Tuesday, February 11, 2003

More Pro-Swiss Propaganda
Don’t tell me he came from Huben.......
Tests on the teeth of the man, whose rich grave near Stonehenge amazed archaeologists last year, show he was originally from an Alpine region, probably Switzerland.

The media dubbed him "The King of Stonehenge", however, the presence of 16 flint arrowheads and two sandstone wristguards led archaeologists to call him "The Amesbury Archer".

The archer was obviously an important man, and because he lived at the same time that the stones at Stonehenge were first being erected, archaeologists believe that he may have been involved in its creation.

I’m surprised they didn’t find a chocolate bar and a Swiss Army knife, too.
Like it or not, the short u must be addressed......
NUN would be promoting religion, FUN would promote hedonism, BUN would promote obesity..........
A school board in Canada has banned the word "gun" from all spelling tests in its district after the parents of a first-grader complained about the word appearing on a spelling list distributed by her teacher, reports the Ottawa Citizen.

According to the report, 7-year-old Chloe Sousa, a student in the Lombardy, Ontario, Public School, came home with a list of spelling words last week that included "gun." Her parents, Amanda and Mark Sousa, who consider themselves pacifists, were shocked that the offending word was on the list.
OK, I’ll wear the faux Chanel......
as long as the wedding party wears clothes.
I thought these people were vulgar and crazy........Wisconsin nudist wedding in February. But they are going to Jamaica, so they are just vulgar.

Educated 21st Century Catholic Woman Succumbs to Magical Thinking
The weather looks really bad. Bridget won't drive. If she won't drive, I won't drive.
I'll phone in my report.
Fran just walked in. "Chance of flurries my a**." Fran knows.
Error 503
We're working on this.
Please try back later.

The story of my day. We try to think but nothing happens. Took a late lunch break to run to Wal-Mart.
Was tempted to nominate myself for Teacher of the Year at the service desk. But what kind of teacher yells, "I can't take anymore. Work on the computer. Your father is in charge. I'm going to Wal-Mart?"

I should start a notebook to track the boys twitchiness and 'learning difficulties' in relation to the weather......It must be the change in the weather. It may be a blessing that I was unable to find a copy of Song of Bernadette to watch this afternoon. (Yes, I know where to buy one........ but I'm cheap) We just wouldn't have made it. Today's attention span was appropriate for the 3 minute story about Lourdes that we read. Does this movie qualify as a 'chick-flick?' I'm afraid that's the response I got while discussing it with the boys......

Fun stunt: Walk into Blockbuster and ask them if they have The Song of Bernadette. Marvel at the blank look on the clerk's face.
Value Added
is the only term from Bill White’s very useful BS Bingo that won’t come up at my meeting tonight. As head of my parish’s Respect Life Committee, I must attend the quarterly Human Concerns Commission Meeting. (I think it’s Human, maybe Humane.......)
How can the heads of so many groups that do so many good things (I’m not talking about myself here - I mean like the Soup Kitchen, Food Pantry, Support for our Sharing Parish etc.) get together to talk for two hours or more with nothing to show for it? This is the only remotely crucial meeting of the year - I must be there to get dibs on a ‘good’ Sunday during Lent for our annual diaper/formula/baby clothes drive for a local crisis pregnancy center. I’ll make a deal with myself. The third time someone says ‘empower,’ I’ll announce I have another engagement to get to and excuse myself. (They don’t have to know that the previous engagement is a plan to put on my flannel gown, pop corn and watch Judging Amy.....)

Now the weather looks really nasty - think horizontal snow. Now I really don’t want to go. Besides, tomorrow night is our monthly Holy Hour plus the Respect Life Committee meeting. I start to feel guilty when I’m gone two nights in a row. No make that three. I worked last night. So, three nights in a row at church. Not exactly like I’m sitting at the bar up at The Lantern.....but crappy mother material nonetheless.
Hey Kids...
I’ve gone straight to IN. In the March Vanity Fair’s In & Out Column. (p. 230 for those of you who would like to skip the endless pages of angst ridden models in overpriced underthings.)
Out - Movie reviewer for Playboy
In - Blogger

So, does this qualify me as a failed journalist?

Monday, February 10, 2003

Thank you Em! I needed the maintenance. (When you're home next week-end, would you mind Hoovering my boudoir? Just kidding........)

Will talk to you soon.
Working tonight - you know where to find me.

How about a little good news/bad news?
First, the good news: Your father is reassured that his one adrenal gland is working just fine.
Now, the bad: It was Fran commandeering your black lacquer entertainment center and moving it to the basement that caused the adrenaline surge. Things got a little testy here. Fran moved all those derelict Macintosh components off of the cabinet and on to the garage floor..... They're OK, now.
Dad, Fran and the Mac junk.

I fixed some of the links you had. The Valentine's Day Picture wouldn't work because that link was for the whole web page. What you need to do is click on the picture, and then hold down the mouse till the little menu pops up. Then you go to copy, or copy the link. It should end with a .gif or .jpg or something like that. I also think that sometimes quizilla doesn't work right, that is why the links weren't working... Let me know if you need something...

Love, Embot
So bad - so many ways
The local Fox morning news show just had spot for a feature on romantic Valentine ideas.....

  • couple in bed - didn't look married to me (I had a friend who used to model for Better Homes and Gardens - they would diligently put a fake wedding ring on her finger in any picture that implied family, marriage, motherhood etc.)
  • black satin sheets. Ick. Slippery. And they look like they had been stolen by someone on a Graceland tour.
  • rose petals strewn on bed. The Princess is in the flower business. She has brought home bulk petals. They stay 'nice' for a very limited time. I can't imagine anything more gross than being in a slippery bed with crumpled decaying plant matter.
Big dogs, little dogs
Don't forget the dog show tonight on USA. This is the biggie - the Westminster Kennel Club.
I'll be at work tonight, but I'll be at the show in spirit.
The kids can watch with Cody and tell her how lucky she is that we don't drag her around to degrading expositions. (We tried that with the Irish Princess - once - and she could articulate her angst in English. Imagine what it does to a dog who can't talk.)
Oh, well, for once the kids can watch the dog show without me feeling like I've given them a big catalog and then said, "But you'll never get anything." We have a dog. Now we can enjoy the dog show.
interesting new blog. irregular musings of an eclectic nature It’s by the ‘maintenance guy for the Ratzinger Fan Club.’ What does he do the rest of the time. Set up chairs for meetings, work on the boiler, clean up ‘spills?’ Couldn’t help that - when I hear the term maintenance I see the man in the green suit pushing a very large broom, always at the ready in case a student should vomit. I’m sure members of the Ratzinger Fan Club do not deface their desks or vomit on the floor. Or get the tether ball tangled up......

Sunday, February 09, 2003

I will not pass notes during Mass.
I will not pass notes during Mass.
I will not pass notes during Mass.
I will not pass notes during Mass.
I will not pass notes during Mass.
I am sorry. I was just trying to be discreet. I went to church this morning with every intention of following John Wesley's rules for singing in church. (One problem - The Rev. Mr. Wesley didn't have to sing some of the twaddle placed before us....)
During the offertory, Rick gave me a look of puzzlement. The song was so, well, awful. I just couldn't sing it. Can't remember the name. All that comes to mind is that it must have set some sort of record for use of the word "I" in reference to God. (Not to mention a wienie tune) A song like this might be alright performed by some type of Raffi-esque minstrel who would introduce it saying, "Hey, kids, pretend God is singing this to you." From my amateur theological perspective, having a bunch of people of mediocre catechetical background singing as though they were God, is well, uncomfortable.
So, I confiscated Eddie's ever-present pen (which he totes to church to work on the children's bulletins........The church provides them. I copy them, I fold them - all 300+ copies. What the heck, at least the kid isn't writing on his arm)and scribbled "ixnay on the vox dei" as a quick explanation for the look of nausea on my face. He didn't get it. Maybe this "song really sucks" (oooh I hate that word) would have been better, but I was in Church. He looks at me like I had written Klaatu Barada Nikto.
Next time I'll offer it up and save the commentary for the ride home.
Oh, and I forgot the bulletin in the pew. Let's hope the usher didn't 'recycle' it back into the stack at the door.......

Our Frances never worked at Hooters
I think. Tonight's Malcolm in the Middle was most enjoyable. The pregnant Lois finds herself deep in a fantasy of how wonderful life would have been if her four children had been girls. (As a woman whose first four children are girls, I knew this would be hysterical........girls are not necessarily sugar and spice, unless you count capsaicin as one of all things nice. Which we do - when we're cooking.) We so often joke about the resemblance to our own family - except that Rick doesn't need his body shaved and our Frances is a girl - who never went to military school, though it had crossed our minds. The only thing that would make it closer to home would be if Lois and Hal decided to homeschool the kids. A total 'Krelboyne' household - of course, Stevie and some of the other gang from school would have to stop in for tutoring and to lend 'socialization.'
More returns.......
Jeff Miller is back!!!! Now as the "The Curt Jester".

My glee is tempered by the news of his mother's death today. I am sure I am not alone in offering him condolences and assurances of prayer.

