Saturday, November 30, 2002

Old Cartoons
are fun. The really old ones, like my parents used to see in theaters when they were dating back in the forties. We love it when Cartoon Network has some classics. Now the children know what I mean when I talk about everything not fitting back in the living room just like in a cartoon where a guy takes apart a radio and puts it back together. It works, but there are still parts left and they are dancing around the floor. Everything came out of the living room and 'everything' has gone back in, but we still have a ton of miscellaneous stuff in the family room. The platform rocker should probably take up residence in Grandma's basement. It's a lovely antique. I have fond memories of sitting in it and reading for hours. I'm too big for that now (in many ways) so we have to move it along.

Add to the whole mix, the prospect of a Christmas tree on the horizon. Haven't made plans for getting one yet, but where to put it is looming large.....

Am looking forward to church tomorrow. When I was there today I realized that during Advent there is an added beauty to spending time there - it is an oasis away from Christmas music, stuff, chaos, etc.
If I needed something else to worry about.....
I could jump on the What Would Jesus Drive Bandwagon and make myself crazy(er) but I can’t change cars at the moment - in fact, I’m just praying the one I have keeps on going - so I’ll let it slide.

Here’s a quote from a great Opinion Journal article. The author says ‘leviathan,’ which has become the word of the moment in our house, so I thought it would be fun to include it here.
Apparently it is, according to the Rev. Jim Ball, the spokesman for the Evangelical Environmental Network, who has claimed darkly that "transportation is a moral issue." Good heavens, just when we thought the Ten Commandments demanded a bit more attention, here comes somebody to announce that big V8s and four-wheel drives will gridlock the road to salvation.

By this logic, Satan is on the move, and God-fearing citizens everywhere are in his clutches. He has just unleashed his latest weapon, the General Motors Hummer H2, the hottest, most desirable, back-ordered vehicle in American showrooms. It is a house-sized leviathan weighing more than three tons and powered by a gonzo six-liter, 315-horsepower V8 that, with prudent, feather-foot driving, might get you 11 miles to the gallon. Oh, yes, if you can find one, the dealer will sock you for something north of $50,00

I’ll have to follow my conscience on this one. I don’t think it would be the best thing to leave the children unattended and uneducated to get a second (and full-time) job to pay for a car that Jesus would drive, when I have a perfectly good, though maybe not too fuel-efficient, van. The whole family fits in it and the price was extremely right. ($1 from the estate of my late uncle!)

Don’t even get me started on what could be the inference that Jesus doesn’t want us to have large families. Large families need large cars. You can’t take a bunch of children to church in a Mini.....
I confess....
that I did use one of the kid’s library cards once, when I didn’t have the spare change to pay the fine on mine. But that’s as low as I’ll go. Some parents will stoop a lot lower! Stealing your child’s identity to rack up credit card debt is pretty sick. I’ve thought of the possibility (not thought of doing it, just thought of the possibility) when Chuck, who is barely in his teens, gets credit card applications (You’ve been pre-approved!!!) in the mail. This must be from his subscription to computer magazines or something like that. I don’t know where else they would get his name.
do I wake up so filled with bile and ready to froth all over the computer? (I lost my gall bladder in 1970, but I don’t think that’s the answer....)
I’m really quite a cheerful person. Really.
Then something sets me off........
Like an ad I just heard on TV for a radio station that is all Christmas music. Great. But I just know the music will disappear at 12:01am on December 26 and we’ll be back to the usual stuff. That’s one reason I own so darned many Christmas CD’s - you can’t count on the media to push Christmas into the real Christmas season. They’ll flog it to death during Advent and when there is no longer a buck to be made (except for buy-one-get-three-free lawn decoration deals) all the Christmas ‘celebration’ disappears.

Friday, November 29, 2002

Planned Parenthood Moles in the Schools
Why Didn’t I Quit While I was Ahead?

Thought I’d spend just 5 more minutes on the computer. Then I came across this gem - about Planned Parenthood hiring teens as word of mouth promoters.
Planned Parenthood of North Central Ohio has proposed that two teens from each of the four high schools in Morrow County, Ohio be paid $100 to be trained as outreach workers and that the teens receive an additional $5 for every patient they recruit who shows up at a new Planned Parenthood clinic which opened on April 2, 2002 in Cardington, Ohio.

We are fortunate to have a wonderful school nurse at our high school who has purged all the PP propaganda from the ‘health’ office. But I guess now we can start worrying about the concept of the covert ‘peer helpers’ who may one day be waiting to ‘help’ our children.
A broken thumbnail.......
does not equate with the crown of martyrdom. But I'll play it for all it's worth. The missalettes and music books have been switched and now we can languish in the glow of 'mission accomplished.' The kids did well, though the look on their faces was more often that of 7th circle of hell than 7th Heaven. And the volunteers did show up, so it went a little faster. But they were relatively clueless, so it was a good thing a bunch of seasoned 'professionals' were there. All I can say is that the old books come out a lot faster than the new ones go in. Rick and I were both nostalgic for the good old Protestant hymnal days.

Now I can spend the rest of the afternoon putting more pictures up in the living room. The green is intense, but we all love it. Or if anyone doesn't love it, they sure aren't saying anything. I hope to get to Michaels' over the weekend to find a stencil or some Wallies or some thing to soften the line of demarcation between the Thai Silk dining room and Shamrock Meadow living room. And no, I don't think a Vince Lombardi poster is what I want.
We're off........
to have a 7th Heaven moment. The missalettes and music issues need to be changed at church. Technically, that should be done tomorrow, but there are multiple events scheduled in the church (you know, little things like weddings and baptisms...) for tomorrow, so today will have to be the day. The two young people who were scheduled to do this for confirmation service hours appear to have tanked on us. Plus their mother had no interest in supervising them and twin fourteen year olds working their way through the church tossing books around was just too disturbing a thought. So I volunteered my family. We did it back in May and it was fun. Well, sort of. And there was that moment of mind-numbing silence when I said, "Doesn't this seem like something the Camdens would do?" Then I was told how that if the Camdens were Catholic, the dad wouldn't be the pastor and whole point would be moot.

We'll try it again this morning.
Ho. Ho. Ho.
This is the first day of Christmas, right? Just joking.
(Some people are staying on top of the situation.......I got up at 6:30am to find a note from Em that said don't worry about me......I'm off to Best Buy) Well, I have to work this morning and tonight, so I am saved from the biggest shopping day of the year. (As if my lack of solvency wasn't enough.) I am trying to be vigilant about not starting the Christmas 'stuff' too early.........I've already been ranting at the family about all the people who have had huge Christmas light displays lit up all week. In the iffy Chicago weather, I couldn't blame people for putting the lights up in September if they were so inclined. But couldn't they at least wait until Advent begin to flip the switch to turn them on?

Wednesday night I caught myself in a lapse of charity, when I came home from work to find a Christmas wreath on the door. (a beautiful wreath, but still, the night before Thanksgiving?) Before I could start blustering about the inappropriateness of it, Rick told me how it was a gift from a friend in Minnesota that had just arrived UPS and he put it up to surprise me. He remembered how disappointed I was last year when we didn't get our bargain wreath from the UP and I wouldn't pay the exorbitant Chicago area prices, so we just had some sort of wooden what-not on the door.)
Mercifully, I didn't have a chance to blow my self-righteous top in the midst of a lovely unexpected gift and a husband who was just trying to make me happy.

What Holiday are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

Thursday, November 28, 2002

this morning was fabulous. Our parish has its first set of bells, which were rung for the first time this morning. Just heavenly. I stood outside with out my coat (cold but warmed nonetheless) and just stared up at the bell tower and savored the experience. My family was still inside (I was the lector this morning and had processed out at the end of Mass. I rarely cut-and-run leaving my family behind!) and hardly heard the bells. There was so much yada-yada-yada going on...........oh,well, I won’t ruin another holiday by ranting about people who talk to much in church.
Snap Out of It!
Had to drop what I was doing and post this. My sister called to wish a happy Thanksgiving and ever so gently broke it to me that Nicholas Cage and Lisa Marie Presley are getting a divorce! Will the rude surprises never end? Shucks, they didn’t last long enough to merit a “Our First Christmas Together” ornament. I guess Scientologists just don’t anguish about these things.......

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Happy Thanksgiving
As I prepare to launch myself into the vortex of work, putting the living room back together and pulling together a Thanksgiving feast.......I would like to pause and wish everyone a most blessed Thanksgiving.
That’s a relief!
Now I can tell the kids that my obsessive need to crank down the heat (in winter), turn off the lights, swish the last bit of (bargain) shampoo from a bottle and wear my clothes until they are literally falling apart has a name. I’ll call it Post-Traumatic Depression Disorder by Proxy. I’ll add the proxy part because my parents, who actually did live during the Depression did not act in nearly an obsessive manner as I do.

Many thanks for this humorous reminder that we all have had and will have crosses to bear.
Thanks to Jeff Miller from Opinion Journal by way of Blog from the Core.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Ooooh, Noooo
It isn’t even Thanksgiving yet, and I’ve seen my first sardonic Jaguar TV spot. This is the ad where the wife gives her husband a toy Jaguar and he feigns appreciation and she takes a Polaroid picture of him with the real thing seen through the window behind him. One of them mutters something about “it’s the thought that counts.” This drives me nuts. Because it is the thought that counts. And several years before my birth, my mother gave my father a toy Jaguar for Christmas. Symbolic of the fact that she had heard what he would like and wanted to acknowledge it, this car was the best she could do. And I know it was accepted with as much appreciation as the real thing, because it stood for my mother’s love and it is the thought that counts.

