Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Hello Summertime!

Early Spring Tea Spread at Auntie Jan's
~ Tree Blossoms from the South of England ~

Goodbye Spring!
Hello Summer!

Vivid Summer Arrangement by my sister Peggy
~ Wild Yard Flowers in Southeast Kansas ~

And now with the Summer Solstice
my Sabbatical begins!
I'll be back in mid - September,
just in time for the Autumnal Equinox!


I've been noticing that especially when it has been sunny
-- but even on the cloudy days --
there will still be a tiny streak of sunlight as late at 10:00 pm!
I'm going to look for that every night.
Happy Summer Solstice!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Kalman & Stettheimer

Christmas (1930 - 1940)
by Florine Stettheimer, 1871 – 1944
Holiday card featuring a painting of New York City
by one of my new favorite artists.


Woman Wearing an Easter Bunny Bonnet
(filled with tiny Chagall - like figures)
Maira Kalman (b 1949)
From a box of New Yorker Cover Note Cards
by another new favorite artist.


For further discussion of these two artistic designers
see my recent post

"So Many Synchronicities"
@ The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
A literary blog of connection & coincidence; custom & ceremony

Friday, June 15, 2018


I like the extended metaphor of the Emotional Tool Box that contains a sledgehammer but not much else. This goes to the learned habit of not "falling apart" when you need to; so when your reserves finally do break down, it ends up being a big blow out that seems totally out of proportion to whatever set us off. After you've used the sledgehammer, then your family modifies their behavior temporarily -- just because they want you to put the sledgehammer away and not use it for awhile. This is how vulnerable kids learn to tiptoe around unpredictable parents, hoping not to get on their bad side (something which I never wanted to do to my own kids). So the goal is to get a wider variety of tools / strategies in your tool box so that you can deal with issues as they arise rather than suppress your irritation, hurt feelings, or whatever until they lead to another frustrating melt down.

One useful tool, according to Nadia Bolz-Weber, is a shovel:
"What's your capacity for self awareness? How much of your own BS can you call on yourself? What I mean by that is that you have to deal with your own shit. So right in front of you, get a shovel, figure out how to get rid of it, figure out what's yours, get rid of it. Because otherwise, everyone that needs what you have to offer has to step in your shit to get to your gifts. And they shouldn't have to do that. So your job as a spiritual leader is to deal with your stuff."
Speaking of emotional shovels and sledgehammers, who can forgot this MTV classic:
You could have a steam train
If you'd just lay down your tracks
You could have an aeroplane flying
If you bring your blue sky back

All you do is call me
I'll be anything you need

You could have a big dipper
Going up and down, all around the bends
You could have a bumper car, bumping
This amusement never ends

I want to be your sledgehammer
Why don't you call my name
Oh let me be your sledgehammer
This will be my testimony
Show me round your fruit cakes
'Cause I will be your honey bee
Open up your fruit cakes
Where the fruit is as sweet as can be

I want to be your sledgehammer
Why don't you call my name
You'd better call the sledgehammer
Put your mind at rest
I'm going to be-the sledgehammer
This can be my testimony
I'm your sledgehammer
Let there be no doubt about it

Sledge sledge sledgehammer

I kicked the habit (I kicked the habit)
Shed my skin (Shed my skin)
This is the new stuff (This is the new stuff)
I go dancing in, (We could go dancing in)
Oh won't you show for me (Show for me)
I will show for you (Show for you)
Show for me (Show for me), I will show for you

Yea, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I do mean you
Only you, you've been coming through
Going to build that power
Build, build up that power, hey
I've been feeding the rhythm
I've been feeding the rhythm
Going to feel that power, build in you

Come on, come on, help me do
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, you
I've been feeding the rhythm
I've been feeding the rhythm
It's what we're doing, doing
All day and night, come on and help me do,
come on and help me do

Peter Gabriel
Sledgehammer lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Coincidental Message from a Friend: "May God supply you with the strength, perseverance, patience, kindness, self-control, grace, mercy and all the other tools you will need to accomplish your task. God is a great provider of those resources and will happily help you out my dear friend."