This is a very disturbing death-with-beauty-and-dignity etc. story. I’ve never liked doctors who tinker with births so as to not mess up their schedules. And now we have ‘euthanists’ who prefer to be accomodated....But she made her decision clear by telling her family she had decided it would happen on Monday 13 January at 2pm and that she would drink the fatal mixture, rather than having the alternative of an injection. The doctor wanted it to be a Monday. He only carried out a euthanasia about once in two years and always found it emotionally draining. Mondays were the easiest days to take off.

The family had a champagne party with her the night before and Tina made a speech. She was proud of the speech, noting in her diary that the champagne had helped her speak well. The doctor arrived on time the next day. Her children and grandchildren were beside the bed. The doctor asked her formally if she wanted to go ahead. Sometimes patients change their mind at this stage, but not Tina.

The youngest daughter handed her the cup. She drank it without hesitation, but as was her habit with tea and coffee, left some dregs. The doctor, knowing of cases where this was enough to make the dose less than fatal and necessitating a lethal injection - often with traumatic effect on the family - asked her to drink up. It took about 15 minutes to work, as the doctor had said.

Good News...
Check out Kathy's Gospel M*I*N*E*F*I*E*L*D.
The mayor's reassurance to go ahead with our regular plans.....that is because of the high terror alert. Not because Rev. Al Sharpton is in town.
Can't wait to read the post-mortem in tomorrow's Trib.

I think Cardinal George's difficulties with Fr. Michael Pfleger are much more complicated than any of us can possibly surmise. Cardinal George appears to be acting with prudence and discernment. And Fr. Pfleger is acting like an adolescent begging to have the 'can of whup-ass' opened. The parental jargon that comes to mind: envelope pushing! (Do I bring too much of my personal experience to this? Probably. But I know 'attitude' when I see it.)

One other thought. If this is the time of increased responsibility of the laity......where are the parishioners of St. Sabina's while all this is going on? Is there not one parishioner disposed to protest?
Something fun in the e-mail
Dover Sampler.
A weekly sampling of Dover publications materials.

Speaking of the e-mail........the curse of obscene spam has finally caught up with us, so I look through everything in the morning. I may be turning paranoid - I started to trash a business e-mail to the spouse from Dome Technologies - the return address dome@dometech, well, I didn't read it as 'dome.' The price of constant vigilance: a suspicious mind.
Mayor Daley.....
in his inimitable way of reassuring the populace, told all Chicagoans to "be alert but go ahead with your regular plans." Not that I need his encouragement to shower, listen to Breakfast with the Beatles and go to Mass. But I may invoke his order when I decide to take a nap. Post-It note above Mom on couch: Mayor Daley says to proceed with my plans.........so let me sleep.

Saturday, February 08, 2003

Google yourself regularly
It’s not just for fun any more. The truth (and more) is out there.
I do get such a charge out of seeing the Google searches that send people to me. (The top so far are A) Victorian hand-tooled tin tinsel and B) World Famous Love Acts. The Love Acts I can understand, it’s the tinsel afficianados who worry me.)

So once all this information about you is out there in Googleland, is there anything you can do about it? Like so much in life, that depends on who you are. Google indexes more than 3 billion Web pages, 400 million images, and 800 million newsgroup postings (including an archive of embryonic Internet chatter it purchased from an outfit called Deja.com), but it is willing to remove certain information, under certain circumstances.

If you desperately want that picture of a bleary-eyed you in an ill-fitting toga to disappear from Google, and the search engine found the photo on a Web site you control, then all you have to do is take the picture down. But in the more likely event that Google found the offending information on someone else's Web site, you are on your own. Google will not remove information from its index unless the Webmaster in question requests it. So say you flee an abusive relationship, move to a new state, and decide to run in a 10K road race, only to realize later that your home address got posted next to your time on the running club's Web site. If you want that information removed, you have to appeal to the good graces of the running club Webmaster, not Google.

No, really, I'm working here.......
Right now the pan from the ribs is soaking. So I have time for at least one more quiz. Thanks to Alicia
I mean I'm trapped here with a bunch of people whose idea of a fun Saturday night is watching Happy Gilmore.........

You're a Margarita!!  Yariba Yariba, underlay underlay!!  A margarita consists of tequila, triple sec and lemon or lime juice with a salt rimmed glass which just about sums you up!  You
""Which cocktail are you?""

brought to you by Quizilla

My friends call me an angel........that's nice! Good thing they didn't poll the family!!!

You are Spirit...you are ethereal and light. You
always think the best of everyone. All your
friends call you an angel.

What Element Are You?
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At last!
Another ray of sunshine........

It’s a dreary Saturday. So much laundry. Other little chores. But thanks to Michelle I’m sitting here taking quizzes instead. And this is more fun.

My deepest secret?
It was funny.
Too bad I can’t post it here.
My children read this.
Gee whiz, tell Mommy to stop babying you so much
and get out of the house once in a while. You
are the typical nerd. Congratulations, the
other kids walk all over you and make fun of
you, but you'll show them someday when you
develop the latest line of anti-depressants
that they will need when they are 35.

What kind of typical high school character from a movie are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
This really bothers me..........
Not to mention the fact that knowing I’m be graded on cooperation makes me feel super-special uncooperative.

LEBANON, Pa. (AP) — Come fall, Gino Vargas and other parents of schoolchildren in this city could be getting report cards of their own: The school system's superintendent is proposing that parents be graded on how involved they are in their children's education.

Under the proposal, parents in the 4,200-student district about 80 miles west of Philadelphia would be evaluated in areas such as attendance at parent-teacher conferences, whether they return things they have to sign and whether their children come to school healthy and properly dressed. Teachers would check "yes" or "no" and send the forms home with student report cards.

And, even possible home visits.
That would be the end of me.
Not the kids. Me. Although I think most kids don’t want school officials visiting their home.
The closest I ever came to a home visit was when my geometry teacher/tennis coach took a bunch of us to see Billy Jean King and a bunch of other women playing in a tournament. When he dropped us off at my house, my parents and their friends decided he needed to come in for a nerve soothing cocktail. He accepted. He needed it.
Em, don't tell your father........
he's already looking at me funny!
I always thought I was quite liberal. I guess I'm so liberal that I fell off the left and turned up on the right........

Far-Right Conservative
Where do you fall on the liberal - conservative political spectrum? (United States)

brought to you by Quizilla

Thanks to Michelle.

Friday, February 07, 2003

And we should be surprised when a students pick up a few good ideas when given paralegal work study jobs.........

A high school senior says he earned an A+, not an A, and has sued to get the grade changed to bolster his chance at becoming valedictorian.

Brian Delekta, who finished 11th grade in 2002 ranked at the top of his class, says he should have received an A+ for a St. Clair County intermediate school district work-experience class in which he worked as a paralegal in his mother's law office.

To the reader who asked for a larger image of Picot's Cupid and Psyche. I can only find one. Frankly, my postcard isn't a whole lot bigger......well, postcard size........
He’ll be b-a-a-a-c-h
Jeff Miller, that is. I sure hope so. I miss him already. (Some weeks humor is helpful and some - like this one - it is essential.)
Sleepy Mommy Peony Moss left a link to the St. Sabina (Chicago) website. Proof indeed of the cult of personality built around Fr. Michael Pfleger. (And I’m using personality in my favorite scatalogical sense) Technically, I suppose, the Armorbearers call is the same as mine. I pray and fast, with special intention for the priests of my parish. I would take a bullet for them. But mostly I screen the calls, keep things flowing in a well-organized fashion and try to keep the ‘Bridezillas’ under control. The other loyal rectory workers most likely feel the same. No one has formed a secret society to carry out this mission.

The Armorbearers Ministry consists of a group of God-called men who are responsible for protecting the anointing and the pastoral mantle that rests upon Reverend Michael L. Pfleger. This is accomplished through consistent prayer, fasting and personal assistance. The Armorbearers share an individual and collective desire to lay down their lives for the life of another, namely Pastor Pfleger. These men assist Pastor Pfleger on Sundays and also travel with him extensively throughout the year. The Armorbearers are also responsible for receiving and accommodating all guests of Pastor Pfleger, whether speaking or visiting. The term, "armorbearer" first appears in the bible in the Book of Judges, however, the characteristics, attributes and role of the God-called Armorbearer is described specifically in 1 Samuel with young King David as the primary role model. Substantial emphasis is placed on being "called" by God to this ministry due to the seriousness of the role of Armorbearer. The new member is expected to successfully complete a supervised three-month observation period along with a curriculum-based teaching series designed to prepare the new member for effective service.
Oh, and their meetings are closed.
They sound a little bit like the entourage that follows Louis Farrakhan around.
May I Remind You, I am the Mother of an Irish Princess!

You are Irish
You are a Dubliner.

What's your Inner European?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thanks to Fr. Jim Tucker.
Somebody tell me that this is just made up....
Sorry Fr. Tucker. Speaking from Chicagoland where there is little need for the National Enquirer because the news in the Trib and Sun-Times are amply bizarre, it’s probably real.

