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 Nârwenion 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’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 , 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....
Meticulous Family Planning!!!
Yeah, like I can take any credit.......
I was looking at my calendar and realized that Martha almost always has a long week-end associated with her birthday because of the date's proximity to that of the late Dr. King.
Embot's birthday is on President's day this year.
Fran's birthday is on Casimir Pulaski day.
Bridget's birthday is still and always will be D-Day or 6/6, depending on your inclination to patriotism or superstition.

Sunday, January 19, 2003

A Day Without Dudgeon......
is like a day without sunshine. The Chicago Tribune Magazine devotes the bulk of today’s issue to homeschooling. It is generally positive.......

Whether the school is an academic powerhouse with state-of-the art facilities and well-credentialed teachers or an overcrowded, underfunded relic with high teacher turnover, chances are that, at some point, parents will become frustrated with how their children are being educated and wonder if they can do the job better.

.........though their choice of ‘religious’ homeschoolers struck me as a little flaky. I’ve already written my letter to the Trib:

As a mother in her sixth year of homeschooling, I am writing to thank you for the generally positive and fair assessment of the practice of homeschooling in the present day, drawing from a variety of schooling situations. (Home Rooms by Grant Pick, Tribune Magazine, 1/19/03)`

While we would statistically fall into the 40% category of those homeschooling for religious reasons, I feel that your choice of religious homeschooling family plays into a stereotype of regressive, insular Christian homeschooling that is so often demonized by the media.

The statement by Pat Inyart that college is not the goal for her daughter because "it's not the role of a woman to go out and support the family," flies in the face of everything I believe about education. As a mother of some 24 years, few spent in any remunerative employment, I intend for my daughters to be every bit as educated as my sons. If not more so. In most homes - regardless of the educational paths taken for the children - the mother is the first and primary educator of the children. To skimp in the education of girls is to cheat all children of the best possible mothering.

I have a friend who returned a roasting chicken when she noticed that it weighed 6.66 lbs.
Personally, I’m not that motivated.

A small Appalachian Bible college is fighting to change its telephone number because the 666 prefix is disturbing to Christians who recognize it as the biblical mark of the beast.

"People say, 'You're a Bible college and you have 666 in your phone number?'" said Carlene Light, an office worker at Kentucky Mountain Bible College. "It's the connotation. No one wants to be part of the mark of the beast."

The conservative, non-denominational Christian college on a hillside in eastern Kentucky has been trying for months to persuade a telephone company to change the number.

Having a child born on 6/6 , we joke about this a lot. Luckily, she was a girl so we weren’t tempted to name her Damian. And her real mother isn’t a dog..........well, at least not after my morning beauty routine.
Amazing News from Hollywood!!!
A woman with dignity and a conscience!
For "Everybody Loves Raymond" star Patricia Heaton, the last straw came when a performer at the 30th annual American Music Awards made graphic references to three-way sex. That, and, perhaps, Sharon Osbourne's joke about what she called Mariah Carey's "fake" endowments.

Though the actress was at the awards show to introduce a pre-recorded retrospective of executive producer Dick Clark's annual music show, enough was enough. She walked out of the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, disgusted by what she called "an onslaught of lewd jokes and off-color remarks."

"I'm no prude, but this was such a vulgar and disgusting show," Heaton told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.

It felt like I was in the Roman Colosseum. As far as I'm concerned, it was an affront to anyone with a shred of dignity, self-respect and intelligence."

A minor .........
yet oddly satisfying, perk of motherhood: birthday cake for breakfast the morning after. Just think.........this is the first birthday of 2003. Five more to mom and dad's.

PS - Mater can eat whatever she wants, whenever she wants. She also eats breakfast at 6:00 am before anyone else is conscious.........
Will Anyone Care?
Or is the American Life League advertising to the choir?

A pro-life group next week will announce a new advertising campaign that features what it calls "The Deadly Dozen" – 12 U.S. senators who are both Catholic and support legalized abortion.

The campaign, part of the American Life League's Crusade to Defend Our Catholic Church, includes Sens. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and John Kerry, D-Mass., a Democratic candidate for president. In a statement, the organization said the dozen senators are "claiming to be faithful Catholics."

The six declared Democratic candidates for president will appear together for the first time at a dinner Tuesday night celebrating the 30th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. The actual anniversary is Wednesday.
The thought of a dinner celebrating Roe v. Wade is sickening. Would any of these people appear at a dinner celebrating the reinstatement of the death penalty? I think not.

Saturday, January 18, 2003

Back by popular demand........ the birthday girl's request!

reintroducing the new and improved von Huben Family Action Figures and Accessories:

Flower Fairy Bridget the Irish Princess.........she talks like a longshoreman and looks like a china doll

Emily the Bookworm.........complete with Hello Kitty Hyundai filled with books, Bride Magazines and her own gen-u-ine Tiffany engagement ring.

Ed.......Emily’s cute and smart fiance (Yes, now it's official!!!)

Eddie..........the little brother who never stops moving.......wind him up and his head turns 360 degrees

Martha..........the meek and mild...........she has a real working Hoover that she runs around the house when not busy reading Blake or Tennyson (comes with miniature facsimile of Songs of Innocence/Experience)

AND WAIT...........THERE’S MORE!!!!

