Monday, December 09, 2002

I agree.....
with Ms. Shaidle’s assessment of It’s a Wonderful Life as a not particularly sentimental movie:
So I'm glad Colby Cosh agrees with me: People always say It's a Wonderful Life is sentimental. The film's few gentle sexual innuendos pretty much negate that. It can be pretty gritty. It has a boarding house, for God's sakes.

And besides: sentimentality is the cornerstone of fascism, and one would be hard pressed to find a less fascistic film.

Do read the Colby Cosh article. It brings up things I had never thought of before......such as the pre-figurement of old embittered Mrs. Bailey running a boarding house when George exclaims about his “last meal at the ol’ Bailey boarding house.”

I was always taken with the ease with which Violet’s character was drawn from the very beginning:
Violet: I like him.
Mary: You like every boy.
Violet: What’s wrong with that?

It’s not a sentimental movie. (Unlike a movie I heard advertised on the radio yesterday - repeatedly - with Vanessa Redgrave intoning, “listen to your feelings.”) George Bailey may have listened to his feelings. But he didn’t necessarily act on them. We see a certain melancholy bitterness in his character - or some people just see a chump. It’s a Wonderful Life is a bittersweet reassurance, with just enough Christmas schmaltz, for all the George Baileys of the world - born older - who do the right thing, do not follow their bliss and make the world a better place for their being in it.
Attention CheeseHeads.......
This news alert courtesy of Amy Welborn.

About 600 people gathered Saturday for a dedication ceremony at the Father Solanus Casey Center, built in memory of the patient and quiet man who began the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in 1929. That charity now serves 2,500 meals a day.

Casey is being considered for sainthood, which would make him the first American-born man elevated to that status in the Catholic Church. He is entombed in a chapel at St. Bonaventure Church, which underwent a $13 million renovation for the center connected to it. Private donations financed the project.

That would make the first American-born male saint a Wisconsin native. (Is this where I should insert a GO BADGERS!!!?) I ask his intercession on a daily basis for my sister’s conversion. (I figured since she was living in Hudson and he grew up around Hudson, he would be a logical intercessor.........the fact that she is considering joining the Church is pretty miraculous to me!)
Our Lady of Guadalupe Prayer Vigil Redux
We had a turnout that was three times the attendance of last year’s prayer vigil.
In all honesty, we had 4 people last year. But this year was colder.
Everyone who came for coffee and cookies brought cookies, so we turned the social hour into an ad hoc cookie exchange. So we all went home with cookies other than those we brought.
We prayed. It was a good day.
Things I found.....
while looking in my closet for the smooth plastic rod (it ‘fell’ off of the blinds in my bedroom two years ago) that is perfect for holding the cloth image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

  • the beret Karen brought from Paris for Rick. Why couldn’t we find it when somebody wanted to take it to French class?
  • A set of post-op CT films dated 12/96. We’ll keep those for science class. Innards will be more interesting when we know the owner.
  • One Gap pique knit polo shirt - coral pink. Will come in handy next summer.
  • Several foreign coins

The rod was never found. Rick didn’t like my idea of trying to break the other rod off of the blinds. I don’t adjust the blinds, so what’s the point, right? Oh, well. Luckily we were able to hustle up something in the garage. So much for hiding things in a ‘safe’ place.
looks like Em beat me to the punch....... Thanks, Hon. Wish you were here to party with us!
...Another big red letter day for the von Hubens.
Eddie is 9 today.
Happy Born Day Eddie

Happy Birthday Mom!

Can't believe that the peanut is nine! Wow!


Sunday, December 08, 2002

Ceci n’est pas un bebe.

I think Victor Lams has locked up the winning entry in the Planned Parenthood Poster Contest.
(I’m not just saying this because we’re Magritte fans and have Ceci n’est pas une pipe as our desk top ‘art.’) This says it all.

Beset By Early Waking?
Finished your prayers? Done some reading? Still don’t want to get out of your toasty bed?
Religion and Ethics News Weekly might not be the best way to start the day.......

I flipped on the TV and came in on a discussion of embryonic stem cell research and cloning. I want to read the whole transcript of the segment and see if I missed something. There was a poignant plea by an ailing clergyman and his woman-of-the-cloth wife (Reverends Abernethy.... both are United Church of Christ pastors) to see embryonic stem cell as a gift from a God of love, compassion and healing. I didn’t hear too much discussion of the role of suffering in our lives except for a quick nod to Professor Gilbert Meilaender (Theology Department, Valparaiso University) who compares the vulnerability of an embryo to that of Christ on the cross. He believes those among us who are suffering, such as Reverend Abernethy, deserve help, but not if the moral cost is too high.

