Thursday, April 29, 2004

Science News
I bought bird watching guides/journals for the boys. With the intention that we would watch for birds in the ‘hood and at the forest preserve. I wish I had popped for the additional CD of bird calls. Then my first assignment would be for them to identify the bird that start yacking outside of my window at 4:45am and kill it. OK, that’s harsh. How about identify it, capture it and I’ll drive it to a nice forest preserve? In another county.
What were we thinking?
More Theology, More Geometry

Four days after Chuck’s confirmation and things have just about settled down. Despite my resolve to keep my mind fixed firmly on the sacrament and not get bogged down in peripheral details, some things got a little out of control. Before Rick and Chuck left for the rehearsal last Wednesday night, I casually suggested that they invite Chuck’s sponsor and his family over for cake after the Mass.

[- a slight digression: While nibbling on hors d’oeuvres and cookies while waiting to have Chuck’s picture taken with the bishop, I overheard two women talking. One was telling the other, “I don’t want the kids to fill up on snacks here, we’re going to be having a special party at the country club. It’s a family tradition.” I wanted to lean into the exchange and say, “I encourage my children to graze among the crudites and mini-quiches. Then we go straight home for cake. It’s a family tradition.”]

In a move that should definitely be filed under We Never, Ever Do Nothin’ Nice and Easy... a quick family meeting decided that this was the time to rip up the repugnant carpeting and put down laminate flooring. Before I knew what was happening, I was packing up tea cups and tsotchkes, Fran and Martha were cutting and ripping and the boys were pressed into service to move furniture and tote the bio-hazard rug and padding to the curb.

Chuck, having had quite his fill of theology got a crash course in geometry, among other things, in the two frantic days spent helping his father and grandfather lay the floor. By Saturday morning all was complete but nailing in the quarter-round trim. So we moved everything back in to the living room and dining room and prepared to get ready for church. (Some times it is a blessing to have a name near the end of the alphabet. In this instance, it put us into the 2:00PM group. If we were in the morning group we just couldn’t have pulled this off.)

Everything else was a piece of cake. I managed to stay focused on the sacrament. And maybe having a big project beforehand helped keep Chuck from becoming obsessively nervous.

Well....there was that one iffy moment. Already running a bit late, Rick could only find one dress sock. I bought and hid new dress socks for Chuck because I remembered that he had worn SpongeBob Christmas socks to my sister’s wedding. Halfway through screaming, “Well, what did you wear to my sister’s wedding?” I remembered that he had worn Simpsons’ Christmas socks. Not appropriate at all. Not to imply that I could have found them if they had been appropriate.

Oh, that and Fran’s develpment of an allergic reaction to something (evil carpet fungus?) and winding up in the emergency room with one eye swollen shut.

Note to Embot: Thanks again for picking up the cake.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Estee Lauder R.I.P.
....pioneered concepts including the now ubiquitous "gift with purchase,"
Thanks you, Mrs. Lauder. The ‘gifts with purchase’ and freebies from clerks that my aunt passed along to me guaranteed that I didn’t have to purchase any high-quality cosmetics until well past the age of thirty. Wish I had some White Linen left...I’d wear a spritz in her memory.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

But I was just starting to like Tyne Daly...
And when did you sell out, Julian Bond? I once thought you were so cool....

My afternoon would have been better spent hitting myself over the head with a board. It would have been less painful that way. But I decided to wrap my sister's birthday gifts, sort laundry and tidy my bedroom to the accompaniment of the C-SPAN coverage of the March for Women's Lives. Why did I put myself thru the shrill rhetoric, smug and evil self-congratulation and political grandstanding? Why? I don't know.

Small consolation was to be found in seeing that the crowd of a million that the speakers raved about sure didn't look so big. And seeing that this was a group fueled by anger. Not righteous anger, but free floating rage. And a movement based on non-specific rage cannot possibly be successful. (They may win/have won their battles, but they can't possibly win the war.)

Oh, now I see this is the second to the top story on the NBC news. Gag.
St. Richard, Ora pro nobis!
Am in quite a jubilant mood this morning. Our Chuck (confirmation name, Richard) was confirmed yesterday. Praise God. There were moments when I had my doubts. What with his ‘social anxiety’ and some learning problems, I didn’t know if we’d make it. The use of the word “we” is telling, in that Chuck was doing OK...but his mother often lacked courage in pursuing the sacrament outside of the usual parish parameters of three years of in-class work, X number of service hours and other bureaucratic challanges.