DON’T FORGET - activate the special button, and they all pray in Latin!

Mom.......she says 20 different phrases, such as “money doesn’t grow on trees!”, “autodidact is not a dirty word” and “feeling Punic is not what’s ailing you, Mister.” Collect as many of her outfits as you want. They are all cotton and they all look alike. (shoes with bows included!)

Dad.........he looks like Ward Cleaver - hypnotized by a Macintosh

Fran..........she’s very attractive - if you can see her! (Save big by buying Fran and Bridget in the Irish Twins super-saver pak! Their clothes are interchangable - and a major source of interpersonal conflict)

Chaz..........he’s Tourettic, complete with socially acceptable tics. (it takes more than a neurological disorder to make us speak like the Osbournes.) Except for some social anxiety, he’s the life of the party. Comes complete with 30 bright quotes from Chesterton to Bart Simpson!

Adam..........the rakish next door neighbor. Always the perfect comic foil. If he didn’t live next door, we would have to invent him.

Tommy........Bridget’s boyfriend, under all the tattoos is a real sweetheart and the patience of a saint (being Bridget's special friend is not easy)

Will - the Ghost of Leslie Castle........Fran’s boyfriend, comes with kilt and electric guitar

If you’ve started with Chinese Ed and Jerry, continue on with Swiss cousin Urs and Aussie cousin Phil; African-American Dave who lived on the couch and still drops in from time to time.

Mom’s rusted van with genuine simulated peeling blue paint. Has 96,000 miles on it - just from driving to Church, the library and Target.

Fran’s zippy little red Ford POS. It gets her to work. At the animal hospital.

Dad’s groovy Blue Amigo (with fuzzy dice). Put enough of your action figures in and it becomes a clown car.

The Flower Fairy home decoration floral assortment. Random selection of day old, over-priced roses, orchids and other fine flora rescued from the dumpster.

Techno-geek garage pack of miscellaneous computer parts. (cords sold separately)

Martha’s 200 pound backpack. (aka a locker in a bag, with straps)

AND THE PETS........
The laundry room frog..........
Dipstick the adorable gerbil...........
Cody the dog...........

The vonHuben’s shabby/chic dream duplex.
Some assembly required.
*paint it yourself - the wilder the colors the better
*with add on dog yard for Cody
If I Lived Here......
I’d be home now.
The passersby might become tedious....(with an emphasis on might)....but polar fleece and black ice wouldn’t be an issue. I’d also be within walking distance (sans boots and muffler) of a beautiful cathedral.
No pusillanimity there.......
prolife guy is not afraid to speak up when the time is right!
Not a Moment Too Soon....
The Holy See will soon publish a new glossary of 90 words related to sexual and family issues, according to Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, director of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
The "Lexicon of the Family and Life" will also clarify the Catholic Church's teachings on birth control, sex education, assisted procreation and homosexuality. The work intends to clarify "neologisms, ambiguous terms and difficult concepts in frequent use."

Those terms include "voluntary interruption of pregnancy," "reproductive health," "matrimonial indissolubility," "sexual education" and "conjugal love." When bandied about in a global forum, they can cause "grave moral confusion," the lexicon states.
The work has a waiting audience.
"It's long overdue, but it's a welcome initiative to clarify the political hijacking of the language," said William Donohue, president of the New York-based Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.
"The Orwellian use of language by the left for their own agendas has been going on for decades," he added.
Certain "elastic" terms are used in print and broadcast for better or worse, Mr. Donohue said, specifically citing the terms "gender" and "reproductive rights." They are simply code for feminist or homosexual issues and abortion, respectively, he said.
"They're sanitized, they become generic and therefore not offensive," Mr. Donohue said
Happy Birthday, Martha Lenor!!!!
William Luse’s latest Apologia post is fascinating.
But you may want to finish breakfast before reading it.

Friday, January 17, 2003

Everyone has a responsibility to encourage vocations
Karl Schudt delineates some pointers. Interested persons (and we all should be interested) may want to check out the Institute on Religious Life. Their national meeting is at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein,IL April 25-27 of this year. Martha and I attended last year. What a day! Catholic nerdiness permits me to say it was a lot of fun.

This year’s tentative program:

"Consecrated Life: Informing, Reforming
and Transforming Culture"

Speakers and dignitaries thus far:
Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.,
Fr. Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R.
Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.
Fr. Robert Barron
Fr. C. Frank Phillips, C.R.
Abbot Nicholas Zachariadis
Roma locuta est........
is anyone listening?
The Vatican took aim Thursday at Roman Catholic politicians, telling them church teaching demands they defend "the basic right to life from conception to natural death."

A new set of guidelines approved by Pope John Paul II for Catholic politicians said church opposition to abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage was not up for negotiation.

Their release comes a week before major demonstrations planned in the United States by abortion rights and anti-abortion groups and amid continuing efforts, mainly in Europe, to legalize euthanasia and gay marriages.

