Archive for June, 2012

Our Lady of the Lost & Found

28 June, 2012

Our Lady of the Lost & Found by Diane Schoemperlen

Great premise. The Holy Virgin Mary drops in to live with the author (not a Catholic) for a week.

At times I was grumpy for not receiving great wisdom from the novel, as if some one can write wiser than they are. But then again, who is to say the Virgin Mary is any wiser than any of us? It was a well crafted story, and I’m glad that I read it, especially at the time that I did. It may have helped bring me out of my PoorMeSyndrome….well, what do you know, maybe there was wisdom in the words after all!

Some hints for the writer’s craft:

  • “there is more to history than facts, more to truth than reality.” (pg 118)
  • “I have already told you the facts. Now I will tell you the truth. In one way or another.” (pg 277)
  • “I was always telling my students that they must hone their powers of observation, that they must never underestimate the importance of concrete details in a story. I would often emphasize how precision in the details helps create atmosphere, character, verisimilitude; how the color of a bedroom wall, the dirt on a third-floor window, the drape of a black skirt can all be used to draw the reader deeper into the fictional world, a world that should be, as John Gardner advised, a “vivid and continuous dream” in the reader’s mind.” (pg 281)
  • Italo Calvino’s theory “that any object… can serve as the starting point, the seed of a story, just like the famous mustard seed of faith. And, if the writer pursues the every-multiplying network of details, digressions, and meditations…the result may in the end encompass the entire universe.”  (pg 282)
  • “Every child, and the child in every one of us, is ready to plead: Tell me a story. For the role of the story is to explain life, and the good stories, in their very substance and in the structure of their language, become revelation.”  -Andrew M.Greeley (pg 90)

There were bits that I could relate to:

  • bringing along academic tomes, in case one got suddenly smarter on vacation,
  • get mad at self for feeling sorry for myself while knowing I don’t have real problems,
  • that you can have more belief than faith, and that you can’t think your way to faith,
  • and that sometimes one has to simply decide to be “happily middle aged.”

It took at least six weeks to read, because though sometimes I would be caught up in the writing, other times I would pause to think about my life, or think about my faith. I’ve been trying to craft the perfect review, but it was too deeply personal of a read for me.

I’m glad that I read it.


Birtthday party weekend

24 June, 2012

So… since the childrens received a new kitchen play set from a friend at church, MsSqueaky & MrGrunty wanted to have their birthday party at our house so they could show their friends. (Added bonus, we didn’t have to rent a shelter at a park.)

So, there were a stack of childrens here, running around, sometimes crying, sometimes fighting each other over toys. (Funny enough, it seemed that the childrens that knew each other the best, were mostly likely to fight over toys. No fighting with strangers, run, I guess.)

Both sets of grandparents were here, and we had burgers after the party.

Today… I was very tired. We didn’t make it to church this morning, or even “new” church tonight. Yeah, feel a bit guilty over that. But, before lunch, MrGrunty talked us into playing baseball. Me and my-father-in-law were taking turns pitching. Usually, MsSqueaky will only go to bat once or twice, and as soon as she gets a hit, will quit. But she kept going up to bat, and when she struck out she didn’t get discouraged. And when MrG struck out, she would be encouraging, “that’s OK. It’s alright.”   I was very pleased, we got MrCuddles to take a few swings, and I was lucky enough in my pitching so that he actually connected, and was so very proud when we were all cheering for him and telling him to run the bases.

My hope, is we can get out the “thank you” cards, much quicker than we did for MrCuddles party…back in February… that we still haven’t sent out. Yes, I’m setting a poor example for my childrens.

Coat of the Earth

20 June, 2012

“Coat of the Earth: The Story of Grass” by Eleanor B. Heady  (1968)

A well written, quick little read.

Beautiful drawings (by her husband).  I especially liked the one showing three common American grasses, with their roots, extending sometimes up to 4 or even seven feet below the surface.

Heady mentions thatched roofing, as a “skill that is disappearing.”  Yet, forty years later, still hasn’t died out, because just last week BBC-4, mentions the British still keeping the skill alive.

The chapters concern the major grass crops, bamboo, turf grass, & ornamental grasses. So only a tip of the variety that’s out there.

Thunder -vs- Lakers game 1

20 June, 2012

Just loving watching the Lakers lose…

Crowd dressed in blue, chanting loudly “Beat L.A., beat L.A.”    Though, in a few years, if things keep up, they will be chanting this against the Clippers. This sorta worries me, I need the Lakers to be villains for  me to actively root against, but if they turn into a middle-of-the-pack team, then there’s no risk of them winning the championship. So, off-season job Lakers, get better so I can boo louder.

Start of the game, Lakers win jump ball, the Thunder steal the ball, and Thunder layup. Twenty seconds in, and I’m excited for the game, even though I knew the outcome of the series!

