Thursday, March 31, 2016

Readerly Van Gogh

The Novel Reader

Still Life: French Novels

Still Life with French Novels and a Rose

These readerly Van Gogh paintings and lots of reading ideas
on my latest book blog:
"Challenges: Special K & Ten Favs"
@ Kitti's List

Blossoming Almond Branch
in a Glass with a Book

Additional Van Gogh Related Posts
Lovely As A Tree
Starry Night Shirt
Garden of Etten
Beyond Ideas
Van Gogh Home

Monday, March 28, 2016

Believe It Or Not

Palm Sunday Sunrise

Notes toward next year's Easter Sermon:

1. Cassandra. Be sure to liven things up a bit, shed a little doubt, spread a little worry, a little realism, a little heartbreak.

2. The friend (ordained, Wise Woman, Spiritual Advisor Extradorinaire) who paid me the compliment of likening my blog posts to sermons.

3. The friend (self - ordained, priestess, Earth Angel & Goddess Among Women) who told me something she remembered from childhood -- when "a preacher came to our church when I was a kid, part of whose credentials read "self-ordained." HA! That's me, I think, in the advice department." Me too, though such a faithless one at times, as well as self - certified primary health care provider; I know best! (gmail: 2 / 28 / 09)

4. A Prayer for Owen Meaney: "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief" (Mark 9: 24). Doesn't that say it all? Especially for a Gemini -- belief / unbelief -- what's the difference really? They go together.

Vernal Equinox Over the Wabash

5. Statement of belief from an introspective friend:
"Sometimes I wish I still went to church. But the boys picked up early on that I wasn't really connecting with the creeds, like I think you should if you're going to say them. And I couldn't satisfactorily answer their excellent questions. But I'm still somehow the "mascot for God" in our family, because I sometimes want to say grace or go to a church service, or talk about the Mystery in some form or fashion! That qualifies me, among this apostate crowd! Of course I do believe every second that God exists and wishes me and everyone else every good and perfect thing, and I am thankful for these blessings in a pretty steady stream of beatitudes. It's a faith that just comes out, moreso than goes in, if that makes sense." (gmail: 8 / 28 / 06)
6. Subversive murmurings and how I feel about repeating some so - called truths about mysteries that I can never really be sure about, e.g.:
God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God -- yes
of one being with the Father -- no
He will come again in glory -- okay
to judge the living and the dead -- no
his kingdom will have no end -- yes
We believe in the Holy Spirit -- yes
who proceeds from the father and the son -- no
We believe in the resurrection of the body -- well, not really
and the life of the world to come -- surely yes, in some way or another . . . (such as, "then shall I know . . . ")
7. I know that everyone is always quoting the "Faith, Hope, and Love" part, but I have always liked the "Knowledge" part best:
"For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity / love."
1 Corinthians 13: 9 - 13 (KJV)
I actually do believe that "now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known." I like to think that someone out there somewhere knows more about me than I know about myself, and that one day I'll be able to see the complete picture of my own life in a way that I just don't have access to right now. One day my partial (i.e.,"imperfect") knowledge of this entire puzzling, chaotic universe shall be made whole (i.e., "perfected") and that will be heaven.

Rise and Shine Over the Atlantic

8. Some other things to believe in: Christmas, the precession of the equinoxes, the miracle of oxygen, the lifelong quest for truth and beauty, and of course the pursuit of knowledge. "All who seek the truth are welcome here." "None forbidden, none compelled."

9. The wisdom of refreshingly cynical kids, blurting out things like, "Okay, now remind me again just what is so important about Jesus." Or "Well, maybe that's just not any of God's business!" On the April 29, 2008 episode of the Colbert Report, author Anne Lamott quotes her ten - year - old son Sam as saying, "God has to sort of let life do its thing." I think my sons would agree.