Especially knowing the history of Fr. Pfleger, a man of many good attributes, who now has a bit of cult-of-personality built around himself. And Rev. Al Sharpton? It takes a personality to know a personality.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Some good advice.
Found on the trivia page of the Cyber Hymnal

John Wesley’s singing rules for Methodists (he had a Method for everything!):

1. Learn the tune. (Can’t resist my own little Catholic editorializing here: People would sing more if the tune didn’t keep changing. The settings for the Mass change from week to week. Some are absolutely unsingable. When I was a Lutheran, I had no such problems. The Gloria, Sanctus, etc. didn’t change. The tune was always the same. For those of us without great musical gifts, this is a blessing. I can still sing the Nunc Dimittis - and I haven’t attended a Lutheran service since 1978.)

2. Sing them as they are printed.

3. Sing all. “If it is a cross to you, take it up and you will find a blessing.”

4. Sing lustily and with a good courage. (Trust me. The tone deaf need courage. I don’t wish to be one of the old ladies that we snickered at when we were young. Naturally, I must also mind #5 below.....)

5. Sing modestly. Do not bawl.

6. Sing in time. Do not run before or stay behind.

7. Above all, sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing Him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this, attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually.
does Dr. Dictionary know I'm spending too much time gaping out the window. Or gaping at the 'puter.
Word of the Day for Thursday February 6, 2003

rictus \RIK-tuhs\, noun:
1. The gape of the mouth, as of birds.
2. A gaping grin or grimace.
Distress call to the Embot
My virtual un-Valentine keeps disappearing.
Could you look into it, please?
Fun from Kathryn Lively

Hey, Let's Start Another Meme Thingy! Five Guilty Pleasures........
this was way too easy..........

1 Fox’s Sunday Night line-up (King of the Hill/Simpsons/Malcolm)
2 Target’s housewares dept.
3 The Godfather Trilogy
4 birthday cake for breakfast
5 Vanity Fair

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Kelly Clark The Lady in the Pew offers some great advice on discerning the authenticity of a Catholic organization....

The next time somebody tells you he’s affiliated with a “Catholic” organization, ask him where it’s listed in The Official Catholic Directory, published by P.J. Kennedy and Sons. (Your local library, and probably your rectory, has a copy: it’s huge!) If he can’t answer you? Well, then you have your answer.

Another tip-off that the organization probably isn’t “Catholic” can usually be found in the name itself. If the group’s name indicates that it is, for example, “Faithful,” or “Concerned,” or “comprised of `Leaders’” or — yikes — has a “Voice,” then watch out......

Check it out. She makes a lot of sense.
(The only thing I might add is, the Kennedy Directory isn’t just huge - it could break your foot should you drop it. Work it with two hands - over a desk............Why do I say this? Experience is a great teacher!)
Mom's heavenly dreams, a child's earthly desires
Barbara Brotman of the Chicago Tribune adds to my endless ruminations about motherhood and personal fulfillment:
When Dr. Laurel Clark blasted off into space on the shuttle Columbia, one person wasn't thrilled about it.

It was her 8-year-old son, Iain. "He was not happy about his mother going up," a family friend who had talked with the boy at a party two days before the mission told the Associated Press. "He said a few times, `Why does it have to be my mom?'"

He will surely ask the question many more times.

His mother, a flight surgeon and Navy commander from Racine, Wis., was one of the seven astronauts who died Saturday when the shuttle broke apart. The astronauts collectively left behind 12 children. Clark, 41, was the only mother among them......

Clark's son didn't want his mother to leave for the two-week mission. "Would you give up something you love to do?" she asked him.

His reply was not recorded. But for most of our children, if that something meant even a slight chance that their mother might not come home, the answer would be yes.

Our children have their own priorities. They don't care if we are challenged or exhilarated or serving humanity; they just want us to be there.
Bought this post card at Louvre.....
I like it..........but is it too erotic for the dining room? Only during February?

Not too early to start hinting.....
Godiva makes lovely sugar-saturated caffeinated fat blocks. So does Cadbury. So does just about any manufacturer who doesn't add a lot of waxy substance and other impurities.....

This site also has a sarcastic anti-wedding card, but I'm afraid some people would take it the wrong way.
Baby Got Back
I’m so regressive that I had to have this song explained to me. After seeing the video. In my little world, baby got back means baby has returned.

Anyway.......Anyone who has spent a some time listening to Kasey Kasem’s Top 40 (as I did every Sunday morning in college, nursing a hangover) should take a look at Kat Lively’s Long Distance Dedication. Don’t eat or drink while reading this - it could be dangerous.
Speaking of dead people.....
We had one of those mornings. About once a year I most invoke the memory of a young fellow who attended high school with me. He died freshman year after a struggle with bone cancer. There comes a day, from time to time, when people are kvetching about not feeling well enough to do any school work. (This happens with the public school attendees and the homeschoolers) Aaargh. Especially the homeschoolers - who can assume any posture they wish, in any clothes they wish, with ample breaks for exercise and snacks.) When the usual stiff upper lip pep talk fails, I must mention John Z. The pale, brave boy with one leg who still went to school day after day. Balancing his own books while traversing the campus on crutches. Today I pulled out all the stops. I told the boys that John not only went to school every day - but he died on a Saturday. He finished the week, then he died.

Poor timing, too closely on the heels of watching Radio Days over the week-end, led Chuck to say he was reminded of the story of the blind baseball player who had lost a leg and arm but kept on plugging. Oh, well. Time to motivate the troops for the afternoon work.
The Big Chill
or something like it. For 'kids' too young to remember the movie.
Fran stopped home between today's funeral and the following lunch. "This is so weird. So sad. But I saw all these people I haven't seen in ages....." Will probably hear the full 'post mortem' at dinner, since the flower fairy couldn't get off of work to attend.

Fran will be 22 in a month. This is about the fifth ad hoc reunion that she has attended in the past year. We live in a very nice suburb. There is no cholera. No land mines. No gun brandishing gang-bangers. Yet my daughters 'know' more dead people than I do. (That is adjusting for dead relatives that we hold in common - e.g. my mother doesn't count.) Something is not right.

Find products for sale from across the Web.
Embot leads mother into temptation.
Another good reason to keep blogging: Keeps me from shopping, thinking of shopping, wondering about shopping........
A Normal Day

Let us hope.

Martha's affairs are in order. So we may proceed with the Driver's Permit. This just grates on me so. Living in a state where the governor's big thing (before the Death Penalty Moratorium etc.) was the license-for-bribes scandal. People with enough cash who knew who to ask could buy a license. Sixteen year olds - innocent as lambs - must jump through hopes to prove their bona fides.

Off to Mass.......and on to a day of schooling that doesn't include mater muttering under her breath about the #@*!?# State of Illinois. (We are making progress - the first half of the Gettyburg Address is just about memorized. Pater did download the Swedish translation. Sent it to Grandma for a chuckle. When he tried to read it to us, all I could think about was the Swedish Chef from the Muppet Show......)

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Not Again
Once more my girls are facing the funeral of a young friend. There have been so many in the past year or so that I have lost precise count. Only one died of natural causes. This young man has succumbed to an overdose of Vicodin and something else.

I had been under the impression that he was Catholic, but the funeral is at the local non-denominational church. Selfishly, I think, at least I am spared entering his name in the parish death register. When I enter the name of a man or woman who dies in the eighties or nineties - there have even been a few centenarians - I feel a whistful but fruitful sense of ‘closure’ (I really hate that term - why am I using it?) as I dot the last i and cross the last t, so to speak, on a life fully lived. When the age that I must enter is 17 or 19 or 20, there is no solace. I can’t look at the name and think, “My, what you must have seen and done in 87 years?” All I can see is sorrow - the shattered hearts of parents crushed and torn. I have heard their sobs through the closed living room door as they meet with the priest. There is nothing sadder.

Thank you God. Today my children are well. The most rehabbing anyone needs is a month at a Martha Stewart boot camp.
Today my children are alive. I am thankful. I am a most fortunate woman.
Lobster firm fleet vandalized
Lines to brakes and refrigeration systems on a fleet of Villa Park seafood company trucks were cut over the weekend, damage the FBI is investigating as the act of a radical animal rights group opposed to the killing of sea creatures.

Vandals entered an unsecured lot on the 200 block of North Avenue and cut the lines on dozens of Supreme Lobster and Seafood Co. trucks. They also wrote "ALF--No Brakes" on a bay door of a company building.

In the e-mail titled "ALF Communique," the group alleged the Midwest's largest lobster distributor was responsible for the deaths of more than 1 billion sea creatures over the last 25 years.

"Their lives cannot be returned, but we will continue to strike at them until future generations are truly free," the e-mail stated.

This is a very strange world in which we live. I used to worry the ELF people would get us. Now the ALF folks are willing to send killer lobster trucks about the Chicago area in the interest of freeing the lobster. Now's the time to invoke the RICO laws......
He’s absorbent, he’s porous, he’s yellow..............
He’s a sponge!!!! Cut him some slack!