I don’t want to carp at any one denomination here, but wasn’t it a United Church of Christ pastor who was pleading the case of a ‘pro-choice Jesus’ on the O’Reilly factor?

I missed the segment on the bankruptcy implications for the Archdiocese of Boston, but did catch the piece about the trend towards Cineplex Churches. Interesting concept. Sort of like eating at the food court at the mall - each family member can find what he is craving and then everyone can meet up later. Weird.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Prayer Vigil
Some of you may be familiar with the Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission, which is an endeavor to take the image of Our Lady to every abortion site in North America on the Sunday closest to that feast day.
Many groups will be praying next Sunday, at 3:00 o'clock.
Our Respect Life Committee decided to do it today - we'll be across from the entrance of the lovely Lake Forest Hospital from 2:00 to 3:00. Lake Forest Hospital is the lovely birthplace of many fine locals (including two of my children), it provides wonderful care (it's saved a few of us - from the detached finger nails to the nascent myocardial infarction), but it is also the local abortion site. There are dreadful abortuaries in the city, but we should not forget that the lovely hospital in town with the ivy and Georgian facade is one,also.

We will be serving coffee and cookies in the Church basement afterwards.
Coffee prepared by me...........that's the risky part..........
While I was sleeping.......
Barely made it past the dunk in the swimming pool scene and I was out cold.
Someone woke me up at the end to let me know that ol' George had been bailed out one more time.
So I flossed, brushed and went back to sleep.
It appears that while I was in the arms of Morpheus, my devoted little Embot figured out the perma-link thing. I am so appreciative that I am tempted, but not determined, not to tease her with the fact that when I walked in to the library yesterday, her friend did a double-take and said, "I thought you were Emily!" I am flattered, but Emily is annoyed.

Saturday, December 07, 2002

Wrong? Everything’s wrong! You call this a happy family. Why did we have to have all these kids? - George Bailey, It’s a Wonderful Life
.........Found the official It’s a Wonderful Life Book at the the library today. Lots of pictures, behind the scenes info and the complete script. Now if I could only convince some family members to act it out with me........
Wish I had a million dollars. Hot dog!
It Is a Wonderful Life!
I’m dealing with just a bit of mom guilt, since I am off to work again this morning. Just for a few one will perish in my absence but I feel guilty anyway. The mellifluous tones of my voice are just a phone call away. This makes the kids happy.......though I am still reeling from the call I received at work last spring when Fran was home with the boys..........there was no car here because Dad had run uptown to fetch the Princess from the flower shop. I could barely hear Fran over the blood curdling screams. I was able to discern something about Eddie, lots of blood, tip of his finger. The most worrisome part was the screaming. That little stoic has taken some really gruesome injuries with barely a quiver of the upper lip, so I knew the high decibel wailing meant something. So I told Fran to call 911. I left work right away and by the time I got home, Rick was at the ER while Eddie was having a finger naill re-attached (for protective purposes......certainly not aesthetic. His constant invitations to “look at my nail” made me absolutely faint.) and the girls had cleaned up all the blood. But I carry this with me every time I’m at church and I know there may be a window of time without dad home. (What can I say today? If Eddie hurts himself, call Fran at work? Maybe the vet can stitch him up?)

I’m looking forward to spending the rest of the day with the kids. We’ll do a little more decorating and tonight we’ll plunk down to watch It’s a Wonderful Life on NBC. Pater can’t understand our fascination. I know we’ve seen it a hundred times and have it on tape. But I get a certain feeling of communal enjoyment knowing that millions of other people are watching it at the same time.

It is still one of the best holiday movies. Sweet but not saccharine. As Clarence said, “I like George Bailey.” He is a good man, with a bit of melancholy. (My favorites line: “You call this a happy family? What did we have all these kids for anyway?” Some year I shall find a way to use that on a Christmas card in a way that the children won’t misunderstand and won’t depress the recipients.)

Friday, December 06, 2002

The World is a Carousel of Color........
really!!! Davey’s mom is having trouble with an unenlightened real estate agent who is put off by her purple bathroom. (Heck, that would be one reason for me to buy a house! Purple is great!!!)