Among so many things, I am sure Chuck is thankful that arthritis and a strong sense of decorum kept me in a position of silent thanksgiving. Remember that scene in The Blues Brothers where John Belushi does handsprings down the church aisle? That’s the way I felt as the bishop and confirmandi recessed from the church.

Thanks be to thee, our Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits which thou hast given us,
for all the pains and insults which thou hast borne for us.
O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother,
may we know thee more clearly,
love thee more dearly,
and follow thee more nearly. Amen.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

For some clergy, legal abortion is a basic right
So bizarre, you’d think you were reading The Onion. Too bad it’s for real.

Sister Donna Quinn, a Palos Hills resident, attended the last two and is flying to this one with four other nuns.

[‘Former’ priest Daniel] Maguire is on a three-year leave of absence from teaching ethics at Marquette University in Milwaukee to combat what he sees as misinformation about how world religions view abortion and contraception.
He teaches ethics? That is ironic.

What this trio of Chicago-area clergy is doing this weekend might surprise anyone who has followed the national abortion debate in the mainstream media, which has amply covered the anti-abortion views of conservative Christians in recent years. Amply covered? Where was I when all this coverage was going on? Reading The Enquirer?

Oh...and Frances Kissling claims to be bringing 200 members from Catholics for a Free Choice. Do they have 200 members? Or is it Ms. Kissling and a few dupes wearing those multiple-person puppet know, like the guy that impersonates The Village People.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

This Mother's Day, Hug A Homeschooler:
Most Moms Are Super, But Do Those Who Teach Their Own Kids Have Extra Powers?

No. None that you can acquire through a hug.....So how about just letting her sleep in? (Do I detect a cranky tone tonight? Couldn’t be...Hmmmm)
Come to think of it, homeschooling dad’s should get something nice for Father’s Day, too. Give us a month. We’ll come up with something good.
Life is Unfair...

Lois from Malcolm In the Middle So funny. So scary. Too close to true.
But I guess it would have been worse to be Lucille Bluth.
Link via Summa Mamas.
Six Degrees of Bea Arthur?
The following is the Planned Parenthood list of performers supporting "The March for Women's Lives Celebrity Coalition":

Margie Adam, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Aniston, Curtis Armstrong, Elaine Aronson, Bea Arthur, Ed Asner, Kevin Bacon, Alec Baldwin, William Baldwin, Meredith Baxter....

Link via Otto-da-Fe
An interesting article about The Passion...
sent to me by a dear reader. I would have posted this a lot sooner but it has been lost in an endless loop of forwarding between home and work. Along with some other personal correspondence. Must work at clearing this up...
Just the facts, m’am...
1. Who is your favorite [past or present] TV cop?I think my most favorite TV cop was a character played by Frank Converse in a summer replacement show, that lasted one (at the most) season, called Coronet Blue. I think he was a cop. Anyway, I had a major crush on him. If not him, then Adrien Monk.

2. Which TV cop do you thing was the most crooked, or the most inept? Barney Fife.

3. Which TV show has the best ensemble cast of police officers? MONK.

Bonus: You need to hire a bodyguard for yourself. Which TV cop do you choose? Adrien Monk. I need someone who would understand me....
A Hopefilled Moment....
We were on our way to the high school yesterday when I realized that I had forgotten my book bag. As I was going to spend an hour or two sitting with a friend’s elderly mother I wanted to have my spiritual reading (OK, and maybe the latest Vanity Fair, too) ready in case nap time should come perilously close to nap time for me, too. Martha said, “I’ll lend you something. I have A Confederacy of Dunces in my backpack”

The mere realization that she had taken my suggestion after a long book chat last week left me so amazed that I almost drove off the road. (Not safe at all....even though there were only chickens present.) I wouldn’t dream of borrowing it.....wouldn’t want to interrupt the flow.

In the interest of full disclosure.....
Why we’re not as easily impressed as some:

A) Our old house and the park across the street from it appear in the opening of Ordinary People.
B) My mother-in-law touched (accidentally, of course) Robert Redford.
C) Paul Newman was a regular guest at a neighbor’s house in the old ‘hood.
D) Keanu Reeves trailer was parked right at our Jr. High while filming Runaway Atomic Chain Reaction Jury Train. Or whatever it was called...