SpongeBob - the new Charlie Brown. Why’s everybody always picking on him?

I still like him. And I think we provide a sound enough home life to counter any moral damage the inhabitants of Bikini Bottom may be doing.

The show, like many non-PBS shows that feature explosions, is flamboyantly anti-educational. In Bikini Bottom, in fact, "educational television" is a horrible punishment, as fearsome as a bout with giant clams. And still each show contains moral questions, after a fashion. They are not the kind that find answers in ordinary children's fare (be kind and tolerant), but rather the pressing, if tawdry, dilemmas that adults face every day......

What do you teach your children about these things? SpongeBob SquarePants is no help; it has nothing to teach. SpongeBob's would-be role models—his greedy, pirate-like boss (Mr. Krabs); his blousy, neurotic teacher (Mrs. Puff); and his snobbish co-worker (Squidward Tentacles)—furnish only opportunistic answers.

And then let’s imply that Sandy Cheeks is being written out because it’s a male-gay oriented show and nobody cares about a girl squirrel, that’s a real stretch.

Maybe I just don’t like a lot of PBS shows. A lot of PBS kids shows do feel like a horrible punishment. Maybe that’s why I like SpongeBob.
Uncle Dan's draft card -from WWII

more souvenirs from Rick's stop at Gethsemani Abbey

address labels from our previous address

titles for all the cars

one tooth - human


This wouldn't be so aggravating if I hadn't had it in my hands just a few weeks ago. Worse case scenario - tomorrow we take a 'field trip' to the Milwaukee County Courthouse. How do I know it's as easy as that? Because we got Emily into kindergarten without the necessary birth certificate because the principal was an old friend of my mother's. I didn't ask for a pass - it was his offer. And Isabel's daughter wouldn't lie, right? (Well, he was right....but then I totally forgot about re-ordering a birth certificate until Em was ready for driver's ed. And we made a run up to Milwaukee to retrieve the appropriate documentation.)
I’m stuck at a stoplight behind a mini-van (Illinois plates) with a Latin Mass - www.sgg.org license plate frame. Curiosity being what it is, I must look this up as soon as I get home. So ....was I stuck behind a Lidless Eye Traditionalist of the type that this website brags drives 3 hours one way every Sunday to attend a ‘real’ Mass?
With apologies to Bruce Springsteen.......
Attention Rosalita (and Chuck and Bridget and Eddie and Fran and...and...and...)
Closets are for hangers........
Put your coats on the hangers.
Put the hangers on the rod.
Is that asking too much? Must our maternal unit go spelunking to find her boots?
So many good blogs shutting down. I'm bummed out.
Actually, I'm thinking of shutting down my house and living in my blog.
It's shaping up to 'one of those days.' And the sun is not quite up yet.
More later. If Martha doesn't tear me to pieces on the way to school.
Still no birth certificate..........

Monday, February 03, 2003

Tonight's special prayer petition........
Please let me be called in to work Thursday night. I really need the money. And that way I won't be tempted to watch the 2 hour 20/20 Michael Jackson expose-spectacle-interview. Just to find out what could necessitate 2 hours is enough to lure me in.
Ooooh, Nooooo
Not Jeff Miller, too.
I'll miss his blog so much.
Still Ruminating....
about my previous comments about motherhood and acceptable risks. Before Emily jumps in here and outs me to the world, I will admit that I have gone a few places and done a few things since I have become a mother. I guess some of this boils down to what one considers to be an acceptable risk.

So.....in Ellyn's world, flying on scheduled commercial airlines is OK. If it's for a good reason and I don't do it too often. Flying to Vermont for my only sister's law school graduation? OK. Flying to Minneapolis for a week-end with my sister to see Bruce Springsteen - OK? Maybe it wasn't. Was flying to Minneapolis to help my sister out after her son was born OK? Yeah, I guess.

I went to Paris in 2000. On Air France. I guess that's OK. But what if some dreadful accident had befallen me while on the Eiffel Tour? Or a tourist jumping off of Notre-Dame, like in last year's Amelie? Or choking on a baguette?

Or what about Mardi Gras 2001? I was walking down Bourbon Street when a beer bottle flew off of a balcony (glass is illegal on balconies, for just that reason.) and missed me by a matter of inches. I calmly kicked the glass to safety and yelled some sort of mommy-esque chastisement to the fellows on the balcony above. What if it hit me? I could have been killed. If not a meretricious death, it would certainly have been "freak accident" material in the local paper. Would I want to be remembered by my children as "poor Mom, taken out by a beer bottle while traipsing from the Desire Oyster Bar to Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop?"

Now I'm working myself into full tilt guilt. I am supposed to go on retreat at the end of March. Just for three days. Two hours away, into Wisconsin. A lot could happen between here and there......

Here's where I'll have to draw the line. A mother needs to be more careful. But she can't let it make her agorophobic.......which is what may happen to me if I cogitate on this topic much longer.
Il y a quartre-vingt sept ans........
For those planning their Lincoln's birthday activities:
The Gettysburg Address.........in just about any language you wish. (Except Latin, the Charlie Brown of languages.)
I think we'll stick to memorizing it in English. As impressive as the Gettysburg Address in Swedish might be over dinner at Grandma's, I must remember that I am educating children - not creating a vaudeville act.

Which OS are You?
Which OS are You?

If it hadn’t been something Mac, I wouldn’t be able to live down the shame. (Yes, Emily, I know that you already knew I was simple and primitive.......but remember, I knew you back when you were simple and primitive, too.)

Thanks to Alicia of Fructus Ventris for the link.
With all the other chaos in the world, it only now occurred to me - has anyone heard from Punksatawney Phil?
Where Will We Go? What Will We Read?
Amy Welborn is shutting down her blog.
I'm sure there will be somewhere to go, someone to read.
But I'll miss that daily blogstop.
Am I Sexist?
Or do I just have an overinflated estimation of my maternal role?

I am saddened thinking of all the children of the crew lost on the space shuttle Saturday. But I am especially moved when I think that Dr. Laurel Clark left behind an eight year-old son. Perhaps I am laboring under some archaic thought that a mother is the more important parent. Traditionally, it has been accepted for fathers to be in harm’s way as part of their daily occupations. Not that a lost father is of no consequence, but that a lost mother is of deeper consequence.

This isn’t just my imagination at work here. I am thinking of my own father, who lost his mother at the age of seven and was more deeply affected than he may ever have articulated to us. When I was young and unencumbered by family, my father was supportive of any adventurous schemes I had. He was the own who offered and paid for me to have a ride in a glider. (Which, by the way is an awesome experience. And I would recommend it highly to people like my husband who worry so about engine failure in airplanes. There is no engine to fail! And then there is that sublime moment when the lever is pulled to release the tow line - I got to pull the lever! - a deafening snap followed by pure silence........) Anyhoo.....

When I had three small children, my father won a ride in a hot air balloon.
For two. My mother didn’t really want to go. I volunteered. And was rejected. He made it clear that a mother of minor children (you see, my mother was then free to float, though she didn’t savor the opportunity) had priorities greater than flight.

I am thinking of a story I may already have mentioned once before, Dakota Thanksgiving by J. Bottum that was in the November 2002 issue of First Things.

“They did really think they weren’t going to make it,” she answered. “But they had to do it anyway. It wasn’t a choice. It wasn’t something to be calculated, weighing their lives against their baby’s. They couldn’t choose their own survival against a chance, however small, of his.”

Aunt Eleanor turned to look at me directly, and her face was hard with something I couldn’t quite understand. “And do you see why? It’s because they were parents. And that’s what it means to be a parent. They had already given up their lives for their child’s, from the first moment he existed.”

She sighed again and looked back out at the river. “In that blizzard, the bill finally came due, and they knew they had to pay it—the way you will pay it, when your time comes. The way your mother and father will pay it, when they have to. That’s what I want you to remember the next time you’re angry with them, the next time you want to scream because they won’t let you do something, the next time you feel as though nobody understands how grown up you’ve become.”

What I am wrestling with now, is the question, “Is it more reflexive, more instinctual for a parent to risk her life for her child than to defer her ambitions and stifle her talents for the same cause?” Does ‘the bill’ come due for some of us - women, especially - when we are told to wait on our dreams because someone small needs us?

A Contribution...of sorts

Isn’t the former President’s appearance at a Stones concert just a contribution of warm gases to an already warming atmosphere?

Former President Bill Clinton plans to appear at a free Rolling Stones concert this week dedicated to raising awareness about global warming, event organizers said Sunday.

Instead, he will make a speech from the stage addressing the importance of fighting global warming, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nonprofit activist group staging the event.

Sunday, February 02, 2003

`34 Million Friends'......who wish that you not reproduce

Officially, the funding for the United Nations main family-planning agency comes from 131 nations. Unofficially, it comes from those nations, plus at least 40,000 citizens of the only major country that does not contribute to the agency's budget--the United States.

Last summer, the Bush administration decided to withhold a $34 million appropriation for the UN Population Fund, an agency that has run afoul of Republican presidents for its alleged support of China's draconian population-control policy, which includes coerced abortions.