The Vatican said it was publishing the document now because of medical and scientific advances and because of the "emergence of ambiguities or questionable positions in recent times."

None of this is news..........some people just need to be reminded now and then (and over and over). So any wagers on how many high-profile Catholic politicians will take this to heart?

The guidelines, prepared by the Vatican's orthodoxy watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, make no changes to the church's long-held positions.
Ben Kweller is from Texas.......
But I imagine he must have played Milwaukee’s Oriental Theater once, developed dyspepsia and sauntered to Oriental Drugs on Prospect Ave. to obtain relief. Pepto and a red I’m Hooked on Oriental Drugs T-shirt, which is what caught my eye when I saw him on the end of Austin City Limits last night. His music was pretty good. But it was the T-shirt that lured me in. Ah, the memories, pushing the little Embot around the east side of Milwaukee in her tiny days........

His website says he is also an Apple computer fan, so he’s gotta be a good guy...........
Dangers of idiomatic English.....
This was funny.......... I mentioned something to my Bible study group yesterday about the homeless man who lived on our couch a little too long as being happy because he had cable TV, three hots and a cot. I had assumed that everyone was familiar with the phrase three hots and a cot, as in what your basic jail or shelter would provide - three square meals and a place to sleep. Maybe that's a Wisconsin bred phrase - like bubbler for drinking fountain. There was a look of horror on the ladies' faces and then relieved giggling when they realized what I meant by three hots. This came to light when someone realized the discrepancy between 'three hots' and my having four daughters. They thought I was referring to the girls........No wonder they were perplexed by my discussion of the boundaries of Christian charity and the provision of three hots and a cot! Not to even think of the fact that I said I consulted with a priest to help me define those boundaries.
Today's St. Anthony........
is not the 'lost items' St. Anthony, right?
Well, I need help anyway.
I want to give Martha a couple of the charms off of my bracelet to put on the one she is receiving for her birthday tomorrow. So where is it? There are times that it feels like we're living in our own little Bermuda-triangle, right along the shores of Lake Michigan. (Our Baby Jesus is still missing, too. Along with his mother (large, heavy, not a good flight risk), who was stolen from the creche in front of our Church on December 23. This was not a good year for manger scenes.........)
Seasonal Decorating Hint
Get those pesky Mardi Gras beads out of the junk drawer and hang them from the dining room chandelier for that special touch.
If the older children are critical, just say, "I worked hard for those beads." The younger kids won't get it and the older ones will change the conversation - fast!

PS - I didn't work hard for them. Some were gifts, some were purchased. But the mere thought of mother on Bourbon St. 'collecting' beads is an image no young lady wants to conjure, especially in front of company......
Can Poinsettias Last a Year?
I Don't Want to Kill Them, I Want Them to Go Away

Our flower fairy brought home two large dumpster-bound poinsettias as a 'gift' to me. (I know the pre-Christmas retail from-the-fairy's-place-of-employment price must have been enormous so I must be impressed.) The demise of the modest poinsettia in the living room was meticulously coincidental with the Feast of the Epiphany. (mental note: reinforce meaning of epiphany in boys' lessons. Just so they don't think it means "Mom carries dead poinsettia to garbage.") Bridget put them in front of the fire place where they looked festive, though dated. They blocked the draft which was invading the family room despite the closed flue. And if the draft killed them, tant pis. Frances rushed in later, shrieking that they were the most toxic decorative plant when one has animals......and moved them to the mantle. I'm wondering if there is a safe place where I can keep them growing for a year, where I won't have to look at them, and the pup won't eat them. We have the Mardi Gras decorations up on the porch and these orphan plants are sitting there screaming Christmas...........Christmas past. Perhaps I should take them to my mother-in-law, a veritable Orphans of the Storm of the plant world. (She took my Christmas Cactus into 'protective custody' one year.......)

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Quenta Narwenion and Atheist to a Theist are delightfully nerdy, too.
Fr. Jim Tucker.....
is making my job (my day job - teaching my boys) easier. He’s starting a series on altar linens and sacred vessels. His vestment series is great, so this should be helpful, too.
Catholic Nerd Blog
This blog really resonates with me...
You know you're a Catholic Nerd about, you’re ecstatic about receiving nun paper dolls for Christmas (and you haven’t played with paper dolls in about 40 years) and it was soooo obvious to your daughter that this would be the ideal gift.
(Had to post this before you got the chance, Embot!)

You know you're a Catholic Nerd take said paper dolls to work (at a rectory, where else?) to show them off and then Xerox the habits with your face inserted. Just so you can send them to friends. (And maybe post them on your blog if you can figure out how.)

Thanks to Chris at Rosa Mystica for this fun link.
"I strongly support diversity of all kinds, including racial diversity in higher education," Mr. Bush said in a nationally televised address. "But the method used by the University of Michigan to achieve this important goal is fundamentally flawed. At their core, the Michigan policies amount to a quota system that unfairly rewards or penalizes prospective students based solely on their race."

According to an interview I saw on the Today Show this morning, the point assignment system used by the Univerysity of Michigan gives a prospective student 20 points for being African-American. You can also get 20 points for being from the UP. Is the University trying to make sure both parts of Michigan are equitably served or do they consider being from the UP to be some sort of ‘problem’ that needs a boost to overcome? Or is being a UPer a race unto itself?