And this Polish Linguistic Expression: "You know the feeling well -- living between the hammer and the nail."
Thanks Megan & Beata!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Mona Lisa Cat

Just for fun, my twin brother Bruce posted this Mona Lisa ~ Fat Cat on my facebook. I congratulated him on his unintentionally accuracy, for I had just come across this old photoe in a stack of old family photos:

Young Mona Lisa with Tabby Cat
Me and my first cat, Doorsey ~ Summer 1967

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Fingernail Moon

This Morning ~ 5:30 am

Philip Larkin describes the full moon so perfectly: "Lozenge of love! Medallion of art!" However, I think his observations apply just as well to the waning fingernail crescent that I saw early this morning when I was awakened by the naughty cats:
High and preposterous and separate—
Lozenge of love! Medallion of art!
O wolves of memory! Immensements! No,

One shivers slightly, looking up there.
The hardness and the brightness and the plain
Far-reaching singleness of that wide stare

Is a reminder of the strength and pain
Of being young; that it can’t come again,
But is for others undiminished somewhere.

from the poem "Sad Steps"

Fuqua & Pine ~ Partners in Crime

Looking up at the Sky

Wednesday, June 6, 2018


Local Social Forces, Household Finance, and Real Estate
William Benedict McCartney

Without Ben's permission, I take the liberty of quoting here from the "Acknowledgements" preceding the body of his dissertation. A genius of both heart and mind, my elder son has written:
"I cannot imagine my life without all the love and encouragement I have received from my family. Kit and Ger have provided everything from copyediting to thoughtful discussions to steadfast emotional support. Grim and Gram have been there for me since my littlest days and always seem so sure that I know what I am talking about that my insecurities fade away. Sam -- with his fierce work ethic and ambition -- is an inspiration, a great source of pride, and a sobering reminder that academics have it so good,

"Finally, Cathleen, you're the best thing that has ever happened to me. Your incredible kindness makes every day spent with you a complete joy. Your confidence in me, unconditional warmth, and seemingly boundless patience have made the last three years so much easier. As a completely unfair trade for everything you have done for me, I dedicate this work -- and all the tables in it -- to you."
Cathleen & Ben

Back in the day when Gerry and I completed our dissertations, the "Acknowledgements" page was not offered as an option. My freelance version took the following form (May 1990):
"Writing takes energy -- more energy than you ever think you have. And energy comes from love. It takes a spasm of love to write a poem, and several spasms to write a short story, and hundreds of them to write a novel."

~ Erica Jong, from How to Save Your Own Life

. . . and seventy - ver - million to write a dissertation!"

Ger -

How could I ever have have done it without you?
Thank you for loving me so many spasms high!

XOXO always & very faithfully yours,



Kit -

I can only do it because of the love you give me.


Kitti, Ben, Gerry ~ May 12, 2018

Sunday, June 3, 2018

So Cerebral

Which Came First?

A couple of funny typos that I noticed when proofreading:

when I meant THOUGH, I added a final "T" and typed THOUGHT;

when I meant THIN, I added a final "K" and typed THINK.

I'm just so cerebral!

Happy Birthday Cathleen
And thanks for making me a
Christmas Tree Easter Egg!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Don't Ruin My Birthday!

A Chocolate Cheesecake for Ben ~ June 2, 2005
From My Calendar of Everyday Custom & Ceremony


Because my happiness was based on external measures —
on tasks being completed, plans running accordingly,
goals being met, hairs being in place —
I was continually disappointed
— upset — impatient — and stressed.
Rachel Macy Stafford
from her article
"The Day My Child Lost Her Joy —
And What I Did to Revive It


Thanks to my friend Laura Thudium Zieglowsky for posting Rachel Macy Stafford's article, which is well worth reading no matter what the age of your loved ones. Whether or not you are surrounded by impressionable children, Stafford's points are well taken. I appreciate her observation that, yes, our moods and actions do indeed have an impact on others around us; and if we care about their feelings, we will modify our behavior accordingly. Easier said than done, however, when, rightly or wrongly, little things seem to matter so much: "I’m talking trivial, insignificant, minor inconveniences here, but that was the state of a distracted [or in my case at the time, pre-menopausal and strangely sad] woman who could no longer see the blessings, only the inconveniences, of her life."

Stafford's quest to revive her joy reminded me of my son Ben's 15th birthday (13 years ago!), when I went to pick the boys up from summer band and burst into tears because another mom had given me a mean scowl on the parking lot for being a bad driver. No one was hurt, no one's car was damaged, yet still I felt so shamed and stressed and worried that I could not stop crying to save my life (maybe because I took the scowl personally, and started hearing the tapes in my head: "you're so stupid, you don't belong here"). Why couldn't I just say, "Oh, well"?