That decision angered Lois Abraham of Taos, N.M., and Jane Roberts of Redlands, Calif.--two women who had never met but who simultaneously decided to start a fundraising campaign to replace the lost millions.

After a slow start, momentum for their "34 Million Friends" campaign has accelerated recently, and now the UN agency in New York is flooded with 2,000 letters a day. As of Thursday, it had received nearly $447,000 in about 40,000 envelopes, some of which contained donations from more than one person.

And while we’re at it........how about looking up women’s issues in that Vatican glossary.

Roberts, who has been active in women's issues for many years, started a letter-writing campaign to women's groups across the country. She calls the 34 Million Friends effort "an exercise in outraged democracy."
to get ready for church, then work. I don't usually work on Sunday mornings. I like to sleep in one day a week, listen to Breakfast with the Beatles and then go to Mass as a family. Oh, well. Dad will have to marshall the troops alone, today. (I wonder if anyone would notice if I turned on Breakfast with the Beatles very softly at work? The Beatles aren't cause for firing from a rectory secretarial job, are they? Do I want to push my luck?)
Just Like Old Times
There was a time, some years ago, when Bridget was battling crippling migraines, depression, insomnia and some other assorted demons (plus the occassional nosebleed). She would come into my bedroom for solace and there were times even a mother's comfort couldn't help her to relax and get some sleep. But we had a stack of videos that would do the trick. Our fav's: The Thrill of It All, Please Don't Eat the Daisies, all three That's Entertainments and Woody Allen's Radio Days. I thought I had reached my toxic limit of Radio Days and haven't touched it in several years. Channel 11 showed it twice last night (some sort of Woody Allen theme night.) I had forgotten just how good a movie it is. I watched alone. Bridget is doing well and was out with friends. I was shocked at how much dialogue I could still recite. And it is a good movie when one wishes to ignore the horrors of the day.
How Low Can They Go?
Bill White makes me feel quite blessed to have spent all of yesterday in an office with little access to the media. All I could do was work and pray. TV viewers (Fox, in this instance) were given the TMI (too much information) treatment.

When the media eye lingers too long and too closely, violating the human dignity of those involved in a tragedy, I am reminded of my mother’s prohibition against running up the street to gawk whenever an ambulance took someone away from the neighborhood rest home. All the other kids did. I wanted to, too. My mother said it wasn’t kind. She was right.

Saturday, February 01, 2003

Just Before I Call it a Day.....
Just the kind of thing to buoy up the old homeschooling resolve...........
The Collier County School Board, without one word on the subject, on Thursday fired teacher Colin Nicholas.

An internal investigator concluded he strayed from the curriculum.

In his health classes, Nicholas had students demonstrate the proper condom technique with a banana.

Not only that, he dimmed the classroom lights and played music to simulate an intimate situation.

This was ninth grade. I’m afraid there are some children (some whom I know personally) who would be not only grossed out and violated but downright traumatized by that sort of thing.
Oh, Lamentable Day
So hard to explain, especially after watching NASA channel just yesterday. And talking about travel through space as though it were just a train ride into the city....
May their brave souls rest in peace.
Help Me, St. Anthony
Since I 'knew' where everything was, I waited until this morning to pull together all the documents Martha needs to go to the DMV for her learners' permit. The piece of mail post marked within 90 days wasn't too hard to find; she claims she has her SS card and a signed piece of school work to prove her signature......all I need is the birth certificate. I was sure I knew where it was. Ooops.
So far I have......
*Em's birth certifcate (which I must have mistaken for Martha's at some point because they are both from Wisconsin.)
*My new State of Wisconsin certificate issued when the State Department declared my old one funky and illegible
*My funky birth certificate with my parents' signatures (pause for moment of nostalgia)
*the birth certificate of the brother of Bridget's former boyfriend. This fellow is now serving 10 years for holding up a liquor store.......twice........in the same night. I thought Bridget returned it to her old beau, but now she says, "J. doesn't need it where he is - let's not upset his family more." Why do I have it? Your guess is as good as mine. A lot of strange things turn up here.

So I'm really under the gun . I have to work all day and this is Rick's last chance to get Martha to the DMV before she starts drivers' ed. Naturally, all DMV offices are closed on Monday.
Help me, St. Anthony.......

Friday, January 31, 2003

Worth Considering...
Steven Riddle poses the question of how much time we spend on blogs and if this is a good thing. .......speculation beyond the veil of Charity leads me to ask whether people who produce sites like this have a life or whether they're slaves of the keyboard?

hmmmm......yes, I do have a life. In fact, I may reveal more of this life than most of the public is interested in reading about.
But this is a relaxing change of pace.
I’ve been encouraged to write more, but I have always hated writing. Daily writing has made me a more productive and efficient writer, if not necessarily more profound.

Sharing the iMac with the internet access (located conveniently between the school table and the big, loud nerve-shattering stereo television) with six or seven other family members plus assorted visitors prevents me from becoming a slave to the keyboard. Although 5:30 or 6:00 am finds the computer free. In a pinch I can use the PowerBook and plug it into the phone jack in the dining room, but the smaller keyboard cramps my style. When the family is smaller or we can afford more internet access, then an intervention may be in order. ‘Til then........
I’m Not Sorry
Thanks to Davey’s Mommy for the link to this sad site. These are mostly stories of girls who have (figuratively, of course) chewed off their legs to get out of a trap and aren’t even aware that they are walking around on three legs while bleeding from their wounds.
Fr. Rob Johansen is back to blogging!
Some cheering news on a ‘nailing Jello to the wall’ day.
Two Sleepy Mommies
Now that was a blog title I couldn’t resist.
Link thanks to Chirp.

I’ll sleep better tonight.........
just nobody drop it, OK?
Stolen replica of hockey trophy found almost 300 miles from Vegas
I’m choking on my Cherry Garcia......
In the moments before America was attacked by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001, Ben Cohen, the co-founder of Ben & Jerry's ice-cream kingdom, was begging for a real enemy of the U.S. to show up.

In an ironic and hauntingly prophetic Internet column dated Sept. 4, 2001, Cohen posted an "enemy wanted" ad, hoping that a worthy adversary would soon make itself known to justify President Bush's defense budget...
A Richmond [ British Columbia] physician has been ordered to pay a divorced couple more than $300,000 for the distress and expense of giving birth to a Down's syndrome child.

The justice also awarded American Simon Fung, the father, $20,000 in damages and $295,000 for the cost of his daughter Sherry's future care.

Dr. Kan was negligent in failing to send Zhang for an expedited amniocentesis test, which likely would have detected her baby's chromosome defect, Justice Michael Catliff ruled.

More wrongful birth crap.
Mr. Fung now has other children. Should he return the money if he should find the Sherry is the most loyal, least deceitful or easiest to deal with child? We never know what the future holds. What if he decides his other children have caused him a whole lot more total grief?

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Your Attention Please
I must draw your attention to the comment box under the I'm My Sister's Mom
post, in which Donna Lewis of Quenta N├órwenion is able to provide us with all the lyrics to the classic song I’m My Own Grandpa. And I had no idea it was actually a Guy Lombardo song. Blogging guarantees that I learn at least one new thing every day. Thanks Donna! (I always got such a kick out of that song, but all I could remember was the refrain....)
Oh, for crying out loud.....
I just saw a "news" report about Japanese thermal hair reconditioning.
For just $600 - $1000 a year, you can have straight, soft, shiny hair.
A salon rep is emoting about how much of a bargain it is for such a life altering process.
If you wish to spend $600 for straight,soft, shiny hair - just mail me a check or MO and I'll mail you mine in a ziplock bag. (It's not making my life that blissful!)

Maybe I'm just having a bad day, but if I am to infer from Channel 7 News that all that stands between my current angst and a totally hellacious life is soft, straight, shiny hair, things could be quite precarious indeed.
Random Posting (basically so Em knows I'm OK)
If I don't blog regularly, Em calls home to check on me. Isn't that sweet?
So I'm just blogging to say that I'm here. Everything's A-OK.
Found the Baby Jesus from the creche in the top drawer of my secretary, tucked under some stationery.
Received the February issue of First Things. December and January are still nowhere to be found, but I guess now I can read them on line.
I feel like I'm coming down with a cold again. Haven't been dreadfully sick all winter, but these close calls are wearing me out. Had a terrible craving for a citrus drink but didn't feel up to running to the grocery store. Now drinking lemon juice in water. The Bacardi Fuzzy Navel stuff I threw in the blender was just too sweet.....(and I didn't even add the rum.) At least it's out of the way......I was getting tired of reaching in the freezer for OJ and coming out with Bacardi stuff.

If I had more energy I'd head out to the craft store. The new issue (Spring) of Faith & Family has some great projects.......

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

I’m My Sister’s Mom... or should that be I’m My Daughter’s Sister?
or more medical news that sounds like it belongs on Dr. Demento. The California woman who gave birth with the assistance of an egg donated by her daughter generates a lot of logistical and medical discussion. Is anyone lifting an ethical eyebrow?
(And I feel guilty borrowing 5 bucks or a pair of shoes from my daughters.....)

