Monday, January 31, 2005

It’s put-up or shut-up time for
PETA. The animal crazies have stopped sending death threats to my sister and are actually offering helpful information re: animal hoarding etc. Which is a good thing, because the deputies in her country just busted a “dog house” with over 40 border collies. (I told her if they were miniature dachsunds I might consider opening our hearts to one of the poor foundlings. But no big dogs. We’re on the brink of looking like crazy hoarders ourselves.) I’m waiting for Animal Planet to give her her own show. That is more likely than her county getting its own humane officer.
When inner beauty simply isn't enough
Hey, that’s the Trib’s headline - not mine.
NewBeauty, the first magazine devoted to cosmetic enhancements,... So there’s enough about superficial enhancements - surgical and otherwise - to fill a monthly mag? Ugh. And I have I mentioned that I saw an ad on TV for a new lotion that will effect a marked improvement in facial “crinkles?” That’s crinkles, not wrinkles. So now I should be worrying about crinkles, too? Crinkles?
I just had one of those oranges that looks fabulous and tastes like it is stuffed with cotton. Eeew.
Windows into Heaven
He had me at ‘rabbit skin glue’...

Last night my parish hosted the first of three talks by Joseph Malham, iconographer and author. I enjoyed it so much that I was sorry that I didn’t dig in my heels and force Chuck to accompany me. (Since it was scheduled to run more than 10 minutes, I didn’t think Eddie would be remotely interested. I’ll just have to tell him what I learned.) Chuck was going to go with me, but I had the feeling that it was only because he thought I wanted an ‘escort.’ Oh, well. I think he would have found it fascinating. I had hoped Martha would be done with work in time to stop in, since she is our own “artist in residence.” But no such luck.

For me, it was like being back in school. Only better. Much better. (And through the miracle of modern technology, I have Arrested Development and Simpsons on tape...)

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Good Idea - Bad Idea
It’s time for the annual Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade queen contest. Bridget is still reeling from her one attempt several years ago, not realizing that it is persistent participation that brings many young ladies of Irish descent to the seat of honor in the parade. So I had this scathingly brilliant idea. This year may be the first (and is certainly the last) that all four von Huben girls are eligible (17-26 years old, unmarried, no outstanding criminal warrants) to participate in the contest. I think the mere appearance of four sisters would merit a mention on the news or in the Trib (if not catching the attention of the judges) Fran, who was, by the way, not the most resistant to the idea, asks, “Why?” What can I say? It seems cool. I must have a dormant stage-mother lurking inside of me, ready to spring into action with a moderate amount of incentive.

And if we can’t pull this off, there is a similar contest in the Andersonville neighborhood for a St. Lucia queen in December. Being an ethnically diverse family, we could get a lot of play out of this sister act.

Friday, January 28, 2005

When the thrill...
of Googling youself is gone, go to iTunes and see how many songs contain your name. We had a lot of fun with this. If only we had thought of it before Martha’s birthday last week. We could have done a fabulous compilation for her. Martha My Dear, Martha’s Waltz, Martha Stewart is the Anti-Christ. There was enough good material for a 2-CD set. Chuck had a lot more instrumental numbers, plus a few hip-hop bits with lyrics that are most likely X-rated, a song called Chuck You Farley , a bunch of Up-Chuck themed works of art and the classic, Chuck E.’s in Love.

Rick offered to look up my name. I thought that would be useless, but it came up with an amazing number of songs. Many of which were versions of what appears to be an old bluegrass standard, “Poor Ellen Smith.” (which just happens to be my maiden name.....Ellyn with a ‘y’...and without the Poor) How did I live all these years without knowing there is a song about me? My own personal pity party song.

Poor Ellen Smith how she was found
Shot through the heart lying cold on the ground
Her clothes were all scattered and thrown all around
And blood marks the spot where poor Ellen was found

They picked up their rifles and hunted me down
And found me aloafin’ in Mount Airy town
They picked up the body and carried it away
And now she is sleeping in some lonesome old grave

Ouch. My family would have had fun with that one. My parents were quite gifted at extemporaneous I can just imagine this being sung outside my bedroom door on those mornings when I would have been tending towards malingering. A Google search for the lyrics came back with 445,000 results. (Try that next year, Em. How many bluegrass songs are called Poor Emily Elizabeth Smith von Huben Cheng? Not 445,000, I’ll betcha.)