10. If my life depended on it: "I believe, I believe, I know it's silly, but I believe."

The Ecclesiastical / Paschal Moon
Oh, Goddess, how long?
May the Goddess hasten the day!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Siblings

The Coronation of the Virgin with Six Angels, c. 1390
by Florentine Artist Agnolo Gaddi (c. 1350 - 1396)
Edmund Leach: "Apart from the fact that Christ is already wearing his crown and the Madonna is not, the two figures are represented as virtually identical; they might as well be twins." (from the essay " 'Why did Moses have a sister?' 57)
Jessamyn West:
"'God's only begotton son,' said old Eli Morningstar, leaning across the fence rail in his earnestness. 'Why only one, Jess Birdwell, and why a son? Whyn't a daughter? Something fishy there, Jess Birdwell, and the more you think on it, the plainer it becomes. Something mighty fishy. Something mighty fishy.'"
(from The Friendly Persuasion, 151)
More about why Jesus needs a sister
on my current post

~ A Twin Sister For Jesus ~

@ The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker:
A Fortnightly [every 14th & 28th] Literary Blog of
Connection & Coincidence; Custom & Ceremony

Sisters in Easter Dresses
Egon Schiele - Zwei kauernde M├Ądchen - 1911
Herbert Boeckl - Zwei Tochter des Kunstlers, Martina and Maria, 1929

Friday, March 25, 2016


"For he hath regarded
the loneliness / lowliness of his handmaiden."

The Wash House, 1905
by Sir William Orpen (1878 - 1931)
At first glance, I saw this painting as a somewhat out of the ordinary depiction of the conventional Annunciation, with Mary going quietly about her business and the angel Gabriel appearing on the stairs to announce Mary's momentous role in the upcoming birth of Jesus.

But, no! This lowly, lonely, and no doubt tired handmaiden is scrubbing clothes on a washboard and the "angel" in white has not wings on her back but comes bearing yet more laundry!
P.S. June 2019
Angels or Laundry
"Because unlike when the men looked in
and saw only laundry,
when Mary Magdalen looked in the tomb,
SHE saw angels

Pastor Nadia
Bolz - Weber


For today's Feast of the Annunciation,
here are some beautiful lyrics from
The United Methodist Hymnal (# 274):

Women in the Night
Woman in the night,
spent from giving birth,
guard our precious light;
peace is on the earth!

Come and join the song,
women, children, men;
Jesus makes us free to live again!

Woman in the crowd,
creeping up behind,
touching is allowed:
seek and you will find! (Refrain)

Woman at the well,
question the Messiah;
find your friends and tell:
drink your heart's desire! (Refrain)

Woman at the feast,
let the righteous stare;
come and go in peace;
love him with your hair! (Refrain)

Woman in the house,
nurtured to be meek,
leave your second place;
listen, think and speak! (Refrain)

Women on the road,
welcomed and restored,
travel far and wide;
witness to the Lord! (Refrain)

Women on the hill,
stand when men have fled!
Christ needs loving still,
though your hope is dead. (Refrain)

Women in the dawn,
care and spices bring,
earliest to mourn;
earliest to sing! (Refrain)

Text: Brian Wren, 1982
Music: Charles H. Webb, 1987
or Ron Klusmeier

See previous posts:
Annunciation ~ Blessed ~ Feast or Peace?

The Annunciation
Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones

Annunciazione ~ Leonardo da Vinci

Monday, March 21, 2016

Why the World Wags

Metal Windmill ~ Round Rock, Texas ~ 13 January 2016

Thoughts for the Vernal Equinox
1. Thanks Patricia Henley:

"The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honor trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then - to learn. Learn why the world wags and what it wags. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting." [emphasis added]

by T. H. White, 1906 - 64
in The Once and Future King, Chapter 21 (p 183)
Windy City ~ Chicago ~ 9 March 2016

2. Thanks Sheri Reda:

A Color of the Sky

Windy today and I feel less than brilliant,
driving over the hills from work.
There are the dark parts on the road
when you pass through clumps of wood
and the bright spots where you have a view of the ocean,
but that doesn’t make the road an allegory.