As grand a car as the Jaguar may be, they have lost my ‘brand loyalty’ with this commercial. (As if they were counting on me.......ha!) It is just so disgusting to see a sweet story from my childhood put into a sixty-second movie and given a cynical materialistic twist at the end. It does, though, serve as a reminder to me to tell the kids about how Grandma gave Grandpa Sarge a toy Jaguar and he was happy. Because it is the thought that counts!

Monday, November 25, 2002

Need to go to bed........
but am feeling a little tense after reading an article on the front page of the Chicago Trib during a break at work tonight. More of the same about some areas in Illinois cracking down on homeschoolers. I have no real cause for worry...........but just knowing that we are spending a few days in chaos makes me obsess that this would be the one time someone from the regional superintendent of education's office would 'drop in.' No matter that some schools have off on Wednesday, and maybe even more, this week. Don't even get me started on all the places that routinely give boys time off to go hunting. (Let's hope that girls get the same chance, should they want it!) Up north there, hey, where my sister lives, the courts dockets are cleared for deer hunting. The judges are hunting, the lawyers are hunting and most of the constabulary are hunting. So unless it is a life or death emergency, justice is put on hold during deer season in Wisconsin.
so much head pulsates......
Hope we can finish this painting thing by Wednesday. Just so we can clear the dining room table and not have to breathe paint fumes while we eat. I can't wait to get my pictures and other stuff back up on the walls. It should all look really good. And we need the photos back up on the stairway, because now it is like a frightening green tunnel.

Have to work tomorrow. I always welcome a work opportunity, but it will be hard for me to micromanage this project from an office at Church. Maybe this is a blessing in disguise. If not for me, for the young painters.

This is so much fun, I think I'll paint the boys room. After Christmas.........that should be a good cure for the January blahs. Maybe something blue.....bright blue.......
Belle Reve?
Upon my return home this evening I found the first issue of the Belle Grove Homeowners Association Newsletter. It appears that there is a neighborhood book discussion group starting up. Sounds like fun to me.......except that I don't savor the opportunity to have to discuss anything with the scarecrow hating humorless woman down the street. Participants are asked to suggest potential reading matter. There is a certain temptation for me to go to the first meeting and suggest Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions (which is a favorite of mine - a true, though bizarre, classic.) Of course, it would be fun to be in any group with this person where I could use the word a*****e in the course of conversation.

Likewise, the newsletter is looking to spotlight particular families...... we can even submit pictures. Too bad the scarecrow escaped the camera's gaze.

While I'm ranting on matters of individual taste in the fair Belle Grove (I much prefer Belle Reve for its more suitable 'creepiness.)subdivision, Mrs. Your-Scarecrow-is-in-bad-taste already has her Christmas lights up and illuminated. I have no problem with the concept of putting up the decorations when the weather is decent. But couldn't we wait 'til December, at least, to flip the switch?
The green....
that looks stunning on shutters in New Orleans, is a bit overwhelming on the walls of a duplex in suburban Chicago. But I love it.
Michael Medved
has written an interesting article on the the MPAA ratings systems and American Movie Classics use of the modern system to rate movies made before 1968, which theoretically should all be family friendly.
Lately, for about the last year, I have noticed American Movie Classics using MPAA-style ratings on movies made prior to 1968. You will see John Wayne westerns rated R. You will see family-friendly fare rated PG-13. In fact, nearly every old movie you see on this cable network is now rated R.
His thesis is something of a conspiracy theory, but it makes sense to me.

I wonder what rating AMC give Belles on Their Toes, with its kinky boyfriend in the bathtub visited by a slew of his girlfriend’s sibs scene?
That Embot!
What a gem!
Although, I have not been able to "fix" the missing archives, I have placed a link to those entries, just below the "Archives" link. Each date represents the Sunday of that Week!

Happy Reading

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Many hands make light work.......
Hope we can wrap this project up quickly. I have a lot of the breakables - statuary, glassware, etc. on the school table for safe keeping. We need to keep this stuff moving so we can get our work done tomorrow.
The project continues.......
It should look OK when everything is put back. Now the girls have some 'ideas' on improving the lookof the living room. For an idea on the colors, go to Google : the dining room is the yellow of the second 'o' and the living room is the green of the 'l.' Now Bridget is worried that the neighbors will think we are Packer fans. Well I sure won't paint the house blue and orange to show our 'support' of the Bears.
Parental Advisory
Don't let your children watch any of those crazy decorating shows on cable. Ever. And don't try to tell me television doesn't inspire young people to try things for themselves. Yes, we have crossed the Rubicon. Everything is out of the living and dining rooms and we are about to commence with Banana Peel and Shamrock Meadow. The 'big kids' really want to do most of this themselves, but I must be make sure the influence of my refined aesthetic continues.....and this doesn't turn into Trading Spaces meets Jackass.
As if......

You are a muse.

What legend are you?. Take the Legendary Being Quiz by Paradox

The muses of Greek mythology were goddesses who ruled over the arts and sciences and inspired people who were best at them. Their numbers vary from legend to legend, but most agree that there were nine of them who each presided over their own realm.

And instead of presiding over my realm, I’m playing with the computer.......

From And Then?, thanks to a link from Jeff Miller.

Saturday, November 23, 2002

This is so sad........
but I could see how some people might think that there is a role for Jackass to play in the process of natural selection.
Call him Mr. Edacious
Dr. Dictionary has noticed Eddie’s growth spurt and eating spree.
I hope there is food left in the house when I return from work.

Word of the Day for Saturday November 23, 2002
edacious \i-DAY-shus\, adjective:
Given to eating; voracious; devouring.

Friday, November 22, 2002

Bouguereau, Rossetti, Alma-Tadema..........
these are a few of my favorite things.

The Old Oligarch has this link to the Art Renewal Center Oh, how I wish I didn’t have to go to bed now.........I could stay up quite late looking at these delicious treasures.....
Read the essay by our Chairman, Fred Ross, on the decline and fall of classical painting and values, and what we can all do to bring about a renaissance of beauty.

"For over 90 years, there has been a concerted and relentless effort to disparage, denigrate and obliterate the reputations, names, and brilliance of the academic artistic masters of the late 19th Century. Fueled by a cooperative press, the ruling powers have held the global art establishment in an iron grip. Equally, there was a successful effort to remove from our institutions of higher learning all the methods, techniques and knowledge of how to train skilled artists. Five centuries of critical data was nearly thrown into the trash ..."

Still looking.........
for my lost archives. I know they exist somewhere, because I was able to find one of the pages by doing a Google search.

I'm not obsessing because I think this is such brilliant stuff, but this is the only written record of my family life and other bits of trivia that I have kept in over 20 years. Perhaps someday it would be of some entertainment value to my children (either that or evidence in a law suit.) I am just not an Oprah type 'journaler' and only started this as a way to get over my reluctance to write. And it has been therapeutic. I can now sit down and write something. Without too much anguish. So my mission, in that sense, has already been accomplished. But now I am entering a phase where I am actually starting to enjoy writing.

But about those archives. Where are they? I just want some sort of written history to hand my children and there was some interesting stuff in September and October. Weird, but fun.

I already have a great deal of guilt. I wrote volumes about Emily's every activity. A little about Fran.
Poor Bridget has 4 words in her baby book. And that is if you count von and Huben as separate words. And Martha, well, there may be something somewhere........As for the boys? Don't ask.
How did I miss this?
A gay Chicago-area man stands accused of killing a woman who allegedly tried to persuade him to change his sexual orientation.

Police arrested Nicholas Gutierrez, 19, on Saturday after he confessed and the body of Mary Stachowicz, 51, was found in a crawl space beneath his apartment. He has been charged with first-degree murder, attempting to conceal a homicide and burglary, according to a Chicago Tribune report.

Authorities said Gutierrez made a videotaped confession, admitting that he became enraged during a conversation with Stachowicz because her questioning of his sexuality reminded him of debates with his mother.

When I heard this story on the news and skimmed it quickly in the paper, what caught my attention was the mention that the late Mrs. Stachowicz cautioned him about his lifestyle and that she reminded him of his mother. I did not pick up on any gay thing - I figured the lifestyle deal was late hours, drugs, women, loud music, whatever. Or was the ‘issues with his mother’ phrase some sort of Norman Bates code for gay. I guess I’d better start paying better attention ....I’m missing out on a lot.

Thanks to Relapsed Catholic for this link.
the sink is in.....looks great
can't wait to do the long 'til the novelty wears off?
All is not lost.......
I have a tendency to be pessimistic about my children and to worry myself into knots about their spiritual and character formation. One of the children I anguish over the most did the most wonderful and spontaneous thing for someone she doesn't really know with no regard for herself. I can't go into details just now - but I just wanted to express my happiness and appreciation for what I take to be a sign that she is not the lost soul that I often think she has become. My prayers are often answered in the most surprising ways.
Do the Embot!!!
We're busy getting ready for Emily's Thanksgiving week with us. Time to get the 'school' room ready because it is also her bedroom. When we moved in 4 years ago, we had one too many single beds. Somewhere in the midst of shuffling things around, I got rid of two twin beds, leaving us a little short when Emily is in town. This is embarrassing. How does one lose a bed? She doesn't mind the couch (much) and will probably be happier now without a croaking frog sleeping near her.