Gotta go. Time for Poor Ellyn to let the dogs in and drive Bridget (who we haven’t even ‘searched’ yet) to work.

Poor Ellyn Smith how was she found
Slipped on black ice and landed on the ground.
On today’s menu...
DumbOx Tail Soup. With AngelicDoctorFood Cake for dessert, of course.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Cool idea!
It worked for my mother.
And she was multi-tasking decades before there was a word for it.
A Christmas Gift from my sister...

And I thought the accompanying note was contentious (Thought you would enjoy this...just don’t ask me to listen to it.*) until the commenters on Amy Welborn’s blog finished with it. But then they moved on to parenting “dopes”...and the fur really started to fly.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

"This reform--we decree it silliness without a name”
Like a sports team, a family is better off with uniformity of nomenclature. The French have made things extremely complicated...
It is retroactive only for children younger than 13, and even then only through a formal petition. Siblings must have the same last name. A husband cannot take the last name of his wife. In the case of a dispute between mother and father over what name to give their baby, the father wins.

There are jokes about the way the double-barreled last name will be put into effect. To ensure that the world at large knows that the baby's lineage results from the new law and not from historic cases often involving aristocracy, two hyphens will now be required.
So the name of a baby called Martin -- Dupont becomes "Martin double-tiret Dupont" or "Martin double-dash Dupont." "Double-dash" will not be pronounced in ordinary speech, according to the law's instructions, only in spelling the name.

I kind of like Double-Dash. I would pronounce it. (My father did often refer to me as "Ellyn Mary, quite contrary.")

While on the subject of names...when Embot gets married she will sound a lot like my favorite character in the Masterpiece boardgame: Bitsy Rich Wong Dobrowski Keyes. No double-dash needed.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

So what are we going to do tonight, Brain?
It’s Tuesday - time for my weekly TV fix. (Actually, I think it is time to cut back. A lot. Since I now I also watch Medium on Monday, Monk on Friday, Laugh Out Loud on Sunday....and too much other junk in between.) But I’ll make room for a new House episode and maybe some Judging Amy. I still see a lot of my self in Dr. House...perhaps I control my tongue more, but our thoughts have a certain similarity.

In the first episode, Dr. House shoots down a patient’s request to go home and die with ‘dignity’ by telling her that no one dies with dignity. I think I would phrase it a little differently, but essentially he was right. If you are looking for aesthetic perfection, control and no possibility of looking absurd, death may be difficult. Life may be difficult. Having birthed six children, I know firsthand (and will spare you the details) that birth puts you in some ludicrous positions and situations. And it isn’t so dignified for the baby, either. A new human winds up as the slippery, disheveled, indignant guest at a surprise party that interrupts a very cozy living arrangement. So we start life with little ‘dignity’ and between birth and death there are plenty of opportunities to be caught in undignified positions. Our real dignity comes from being children of God and none of the pitfalls of physical existence can take that from us.

Monday, January 24, 2005

A suggestion to help the stewardship committee
today. With the budget in mind - a little segue from Soupy to St. Francis de Sales.

Great opportunities to serve God rarely present themselves but little ones are frequent.
so go to Daddy's wallet and get those "little green pieces of paper with pictures of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Lincoln, and Jefferson on them, send them to us...
OK, so not all of my ideas are brilliant.
I wouldn’t have believed this
if I hadn’t heard it. Talk about desperate. Sounds like pro-aborts are scraping the bottom of the barrel for rationalizations.
"Regardless of what people say in the polls, there are very few people in this country who want us to go back to the days of our grandmothers and our great grandmothers, where women had 10, 12, 15, 18 children," said National Organization of Women President Kim Gandy.
Hey Em...Bow Shoe Alert

And they come in five colors!
The Surreal Life...
rats, that title is already taken

Chuck and I were sitting in the family room last night....just kicking back and watching our favorite reality show. And the TV wasn’t on.

Cue theme song...
I got me a van, it’s as big as a whale
and we’re headin’ on down
to the Crap Shack.
I got me a Chevy, it seats about 20
So hurry up and lend your mother some money.

Sign says...stay away fools,
‘cause chaos rule at the Cr-a-a-ap Shack!

oooh...litter on the highway
litter on the front porch
litter on the hallway

The whole shack shimmies!
The whole shack shimmies when everybody’s
Movin’ around and around and around and around!
Everybody’s movin, everybody’s groovin’ baby!
Folks linin’ up outside just to get down
Everybody’s movin’, everybody’s groovin’, nobody’s cleanin’ baby
Funky little shack! Funk-y little shack!