I’ll let it drop here. I know some lovely people from the Upper Penninsula. Some people who have even gone up there to go to school. But, no, it’s not my favorite place on earth........not by a long shot.

The Catholic Blog Reviewer
Commentary on the Blogs of St. Blog’s.........

An idea whose time has come........a blog about blogs that is not a blog waiting for us to step on a grammatical or typographical banana peel.
Et tu, Mr. ‘Educator’?
The community isn't just shocked about the possible molestation of a student by the school district's top administrator, it is stunned that the Board of Education was asking questions about the relationship between the boy and the superintendent months before the arrest, but apparently not taking any action.

"Something was brought up in executive session that he [Sigler] may have pulled the kid out of class a lot," the source said. "But there was nothing that would raise a question of impropriety of a sexual relationship.

No one was suspicious? I made it through k-12 without ever seeing the superintendent of our school district. I couldn’t have picked him out of a police line-up. And I did a long stint as a hall monitor with a desk outside of the superintendents office! In my experience, based also quite a bit on hearsay from educator friends of my parents, the superintendent spent a lot of time avoiding contact with the teachers and never, ever mingled with the students.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

If I’m so white, why ain’t I rich?
It helps to have a white-sounding first name when looking for work, a new study has found.

Resumes with white-sounding first names elicited 50 percent more responses than ones with black-sounding names, according to a study by professors at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The professors analyzed birth certificates in coming up with what names to use. The white names included Neil, Brett, Greg, Emily, Anne and Jill. Some of the black names used were Tamika, Ebony, Aisha, Rasheed, Kareem and Tyrone.

So what’s my problem? Too white? Maybe the von Huben sounds a little too Aryan, a little too Hitler youth. Or is it the ‘y’ in the praenomen?
Too weird?

That’s OK. Emily will support me when she strikes it rich!

Døgg Füd
how to dress up the cabinet where the kibble is kept.

Making funky labels at home on the computer. It's a good thing.
Dylan explains it all.
Not that I’ve been in torment wondering why I’ve never engendered a fatal attraction, driven anyone to drink or made anyone go insane.But now I know. I’m too freaking ‘cute.’ I’ve always been told that I am ‘cute.’ Even at an advanced age and larger size, I am ‘cute.’ Not that cute is all read The Four Beauties for a better explanation.
Cave panem
It was just a matter of time that a prankster changed the doggy welcome on the menu board to a warning about that dried loaf of French bread, far too lost for pain perdu.......It was changed several days ago and I only noticed it at lunch. I am slipping.
There must be a mistake somewhere........
While paying little attention to the sports news on TV, my eye was caught by a caption under a picture of a sports player (baseball, perhaps?). This Colon Smells Good. The point must have been that his name is pronounced the same way as cologne and that he holds some sort of promise for the Chicago sports world. To those who don't follow these things, it looked like a freak of nature. Should a colon smell good? I doubt it. Who thinks of these captions? Does anyone double check?
Something to think about on the coldest day of the winter........
Jesus Gil has a load of interesting info re: Roundup use leads to wacky weeds? I have a few months to read and digest this. Rick always tends to be more cautious about chemical fixes for things - I, personally, like to grab a can of toxins and blast away. (Eliminating the cabbage worms from my ornamental kale with an old can of Rid [for cooties on furniture, etc.] was too much fun. The pleasure I took in watching those little demons writhe from the pyrethrin neuro-toxin was, to be honest, not good.) I didn’t use any herbicide in my little garden this past year. And then wondered what the glorious five foot tall ‘unusual’ plant was. It was pigweed - something my spouse was diagnosed as being dreadfully allergic to. The allergist never showed him a picture of the we just let it go until I decided there was something distinctly ominous going on and looked it up on the Miracle-Gro website. What’s so wrong with better living through chemistry? I’ll look into this.........
I don’t eat sweets........
I was just doing some research. Martha wants a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting and fudge filling. With purple flowers. What the heck - you’re only 16 once.
Back to Work!!!
I'm fine now. Really. I think. Bad night of crazy dreams - overslept.(didn't set alarm because Martha has exams and doesn't need to be at school until 10:30) I almost always wake up before the alarm - setting it is just a compulsion. But today I slept 'til 7:30 so I guess I needed the rest. It must have been a rough night - woke up with pillows all over the floor and strangling in the tangle my scapular and Miraculous Medal turned into. (I'm low maintenance - I sleep with earrings in, too, so I'm always ready to get up and dressed in less than a minute. 5 minutes if I shower.) But my voice is back and I'm ready to get back on track. Think I need more caffeine, though. I referred to the dog as Lady - the name of my late father's Springer Spaniel. And in discussing modern keyboarding and the lack of opportunity for young people to learn how to work a real typewriter, I asked if anyone had seen my old Smith and Wesson. Ooops.