Monday, April 19, 2004

Make it stop....
Still more filming.
Dropped Martha at the high-school on time but still had trouble getting to chruch/work in time to find a parking spot. How can so many people spend so much time gaping? And blocking?
The ICYouSee Handy-Dandy Chicken Charts
Very Handy. Quite Dandy.
I think the chickens on our street are really New Hampshire Reds. The chart says they are uncommon. Though, in my opinion, chickens on our street should be uncommon.
Sorry Kids....
this does sound like fun, but the field trip fund is about tapped out. We’ll we doing well to get to the Art Institute Rembrandt Show and the Museum of Science and Industry’s Sweet Home Chicago Blues exhibit.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Local Filming for Ocean’s Twelve Boy What a Pain in the Ass!
A friend of Martha’s saw Brad Pitt and George Clooney in a bar. My big question for Martha? What are your underage friends doing in a bar? (OK, so it was a bar/restaurant.) I’m still not impressed.

Yesterday was my first ‘free’ Saturday in almost a year. I was able to go to Mass and get in line for confession without worrying that I wouldn’t be done in time to open the rectory. (Until now I had to rely on making a hasty exit to get to the back of the church or hoping that people I knew would offer me a cut to the front of the queue because I had to open the office by 9:00 and/or going to confession on a day when I knew that all available priests were in the confessionals so that they wouldn’t seeing my scrambling in to the office late. Not of these options were what I would call good spiritual preparation for a sacrament.) So yesterday I could take it nice and easy. And then meet a friend for breakfast at the bagel shop in town.

To start with the good news...... We actually could find a place to park. And the bagel shop wasn’t crowded. But that’s because there were hoardes of rubberneckers wandering the sidewalks and loitering on the square. A train was stopped in the station and there were movie studio trucks all over. A bunch of extras in winter coats were standing on the platform, looking so hot and uncomfortable that it made me sweat.

On our way back from visiting the Rummage Shop we were nearly trampled by running onlookers who must have heard the word that someone big was about to arrive. That was my cue to jump in the car and get out of town while I had the chance. I think they’re leaving town tomorrow. We can only hope....

Thursday, April 15, 2004

For Sale:
One 13 gallon garbage bag filled with plastic Easter eggs.
I may have to hang up the delightful decorative tradition of scattering eggs about the lawn for a splash of color. Between the boys running through them for an agility course and the dogs trampling, kicking and biting them, the effect was not as intended. And then Chuck had to scoop them up quickly as the lawn maintenance guys were coming down the block. It appears that a new lawn company is working on our yards this year. I hope they're not too perplexed by the brightly colored shards of plastic ground into the lawn.
Sure, we could do this, too. And Eddie could play his ocarina. It would help if I weren’t ‘tune death.’ Oh, I forgot.....the von Huben children don’t play. They march....

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

"My husband said it was written by feminist aliens," she said, laughing. "But he got over it.”
Female seders have etched a place into Jewish tradition since the first ones were held in the 1970s, with interest growing every year.
It’s not really any of my business. But since we share the same father in faith (oops, there, I said regressive of me.) I feel compelled to comment on the tweaking of tradition to accomodate agenda. Sounds like something your basic mod and with-it 1970’s nun would really groove on.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Let’s Take Care of this Kids....
....and it will make a lovely Bastille Day centerpiece.
It looked like a good idea for 25 cents (in mint condition!) at the rummage shop.
Slightly more labor intensive than I had hoped, but very educational. Just follow the rules.....a) the Exacto knife is Daddy’s domain; b) please let Dad do the delicate cutting; c) don’t even think of attaching a real blade’ d) Do not work on said project if there is no adult present - and I mean within 15 feet; e) if there should be an accident with the Exacto knife, please call 911, not the church; f) let’s try to finish this by mid-July. It would make a great Bastille Day centerpiece.
One Scary Show....
Showbiz Moms & Dads. And what’s this with the Nutters pitching themselves as a potential sitcom family? We’re a funny family. All we need is one obsessed parent to promote us.
Gather Me In!
Link via Fr. Sibley.
Started this last night....
but was too verklempt to concentrate. But today is another day!

Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18, find line 4. Write down what it says....the English Courtyard, the girl was exhausted. She had almost.... (from The Doctors’ Plague by Sherwin B. Nuland. A book about childbed fever and Dr. Semmelweis. My father, a printer, used to talk about Dr. Semmelweis a lot. In the context of printers being lightyears ahead of physicians when it came to hand washing.)

Stretch your left arm out as far as you can. What do you touch first? Bessie, the unnaturally large beagle.

What is the last thing you watched on TV?Futurama. Last night. I needed some witty cartooning to distract me from my crappy day.

What is on the walls of the room you are in?School charts, posters, a weather map, lots of Shakespeare stuff - it’s April, dontcha know. And the usual lipid stains.

What is the last movie you saw?The Passion of the Christ.

If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy first?Pay off my debts. Then maybe I’d have the living room floor redone. Professionally.

Tell me something about you that I don't know. Bragging? I passed the test to be on Jeopardy. Just freaky? I had my tonsils taken out twice.

