My Favorite Entrepreneur made it onto Etsy's autumnal blog post! Scroll down to see her beautiful orange swirl table linens, and visit her webpage for even more. I am very proud. Bursting and happy. Not that I had anything to do with it. Etsy is for people with real initiative. Which means Tara. In fact, Tara and Initiative might be rather synonymous. I like the word 'synonymous'.


how was your summer?

finally just watched ncis from last tuesday!!! ahh!!! lovelovelove!!!!!!!


I have never heard of this brand of Pentecostalism. Scroll down for a fascinating step-by-step how-to hair video that, yes, I watched from beginning to end (though I made a phone call and petted the cat for part of it). Fascinating.


EmilyEmilyEmily!!!!!! I am so excited I could pee!!! I am so excited I could use the word 'pee' on my blog!!! Could you possibly ever in the world imagine a better choice for Mr Knightley?? EVER?????


At first I thought this was some kind of joke, but it seems to be legitimate. After all, this is September 21st, not April 1st. And it actually makes a strange sort of sense. And I'm actually really excited about it - and afraid at the same time. Like I thought I was living in today's world, and I suddenly realized I'm in the Future.


i don't think i've looked forward to anything this much in a very, very long time. See more Wild Things here and here.


As my last post may suggest, I reread Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South this week. I had other things to do(read), but couldn't help myself. It's been pounding through my head for weeks. It would have been faster to watch the film, but I've done that often enough - and where, oh where, is my second dvd? It is good to remember all the myriad ways the film falls short of the novel. The film is so clearly a contemporary production - it washes itself clean from all inter-class condescension that would offend our politically correct senses, and strips itself bare of any suggestions of moralization or religious conviction. We moderns just wouldn't relate. In the novel, the pivotal misunderstanding between Margaret Hale and Mr. Thornton centers on a lie. That just won't do for a film. Anyone would lie given the circumstances! It must be more salacious than that. The material is there for a greater misunderstanding - it is suggested, but even Mr. Thornton cannot quite believe (though he cannot disbelieve) her capable of such indiscretion. Not so in the film. A lie is not offensive enough. We cannot relate to a woman who would be so bowed with shame over one small lie - spoken to protect one she loves from almost certain death. No, our sins are too great, our sense of guilt too frequently pandered to and quickly self-justified. It's an odd contrast.


Nothing like the act of eating for equalising men. Dying is nothing to it. The philosopher dies sententiously - the the pharisee ostentatiously - the simple-hearted humbly - the poor idiot blindly, as the sparrow falls to the ground; the philosopher and the idiot, publican and pharisee, all eat after the same fashion - given an equally good digestion.

- Elizabeth Gaskell
North and South
I should not like to chide my heart in this manner, saying, 'Die of shame in your blind, insolent and treacherous disloyalty to your God,' and suchlike things; but I would wish to set it right be means of compassion, saying, 'Now then, my poor heart, here we are fallen into the pit which we had so determined to avoid. Ah! let us seek the light and leave this pit for ever; let us crave the mercy of God and hope that it will help us henceforth to be on our guard. God will help us!

- St Francis de Sales
from An Introduction to the Devout Life (1608)


review a review

Betty Carter has a review of Anne Rice's latest novel up at First Things. I've never read Anne Rice, but I'm continually fascinated by her. I saw the film 'Interview with a Vampire' and I remember my high school friends who were obsessed with her stories of dark, hopeless, 'omnisexual' vampiricism. I've read countless reviews of her work, both before and after her return to Catholicism, and it never seems possible for the reviewer to separate the experience of the novel from that of the author. Her newest book, Angel Time, is the same way. Reading the review, I confessed to some nervousness that a book about redemption and divine love could be pulled off without sounding trite. I've seen it often enough in Christian fiction. Carter even says as much in the review, and I quote this most especially because it refers to one of my favorite authors:

'Even the greatest writers struggle to describe human goodness, and very few (William Blake, Charles Williams) can speak of heavenly things without giving their audience the church giggles. There’s just something about an aura of divine love that stunts the human vocabulary.'

And yet, the books that DO succeed in describing human goodness, the ones that express the 'aura of divine love,' without giving divinity a bad name, those are the books I most love to read. Those are the ones that make it into my top ten. And if I'm honest, those are the kind of books I want to write myself. Will they be popular? Successful? Probably not. But Carter finished her review with a note of encouragement, speaking again more of Anne Rice than of her novels:

'Her biographies of Jesus were the heavenly work that called her away from the making and selling of bestsellers. With Lucky’s story, she tells us that serving God is more satisfying than serving the Right Man—or the right critics, or even the right readers. Sneer if you want, but it’s hard not to envy her.'