Note to Em: Just wanted to tell you now, so you won't be shocked when you come home on Friday - I think the bamboo is dead. I'm not a botanist, but brown and shrivelled spells D-E-A-D to me. We'll get a new one and try harder.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

This Saturday.....
marks the 16th anniversary of my first “drive-by” birth. (Due credit for coining this term given to my appalled mother-in-law, who could not believe why anyone would leave the hospital within hours of having a baby.) Victor Lams muses a little about “drive-through” mastectomies and the conflict between adequate health care and its financing.

Sometimes home is the best place to recover..........sometimes not. And I can imagine how dreadful recovery from an emotionally upsetting procedure must be, when compounded with being left more or less on one’s own to deal with the details. This brings to mind taking care of my sister after some relatively minor surgery last summer and having the doctor tell me to go ahead and remove the drain tubing that worked loose on the drive home from the hospital. (I was an art history major. An art history major with a tremendously good tolerance for the gruesome and some experience with packing the horrifying place where my husband’s incision had started re-opening after some major surgery. Maybe I should have been a theater major - I was good at faking calm capability.) And speaking of the spousal unit....there was that matter of the hernia surgery needed to repair the damage done to his abdomenal musculature during the first surgery. And the second hernia surgery to repair the first one that started to unravel from his retching while on the 50 minute drive home from the hospital while I was driving the old Saab with the sloppy clutch in stop-and-go traffic. This was the point at which I began referring to the hospital as Bum’s Rush-Presbyterian-St Luke's Medical Center. The secong time, they let him stay overnight.........
The Trouble with Angels.......
is one of my favorite movies. (Along with Yours, Mine and Ours which is on Turner Classic movies tonight, which we don’t get, so that’s just another reason to kvetch about the TV...) One of our favorite moments is in the beginning, when Haley Mills’ character is scolded for smoking as a child and she tells her critic that she is a ‘midget with bad habits.’ Jeff Miller had a similar real-life experience. Such a sweet story........check it out.
Is Today Over Yet?
My late father would chide me for ‘wishing away my life,’ but today has been such a waste of time that I’m eager to finish it and start over. I woke up with a scratchy throat that quickly turned into a sore throat and highly ‘unteacherlike’ voice. Not anticipating this, there was no school work ready to toss to Dad and he hadn’t planned on schooling today anyway. Because I needed to keep a bloodshot eye on the dog, I couldn’t lead the troops up to my bedroom and make them watch a Standard Deviants math video or some other fall back choice. So I tried the next best thing............watching A Hard Day’s Night en francais. This was not good. We are not studying French and all I could do was rasp out the occassional word that the boys might recognize as being of Latin descent. Chuck lost patience and turned on the English subtitles. I think all they learned is grandpere is French for grandfather. The voices were dubbed by Frenchmen who sounded reasonably Liverpudlian and the songs were the original, so it was not a total waste of time.

After lunch, we watched the Hands on History Marathon on the History Channel. I don’t know how much the boys learned from that, but the salt mine episode left me with a craving for something salty that has only now been vanquished by sending spelunkers down to Fran’s room to find the dry roasted peanuts. The episode about modern printing techniques was fascinating; things have changed a lot since I was hanging around my dad’s printshop.

The boys went upstairs to play LEGOs so I could nap. Sleep would not come - and I tried to wrap myself around Steven Riddle’s question of “What is the most beautiful painting you have ever seen (famous or otherwise) and what makes it so?” I’ve been thinking about that since yesterday and still cannot arrive at an answer. My head throbbed anew - not that I’m blaming Steven. But I was in no condition to think - especially about a question as difficult as “which one of your children is your favorite?” or “if you could only eat one more piece of chocolate in your life, what would you choose?”

I took a medicinal preparation and did sleep while the rest of the family ate a casserole that Rick threw together out of whatever he could find. He said the gang loved it. I hope this can be recreated in the future. I was just recently awakened - thank God! - from a nightmare of such mundane yet terrifying intensity that I now feel like Dorothy returned from Oz.

Tomorrow is another day. I can’t wait.

PS - I should have known I was starting to go downhill last night. After reading Steven's post, I took Faure's Requiem to work with me. I missed In Praradisum the first time through because I was running the copier. I couldn't find the button to jump back or forward to another track and was reduced to depressing the speed-backward button.........while I was crouched under the table doing this, I thought it sounded pretty darned beautiful backwards, too! That should have been a sign of imminent decline. At least I didn't hear any secret messages imbedded in the CD...............

Monday, January 13, 2003

When did I feel like a grown-up?
When I could vote at 18? When I could drink at 18? When I faced various vices at college? No. It wasn’t until a grown-up (actually a Sacred Heart nun, at a college social event) handed me a cup of coffee. That’s when I felt like a grown-up. For much of the twentieth century, coffee was America's drink. A 1939 survey found that ninety-eight per cent of the country's households drank coffee. After the Second World War, consumption rose steadily until the early sixties, when the average American was downing almost fifty gallons a year. Then coffee went cold. Younger consumers came to regard it, like Scotch, as a palliative for parents and squares.

The January 13 issue of the New Yorker has an article about coffee and the business of ‘tastemaking.’