It is extremely unlikely that we'll be joining the rest of the clan up in the UP. Which should be just fine. So we look like a bunch of party poopers. I don't really care. My friend Pat called me up to tell me about a special at (gasp)K-Mart whereby I could purchase a 20 pound turkey for $5.97 if I made an additional $10 purchase. She picked me up after dinner and we had a girls' night out of shopping at K-Mart. Basically, buying turkey, toilet paper and looking at all the Martha Stewart stuff that we like but really don't need.

So we have dinner pretty much wrapped up. And with the right spices and a brine soak, it should be just as good as the $93 free-range fresh turkey from Williams-Sonoma. All we need now are some spuds, cranberries (to be made into ice - perhaps I'll post the recipe), vegies and a reasonable Beaujolais Nouveau and we'll be in business.
new sink.....arriving soon.........
Painting may commence tomorrow. I’ll be at work. I guess I’m OK with the painting thing, because I’m sure I heard myself say, “Make sure Eddie wears sweats, I don’t want paint on his only pair of Church-worthy khakis.” I’ll have Chuck call me when they have crossed the Rubicon.....

High School Confidential........
Things have changed a lot since I was on the staff of my high school yearbook. By the time my daughters got to junior high I was chagrined to be paying for what would become an off-color autograph book and the high school yearbooks were worse. The books from good old LFHS appear to have had no faculty supervision whatsoever and were absolute disasters of vulgarity, inept double entendres, and just plain crap that I, as a student, would not have wanted to carry forth with me into life. The only instance of adult influence that I can recall during my daughters’ years at LFHS (and Martha is there now so I just can’t wait to see what springtime will bring!) was a recall of the books shortly before distribution so that the faculty could remove something so vile that a parent who found out about it in advance (this may have been a libelous comment about the parent’s daughter) threatened legal action unless the offending material was obliterated with a Sharpie marker.

So I wasn’t surprised when I heard about this: Crete-Monee Lesbian Couple Supported
Parents and the girls themselves will decide whether two girls elected as "Cutest Couple" at Crete-Monee High School will appear in a photo in the yearbook, Superintendent Roberta Berry says.

About 50 of the school's 1,500 students staged about a four-hour protest on Tuesday, expressing concern that the vote of the student body might not be honored.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Just one last obsessive thought.........
before I toddle off to bed. I grabbed the Sunday Trib TV Week to read while gulping down my lunch. The boys ate before me and I am physically incapable of eating alone without something to read. But I was in too much of a hurry and feeling way too lazy to reach more than 24 inches for reading material. The TV Week was right I decided to read my way through it and spare myself having to actually watch most of the twaddle that’s on the tube.

So I get to Touched by an Angel. I don’t watch this show for a variety of reasons:
-time slot
-problems with willful suspension of disbelief
-bothered by Della Reese’s out of control hair
-annoyed by the fact that my husband thinks Valerie Bertinelli is still really cute
-worried about career of the guy who plays the Angel of Death. Will he ever work again? Or has his face become synonymous with.......death, not exactly a marketable attribute in our culture.

According to the short synopsis, the angels are helping Della’s character deal with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The purpose of this story line may be to comfort those in such a situation, but it has me totally perplexed. If angels are pure spirits, how can they get Alzheimer’s? Aren’t their corporal manifestations just a sort of ‘costume’ that the spirit possesses so that it may have a tangible manifestation among humanity? Would this tangible manifestation really be prone to neurological disorders? It just doesn’t seem right. Shouldn’t they think these things through more? Or if they were thinking them through, would the show ever have been put on the air in the first place?
Just how many LEGO Club members live in Vatican City?
Just wondering.
Having not the best morning. Decided to let Eddie have some extra computer time. I’m losing my voice and must rest it for work.
Since we switched computers, Eddie forget his LEGO Club particulars, and asked me to sign him up again. So, while filling out the membership form I scrolled through the list of countries looking for USA. Went too far and found Vatican City.
So, I’m wondering, are there any Vatican City LEGO Club members?
I guess it's all in how you define 'sexy'...
Ben Affleck?
Where's Al Pacino?
William F. Buckley, Jr.?
Lots of other guys?
Ben Affleck? I don't get it.........
Couldn’t go to Bible Study today...
so I caught the beginning of Oprah.
I’ll try to watch it when it is rerun tonight.
Rumspringa: A Tradition for Amish Teenagers
....rumspringa which literally means "running around."

For two years, Lucy Walker lived among Amish teenagers who were testing the boundaries of their new freedom. Her documentary, Devil's Playground, borrows its name from the Amish term for the American way of life.

Had to turn it off - Amish kids smoking dope was just a little too much to share with the boys. But it does pose some interesting questions about young people making the decision to grow up and join the Church or just drift away. The surprising part is that most decide to go back to being Amish. This works well, with their practice of adult baptism. But we are held accountable for our personal sins. I see a lot of young people drifting away into a similar practice, even if we don’t have a specific word for it. As a parent, this is worrisome - you don’t want to see anyone fall into sin and then perhaps miss the chance for repentance. Rick brought up another problem for ‘English’ society in general - are we giving our young folks something truly solid that they will wish to return to ........or do they just drift about aimlessly, not having no real culture to renounce and having no solid culture to return to?
Who Can Sleep?
With visions of Thai Silk, Shamrock Meadow, and Hot Geranium dancing through my head.
When I went to bed, there was a small gathering in my living room, discussing the color possibilities. I don’t think their gentlemen callers cared about the colors, but they were amused by Fran and Bridget going back and forth about the colors. Sort of like the fairies in Sleeping Beauty - pink, blue, pink, blue......

We broke up the gathering and told the crowd no further consideration could be made until we were able to examine the samples by daylight.

New Bumper Sticker Idea.......
My child can dial the phone. And do his own talking.

I just read an unbelievable article from the Boston Globe. No, wait, I can believe it. I have felt a little remiss because I was not as heavily invested in my children’s higher education plans as some of their friends’ parents. For instance, I didn’t even know when Emily needed to get her application in to Barat. She took care of it herself. And I felt like a bad mother. Maybe I’m doing the right thing after all.

Brad MacGowan, director of college counseling at Newton North High School, said most college counselors can point to cases where a parent's meddling backfired and contributed to a rejection. ''If a parent's making phone calls, how can it look good, that the child can't dial 10 numbers and ask a question?'' he said.

Among college admissions officers, theories abound to explain the behavior of parents: They weren't involved when their children were small, and this is their last chance. They've invested time and money in a child's resume. They want to brag to their friends, and bask in the glow of an Ivy League acceptance.

''They're so afraid that some other squeaky wheel is going to outparent them,'' said Linda Shapiro, a Newton-based college adviser and president of the New England Association for College Admissions Counseling.

But the parents get credit for caring. ''Any good parent wants the best for their child,'' McGrath Lewis said.

At the meeting with parents last week, Jones projected a list of ''don'ts'' onto a screen in the auditorium: Don't fill out applications for children. Don't make phone calls to admissions offices. Don't refer to ''our'' application (a phrase she says she hears five or six times a week). And most important, never threaten anyone.

Threatening people? Unreal. Well, my Dad did once threaten Marshall Field’s with legal action if my wedding dress didn’t arrive on time. But that was a crisis. But threaten my school, no, baby, I was on my own.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Quick.......everyone.......please write Amnesty International........
I'm trapped with my family. They're making me watch "The Producers." I don't get it. I laughed more at my mother's wake. Everyone else is laughing, so there must be something wrong with me. I've never laughed at this movie in the past so why won't they let me go.......

Maybe I'll just go off to put the laundry in the dryer and then make a devious detour upstairs while the rest of the group is cataplectic with laughter.
Not the wholesome All-American city we think of........
when we think of St. Paul, MN.
Steven H. Bailey says he is very good at something most would consider very bad.
By his own account, the St. Paul man has led thousands of men through a fantasy of torture as pleasure, a world where consenting adults participate in a risky sex game that could end in death........

"It's definitely extreme and I know some advocates who teach 'don't do it,' and I guess some groups (teach) how to do it safely, but I'm not familiar with such groups," said Susan Wright, spokeswoman for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom.

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom? Now libertines must organize? I shudder to think of their fundraising activities. Cookie or candy sales? Christmas wreathes? Spaghetti dinners?

I recall reading that the last opium den in the US was also in St. Paul. So it’s not all just the Mall of America up there.
The living room project continues........
with Fran coming back from Home Depot with a variety of samples. I dragged out the paint samples that I picked up back in January before Rick got sick and I was actively considering the paint job. (At that point I actually had money saved up for the paint, but I guess I blew it on groceries or prescription drugs or some other fun stuff.) The last time I was in New Orleans I bought a book of postcards for the express purpose of bringing certain color ideas home with me. This book went to Wal-Mart with me and I was able to find reasonable matches to my favorite colors. Back then I was filled with pre-spring vigor. Now I’m slipping into a SAD malaise and just decorating for Christmas will be a big enough project for me. But seeing those paint samples did stimulate something deep in my brain.

Of course, everyone has an opinion and their own specific qualifications. I have a degree in art, Rick studied at the Art Institue of Chicago, Fran just ‘knows,’ and Bridget knows that what we have now looks like #@!*. So, here is the sticky part: Color selection cannot and should not be done by committee. Just wait until they start polling everyone who passes through....If I could post the colors here, I could let the whole world vote.

