Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wordsmith Wednesday

It's been too long since I've posted a plain and simple derivative here goes.


frangere (L) - to break (4th PP: fractus)


fraction (n) - a piece that is broken off from the whole

fractious (adj) - prone to break the peace; unruly; quarrelsome (fractiousness)

fragment (n) -  a broken piece (fragmentation, fragmented, fragmentize, fragmentizer)

infract (v) - to break by violating (infraction, infractor)

refract (v) - to break repeatedly (refractive, refractory, refraction, refractivity)

fragile (adj) - easily broken (fragility)

infringe (v) - to break a barrier; to trespass (infringement)

Can you add to this list?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Today I am giving thanks for the abundant, visible promises of Resurrection that surround us!


Monday, April 25, 2011

Musical Monday: Bucky Pizzarelli

There is another Pizzarelli I'd like you to meet.  You see, Mr. John Pizzarelli hails from a rich musical heritage and is one of many accomplished musicians in his family.  His teacher and most influential mentor has been his father, Mr. Bucky Pizzarelli, himself a guitar aficionado.  Check out his resume and discography here.

Currently, my favorite album of Bucky's is from 2009, on which he and his "rag-tag" band (which includes his sons), The West Texas Tumbleweeds, make a distinct move away from jazz to another form of roots music: Western Swing.  The songs are in the tradition of Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys and Asleep at the Wheel  It's simply a hoot to hear New York City's First Family of Jazz singing, "I'm takin her leavin' with a grain of salt...and a shot of tequila...!"  Pizzarelli has the chops for jazz, but the man can also pick and grin with as much style as Chet Atkins!  Check out the album Diggin' Up Bones:

Then enjoy this little number from Bucky and St. Louis brothers, Tom and Ray Kennedy. 

Name That Flower

Sunday, April 24, 2011

An Easter Hymn

This is one of my all-time favorite Easter hymns because it addresses, not just the fact of Christ's resurrection, but the implications it holds for our own future bodily resurrections!

Jesus Christ, my sure Defense
And my Savior, ever liveth;
Knowing this, my confidence
Rests upon the hope it giveth,
Though the night of death be fraught
Still with many an anxious thought.

Jesus, my Redeemer, lives;
I, too, unto life shall waken.
Endless joy my Savior gives;
Shall my courage, then, be shaken?
Shall I fear, or could the Head
Rise and leave His members dead?

Nay, too closely I am bound
Unto Him by hope forever;
Faith’s strong hand the Rock hath found,
Grasped it, and will leave it never;
Even death now cannot part
From its Lord the trusting heart.

I am flesh and must return
Unto dust, whence I am taken;
But by faith I now discern
That from death I shall awaken
With my Savior to abide
In His glory, at His side.

Glorified, I shall anew
With this flesh then be enshrouded;
In this body I shall view
God, my Lord, with eyes unclouded;
In this flesh I then shall see
Jesus Christ eternally.

Then these eyes my Lord shall know,
My Redeemer and my Brother;
In His love my soul shall glow—
I myself, and not another!
Then the weakness I feel here
Shall forever disappear.

They who sorrow here and moan
There in gladness shall be reigning;
Earthly here the seed is sown,
There immortal life attaining,
Here our sinful bodies die,
Glorified to dwell on high.

Then take comfort and rejoice,
For His members Christ will cherish.
Fear not, they will hear His voice;
Dying, they shall never perish;
For the very grave is stirred
When the trumpet’s blast is heard.

Laugh to scorn the gloomy grave
And at death no longer tremble;
He, the Lord, who came to save
Will at last His own assemble.
They will go their Lord to meet,
Treading death beneath their feet.

Oh, then draw away your hearts
Now from pleasures base and hollow.
There to share what He imparts,
Here His footsteps ye must follow.
Fix your hearts beyond the skies,
Whither ye yourselves would rise.

Words: Luise Hen­ri­et­te of Bran­den­burg, 1649 (Je­sus, meine Zu­ver­sicht)
Music: Johann Cruger, 1653
Trans­lation from Ger­man: Ca­ther­ine Wink­worth, 1863

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hymns for Good Friday

Sonnet 5

Sonnet 5
by: Edna St. Vincent Millay

Once more into my arid days like dew,
Like wind from an oasis, or the sound
Of cold sweet water bubbling underground,
A treacherous messenger, the thought of you
Comes to destroy me; once more I renew
Firm faith in your abundance, whom I found
Long since to be but just one other mound
Of sand, whereon no green thing ever grew.
And once again, and wiser in no wise,
I chase your colored phantom on the air,
And sob and curse and fall and weep and rise
And stumble pitifully on to where,
Miserable and lost, with stinging eyes,
Once more I clasp,—and there is nothing there.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Walk in the Woods

Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods is an entertaining chronicle of his adventures on the Appalachian Trail.  As expected, his recollections include descriptions of the landscape through which he is traversing, but his commentary is surprisingly relational, focusing largely on the human experience of being on the trail and the personal interactions with his traveling companion and those they meet along the way.