Broadly speaking, there are two ways to build a successful business. You can give people what they want but give it to them more efficiently, as Wal-Mart and Dell have done. Or you can persuade them to want something that they didn't previously want, as Starbucks has done. One might call this the tastemaker approach. Instead of competing for a share of an existing market, Starbucks invented its own, heeding the advice of the economist Joseph Schumpeter, who wrote, in 1939, "It was not enough to produce satisfactory soap, it was also necessary to induce people to wash."

A very interesting article. And I do believe coffee is still effective as a palliative for parents and squares. Speaking strictly from my position as a parent and square......
Karl Schudt said it.
And better than I could. Besides, it sounds better coming from a man. Men are pigs. Read his charming anecdote and his case for women being good so men will become better.

For anyone who might not believe that men have a porcine inclination (and I’m not talking body types here), a quick glance at The Man Show on Comedy Central would be instructive. (If you can stand more than 90 seconds I’d be amazed.) The gist of The Man Show appears to be that pigs have a vested interest in cultivating pig culture.

Sunday, January 12, 2003

About the last post.....
Why am I moved to write about the Methodist Church? I don't know. Maybe I'll dump it all here, so I am not tempted to blurt out my opinions to my Methodist mother-in-law. It's always open season on the Catholic Church at family events, but I try to be charitable. Now that I have purged myself, I can move forward............
We knew there was something wrong..........
when we didn’t see his pointy hat. I think United Methodist Bishop C. Joseph Sprague is the bishop who attended the church service in the park across the street from our old house. The kids were not impressed. They didn’t think he looked like a bishop. Now he doesn’t sound like much of a bishop, either.

Twenty-eight United Methodists, including members of the clergy, have filed a complaint calling for the removal of Chicago Bishop C. Joseph Sprague because he allegedly rejected the Christian faith, according to the United Methodist News Service.

The group charges Sprague with appearing to deny the Trinitarian understanding of Jesus as God "in favor of a form of Unitarianism ... that denies the virgin birth and full deity of Christ," according to the group's spokesman, Rev. Thomas Lambrecht of Greenville, Wis.

I hope the United Methodist Book of Discipline allows the bishops’ college to open a can of whup-ass on him. Figuratively and in all due Christian charity, of course.

In a speech Sprague gave last January at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, he caused an uproar when he said "the myth of the virgin birth was not intended as a historical fact." He also said he didn't believe that Jesus' resurrection "involved the resuscitation of his physical body."

The group asked church officials to investigate the matter. If the allegations are sustained, they want Sprague to renounce "his contrary teaching and maintain his teaching within the doctrinal standards of the United Methodist Church, or that he resign (or be removed) from his office and surrender his credentials of ordination."

Libera nos a mall
Next week-end we will be celebrating Martha's 16th birthday. I still haven't found an appropriate gift for her. I know she will receive one of the little porcelain place card holders that were used at my 16th birthday dinner. I had mine, my mother's, my sister's and my aunt Tommy's, which conveniently worked out to one for each girl in the family. So I started by giving one to Em when she turned 16. I also wanted to give each of the girls a sterling cuff bracelet like the one I received (one of the few pieces of jewelry I still wear!) But the only suitable plain, engravable bracelets were at Tiffany's for about $200, which was a whole lot more than I could spend. So I have started the tradition of giving the girls some nice (but not outrageous) jewelry and some other family heirloom (such as the Wedgwood-inset compact that Bridget received.) Where am I going with this? I'm getting around to saying that Martha will not be receiving a car. If she is fortunate I will locate her birth certificate and Social Security card so that she may procure a learner's permit and begin driver's ed.

But Martha's best friend, whose birthday is just 2 days before Martha's natal observance, is getting a car. Martha wants to go shopping for some bumper stickers for her, plus some fuzzy dice, a CD holder and other various car accessories. There is nothing I would rather not do than traipse around the mall on a Sunday afternoon. My weather pixie says it's -9 C., which rules out taking a book and waiting in the car. The car was so cold on our way to Mass this morning, that the seats had absolutely no give - it was like driving while seated on a concrete bench........Oh, the humanity. But it's the least I can do. If she's not getting a car, I'll have to drive her to the mall. And we may have some mother-daughter quality time.

Saturday, January 11, 2003

and with good reason......
Word of the Day for Saturday January 11, 2003
dudgeon \DUH-juhn\, noun:
A state or fit of intense indignation; resentment; ill humor
-- often used in the phrase "in high dudgeon."

Doctor Dictionary sees into the deepest recesses of my heart.......and I have yet to read the Sunday Trib!
"I am not prepared to take the risk that we may execute an innocent person," he wrote in an overnight letter to the victims' families warning them of his plans.

With death row inmates he had recently pardoned sitting in the audience as he spoke Saturday, [Illinois Governor George] Ryan framed the death penalty issue as "one of the great civil rights struggles of our time."

"Because the Illinois death penalty system is arbitrary and capricious -- and therefore immoral -- I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death," he said.”

All well and good. But there are innocent persons executed in Illinois every day. Why could he not throw a wrench into that machinery of death?