But Mom, this is part of your Christmas present!!! Oh, so now it’s a present and I must be gracious. It’s like being sucked into your television and turning up on one of those ‘let these funny people decorate your house’ shows. You know the ones I mean, I just can’t think of them by name, because I never watch them, because they make me nervous!!!

Fran has some great ideas for the floors. (For after Christmas!) She knows how badly I would like to get my Oriental rugs out of storage and she has a scathingly brilliant plan to actualize the whole deal. I guess that will be my birthday present.......
Mission Accomplished....sort of
Our little local field trip went well. The Marytown book store didn’t yet have the new St. Joseph’s Guide to the LOTH. Maybe next week. Oh, well, we need to get back out that way soon anyway because I forgot the jeans for Eddie that I meant to exchange at Wal-Mart.

But we did find some interesting holy cards, including a St. Richard which we are keeping as a Christmas gift for Dad. (Fran, in horror, says, “That’s all? All he gets for Christmas is a holy card?) No, he’ll probably get something else, too. Fran just doesn’t appreciate these things - you can’t always find St. Richard. Some cards are more popular than others. I have a St. Expedite - so rare I keep it in a frame. Most of my holy cards are kept in a wooden recipe box that I decorated for that specific purpose. A little classier than keeping them in my dresser drawer and not as sterile as putting them in a binder of the type that stores sell for sports cards.

We had a nice drive through the Seminary - just beautiful. We saw a deer. The boys were thinking it would be lovely if the seminarians were allowed to keep horses to ride about the grounds, but we decided that they just wouldn’t have sufficient time in their schedules for grooming, mucking out stalls, etc. But it is an entertaining thought. I tried to maintain control over subliminal messages, though a little, “Wouldn’t this be a nice place to live?” did sneak through.
Be Afraid.........Be Very Afraid
I’ve spoken once too often about my dislike of the creepy pink walls in the living room. Frances announced today that she hates the color too, and is willing to put her money where her mouth is. What’s killing me is the thought of moving all the stuff out of the living room and the chaos that comes with a big project. I have to work from 9:00 to 5:00 on Saturday and won’t be here to personally supervise the impending disaster. But Fran has it all planned out - she works ‘til noon on Saturday, during which time Martha will supervise the unloading of the hutch and various shelves and moving all light furniture into the family room. They will begin painting at noon.
All I can think of is the green paint that is still on our driveway from the papier mache´ dragon that Fran and Bridget constructed for the Fourth of July Parade (in 2001!!!) Fran thinks it would be great to spiff things up for the holidays. I’m hoping she gets a better offer and decides to put the painting on the back burner.
Groin Vault
I can say groin vault without cracking a smile. Some of my students - all /both of them - thought this was just the funniest phrase they’ve heard in a long time. So much for today’s art/architecture lesson.

I would suppose laughing uncontrollably at the mention of a groin vault is ‘age appropriate’ for boys 8 and 13. But what about the so-called adults who put on an entertainment such as the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show that was advertised all over the radio this morning. I mean really.We all know that women don’t watch TV to decide what undergarments to purchase.
This is just a grand scale/big bucks yet amazingly puerile extension of the behavior of my childhood friends’ big brothers’ (I have no brothers) fascination with looking at brassieres in the Sears Catalog. Those boys puzzled me then. I guess some of those same boys have aged, though not matured, and decided to make a TV show of a living, undulating upscale Sears catalog display.

What’s next? A game show called Groin Vault?

Calling All Malcolm in the Middle Fans!!!
Jewish World Review has a wonderful piece by Eve Tushnet on why she likes Malcolm in the Middle and how what could appear at first glance to be just another vulgar show is rich in values not seen in many other TV sitcoms. She isn’t as fond of The Simpson and King of the Hill as I am, but she, too, noticed that Fox Sunday night has the distinction of playing a block of three shows about intact families. Where else do you find that?

Having a Malcolmesque family myself, I find this show to be not only entertaining, but reassuring. The truth inspires a humor that is far more satisfying than that found on Friends or Will & Grace or most of the dreck that is out there. (Oh, yes, we’ve managed to survive without sending our Frances to military school - just barely........but there I so many times I feel the writers have been looking right into my home. And our pater doesn’t need his body shaved. I guess I should mention that for the record.)
Could be a good day.....
for a field trip. The boys have been extra special twitchy. So maybe we’ll alter our routine with a little local field trip.

Wal-Mart. Not fun but it’s gotta be done. And the traffic is much easier on a week-day morning.

Stop at Marytown. Where I will pray that the boys don’t cause a ruckus. If you have never been there, I must explain that it is so quiet that a sneeze is a ruckus. I know that three minutes of adoration for the boys is the equivalent of an hour for me.

Then we will go to the bookstore so I can purchase my St. Joseph Guide for the Liturgy of the the Hours. I was too late last year and just couldn’t bring myself to order a $2 book plus a $4 minimum shipping charge through a catalog, so I’ve just been muddling along. I’m getting a bit better but the Guide really does help. Maybe I’ll find something new for my holy card collection, too.

Drive through Mundelein Seminary. It should be lovely. I will bite my tongue when tempted to make comments like, “Wouldn’t you boys like to go school here someday?” Not exactly a sublimal message.
The Flower Fairy....
just doesn’t know if she can make it to work today. So Rick might be driving the flower truck for her. This is not the first time Bridget has had an acquaintance die, but it is the first close friend from her childhood. Her problem today is not so much an inability to face death, but a fear that her friend may be ‘resting’ at the local funeral home. The flower delivery person sees clients, on occassion, who are not quite ready for public viewing. (i.e. - flowers and clients both enter through the service entrance.) So Dad offered to take up the slack for her. That’s OK - we can use the extra money.
Isn’t there some candy company who could sue this miscreant?
Dylan appears not to care much for the oh so clever Eminem. I agree - and he expresses it much more eloquently than I could. He is strident - but I can’t say that my faint heart can find much to disagree with. Although, perhaps, Andrew Sullivan would be better off not euthanizing himself. He needs redemption, not elimination. But if he finds Eminem ‘artisitic,’ it is a sure sign that he needs some sort of intense help.

Couldn’t Eminem and his ‘owners/manipulators’ be put out of business by a good suit from the M&M Mars Candy company? Sort of the way Al Capone was taken down by the IRS?

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Will someone get Michael Jackson some help?
Please. He's becoming too painful to watch. And when his 'freak show' starts involving babies, that's got to be the limit.
in a mother’s life are so difficult and practice doesn’t make them any easier. There are those moments when your child (no matter what age) looks at you with that, “Make it better, Mom,” look and you just can’t. Bridget found out tonight than an old childhood friend died while away at college. My heart broke for her. And just like a much younger child, she accepted my hugs and consolations while she sobbed on my shoulder. My heart breaks knowing that I can’t spare my children the sorrows of life. And it breaks for the mother of Bridget’s friend, who wasn’t able to make everything better for her daughter either. (She died of complications of a medical condition). There was much less grousing at dinner when we prayed an “Eternal rest.....” along with our dinner prayers. We do this every night during November, but it had a special poignancy this evening.
But in a pinch, who would you rather have a hotline to.....
The Lady of Shalott has some interesting things to say about AP prodigies and their collegiate adventures in overachievement. I do agree with her, but had a little trouble grappling with her final question:
Certainly education is the answer to some things, and I would be a liar and a hypocrite to argue otherwise. But in a pinch, who would you rather have a hotline to: a Ph.D. in theology or a good plumber? I'll take the plumber any day, and so will most others.

I am in the fortunate position to have ready access to as much brilliant theological help as I want. And if I can’t find someone on the spot (at work) there is a rolodex full of numbers that I could call if I had to. (Making me, wow, almost like Flanders with Rev. Lovejoy on his speed dial!) Today is one of those days, with the installation of the new sink and faucet delayed to Thursday, that I think a hotline to a plumber would be the better choice. But I must recuse myself from any further debate, because I am spoiled and take access to good theology for granted. Much in the same way that I took my adequate sink and non-dripping faucet for granted before our plumbing situation started to unravel.

Once the kitchen is put back together, it will be time for a discussion of whether or not the devil uses simple household conveniences to tempt us to despair. And the plumber is not the person I will be discussing this with. Actually, there probably won’t (heaven forbid) be a plumber - just Rick and his father. Neither of whom will want to discuss the deeper meanings of plumbing problems with me.
Okay Mom, what do you think of your weather pixie? Scroll all the way to the bottom! = )
Love you,
Pity Party Time
I'm watching TV and trying to get caught up around here.
The Today show had a piece on those septuplets in Iowa (guess I snored too much last night, the name escapes me) and their house was clean and well organized and just all-in-all better operationally than mine. Now I feel like a failure. (NOT because I have failed to produce children in bunches of 7, but because I have just six and things here look so much more chaotic than that lovely house of kids in Iowa.) The mother does have a look of grim determination on her face, so I shall salve myself with the knowledge that what I lack in efficiency, I make up in 'charm.'
As of this moment......
Amy Welborn’s blog still has a picture of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne. I couldn’t find one yesterday when we had our daily Saints discussion and was reduced to the lame alternative of showing the boys a picture ( a lovely, original painting that was a gift from a friend and one of my most treasured pieces in the von Huben family collection) of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat and telling them she probably looked a lot like her. Which, from looking at Amy’s picture, is true.........tho I think my St. Madeleine Sophie is prettier, but we all know pretty isn’t everything.......and it is the Sacred Heart habit that really makes or breaks it. (If St. Rose died in the 1850’s, would there even be any photos of her? This could be something interesting to look into......)
All I want for Christmas is..........a HSLDA membership?
Bill White posts this link to an Illinois Leader article about the governmental harrassment of some Illinois homeschoolers. To quote Count Floyd, “Scary, kids!”

