Friday, October 31, 2008

Frances Lee Ila

Oil on Canvas by Vera Holcombe, 1916
14 x 12 inches

I just love this portrait! And the story behind it is revealing.

As it goes, the artist is the older sister of the model. I have written about her paintings here and here. In this case, Frances Lee Ila aka *Peggy* refused to remove her red coat, even though the weather was warm.

The word *headstrong* comes to mind.

*Peggy* was my godmother, my maternal grandfather's office manager/nurse, shopping buddy/friend to my grandmother *Dee*, and second mother to my own mother. Her influence in our lives contributed to the naming of DD#4.

Frances Lee Ila (Holcombe) was the third daughter and her father had proposed the name *Peggy* for the first two, yet was *overrruled*. When *Peggy* was born, he again proposed the name. Again he was overruled. Finally, he retorted.

You can name her whatever you like, but I'm going to call her *Peggy*

I did not learn her real name until after she died.

Is there a special story behind a painting or photograph in your home?

Thursday, October 30, 2008


This is posted at the request of DD#3, but also found here.

In a large stock pot, I brown 1 lb ground beef and drain it, leaving it in the colander while I prepare the other items in the same pot.

2 cans light kidney beans, undrained (15 oz)
2 cans dark kidney beans, undrained (15 oz)
28 oz can diced tomatoes
30 oz tomato sauce
8 oz V-8
2 pkgs chili seasoning (Kroger)

Stir together. Add browned meat.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 - 20 minutes.

Serves 6

Freezes well.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy 150th Birthday

Oil Portrait of Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

Artist John Singer Sargent painted Theodore Roosevelt in a pose worthy of the president’s bold manner. In 1901 President Roosevelt issued an executive order changing the official name of the Executive Mansion to the White House, and proceeded to redecorate it in 1902. While the original exterior of the White House was preserved, the interior layout changed dramatically. Roosevelt wanted the house to reflect its historical nature instead of a home filled with “modern” furniture.

Credit: White House Historical Association (White House Collection)

From a 2005 NYTimes article:

Mr. Allman, curator, then pointed to what is considered the best portrait in the
collection, a John Singer Sargent of a forceful, irritated Theodore Roosevelt
that hangs in an East Room corner. Sargent took up residence in the White House
in the winter of 1903 for portrait sittings, but soon drove the president to
distraction by chasing him around trying to decide on the right pose. The final
portrait captures Roosevelt in a particularly exasperated moment with the
artist. "I don't think the president wanted to share as much time as Mr. Sargent
was hoping to have," Mr. Allman said.

And from John Milton Hay (1838–1905) American statesman, diplomat, author, journalist, and private secretary and assistant to Abraham Lincoln, a poem -

To Theodore Roosevelt

Son of a sire whose heart beat ever true
To God, to country, and the fireside love
To which returning, like a homing dove,
From each high duty done, he gladly flew,
Complete, yet touched by genius through and through,
The lofty qualities that made him great,
Loved in his home and priceless to the state,
By Heaven's grace are garnered up in you.
Be yours, we pray, the dauntless heart of youth,
The eye to see the humor of the game,
The scorn of lies, the large Batavian mirth;
And, past the happy, fruitful years of fame,
Of sport and work and battle for the truth,
A home not all unlike your home on earth.

Christmas Eve, 1902.

John Hay

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fall Favorites

Fresh Starts - new academic years are more invigorating to me than the beginning of the calendar year. This year we sent our fourth daughter to Hillsdale, freshly starting her collegiate experience.

Leaves - yellow patches showed up first in our backyard of trees. Blogging buddy, Carol, has an especially beautiful picture of yellow. Even before the temperatures got cooler the leaves began to manifest the change of the season. Right now the red leaves on our many dogwoods are the prettiest to me.

Football - a confession....I actually like watching football. Hubby and both brothers played highschool and one year of college ball. Professional teams do not interest me.