Bryson also manages to incorporate a great deal of wit and humor into his account, and I found myself laughing out loud more than a few times! 

I confess that his regular forays into evolutionary theory (which he mostly treats as certifiable fact), were a tad annoying, but I also recognize that the created world provokes thought and his meditations, quite naturally, follow the course of his own world view.

When you're tired of the "heavy" and need a pleasant read, pick up A Walk in the Woods and give it a try.  (Thanks to Angie for the recommendation!)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Domestic Diva: Cleaning the Microwave

I am not arrogant enough to assume I am actually a Domestic Diva, but I am an avid alliterator, aiming to amuse my ardent audience, and therefore assigned to this article the appellation, The Domestic Diva.  So...there you go.

Do you cringe when a guest asks to heat something in your microwave because...once've  forgotten to clean it and you're embarrassed that they're going to see something like THIS?

You're probably not alone.  Afterall, when we're finished with this appliance, we CLOSE THE DOOR and forget about it! 

I used to dread cleaning all the dried splatters because it took a lot of time and muscle to remove the nasties.  Not anymore.  I learned a simple trick a few years back which turned microwave cleaning into a quick and easy task!  Here it is:

Place a bowl of water in your microwave.  Heat on high for 3 minutes (or until boiling).  Carefully remove hot bowl from microwave.  Simply wipe down the interior.  The steam from the boiling water loosens all the built-up crud, which now comes off effortlessly!

Now when your guests open your microwave, you'll be relieved to know they are seeing this instead:

Wordsmith Wednesday

Today's word comes by way of a friend who discovered it while reading a magazine article about the problems with The Federal Reserve.  He thought the word was too grand not to be in circulation among the general I'm doing my part to promote the use of the word: CUPIDITY.

If you're like me, the only association you have with anything like CUPIDITY is the cherubic Valentine's Day icon.  What could he possibly have to do with The Federal Reserve? (well, other than regularly piercing people through the heart?)

Here's the deal.  According to Miriam-Webster Dictionary, both Cupid and CUPIDITY are derivations guessed it...the same Latin root:

From its verb "cupere" ("to desire") Latin derived three nouns which have passed with minimal modification into English.

"Cupiditas" meant "yearning" and "desire"; English borrowed this as "cupidity," which originally in the 15th century was synonymous with "lust." (The "greed" meaning of "cupidity" developed very soon after this other now-archaic meaning.)

Latin "cupido" started out as a near synonym of "cupiditas," but it came to stand for the personification of specifically carnal desire, the counterpart of Greek "eros"; this is the source of our familiar (and rather domesticated) Cupid.

A strengthened form of "cupere" -- "concupiscere," meaning "to desire ardently" -- yielded the noun "concupiscentia" in the Late Latin of the Christian church. "Concupiscentia" came specially to denote sexual desire, a meaning reflected in the English version "concupiscence," meaning "sexual desire."

So...what do Cupid and The Federal Reserve have in common?  Desire.  While Cupid strikes the hearts of his victims with romantic desire, TFR is stricken with monetary desire...otherwise known as GREED.   I think they might be on to something there.  Ya think?

I challenge you to use the word one time this week...and not in relation to The Fed.  Find your own original context, then let me know how you used it!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Lenten Prayer

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart,
Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being admired,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved,
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being humiliated,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected,
Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Musical Monday: John Pizzarelli

I have the good fortune of having friends who introduced me, about 12 years ago, to the music of Mr. John Pizzarelli.  I have the additional good fortune of living in St. Louis, a city which appreciates his talent enough to bring him here annually, so that we groupies can flock to his performances.

The man is, without question, a performer.  Not only is he a master of the jazz guitar, his personality and humor are equally charming, making him a delight to listen to and watch.

Pizzarelli most often performs with his quartet: Larry Fuller on piano, Tony Tedesco on drums, and John's younger brother, Martin, on bass.  These four work together like a well-oiled machine.  

On Saturday at Sheldon Concert Hall, the quartet was accompanied by a swinging horn section as they entertained us with Gershwin, Rogers & Hart, and some Duke Ellington.  As usual, our horde of 15 sat enraptured through 2 hours of superb performance by all 8 musicians.  

If you aren't yet familiar with Pizzarelli's music, I highly recommend that you allow yourself that joy!  Of his 20+ albums, my favorites are:

Here's a sample performance by him and brother, Martin:

Saturday, April 16, 2011


In nearly 4 years of blogging, I don't believe I have promoted a single product - well, perhaps a food item or two (Sister Schubert's rolls, for example) - but that's about to change.

There are 3 common household items that frustrate me to no end because, in spite of unmeasurable technological advances, I can't seem to find a fabulous version of any of these 3: dishwasher, toaster and vacuum.  I'll save the sob story on the toaster and vacuum for another day.

But today I discovered that the problems with my dishwasher aren't really the fault of my dishwasher.  Every item comes out of this thing with a nasty film and spots. 