Maybe this taps into a fear I have of being caught off guard, having a really bad day. Maybe the kind of day where if the kids were in school they’d be home sick anyway. And I’m surrounded by mess, chaos, despair, children who like to spin and repeat catch phrases over and over and over. Then the doorbell rings and it’s some government functionary who will see that things are not going too well. (These functionaries never showed up in the classrooms when my children in school witnessed everything going awry.....that must not be their job!) Not to mention that I wouldn’t want someone from the Church coming by and finding our ‘Saints Garden’ starting to droop off the wall and the boys deciding to answer ‘St. Jerome,” to any and all religion questions, and the Angelus is prayed at 12:45 because we lost track of time.
Weird dates........
of no real significance, I except I always notice weird dates.
James Coburn was born on August 31, my mother's birthday.
My mother died on August 16, the same date as Elvis' death.
My Aunt Tommy (OK, Marion, with an o, but everyone knew her as Tommy) died on November 22.
Just thought I'd throw those little nuggets of non-interest in.
Film star James Coburn dies at 74
Sad news.
Decent obituary. Though it didn’t mention The President’s Analyst - one of our all time favorites. ( It’s kind of dated and ‘sixties-ish’ yet still so true - isn’t the phone company still a major evil?)

I’ve been told........
by some family members and travelling companions that I snore at times. Moi? A delicate flower such as myself? (Well, that might explain why I slept like a baby almost the whole way to Paris, woke up over the English Channel and noticed many haggard, unhappy faces as I traipsed back to the loo to freshen up. And, while in Paris, I would awaken with my sister pounding a pillow on my head and hissing, “cut it out.” Oh, my. C’est la vie......)
Now I read this article Brain damage link to snoring

Our findings suggest this sleep apnea is a pre-existing condition - that abnormal brain wiring from childhood contributes to the onset of the disorder in adulthood," Harper said.

Harper said obstructive sleep apnea patients often display other traits that suggest subtle brain damage, including problems with memory, thought and motor skills.

"The repeated oxygen loss from sleep apnea may damage other brain structures that regulate memory and thinking," he said.

So lots of us are just congenitally determined to be vocal sleepers? Now I’m going to obsess about this everytime I can’t remember the exact word I want to use. Of course, if I show it to Rick, he’ll take it as carte blanche permission to misplace his car keys, shoes, whatever.

Ted Nugent?
I don’t really like his music and I disagree with him ideologically in many ways, but........if I lived in Michigan, I might be tempted.......
If some Michigan residents have their way, Ted Nugent will be running for governor of the state in 2006.

Following the recent election of Jennifer Granholm as Michigan governor, radio station WOOD-AM in Grand Rapids asked its listeners who they'd like to see oppose her in four years. The survey is still going on, but Nugent has been named in about 90 percent of the responses every day, beating out others such as speaker of the Michigan House Rick Johnson and former Lieutenant Governor Dick Posthumus.

Monday, November 18, 2002

What to do now?
I worked like crazy today to get things under control because I thought I was going in to work tomorrow. Tonight I found out that they won’t be needing me tomorrow morning, which had me disappointed because I had already planned what the boys would be doing with Dad while I was out. Plus I would be out of the house for the sturm und drang I expect will accompany the installation of a new kitchen sink and faucet. (This whole thing started with just a little it is a cascade) So I calmed myself down, made peace with the fact that my pay check would be a bit smaller, and decided to use the time tomorrow to catch up with the school work that we are always a little behind in. Plus the boys could watch the sink installation and learn some home type skills. (And, let us hope, no new words from Daddy and Grandpa) Well, by the time I got home from work, I found out that the sink won’t be installed until Thursday. I must start turning it off underneath. Our water bill is going to be outrageous and the drip-drip-drip is pushing the more sensitive family members to the limits of their sanity.

And in the department of drip-drip-drip, Em called me at church tonight to remind me to hustle the kids out during the very early morning (i.e. 4:00am) hours to see the Leonid meteor showers. If the weather persists, the only showers we’ll see are of the watery variety. I’m sure I’ll wake up early anyway, so I must look out the window to see if things have cleared up. Would hate to miss a golden opportunity.
I had a suspicion....
that someone had hacked into my blog.............I was right. It was my beautiful, brilliant daughter Emily adding a comment feature. I’m so excited. And all she asks of me is that I not perform Love Shack in public. Thanks, Em!!!
Just another good reason........
for me to not go to the Highland Park Ben & Jerry’s for Karaoke night.
(The other being that my public performance of Love Shack is some sort of crime against humanity.)
This from Religious Left Watch.

I’ve always been a little suspicious of Ben & Jerry’s flaky philosophy. The Foundation will only consider proposals from grassroots, constituent-led organizations that are organizing for systemic social change. We support programs and projects that are examples of creative problem-solving. I really thought La Leche League fit that description, but I guess our local group wasn’t edgy enough to qualify for a small grant to support some of our local outreach activities. (Heaven knows the members ate enough of their products, especially during those crucial craving times during pregnancy.)

In the interest of fairness, I must say that this is a company that appears to treat its employees well. My f-i-l worked out in Burlington doing some private consulting on their water system. He was given the standard employees’ Friday afternoon allotment of 6 pts. of any flavors he wished. I think they even wrapped it with dry ice so he could tote it back to Chicago.
If I'm going to be in the dog house, this is the dog I want to be:

cartoon dog are you?

Brought to you by the good folks at

Thanks to Amy Kropp (another Mr. Peabody). I can come pretty close to Droopie Dog on a bad day, but so this must be a good sign!

Eddie - wear something respectable.......
in fact, this might be a good time to rekindle that necktie obsession........
Homeschoolers get knock
on door from police
Despite law, superintendent sends out squad cars to ensure compliance....

Good Lord, this is happening in northeastern Illinois.
Maybe I should be holding a dental instrument everytime I answer the door. (No, too threatening), make sure Eddie doesn’t mix stripes and plaids and keep Mozart playing at all times.

"Cor mundum crea in me Deus"
Davey’s mom has this as a family motto. That’s so cool. (And it brings back memories, as we always sang Create in me a clean heart, oh Lord, etc. after communion back in my Lutheran days. I still include it as part of my thanksgiving prayer after communion now.)

Rick’s done a lot of geneological work on the von Huben family, he has a family crest but I have no idea if they have a motto.

We have, at times, toyed with the idea of coming up with our own motto. We’ve pretty much narrowed it down to:

We never ever do nothin’ nice and easy.........we always do it nice.......and rough (with thanks to Ike and Tina Turner)

Helter Skelter

What’s that smell? (just a bunch of sensitive noses)

Sic semper tyrannis (this is what I get when I propose the children pick a Latin motto, no e pluribus unum from this bunch

Sunday, November 17, 2002

This is your President.....this is your President on drugs
A historian reveals that late President Kennedy was beset by more medical problems than anyone knew about. While such stoicism is admirable, there is something unsettling about knowing that the country was under the guidance of someone taking so many drugs.

The records were revealed by historian Robert Dallek, who is writing a biography, "An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963," to be published next year by Little, Brown.

Dallek was allowed to examine the documents last spring by a committee of three longtime Kennedy family associates, who for decades refused all requests to look at the records. He reviewed the documents with the assistance of physician Jeffrey A. Kelman, but was not allowed to make photocopies, the newspaper said.

Their findings appear in the December issue of The Atlantic.

As president, Kennedy was famous for having a bad back, and since his death, biographers have pieced together details of other illnesses, including persistent digestive problems and Addison's disease, a life-threatening lack of adrenal function, the newspaper said.

The records reveal that Kennedy variously took codeine, Demerol and methadone for pain; Ritalin, a stimulant; meprobamate and librium for anxiety; barbiturates for sleep; thyroid hormone; and injections of a blood derivative, gamma globulin, presumably to combat infections.

Even the adrenal thing is a bit scary. Having been through a spell of about 6 weeks in which my husband was being treated for a life-threatening overload of adrenal function, I know just how very special our adrenals are to us. The adrenal suppressing drugs (which I’ve probably mentioned before are also prescribed by vets for ‘angry’ dogs) turned the pater familias into something close to a zombie that I really was reluctant to leave in charge of the children while I went to the convenience store.

Maybe I’m paranoid, but the idea of a president jacked up on codeine, Demerol, Ritalin, librium, etc. is a tad scary. This is the President of the United States - habits that may have worked for Elvis (and they didn’t) are frightening in the leader of the free world. Maybe I’m over-reacting. But when I need to grab a few Tylenol 4’s or some Vicodin, I announce my intentions and turn all decision making over to Dad. What should the President do?

Ward, I’m Worried about the Beaver.......
After that St. Gertrude thing yesterday, I have a bad case of Leave it to Beaver on the Brain. Sometimes, in my special convoluted fashion, I refer to Eddie as the Beaver. (Sometimes we call him Teddy, which is also a diminutive of Theodore, which was Beaver’s real name - makes sense, right?)

Last night, after we said our bedtime prayers, Eddie said that he wanted to make sure he went to heaven so he could be with me. Well, I’m flattered that he thinks I’m on the right ‘track,’ but those seem to be heavy thoughts for a little boy. Then he said I shouldn’t worry about anyone wanting to shoot me because he’d take the bullet for me. I’m touched by such chivalry, but worried about why he’s thinking about all this. Maybe I need to protect him from the news more. Maybe I need to protect him from everything more.

