Monday, May 31, 2004

And it all gets curiouser and curiouser....

So I’m reading to Rick and the boys the news about the transit of Venus on June 8 and come across a little nugget of information that John Philip Sousa wrote a march in honor of the transit of Venus in 1882. I wondered what the piece was called, being somewhat familiar with Sousa’s work from the records of my dad’s that I used to march around the living room to in my formative years. A quick Google check reveals that it is called “The Transit of Venus March.” Duh. The Library of Congress has oodles of info (including a download-able version of the march. It’s OK, but no Stars and Stripes Forever.)


Like many musicians and conductors of that time, Sousa was a Freemason. His affiliation to the group, with its penchant for divining mystical qualities in otherwise natural existents and phenomena, played a significant role in the performance of his march, particularly in the selection of the precise time and date of the performance. On April 19, 1883, at 4:00 P.M., as 10,000 people, including representatives from many branches of government, filed in a stately procession from the museum to the receiving stand, the planet Venus, invisible to the participants, completed its arc in the sky and set in the west. At the same time, Virgo rose in the east, and Jupiter positioned itself directly overhead. Why was this particular time and date selected for the unveiling of the magnificent bronze statue? In the mystical circles in which Sousa and the event organizers orbited, Venus was associated with the element copper, and Joseph Henry had used large quantities of copper to create his powerful electromagnets, which at that time operated some of America's newest technology. The correlation of the "passing of Henry," commemorated by the statue, and the "passing of Venus" in the west may have seemed like a fitting bond between two separate worlds, human and cosmic. (See David Ovason, The Secret Architecture of Our Nation's Capital, 1999.)

I never knew that.

While we’re on the topic of mystical secrets, I’ll assume there is no point in calling in sick on June 8 to take the kids to the planetarium or something, since I’ve already published my curiosity in a public forum. Oh, well.
We received a sample set....

of MagnifiKid at work. Not knowing which way to direct it, I brought it home. It seems pretty impressive. I may be subscribing for Eddie. And I’ll be able to take the sample back and give a few people the pitch that real parishioners would be interested in it. You know, normal folks like me.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

What is the opposite... of the canary in the mineshaft? ‘Cause I think that is me. I am the least allergic of all my family members. Maybe even of my most of my friends and close acquaintances. When the cottonwood starts making me sneeze and wheeze, I know we’re in for a miserable stretch. (I had hoped that one upside to the constant downpours over the past week or so would be that the cottonwood ‘fluff’ would be knocked off the trees and straight into the storm drains to do the last of its dreadful damage - bypassing the naso-pharynx thing. No such luck)

That - combined with some old pink Peeps as a bedtime snack led to a night of very bad dreams. I am more tired now than I was ten hours ago. The best - or worst - was the dream in which I had babies with three different men. Two of the men looked just like Rick. Maybe one was Rick. Neither objected to the presence of the other man’s child. The third man was Coolio. OK, he looked like Coolio. but he was a nameless instructor of fixed prosthedontics at Marquette University Dental School. This must have been caused by the hip-hop discussion with Martha followed by a stale marshmallow bedtime snack, exaccerbated by the fact that I forgot to buy more dental floss on my way home from work where I had spent time with a co-worker recuperating from major dental surgery.

Where is this going? Nowhere. Time for a decent breakfast and some caffeine. Lots of caffeine.

Please forgive...
the strange look of this blog.
I am having trouble adjusting to the new Blogger format.
I get it to look right on the preview - now having to throw in >br< and >p< etc. to get it to work. But when I look at the actual page it doesn’t look quite right. Then I look at it on two different computers at work and it comes up with two more permutations.
Diocesan spokesman Ray Delisle explained that McManus was writing in the precise "language of moral theology.''

Precisely the problem. Who wants to hear the precise language of moral theology? Not anyone looking for an inclusive, diffuse catch-all philosophy.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Just a note....

in case you’re wondering where I’ve been....

...Very busy at work. Lots of illness and shuffling of work duties.

....Our parish secretary’s son died yesterday morning after a brief illness. Prayers would be appreciated for the repose of his soul and for her consolation.

...Trying to organize the end of the school-year stuff. Having to put in extra time at work has thrown me off a bit. Looks like we’ll be doing some extra studying over the summer.

....Chuck turned fifteen last week. We had a fun night out. Went to see Shrek 2 and then out to Portillo’s for pizza etc with the whole crowd. One of those lovely “full quiver” moments that don’t happen as often as they used to.