Festivals - not being a crowd lover, I tend to shy away from attending festivals. Especially when my children were little, I hated taking them to festivals: too many temptations to overeat and spend money on unnecessary trinkets, or temporarily *losing* a child, which happened to me more than once :( Of late, I have gone to a couple....for historical interests :)

Cooler Temps - not only is the dropping mercury amenable for outdoor activities, but I also like covering up with lots of blankets and sleeping in a cool room. Update: as of 10/27 I still havent turned on the heat.

Sweaters - can be fashion statements, but I've yet to knit one. Do you wear seasonal sweaters?

Pumpkins - in addition to Jack-O-Lanterns, I love food made with fresh pumpkin, especially soup. Here's a link to my recipe.

Reformation Day - such a better holiday than the scary one on the 31st. One of my favorite books is Ladies of the Reformation by J. H. Alexander. I just finished reading about Marguerite de Valois.

Politics - it's in my blood, since I started knocking on doors for a candidate when I was a mere thirteen years old. LOTS of stories here.

Thanksgiving - food, family, and the signal that Christmas (winter) is just around the corner. I never tire of the ritual of gathering the family for special meals. Here's a link to last year's celebration. During Thanksgiving weekend, I refuse to decorate for Christmas and decline opportunites to shop at reduced prices. You may find me working on a list though :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lord Willing and the Creek Dont Rise

Fort Mimms, AL
Colored Engraving
19th Century

The phrase originated with Benjamin Hawkins (1754-1816), Creek Indian agent around the time of the War of 1812.

It should be correctly written as 'God willing and the Creek don't rise'.

Hawkins, college-educated and a well-written man would never have made a grammatical error, so the capitalization of Creek is the only way the phrase could make sense.

He wrote it in response to a request from the President to return to our Nation's Capital and the reference is not to a creek, but The Creek Indian Nation. If the Creek "rose," Hawkins would have had to be present to quell the rebellion.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Two Version's of The Knight, Death and The Devil

Engraving by Albrect Durer, 1513

Under the unreal helmet, the severe profile is cruel like the cruel sword waiting poised. Through the stripped forest rides the horseman unperturbed, clumsily, furtively. The obscene mob closes in on him: the devil with servile eyes, the labyrinthing reptile, and the ashen old man with the hour glass. Iron rider, whoever looks at you knows that in you neither the lie nor pale fear dwells. Your hard fate is to command and offend. You are the brave and you are certainly not unworthy, German, of the devil and death.

There are two roads - that of the man of iron and arrogance who rides firm in his faith through the doubtful woods of the world between the taunts and rigid dance of the devil with death. And the other, the short one, mine.

In what vanished, long-ago night or morning did my eyes discover the fantastic epic, the enduring dream of Durer: the hero and the mob with all its shadows, searching me out and catching me in ambush. It is me and not the paladin whom the hoary old man crowned with sinuous snakes as warning. The future's water clock measures my time not his eternal now. I am the one who will be ashes and darkness. I who set out later will have reached my mortal destination. You, who do not exist, you, rider of the raised sword and the rigid woods, your pace will keep on going as long as there are men: composed, imaginary, eternal.

by Luis Borges
Argentine writer
1899 - 1986

I transcribed this poem by listening to it on YouTube. I feel sure I have butchered the dynamics, but will come back to correct whenever I find it.

It was just too good to pass up.

Hey, Cindy! Do you know this poem?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fashion on Fridays

The weather is cooler and calling for outerwear.

So, this weekend I'll be involved in the great *switcheroo*.

That is - putting away the summer and spring clothes and hauling out the fall and winter.

To give me some direction as I sort through my belongings, I'll be looking for ten items to undergird my wardrobe.

I'll build and coordinate around these.

1) Stitch Interest Sweater (seen above *new* with *old* T-shirt)
2) Purples
3) Unique Print Top (I use scarves here)
4) Vest
5) Crisp White Shirts (link to *how to iron a shirt*)
6) Animal Print
7) Jacket
8) The Suit (i.e. Sunday clothes)
9) Denim

The real test for me this weekend will be how much of what I havent worn in the past three years I can actually part with. Goodwill has a store just around the corner. It is not out of my way to drop things off!