I remember a display at the Milwaukee Public Museum that allowed a viewer to experience the visual perception of various animals and insects. That reminds me of how fortunate we are to experience such a beautiful array of colors, both natural and synthetic. When we were debating the strength of the dining room color, I resorted to the position that if God wanted us to see as much beige as possible he would have created a beige world or given us the eyes of fleas or fruit flies or some other color blind lower creature. Color is a gift from God!
Mother, I tweaked your Blog...
I will have the counter fixed this evening.
You know... I could sure use a care package.... maybe some pink cookies or those cherry ones with the mooshmello. Yummy....
Love you
Hi Ho...Hi Ho....
it's off to work I go. Last few days to add to the December 15 paycheck, so I'd best be ready to perform. Dad will have to do the school stuff this morning. At the rate Eddie is reading, he may be on a volume of the Brittanica by the time I return!
I'll do the St. Nicholas lesson. I love doing the saint lessons. We'll pull out the historical atlas and look for Myra. (And I'll do my best not to interject that the most I know about Myra is that it was the name of Jerry Lee Lewis' 13 year-old mind wanders and I must constantly be on guard against sharing every little bit of info that sails through!!!)
If you aren’t familiar.........
with the details of Now vs. Scheidler currently being argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, Rod Dreher’s NRO article can get you caught up. (It’s also a reminder of why these must be trying times for those who hold dual memberships in NOW and PETA.)
Please try to keep this in your prayer intentions........
The best idea I could come up with for the Planned Parenthood poster contest was a stark, minimalist white page with a tiny caption along the lines of I’d like to enter this contest, but I don’t exist......
Victor Lams has some better examples (and they are more politically correct than Planned Parenthood would ever care to admit!) My favorite is Margaret Sanger with a bloody mustache.....

Thursday, December 05, 2002

Trying to stay awake........
I have been in the habit of going to bed relatively early and tonight I must stay alert and be ready to assist St. Nicholas with the filling of the stockings. Just as on Oscar Night, the mere fact that I must not sleep makes me all the drowsier. If I were on top of things, Emily’s stocking would be in the mail and well on its way to her. When I was in college, my parents sent my stocking to me every December and I enjoyed helping my parents prepare my sister’s stocking while she was in Vermont at law school. I’ve carried on this tradition every year also adding little surprises for my neice and nephew. Tonight I had to call Karen and tell her I really dropped the ball this year. Besides the usual gold coins and candy canes, all I have is a CD and an ornament. She graciously said a small box would be fine, since they are living in a tiny townhouse while building their new home and don’t have room for much stuff. The CD should come in handy - she discovered all her Christmas CD’s, videos and a lot of decorations are trapped in a containerized storage unit. Even the stockings. I could hear the kids in the background, decorating tube socks with fabric paint.

Em’s stocking will be whisked away in the morning to prevent pilferage. She is still smarting over last year’s misfortune. Some devious siblings (and not the youngest) gradually helped themselves to all of her candy, leaving her with a stocking of 4 oranges and a laminated guide to growing roses. Very sad. Maybe the saddest St. Nick tale I know of.......with the exception of the year I stole Karen’s marshmallow Santa and lost it to our dachsund while playing keep away. Cleo, the dog, was no worse for the minimal amount of chocolate consumed, but the memory lingers on........It will certainly be recounted in both of our households tomorrow, as we eat chocolate fortified breakfasts.
December 5!!!!
The use of Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas and other popular characters as a means of extorting good behavior from children is abhorent to me. (Santa, in my estimation, is a tangible and understable to the young mind, manifestation of unconditional love.)

That being said, I am leaving for my Bible Study group this morning witht the warning that if the junk isn't cleared off the hearth, St. Nick just won't be able to make it tonight. Nothing personal - I'll just bar the door, not wanting to assume any liability for injuries he might sustain. I want the Troll Trunk removed - it's in the way of having a fire in the fireplace, anyway - the miscellaneous computer cords assigned to some proper home, and all the other books and junk filed somewhere.

This year I may be able to put the wooden shoes on the hearth just for decoration. We found these in the attic of my late uncle's house. My best guess is that they were some sort of shoe related gift to my aunt, who spent over 50 years in the children's shoe business.

These shoes have been problematic the past couple of years. They fit Eddie and he would leave the house and walk up and down the street in them. As if we didn't look weird enough. Last year, they were a tight fit and he needed help to take them off. My wish for this year is that he can't cram his feet into them and we can display them for fun.
Geek Syndrome...
Having one child close to a diagnosis of Asperger’s (We stopped pushing the neuropsychologist and his team for experts for any further diagnoses......It was just our personal decision not to have one more thing written down as a formal diagnosis. This was not some sort of shame thing, heck, we already had found Tourette’s, which is usually good for a scatological laugh on TV and in the movies. We had reached a point of not wanting to see our boy as a list of Syndromes) Now I find out it has become one of the ‘fashionable’ ailments. I remember reading a Time magazine article some years ago in which Bill Gates was analyzed and fit the criteria for an autism diagnosis.

Autism, in its many guises, is an overwhelmingly male affliction, characterised by an abnormality in social development and communication skills and, usually, an obsessional interest in all sorts of weird, mechanistic stuff, from an early age (usually between three and five years). The current thesis among those studying autism holds that the condition is simply an extreme example of male behaviour.