I should call Marie and apologize
for being so boring at dinner last night,
but can I really promise not to be that way again?
And anyway, I’d rather watch the trees, tossing
in what certainly looks like sexual arousal.

Otherwise it’s spring, and everything looks frail;
the sky is baby blue, and the just-unfurling leaves
are full of infant chlorophyll,
the very tint of inexperience.

Last summer’s song is making a comeback on the radio,
and on the highway overpass,
the only metaphysical vandal in America has written
in big black spraypaint letters,

which makes us wonder if Time loves Memory back.

Last night I dreamed of X again.
She’s like a stain on my subconscious sheets.
Years ago she penetrated me
but though I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed,
I never got her out,
but now I’m glad.

What I thought was an end turned out to be a middle.
What I thought was a brick wall turned out to be a tunnel.
What I thought was an injustice
turned out to be a color of the sky.

Outside the youth center, between the liquor store
and the police station,
a little dogwood tree is losing its mind;

overflowing with blossomfoam,
like a sudsy mug of beer;
like a bride ripping off her clothes,

dropping snow white petals to the ground in clouds,

so Nature’s wastefulness seems quietly obscene.
It’s been doing that all week:
making beauty,
and throwing it away,
and making more.

by Tony Hoagland, b. 1953
from What Narcissism Means to Me: Selected Poems

"What I thought was an injustice
turned out to be a color of the sky."

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Hosanna Heysanna

"Hosanna Heysanna Sanna Sanna Ho
Sanna Hey Sanna Ho Sanna . . . "

Nassau, Bahamas ~ 27 February 2016

Goodtime Jesus
Jesus got up one day a little later than usual. He had been dream-
ing so deep there was nothing left in his head. What was it?
A nightmare, dead bodies walking all around him, eyes rolled
back, skin falling off. But he wasn't afraid of that. It was a beau-
tiful day. How 'bout some coffee? Don't mind if I do. Take a little
ride on my donkey, I love that donkey. Hell, I love everybody.

by American Poet, James Tate (1943 – 2015)

Miami, Florida ~ 29 February 2016

See also: "Jerusalem Tomorrow"

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Irish Decoupage

I picked a St. Patrick's Day Card for my
8th Grade Decoupage Project ~ 1971
"For each day, she thought, she needed a whole other day to contemplate what had happened and store it away, get it out of her system so that it did not keep her awake at night or fill her dreams with flashes of what had actually happened and other flashes that had nothing to do with anything familiar, but were full of rushes of colour or crowds of people, everything frenzied and fast" (58).

from Brooklyn (2009)
by Irish novelist Colm Toibin (b. 1955)
Lady Lavery Banknote
Portrait of Lady Lavery (nee Hazel Martyn)
as Kathleen Ni Houlihan, 1928

Painted by her husband, Irish artist Sir John Lavery


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Saving Time

Thinking about the vagaries of time . . .
and Daylight Saving Time . . .
and posting belatedly . . . befittingly . . . but also early . . .

HAPPY 137th Birthday to Albert Einstein!
born: 14 March 1879, Ulm, Germany
died: 18 April 1955, Princeton, NJ
My little friend Beata at the 12 - foot tall
Albert Einstein Memorial ~ Washington DC
or, as she affectionately refers to him,
"The Smarty Pants, Uncle Albert"