In tonight’s episode, Mom is sulking resting on the couch after realizing her efforts to get the house in order are not just not being realized, but are being thwarted. Mom has a good sense of the transience of material things. But she is occasionally overwhelmed at the rate at which things continue to deteriorate.

This reverie is broken by the clatter of various family members and their friends roaming about the house. Bridget takes center stage with a lively description of looking out the window while at work and seeing the local constabulary peering into the family van and taking copious notes. Rick excuses himself to the office to call the police and explain why a van with a lot of computer accessories etc marked as belonging to a local high school was in The Yuppy Puppy parking lot. Bridget continues her tirade about the humiliation of driving such a ‘ghetto’ looking van...and with the pro-life bumper stickers. She can only imagine what the police thought.

There is a lot of computer equipment in the living room, too. We all know it is part of Rick and Chuck’s charitable computer project to get technology into the hands of schools with limited budgets. Mom and a few of the other kids think it makes the whole place look like a loosely organized fencing operation. Twenty-six years of parenting have left our mater familias with a gift for thinking six steps ahead. So Mom is encouraging everyone to help tidy we look clean when the police show up with a search warrant. And for heaven’s sake let’s get the dry-erase graffiti off the white board in the school corner. This doesn’t need to be a DCFS matter, too. (And Mom works on vacuuming the snow from the “winter” village, so word doesn’t get back to Martha Stewart in prison that some people are so very disorganized. Martha knows people. People who know people on the outside.)

Chuck retires to his personal Crap Shack - which is looking so much better after an afternoon’s work - to relax from cleaning and shoveling. (It was snow that he was shoveling. His room isn’t that bad.) And to escape his enervating little brother who has taken up the affectation of walking about the house with a shillelagh.

Mom decides to watch some amusing TV familes, such as the Bluths or Simpsons. But only after doing another load of wash so that Dad has a good pool of normal clothes to draw from when he dresses to attend Martha’s yearly IEP meeting at school. Mom has missed too much work in the past week and can’t afford to sit through a yada-yada-yada session at school. Martha isn’t too dismayed. Mom went last year, so everyone knows that Martha’s mom isn’t imaginary.
Cue theme and closing credits....
Hop in my van,
it’s as big as a whale
and it’s about to set sai!
I got me a car, with computers for twenty
So make sure you have some ID, honey....
[W + (D-d)] x TQ
         M x NA

a formula that takes into account numerous feelings to devise peoples' lowest point....

Sunday, January 23, 2005

It just seemed too creepy. "Then again, they've never lost anybody," Haney said. "You never know what you're going to do."
I think it is creepy. I mean, I don’t think I would do this...
How often does stress enter your day?
STRESS!?! How dare you ask me about stress. I would like to
see you handle six kids, a creative genius spouse , three dogs, a frog, three jobs, and a few vengeful coworkers... How
dare you ask me about STRESS!!!

I am going to die at 78. When are you? Click here to find out!

So it’s good to know I have about 38 years left. At this rate is should feel like 380.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

"The average person requires a minimum of four to six hours of television programming each day to be conversant on the subject of The Apprentice or able to impersonate Anna Nicole Smith."
I've got the most scathingly brilliant idea!
Joanne Jacobs links to an almost comic article about government subsidized diplomas from “mills”: you know, the kind of thing they advertise in the back of Rolling Stone. (These degrees must be OK, Rolling Stone is so scrupulous with their advertisers that they won’t even run an ad for the Bible)
The woman in charge of data base management for Homeland Security had a bachelor's, master's and PhD from a diploma mill. She insisted co-workers refer to her as "doctor."
So, I’m thinking, maybe my employer should pay for me to be ordained in the Church of Universal Love and Happiness - I’ll settle for Rev.; Doc is not necessary - and then I could take up the slack with the callers who are looking for a wedding facility, venue etc. I’d split the stipends with the church. Well, it was an idea. Maybe being stuck in the house for a day isn’t such a good thing...
Do you have biohazard or warning signs posted in your room?
I should. And I have one on my desk at work.

