Sentencing my reading

The #sundaysentence:

Sharing the best sentence you’ve read during the past week, out of context  and without commentary.

We might have new information, but it will be the old self processing that information.

Source: Richard Rohr. Adapted from The Dean’s Address, Living School Symposium, August 2013.

If you want to share along, leave a favorite sentence out of context and without commentary in the comments. I’d love reading it.


Putting in the Seed


You come to fetch me from my work to-night
When supper’s on the table, and we’ll see
If I can leave off burying the white
Soft petals fallen from the apple tree.
(Soft petals, yes, but not so barren quite,
Mingled with these, smooth bean and wrinkled pea;)
And go along with you ere you lose sight
Of what you came for and become like me,
Slave to a springtime passion for the earth.
How Love burns through the Putting in the Seed
On through the watching for that early birth
When, just as the soil tarnishes with weed,

The sturdy seedling with arched body comes
Shouldering its way and shedding the earth crumbs.


Robert Frost

A Year in the World: from Crete to Home

Book reviews are not my strong point. If someone out there can give me a 5-pointer step-by-step how- to I will be forever thankful.  Too vivid the memories of forced book reviews in high school. Condensed Reader’s Digest books came to the rescue of an English second language student… aaghhh…then I used the book jacket’s cover summary and replaced all the big words with synonyms (other big words I barely understood).

Well, this post is the final post about Frances Mayes’ A Year in the World. A book in which the voice in my head became Frances’ : her thoughts, feelings, and so(me) many times her unspoken words. Her chapter about the Island of Crete was a summary of a recent holiday we had in Crete: staying close to Chania, the timelessness of Rethmynos, women in black sitting in doorways, memorials to the dead alongside the roads, driving on the wrong side of a narrow road, the decible levels of Greek cicadas, and St Paul’s lazy Cretans…memories…

 and then…

her last chapter The Riddle of Home…

the real answer is home, the real answer is beauty…home where everything connects…you go out, far out, and when you return, you have the power to transform your life. Roads always lead to Rome/home…when I finish my travels, I will solve the riddle of home; when I finish my travels, I will know the answer…then I will…

 for old-fashioned me: home is where the heart is…

A Year in the World: Portugal

What is your association with Portugal? It is sad to say (but the truth) that my first thought was: “the Portuguese with his cornershop.” A bare thought or barely a thought, I admit. 

Frances Mayes takes the reader through some places in Portugal, allowing the reader to feel, hear, see, taste, and sense – mystery, music that rips out of the heart, a child weaving, the prato do dia – a longing for Portugal, the necessity of traveling. 

The Food of Spain and Portugal (a gift from a friend) awaits patiently its turn in our kitchen. Pasteis de Nata, originally known as Pasteis de Belem, is a favourite in our house.

 Bill Granger has a great recipe for these little custard tarts, or rather Pasteis de Nata. I wrote the recipe down watching one of his food shows, but here and here are two recipes. I hope you enjoy making them and eating them! Let me know!

Reading – some quotes

And if two of you are gathered together – then there is a whole world, a world of living love. Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

Whatever we say of it is not it only about it. The Cloud of Unknowing.

For not what thou art, nor what thou hast been, beholdeth God with his merciful eyes; but that thou wouldest be. The Cloud of Unknowing.

Be joyful even though you have considered all the facts. Wendell Berry.

I am getting freer by the day… I have come to settle on a single frequency, and I get great reception. Hape Kerkeling, I’m Off Then.

My life has been the poem I would have writ, but I could not both live and utter it. H.D. Thoreau. 

A Year in the World: Andalucia

Frances Mayes’ Journeys of a Passionate Traveller might take longer to read than I anticipated. Traversing a couple of paces down chapter one’s lane forced me to an early pit stop. The writing invited me to take a scenery route while reading: browse through Janson’s A History of Art, read literature and poetry, cook dishes, and listen to music. Why not? Why the hurry to finish a book?

Well, I’m still in chapter one: visiting Andalucia in Spain. I’ve dusted Janson and feasted my eyes on the paintings of Velazquez and Zurbaran. I’ve cooked a Spanish stew – Cocido Madrileno. I’ve read some of Federico Garcia Lorca’s poems – his poetry inspired the music of Leonard Cohen (Cohen named his daughter Lorca).

Ditty of First Desire

In the green morning

I wanted to be a heart.

A heart.

And in the ripe evening

I wanted to be a nightingale.

A nightingale.


turn orange-colored.


turn the color of love.)

In the vivid morning

I wanted to be myself.

A heart.

And at the evening’s end

I wanted to be my voice.

A nightingale.


turn orange-colored.


turn the color of love.

Federico Garcia Lorca

Next stop, on route to Portugal, will be whiled away making tapas… now I have to find good recipes… any ideas?

A Pulitzer Prize novelist

Unknown to me: Anna Quindlen – are any of you familiar with her writings?

This was a speech made by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Anna Quindlen at the graduation ceremony of an American university where she was awarded an Honorary PhD.

“I’m a novelist. My work is human nature. Real life is all I know. Don’t ever confuse the two, your life and your work. You will walk out of here this afternoon with only one thing that no one else has. There will be hundreds of people out there with your same degree: there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk or your life on a bus or in a car or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank accounts but also your soul.

People don’t talk about the soul very much anymore. It’s so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is cold comfort on a winter’s night, or when you’re sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you’ve received your test results and they’re not so good.

Here is my resume: I am a good mother to three children. I have tried never to let my work stand in the way of being a good parent. I no longer consider myself the centre of the universe. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh. I am a good friend to my husband. I have tried to make marriage vows mean what they say. I am a good friend to my friends and them to me. Without them, there would be nothing to say to you today, because I would be a cardboard cut out. But I call them on the phone and I meet them for lunch. I would be rotten, at best mediocre, at my job if those other things were not true.

You cannot be really first rate at your work if your work is all you are. So here’s what I wanted to tell you today: Get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger pay cheque, the larger house. Do you think you’d care so very much about those things if you blew an aneurysm one afternoon or found a lump in your breast?

Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze at the seaside, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over the water, or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a sweet with her thumb and first finger.

Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. Pick up the phone. Send an email. Write a letter. Get a life in which you are generous. And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around. Take money you would have spent on beer and give it to charity. Work in a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or sister. All of you want to do well. But if you do not do good too, then doing well will never be enough.

It is so easy to waste our lives, our days, our hours, and our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the colour of our kids’ eyes, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again. It is so easy to exist instead of to live.

I learned to live many years ago. I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I learned that it is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only guarantee you get. I learned to look at all the good in the world and try to give some of it back because I believed in it, completely and utterly. And I tried to do that, in part, by telling others what I had learned. By telling them this: Consider the lilies of the field. Look at the fuzz on a baby’s ear. Read in the back yard with the sun on your face.

Learn to be happy. And think of life as a terminal illness, because if you do, you will live it with joy and passion as it ought to be lived”.