Seeing Beata posing here with the gargantuan Einstein, larger - than - life, made me think of one of all - time favorite little books, Einstein's Dreams. Chapter by chapter, author Alan Lightman describes a series of time - bound or time - free worlds, as Einstein might have dreamed them. The multi - dimensional dreams feature history and fiction, science and science fiction, poetry and time travel, moving dreamily through days of future passed, back to the future, forward to the past:
"In the long narrow office . . . the room full of practical ideas, the young patent clerk still sprawls in his chair, head down on his desk. For the past several months . . . he has dreamed many dreams about time. His dreams have taken hold of his research. His dreams have worn him out, exhausted him so that he sometimes cannot tell whether he is awake or asleep. But the dreaming is finished. Out of many possible natures of time . . . one seems compelling. Not that the others are impossible. The others might exist in other worlds." (6 - 7)
Although some of the worlds seem so far - fetched, in one way or another each one provides an illustration of life as we currently know it and time as we humanly experience it:
"Suppose time is a circle . . . time is like a flow of water . . . time has three dimensions . . . there is mechanical time and there is body time . . . time flows more slowly the farther from the center of earth . . .Time is visible in all places . . . cause and effect are erratic . . . time does pass, but little happens . . . The world will end . . . Everyone knows it . . . Each person who gets stuck in time gets stuck alone . . . the passage of time brings increasing order . . . a place where time stands still . . . the center of time. From this place, time travels outward in concentric circles . . . Imagine a world in which there is no time. Only images . . . A world without memory is a world of the present . . . a world of changed plans, of sudden opportunities, of unexpected visions. From this world, time flows not evenly but fitfully . . . in this world time passes more slowly for people in motion . . . " (8 - 93)

"Imagine a world in which the people live just one day . . . a world where time is a sense, like sight or like taste . . . Suppose that people live forever . . . Suppose that time is not a quantity but a quality, like the luminescence of the night above the trees just when a rising moon has touched the treeline. Time exists, but it cannot be measured . . . In this world, no person can imagine the future . . . In this world, time is visible dimension . . . In this world, time is discontinuous . . . In this world time is a local phenomenon . . . In this world time is not fluid . . . For time is like the light between two mirrors . . . In time, the past never happened . . . For the children, time moves too slowly already. They rush from moment to moment anxious for birthdays and new years, barely able to wait for the rest of their lives. The elderly desperately wish to stop time . . . They yearn to capture a single minute at the breakfast table drinking tea . . . " (107 - 175)
In the world where "time flows backward" (105), Lightman transports the reader to the Nobel Prize for Physics award ceremony in Stockholm -- a nice touch since, in fact, Einstein was unable to attend in December 1922. But in this world, at last, he gets to accept the honor personally, rather than sending a diplomat in his absence:
"A middle-aged man walks from the stage of an auditorium in Stockholm, holding a medal. He shakes hands with the president of the Swedish Academy of Sciences, receives the Nobel Prize for physics, listens to the glorious citation. The man thinks briefly about the award he is to receive. His thoughts quickly shift twenty years to the future, when he will work alone in a small room with only pencil and paper. Day and night he will work, making many false starts, filling the trash basket with unsuccessful chains of equations and logical sequences. But some evenings he will return to his desk knowing he has learned things about Nature that no one has ever known, ventured into the forest and found light, gotten hold of precious secrets. On those evenings, his heart will pound as if he were in love. The anticipation of that rush of the blood, that time when he will be young and unknown and unafraid of mistakes, overpowers him now as he sits in his chair in the auditorium in Stockholm, at great distance from the tiny voice of the president announcing his name." (105)
Lightman intersperses Einstein's time - motion dreams with moments of camaraderie between Einstein and his best friend Michele Besso:
"Einstein has been explaining to his friend Besso why he wants to know time. But he says nothing of his dreams . . . 'I want to understand time because I want to get close to The Old One.'

Besso nods in accord. But there are problems, which Besso points out. For one, perhaps The Old One is not interested in getting close to his creations, intelligent or not. For another, it is not obvious that knowledge is closeness. For yet another, this time project could be too big for a twenty - six - year - old.

On the other hand, Besso thinks that his friend might be capable of anything.

'I'm making progress,' says Einstein. . . . 'I think the secrets will come.'