I am nerdier than 85% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

This quiz courtesy of Fr. Sibley who is off to Washington for The March for Life!
I mean to do some work today...
I’m trapped in the house (after a fashion) since going anywhere would involve shoveling. So this may be a sign that I am meant to stay in and do a little shoveling in the house, so to speak. Get caught up on all the little household chores that I’ve left dangling. And I could finish sorting and reorganizing the boxes of Christmas stuff. I really should put away the Christmas village that is on the hutch... (the fact that I’ve started referring to it as the “Winter” village shows my lack of commitment to staying on top of things)...but there is an amazing array of computer equipment in the living room and I’d best wait for Rick and Chuck to finish their project before I move ahead in there. I’m feeling rather creative...I should have run to the fabric or craft store instead of the supermarket when the big snow was forecast. Actually, the snow wasn’t that big...but I’m staying put anyway. I could clean up the blog... or if it wasn’t so cold in Rick’s office we could begin work on the mural we’ve been planning for the wall. (The boys and I are pretty much agreed that we’ll borrow a theme from the Dover Sistine Chapel coloring book...) Or maybe just get caught up on reading and sleep. I fell asleep during last night’s Monk premiere. It was funny - as far as I can remember. But with the fire in the fireplace and the beautiful snow swirling around the windows, who could resist dozing off? Not I.
New Chain Game!
Ten nasty songs. Remove any you may not agree with and add your own in bold. And while we’re on the subject of music, you may also enjoy TSO’s post on Cardinal Ratzinger, Cyndi Lauper and the Virtue of Hope.
(Note to Embot: Don’t bother to call me with your complaints about my Clapton choice. I would enjoy dancing to “Cocaine” more than “Wonderful Tonight.” But it’s your wedding, kid.)
via Mixolydian Mode

“Young Girl,” Gary Puckett and the Union Gap

“Imagine,” John Lennon

Led Zeppelin - Just about anything by Led Zeppelin. Except “Boogie with Stu.”

”Wildfire” Michael Martin Murphey (‘Killing frosts’ don’t kill horses...oy)

“Lay Lady Lay,” Bob Dylan

“One Tin Soldier,” Coven

Honey Bobby Goldsboro (Treacle with a spoonful of saccharine )

“I Am, I Said,” Neil Diamond

”Wonderful Tonight” Eric Clapton (He is a brilliant musician. So how did he come up with this tripe? Unlike his hero, Robert Johnson, he obviously hasn’t sold his soul to get his talent. Or if he did, he should be asking for a partial refund.)

”I Will Always Love You”(Especially Whitney Houston’s version. This is torture in a commercial venue, like a grocery store. I just want to drop to the floor, curl in the fetal position with my fingers in my ears.)

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The question is...what percentage know he has been dead for about fifty years?
One fifth of the Germans want to have dinner together with Albert Einstein if they had the chance, a new survey released on Thursday said.
I recently saw a report about the first paper and pen-less classrooms. All laptops and smart boards. My first snarky thought was what to the small-time vandals do. I wasn’t much of a desk writer myself, but I always found the scribblings on my desks during high-school to be somewhat amusing. Like the desk in chemistry upon which the inscription of all the words to Rocky Raccoon was an ongoing group effort.

Last week Rick and Chuck picked up a load of used iMacs (from a well-to-do high school) to be reconditioned and donated to local schools of lesser means. My answer to the vandal question lay in the keyboard that Chuck showed me. Someone with a little too much time and not enough supervision had pried off the keys and rearranged them to form short sentences. The most memorable being, “COWS ARE FUN.”
Cushing’s Syndrome
Very serious. But if the afflicted family member is the beagle...well, that I won’t lose sleep over. And no 24-hour urine specimens, either. No way.
A frog that could compete in our household. Mr. Quiet Frog is just so quiet...With six shrieking progeny and three dogs our little guy is low amphibian on the totem pole.
I have read that somewhere between 40 and death, women develop sleep disruptions. Today is an example...because I don’t have to be out of the house until 8:10 today, I set the alarm for 7:00 to get some extra sleep. So why am I up at 4:50 with random thoughts dancing through my head? Perhaps I am not admitting to giving too much credence to the petty back-biting and gossip at work. (I don’t think I’ve ever been the subject of gossip before. I’m trying to give no thought to what I hear, but it disturbs me since what seems to be provoking the gossip is that I do my job efficiently, well and I avoid forming strategic alliances a la some crappy reality TV shows. So what can I do? Nothing. Except maybe go to confession because I am a little too flattered by the gossip. Plus having fallen into the distraction of pondering things which are out of my control. Heartworm time. If my soul is glass through which the light of God may shine, my soul is way too much like my windshield. Dusty, salty, encrusted with that creepy bird poop.) It sure wasn’t Point Pleasant that disturbed my sleep. I am a bit dismayed that there was a disclaimer about the show being inappropriate because of violence, but no warning about the soft core flesh exposure and teen canoodling. There was a lot of canoodling. A lot of flesh. I don’t recall seeing any violence...although I do tend to multi-task while watching TV and if the remote is within reach, I flip around during the ads. VH1’s I Love the ‘90’s - Part Deux showed a movie clip of a man having a corksrew driven through his foot. But I don’t recall anything shockingly violent on Point Pleasant.

