celebrated, of course, for the kid. It was quite an evening--with a little kid the only All Saint's mass we could attend was the vigil, which finished before his bedtime, then we had to quickly dress him up and walk him over to the candy. In our town Halloween is a huge to do. A road, one of the nicest in town, is closed off, and families on that road spend hundreds of dollars on candy. The houses are decorated, the inhabitants dress up, as do the kids and adults coming for candy. We were also invited to stop in at one of my colleagues' open house on the street that evening.

I found the whole thing to be a really excellent cultivator of community--rich and poor, people of every race and religion, all came together, dressed up. There are really too few places in town where all sorts of people come together. It is an event of generosity. And the decorations were really over-the-top. It was a lot of fun.

Chester was particularly excited about an over-the-top dinosaur outfit he observed, although he was troubled by the dinosaur's lack of clothing.

He ate a little candy; I ate the rest. (Why so much bubble gum??) It was a good evening.