'I think you will succeed with your theory of time,' says Besso. 'And when you do, we will go fishing and you will explain it to me. When you become famous, you'll remember that you told me first . . . ' " (52 - 53, 98, 147)
And he did.
See my previous post Spring ~ Time
for more references to Einstein's Dreams,
plus some Einsteinian poems by Ernest Sandeen.

Many Thanks to Beata for her consistent inspiration
and contributions to my blogs:

Pumpkins Old and New
My Shadow and Me
Little Dishes
The Gnocchi Story
Silver Buttons, Golden Buttons
Merry Christmas Neighbor
Serendipity and/or Synchronicity
A Lucky Friday
Wooden Stories
The Miracle of Mushrooms

Walkway to the Sun
Sugar Cane
Books and Coffee and Nalewki
Out Like a Peach Blossom
Equinox Harvest
Saving Time
A Full House, A Full Deck
Colored Panes: Flaubert & Pearce
Vintage Thanksgiving
Mere PhD
Instead of Poppies
What Makes Life So Sweet
Bouquet on the Kitchen Counter
Alas, Poor Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern! We Knew Them!
Time Fulfilled
American Tune
Confidence in Confidence
Alabaster City
Bridge of Air
Czeslaw Milosz
Intellectual Cup of Lyrics
Fortnightly: Luna Moth of Summer
Book List: Young Adult & Mona's Clothes

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Full Hand, Full House, Full Heart

52 Pickup

Sorting through saved mail, I came across this timely note from awhile back, yet ever pertinent. It seems to me that Beata's comparison of hours to playing cards could be a chapter right out of Einstein's Dreams!

And with Day Light Saving Time drawing nigh, even the coming weekend will be an hour shorter! I know, I know -- that very same hour will be coming back around -- but not for months! In the meantime, here's what Beata has to say about hanging on to whatever hours we can!

Sunday, 28 June 2009
Dear K ~

Sorry I keep missing your attempts to touch base: email, house phone, cell phone, facebook -- so many portals for rejection, but it's not that! My schedule has been ever so slightly irregular. I am on my way to make everyone happy. It is my mission, and so that includes you, too. We will meet tomorrow in the gym, I promise.

I have been cruising between my garden, my kitchen, my neighbor's pool party, and the gym. I do the shopping, cook meals that everyone likes, and try to fulfill any wish. Macy's -- yes, we go; Kohl's -- yes, I can drive; Farmer's Market -- too expensive, we go to Pay Less instead; Panera for fresh pastries -- I'll drive. Where else now? Anywhere I could go. I am ready.

So good night, after cleaning my kitchen until is spotless. Then there is another circle or I should say, a day, completed. I am so amazed these days go so, so fast. I have an impression that instead of hours, I have a deck of cards in my hands -- those are my days, and I toss them and they disappear as a ray of light in a sphere. I am sending them to the unknown by just throwing them, or playing with them carelessly. And at night I feel rather sad that -- maybe -- I have not enough of them remaining in my hand.

I simply do not know what's gonna happen tomorrow. Not yet. But I am ready. . . .

XO, B.

Many Thanks to Beata for her consistent inspiration
and contributions to my blogs:

Pumpkins Old and New
My Shadow and Me
Little Dishes
The Gnocchi Story
Silver Buttons, Golden Buttons
Merry Christmas Neighbor
Serendipity and/or Synchronicity
A Lucky Friday
Wooden Stories
The Miracle of Mushrooms

Walkway to the Sun
Sugar Cane
Books and Coffee and Nalewki
Out Like a Peach Blossom
Equinox Harvest
Saving Time
A Full House, A Full Deck
Colored Panes: Flaubert & Pearce
Vintage Thanksgiving
Mere PhD
Instead of Poppies
What Makes Life So Sweet
Bouquet on the Kitchen Counter
Alas, Poor Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern! We Knew Them!
Time Fulfilled
American Tune
Confidence in Confidence
Alabaster City
Bridge of Air
Czeslaw Milosz
Intellectual Cup of Lyrics
Fortnightly: Luna Moth of Summer
Book List: Young Adult & Mona's Clothes