(Engineering, actually, is a good case in point. Asperger’s Syndrome is sometimes called ‘the engineer’s disorder’; the child suffering from Asperger’s is almost always obsessed by the design and mechanism of some kind of machine or other. It is virtually a precondition of the affliction.)

Oh, let’s not quit while we’re on a spousal unit fits a lot of the criteria, too. I’m learning to deal with it. Though it is a trial at times to be with a roomful of men who like to rock back and forth while they talk, think, and compute.....

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

British Museum On-Line Advent Calendar
I found this while cleaning up some files. It says 2001, but when I went to the British Museum site I couldn't find one for 2002, so maybe they just do the same one every year. Worthwhile and fun.......especially for those of us for whom a visit to the British Museum is still in the daydreaming stage.
Gee, thanks Em!
Yes, I am insane. If fiddling with the sitemeter things hadn't already pushed me over the edge, that did it.

I got rid of the site meter after it pooped out after 6 hours yesterday. It's not so much a matter of seeing how many people are reading this......I just want the comfort that I'm not totally talking to myself.
(I get that feeling around home that guy in a movie-of-the-week who was dead but didn't know it. Not as deep as the Sixth Sense, but it made an impression on me. Em knows........she's heard me exclaim, "Am I still alive. I'm talking, but no one is hearing me?")
Here's another one for you mom...
Here is a link which should really test you. Are you Insane?

- Embot
Praise the Lord and Cancel the Peanut Bus
The past several weeks have been quite difficult, schoolwise. Chuck is plugging along admirably, but Eddie has been having a lot of trouble. It has been painful to watch him work up a sweat while struggling with a reader that is actually below his grade level. Working in his phonics work book has been equally dreadful - his face turns red, he grips the pencils so hard they break and just about starts foaming at the mouth all in the course of 4 or 5 exercises. (Yes, 4 or 5 individual questions, not 4 or 5 pages!)

The past day or two have found him making hissing and growling noises when he sees the reader coming out of the cubby. I can see the same pattern of frustration that made school hell for Chuck. Chuck was not the type to vent this frustration at school. He would just come home and go into a rage, perhaps even clobbering a sibling on the way home from the bus stop. There have been moments when I have made comments to Dad about looking into having him studied to find the cause of the problem. (Not that the school and the Reading Recovery Program or the neuro-psych people at Children’s were able to find a magic solution for Chuck.....but I was feeling desperate.) Just to vent my frustrations, I would whisper the term ‘peanut bus’ under my breath. When I was in grade school, the special and remedial students came to school in a smaller bus which we referred to as a peanut bus. My only personal experience with a peanut bus was when the tennis team took one to the State Tournament. So Rick knew what I meant when I would ask, “Is it time for the peanut bus?”

I decided to keep at it with Eddie, but not allow things to get into the area of unpleasant confrontations that have led to readers and workbooks hidden under massive pieces of furniture, feigned illness (for a homeschooler!?!) etc. This morning we plunked down on the couch and I told Eddie just two pages in the reader and then we could move on to the subject of his choice. He read them beautifully and when I remarked that with such good work he would probably finish this reader by Christmas, he asked to keep going. He finished the whole book by noon. After lunch he went to the bookshelf and plucked the next book in the series and began reading from it. The rest of our plans for the day were cancelled as I sat and listened as he read and read and read. When it was time to make a trip to the grocery, Eddie tagged along. Toting the reader. He read on the five minute drive to the store. And as much as possible in the fading light on the ride back. He read while dinner cooked. As soon as we finished the celebratory little Christmas Tree cakes that I let Eddie pick out to mark his day’s accomplishment, he picked up the book and started reading. He is now over half way through the new reader. No grimacing. Little sweat. He enjoys it. I am overjoyed.
Which White Christmas Character are You?
That would be a fun quiz. I would like to say that I’m Betty (loving, mother-hen older sister) or the General (they ate, then I ate; they slept, then I slept....) It has been pointed out to me by a family member that I am Emma the nosy housekeeper. I slept on that........and woke up this morning to the realization that he was right.


A bunch of young people were visiting last night, including Dave, the man who used to live on our couch. I noticed a young lady sitting next to him. She wasn’t Sandra, his girlfriend. I had to fight the impulse to call one of the girls aside and ask, “Where is Sandra? Who is that dubious girl sitting next to Dave?” The girls have their own Emma-ish streak - Sandra was never good enough for Dave.........and they would probably be overjoyed to see him with someone else.