Let’s Keep Our Sunny Side Up
In the interest of sounding optimistic, let me just say that the Little Tikes castle on our deck looks just lovely with a nice application of snow. That said, the snow is now free to melt.......

Saturday, November 16, 2002

But the prices are reasonable.......
Mark Sullivan has some interesting links about The School of the Americas, including two (1, 2) , models of T-shirts that are available.
When I joke to my sister about getting a School of the Americas T-shirt for her perpetually protesting friend in Madison, this isn’t exactly what I’m thinking about. [I had in mind something more along the lines of My Son and My Money go to The School of the Americas or Daddy Went to The School of the Americas and all he brought me was this lousy t-shirt or School of the Americas - Gold Medal Class of Aught 2 - yes, indeed, I did decide to watch The Music Man!]

I see where they want to go with these shirts, but they’re just not making it. Model #2 is so ‘all over the place,’ that I’d be afraid of anyone staring at my bod long enough to take in all the information. I, too, would like to see an end to ‘impunity’ but I don’t know if wearing this shirt is going to bring that about. I’d go with #1 - a little simpler, more concise.
You got trouble my friend......

trouble, with a capital T, and that rhymes with D, and that stands for Decision.
Channel 11 (PBS in Chicago) has Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
Pax TV has The Music Man.

The Music Man is probably the best all-around musical of all time. (Yes, even beating out Anything Goes.) I don't think I've ever seen all of Seven Brides. I can't even think of a song from the show. But it might be interesting to watch. We read in our Latin book that this just one in a long line of works of art based on the rape of the Sabine women. I've seen the paintings. I know the story. But working this in with singing/dancing lumberjacks (they are lumberjacks, right?) might be too much of a stretch. We'll see.

Mr. Potato Head is 50!

The TV just had a tribute to Mr. Potato Head. I remember when Mr Potato Head was a kit of of little pieces on sharp pin-like protrusions that we had to poke into real potatoes. They would get a little mushy after a while - but unlike the choke-proof, sanitary toy of today, a child really had an original piece of work every time he played with it. You just couldn't become too attached to any particular Mister.


I'm turning off the TV. When I start getting cynical, it's time to pull the plug. Harley Earle just came on and said he came back to build me a really great car. And I told Mr. Earle to tell my father to come back and buy it for me.

Now I’m Really Confused
I tried to get to Tom Abbott’s blog and I get some sort of Scandinavian blog instead. (DaghtatorBlog). Huh? I’m so confused. I did this using my usual bookmarks, so I know it’s not just a goofy typo.
St. Gertrude
I have been going through a great spell of distractibility. When I'm trying the hardest is when it hits me the worst. All I could think of at Mass today, at the mention of St. Gertrude, was Eddie Haskell. Remember how he would always refer to people as Gertrude as a put down? (e.g. - I could say to Fran about the ferrets, "Nice try, Gertrude.") Some days it takes so little to send my mind wandering......
Ixnay on the Erretfay
Frances has attempted to fill the empty spot in our hearts, left by the departure of Mr. Frog to his natural habitat, with a pair of spayed, de-scented ferrets with all shots etc. I was under the impression that there was no rabies vaccine for ferrets and that was one really good reason not to have them as pets. Well, maybe things have changed. Fran is in the animal care industry and should know. But I still don't want the ferrets. To use another favorite phrase of my late father's, "We need those (fill in the blank - in this case, ferrets) like a social disease." That about sums it up.

"Christina Aguilera Skank Watch"
Sorry, that was just too gross to pass by.
Thanks to Dylan for this link to the usually verbose Michelle Malkin’s struggle to find the words to explain Christina Aguilera to her young daughter.

"I don't see anything wrong with being comfortable with my own skin," Aguilera snaps defensively, as she strikes another gangsta pose and shows off her ridiculous body piercings-which Rolling Stone has painstakingly diagrammed for the masses.

I recall reading somewhere that Ms. Aguilera’s amount of ‘skin comfort’ is indicative of a certain degree of mental/emotinal disturbance. And the proliferation of wannabe clones is proof that some types of imbalance are indeed contagious.
Beauty Hint...or a little dab will do ya
I am about to plug a commercial product. The only interest I have in promoting this is:
a - a genuine desire to share a truly fabulous find
b - a genuine desire to see that this company prospers so that I can buy my yearly tube of product.
c - in thanks for all the years I was able to get by with samples brought home from LLL conferences.

Men who may be squeamish may stop reading now. But you may want to bite the bullet, fight your embarrassment and forge on..........or don’t call me crying this winter when you have cracked knuckles and chapped lips.

I spent more than a decade as a La Leche League leader helping new mothers with their nursing babies. During this time I was introduced to a product called Lansinoh, which is ultra-pure medical grade lanolin. This was one product that I recommended without reservations, knowing that once a woman no longer needed it for cracked or chafed nipples (remember, God put them there for a purpose) it was also great for diaper rash, baby and toddler chapped (facial) cheeks and a variety of uses for everyone in the family. The approximately $10 a tube always makes me ‘pucker’ for a moment, but when compared to what is sold at the Clinique or Estee Lauder counter, this is a steal. It is non-toxic. You can use it alone on lips, blend it with lipstick to make a colored gloss, a dab on the outside of the eye is a nice hedge against crow’s feet, it is marvelous for chapped hands, elbows, etc. It helps heal small cuts (like, say, the 101 tiny paper cuts I sustained at work while stuffing envelopes the other day) Because it is an animal product (from the wool processing, no lambies are killed to make it, with the allergenic wool alcohols removed) it is more harmonious with human skin than a petroleum based product. It does not form an occlusive barrier (the way Vaseline does) that can actually trap bacteria and fungi against the skin.

Oh, and 1 tube lasts our family for at least a year. Provided the chain of possession stays in my control. It can be purchased in the baby products department of many drug stores (Lansinoh for Nursing Mothers) and the very same product is also packaged and sold in foot care departments. That package can spare those who do not want to carry around a tube that says “nipple care” on it. It says it is for your feet, but it is safe for your lips and everything else, too.

Oh, well, time for my ‘beauty’ routine and off to work............
The 92nd Street Y
is no ordinary nursery school.
I’m having trouble imagining this. Having visited a friend who lived at the Y in Madison, WI when there was a shortage of dorm space at the U, the mental image is amusing. I wouldn’t let any child of mine, under or over 18, into that Y. So we must be thinking totally different Y’s here.

This is a great story......if you enjoy a story about the objectification of human beings.
"Your child reflects on you," says Glickman. "Just as the car you drive is important, so is the place you send your child to school.

......So admissions night at the most exclusive private nursery schools resembles a convention of elegantly attired traveling salesmen, everyone flacking their kids to anyone who will listen.

"They all look and sound like Willy Loman and they all want to be your very best friend," said the former private-school board member. "You just thank your stars that your child is already in."

Yes, I’m sincerely thanking more than my stars that I’ve been spared that kind of stress.
Their laundress must be thrilled......
In a strange case of substance abuse, Sac State players admit spraying the slippery cooking oil on themselves last week.

Here’s where the story turns sad:
"The thing we want to consider is that the players didn't know what they did was wrong," Wanless said. "I think they should have known better, but as you know, sometimes young people make mistakes. And the thing we're trying to do is make sure that these young people learn from those mistakes.
These weren’t kindergarteners, they were college men.
I hope, at the very least, this moral lapse didn’t utilize the garlic or buttery flavored spray.

Friday, November 15, 2002

Design Contest Update
How about pause the contest and help me find my archives?
Was that too rude? Am I biting the hand that publishes me? I'm sorry?
Help for the restless....
on what looks to be rainy week-end. At least here in Chicago. (Maybe I need to get a Weather Pixie?) Amy Kropp has prepared a lovely list of museums that have links for virtual tours. This will be fun to check out. Nice to remember places we’ve been and check out some we haven’t gotten to yet. (It is not easy for an art history major to admit that she has never been to the Met in NY) Plus, no exorbitant parking fees and absolutely no danger of people wandering off. Although, if you could lose someone on a virtual tour, I have the perfect virtual subjects.
Let’s Be Careful...
The article about the ‘protest toddlers’ in Berkeley has shown up all over the place. It is quite revolting - though good for a few laughs, too, especially if you look at the pictures. They still believe in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus. They don’t know how to spell their last names or tie their own shoes. But they do know that “war is bad,” and that “Bush is a bully.”

Seeing this reminds me of my sister being confronted by her daughter’s declaration that Al Gore is a ‘baby killer,’ according to new school friends. As much as I despise the Democratic Party’s anti-life policies, I am likewise put off the reduction of a complex issue to a simple catch-phrase. Children do need to be taught about right and wrong, good and evil. But this must be done in an age appropriate manner. If the best pro-life education you can give your children is that ‘Al Gore is a baby killer,’ perhaps the kids aren’t ready to discuss it at all. Or to discuss specific individuals. Because you and I can understand Mr. Gore’s complicity in the death of thousands of unborn Americans doesn’t mean that it is a concept to be grasped by the first-grade mind. Setting the children up with a construct that is so easily refuted in the young mind (Al Gore kills babies? Well, only if he bores them to death....) may plant seeds of doubt about any future instruction in this area.