....Party at the grandparents’ on Sunday to celebrate Embot’s graduation from U of I (just this once, allow me to say that overworked phrase, “You go, girl!!!”) and Chuck’s birthday.

....Fran is delivering on her birthday gift to Chuck of a redecorated bedroom. They went to Home Depot to pick out the paint on Saturday and are going to start painting today. That means that everything is moved out of his room (the most capacious in the house) and the whole house resembles a traumatic “Trading Spaces While You Were Out Extreme Makeover” show. (Maybe today is one day I'll be more than happy to be at work......more than happy.)

Saturday, May 22, 2004

No way... I drive an Amigo.

PS - If you need cartoon characters to influence your sexual behavior, you most likely aren't mature enough to be doing it anyway.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Sorry, Embot

Breast-feeding 'cuts heart risk'

Actually I read this article in hopes of finding more maternal benefits. Walking around with someone ‘attached’ for almost 15 *years has to count for something, right? Oh well, I guess you and I will just have to do other things to skew our prognoses. (Remember...I’m the skim milk and Karo syrup kid!)

* for the benefit of those not familiar with my family, those 15 years covered 5 children, not 1!

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Someone is thinkin' pink!!
It’s not so much that the Jesus Chic bothers me, as the dread of when the vulgar parodies take off.


You think Von Dutch is hard to find, bet you never saw Von Bitch!

How do I know about Von Bitch? We have one (shirt,that is.) Martha bought one and I was sufficiently amused (on the grounds that we are a ‘von’ family) that I didn’t go with my first instinct which was to tell her to take that vulgar piece of crap back to where she found it. We did decide on a few ground rules, i.e. don’t wear to church, school, grandma’s, work, library etc. Basically, don’t wear it out of the house. In all truth, I would have been more disappointed in her if she had plunked down the big bucks to get on the ridiculous star-struck Von Dutch bandwagon.
Tired and uncaffeinated, Ellyn muttered a gruff. “Good morning.”
Ever cheery, especially considering that she’s working on Pacific Time, Michelle says, “Try this....”
You're a Dialogue/Character Writer!

What kind of writer are you?
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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Could be worse...

I was afraid the answer would have been “Norman Bates’ mother.”
You are a villain. A human slaughterhouse. You
are deeply feared, even though it means you
lack any friends, and likely will never get the
girl, you still inflict fear and death wherever
you go.

Are you a horror movie hero or villain?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thanks to Michelle

Monday, May 10, 2004

Pardon my dread....
What a delightful Mother’s Day. The sale went smoothly. The weather was extremely cooperative. Everything was great.

The family gave me a surprise lunch. I was lured home in a timely fashion by a cell phone call (I missed the first 10 calls because the phone was hidden in a bag in the van. ) requesting that I come home ASAP because Bridget needed a ride to work, our pater was vomiting and Franny was unavailable because she had to go to a friend’s to rescue a tiny bunny. The trip to deliver some roses to the mother of my godson on her first Mother’s Day was quick.....nobody home at their house. Put the roses in the garage - and I actually remembered to call her later and tell her to look in the garage. Ain’t I amazin’? Prayed on the way home that I could be patient and understanding. Sun burned and with a certain tired feeling of satisfaction, all I wanted was an opportunity to veg-out. No ministering to dyspeptic spouses, orphaned rabbits and chauffeuring the high-strung. So it was quite a surprise to walk into a fabulously clean house and find a more or less well family seated around a beautfully prepared lunch table. (OK - it wasn’t perfect. The boys had been temporarily exiled to their room owing to some sort of incident involving a nosebleed, lack of fraternal cooperation and Chuck’s having reached his limit of toxicity for sisterly whining. The Chopin CD that Fran chose for pleasant lunching background music skipped to the Marche Funebre. And there is still enough illness in the house that I am refering to it as the IHoP: i.e. International House of Phlegm.) was good. Very good. I liked Mother’s Day.

Addendum......The special Mother’s Blessing at the 6:00pm Mass was most efficacious. I think it helped keep me from going ballistic as Martha and I perused the school supply section of the Osco looking for just the right three-ring binder with clear front pocket for an English portfolio due 3rd period this morning. And on to CVS. All with maternal good humor, even though I was anxious to get home and plunk down in front of The Simpsons.