Big time impulse fighting at work the other night! My sister called on Monday afternoon to announce that “all my praying had paid off,” - how did she know? - that her daughter had asked to be baptized and that she herself was thinking of joining the Church. The Church. Capital T, Capital C. She had some months back made an off-hand comment that if she were to ever join a Church, it would have to be the Catholic Church.

Now that she announced her decision to accept Pascal’s wager, albeit with still a bit of trepidation, I find myself at work, leaning on the Kennedy directory and mulling calling the pastor of the parish in her home town and doing a little advance work for her. Explaining her, and where she is coming from and warning the pastor of possible pitfalls in his conversation with her. Oh, my God, am I nuts? (And I use the Lord’s name here in its most prayerful way.) What kind of meddling imbecile calls a church to introduce herself and her totally intelligent, articulate 43 year old sister? I mean, at work I am supposed to look out for the nut cases and direct them accordingly. I’m not supposed to be one.

So I’m back to praying, praying, praying. Any prayers that any of you would wish to offer for her conversion would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

What Could be More Fun?
....than being paid to talk about myself?

I had been a little stressed over money for Christmas. We don’t spend a lot, way less than the ludicrous national averages I hear mentioned on the news. But things have been especially tight and my prayers for extra hours at work have been answered - though I’m still praying for more. (This makes me uncomfortable, because I’m always praying for extra work that needs to be done and not wishing that anyone would fall ill or anything that I would be needed to fill in. I want to do my best to serve my parish and help support my family.....I’m not some ecclesiastical Eve Harrington biding my time as an understudy..........)

And then today I received a call from a local market research agency asking if I would be available to participate in a focus group. Talk about good timing. I was in a group about a year ago. It was somewhat absurd to be paid to talk about my choices in clothing. I was probably the ‘wringer’ in the group, since I was always answering that my criteria for clothes were “cotton” and “cheap.” Ninety minutes of talking about my fashion philosophy was surreal, but fun. There are so few places (except,’s own blog!) where it is socially acceptable to blather on about things inconsequential. The facilitator hung on each word as if I were some strange hybrid of Margaret Mead and Diana Vreeland. And they paid me in cash. (plus some coupons for $2 off on some cotton underthings.)

Now that I can write about myself all I want, I don’t feel so driven to talk, but the money is an answer to my prayers!

to Joel Fuhrmann of Religious Left Watch for the kind mention.

I’ve been enjoying his site, especially since I too, am a former UU, though for me this was a ‘phase’ that lasted less than five years. I must write and ask him if he was born Unitarian or was a convert. The congregation to which we belonged had very few ‘cradle Unitarians.’ It struck me at one time that they were about as successful at breeding new members as Shakers. Obviously for different reasons. My disillusionment with the UU Association started in earnest when I joined a very small national group called Unitarians for Life, comprised of those who were dismayed at a yearly condemnation of animal cruelty, the death penalty etc. and a wholesale endorsement of reproductive rights in fullest meaning of the term. (I can’t quote any stats, but I would guess that a national convention of the U for L could be held in a good size McDonalds' long as that wouldn’t offend the vegans.....) I had really always wanted to be a Catholic, even as a Lutheran child, and this was another good prod to point my feet and heart in the right direction and finally join the Church!
The Shoe Goo Worked
So far, so good. Not too much off-gassing........the fumes are barely noticeable now
Is it kosher to sell 'kosher' oysters?
No, of course not.
But this gives me a reason to bring up a favorite debate topic of mine. The kosher Baco. There are some products that approximate bacon but aren’t. And they are kosher. I find this distressing. There is something wrong with wanting to experience what is forbidden while keeping to the letter of the law. Am I applying a Christian concept of sin to kosher law? I don’t know. All I know is that when my husband was expecting a phone call from a rabbi, an editor of a Jewish homemaking magazine, I was begged not to engage him in the kosher Baco debate.

For anyone interested in kosher food, the liberties some food sellers take with the term kosher, and just food in general, I must recommend Habeas Codfish: Reflections on Food and the Law by Barry M. Levenson. The author of this meaty collection of essays about legal cases involving food is not only an attorney but also Chief Mustard Officer of Wisconsin's Mount Horeb Mustard Museum.
He is also, as far as anyone knows, the only lawyer to argue a case in front of the United States Supreme Court with a jar of mustard in his pocket. This is a great book.

Perhaps, someday, we will be able to schedule a field trip to Mount Horeb to the Mustard Museum.
May I have more, please........
The boys like hot breakfast cereal. So do I. (I am especially fond of oatmeal, no milk, with butter and dark brown sugar....more like a confection than a breakfast food.)
But must they refer to it as gruel? In public? Isn’t it bad enough we usually look like something out of Dickens, must we sound like it, too?