It’s time to finish putting the house in order and getting things organized. Then I’m off for a quick appointment and then work, which could run late because I’m expecting a religious goods rep to stop by. Work, which is more interesting than it should be. St. Sebastian, intercede for us who are having trouble bearing with the slings and arrows of pedestrian life. Pray for me...that I can forgive and forget the virtual knife in my back.
Forget the red hat and purple dress!
When I’m old I want to be the class clown.
The world's oldest pupil, an octogenarian great-grandfather, is facing expulsion .... a disruptive influence in the classroom.... when he began his second year this month, some parents protested. Mr Maruge was a "smart Alec" prone to histrionics, one said.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Point Pleasant
Or un.

Today's What was I Thinking? Award Winner.
No matter how tired I was, I should have loaded up on caffeine and dragged myself to the Holy Hour tonight. Instead, I fell asleep after a late dinner at a table crowded with Macs in various stages of reconditioning. (Rick suggests eating our entrees on salad plates...not to make the portions look bigger, but to take up less room at the table.) Forcing myself to wake up and throw in some laundry, I find myself caught in the undertow of the latest FOX drama offering. Hmmm. Not too suspenseful. Something of a “Damien comes back as a sweet young thing in the New Jersey version of the O.C.” Some drama. My work environment has more drama. No kiddin’. All that propriety allows me to disclose is that this week has been one big whine and cheese party with saucers of milk on the side. (Let’s just say there is a bit of conflict between some of the ladies...and if some of them think I spend too much time talking to the priests, perhaps it is because the men have something to talk about besides their ‘feelings.’)

“The cold” is moving slowly through the house. Now Martha is sneezing and wheezing and Eddie is eating popcorn because it scratches his itchy throat. I am relieved that Martha felt well enough to enjoy her birthday. It was a fun time; with the whole crew present, albeit in shifts. Embot came by early before her night school class. Fran came in later after work. There is something about a birthday in the middle of January that ups the odds of illness on one’s special day. I still feel bad about her birthday several years ago, when she was so sick that she didn’t get around to eating her special cake (chocolate with chocolate frosting topped with purple flowers) for three days. In an effort to expunge these bad memories, I have ordered a chocolate chocolate cake with purple flowers every year since.

Time to toss that laundry in the dryer and get some more sleep. I just can’t get caught up. And I had the most distressing brain hiccup today....couldn’t remember the word, “acid.” I found myself going through PASSWORD type clues with a friend (they weren’t so good - she didn’t get what I was trying to say) vinegar, in your stomach, opposite of alkaline, you know, the other end of that pH thing. Reminded of the day I thought I was loosing my mind because I woke up at 4:00 in the morning and, in the course of thinking about something totally vague and inconsequential, I realized that I couldn’t remember the first name of my sister’s first husband. I should receive partial credit for having the good sense not to wake up family members to ask them. Or call my sister. Yeah, I’m sure her second husband would appreciate that. After a bit more sleep it came to me. John.
Art Contest: Margaret Sanger at the Ku Klux Klan Rally
I, myself, am thinking collage. Good thing I kept that recent mailing from Planned Parenthood. I knew it would come in handy...since we don’t have a birdcage to line or fresh fish to wrap.
"Welcome to the greatest ----ing country in the world."
Well, of course it is. But here lies the problem with the constant cussing. It can slip out at the worst possible moments.
... followed with a quick apology of "excuse my language."
Expert hired at Krispy Kreme
Sorry, that was just too good to pass by.�

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

I won! I think...
A long standing Smith family tradition is a competition to see the first robin of the spring. Saturday afternoon I called Chuck to look out my bedroom window and affirm the presence of a large group of what looked like robins. I was so confused. I thought they went away for the winter. (Chuck and Eddie’s bird-watching books have gone away for the winter...let’s figure it out guys, OK?) On the way to my car I realized that they were robins. Feasting on berries knocked to the ground in the big rain that came a few hours before the big freeze. More power to them. I asked the family to research this while I was out. No one got around to it....the best answer anyone had was that they wer Canadian robins (from the farthest reaches...) and they thought they were, indeed, south. Oh, well. The berries made them happy. The berries also caused some bright green effluent that froze to my car. It should reach 20 degrees today - maybe I’ll be able to scrape/wash it off.