Note to Embot: I was wearing my Mother’s Day necklace. I even had everybody in order this time, though backwards. I was too tired on Saturday night to reverse the order and I was afraid I’d break the chain (again!) if I tried more fiddling with it in my unpatient state.

Note to Rose Sale Friend (you know who you are): You’re right. Flummoxed has two m’s.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

I said it last year.....and I’ll repeat again in ‘04

I hate Mother’s day, you dribbling pukes. Mom - Futurama
I should rejoice that I am no longer chair of the Mother’s Day Right-to-Life Rose Sale at my parish. But I am the girl with full size van which is impervious to water spills, rose petals and other stuff. So I’m off....if not to ‘paint the roses red,’ to at least be their driver.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Well, OK, then.....
the young hypertensive on ER didn’t have a pheo. I can miss a diagnosis sometimes, can’t I?

Totally missed Friends. Went to a good talk at Church. Our bishop spoke on sacraments, sacramentals and devotions.

I don’t think I saw 3 whole episodes of Friends in ten years. I still think of Courtney Cox as ‘the girl in the Bruce Springsteen video.’ In between driving kids around this afternoon, I caught a little of a VH1 special about the Fabulous life of the Friends stars. Yech. Feng shui hair stylists. Photographic spiritual regeneration. Gut rehabbing a $13 million mansion. I never knew there were so many ways to throw away money.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Time to go
to that nest of “contagion, and unnatural sleep." There is some sort of bug going around work. No one feels great. People who never take a sick day have phoned in sick. Those left standing have a lethargy that fails to respond any amount of caffeine stimulation. We’re just a step away from someone complaining to the Cardinal about the parish that employs zombies to work in the rectory....

I hope I'm in better shape when I return home today. Yesterday we were doing a "fun" geometry exercise with the 3-D tangrams. When it was time to move on to something else, I offered to put the two sets of blocks back into their original squares and pack them in the carrying case. Couldn't do it. I started to sweat.....and stuck somewhere between tears and a sneeze I crammed the blocks into Zip-Loc bags. They should be safe there until thinking skills return. Just keep 'em away from the dogs, boys.
That's funny!
Insular Majuscule
Insular Majuscule- You are spiritual and well
rounded. People look to you for advice, but
sometimes find you difficult to understand.

What Calligraphy Hand Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
In real life, part of my job involves the meticulous transcription of names, dates etc. into sacramental records. In nicely executed block printing that would have made my primary teachers and my mother (who was a primary teacher) proud. Not artful.......but legible.
Link via Eve Tushnet.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Scientists offer hope for poor readers
A monthly $500 Barnes & Noble gift card would help me a lot.
Nom de plume du jour:
Francisella Tularensis
I started feeling unwell before the orphaned rabbit came into our lives. Despite the prognostications of some of my co-workers, the bunny is doing well. I think I’ll be OK, too.

For those of you who may care:
A - Tularemia [aka rabbit fever], characterized by intermittent fever and swelling of the lymph nodes, is relatively rare in Illinois.

B - The bunny is eating well, developing a strong suck (over 2cc’s of formula at the last feeding) and is manifesting a good spontaneous urine output. The urine thing is where I draw the line......Fran said that these tiny animals sometimes need to have their bladders massaged. I guess that’s something their mothers will instinctively do. Not this mama.

I’m sorry your mother was killed by a jackhammer in an unfortunate sidewalk excavation. I’m sorry you came so close to being volunteered as snake food by a vet tech. I’ll let you sleep in a nice trendy colored Rubbermaid box, wrapped up in one of my favorite 3M cleaning cloths. I’ll help to keep you safe from prying fingers and canines. I’ll buy you some small mammal formula. But please don’t expect me to massage your bladder.
Modified May Altar this year....

This year I am making a modified May Altar in the family room because we still have to do a little furniture moving to finish the trim in the living room. I am somewhat disappointed. But there are some family members who are not doing such a good job at suppressing their relief that our 44” statue of Our Lady of Grace is not being placed in a position of prominence in the living room. I have come to accept this attitude. For one thing, the May Altar is a relatively new practice in our family. And I don’t think they know one single other family that has ever had a May Altar. So for the bigger kids, it is somewhat strange. I’m sure in 15 or 20 years, everyone will accept it as SOP.
My Lost Week-End
The bad news......I felt crappy and not terribly motivated to do all the little tasks on my must-do list.
The good news.......I felt well enough to almost finish reading this......

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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