Thirty in Thirty



Monday, November 30 Prompt for the Day:

What do you like to do to celebrate an accomplishment?

I celebrate each accomplishment in a different way.

Usually the celebration involves food; usually, going out to dinner with friends.

When I have a book published, I usually celebrate with a book reading and signing.


Today I am celebrating my own perseverence: I managed to write and post something every day this month, even in the midst of paper grading and other busy tasks.

I’m going to try it again in December, which should be easier once the semester is over and the grades are done and handed in.

2003 susann, anne





dcs on seashore

On this day in 1633, a few young women gathered with Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac and formed the Daughters of Charity in France.

They were educated by Louise.If they couldn’t read, she taught them. Louise also taught them how to nurse sick people and care for infants, not to mention the art of prayer and community living.

Thus began the first religious community of women who worked outside the confines of a cloister.

In the beginning, they adopted a common seventeenth century dress, and the sunbonnet-like hat worn by the peasant women of the time. It protected their heads and shoulders from the sun.


first DCs with Vincent

Over the years, the sisters began to starch this hat, which was called a cornette because it resembled what we would call the “horn of plenty”

phot from a bove dc cornette

Their ministry expanded from care of sick poor people in their homes to nursing care in the first hospitals, to orphanages, to schools.

Today there are roughly 12,000 of us in countries all over the world. The ministries have changed with the times, but care for persons living in poverty is still the main focus.

The “habit”, which comes from the French verb “s’habiller” or “to dress oneself,” and that sailboat like headgear has changed as well.

From 1633 to 1964, it was this:

DC in cornette closeup


From 1964 to 1975, it was this:DC in box

From 1975 to 1997, it was this:

Sr Agnes Thah - Copy

With the option of not wearing something on the head:

Este é um trio que trabalha muito, mas se diverte! Irmã Catherine Everhard é francesa, Irmã Christina Laim é da Província de Turim, Itália e eu.


Which is what I have chosen:

Anne photo at MSM

Artists have loved to paint the old cornette, impractical though it became in real life service.

dc suitcases


Weekly Photo Challenge: Transition

messenger_death john sparacio

Messenger Death by John Sparacio

Josephine Jacobsen composed the following poem in 2002, not even a year before her death. When she composed it, she was 94. She had been paralyzed by a stroke and was also no longer able to read or write. That’s why I say “composed.” I visited her in her nursing home around that time, and she told me she composed this poem in her head, overnight one night, and kept repeating it to herself through the night until there was someone in the morning who could write it down for her.


The Companions by Josephine Jacobsen ( 1908-2003)


Living close to death

Is not just a case of breath after breath.

It is to realize that to fraternize

With the dark prince is possible and wise,

So that in the final weather

When together you quit the room

Though tentative ad weary

You will have the enormous answer

To the enormous query.


Josephine_Jacobson 2000

She was such a well respected poet that the New Yorker published this poem very shortly after she sent it to them.

The transition from this life to the next is not such a fearsome thing for a 94year old with a full and mostly happy life behind her, and a faith in what/who was waiting for her on the other side, with open arms.

Death to her did not appear as a grim reaper but as a dark prince, much like the film representations of past years:

fred march death

Frederick March, in “Death Takes a Holiday”

meet joe black

Brad Pitt, in “Meet Joe Black”


And even as the welcoming lover in “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir”



And the reunion at the end of “Titanic.”



<a href=””>Transition</a&gt;


Best Buy


NaBloPoMo prompt for today:


What’s the best purchase you ever made?  


It’s actually the best purchase someone made for me. Seven years ago, when I was facing cancer treatments, my friend Patty bought me an iPod Classic.

iPod Classic

Once I overcame my fear of it, and learned how to use it, I became thoroughly enamoured.

She also gave me a gift card for Audible. I downloaded and listened to a number of books, among them:


This Republic of Suffering   by Drew Gilpin Faust

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The Life You Save May Be Your Own by Paul Elie

The Shadow of the Wind   by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova


Then I began to borrow and download books from the public library. What a gift this device has been!

This doesn’t even begin to enumerate the music I listen to on this, or the TV shows and films I have watched on it, or the podcasts.

The thing as 120 GB of storage space; an incredible amount. I’ve never used it all.

I understand that Apple isn’t making/selling this model anymore; what a shame.  Too impervious to planned obsolescence, I guess.

Every time I pick it up, I breathe a prayer of thanks to my friend Patty.

So that’s it.