I tried to proceed with my normal activities that afternoon, going home and making a cake, but crying all the while. Even an hour or so later, while Ben and Sam were in the study doing their homework and I was in the kitchen assembling Ben's favorite -- chocolate cheesecake -- I simply could not get a grip. Finally, Ben called in from the other room, "Mom, stop crying! You're ruining my birthday!" Now THAT was a wake-up call!

For more insights from Stafford and others,
including Margaret Atwood, Susan Jeffers, Hugh Prather,
and Nadia Bolz-Weber
and songs by Emmylou Harris, George Montgomery,
and Sir John Suckling
see my recent post

"Don't Ruin My Birthday"
@ The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
A literary blog of connection & coincidence; custom & ceremony

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Where You Will Go

Days to Remember ~ Paul Detlefsen (1899 - 1986)
The Place

Once in your life you pass
Through a place so pure
It becomes tainted even
By your regard, a space
Of trees and air where
Dusk comes as perfect ripeness.
Here the only sounds are
Sighs of rain and snow,
Small rustlings of plants
As they unwrap in twilight.
This is where you will go
At last when coldness comes.
It is something you realize
When you first see it,
But instantly forget.
At the end of your life
You remember and dwell in
Its faultless light forever.

by Paul Zimmer (b 1934)
Memorial Day ~ 2018
We die only once, and for such a long time!
[On ne meurt qu'une fois; et c'est pour si longtemps!]
Le Dépit Amoureux
, Act V, sc. iii (1656) ~ Moliere (1622 – 1673)

Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Gray Lady

Aaron & Bruce Having Morning Coffee
"Love this -- they look like they belong there." ~ Peggy Steele
On the front porch of our "Charming Old Town Bungalow"
Supercool Airbnb Rental House!

Aaron's Review: The house and the location worked out perfect for our recent family get-together. With family in Caney and Independence this is the ideal place for the out-of-town family members to stay. The house is very nicely updated, very comfortable and "homey," with plenty of room for 6 adults. And the location within Coffeyville is ideal, as it's only 2 blocks off Hwy 166 and shopping and restaurants are only minutes away in either direction.

My siblings and I all agreed that this will be our new "home away from home" for future family gatherings. And I know I speak for my entire family when I say, thanks for a great place to call "home" for about 10 days! One final note; Prior to our actual visit, correspondence with the owners was very pleasant and always timely. Then finally getting to meet them was an even more enjoyable experience. Great people who take a lot of pride in their town and are making a difference in Coffeyville! If I could give more than 5 Stars I would!!


My Review: As my brother Aaron has already written to say, my family and I had a lovely time staying in the Gray Lady for a 10 - day reunion. We had a great visit and enjoyed everything about the property!

There was plenty of room for everyone (six adults in our group) to sit in the kitchen together for a meal, to gather in the living room and look at old photos around the coffee table. We could also relax together on the roomy back deck or the front porch -- which includes a porch swing -- a feature that took us right back to our childhood! These special outdoor spots were also perfect if anyone needed a quiet moment away from the group. No one ever felt overcrowded or underfoot, which is so important when relatives are sharing a space. We all would have gladly lingered longer if we had the luxury of time to do so.

Our hosts seem to have anticipated every need, with towels, bedding, health & beauty aids, cooking utensils and kitchen supplies. They even surprised us a couple of times with fresh donuts to start the day!

Thanks again to Peggy and Ron for providing this bright spot on the horizon of Southeast Kansas! We are already looking forward to a return visit and would gladly recommend the Gray Lady to any other future clients.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Best Birthday Book

Edited by Pamela Norris

The Best Thing in the World

What's the best thing in the world?
June-rose by May-dew impearled;
Sweet south-wind, that means no rain;
Truth, not cruel to a friend;
Pleasure, not in haste to end;
Beauty, not self-decked and curled
Till its pride is over-plain;
Light, that never makes you wink;
Memory, that gives no pain;
Love, when so you’re loved again.
What’s the best thing in the world?
—Something out of it, I think.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806 - 1861)


I Stepped from Plank to Plank

I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my Feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch —
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886)

Back Cover
The Beloved (1865 - 66)
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 - 1882)

Thanks to my dear friend Jes for this lovely birthday present --
every painting is lush and every poem mystical!

But best of all is this poem to me composed by Jes herself:


Rhymes with
And Witty

And another word that does not apply.

Please accept this woeful

Coming from my heart’s nitty gritty.

Much 💗 and thanks for my always-perfect card.


