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St. Catherine of Siena is my patroness, didn’t you know? My name, Trena, is a diminutive of Catherine. When I was little this was a source of frustration for me. I remember my mother showing me a picture of St. Catherine in a children’s saint book. I couldn’t understand why I didn’t get a princess saint to go along with my name. The picture showed her kneeling in a dungeon like room, wounds in her hands, and a habit that was decidedly that lacked a flowing veil due to the huge crown of thorns on her head. All the other female saints in the book seemed to have delicate, jeweled crowns like I would prefer. She didn’t look very understanding, or, well, let’s face it pretty. She looked like she was in a lot of pain. The thought that flitted through my head was while my Mom was explaining St. Catherine to me was, “of all the princesses in this book, you chose this sad, painful looking person to be my saint?”

Now that I am older, I realize what an awesome patroness she is. She doesn’t act like a simpering princess either, she’s acts like a queen. She’s a doctor of the Church, co-patron of Italy, and one of the six patrons of Europe. She never takes no for an answer. She bosses people around like no ones business. I think she may have bossed God around, just a little (and I am inclined think God liked it). She’s a mover and a shaker. Seriously, she marched to France to tell the Pope to go back to Rome. Who even does that?

Furthermore, she was so humble and brave that although she received the wounds of the stigmata, she asked Christ to make the invisible so no one else would know. Sure enough, after she died they appeared for all the world to see.

So, happy feast day!

(Disclaimer, I think the picture is one of St. Catherine of Siena. Someone is probably going to tell me it’s someone else. But I like it.)


I know, I haven’t posted in a while, and this is totally random. But how cool is this treehouse bike elevator? I love it! Now I want a treehouse. . . (Via Sho and Tell)


My friend Joannie (Joan in Ordinary Time) was in town, so I went with her and her sister’s family (Jill of Dulce Domum) to the Air and Space Museum followed by the Botanical Gardens! It was so much fun. I have never been to the Air and Space Museum without several small boys (in the past it was with my brothers), and it is the best way to see this museum! They get so excited about everything! Rockets! Astronauts! Planes!

Then we headed over to the Botanical Gardens, which was a nice retreat from the heat of the day. There is lots of water, cool breezes and simulated rain. Did you know the Botanical Gardens also have a small children’s garden? It was a lot of fun, there are things to plant and water, a small playhouse, and a bamboo forest.


Okay, now that I have typed the phrase busy bee, all I can think of is that scene in Gladiator where Commodus has reached a-place-that-is-beyond-creepy and he calls Lucillia a busy bee. I always want to scream at Lucillia to just grab her kid and leave the palace.

But I wanted to pop in for a minute to once again apologize for not posting and to assure you that I am still alive and well! I’ve been in over my head in events, planning and projects. The picture above shows the sewing project I’ve been working on – 20+ Shakespearean shirts for a middle school production of Taming of the Shrew. Ooo, ooo, that Shakespearean rag. . .

And to add to the randomness of this post, here is a poem for you:


by: T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)

THEY are rattling breakfast plates in basement kitchens,

And along the trampled edges of the street

I am aware of the damp souls of housemaids

Sprouting despondently at area gates.

The brown waves of fog toss up to me

Twisted faces from the bottom of the street,

And tear from a passer-by with muddy skirts

An aimless smile that hovers in the air

And vanishes along the level of the roofs.

Image Source: via Trena on Pinterest

Isn’t this a cute little hedgehog? He is glad it’s Friday too. I wish I knit well enough to make this little guy, maybe some day. Hmm, actually maybe I could try to make this. . . it wouldn’t hurt to try, the worst thing that could happen is that I end up with something-else-entirely, which would be more than I started with.

“It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily.

“So it is.”

“And freezing.”

“Is it?”

“Yes,” said Eeyore. “However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”

~ A.A. Milne

My Mom and I had a conversation about hot air balloons while I was home for the holidays. And now memories of hot air balloons keep popping up in my mind.

As a child I would spend time at my grandparent’s home in Napa. The early mornings were always punctuated with the sounds of the propane heaters in the hot air balloons as they would float over the vineyards. I miss that sound. Sometimes we’d sleep on the trampoline in the backyard, and in the morning the balloons would float right over the top of us. People would always wave. Once a balloon landed near the reservoir in the vineyard behind the house.

Maybe someday I’ll take a ride in one. . .

Image Source: via Trena on Pinterest

Source: via Trena on Pinterest

Today is the feast of everyone’s favorite, St. Nicholas! I was Christmas shopping on and I found the cool postcard up above, I wish I had found it a few weeks ago, but maybe I’ll buy a few now and save them for next year. . .

I work in private education (no I am not a teacher,I am on the administrative end of things) and yesterday was the first day of school for most schools in the area. While to some, this is an exciting thing, to me it signals the beginning of phone calls from parents. In the heat of the moment, these calls are never fun – I don’t like being yelled at, or having to carefully word every sentence because what I say will be used against me. But afterwards, it can be amusing to mull over how crazy parents can be. For example:

1) The parents call to let me know their student is perfect and in no way deserves the D+ he was given. In fact, it is not even possible for their child to do D level work, therefore, their child deserves an A.

2) The parents are paying for private education, therefore their child deserves and A. (They literally think they are paying for a passing grade. Um, let me think. No. Oh, and guess what, your child would still be failing in public school because they have homework there too!)

3) Their child is failing class, they understand this, but its unfair to give them an F. (Right. And it would be fair to give them an A, demonstrating complete comprehension of the subject?)

4) Their child has completely failed a grade but they still want them passed on to the next because they’ll do better in the next grade. (Right, because if the student doesn’t know how to read he’ll have ever possibility of success.)

5) Teachers don’t know anything about their subject, but they, the parents do. Their bachelor degree in business administration makes them experts on every subject taught in school. (Nevermind that most teachers and school administrators have M.A.’s (and in some cases doctorates) in their specific field.)

6) The administration is always out to get you. Even when the administration has clear logical reasons for what they do, they are trying to trick you somehow. (Because we are not about education but deception.)

7) I have the power to fail their child out of college, twelve years down the road. Therefore, every precaution to make every communication anonymous should be taken. This thereby will make it practically impossible to fix any problem, but at least their child will get into Harvard. (Hello? Harvard? Yes, I have a spastic kindergartener who won’t nap that I would like to report. I am pretty sure he is a misdirected genius even though I have never met him and you should never accept him because I am jealous of his potential greatness. Yes, his parents gave me his name. No, the fools, they didn’t remain anonymous! Buwahaha!)

8) I personally hate their child (who I have never met) and everything I do to help them is merely some twisted plot to get send the student to the slums so they will lead a life of misery. (If the parents refuse to let their child play high school baseball, because he didn’t make the A team, this will surely to happen. Playing on the B team means you will never succeed in anything ever and will be a failure for the rest of your life.)

9) Because parents are paying for a private education everyone in the entire school system must cater to their wishes. Included their right to block me into my parking space when I try to leave because they can’t back up five feet lest they lose their spot in the pick-up line.

10) Because they’ve sent a child or two to the same school they think they are donors and they will pull funding (i.e. their child will not attend next year) if things aren’t done their way. (Um, no. You paid for your child’s education, you are not a donor. True story: your ‘funding’ usually doesn’t even cover the true cost of educating your child, that is usually subsidized by real donors. Real donors give substantial amounts of money to our schools so your child can continue to receive his education at the rate he does.)

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