Oh........and maybe I’m put off by the child holding the poster with the peace signs and “Why Fight? - We Don’t.” So...........should we go to war because my boys could come up with a sign that says, “Let’s duke it out.........we least once an hour?”
Blast from the not too distant past.....
Gwen writes on Regina Caeli about her daughter’s fascination with Fisher Price Little People. There was a time when those people were everywhere in our home. We gave a lot away when we moved, but I’m sure we still have a big Rubbermaid tote full of the stuff I couldn’t bear to part with. Little People and Playmobil and toys of that ilk have been so wonderful. Some children are naturally driven to ‘act things out.’ When Bridget didn’t have Little People at hand, she would put on little plays with crayons. There was a time when I wasn’t familiar with the Charlotte Mason idea of story ‘narration,’ but we sure were doing a lot of it. That reminds me - it’s almost time to figure out where I packed the Playmobil nativity set. That is excellent tool for learning the nativity story.
I must write later about why we allow a pig to show up.........tho we all know he shouldn’t be there.

Gotta go. The Simpsons Focusyn episode is on. My favorite......
Amy Kropp....
didn’t fall asleep at the switch last night, so she was able the see the Front Line episode - Let’s Get Married. I hope it will be re-run, it would be interesting. Amy’s take was that is was high-quality and interesting television, but not exactly anything new. For example, “And the solutions proposed by the modern "marriage movement" are nothing more than the teachings on chastity and marriage that the Catholic Church has been teaching for years.

She looked at the quotes and quips from the Front Line website. (These could come in handy if pressed to whip up a wedding/anniversary card at home!) I think we favored the same quote:
"Romeo and Juliet, Lancelot and Guinevere, Rhett and Scarlett, even Jack and Rose from the cinematic tale of the Titanic -- each snuffed out their powerful love while the heat of passion was turned up full blast. Why? Because it couldn't last. The heat of passion was never meant to. Can you imagine Romeo and Juliet grocery shopping?" Exactly.

I have told my daughters that the only reason Jack was the love of Rose’s life was that he slipped into the icy Atlantic. That kind of goofy, idealized love just cannot withstand real life. Jack and Rose might have actually been able to have a long and loving marriage, but the elderly Rose would have been ranting about Jack kickings his socks off under the table and leaving his Jockey’s behind the bathroom door instead of in the hamper 18 inches away. Ooops. I’m projecting my own experience onto this, right?

I’ve wondered, too, if Romeo and Juliet was the best Shakespeare introduction for young, hormonally stimulated teenagers. Now, as a responsible parent, I see the dramatic portrayal of the consequences of not obeying one’s parents combined with impulsive behavior. When I was 15, watching three matiness in a row on a Sunday afternoon at the Rivoli Theatre in beautiful Cedarburg, Wisconsin, this was all about true
I guess in the long run, my ideas of marriage were shaped by my happy childhood and my parents’ enduring committment to each other. If I were wacky and litigious, tho, I could sue the Cedarburg school district for warping my perspective and setting me up for bad decisions based on love at first sight. I wasted several years of my life pursuing bad relationships based on true love. Hmm. Maybe I should include Franco Zefferelli and the Rivoli Theatre, too.
What the heck, I’ll include the makers of SweeTarts and Root Beer Barrels just to ‘sweeten’ the deal.
Another von Huben hassled by the Man!
Our neighborhood has been over run with State Police working as subcontractors for our unincorporated township to cut down on traffic problems. I can’t say that I feel any safer. There are probably major drug related felonies being committed in the apartment complex nearby.....but there is no mercy for those who may commit a rolling stop.

My husband was stopped and ticketed for not stopping properly. And because he was going from the Citgo to McDonald’s (one block) he had failed to buckle his belt. So that cost $55 dollars.

That same day I was stopped for driving ‘suspiciously’ on my own street. Too many trips up and down my street is suspicious. It’s a cul-de-sac - we can’t just go around the block. That officer narked on my husband and his seat belt ticket. (I may have ranted about this before, but I can’t seem to check my, I’ll rant again) He should have followed me home to witness a near murder. (“$55 - Are you out of your mind?”........) I have always been a seat-belt fanatic and having a serious accident about 8 years ago made me even more adamant. And then to lose $55 dollars to stupity......

So now I count 1-potato, 2-potato at every stop sign. On my way home this morning I saw flashing lights ahead and a familiar vehicle. Poor Frances was pulled over for turning in to her place of employment, which is technically illegal because turns are banned on many streets here, during certain hours, to prevent people from taking shortcuts around our major convergence of two big roads. The thought that went thru my head is that Fran is on our insurance (as of a week ago) but we had not yet received an insurance card for her car. So I parked and ran up to the officer waving my insurance card, but it was too late. The ticket was already written. Oh, well, the ticket for the turn is just a warning that will be dismissed because she has ‘business’ on that street. And then she can run up to court with proof of insurance any time soon. That should be easy since she has had to drive so many of her dubious friends to the same traffic court.

As for me........I haven’t been as nervous behind the wheel since I took my driver’s test thirty years ago. I’m not giving the Man any reasons to hassle me........

And I feel sorry for the Man, too. I don’t think these people went into State law enforcement to stake out suburban neighborhoods to crack down on minor traffic violations. These can’t be the best days of their careers, either.
Hey, I think I’ve met this lady........or someone just like her!
This from the The Onion
Upper-Middle-Class Woman Worries There's Better Coffee She Doesn't Know About
DEERFIELD, IL—Upper-middle-class homemaker Irene Risser expressed fear Monday that there exists a gourmet coffee superior to the brands she currently buys. "I have Kona Coffee's peaberry flavor, which is really terrific, and I also like to buy Sumatran Rainforest," Risser said. "But I still worry that somewhere out there, someone has better, more expensive coffee than I do." Risser then went on the Internet to search for $25-a-pound breakfast blends.

It’s 7:20 am...
Netscape has crashed twice already. And the weather man just let go with a $600 string of profanity - snow showers.
Not that snow is bad. Walking in the snow is fun. Playing in the snow is fun. It’s so nice to sit curled up with a book on a snowy night. It’s the driving in the white fluffy stuff that is so unnerving.
This is one girl.........
who’s going to be careful while talking in Chicago.

Not that non-stop profanity is problem for me anyway. But I don’t want to chance a $300 fine. Not if I cut off my thumb trying to extract a balky Trib from a newsbox. Or if someone would back over my foot with a Hummer. Not a word. Not at the cost of $300, per.
What really made me laugh in this article, was someone rationalizing that everybody is cursing so it is a useless law. (Where have we heard this rationale before?) "If they enforce this ordinance, the majority of Chicago would be in jail," National Black United Front spokesman Conrad Worrill told the Chicago Defender. "I think it's infantile." Well, I ‘ve heard some infantile language on the street, too. As in “what the f*** you doin’ you f****** a******........You know what I mean. And the nice thing about infantile behavior is, that with the proper motivation, we grow out of it.

And who will be the first person to go to court with the Tourrette’s defense? (I’m not being nasty here - we have Tourrettic family members so that entitles me to the occassional crass joke....)

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Have an error-free computer 24 hours a day!
This is a promising banner. But we already have a bunch of them. On a shelf in the garage.
Not plugged in. Not doin’ nothin’. 100% error-free. 24/7.
Bill Gates Welcomed with Huge Condom
Between this and Michael Jackson, who needs the National Enquirer?
(And thank heaven this article didn’t have a picture.)

How many times........
can Netscape crash in one day? Six hours left to go.

Nice Surprise
As of Tuesday, we were waiting for one last shipment of the school curricula that I ordered at the beginning of September. Several items from Greenleaf Press were back ordered. Since these were not desperately needed, I told them I was willing to just wait until they had everything and then they could ship it all. So on Tuesday the UPS man showed up at the door with my box of books. And they refunded my shipping. I thought that was nice. Just really unexpected, upstanding and nice.

Greenleaf Press is fun and so excellent for history materials. Yes, they are Protestant and so we do have to be careful with certain materials. (I’ll pass on Famous Men of the Renaissance/Reformation, for sure.) But most of their stuff is sound and they are not rabidly anti-Catholic. (Unlike some other Protestant homeschooling concerns that would probably spray my order form to get rid of any Catholic cooties.) If you are fairly well-informed on the pitfalls of Protestant children’s literature, you can navigate the Greenleaf catalog safely. (e.g. - skip the Henty.)
Wish we could get together for Breakfast with the Beatles!
Oh, the discussions that the Beatle/Theologians of Blogdom could have.
Bill White is an Abbey Road Karl Barth!
I’m seeing a lot of Augustines out there.......
It’s fun to see the theologian quiz results on lots of blogs. Now , perhaps, we should combine this with the Beatles quiz as a modifier. For example, I am an Abbey Road Augustine. And Dylan is a Revolver Karl Barth.

An Idea!
I was reading (while at the dentist, of course) that when Mario Puzo began writing The Godfather, he was $20,000 in debt with a wife and five children to support. And now, Random House is looking for a successor to write a continuation of The Godfather. They hope to find someone in approximately the same situation with the potential to write a new ‘classic.’ Who do I know with lots of kids and debt? Hmmmm......

Oh, well, that’s the extent of my qualifications. If debt and kids made authors, I’d be a regular on the New York Times bestseller list. Everything I know about Italian organized crime families, I learned from watching The Godfather. (It was on Bravo again last night!) Being in reduced circumstances, we don’t have HBO so I’ve never even seen The Sopranos. (I would like to see Six Feet Under - but not enough to actually pay money for the privilege)

Time to get going. Thursday is always busy. Must remember to leave note near phone telling everyone not to hang up if Random House calls.

