Monday, July 29, 2013

Unbelievable: Pope Francis Loves Gay People

The Catholic Church is about many things, yet in today's press it's really just about two or three things, you know, only those deemed important by the self-important Western world. Check out the screaming BBC News headline on Drudge Report, right below the photo of Pope Francis: "Who Am I to Judge Gay People?"

Surely a juicy entrée on the menu.

Read and find out more.

Update: Elizabeth Scalia takes notice (who wouldn't?) of the article. She, of course, has some worthy observations. I'm trying to limit topics I take in from the daily news cycle. This, I believe, is a good one to take in, and reflect on.

In the immediate aftermaths of the 2012 Elections, I said to KDM, the coming years will be the years of all things gay. It will be the issue of our times, eclipsing abortion. We are only seeing the beginning of it. However one feels on the topic, it will not suffer being unnoticed.

Concurrently, I've recently discovered Steve Gershom's blog, with a subtitle: Catholic, Gay, and Feeling Fine, Thanks. The writings are gracious, sensitive, and most appealing to me, honest, reflections of a person who grapples and dialogues with self and others. I've promised myself to read  his blog more often and thorough. I'm thankful he lends a calm and authentic voice in times of confusion and tyrannical political correctness and agendas.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Remember Spain in Prayers

The train derailing happened in Spain yesterday, the eve of the feast of the apostle Saint James, patron of that nation, was horrific. More than 80 people were killed. Based on the reports, many of the passengers were pilgrims to the famous shrine of Santiago of Compostela. The incident will likely provoke the question why God allows such disaster and suffering happen to His faithfuls. Why death to pilgrims on the eve of His Apostle's memorial?

As Catholic, of course, I know that God does not cause suffering. An accident is an accident. Wars and other violences and disasters do not take a vacation on the eve of Christmas, Easter, or on any other feast days. The train wreck is under investigation, a driver is being held in custody in the hospital by police. We have to wait to find out what, who, caused the train to derail.

In the mean time, let us not be indifferent to the destruction of life, and pray for all who have died or left to suffer.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pope Scare

So this is what was behind the chaotic scene I saw on EWTN yesterday: the Pope's motorcade inching through an apparently unprotected (except by the secrete service franticly pushing and fighting back the throngs gushing toward the pope's car) streets. The aerial view broadcast was made from an chopper by, I believe, Vatican Radio. I was thinking to myself how in the world the organizers let this happen? There was no one there to control the crowd, the secret service guys were outnumbered. I was so worried that I had to turn off the live streaming.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Scary WYD Mania

EWTN is showing Pope Francis arriving in Rio de Janiero for World Youth Day. I'm a nervous wreck at the sight of the unruly throngs of screaming youngsters swarming the open-sided Popemobile. I no longer sees the point of the WYD, and fear for the safety of the Pope and the poor secrete service guys.

I'm going to turn off the live streaming and hide myself behind an easel upstairs. And pray and beg all the guardian angels on site to not even blink in that chaotic town.


The Subject Is Light

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Occasional Foodie

I've been trying all sorts of new, interesting food lately.

Starting with Greek yogurt. I know, I know, by the time I boarded the G.Y. wagon, it's like a rash infecting every grocery store in town. Fad notwithstanding, I like the stuff. Some people suffer yogurt, I'm not one of them. Been drinking and eating the stuff since my early twenties. G.Y. is creamier than the other versions.

Then there's the granola - it's been fad so long it isn't fad any more. The biggest, chewiest one I've ever had was at a breakfast place in University Circle, Cleveland, Ohio. Good stuff, but way too pricey at stores. So, I bake my own. It's really just another way to eat oatmeal, which I like. For binder and sweetener, I use olive oil, honey, and molasses. It's so easy to make. Trouble is, I like to eat it right out of the jar, and can't stop when I should.

Hummus, anyone?  I had wanted to make this forever. When I found out the ingredients under exotic names tahini and garbanzo beans were no more than sesame paste and chickpeas, I took heart. Heck, I had a jar of sesame paste in the fridge right there as I studied the recipe. I had zero trouble finding chickpeas on my next trip to Wal-mart. Soaking and cooking the peas were painless, while the prep and mixing it with sesame paste, oil, liquid and seasonings required some TLC. In the end, I added some peanut butter which I believe was an improvement to the original recipe. We had shrimp lettuce wrap for dinner that night, and used the hummus for sauce.

Ham bean soup -  I spotted the package label boasting fifteen beans on the grocery store shelf. It sure looked mighty pretty, what with the greens and reds and varied beiges, and a packet of Cajun seasoning to boot. Only after I'd put the beans in water for soaking, did I notice that the recipe on the package called for ham or sausage. All I had was three hot dogs, which I reasoned WERE a sausage. In the Dutch oven they went, and cozied up with the legumes for five hours. My and KDM's verdict: it was very, very good.

By the way, the cooked chickpea itself is surprisingly delicious.

I'm not done with beans yet. Today I made my very first split pea soup, after listening to KDM talking about it with such fondness and nostalgia for year. In China we call the peas green bean, often made into dessert. According to traditional dietary theory, all foods fall into either the hot or cold camps. Balance among the two is the way to good health. The green bean belongs to the cool type, suitable for summer consumption. In the heat of the summer, beverage stands offer a drink made of its powder, sweetened, iced, and always jade colored, said to keep heat stroke at bay.

And, if sesame paste- um - tahini, is a deterrent to you, I don't see why you can't replace it with peanut butter outright, provided you don't serve it to any potential hummus Nazi.