The baby's delivery is testimony to advances in modern technology that increasingly are making mothers of women who are old enough to be grandparents.
Yeah, I’d like to see my Dad one more time......
but not like this
Hooray - it works.......
No, I'm not worried. I'm enraged.
But thank you for your help. You are a gem. And so helpful.
Once you get this unbollixed, I'll post a story about a mother who asked way too much help from her daughter. All I want is a little computer advice.....
publishing problems still.....?

Don't worry, Emily is on the case!

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

is this supposedly publishing, but nothing shows up?
Amy Kropp gives a nice review to The Teaching Company and their fabulous catalog. Check it out. Plus she says some libraries have these materials in their collections. We must look into this! I’ve been studying the catalog since I plucked it from the recycling bin at work last week.
does strange things. I do not understand. Maybe it's time to do some laundry.
”Healthy relationships help a person build self-esteem. They should be encouraged because they are an important part of a person's development.”
OK, Abby, that’s the right answer to the question. And remember, escort services do not provide healthy relationships.

I have a dear friend I'll call "Kent" who has muscular dystrophy. Kent is 95 percent paralyzed, but mentally he is one of the most intelligent, mature, open-minded, wonderful people I have ever met. At age 40, he is confined to his parents' home, to his bed and to a ventilator. Kent lives every day knowing that his next breath could be his last.

Kent has never had a girlfriend nor any sexual experiences, although he has all the normal sexual feelings and desires that any able-bodied man would have. For the past four years, Kent has asked me to arrange a sexual experience for him. He called and asked again recently, so I agreed.

I contacted an escort service and before I could finish two sentences, the manager said, "Don't worry about it. We've got it covered -- and we'll do it for free." The encounter went very well. The woman had a medical background and was not shocked by his disability or life-support devices.

When Kent's religious parents found out (they were not at home at the time), I was banned from their house, from contacting him, and his phone book suddenly "disappeared." I regret that I may have lost a dear friend, but I am more saddened to realize that a 40-year-old man can be held captive in his room by his disabled body and by his parents' morals and values as though he were a 13-year-old adolescent.

So, the disabled are entitled to sin? And it’s just nasty old religious parents getting in the way. Should our eyes well up with tears at the touching thought of the escort service offering this as a ‘freebie?’

This ‘friend’ is lucky to have been banned from his friend’s home. If I were in the parental position, I think I would do something much less gracious.

Wasn’t there some sort of goofy movie with Kenneth Brannagh and Helena Bonham Carter that revolved around a similar plot? It was vaguely disturbing yet fascinating. Can’t remember how it ended.

Thanks to Cacciaguida for the link.
Another reason to have a cake........
On Jan. 28, 1547, 9-year-old Edward VI became King of England after the death of his father, Henry VIII.
Our boy is known as Edward VI because of his name and place in the birth order. (Some of the kids are also called by their Latin birth order numbers. Chuck is Mr. Quinque.......but Edward we let slide........)
NEWS..........I probably shouldn't use.

For healthy brain development, children need a mother's love.
Lack of mother love causes dopamine imbalances. And can predispose people to lives of drug addiction.
I've been here 24/7 for 24 years. (OK, I went on a couple of retreats and few short trips to New Orleans and then there was that week in France, but everyone was over 5 whenever I traveled!)
I've tried to do the best thing for my children, short of tearing open my own breast and feeding them on my blood.
Yet.........I've smelled cannabis on occasion. And I know there has been underage drinking. And overage drinking.
I feel a guilt spiral coming on. Maybe I should have been here more - if that would be possible. Maybe I should have homeschooled everyone and never let anyone out of my sight.

Of course, without my devotion it all could have been worse. Maybe all six of my dear ones would be lounging in the last opium den in the US right at this moment.

Or, maybe my suffocating dedication is driving them chemical 'escape.'

Or, maybe I should just switch the telly to the Simpsons and not even think about this. That's what Rick would tell me to do. (since he subscribes to the Homer Simpson/Alfred E. Newman school of worry control!)

Have They No Waiting Lists?
Victor Lams reports on libraries that can’t afford to buy a copy of Harry Potter for every child in town. Oh, the humanity.

Wouldn’t being on a waiting list be a good exercise in building patience?
Or maybe kids could get creative and chip in together and buy and share a book? OK, that might turn ugly. Back to the waiting list.
Isolation - It’s Not Just for Homeschooled Teens. Quite the Contrary.

Eve Tushnet has an excellent article on Jewish World Review about homeschooling and the myth of the isolated teen. And a reasoned discussion of the drawbacks of age segregation.

She also explains why the non-traditional age students (or Damned Average Raisers) were something of an irritant to us back in college. They were mature, thereby reminding us that maturity was getting closer for us, too. Bummer. Isolation by age has its benefits, to be sure. College may be the best example--the ideal of college is a four-year truce with the world during which students can spend as much time as possible figuring out what their purpose is, how they should approach their lives. Being surrounded by other people all in the same exuberant, unformed, questing stage of life provokes great camaraderie.
Not a Good Snowy Afternoon Activity
Print out German lyrics of Rock Me, Amadeus as a cute thing for spousal unit to pin to wall of his office. Since it is too blastedly cold for him to spend much of the day in the office, we now must hear him singing this....... (and he’s not exactly Falco.....or was it Taco?) while working on his laptop at the dining room table.

I’m not blaming Dylan, of course. He only posted the lyrics. He didn’t force me to print them.......
Disordered Affections
A plethora of good things. Fascinating discussion of the state of the Jesuits today.
And a woman after my own heart.....
I have been accused of being gay because I keep my hair short, but, as I explained to that person, it has to do with going to the gym every other day, and with spending 3 hours a day on the freeway. I can't add another hour for drying my hair.
This brought a warm glow of recognition to my heart. Every time I get my hair cut, I come home accused of having asked for the Angry Lesbian. It’s just a nice low maintenance haircut. My sister usually wears her hair the same way, which makes us look like a couple of angry lesbians when we travel. (Which hasn’t stopped a fair share of pervs from hittiing on us - we’re just a couple of middle-aged moms. Either way, what is their problem?) The crux of the matter - and do feel free to jump in here, Emily, dearest - do I look angry?

Monday, January 27, 2003

Quick Boys, Out to the Van
We’re off to Vegas to look for the stolen LEGO copy of the Stanley Cup.
The 6,000-brick copy was apparently stolen sometime during last week's annual sports equipment Super Show in Las Vegas.

The Danish toy company is offering a reward of NHL tickets and an assortment of new Lego products for the return of the model. The company did not make any mention of time in the penalty box.

Anyone with information may call Lego at (800) 233-8756.

How low can people go? To steal a LEGO Stanley Cup? I wouldn’t mind finding it. I haven’t been to a hockey game since my parents got tickets to see the Boston Bruins play the Blackhawks. (This was in, like 1971!) I had been sulking after surgery cut short my tennis season and besides, I was just a sulky girl. My parents asked if there was anything they could do to cheer me up and I prevailed upon my Dad to call up his uncle who was an attorney for what’s-his-name Wirtz, the owner of the Blackhawks and take him up on his offer of tickets. Dad wasn’t the type to hit on people for really good freebies; it took me a long time to realize what a sacrifice he was making. On top of the fact that this also involved driving into his dreaded birthplace of Chicago. And I specified the Bruins - I just had to see Bobby Orr. And Tony Esposito. It was a blast. Even though I was in the ladies room checking my make-up when the only fight broke out.

You know, we have enough LEGO’s to build our own Stanley Cup. If multi-color is OK......

that your town doesn’t have a lot of pressing troubles. Residents are threatened by the garish and vibrant.

Neon-tube signs are either gaudy and garish or vibrant and beckoning, according to conflicting viewpoints that have pitted residents against business owners in a sign battle in Glenview.

Some residents complain that the vivid purple, green and pink lights are overtaking commercial storefronts, cheapening the downtown with illuminated advertisements.

In Winnetka, Lincolnshire and Lake Forest, neon advertising is banned. Other North Shore communities, including Wilmette, use laws to stop businesses from using signs to block the window or outline it.

The roommate, a source of vivid memories for generations of former students, is no longer the staple of campus life it once was.
That’s one of the great lessons of college - not listed in the catalog and your parents don’t have pay extra. Now students are demanding their own space and schools are providing it. Coming from a small family, this was an excellent lesson for me. My Em, on the other hand, went off to school with advanced placement credit in obnoxious roommates and queueing up for the shower.

"It's a statement about the affluence of America," said William Rawn, a Boston architect who is building residence halls, many of them with single bedrooms, at Northeastern University here in Boston, Trinity College in Hartford, Amherst, Swarthmore and Grinnell College, in Iowa. "And part of that affluence is that we lose the ability to share."

