Five Favorites: Volume 1

Five Favorites Moxie Wife“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…” Those were certainly Maria’s favorites, and while I’m not saying they’re not adorable, I’ve got some other things in mind.

This week I’m linking up with a delightful blog called Moxie Wife for a little doo-dad she calls “Five Favorites.”

And away we go, though not necessarily in order of favoritism!

1. Antique holy cards.

Holy family Turgis 1040

I can’t get enough of them, and really, how can that be a sin?
The site for this card is here!

2. Best parody song video. Ever.

Russian Unicorn

Look, I love me some Michael Bublé, but this is a scream.
You know it’s great when Mr. Bublé himself loves it. Watch this!

3. Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

Therese of Lisieux as Jeanne d'Arc

Oh, she’s just the best. If you don’t like her, it’s only because you don’t know her.
This picture shows her dressed as Jeanne d’Arc.

4. My utterly brilliant daughter, Sophia

gardening 008

Choosing her name was easy.
It had to have significant religious meaning,
and be suitable for a Supreme Court Justice.

5. Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book

Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book Updated Version

The only bread-making book you’ll really ever need.

Notes to Sophia

Calligraphic inspiration, really!

Image by Søren Hugger Møller via Flickr

I’ve been chatting with Sophia on Skype while she’s studying abroad in Rome this semester. My parents were, initially, aghast at the idea, since they thought I was calling her on the phone and figured I was running up a bill in the hundreds of dollars every other day. So I took my computer over to their house and we’ve all talked to her. I guess it is pretty cool, if you think about it.

Video or not, every single time we talk, there’s something I forget to mention to her. (How utterly normal, and mom-like!) In the past, I would just text her. (Well, in the olden days, I would’ve just make some notes on an actual piece of paper with a pen or pencil! Wow, how quaint and old-timey!) But now that she doesn’t have her phone with her, I can’t text her, but I’ve discovered there’s a way to send SMS messages on Skype, so I just make sort of a running commentary of things, and she fills herself in when she logs on, before she calls.

I thought it might be interesting for people to see that my texts to her, despite the fact that she’s halfway around the world, don’t really differ that much from what they do when she’s here. They generally encompass the mom-style comments that I imagine go on all over the world.

  • What are you doing? How are you doing? (You know, “don’t forget to wear a sweater, take your vitamins, get a good night’s sleep, etc.”)
  • Here’s a good place to visit, if you haven’t already been there.
  • Don’t waste your money, it’s not growing on trees!
  • My various opinions about cultural expectations.
  • Duh moments, on my part.

So, for your unfettered amusement, here are my completely unedited texts from this morning:

I downloaded Google earth and “walked” from the Pantheon to your hotel! Cool! The hotel is MUCH smaller than I thought. I can see how doing business with Saint Mary’s is a good way for them to make steady money, aside from the tourists. It’s crazy how the streets are so narrow! People here would freak. Not to mention the fact that everyone is walking!!! What would people here do?

Here’s the closest yarn store, according to my estimates:
Canetta Srl – Filati
Via 4 Novembre, 157
00817 Rome, Italy

It’s just a little farther away than the Pantheon, except east, rather than north. So easily within walking distance. Like two blocks from Trajan’s column, which you should see, if you haven’t. It’s the basis for what calligraphers use for “Roman” lettering. I’ve only seen pictures of it, but it’s amazing. I learned to do “Trajan Capitals” when I studied calligraphy…. for some reason, I was thinking it was in another part of the country… Honestly, I keep forgetting that Rome has WAY more to it than just Catholic stuff.

Reading over it, I do have to laugh… Yes, she’s buying some sock yarn for me (well, for me to make her socks), since I told her most of the yarn I use is actually imported from Italy. I was “looking” for the store using the street view in Google earth (why I didn’t think of that before now is beyond me), and “wandered” by a couple of famous things (well, more than a couple!), which prompted me to ask if she’s already seen them or plans to.

And honestly, maybe it’s just because Catholicism is just such a major part of my life, but I keep thinking that all the “Roman” stuff is…uh…somewhere else! What am I thinking?

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Visual Descriptionary

I ran across a really interesting blog article the other day, and thought it was so cool, I decided to duplicate it (sort of) here.

  1. At the end of this post is a list of questions. Type your answer to each of these in Flickr Search.
  2. From the results, using the first page only, choose an image.
  3. Copy+Paste the URLs of the chosen images in FD’s Mosaic Maker.
  4. Insert the resulting Mosaic in your blog post.
  5. Drop a link to it in the comments to this post

Here’s what I came up with (with the questions and answers following):


Here are the questions:

1. What is your first name? Cynthia
2. What is your favorite food? Right now? Chicken and noodles. (This is a hard one, because I like a lot of different foods.)
3. What high school did you go to? New Haven High School
4. What is your favorite color? Blue
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Johnny Depp (Sigh…)
6. Favorite drink? Milk
7. Dream vacation? Paris
8. Favorite dessert? Cherry cobbler.
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? Grow up? What’s that?
10. What do you love most in life? My daughter.
11. One Word to describe you. Amazing!