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Mothering Sunday

Simnel Cake


The thing you need to know about Mother's Day in England is that it is a Moveable Feast, celebrated every year on the Fourth Sunday of Lent. Since the dates of Lent are not fixed, the date for Mother's Day, historically referred to as Mothering Sunday, changes every year. This year, today is the day! The traditional treat for the occasion, dating back to medieval times, was Simnel Cake:

Thanks to Chapel of the Good Shepherd for this info!

As you can see, the above recipe is an Episcopal Campus Ministry legacy from my dear friend Lynn (1917 - 1993 ). Here she is with her daughter Gerry (1945 - 2000) who was my swimming instructor. The three of us had some great times swimming and cooking together.

Lynn was also an amazing and tender - hearted
seamstress who created these darling little outfits
when Ben was a toddler:

Baby Boilermaker

Red Velvet Christmas Romper

Choo - Choo Train Buttons

Friday, March 4, 2016

Millennials & Music

Thanks to my sons who both went out of their way last month to compile some playlists for their parents' edification and listening pleasure!

Musical recommendations

from Ben ~ "Duets"

and Sam ~ "Forever Young Again"

@The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker:
A Fortnightly [every 14th & 28th] Literary Blog of
Connection & Coincidence; Custom & Ceremony

Whenever I see one of those unkind "anti - Millennials" diatribes* that get posted on facebook from time to time, all I can say is that my kids and their born - in - the - 90s peers are amazing! They did not approach their education with arrogance or entitlement but with energy and perseverance. They are intelligent and intuitive, grasping concepts in leaps and bounds beyond my own generation. They have worked hard for every achievement and have already changed the world for the better and will continue to do so, if all goes according to plan, long after I am gone. They fill me with me hope and optimism for the future of this planet! They keep in touch with their parents and do whatever they can to pull their elders along into the 21st Century! Keep up the good work Millennials!

P.S. November Election 2016
As I said to my friend Evelet (mother of Hunter, Sam's age):
"How we love our smart, smart boys.
They will go to the future and make it a better place!"

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Reading the Obituaries

"True Romance #5"
in True Stories ~ by Margaret Atwood

I don't think about you as much as I ought to, I don't have to, you're there whether I think about you or not. Many people aren't.

When I do think about you it's not what you'd expect. I don't want to be with you: most of the time that would be an interruption for both of us. I like to consider you going about your routine. I think about you getting up, brushing your teeth, having breakfast [and reading the obituaries]. I vary the breakfasts, though I don't devise anything too fanciful for you, I stick to cornflakes, orange juice, eggs, things like that. No strawberries out of season. I find it soothing to think about you eating these mundane and in fact somewhat austere breakfasts. It makes me feel safe.

But why should you go on eating breakfast at the same time, in the same way, day after day, just so I will be able to feel safe? You're contented enough, true, but there must be more. I'm getting around to that. One of these mornings, when you reach the bottom of your cup, coffee or tea, it could be either, you will look and there will be a severed finger, bloodless, anonymous, a little signal of death sent to you from the foreign country where they grow such things. Or you will glance down at your egg, four minutes, sitting in its dish white and as yet uncracked and serene as ever, and sunlight will be coming out of it. But on second thought your coffee cup will be vacant and the egg, when you finally close your eyes and slice it open blindly with the edge of your spoon, will have nothing in it that is not ordinarily there. Then you will know that at last I have imagined you perfectly.

Breakfast Pottery by Emma Bridgewater


Previous March First Posts

2010: Kiss Me & Kiss Today

2011: My Vegetable Love

2012: Love However Brief

2013: Beyond Ideas

2014: The First [Mild] Day of March

2015: Wind from a Leaf


An Anne Taintor for Michael Lipsey!