We Are Saying Thank You

art du jour by martha sever

It’s Thanksgiving Day in the USA,  and the NaBloPoMo prompt for today is:

If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving today (or even if you’re not!), tell us about the best cook in your family.


However, having lived 29 years with my mother’s very good cooking, and then 37 years with my Sisters’ and my own cooking, I don’t feel I can judge – so many were very very good.


So, Instead, I offer this wonderful poem by W.S.Merwin.  It seems more appropriate this year than ever.



with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
standing by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
taking our feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
thank you we are saying and waving
dark though it is.



Thanksgiving Dinner Guests


Beautiful table with thanksgiving food

NaBloPoMo prompt for November 25:

Do you think it’s better to be a recognized expert for one thing, or known to be really good at lots of things?

I just didn’t feel like writing about specialists or generalists.

What I felt like answering was a post I saw on another blog:

The Bookwyrm’s Hoard:   Seven Characters I’d Invite for Thanksgiving Dinner.

I thought of seven characters from my favorite detective novels:

  1. Morse


  1. Lord Peter
  2. Harriet Vane

Wimsey and Vane

  1. Spenser
  2. Susan Silverman
  3. Armand Gamache
  4. Madame Renne Marie Gamache

But then I couldn’t at all imagine them eating together, as different and quirky as they are.


So I turned my attention to Thanksgiving as an American holiday, and thought of seven of my favorite American poets I would love to have over for Thanksgiving. I limited my list to those who are gone from this world, in poetry heaven:

What a conversation they would have!

  1. Emily Dickinson


  1. Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop

  1. Theodore Roethke


  1. Josephine Jacobsen


  1. Claudia Emerson

Claudia Emerson

  1. eecummings


  1. Denise Levertov


Denise Levertov

( sorry about the numbers; couldn’t figure out how to remove them!)

An Expert Human Being

Julie Zickefoose and Chet Baker


NaBloPoMo prompt for today:   Who is an expert you admire and why?

My answer:     Julie Zickefoose

Julie Zickefoose is a painter and writer who lives on a nature sanctuary in Appalachian Ohio. She is the author of Letters from Eden and The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds With Common Birds

She writes a delightful blog which I encourage all nature lovers, gardeners, and birders to visit:

I’ve been reading her blog and her Facebook page for several years, and have become a devoted fan.

Julie knows so much about birds and bats and gardens and plants and photography and painting,

julies art

and she is such a fluid , engaging, and entertaining writer.

(redbat18 julie

( here, she holds in her hand a red bat she was rehabbing)

On her blog, she shares her experiences as a wildlife rehabber, and also her family life, with her husband, raising two beautiful children and a much-loved dog.

She does it all with unpretentiousness and humor.

julie and turte


What follows is an excerpt from an article Julie wrote in “Before It’s News” about one rehabbing experience. The photos are hers:

“Next was a baby robin that a woman had found a week earlier. She called me about it. After I talked with her awhile, I could sense that she had the right stuff and the desire to take care of it. I didn’t have time to mess with it, so I told her how to feed it until I could take it. Which was just as I fed the downy.

baby robin 1

“She did a marvelous job. Just look at it! She’d never fed a baby bird before. She loved it. Said it had been the best week of her life. I felt sorry that she couldn’t finish raising it, but she wasn’t permitted to do so, and lived in an apartment complex full of cats which would be a bad place to try to soft-release a robin.

baby robin 2

“It was easy to tell that robin had had plenty of love. As well as plenty of kitten chow. FAT.

julie and parakeet like robin

“It sat on my shoulder like a friendly parakeet. It was time to get this bird with other robins, in a big net flight enclosure where it could learn to be a robin instead of a parakeet.

“ How I wished I could do that myself, but I had to go. So I took it in and fed it up, too, and prepared a carrier for it. That’s two. But there was a third call, another one I couldn’t say no to. I don’t care how busy you get as a rehabber, there are just some birds you can’t turn away. To be continued…

“So we’re dealing with a paralyzed downy woodpecker and a very sweet fledgling robin. Last but not least, I got a call on the phone the day before my departure. Someone had found a tiny owl on the ground in the woods behind Tractor Supply and brought it, of all places, to the local We Love Pets. Christy the manager has my number. I asked her to send me a cellphone photo of the bird, just to be sure what we were dealing with.

baby screech owl

“Yep. Babeh eastern screech-owl. OMG, squeeee! Literally the size of a navel orange, with a creaky little voice that stole my heart. Reeek. Reeeek.

More anon…”

This should whet your appetite enough that you look her up on Google!