While I'm on a roll......
I plunked down on the couch last night and saw part of that inspiring, edgy new NBC series, Mr. Sterling. What a man! He's independent. He's going to think for himself. And just to show what a risk taker he is, they establish at the very beginning that just because he is not a Democrat doesn't mean he doesn't fully believe in a woman's right to choose. Gag me. Do they want edgy? Do they want to go out on a limb? Make him handsome, make independent, make PRO-LIFE!!!
Has Anyone.......
received the current issue of First Things? When magazines disappear, I have visions of either the postman or one of my older girls camped out somewhere paging through my New Yorker or Vanity Fair. Especially the new Vanity Fair with their new all time low: Young Scandinavians in their Skivvies for No Particular Reason: Our First Underwear Portfolio Of course, the Swedes in their undies are comic relief after reading the mental meanderings of the confused Christopher Hitchens on the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I hear the apprehension of a man who is feeling the pricking of his conscience and is trying to talk himself out of it. It’s really rather sad - though I had sort of written him off long ago. Any writer who has to criticize Mother Teresa for her looks is drifting in his own peculiar world.

So, anyway, where is our First Things?........Come to think of it, we haven’t received the December issue. Are the post office gnomes out to get us?
Thinking about the transsexual school chaperone.......
I was remembering a time in second or third grade when I stayed after school to rehearse for a show or something. My Dad picked me up on his way home from work. He was a technical artist/printer/photographer - pretty much a Renaissance man. Dad came to my school wearing khakis -pants and shirt, with a turltleneck underneath. I wanted to die. All the other fathers who stopped by were wearing suits and ties and my father was dressed suitably for a GAP ad in 1990's. I wasn't prescient - so I was just humiliated. At least he was dressed like a man. I can't imagine how upsetting it must be for a child to have to put up with a parent who is 'acting out.' Normal parents can seem unbearable when you are young.
The USPS creates a vacuum
Richards Blog has one more in a line of testatmonials to the pathetic workings of the USPS. I usually chide the children and ask them to use the word ‘suck’ only if they are referring to babies or vacuum cleaners. But this is an instance to make an exception. Why my approbation for Richard’s rant? It took over one and a half weeks for a first-class package to go from the northern suburbs of Chicago to northwestern Wisconsin - due east of Minneapolis/ St. Paul. This package contained my niece and nephew’s security blankets and a couple of pacifiers. I sent it first class to get it there in 2 to 3 days. It was not worth the $12.50 I was quoted to send them express mail. (My sister could have replaced them for that much.) I didn’t insure them - I had no proof of value. And having experience trying to get compensation from the post office for a piece of plaster statuary that I bought on eBay which broke in transit, the insurance does not offer much reassurance. How do you prove the value of used security blankets - they are both worthless and priceless.

Yes, I know the Postal Service does a huge, volume business. And quite a few individual employees are charming people to deal with. But........really.
What Next?
The monks at Gethsemani Abbey producing imitation processed American cheese food product spread?

A French Government drive against alcoholism has incurred the wrath of Belgium's famous Trappist monks.

Trappist beer uses one of the oldest recipes around
But the French Government now wants to slap high taxes on any of those beers that contain more than 8.5% alcohol.

Anti-Social? Moi?
this quiz thanks to Amy Kropp

You're fire! In general you're not a mean person but you can be very quick tempered, and boy, WHAT A TEMPER YOU CAN HAVE. You are angered very easily and you sometimes have anti-social habits.

What element are you?

Well, a little fire might not hurt. It's not going to be pleasant getting out the door this morning. The weather pixie told me so.......

Friday, January 10, 2003

Big Book of Bad Parents
Let’s skip ahead to the chapter on parents who embarrass the living daylights out of their children. This should be helpful to me. I can say, “You think our car is embarrassing? At least Daddy never went on a field trip dressed up like a woman.”

The O’Reilly Factor.......Also, two parents object to a transsexual who volunteers at their child's school. Could they have a point or are they over-reacting?

Seriously, my heart aches for the child of that man. The parents of the other children can try (and it won’t be easy) to explain what they saw, but that man’s child is living in a very bad place. There are times when you are young that it is humiliating to admit to having parents - no matter how wonderful they may be. Imagine having your father as some sort of novelty act. That sounds like serious damage to me.

Now I get it.....
duh......if we don’t give away millions of latex items that might not work anyway, we’re condemning millions of people to death and wasting money to boot.

"The Bush administration position basically condemns people to death by H.I.V./AIDS," said Adrienne Germain, president of the International Women's Health Coalition. "And we're talking about tens of millions of people."

Evangelical groups do superb work in Africa, running clinics for some of the world's most wretched people — like poor AIDS victims. So it's baffling to see these same groups buying into junk science in ways that will lead to many more AIDS deaths.

(The scientific consensus is simple: Condoms are far from perfect, but they greatly reduce the risk of H.I.V. and of gonorrhea for men, and they probably also reduce the risk of other sexual infections — but more studies are needed to prove the case definitively. See, for example, the National Institutes for Health report at stds/condomreport.pdf.)

One study by the University of California at Berkeley found condom distribution to be astonishingly cost-effective, costing just $3.50 per year of life saved. In contrast, antiretroviral therapy cost almost $1,050.