Happy Birthday, Martha My Dear!

Monday, January 17, 2005

Your mama sews socks...that smell!
That is my usual greeting to put my sister at ease if she calls me at work. After 3 and a half years of my working at the rectory, she is still uncomfortable calling me at work. Uncomfortable in a way that she wouldn’t be if I worked anywhere else. I guess she is afraid a priest will answer the phone. And, perhaps, convert her in 50 words or less. And that thought evoke quotes from another of our favorite movies, “He’s ordained.” and “Heaven forbid.”

But no one should be calling me today since I’m taking a personal day to take care of a few personal tasks and finish preps for Martha’s 18th birthday tomorrow. Not only is she excited to be turning 18...she’s turning 18 on her ‘golden’ birthday. (18 on the 18th. Cool. I was oblivious to my ‘golden’ birthday... 1 on the first. If it weren’t for a few photos I wouldn’t even know it had been celebrated. I was oblivious.

If the week-end is any indicator of how things are going, it should be a good week. The Christmas tree if finally down, the decorations are a-l-m-o-s-t all packed away. I made my apologies to our new pastor for not being able to attend his installation Mass because of another work commitment. But at the last minute I was able to go home 40 minutes before the Mass. And because I am low maintenance I was able to through on a dress and get to church in plenty of time. It was very moving. And the family was tickled to have a second row seat, since places were saved for staff members. Sitting in front of the 2005 version of Damien the Omen child couldn’t put a damper on a such a wonderful occasion. (His mother kept whispering to him, “Do you want to leave? OK, we’ll leave....” But they never left. I had a few moments when I wanted to turn around - and if this were a movie theatre rather than a church I would have - and say, “Leave already.”)

Ooops. Gotta run. Will right about the Golden Globes tomorrow. Maybe. After I’ve read the reports. I opted for the FOX Sunday night line-up followed by hanging out with the kids, so I’m....oblivious.
I think
this is what they call a “teachable moment.” And not just for the students...
The Grade 7 girls spent 12 hours polishing their routine to "Lady Marmalade" only to have their Kerrisdale Elementary principal shut them down.

"I was excited for them. They were looking good. They were gleaming and smiling," said Kiara Hunter, a former B.C. Lions cheerleader who helped her daughter, Destinee, and six friends choreograph the routine...

"This song is a very innocent song," said Hunter. "It's censorship. It's infuriating, as a parent. What are they going to do, burn books now?"

Perhaps Mrs. Hunter should start with a dictionary. Look up the meaning of innocent. Censorship. Move on to more advanced concepts like propriety, decorum, decency.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Tragic. But not surprising.
...a nurse's assistant who frequently accompanies injured women to the local hospital...
Fun Czar!
Where was I when the call went out for this job? I can have fun. I know fun...
5 words. Sudden death. Scripps-Howard rules.
Fraser was never my favorite TV show. But I saw an episode last night that was hilarious...for fans of competitive spelling.

That was an end of a surreal day. While getting dressed I realized I was maybe just too sick to go to work. Gripped with anxiety that the Church ( local and universal) might not be able to go on without me for a day (which is a sign I should take a day off...) I called in sick and fell back into bed without removing the one sock that I had donned. I slept all morning though I did attempt to watch an unfortunate Oprah episode about women who marry gay men. The afternoon snooze was interrupted by a trip to the dentist with Eddie. (Rick had to take his father, of the recent porcine heart-valve transplant to the hospital for an antiobiotic infusion. Otherwise the pleasure would have been all his...) That was followed by a trip to the LEGO store. I promised. I didn’t really use the LEGO store as an inducement for a happy teeth cleaning, but it is very close to the dentist’s office and I use the rationale that we should try to combine a run for extra gears and pieces with other necessary work.