Two minutes into the half, 24 point Thunder lead. Awesome!

Kobe moments I enjoyed

  • ex-Laker Fisher, keeps Kobe out of his preferred shooting spot
  • Kobe gets the ball near the hoop and is suddenly swarmed with a triple-team, misses shot
  • Kobe, quick screen by teammate, quick catch, turn, quick shot, 3 points. He’s good. Very good.


16 June, 2012

Today, we moved me & MyBetterHalf from our bedroom, to the dungeon. MsSqueaky will now get her own room, “…and the boys won’t wake me up” she likes to say. All three of them helped push the mattress and bed-springs down stairs.

Today, MrGrunty was shooting the bastketball, and I heard him say to himself, “I haven’t practiced free throws all day. I need to.”  Later, he told me, “Papa, I wanna be a real basketball player like James Harden.”

Today, MsSqueaky was being very helpful with cleaning and organizing. Outside, she even was raking up the grass I cut.

Today, MrCuddles was on the parents’ bed, playing with a stuffed dog and fire truck. When I laid down to rest, he said, “the doggy wants to snuggle you” and put the dog next to me. A moment later, the doggy was jumping over my head and giving me kisses. Then MrCuddles got a book, and started showing the dog the pages.

MsSophie-kitty, was not happy. She likes to sleep inside the box-springs of our bed. And we moved the bed.

MrOliver-kitty must not have been happy either, because when MrG was giving kitty treats, Oliver swatted MrG in the face.

Thunder vs Heat game 2

14 June, 2012

First quarter everything seemed to be going Miami’s way, and shots that normally would go in for the Thunder (Durrant open mid-range jumper, Westbrook layup, Perkins at the rim) just bounced off the rim. For Miami, Shane Battier seems to have been assigned, “harass whoever has the ball!” One sequence I saw him go from Westbrook to Perkins. He switched off of Harden to take a charge from Durrant, and picked himself up off the floor fast enough to tip the ball to Wade. And Battier hit five three pointers, showing you can’t leave him open.

I had forgotten how quick and good Chris Bosh is.

Wade, fakes the jumper, Durrant is tricked and jumps up to block, then as gravity pulls Durrant back down, Wade steps in, draws contact as Durrant crashes onto him, and gets the foul.

And yet…only a four point win by the Heat. The Heat should be nervous, because even though they started with 18-2 lead, the Thunder came back and it was close at the end. Fun, fun, fun!


Clippers @ Memphis – game 7

13 June, 2012

You would think, a game 7 would be exciting. And I suspect it was for some, considering there were 15 lead changes by the end of the third quarter. But the scoring was really low… 55 to 56 after 36 minutes. Sheesh.

Pregame, from Memphis coach, “Go out, leave it all on the court,…enjoy the game, have a good time…”  What type of motivation is that? Keep it simple. Reinforce the positive things your team does.

The fans seemed alright in Memphis, most had on white team t-shirts, waving yellow towels…pretty good… (but I was much more impressed with OKC fans, very loud, almost all of them in blue from last nights game.)

Yes, tonight I was watching a game from a month ago.  MyBetterHalf said, “first round game? but neither of these teams are in it anymore”


12 June, 2012

MyBetterHalf is a genius. The childrens had been fussy and fighting over which color of flosser they wanted. MyBetterHalf turned it into a guessing game with them, and now they are excited aboot which ever color they randomly pull.

Last night, MrCuddles asked, “papa, can we go to Paul’s house?” When I said no, he was distressed and whined, “but I want to play with Andre!” we told him tomorrow…and he smiled, and in the sing song tones of a toddler, “OK!”

Last night, after MsSqueaky beat me in a game of basketball, we heard her telling MrCuddles a play by play of the game.

Last night, MrGrunty was building with Lincoln Logs with his sister, he decided to use the extra pieces as a fence so cars wouldn’t crash into the house.

Recently… MrCuddles has been loving puzzles his favorite is the 45 piece USA puzzle.

Recently… MsSqueaky has learned how to purse her lips and blow a plastic trumpet to get the actual horn tone. And it’s loud, too!

Recently… MrGrunty has still been practicing basketball often. He loves the slam dunks, and the shots from downtown. He’s learning names and faces of NBA players, and even their jersey numbers which I don’t know.

Miami -vs- Boston game 7

10 June, 2012

I’m still trying to talk myself into being happy for the Miami win.

Here’s what I noticed

  • Most of the game, Rondo had more assists than points, then he started making points.
  • LeBron, for most of the game, had zero assists…which would have been his first playoff game without any assists, then he started dishing the ball to his team mates.
  • About the same time, Miami pulled ahead for good, and there was nothing Boston could do.

Quote of the game, from MrGrunty, who was getting upset with me, “Papa, if you like basketball, play it!” because I was ignoring my children to watch the game.