BTW Did you find any purple, mulberry, aubergine, or grape in your closet?

I've been wondering?

So has Emily Dickinson.

Purple — is fashionable twice —
This season of the year,
And when a soul perceives itself
To be an Emperor.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Soup, Sandwich, Supper, or Specialty

Sometimes the thought of eating leftovers leaves me cold (lol) and at other times sparks my creative juices and a fresh meal is born. Knowing that DD#1 has a freezer-full of leftover turkey and chicken, I have culled a few suggestions for planned-overs from my recipe box.

Soup: Turkey Noodle or Mexican Chicken

Sandwich: Turkey Salad or Hot Turkey

Supper: Turkey Tetrazzini or Chicken a la King

Specialty: Pizza with BBQ sauce as base or Pesto

Sunday, October 05, 2008


There is a


between these legs

and the ones

posted in

Friday's entry.

Mine are (still) in the kitchen.

As previously stated, I was never planning to vote for Senator McCain and his choice of running mate didnt change my mind. It did, however, heighten my interest in a race that otherwise would not have been on my radar screen.

Hence, I watched the Vice Presidential debate and had a radically wonderful time live-bloggin' with friends at Dominion Family. I love sharing my opinion. Usually you dont have to ask :)

So, here's what I want to say:

Presidential elections are all hype - mainly rhetoric - much like Spirit Week preceeding Homecoming. The debates are like the pep rallies. And while those events serve their purposes, we all know that the practicing the football players perform during the season and the strength-training they grunt through during the off-season make all the difference in the world as far as outcomes go.

In my analogy, I see the in-season practices akin to the bi-annual congressional elections; and the off-season grunt work akin to the voting records of same legislators. That's where the real discipline takes place. That's where true information about political candidates is found.

I have campaigned, walked neighborhoods, made phone calls, stuffed envelopes. I have also worked on Capitol Hill for my congressman. I learned to vote for the candidate, not the party. And I learned that the elected official swears to uphold the Constitution, which does not necessarily mean that s/he will be voting the way his constituents would like. Furthermore, I learned that most politicians dont uphold that vow.

Look for the ones (shoes) who do.

Footwork comes in all sizes, styles, stations, and seasons.

Red heels are in.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Fashion on Fridays

Are you

bold enough

to wear red shoes

with a black suit?

I never would have thought of it, but I think it reflects positively on Governor Palin's personality.

I'm intrigued.

I do have some red croc pumps in the closet.

I think I'll wear them to church on Sunday.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Mad for the Lord

King David supposedly feigned madness before the king and secured release from his enemies. We may wonder whether he wrote Psalm 34 afterwards or actually spoke those alphabetic verses ad lib. But I know that when I hear someone *talking crazy*, I tend to distance myself. I would *let him go.*

Fortunately, the rest of the Bible proves that David was not crazy, but a God-fearing man. Does that make him *mad* (insane or demented)? Over and again David reminds us in his poetry that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It is practically an injunction to fear God.

Today God-fearing men are rare.

Furthermore, God-fearing men are not noticebly welcome in the pulpit or the pew. I am thankful that our preacher will admonish us to fear the Lord. Here's a link to such.

Obviously, they are not found in the political arena.

Or in the government colleges and schools.

In fact, the main characteristic of the our society today is the post-Christian man (or woman) who admits no fear of God.

Did you learn in childhood that certain things exist which we ought to fear? Who taught you things like *it is a mark of manliness to hate what is abominable or to fear to commit evil.*

From Russell Kirk's essay -

A God-intoxicated man, knowing that divine love and divine wrath are but
different aspects of a unity, is sustained against the worst this world can do
to him;

while the good-natured unambitious man, lacking religion, fearing no
ultimate judgment, denying that he is made for eternity, has in him no iron to
maintain order and justice and freedom.

I hope the current financial disaster brings to consciousness a remnant of God-fearing men and women, a renewed knowledge of the source of wisdom. What raises up heroes and martyrs is this fear of God.

Yup, David was *mad* - intoxicated for the Lord.

I'm *mad*, too.