I went back to sleep when we returned home. I wanted to watch ER, but I just couldn’t wake up. I heard little snippets....had a dream that Abby had been kidnapped to remove a gallbladder in a library. I think I was very confused. Woke up at 11:30, watched Fraser and slept until my alarm went off. Strange.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Sorry, Ellyn has never been a top 1000 name so we are unable to display a graph for the name Ellyn.

Link via Alicia.
Don't laugh. This was the message on the dry erase board this morning. So much for going to bed early and leaving someone else in charge. This is how we address bad smells that happen while mater is suffering with a rhinovirus. Time to get ready for work. Have to leave time to pick up some sort of palliative drug, some sparkling water and a bottle of cheap acetone based nail polish remover to take care of the nebulous blue blob that was drawn on said dry erase board - in permanant marker.
Oops, there goes the keyboard again!
This and iced cappucino were a very dangerous combination.
No damage - only surprised people - was reported.
It must have been something. It takes a lot to surprise Wisconsinites.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

I'm just so....confused!
And I don't think it has anything to do with the pulsating rhino virus that I am fighting. (Though a little generic Sudafed would help. But thanks to the meth-lab entrepreneurs, Sudafed can only be purchased from the pharmacy counter, which didn't help me at all while making a quick sweep through Wal-Mart late Sunday afternoon after going to the movies. Wasn't counting on needing a pharmacist. My misery is not so severe that I will settle for the Safeway generic on the way to work. I want the $1.54 Wal-Mart stuff or nothing at all. So I can't be that sick). So, anyway, the Christmas tree is still up. I'm trying to pack away the other Christmas stuff and put up the Carnival/Mardi Gras decorations which will have to come down so early this year. At work I'm tallying the palm, envelope, paschal candle etc. order, because that has to go in early this year. I was putting away tablecloths and dumped some Halloween and Thanksgiving stuff all over the place. While trying to organize my closet I found a box full of BETA tapes. Good sense says dump them, but I know we would then find the perfect $5 working BETA MAX machine at the Presbyterian Rummage this spring and I'd be kicking myself. I go to work or just retire to the laundry room to talk to the three foot vinyl faux-chocolate rabbit?
What was I thinking!
The Charlotte Mason Companion recommends using black velvet as the perfect background for examining snowflakes. So surely the abandoned pair of black velvet slacks on the school table must have been some sort of divine sign that the boys should do a little snow investigation. I planned a nice lesson for their pater to lead while I am at work. Not realizing that today is going to be 50 degrees, foggy and just plain gloppy. Move on to plan B. Whatever that may be. And hide those velvet pants before their owner decides to take them back. (Leave your stuff on the school table and I consider it a donation to the educational cause.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Wait ‘til mum dozes off...
build a pyramid on her head. She will awake refreshed.
And eager to run out and buy more of these clever toys.

If the sphere is drawn near to an extremity of the rod, it is attracted. The same operation can be repeated on the other extremity of the rod, thus generating the first ‘compact module’ to which to attach other rods and other spheres. Starting from simple polygons, you will gradually be able to create larger, more complex, and more amusing ones (even with the help of friends, and also of mum and dad, if necessary)

Monday, January 10, 2005


Of all the inane stuff one can find in Vanity Fair, the goofiest is the MY STUFF column. As if anybody cared what kind of stuff the famous and near famous must have. Well, maybe somebody does care. So here is MY STUFF:
- Grooming Products -
Shampoo Suave
Moisturizer Lubriderm and Lansinoh brand lanolin It’s all the beauty product a girl needs. Good for men, too.
Cologne Tea Rose or Crabtree & Evelyn’s Lily of the Valley
Hair Products A brush?
Toothpaste Colgate Total
Electronics -
Cell phone none!
Computer Embot’s old iMac and a PC at work
Television That TV we brought home from my late Uncle Dan’s. Can’t remember the brand. It works. Nice picture. Who could want more?
Stereo Little but powerful Sony CD player/radio that the family gave me for my birthday last year. And in my boudoir, a really nice CD boombox from Rick. That still works even though the Princess managed to drop it down the stairs.
- Home -
Sheets Whatever is clean. If I have a chance, I’ll splurge and buy the splashy Ralph Lauren sheets off the clearance rack at T.J. Maxx
Coffee-Maker Braun. Really cool. Didn’t use it, so I gave it to charity
Car Blue Amigo and a peeling blue 1986 GMC van.
Stationery scratch paper
- Beverage -
Bottled Water Citrus flavored seltzer. The local tap water tastes extremely funky of late
Coffee Whatever is brewing at work
Vodka Yeah, right
Beer Leinenkugel. Abita Light.
- Clothes -
Jeans None. I’m all about the khaki. The khaki off the Target discount rack
T-shirt see Target discount rack.
Briefcase or Tote? Tote. That oversized Mary Poppinsish tote that I bought at the Salvation Army.
Sneakers Nikes. I used to insist on Adidas' Stan Smiths. But that was when Daddy Smith was picking up the tab. Now it’s strictly discount rack...
Watch None. Had a nice old one that one of my daughters borrowed and over-wound. My fault for not explaining how watches worked back in the day. Had a cool watch off the discount rack at Target...but I gave it to Martha when hers pooped out
- Favorite Places -
Paris; New Orleans; any Catholic church - in front of the tabernacle; bed
- Necessary Extravagance -
FOX Laugh-Out-Loud Sunday; Vanity Fair; sleep