Here are the links for the pictures: 1. Waiting for Cynthia, 2. Chicken Noodle Casserole, 3. New Haven High School, 4. Blue Morpho, 5. JOHNNY DEPP, 6. Milk, 7. [Opera House staircase, Paris, France] (LOC), 8. Cherry Cobbler serving, 9. Sprout is now growing up., 10. Waiting for the rain to pass – cycling with my daughter, 11. Black & White Amazing Landscape12. Not available

Everyone, on your mark, get set, and go. Go do this, it will be fun.

Stuff Catholics Like: Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday 001Oh yeah, bring on the Palms. It’s the craft of crafts, for the King of Kings! Hosanna!

Back when I was a kid, and went to a Catholic parochial school where actual sisters taught, there was a whole palm crafting culture going. Nowadays, most people just seem to take them home and tuck them behind their crucifix or portraits of dead relatives.

But not I! I actually make stuff out of palms—the way I was taught in a small way, but mostly the way I taught myself. A couple of years ago, my old priest, Friar Mark Weaver, OFM, Conv., called for old palms to burn to make the ashes used in the Ash Wednesday service. Most were just that—old palm leaves. But some were really cool—like flowers and intricate braids, so I asked him if I could keep them and figure out how they were made. He said sure and so I went to town. I’ve now elaborated on the braid and turned the top into a cross. I’m excited, but there’s such a short window of time to make things like this before the palms get too dried out. I’m trying to find a distributor so that I can get enough for myself to really learn some things. Naturally, the church only gets enough for people to wave at the start of the service.

But there are still a lot of cultures around the world that make things out of the palms that we get. Slowly, year by year, I’m increasing my repertoire. I’d like to do a class on it next year. We’ll see.

The first time was an accident.

Absolutely the best opening line ever! And it’s mine, all mine! [Air washes hands in mad scientist manner.] Theoretically, it could be used for the opening of a book on any subject, fiction or nonfiction. But today, it’s the opening line of the new sonnet I wrote last night.

The first time was an accident, there can’tfootsie
Be any other way now to explain
The sudden way our eyes met—no, we shan’t
Let something quite like that happen again!
The jolt was like a quick electric spark.
Who would have thought that passing plates around
That table full of people—what a lark
To think that your knee touching mine would ground
Some random static charge—but wait, what’s that?
Is that your hand now, resting on my knee?
I give a sideways glance, conveying, “What
On Earth? What if some table-mate should see?”
The first time was an accident, I’d say.
But accidents don’t happen twice that way.

Did this ever happen to you?

Might April showers bring something else?


Of course, that’s not how the rhyme goes. But with any luck, tonight’s rain will bring a shower of poetic inspiration! Because I just found out today that April is National Poetry Month. (The picture at left is this year’s poster. You can click on it to go to the Academy of American Poets website for this event.) So, since it’s raining, which renders it particularly unsuitable for more outdoor pleasures, like gardening, I think I’ll go write some poetry.

It’s been about a year, maybe, since I last wrote a sonnet, which is my preferred form. The mood strikes me from time to time. I wrote this on 4 January 2010.

When inspiration comes, sometimes she finds
Me ready, willing, able, even poised
With pen in hand, no need to coax my mind.
The words fly fast flowing scarcely making choice
So fast they fly I’ve barely time to write
And stumbling now across the sheet they come
Almost unbidden. Such is this delight—
A sweet, unfettered joy—And then I’m dumb-
Struck, dense, and useless, like some rock
That sits unseen beside a less-trod road.
I’ll pace the floor, and pull my hair, and knock
My head again the wall to try to goad…
My mind will not be mined despite how I
Put ev’ry effort forth if soul won’t sigh.

Let’s hope inspiration comes, since I’m poised with pen in hand.

What’s with that Abraham?

Sarah Presenting Hagar

I’ve been doing some Bible reading in the book of Genesis about Abraham and Sarah. In case you’re interested exactly what I’m referencing, it’s Genesis, Chapter 16, verses 1-4. In this story, Sarah has figured enough is enough, and so she tells Abraham to go ahead and have sex with her maid, Hagar. (Just for the record, Hagar’s first name was NOT Sammy!)  We read elsewhere in Genesis that Abraham was the friend of God. Get that: friend. Not sometime acquaintance. And for Abraham, his faith was accounted to him as righteousness.

But what we do not read is that Abraham put up a fight about this. I don’t understand that. Well, actually I do understand that. But I don’t like it. How is it that a God-respecting man like Abraham feels like it’s okay to just dip his wick in anywhere he can get some? And yes, I do understand the cultural mores of the time. (There’s plenty of interesting stories in the book of Genesis that you’ll never see on a felt board!)

I’m sure to get some flack on this from somebody–probably somebody who’s never read my blog before and doesn’t know me from Adam. Now’s there’s another man who didn’t do what was right, either. The chicks always get blamed!

There are two related articles below. The first is a good one. The second is just ludicrous!

And, to give credit where credit is due, the image above is a detail from the painting by Adriaen van der Werff entitled “Sarah Presenting Hagar to Abraham”.

Related Articles

  • Waiting on God to Act: The Story of Sarah and Hagar (
    (This is a really great article. I like this lady because she thinks like me.)
  • The Birth of Ishmael. (
    (This is a dreadful article, full of just the most nonsensical interpretive comments! I DO NOT UNDERSTAND what version of the Bible this guy is reading to get these things!)