Sunday, January 26, 2003

Serving Time
Am sitting in the family room, waiting for breakfast, patiently serving out my lifetime ban from pancake making. (Em - feel free to protest in the comment box. Tell everyone my pancakes are nicely light, fluffy, and don't have a strange metallic taste.) The History Channel is giving us the history of soda water. Now I'm fixated on Coke. A real old-fashioned Coke mixed from syrup with soda water added would taste so good right now. Syrupy, not too much carbonation. Lots of ice. (Yes, I think Coke is the perfect breakfast drink. When I'm no longer a role model for the young people in my home, I may have a Coke with breakfast everyday. Maybe that's just one of those fantasies that won't be nearly as much fun when realized. But I'll have to try it a few times.)

Did you know Coke sent bottling plants around the world, following the troops in WWII? Wow. I remember my dad talking about a time some crates washed up on the island they were stationed on - some waterlogged wristwatches and intact bottles of Coca-Cola! Like a gift from heaven.....

Saturday, January 25, 2003

To fall asleep............
right after dinner can be a blessing. Look at all I missed last week......Last Sunday was a banner day for obscenity on network television.

Bono barked out the four-letter word par excellence when he accepted the award for best song at the Golden Globe ceremony, and it was delivered live to East Coast viewers of NBC.

A few hours earlier, a CBS microphone caught a man using the same word during the American Football Conference championship game between the Oakland Raiders and the Tennessee Titans.

About the same time, back on NBC, the actor Colin Farrell made a scatological reference, traditionally verboten on network TV, during a preceremony Golden Globes show.

And the boys prefer computer games to award shows, so we’re safe for now. But, let’s face it, bad language is so commonplace, that bleeping hardly helps.....it’s so easy to fill in the blank. And, is it my imagination, or are bleeps shorter today, thereby allowing the beginning or ending phoneme to slip through? (Is there any real service done by allowing an F-beep-K to get on the air? The appropriate vowel sound is quite easy to fill in.)

The Dog Show is safe to watch. For now. At least the dogs don't talk.
Chinese Crested Dogs...
don't pant, they sweat. Cute. Unusual. Little. (But not as bony as the 'bony dog' who lives across the street.) Saturday night at home watching the dog show.....
my name seems at all familiar to you, but you don’t know why, perhaps you’ve read of Wendy von Huben, killed by “Railway Killer” Angel Maturino Resendiz in 1997. She was a second cousin of my husband’s. (We never met this branch of the family until after her death.) Just slightly younger than our own Embot, they shared the same birthday and an eerie resemblance.

This comes to mind after reading William Luse on mortality and those born and unborn who have died untimely deaths.

But really, what's the great difference? Both the missing and the unborn were cut off before their time. They never got to finish the race, to work things out for themselves, to find husbands and wives and have children of their own, reaffirming through the deeds of their own lives that life is good.
As much as I like Tony Bennett........
Times have changed, and we've often rewound the clock

I agree with Dylan’s threat to walk out of a funeral which would play a Bennett tune (or strangle himself with his necktie. I must begin wearing lavish scarves to funerals in case I need to asphyxiate myself.)

The time of bereavement may be a prickly point at which to learn the meaning of the Christian funeral. Joe Fitzgerald is not wrong in saying that there is nothing like a belly laugh at funeral. But that is not the thrust of the funeral and I think it far better if any belly laughs would come during the homily, not during a eulogy by a relative trying a new hand at stand up comedy. Or at the wake, which is the traditional time for ‘creative expression.’ The problem now will be undoing the damage of years of lax standards of funeral conduct and heaven knows pastors are beseiged with requests for doing things the way they did them at Mrs. X’s funeral last year.

The mention of Tony Bennett reminds me of the sad yet surreal memorial service last summer for one of those unfortunate little girls killed in that rash of depravity against young life. At one point in the service, held at the Crystal Cathedral, a screen dropped down and a photo montage was shown to the accompaniment of a Disney tune that was from the poor deceased’s favorite movie. A wise guy family member, passing through the room, asked if they’ll play the theme from The Godfather at my funeral - after all, it is my favorite movie. That led to a nice opportunity to discuss the meaning of a funeral especially in regards to ‘self -expression.’ Or whatever you call it when the self is dead and at the point of one last chance to be expressed.

As an example of why tight control must be exercised, I would nix the Godfather theme, but go with Anything Goes (Patty Lupone or Ethel Merman - either is OK with me, but Rick would prefer not to have the late Miss Merman intrude on his grief) complete with the sound of fifty tap dancers. What the heck - how about hire fifty dancers in nautical attire for the recessional!?! See how quickly reason can be trampled by creativity........

Note to Em: I’m not dying. This is just creative conjecture. But call home anyway, we miss you.....

Cardinal George Announces Appointment of Three New Bishops
Don’t know any of them personally, but I’m sure we can trust the Holy Father on this......(one is younger than I am........don’t even get me started. I’m starting to turn into one of those age obsessed old bats I see on Oprah, and I want to nip this in the bud!)
In a jovial mood after a year of trying news, Cardinal Francis George on Friday announced the appointment of three auxiliary bishops for the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, including the second Latino in its history to hold the title.

The bishop designates are Rev. Gustavo Garcia-Siller, head of the U.S. province of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit; Rev. Thomas Paprocki, pastor of St. Constance Parish on the Northwest Side; and Rev. Francis J. Kane, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Wilmette.

Friday, January 24, 2003

What a Deal
Please Pray that Chuck's Feet Don't Grow Any Faster Than Necessary

Despite the cold, we decided to venture out to the New Balance store and cash in my gift certificate while they still have a decent selection of 'sale' shoes. Found a nice pair of water-proof cross-trainers that had originally been $109, marked down to just $59.99. Even the $59.99 makes me cringe. But with the certificate I only had to spend $14. They are really nice. I just hope he doesn't take some sort of wild growth spurt.
"errand boy” for Jesus - yeah, right
Kevin Miller has some interesting information on Chicago’s Fr. Michael Pfleger. St. Sabina’s web-site has some promotional info:As a minister, Father Pfleger has sought to break down the walls of racism and denominationalism by building unity among all people founded on truth and based on Jesus’ command to love one another. This holy calling has led him to be a parent, a preacher, a teacher, a lecturer, and an activist. However, he believes his most important role is as an "errand boy” for Jesus. I think a priest who invites in ‘anti-life’ speakers is a rather scandalous errand boy.
It’s a Funeral - not a Roast
A U.S. archbishop has banned eulogies during funeral masses, saying the personal tributes were getting out of hand.

In a decree to local priests Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark, New Jersey, said last week there was growing abuse of eulogies by friends and family members and the tributes should be delivered before or after the mass or at graveside or the funeral home.

There have been a few times I wished the priest had a big hook or a lever that opened a strategically placed trap door. Grief makes people say the darnedest things.......things that might be better said during a well lubricated wake, when a bizarre comment would be much more easily understood. And the Oscars telecast is another example of people (albeit professional entertainers!) who, in the grips of high emotion, don't know when to stop talking.

Bishop Weigand does his job! Bravo, Bravo, Bravissimo!
Copied from Karl Schudt’s Summa Contra Mundum
with his kind permission and encouragement......

I am sooooo happy that Bishop Weigand has told Gray Davis he can't go to communion anymore. May I suggest that if you are a Sacramento Catholic, in support, you write a big fat check and donate it to the diocese? Even if you aren't a Sacramento Catholic, you may wish to send some money. Then tell Bishop Weigand that you are doing it because you are so excited to see the Church's teaching so publicly proclaimed.

Here is a quote from Gray Davis's spokesman: "There are a lot of Catholics who are pro-choice. Does the bishop want all Catholics to stop receiving Holy Communion?" he asked. "Who's going to be left in church?"

I think that we have a historic opportunity to prove the forces of death wrong. I am going to send off a check tomorrow along with a letter telling Bishop Weigand how thankful I am for his courageous stand, and how I wish to donate to the good work of the diocese in order to stave off any drop in donations from pro-choice Catholics. Here's the address if you want to do the same.

Most Reverend William K. Weigand
Diocese of Sacramento
2110 Broadway
Sacramento, CA 95818-2541

P.S. If you think this is a good idea, feel free to link to it or copy it for your blog.

I am particularly taken with the spokesman’s snivelling tone of “Why is he being punished? Why aren’t all the other kids being punished?” As a mother I’ve heard that argument too many times to count. All I can say to Mr. Davis in this situation is what I would say to my own children: This time we’re talking about you.
Oh, to be back in 3rd Grade....
Fr. Jim Tucker gives link to an article about a school that starts Latin in 3rd Grade. In these schools, Latin is used to reinforce concepts that the classroom teachers are working on with their students and to help improve their mastery of another language: English. That sounds like so much fun Third grade was one of my better years. The program described in the article would have made it even better!

Thursday, January 23, 2003

March for Life
Eve Tushnet has some great reportage on the March for Life. I’m eagerly awaiting the return of my friends so I can debrief them on their trip. I tried to watch as much as the march as possible, but didn’t recognize anyone. (The hats and mufflers sure didn’t help!)