For past four weeks, we've been babysitting two of KDM's grandkiddoes. We watch movies with them. Beside popcorn, I treat them to snow cones, ice cream, and popsicles. Last night, I took the leftover, fizzed-out root beer and an orange-themed soda, and made a tray of popsicles overnight. I was disproportionally rewarded today by its instant hit status. Who knew it took so little to throw the little people in party mood!

What new, interesting, or strange food have you been making lately?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


I snatched this and the one below on the fledgling's Big Day.

The little guy sat in that very same spot all day, while the parent flitted from spot to nearby spots, saying tea, tea, tea,  now and then coaxing it to jump the basket with a fat worm on the ground. I spied all this while drawing in the studio.

Then, for a couple hours late in the day, I got lost in the drawing, after which I got lost on the internet, When I remembered the birds, it was dusk, and this was what was left of the scene. For sometime I wandered about the porch and the driveway aimlessly, feeling empty and abandoned. There wasn't even a goodbye.

The next morning, sitting on the porch with KDM and coffee, I spotted the family, in a short cedar tree across the lawn. We watched the trio, from behind the binoculars, having their first "outdoor" breakfast. Junior,  looking a little ratty, the exact color and texture as the bark it perched on, clutched onto a branch, preening and taking food from one of the parents. We sat and watched it following the parents, taking up to a branch above, then another, and another, higher and higher until our sight was blocked by the thick needles. That was the last time we saw them. The empty feeling I had the night before abated - I felt the enclosure.

Now we've gotten our porch back to ourselves, and it's time to heal the fuchsia. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

We Have Been Chosen

See that white planter with a fuchsia on it? Exactly a month ago today, we left town for a wedding.  Upon returning two days later, while watering the plant,  I was startled by a bird franticly flying out of it, almost crashing into my face. 

The little guy/gal had built a nest inside the planter while we were gone. KDM identified the homesteader as a wren. Further consultation with a bird book confirmed it as a Carolina Wren. Since that day we have all but stopped using the front door, been tiptoeing around our own front porch, and let the fuchsia wilt, nearly die, from thirst, as you can see in this photo taken about two weeks ago. 

Ten days ago, four or five hatchlings appeared. I took this picture this morning, of the apparent only one surviving into fledgling - I don't know what happened to the other ones.  I have been rather bitter about their mysterious disappearance and would rather not discuss the topic. From the goings on we've observed this morning, this is going to be a big day for the little guy. Both parents have been on the go and fro, in gentle and short chirps pleading and coaxing: on this very day junior is to try its wings.  It has edged its way outside the nest since I took the photo, and I've since moved downstairs with my drawing, keeping an eye and ear on the neighborhood, especially on the four resident dogs in case junior decides to touch down on solid ground. It really takes a village. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Random Find

For three days I've been drawing with charcoal. Charcoal everywhere, on my hair, my face, my neck, my tank top and my shorts; charcoal on the floor, over the easel, under my fingernails. 

Hello, charcoal! I've missed you. 

Next to oil, charcoal is my favorite medium.

The artwork I'm sharing below is unrelated to my rekindled enthusiasm for charcoal. I simply came across it on Facebook during lunch break, and wanted to share with you all, knowing at least one of you (you know who you are) is a fellow Albrecht Durer admirer: 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Knot Not - with update

Am on the brink of giving up a painting I've worked on for 3 weeks. As the sentence indicates, I'm indecisive. But if I do, there'll be a mourning process. Call me a drama queen. You don't give up something you've hung on for that long without feeling defeated. Besides, there's enough good moments in the same painting, almost good enough to go on fighting for. That's where the bitterness comes in.

Yet, sometimes it's better to move on. My former resolve has fallen into a jumble, a gordian knot I have little skill to untie, and it's unraveling my confidence, and worse, poisoning my joy in painting.

I need a clean slate.

I realize that this talk of the pain of painting may be boring to my readers, but belching it out helps me think and make a decision. Even a little whining can be cathartic.

So bear with me when I engage in this sort of self-absorption.

Thank you.

UPDATE:  After making the above, round-about, announcement to give up the said painting, I took another look at it, and decided to give it one more chance. After all, I had nothing to lose. I worked on it for about 3.5 hours, and quietly declared it done. No spectacular improvement, but at least, I won't paint over it like I often do to paintings I deem unworthy of preserving.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Hello Again

Sure, it's been a while. So what if I considered calling quit my pathetic blogging only a half hour ago, and at this instance am back at it again? Just ask my indestructible peony (the one I bought five years ago labeled "Guaranteed to Grow," and which I proceed to pronounce dead at end of each subsequent growing season, and which resurrected every following spring), it will tell you that for me to pick up the pieces, the object of my engagement must be made of steel, persist in staring in my face daily, leaving me restless and guilty at night.

That's what this blog has done. And, here I'm back at it again.

But if I told you that posts had not just been scant, but near extinct, not because I had nothing to say, but because I had too much to say that I simply let it slump, would you believe, and understand?

And I'll let you in on another reason for the days of not-saying-much: painting.

Unlike English, the grammar of painting is not second language to me. Line, color and shape are words I know at heart, in which intellect and instinct feed each other wordlessly. I search and formulate meaning in what I see, and delight in the pure act of seeing. When things go well I elate and exult; very often failure throws me back in self-pity and despair. Remembering the yoke of the gift and the promise of joy, I pick up the pieces and start over. At the end of a day in the studio, I'm exhausted.

It's a condensed explanation of how painting can placate the urge for verbal expression.

Placate, but not equal. And since painting is essentially a lonely activity, it cannot speak camaraderie nor utter names. There's anguish in that lonesomeness, and I have missed my friends whom I've grown fond of. Can't say I'm here to make total mends for my omissions, but at least sticking my neck out the cave to say "Hi!"