Now...if this had happened from day one I would have blamed my hard water...or my choice of soap.  But it didn't happen for the first year, so what else could it be but the machine losing its ability to function well?? 

A good friend recently told me that, at her mother's recommendation, she had soaked all her glassware in vinegar to remove the hard water stains...and it worked beautifully. Then her sister recommended that she switch to this dishwashing detergent:

I decided to give it a try...only I didn't have time to soak all my glassware before  I began using the Finish.  This is what happened:

A total transformation!  Not only did it not leave residue, it GOT RID OF all the previous build-up!  A simple product switch is all it took.  Every single piece of silverware, every glass, cup, plate, etc. comes out shining with NO water spots and no nasty film.  I am SOLD on this product and suggest you give it a whirl!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Quick & Easy Tips for a Flat Stomach

Don't be fooled by the proliferation of ads promoting complicated forumulas for achieving flat abs! 

Just follow these 2 simple "500" Rules:

1.  Eat 500 calories per day
2.  Do 500 sit-ups per day

Guaranteed to work...EVERY TIME!!

Just thought I'd add my voice to the mix.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Name That Flower

Are you KIDDING me?!

As we sat around the fire pit last night, I casually mentioned that my 7-year-old Redbud tree had died and needed to be removed from the garden.  We surmised that the lot of chopping it down would fall to Eric because he's the firestarter and loves coming up with new sources of "material" to burn. 

We may have joked with him about removing it by sheer force of strength...I don't even remember.  What I DO remember is that all of a sudden he was in the garden "loosening" the tree by rocking it back and forth.

We were surprised at how much progress he was making and how long he stuck with it - it may have only been 5 minutes, but with the amount of effort he was exerting, it seemed like a long time.

I hollered out, "Hey, just pull it out of the ground...straight up, baby!"  So he squatted, grabbed the lowest branches...

...and lifted that thing straight out of the ground!!

In his astonishment, Grant let fly a choice phrase or two which are not fit for public consumption and I...well...I couldn't quit laughing!!  I couldn't believe what I had just seen!  This kid is ridiculous!  Why don't I watch TV?  Why would I when I have this kind of LIVE entertainment at my disposal?!

Thanks to Mr. Shaffer, resident photographer, for capturing it on his Blackberry.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Name that Flower

Wordsmith Wednesday

Last night I became aware of a disappointing new reality.  My son believes Wikipedia is a more reliable source than I am.  Sigh...

Here's the way I uncovered this disheartening news: I used the phrase, "Nip it in the bud" and the above-mentioned son promptly informed me that I had it wrong:  "It's 'Nip it in the butt,' Mom!" 

We each defended our position - yes, he actually had an explanation for why HIS version was the right one - but it took a Google search to convince the child that indeed his mother didn't fall off the apple cart yesterday and actually KNEW whereof she spoke.  Wikipedia backed me up...and he believed IT, but not ME.   Whatever is the world coming to?

As is not uncommom with idioms, there remains some dispute about the exact origin of this phrase, but everyone agrees about its meaning: to halt the progress or growth of a thing before it has a chance to blossom and produce fruit.  It does NOT mean to pinch someone in the rear end so that they stop what they're doing.  Really. 

Don't believe me?  Then you too can verify through Wikipedia.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Open rebuke is better than secret love.(Pr. 27:5)

The wounds of a faithful friend are more to be desired than the kisses of an enemy. (Pr. 27:6)

Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost man. (Pr. 20:30)

Whoever rebukes a man will find more favor than whoever flatters with his tongue. (Pr. 28:23)

Today I am giving thanks to God for faithful friends who speak truthfully into my life.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Portrait By A Neighbor

What my neighbors would say about me...if they were poets:

Portrait By A Neighbour
by: Edna St. Vincent Millay

Before she has her floor swept
Or her dishes done,
Any day you'll find her
A-sunning in the sun!

It's long after midnight
Her key's in the lock,
And you never see her chimney smoke
Til past ten o'clock!

She digs in her garden
With a shovel and a spoon,
She weeds her lazy lettuce
By the light of the moon,

She walks up the walk
Like a woman in a dream,
She forgets she borrowed butter
Any pays you back in cream!

Her lawn looks like a meadow,
And if she mows the place
She leaves the clover standing
And the Queen Anne's lace!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Any Kind of Dog

Richard wanted a dog.  Any kind of dog.  But his mother said a dog was TOO MUCH TROUBLE.

So begins the delightful tale of a mom who supplies every imaginable kind of pet for her son in order to avoid the dreaded dog!  Even a horse and a bear cannot placate Richard who only wants a dog...any kind of dog!  But his mother continues to insist that a dog is simply TOO MUCH TROUBLE! 

This is one of several picture books I miss reading to my boys, so in moments of sentimentality - which are increasing in frequency these days (hey, from zero to anything is an increase!) - I will reminisce about our old favorites.  Perhaps you will find 1 or 2 of them new or irresistible and will pick them up to enjoy with your own children.  You'll love this one, I promise.