Archive for October, 2008

Why I Had Children, and Also Why I Have a Delicious Account

October 28, 2008 @ 7:21 pm | Filed under: Family

Today my daughters surprised me with a chocolate cake in a mug, which they heard about from a Delicious link (no pun intended, but it fits) I posted right here on this blog. The cake included 78 chocolate chips. They counted. It was heavenly: warm and melty, and even though I shared bites all around, they insisted that I should get the lion’s share, and I was stuffed afterward. Oh my goodness.

And they even cleaned up the kitchen afterward. Someone give those kids a raise.

Tuesday Links

October 28, 2008 @ 5:12 pm | Filed under: Links

Comments are off

“We must love one another or die.”

October 26, 2008 @ 8:52 pm | Filed under: Poetry

September 1, 1939
by W. H. Auden

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism’s face
And the international wrong.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.

From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
“I will be true to the wife,
I’ll concentrate more on my work,”
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the deaf,
Who can speak for the dumb?

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

Poetry Friday: Understanding

October 24, 2008 @ 7:12 am | Filed under: Poetry

Understanding
by Sara Teasdale

I understood the rest too well,
And all their thoughts have come to be
Clear as grey sea-weed in the swell
Of a sunny shallow sea.

But you I never understood,
Your spirit’s secret hides like gold
Sunk in a Spanish galleon
Ages ago in waters cold.

***

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

This week’s Poetry Friday roundup is at Big A Little A.

175 Books

October 23, 2008 @ 1:22 pm | Filed under: Cybils

UPDATED: Make that 186 books. That’s the final tally, after a number of titles were shifted over from Nonfiction Picture Books to our category.

That’s how many titles were nominated in the Cybils Fiction Picture Book category, and how many I need to read in the next six weeks or so.

Two. That’s how many I’ve read so far. Neither one was a standout.

I am keeping my Library Elf hopping these days. Slowly I’m making my way through the Cybils database, clicking back and forth to my library catalog to see which nominees are in our local system, reserving all I can find.

It’s fun to observe which books catch the kids’ attention. Reading and discussing the nominees is something of a family affair, as most things are around here. Beanie has read more of the nominees than I have, so far. Guess I’d better get back to my databasing, so I can catch up.

Thursday Links

October 23, 2008 @ 9:00 am | Filed under: Links

Random Acts of Espionage?

October 22, 2008 @ 10:57 am | Filed under: Family, These People Crack Me Up

I’m pulling out of the Trader Joe’s parking lot when Rose asks what happened to our shopping cart. “I didn’t see you put it away,” she says.

“I didn’t have to! A nice man was heading into the store, and he took it for me. Wasn’t that kind of him?”

Rose ponders a moment. “Maaaybe,” she says skeptically. “Or maybe he just wanted a way to get your fingerprints.”

Wednesday Links

October 22, 2008 @ 8:00 am | Filed under: Links

Out of the Mouths of Ten-Year-Olds

October 22, 2008 @ 7:05 am | Filed under: These People Crack Me Up

This one I Twittered yesterday, but in case you missed it: “Mom, is this correct? For men we say ‘fat,’ for women we say ‘overweight’?”

And this one was uttered casually during dinner cleanup by that same dainty daughter: “Mom, do you know what I like best about girl superheroes in comic books? The fighting. Because I’ve always wished I could just punch someone in the nose too.”