Thank you for the reminder.


When the Roses Speak, I Pay Attention

- Mary Oliver
(thought I'd post this because they are, in fact, both blooming and speaking in the backyard. though it seems they are being drowned out by the raucous from the jasmine.)

"As long as we are able to
be extravagant we will be
hugely and damply
extravagant. Then we will drop
foil by foil to the ground. This
is our unalterable task, and we do it

And they went on. "Listen,
the heart-shackles are not, as you think,
death, illness, pain,
unrequited hope, not loneliness, but

lassitude, rue, vainglory, fear, anxiety,

Their fragrance all the while rising
from their blind bodies, making me
spin with joy.


palms and jasmine

I have blogged about palms before (type 'poms' in the search bar above if you're really interested). I think i even quoted Elaine Scarry in that post. But I need to do it again, because every now and then, after dark or at sunset, I will glance up and catch the light between the sharply-lined fronds - and it will take my breath away. Elaine Scarry writes about the beauty of palms in her book On Beauty and Being Just, and I thought of this writing as I climbed out of my car a few minutes ago, my senses battered by a wave of night-blooming jasmine. I looked up at the night sky and saw the full moon still and silent behind the silhouette of a palm tree. Here's a passage:

'Something beautiful fills the mind yet invites the search for something beyond itself, something larger or something of the same scale with which it needs to be brought into relation. Beauty, according to its critics, causes us to gape and suspend all thought. This complaint is manifestly true: Odysseus does stand marveling before the palm; Odysseus is similarly incapacitated in front of Nausicaa; and Odysseus will soon, in Book 7, stand "gazing," in much the same way, at the season-immune orchards of King Alcinous, the pears, apples, and figs that bud on one branch while ripening on another, so that never during the cycling year do they cease to be in flower and fruit. But simultaneously what is beautiful prompts the mind to move chronologically back in the search for precedents and parallels, to move forward into new acts of creation, to move conceptually over, to bring things into relation, and does all this with a kind of urgency as though one's life depended on it.'


I just finished Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater, the other day. From the first few chapters, I had every reason to expect this book to rival the other dark-teen-romance novels recently released (you know which ones I mean). And in a way, it did. There was nothing obnoxious about this book. The characters were mostly believable and endearing. The story was subtle and simple.

Maybe a little too simple. At times, maybe a little too subtle. The best chapters were the ones from Sam's point of view, when he's a wolf. That doesn't take up a whole lot of the story, unfortunately. I mean, it would seriously hamper the progression of the plot if he was a wolf for much more of the time, but the writing was still at its best then. Perhaps because it seemed that the poetic, lyrical passages were justified. I like Rilke just fine, and I know plenty of people who compose song lyrics in their heads, but Sam as a human was just maybe a little too emo for me. It could just be that I'm almost ten years older than him, and that's why I have trouble taking his brooding, romantic eloquence seriously.

Having said that, it was a lovely book. I'd recommend it to anyone who didn't have anything better to do. But really, in the end, the best part of this book is its cover.
possibly the worst result of the twilight frenzy i have ever seen.


weekend and onward

Amanda and I drove to Oxnard to visit Emily this weekend. It was beautiful and hot and full of food. I wore my new outfit - purchased in my favorite shop on Main St. in downtown Ventura - and felt cute all day. I also felt ragingly hungry until I ate every last unhealthy food item offered by our gracious cafe. Before my shift, Bree got a bath at the shop next to my store (Bree is my car. She was beyond filthy. She had, I believe, entered another dimension of filth - a dimension without a name). She is now shiny and happy and beautiful. I want to drive her around. Maybe north. Maybe to the Bay Area, or Carmel, or both.

Which I can do in a few weeks because I have vacation time!!! Yes, Saturday morning the managers notified me that I need to do something unwork-related for about a week before the end of the month. Discounting Labor Day week, because the other kids person has asked for that off. SO - I MUST vacate. By order of Steve-Scott-Charles. There are about a million things I would like to do (fly to Europe. fly to Dallas. drive to Colorado. fly to Connecticut. to Chicago.), but one in particular that I've been planning to do. You know who you are. This roadtrip will happen.
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