In the children’s defense, allow me to say that we look like the Cratchitts, not Oliver Twist and his working associates......we even have a Martha........when Bridget was very young she looked just like Tiny Tim in the TV version of A Christmas Carol (the one with George C. Scott).
Amazing Baby!!!
We had to be very careful to keep keys away from Eddie, because he would toddle over to cars and try to start them. I’m glad we’re past that kind of excitement. (Em remembers when the little man grabbed her keys during our 20th anniversary party several years ago and actually started her car. We can laugh now - but it had big time tragedy written all over it, since there were people walking all around - totally oblvious, of course, to the diaper clad baby with keys in hand - and if he had put the car in reverse he could have shot back about 100 yards and right over a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan.)

So I got all sentimental when I read about this baby in the UK who was able to start mom’s car just by wiggling his tummy near the stearing wheel.

Licked the frying pan again........
Couldn’t just believe Dr. Laura when she mentioned all the perversity rampant on college campuses and even younger venues. I had to look......And she was right. Columbia University does have a very complete website to answer just about any question a teen might have. (And it’s named after a popular teen book, so kid’s doing a Google search find this first before they can find a synopsis or any other ‘homework’ helpers.) Including how to properly clean your cat o’nine tails. And if you’re really concerned they refer you to a nice BDSM club right there at Columbia so you can meet like minded scholars. And I thought I led a decadent college life because I learned to mix a really good gin and tonic. Which I could probably use right now, except that it is 6:30am on a school day, mothers just shouldn’t do that, and I haven’t bought a bottle of gin in 20 years. [Note to Em: Don’t e-mail me to remind me about Angelo’s drive-thru Liquors just a few blocks away. It’s snowing again and I don’t think I’ll even make it to Mass this am, let alone drive out for a fifth of gin in my nightgown....]

Why did I look at this? Right now I’m making that blecchhy noise Lucy made when she accidentally kissed Snoopy while bobbing for apples.

Monday, December 02, 2002

No Swedish Blood on my side of the family........
I thought I was alone in finding IKEA’s ads creepy. (The one with the kitschy salt and pepper shakers broken in a moment of kitchen table passion - gross.) So I rant at my mate who is 50% Swedish, holding him somehow responsible for these vulgar displays. I remind him that the broken figurines are just descendants of the ad of some years back for some brand of dreadful, tasteless (in more ways than one) inedible Swedish ‘flatbread.’ All he can ever come up with is, “What can I say? They’re Swedish.”

I see that Eve Tushnet isn’t favorably impressed either. Especially by the ad with the distressed parents of a pregnant daughter.

The IKEA promo bills these vignettes as Skewed Reality and Humorously Frank Discussions. I think not.

I had hoped to get out to Schaumburg and buy a cheap bookshelf at IKEA. Now, I think not.
you’re not getting enough sugar, check out the Marshmallow Peeps website.
They have a really nice screen saver, that has a very soothing effect in August, when one can only dream of a nicely aged (but not too stale) yellow Easter Peep.
Helpful Hint!
This is purely my innovation. NB - Not endorsed by the ALA, the Bookbinders of America, The Catholic Book Publishing Co. and/or the makers of Shoe Goo.

Somewhat less than a year ago, I made a mental note to ask Emily to bring home her book repair supplies and fix the cover that is coming off of my Vol. 1 of the LOTH. Ooops. I forgot. The pages are still nicely bound, it is the cover that has totally come away from the book. So, though long past the point of a stitch in time, I decided to stop the damage in its tracks. Now what would be impervious to moisture, durable yet flexible and right here in my home? (It’s snowing beautifully, and I wish not to drive.) Eureka! Shoe Goo. It works. I don’t think it will do damage to the pages - at least the tube had no warning like DO NOT USE THIS TO GLUE A COVER TO A PRAYER BOOK. So it must be OK, right?

Note to Em: If this is going to permanently eat through the whole volume, please let me know so I can try to undo it or start saving for a replacement.
No Sport-Utilitarian Vehicle Here.....
Karl Schudt writes a wonderfully clear and easy to understand explanation on the stupity of Utilitarianism. (with a nod to some great thoughts from Eve Tushnet, too)

This shows the problem inherent in the dominant ethical theory of the day, Utilitarianism. This theory, originating in the Sophists, developed in Epicurus, and reappearing among English writers such as Hume, Bentham, and John Stuart Mill, teaches that pleasure is good and pain is evil.