I was remarking today to some friends on the contrast I found between the visages visible at the March for Life and those at the NARAL celebratory dinner the night before. The people who were marching in the cold, mourning a dreadful event in American history had beautiful faces that radiated joy. The NARAL crowd, “partying’ in a fancy ballroom with all the ammenities, was the biggest collection of ugly, unhappy faces that I’ve seen collected in one room. Here’s a hint for the beauty mags - the soul does affect the face. You’re not as beautiful as you feel. You’re as beautiful as you are!
Mark Twain Tonight!
Karen Marie Knapp revisits The War Prayer by Mark Twain, a work that is much more compelling than I remember from the overwrought rendition I gave it in a high school forensics class. Well worth another look, if you, like I, haven’t looked at it since the early 1970’s.
for those who enjoy legal entertainment. This link courtesy of my sister, the lawyer, who has just spent the week dealing with a man who is not..........well, not like most of us.

Idiot Legal Arguments: A Casebook for Dealing with Extremist Legal Arguments By Bernard J. Sussman, JD, MLS,CP

......... a truly extraordinary collection of cases and decisions dealing with the "paper terrorism" tactics of the so-called "patriot" movement. While some members of this movement prefer the use of guns or bombs, the weapons of choice for many others are harassing lawsuits, harassing filings, bogus documents ranging from counterfeit money to counterfeit identification cards, tax protest arguments, and many related activities. Often these tactics are accompanied by bizarre legal or, more accurately, pseudolegal language. Many people who encounter such tactics for the first time are surprised and sometimes confused by the strange and unexpected arguments that show up in the courtroom.
Grease is an Evil Movie
according to Robert Gotcher of Classic Catholic. The message here is that innocence and purity is bad. Women ought to become sluts so they can have power over men. I've always hated it when high schools have performed this musical. Thank you, Mr. Gotcher. I thought I was just becoming an old biddy. It’s nice to hear that from a man. I hate the amateur junior high performances, too. And our junior high mom’s thought they were able to bowdlerize it by changing a few words and changing Rizzo’s feared pregnancy to mono. Huh? It was creepy.

He also has some things to say about John Hughes movies. (I do get sort of a chuckle out of Ferris Buehler’s Day Off, but that’s just a quirk of mine. And I do have a Ben Stein-like tendency when teaching the boys to say, “anyone?, anyone?”) Non sequitur - my daughter sold John Hughes sandwiches from time to time during her tenure at the wine and cheese shop. And she sold a salad bowl to his wife when she worked at the fancy gifts and housewares store. Fran has worked in a lot of places. She should have talked to Mr. Hughes - her bio could be worked into some sort of John Hughes opus......smart , disaffected North Shore teen working on her next scam......... (that’s the old Fran; the new Fran is hard working, in her twenties, and no longer trying to live in a John Hughes’ movie.)
Chicago AM TV
I am switching between channel 5 and channel 7. The news is the same - but 5 sets the temp. at -1 and 7 says -3. I do so want to believe 5. This could be a two glove day. I went out with just one yesterday. (For driving purposes only, I'm not going to walk down the street with one glove a la Michael Jackson; I'll just walk with my hands in my pockets a la an idiot who has lived in this part of the world for almost half a century and still can't acknowledge the reality of January.) I think Cody is stockpiling gloves and socks and little things. She doesn't want to tear stuff apart or play with it. She just has built a little cache near her favorite napping place. That's my first stop in the glove hunt.

Hope the church has heat today. The holy water yesterday was bracing, absolutely bracing......

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Miscellaneous thoughts.......

Ed Harris is a big, big, big personality. The kind of personality that starts with an "A" and ends with an "E" and isn't Aristotle.

The NARAL-whatever-they-call-themselves-now dinner was held at the Shoreham. I stayed at the Shoreham in 1973 when I was a Presidential Classroom for Young Americans participant.

My Presidential Classroom group was given a talk and tour of the Supreme Court by a friendly gentleman named Justice Harry Blackmun.

Harry Blackmun was the speaker at my sister's law school graduation. He was cordial. Everyone was impressed. He didn't remember me from the front row at the Supreme Court, but it had been twelve years and I had put on a little weight. I was just beginning my pro-life metamorphosis, so I didn't say anything incendiary while passing through the receiving line.

Harry Blackmun died four years ago while my sister and I were in New Orleans celebrating her birthday. Some rather nasty words were exchanged. Not by me, of course. I do believe I said that it was a shame that such an educated and articulate man should have left such a disgraceful mark on American society and history. Well, that turned me in to the pooper of the party. I must say in my sister's defense that she was least of the ladies who jumped down my throat. And I've been taking her 'stuff' since 1959, so there's not too much she can do to enrage me.
Fashion Statements.........not just in Tokyo
This link (courtesy Jesus Gil) about Christian-style weddings that are all the rage in Japan rings ever so true for the Chicago ‘burbs, too. "It is of course not a religious experience that people seek in a Christian-style wedding, but to make a fashion statement," said a spokeswoman for a Tokyo-based wedding service company that dispatches nonclergy foreigners to hotels and wedding halls to perform nuptials. Our parish gets more than its fair share of those wishing to make a fashion statement - and in close proximity to several fine reception sites.

For sound reasons, we must restrict weddings at our parish to members of the parish. This leads to some interesting phone conversations with prospective brides and grooms. We must affirm their relationship (in some form, sometimes rather strained, but there nonetheless) with the parish before we put them in touch with a priest to discuss particulars. I asked one fellow the other day for his name and if he was a parishioner. (Unfortunately, people are not afraid to lie to a church, so we must double check in the roster.) He said yes, of course. Then he asked, “You’re the church off of Green Bay Rd., right?” Sounds like a real dedicated parishioner to me.......
You mean education has deteriorated since the ‘70’s?
"Once admitted, a smart student can coast, drink far too much beer, and still maintain a B+ average." There was a whole lotta coasting going on in my college days. Now I see that it is getting worse. Maybe it would have been better if my parents had put my tuition into a trust fund that I could have tapped into around the age of 40. Maybe not. But I do regret the coasting that I did..............not to mention the beer. I did 'well' in school........if I had actually applied myself, I might have been positively ‘dangerous.’
An appealing concept in any language.
Check out these free Created Equal stickers.........
I weren't fasting, some fries with Zesty Sauce might really take the chill off.
There was no heat in Church this morning - so I didn't have to look hard for some small thing to offer up for the intentions of my friends who are in Washington.

this, thanks to Michelle......

Find your inner fast food! by Emily

I shouldn't even look. The Veggie Tales birthday cakes already have me too fixated on food.
A scathingly brilliant idea!
Note to Em: I know how you like Veggie Tales. And now that you might be thinking about wedding cakes..........well, I had an inspiration. Check out Victor Lams blog for some ideas.........
Sweet Dreams.........
aren't made of this.... I fell asleep last night despite my best attempts to stay awake and watch the replay of the Mass from the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on EWTN. Later in the night, Rick nudged me and turned on CSPAN to catch the NARAL Pro-Choice America (or whatever bs they are using for a name these days...) self-congratulatory dinner. What a horrifying crock. Rick failed to set the sleep timer on the TV and I slipped back into semi-consciousness. I wanted so to be released from hearing the the speakers introduce themselves as "I am the face of Pro-Choice America." (I do hope I'm getting this right, I wasn't 100% there, if you know what I mean.) After a perceived eternity of that crap, I was able to find the remote and exercise my choice to terminate their idiotic display. I can only wonder if CSPAN will carry tonight's Rose Dinner. I wonder......

Did find a sticky note on the computer this morning. CSPAN will have coverage of the March for Life this morning. (It says 11am, but does not specifiy Eastern or Central Time.) I'm off to Mass, them home to find a tape to throw in the VCR. Several friends are at the March. I am the designated taper.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Signs of having reached a 'certain' age.....
Listening to the car radio this morning, WXRT had a contest in which winners could win copies of 40 Licks and a chance at a grand prize of a pair of tickets (front row!) for tonight's show at the United Center. All that was necessary was to phone in the identity of six short Stones' tracks played in quick succession. I could identify all six. I chose not to call in out of fear of actually winning. The thought of schlepping into the city on a cold night for a concert - even the Rolliing Stones - was not pleasant. I've become the boring old lady that I was determined to never be.........
Note to Embot
I am well - was called in to work at the last minute. Didn't do any blogging this morning - was slow getting started and then Martha fell back to sleep while I was figuring out the school plans for the day. So when she finally snapped out of it, it was a typical von Huben fire drill getting her to school. Then Church called and I was off.........
I appreciate your concern.
PS - Your replacement margarita glasses arrived. Let us know what to do now.

Monday, January 20, 2003

Kinsey Kid Kinks - Critics Cry Crime
What does Variety have to fear? They could work it into a great headline.
You Can’t be too Careful
The way science is taught in a lot of schools, I would think the young people of this country are ripe for indoctrination that a fiber supplement is what keeps a geyser ‘going.’
"You're kidding!" said Dr. Greg Allgood, associate director of the company's [P&G] Health Sciences Institute. He said the company thought the commercial "was so over the top that everyone would laugh."
took Cody to work with her for a bath and grooming.
I wish someone here worked at a car wash.
Or a day spa where I could send Eddie for a little remedial pedicure....

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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