Via Mixolydian Mode.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Any small prayers....
would be appreciated.
This just has not been the greatest day. (Not the worst, but a drain on my soul/psyche/body nonetheless.)
Martha and I were rear-ended on the way to the high-school this morning. No serious damage to my car - but it was an unpleasant adrenaline jolt. Then Martha was late for school and I missed Mass because the guy who hit me wanted to fill out a police report (which we didn't do anyway, when the sheriff's deputy told him it would have to come with a ticket. And not a ticket pour moi.) and we had a little trouble figuring out if we were in the village or unincorporated county. So we waited on a village cop who called the sheriff after telling us, "If you were turning off of Thornwood, you're in county jurisdiction."
No permananet damage. And it did buy Martha the time to finish an essay that she should have completed over the week-end. (A long week-end at that. Remember, there was Good Friday Day of Non-Attendance at the end of last week.

So I straggled into work on time, but not nearly as composed as if I had been to Mass and rosary. Then I was hit with a piece of personal financial correspondence that hit me like a boot (a pointy-toed, stilletto heeled boot) in the gut. (I won't go into the gory details here. I'm praying for an attitude of detached acceptance. And I wouldn't say I was caught totally off guard. But it was not what I was expecting....) I put in my morning at work, doing my best to handle everything that came my way with a cheerful attitude of service. But what I really wanted to do was A) scream B) go into the kitchen and stick my head directly into one of the dishes of chocolates, treats, delicacies that kind parishioners have brought in to the rectory.

Then I had to stop at Target on the way home and exchange some shorts that I bought for Eddie and a pair of 4.99 sandals. I had the wrong receipt for the sandals and the woman at the service desk was horrified that the sandals I had matched re: style but not size. So the computer just could not handle it. She looked at me like I was trying to pull off the crime of the century....and explained how I could have stolen the sandals and was trying to rip them off for a refund/credit. My jangled nerves allowed me to blurt out (...uncharitably, I must confess. Though I'm proud I stopped short of calling the woman an idiot.) that if I were going to commit a major misdemeanor, maybe even a felony, I wouldn't take the risk for $4.99.

I did have a sweet moment dropping by to see my godson and to give him a little Easter gift. Eight month-olds are very sweet and accepting. Someone was happy to see me and gave me a big 4 tooth smile.

So, any little prayers for my dejected spirits would be appreciated. My financial/legal pickle will be resolved one way or another. Please pray that I can accept the outcome.

And now off to bed. As Shakespeare said, "I'll think about it tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day."*

*OK, I know it's not Shakespeare. Poorly paraphrased Margaret Mitchell. Just to show I have some spunk left and a shred of a sense of humor. If only I had Tara......
Happy Easter to all.....
Easter Monday is not the day we start working on Christmas

Or do we?
Am starting to wonder if I’m becoming more like my mother all the time. She had a bit of a problem with taking work to heart and letting it ‘get’ to her. I had to constantly redirect my attention during Holy Week/Easter services and stop checking out the palms, altar servers, vigil candles etc. I know I did my job and the time comes to let it go. But I had to constantly re-focus. (Let’s not even go into the distraction of getting Eddie through the vigil Mass on Saturday night. Putting a lit candle in his hand is good for a few irregular heartbeats. He did fine. And once the candle was extinguished I didn’t even mind that his warm little fingers managed to twist it into a most fascinting knot. )
So......why did the alarm sounding at 5:50am release me from the grasp of a terrifying dream in which I am about to start ordering the Christmas offering envelopes and other Advent seasonal items? My mother would understand.
She would understand, too, why I was more nervous about turning my night and Saturday duties at the rectory over to the new ladies than I was with tossing my set of house keys to a friend of the girls’ and telling her to hold down the fort while we were out of town for the big wedding last December. Pray for me, Mom. I want to be diligent. But I want to know when to let things go.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

It's Happy!
It's Fun!
It's Happy Fun Ball!

Well, it’s the next best thing to a Happy Fun Ball.
An Energy Ball. One of those little fun add-on purchases with my latest order from the Delta Education Catalog.
Warning: Pregnant women, the elderly, and children should avoid
prolonged exposure to Happy Fun Ball.