I may have learned this back in college, but I’m not sure. I remember that when I took Ethics and Aesthetics, the mere droning of the instructor about Bentham and Hume put Utilitarian Ellyn (she’s mostly moved on now.......) into a daydreamy daze. You know, thinking is pain and staring out the window is pleasure.....
Dateline, last night
I tried to listen to Dateline while doing the dishes last night, but found it too distressing. A smart, privileged couple were expecting a baby with a heart defect and Down Syndrome. I do not intend to minimize their anguish. But I was truly aghast at the Dateline reporter’s implication that every couple with a difficult pregnancy faces a ‘choice.’
Wasn’t there a time when the choice was made when a couple decided to have a child? And then they accepted what they received, though that might be difficult? I was also a little miffed at the assumption that smart, accomplished people deserve a smart and sccomplishment-able baby. That just ain’t the way it works in the real world......

Greg and Tierney Fairchild were overjoyed when they learned they were expecting a baby. But the couple would soon face news they never imagined, and a choice they never thought they’d have to make. The challenge that lay ahead would test their faith, their love for each other and above all, their love for a child they had hoped for since the day they married.......
Greg was looking ahead. He knew if the baby did have Down Syndrome, he and Tierney would face an excruciatingly difficult choice — a decision that, either way, would have major repercussions on the rest of their lives.
The decision is whether or not to terminate the pregnancy? “That’s right,” says Alicia.
Or to have an abortion.

As adults, Greg, raised a Baptist, and Tierney, a Catholic, had come to support a woman’s right to choose. But now that Tierney could be that hypothetical woman, abortion was no longer a philosophical position, but a painfully personal possibility.

“I really believe in the woman’s right to choose,” says Tierney. “And yet, I thought in my own case, I didn’t know what I would do.”

They wouldn’t have much time to decide. Tierney was 21 weeks pregnant. The legal deadline for abortions in Connecticut is 24 weeks — just three weeks away on August 14.

At this point I could listen no more.
I think they did the right thing.
I hope their child will never have to watch a tape of this. And know that his parents were even considering a “painful personal possibility.”
Crap Shack, Baaaby
So timely to find this while reading T.S. O’Rama.....
I was stunned to see Eve Tushnet's quotation of Daffy Duck: "I'm not like other people. I can't stand pain. It hurts me."

Is there nothing new under the sun? In 8th grade a friend and I had come up with a line we thought startingly original: "I don't like pain. It hurts!".

Chuck thinks we should sue Fox TV (right now I’m wrestling with admitting we were watching Fox!) because Bart referred to the Simpson home as a ‘crap shack.’ The fine people of my family are under the impression that they live in the original crap shack. This was a term that evolved and stuck - probably because I use it at least once a day - when our pater phoned home from a business trip and told the kids that he met some people for dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack. Eddie misunderstood and asked, “What kind of restaurant is called a crap shack?” There are times when crap shack is an apt term. Especially for the room of some young fellows and maybe, even, their Dad’s home office. Clean up time is usually accompanied by a rendition of our own lovely parody of the B-52’s Love Shack.

Sunday, December 01, 2002

While I was lamenting Christmas advertising that vexes me (cough, Jaguar, cough, cough), I forgot to mention some of my favorites. One I haven’t seen for a few years (wish I had recorded it) was a surrealistic ad for Chanel No. 5 accompanied by the Inkspots singing I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire.
This is just on of the fun nuggets of advertising meets music listed on the Music from TV Commercials site. Thanks to a link from Just Your Average Catholic Guy.

This site even tells where to find the tunes you must have. In a moment of wild abandon last year, I did buy Nick Drake’s Pink Moon simply on the basis of the VW commercial. The whole album is good - which was a relief, because I usually don’t make CD impulse purchases. Maybe I’ll track down the Inkspots next. Then get a small bottle of Chanel No. 5......Just a tiny bottle, because my mother wore Chanel No. 5 and wearing it would seem like I was trying to be her. Well, I could stand to be more like her, but the Chanel is probably not where I need to start.
God Bless Us, Everyone..........
and have mercy on the people who are actually trying to support their families by producing and purveying dreaded consumer goods. This grim, and totally non-Christian movement is enough to make this cheapskate go out and buy something just to be contrary. And their logo is really ugly.........
Together, we boycott Christmas Shopping, Christmas decorations, Christmas cards, and every variety of Christmas Crap. We refuse to support the Holiday Industry. We show our love for friends and family by giving our time and care, not by purchasing consumer goods. We maintain the integrity of giving by giving spontaneously and from our hearts, rather than during a specified season.

There are plenty of days throughout the year when I Buy Nothing. Why would I join a movement to buy nothing on one particular day? For the record, I bought nothing on November 29 - except for lunch at Burger King to pay off my little church helpers. Maybe they can sign on for some anti-junk food class action suit - but that will have to be a different story.