Monday, May 21, 2018

Birthday Prep

Tiara Time

"To Do" list in preparation for birthday:

1. Get Tiara

2. Get Kingdom

3. Never Say Sorry

I can't tell -- did they personalize this photo just for me?
Or is this something that I'm supposed to order in the mail?
[Like a "Sewing Kit" or a "Package Wrapping Kit"
or a "Medium Fireworks Kit"]


This is "basically" an 8 - year - throw - back post,
when the idea was to type your name into Urban Dicitonary
& see what comes up. I kind of liked my result:

February 9, 2010
Urban dictionary:
"Basically a kitti is basically your dream girl." (!)


To go along with ~ "No appointments; no disappointments" ~
Some good advice I received from my son Sam last year:
"Never say sorry -- especially not on your birthday."

Friday, May 18, 2018


Gerry and I have gotten a lot of mileage out of this parking joke! We thought it was pretty funny the first time we heard it, and since then we have repeated it numerous times, gradually incorporating it into our private jokes - scape.
So, when I saw this birthday card,
I knew it was perfect for Gerry!

Inside: "Wishing you a birthday made - to - order!"
Then signed by me: "All others will be toad!"

And he got this one for me!

Inside: "TILL I CROAK."
Then signed by Gerry: "All others will be toad!"

How fun having our birthdays only a week
apart so that we can extend a theme!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Blue Goddess

by Ferdinand Hodler (1853 - 1918)

View Into Infinity


Spring, 1901 (& after)


Hodler's elegant blue dancers seem appropriate to so many
events that we observe and celebrate at this tme of year:
May Day, Mother's Day, Graduation,
Memorial Day, the Summer Solstice,
even the Fourth of July!


For a further look at Hodler's enchanting blue goddesses
see my recent post (& profile pic)

"Mr. and Mrs. Blue Sky"
@ The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
A literary blog of connection & coincidence; custom & ceremony

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Even in California

You Have to Wait for Spring

Santa Clara in March:
The Rain

The Fog

At Last A Blue Sky

Newport Beach in May:
Cloudy in the A.M.

Sunny in the P.M.

Monday, May 7, 2018

On the Grill Pan

First full week of May --
perfect weather for grilling --
or for grill - panning!
September 5, 2015

February 20, 2017

We are cooking animals.
“The beasts have memory, judgment,
and all the faculties and passions
of our minds, in a certain degree;
but no beast is a cook.”

James Boswell (1740 - 95)
from The Journals, 1762-95

Friday, May 4, 2018

May Bee

Lilac Inspiration

Lilac Progress

[I totally stole this idea from my friend Jay!]

On Wednesday I found a big fuzzy bee stuck in my basement sink. I carefully rescued it and transported it to the safety of the great outdoors.

Yesterday afternoon, I saw a bee exactly like that in the black currant bushes right outside my backdoor -- and same thing again this morning! Do you think it's the same bee? Maybee so!

One small step for the environment.

And a happier existence for one humble bumble bee
in our currant and lilac bushes!

May the Fourth Be With You!
A Song for the Day ~ "Rio" ~ Previously

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

May Day Paradise



To One In Paradise ~ Alan Parsons Project

If I could see the sky above
And my mind could be set free
As wild white horses reached the shore
I'd stand alone and oversee

And if the bush before me burns
Should I turn my eyes away
And still the voices I can hear
As clear to me as light of day

I believed in my dreams
Nothing could change my mind
Now I know what they mean
How could I be so blind

Cold sands of time
(Winds that blow as cold as ice
Sounds that come in the night)
Shall hide what is left of me
(Come from Paradise)

I've been through times when no one cared
(Words that were mine)
I've seen clouds in empty skies
When one kind word meant more to me
(Shall last as a memory)

Than all the love in Paradise
I believed in my dreams
Nothing could change my mind
Till I found what they mean
Nothing can save me now

"And all my days are trances,
And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy grey eye glances,
And where thy footstep gleams—
In what ethereal dances,
By what eternal streams."


To One in Paradise ~ Edgar Allan Poe

Thou wast that all to me, love,
For which my soul did pine—
A green isle in the sea, love,
A fountain and a shrine,
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,
And all the flowers were mine.

Ah, dream too bright to last!
Ah, starry Hope! that didst arise
But to be overcast!
A voice from out the Future cries,
“On! on!”—but o’er the Past
(Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies
Mute, motionless, aghast!

For, alas! alas! with me
The light of Life is o’er!
No more—no more—no more—
(Such language holds the solemn sea
To the sands upon the shore)
Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree,
Or the stricken eagle soar!

And all my days are trances,
And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy grey eye glances,
And where thy footstep gleams—
In what ethereal dances,
By what eternal streams.