Discontinue use of Happy Fun Ball if any of the following occurs:

* Itching
* Vertigo
* Dizziness
* Tingling in extremities
* Loss of balance or coordination
* Slurred speech
* Temporary blindness
* Profuse Sweating
* Heart palpitations

If Happy Fun Ball begins to smoke, get away immediately. Seek shelter
and cover head.
Vice Cream:The new vodka-flavored ice cream provoked an outcry in Australia from groups worried it would give children a taste for alcohol.
Should good vodka have that much of a taste that it can flavor ice cream? Or are we talking ‘spiked’ ice cream? That is a little scary. Personally, if someone had given me a Laphroaig popsicle in my formative years I may have never wanted to touch a drop of alcohol.
(My apologies to Scotch lovers.....I just don’t get it. My sister still reminds me of the lovely gift of a bottle of Laphroaig that I pronounced to taste like industrial solvent. I believe she took the glass away from me so the remainders could go to someone with more sophisticated tastes. Oh, well, Rick enjoyed it. And he made it last a long, long time....)

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Note to Embot...
I think I forgot to mention on the phone last night that the Amazon box arrived. Thanks so much for expediting my order.

The boys are tickled with the book of recorder tunes. (It includes The Wedding they’ll be ready to play if you need them.)

I was right!
I asked the Princess if she had seen a Victoria’s Secret ad with a man who appeared to be Bob Dylan. Knowing that I am not given to the use of halucinatory substances, her best response was, “I think you need more rest.”

Well, baby, I was right. In addition to the commercial -- Dylan's first in his 40-year career -- Victoria's Secret stores are also offering a nine-track CD of his songs for $10. "I can't speak for his motivation, but it certainly wouldn't be commercial," Razek says.

His motivation may not be commercial. It appears that the erstwhile spokesman for the counter-culture is now a dirty old man who likes to loiter with winged girls wearing nothing but high-priced skivvies.

There is a satisfaction in knowing that I was right. And not hallucinating. But a sadness in seeing a cultural icon (not one of my favorite singers, but I’ll give him credit where due) shilling for lingerie. Over-priced lingerie at that. ( I respect Michael Jordan for working for Hanes...Hanes I can relate to.)

Monday, April 05, 2004

Maot Chitim
Jewish community responds to this year's more dire needs with seder baskets, donations
"It comes from the tradition that every Jew is entitled to a dignified, festive Passover," ....The system runs on nothing more than trust and discretion. Customers donate money, and Knobloch puts it toward the bills of those who need it most. That customer will never know where the money came from.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

More bookshelf Sturm und Drang.
But all will be beautiful when the job is done.
Putting the school stuff on the shelves has been a blast. But it still doesn’t all fit. Rick found an empty filing cabinet out in the garage and moved it into the family room. Now I can store the folders with extra worksheets, black-line masters, catalogs and whatever. Separately. Alphabetically. This is certainly fortuitous. I had no idea the cabinet was empty. I thought it was storing odd junk. Perhaps it is best this way. If I had known it was empty and didn’t know it could be so useful for me, I’m sure I would have been lobbying for its removal to the curb on refuse day many months ago.

Now the shelves have about 2 linear feet of extra room. Not to worry. Nature abhors a vacuum and Ellyn always finds more books. (In fact, there a few necessary items on their way from Ignatius Press and at this moment....)
Fathers Know Best:Catholic men talking about family life.
Fatherhood, for me, has been less a job than an unstable and surprising
combination of dventure, blindman's bluff, guerrilla warfare and
crossword puzzle.
-- Frederick F Van de Water
Fathers are Funny, 1939
School to pay for lesbian T-shirt ban
Perhaps the young lady should sit on her newly won $35,000. Just in case Mattel should decide to sue her.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

The default result for those of us whose loved ones would nominate us for Grammar Nazi!
Grammar God!
You are a GRAMMAR GOD!

If your mission in life is not already to
preserve the English tongue, it should be.
Congratulations and thank you!

How grammatically sound are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
Link thanks to Fr. Bryce.
Fr. Rob has a grim update on Terri Schiavo.
Two thoughts ....
1) When my father entered hospice care it was with the expectation of all involved - including my father - that he had approximately 6 months at most to live. He was not obligated to be dead at the end of the 6 months, of course, but we all had the knowledge that that is what the outcome would be. The hospice people were wonderful and made the physical and spiritual comfort of his last days top priority. God bless them.
2) The hospice that cares forTerri Schiavo sounds as if it couldn’t pass the national veterinary standards for accreditation of animal hospitals. Dogs in the vet clinic where our Franny works can expect a certain level of hygiene, dental care etc. that Mrs. Schiavo is not receiving.
Ready or Not!

It's Shakespeare month again at our little school.
No, I'm not quite ready. Perhaps I shall try a little April Fool joke and tell the boys that it is March 32nd.�

St. Isidore Foundation

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

Meet the Family...
Collect the Action Figures

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

Site Meter