Thanks to Religious Left Watch for the link.....
The idea of overconsumption is deeply tied into the philosophy of Malthusianism, which believes that our worldwide economy is a zero-sum system with limited resources which are rapidly vanishing before our eyes. It's not really a zero-sum system, however. Human intelligence, innovation, and economic growth, all produce new inventions which allow more people to live on the planet.
The Malthusianism stopped just a little shy of some pithy comment on decreasing the surplus population.......
Tomorrow is Monday....
and we’re back to work. I don’t feel quite so guilty about the boys missing out on some school work during the painting ‘crisis,’ since most local schools has a longer than usual Thanksgiving break. So my guys were just getting their fair share. (And here they are safe from peers who work for Planned Parenthood trying to help them. Not that I’m obsessing over my third grader, but a 13 year old is in a vulnerable time)

And they didn’t forget everything during our days off. Eddie said something so cute that I cannot resist sharing it here. (Yes, it looks like this blog may lapse into one big cloying perpetual Christmas Letter - but I will not let that happen.) While we were changing the missalettes, I found Eddie kneeling - half praying, half resting. I asked if he needed a rest and he said, “Chuck’s labora - I’m ora!” So somebody is absorbing something.....
why do I assume when someone says Great Lakes that they mean Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior? That must be what happens when one spends one's entire life living no farther in from Lake Michigan than five miles and sometimes so close I could hear the waves from my bedroom.
From the Department of Flawed Thinking.....
There was a slight, unfortunate incident during the painting of the stairway in which a family member (nameless, of course) dropped a roller down the staircase. It bounced on a few steps and made a few vivid green marks that were not immediately cleaned up. Now they won’t budge. So the concept that I have proposed to my spousal unit is - If the paint is sticking to the carpet, can’t we just paint some more on the carpet to give it a more artful look? Not in high traffic areas, just along the edges. This is truly dreadful wall-to-wall carpeting that may have once been a light beige but was worse for the wear when we moved in four years ago and has certainly not aged gracefully. I’ve seen better looking floors in bus station waiting rooms. Rick thinks we should just overlook it, but I’m still wondering about those little tubes of fabric paint that they have at Michael’s. Maybe I’ll run out there later. And if the paint has no caveat along the lines of do not paint your carpeting with this, maybe it will be worth a shot. Maybe.
We’re Ready!
I’m looking forward to getting to church this morning. Chuck said the tilted Advent wreath made him ‘nervous,’ but I tried to reassure him that he was there when it was being installed and he should know that it is solid. It will only be there for 4 weeks, so I guess we can deal with it. Life is especially difficult for those of us with OCD, but I wasn’t going to complain to the Art and Environment committee that the tilted wreath might make a percentage of the congregation very jumpy.

I applaud the gumption of the child who asked if sitting in at least fifty pews and handling at least 100 missalettes counted as a year of church. I think he bought the explanation that a weekly obligation can’t be fulfilled in one morning any more than we can take a vitamin supplement in mass quantities instead of daily. It runs counter to the purpose. It sure won’t help - and it could really hurt. But it was a nice try. Indicative of a catechetical lapse on my part, but a nice try. I worry when they aren’t thinking creatively.

We don’t have a personal Advent wreath. There was a workshop at church yesterday, but I was at work and it was a little pricey. Some years I have made my own wreath, with varying results. We’re all still a little traumatized by the time one of the candles tipped over and just about turned the natural not-so-greens into a ball of flame.

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to find one of those beautiful German Advent calendars - the ones with the angels, snowflakes, glitter, etc. The kind we had in our public school classrooms back in the ‘60’s. The chocolate Advent calendars bring out the absolute worst in the children - even if I buy one for everyone. There have been moral lapses of family members poaching on someone else’s calendar just for a small morsel of chocolate. This does not make for the type of Advent I wish for my family.

I did spring for the Playmobil Advent calendar. (This year’s edition even has a creche on the background scene - no PC twaddle here.) The boys still enjoy setting up scenarios with their Playmobils, so I don’t mind combining Advent and more Playmobils. When I bought the first one four years ago, I was under the impression that it worked just like a chocolate Advent calendar and all you had to do was pop open a numbered door to get your toy. Ha!. There a 24 boxes to be assembled, toys to be assembled, and then the boxes are mounted on a back board. This year I was ready and allowed myself an hour locked in my room to assemble the thing.

It’s time to find the Playmobil nativity scene. It’s a great investment for any parent who believes that ‘acting out’ stories (or I guess you could call it a sort of narration, as Charlotte Mason would) helps to reinforce learning. Will write later on why a pig gets snuck into the scene and promptly yanked out. Old Smith family tradition.........

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.

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.

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