So now it’s about the money, right? It’s easier to give away $3.50 worth of latex rather than educate people on the consequences of their bahavior and/or treat the sick.

The is no Secret War on Condoms. If there were, I’d be knocking over point of purchase displays while waiting for my prescriptions.........or hanging around the ‘family planning’ department of the supermarket with a hat pin.
Hark! I hear the cannons roar. Is it the King approaching?
My sister used to go to speech therapy and talk with a spoon in her mouth. And today she is a successful criminal trial lawyer and District Attorney. I wish someone had put a spoon in my mouth.......

But serioiusly.....this bit of real help courtesy of Catholic Heritage Curricula and Mrs. Sandra Garant......

Work on tongue twisters a few minutes a day. The last two twisters distinguish between the “w” and the “r” sounds, switching from one to the other.

“Around the rocks the rugged rascal ran.”
“Stir the turkey stew, sir.”
“The red leather is wet, and the yellow leather is wetter than the red.”
“Ron Williams won the racewalk.”

For ages five and up only. Put the tip of a clean popsicle stick or the handle of a teaspoon between your child’s front teeth and have him talk. He can repeat the tongue twisters above or read sentences out of a book. The mouth has to work harder to form the sounds while hanging onto the stick. Do not put marbles in your child’s mouth as Professor Higgins did to poor Eliza Dolittle in My Fair Lady. The stick and spoon handle are safer than marbles, but be sure your child is sitting still to prevent injury.

They also have a free on-line study guide for the lovely book Little Therese.

Perhaps Dr. Dictionary Knows This Is the Day I'll Strike It Rich!

Word of the Day for Friday January 10, 2003
lucre \LOO-kuhr\, noun:
Monetary gain; profit; riches; money; -- often in a bad sense.

You'll be the first to know.

Big Book of Bad Parents
I keep meaning to compile a binder of really bad parents that I can show the children when I’m accused of being a bad mom. Thanks to Davey’s Mommy for the link to the fine example. And over Christmas? Well, that's triple bad!

A woman is accused of leaving her children, ages 4 and 7, home alone for three weeks while she went to North Carolina to visit a man she had met over the Internet.

Janet Chen, 31, apparently left frozen food in the refrigerator and instructed the children to hide if strangers came to the apartment, authorities said......

Officers said the children lived on such frozen meals as Bagel Bites and corn dogs since their mother left Dec. 18.

Let's leave out the Bagel Bites and corn dogs part. The kids might want Bagel Bites and corn dogs.

Thursday, January 09, 2003

feeling the tug of saying good-bye to those family members heading back to school or wherever, should take a look at Dying by Degrees by William Luse. I have a few thoughts of my own to add, but I’m too punchy now, after a day of running around, trying to do school, helping Miss Coty the new dog acclimate to our home (e.g. - dabbing a few odd puddles and taking her out to the side yard, discouraging her from ‘helping’ around the house by licking plates as they go into the dishwasher....) which is a lot like having a toddler, something we haven’t had in about 6 years. Plus there is the ongoing search for the 3 remaining pieces of Victorian hand-tooled tin tinsel before I can finally close up the ornament box.
It's A Small World After All
The biggest surprise I've had in a long time was finding a comment from a college roommate on my blog yesterday. I've been terribly negligent about staying in touch with people - and I had made something of a New Year's resolution about staying in touch. So the ball is in my court now.....this is so exciting.........and she's still in the Chicago area, so lunch (at least) is a good possibility.
Not a Good Time.......
to invest in red shirts. They’re taboo in many schools. Gay folk wear them to Disney World on special Gay Days. And if you wear one while shopping at Target, strangers will ask you for help.

But I have to give a little credit for honesty to ninth-grader Adam Perez wore a shiny University of North Carolina track suit. UNC's baby blue is another banned color because an area gang, the Surenos, favors it.

But they didn't get the chance to suspend Adam; he came in only to transfer out of Lincoln and into North High.

He said he wore the track suit, a Christmas gift, "so I could get everybody upset." He plans to wear blue every day at North.
There is a certain rich pleasure, especially in adolescence, in getting everybody upset. I was never courageous enough to admit my motives........
Nothing to blog about? Hardly. But between reading and walking the dog twice (in my nightgown, which ain't gonna happen tomorrow when the temp drops into the teens) I've run out of time.

Forty years ago, my parents bought 'us' a dog. Cleo - the dachsund. My mother claimed that, though the dog was high in our affection, she was in deed my mother's. Indeed. By day to day contact and the realities of life, the dog became mom's. She was the one who could remove a bone from Cleo's mouth without as much as a low growl.

I fear the new dog and I are bonding similarly. She has been here since yesterday afternoon. Everyone is crazy about her. But I get up at 6:00 and guess who she turns to for her early morning constitutional? Yes, me, the alpha b***h. I whispered my status softly into her ear the moment she arrived. So who does she turn to? Of course.

Her name is Cody. Fran doesn't want to change it because she already has 'abandonment issues.' My sister suggested a segue to Coty - more feminine - and then an eventual change to Maybelline.
I vote for Cleo.

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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