Gotta run.........sounds like the shower is free........this could be my last chance this morning........

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

I do like those tough issues. Em called me at work to ask me if I was really that bothered by Santa Clause2. Now she has me going all over again. I may lose sleep over it....
Maybe I'd like to try again...........but I have to 'give the computer back' in ten minutes, so I guess I'll just go with it........

"God will not suffer man to have the knowledge of things to come; for if he had prescience
of his prosperity he would be careless; and understanding of his adversity he would be senseless."

You are Augustine!

You love to study tough issues and don't mind it if you lose sleep over them.
Everyone loves you and wants to talk to you and hear your views, you even get things like "nice debating
with you." Yep, you are super smart, even if you are still trying to figure it all out. You're also
very honest, something people admire, even when you do stupid things.

What theologian are you?

A creation of Henderson

Question for the day....
Amy Welborn has some interesting info on a bad egg who wants to have himself excommunicated. She asks...All of which raises an interesting question: what, exactly, does a person have to do to get kicked out of the Catholic Church these days?hmmm...

This would make good dinner conversation tonight. If I were to be here for dinner, but a fortuitous convergence of opportuniites allows me to work today - all day and into the evening. Rick will be in charge of the educational process. So by dinner, I don’t think he’ll want to discuss Church law with the kids. That’s OK. Just so everybody doesn’t regress and the house is in one piece when I get home.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Amy Welborn.....
has found the perfect real estate/business opportunity that I’ve been seeking........
Holy Land U.S.A., a 18-acre park of Catholic-oriented religious kitsch — much of it miniaturized and built with scrap machine parts — was once one of Connecticut's largest tourist attractions, a spiritual lodestone to more than 200,000 visitors a year from all over the East Coast. But after 44 years, Holy Land, closed since 1984 and now administered by nuns who live on the hilltop property, desperately needs a rescuer — preferably someone with a lot of money. (from the NYTimes)

That was interesting......
Davey’s mom has a link to the Goldberg Depression Inventory. I think I’ll try it again after I return from the dentist. I didn’t quite beat her score. But on a good (bad?) day I could give her a run for her money.

I took the WebMD bipolar test that I was ranting about the other day. Those results were not encouraging, either. I think I was a bit severe in picking my could be skewed differently if I were more ‘careful.’ But since Rick was once in business with a real certifiable bipolar person, he’ll know when to call for help. I hope. (Em - you know what I mean? I haven’t taken off for Wisconsin on a bicycle because the Mafia is trying to kill me and has bugged all my phones and my father-in-law has is in cahoots with them and has only faked his death to lure me into a trap and I’m calling my business partner to contact the FBI and get me into the witness protection program even tho I’m not really a witness to any specific crime...........)
Fashion Alert!
Have been informed by family members that there is a word for a woman who is still wearing her super comfortable Land’s End Cobalt Blue EVA-soled web thong sandals during the second week in November. And it is not discalced.

Just another manic.....Tuesday
Dr. Dictionary hasn’t sent my word for the day yet, so I don’t know how to approach the schedule ahead of me.

So many things on the docket:
Get to bank
Go to dentist for final filling after r**t c***l. This will cost me a lot of time. But there should be a new People on the magazine rack, so at least I’ll stagger out well informed. I can shave time off of Church by not staying after with the Rosary group - I’ll pray in the chair.
Purge house of strange smell from scorched cookie sheet. This is vaguely reminiscent of the acrid smell on an airport tarmac. Luckily, the toxic fumes from the crushed red pepper incident have gone. Daddy accidentally made ‘pepper gas’ while helping prepare the ribs. Let’s just say dinner last night was not what it could have been. (But this tied in well with our Veterans’ Day discussion of toxic gases used in combat - really)
Do our school work. (Yesterday was a jello-to-the-wall day. If I were paid to do this job, I would have seriously considered tendering my resignation.) I’m too out of shape for the Marines, I possess no circus worthy skills, and I have failed to find a single religious order that will take a late in life vocation who wishes to abandon her minor children. So I’m stuck.
Wish Martha were home all day. Then I could catch her for a one hour Martha drill. (As her name implies - St. Martha meets Martha Stewart - she likes housework.) Company is coming for dinner and I could use some help making the place look civilized.
Change all light bulbs to 40 Watts before company arrives.
Quit bitching and set the table. The company is providing 90% of the dinner. I just have to whip up some red beans and rice. I’m getting off easy and still I’m ‘tweaking out.’
Purge house of that strange smell........somehow........

Monday, November 11, 2002

I Just Can’t Let This Drop - has a good review of The Santa Clause2. This is the only review I’ve seen that mentions the disturbing trend of normalization of divorce. And it discusses Santa’s marriage as not a church wedding, but is officiated by Mother Nature (“By the power vested in me by me”). With that, the de-Christianization of Saint Nicholas is complete. Of course he can’t get married in the Church, ‘cuz he’s not really free to marry. Why can’t I let this go? It’s just bugging me so.....

I heard an interesting ad on the radio yesterday. For a watch store. The announcer asks, “What does your watch say about you?” There may be some truth in this....unusual, of a ‘certain’ age, and wound way too tight.
Qualified ‘thanks’ to Tom Abbott for the link to Planned Parenthood’s latest assault on the sensibilities of our society and the innocence of our children - ‘Sextionary' Defines Planned Parenthood's Agenda for Teens. I wish ignorance could be bliss.......but we’re better off knowing what’s out there.

And because I’m the kind of girl who licks a hot frying pan, I went to the PP TeenWire site and clicked on the ‘Sextionary’ link. Un - be - liev - able. Sick, slick and beyond belief. Check it out if you must. Don’t be surprised if you want to swab your computer with alcohol afterwards.
Here is an excerpt of an e-mail I received today....

As theater managers around the nation prepared for the release of 8 Mile the PTC sent letters to every national theater chain in the country asking them to be diligent and not allow children in to see the R-rated film. In many cases the PTC’s call for corporate responsibility fell on deaf ears, but many theaters did heed the call and took extra steps so underage moviegoers would not see this film.

The PTC conducted spot checks around the country and found that in Los Angeles, Alexandria, VA and Miami underage kids as young as 14 were able to purchase tickets and gain admittance to the film 8 Mile. In Kansas City; Chicago; South Plainfield, NJ; Mountainside, NJ; and Boise, ID, children sent to theaters were not able to gain admittance.

I can understand how this lack of vigilance is possible, since the theaters I frequent always seem to be understaffed. There are often just barely enough employees to sell tickets and keep the popcorn popping. And most of the employees are of approximately the same age as the patrons, giving them little or no gravitas. How much of an enforcer role can they play with the people that they may see in homeroom on Monday morning?

Wouldn’t it be great if theaters would allow volunteer folks (along the lines of Guardian Angels - perhaps with colored berets) to help monitor the flow of patrons? With most of the dreck on the screens today, the average parent's motivations would certainly be pure. Heaven knows I wouldn’t volunteer to stand around a theater so I could sneak a glimpse of 8 Mile or Jackass. I’d volunteer - especially if they threw in complimentary popcorn and cherry Coke.
Serial Monogamy Alert!!!
J-Lo is engaged.

Where Will I Go? What Will I Do?
One of the other part-time people at work asked me to swap hours with her, leaving me home tonight. With the exception of Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, Memorial and Labor Days, this is the only Monday night (and an unstructured one at that!) I will have spent at home since I started working at church in September 2001. My whole Monday schedule is predicated on finishing necessary work and getting out of here by 4:00pm. So what do I do now? Play with the computer because I can push the whole day back a few hours? hmmm......

I have a backlog of 7th Heaven episodes that Chuck has been devotedly recording for me. Maybe tonight I’ll just jump in and see what’s happening currently. It is with some trepidation that I admit to watching this saccharine piece of work. I find it amusing, on the one hand, that a family whose head is an ordained clergyman can speak so little of God. The fact that Eric Camden is a clergyman is probably considered just edgy enough for TV, never mind invoking the deity.

A few other gripes.........
 They always use the same stock shot of the indredibly well kept Camden homestead. The sun is always shining.......

 Everyone is well dressed for a family on a tight budget.

 The kids’ big screw ups are pretty small potatoes compared to real life

 For a family with voracious children and friends, they never seem to run out of food. Mom doesn’t burst into tears on the way home from the grocery store.......

 The young people spend way too much time in amorous relationships for characters that are supposedly chaste. They are always (to my critical eye) pushing the limits of physical relationships but never going too far. I would say they are pushing their luck.

 They have a big family which is the natural product of one marriage, not the by-product of a string of funky relationships.

 They acknowledge God - however minimally - which is scarce on TV unless you’re watching a show that is trying use ‘religious’ as shorthand for stupid, regressive, intolerant, crazy, etc.

 They have plotlines that can earily mirror my own life. Two years ago I found tremendous comfort in watching Annie Camden grapple with her discomfort in taking in a homeless young man. This just happened to come at a time when a homeless friend of our kids’ was living on our couch a tad longer than I had anticipated.

So maybe we’ll just pop some corn tonight and see what the Camdens are up to now......

St. Isidore Foundation

I cannot live under pressures from patrons, let alone paint.
-- Michelangelo, quoted in Vasari's Lives of the Artists

Meet the Family...
Collect the Action Figures

Yes, three jade ribbons. 15 Years!
(not all the same child)
If you need to ask, you may not wish to know.

Site Meter