A Game! Or sort of a virtual, literary chainletter.

TSO got this from someone else. (Who got it from someone else. And so on. )The game is to remove authors who you do not have in your library and replace them in bold with ones you do have. Here is mine:
1. Margaret Mitchell
2. Dietrich von Hildebrand
3. Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
4. Jane Austen
5. C.S. Lewis
6. Fr. Robert Barron
7. Peter Kreeft
8. P.G. Wodehouse
9. Garrison Keillor
10. William Shakespeare
Good Christian friends, rejoice
With heart and soul and voice...

Not that I wasn’t feeling particularly friendly. It just grated on me. And I sang MEN. Rick wasn’t paying close attention and, not needing the Music Issue, ( Music Issue? I have plenty of music issues.) didn’t even notice that we were supposed to sing “friends.”

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Air Jets to Protect Michelangelo's David
Michelangelo's David could soon be enveloped in invisible jets of air to protect it from dust and humidity tracked in by streams of sweaty tourists, the custodians of the Renaissance masterpiece in Florence announced.
Am anxiously awaiting the home version of the invisible air jet protection device.
But, but, but...
They’re beautiful.
They have a fabulous ten million dollar house.
Their wedding was lavish. Absolutely lavish.
So how can it not work? How?

Friday, January 07, 2005

OK, kids, don’t forget somebody is expecting a B-I-G birthday in a about 7 weeks. And Fr. Sibley is selling some cool stuff that your mother would love. No, not discount bottles of Tea Rose....
I bet it's nice and warm in Bikini Bottom...
Take the quiz: "Which Spongebob Squarepants character are you???"

Patrick Star
You live under a rock and have many adventures with your best friend. You are about as smart as a bag of rocks :)

Thursday, January 06, 2005

To do list...
20 + C + M + B + 05

1) Remove pile of snow that plow has left in front of my car. (one of those downsides of living in a cul-de-sac)
2) Pray that our parish school is open. Or those three altar servers for the 10:00am funeral will be difficult to find. Let's hope I get to work in time take care of this.
3) Find some caffeine. I'm back on a stricter schedule of work/schooling etc. But all I want is a long winter's nap. I should feel refreshed considering that the Princess and I spent last evening watching the "DE-LOVELY" DVD that she gave me for Christmas. And I slept through most of it, despite B's loud impersonations of the shocked, vocal senior citizens who talked their way through the movie when we saw it in the theatre last summer.
4) Find the blessed chalk. I’m sure it’s in that safe spot I tucked it into last year. Inside a zip-loc bag marked “BLESSED CHALK - NOT FOR SIDEWALK.”
Big Purple Tactical Error!
In a new video to be distributed to 61,000 schools across the nation, homosexual activists are using popular children's TV characters such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Barney the dinosaur to surreptitiously indoctrinate young children into their lifestyle, a pro-family activist group charges.
I certainly wouldn’t want my children of ‘tender years’ indoctrinated with this crap. But the damage done by this video will be limited by the producers’ failure to realize that any child over the age of 4 is going to stop listening and start laughing (and not in a good way!) the minute they find out that Barney is involved. I have first hand experience that Barney fans are very quick to disassociate themselves with him. Very quick. (Want to torture a fifteen year-old? Remind him how cute he was in his beloved Barney T-shirt. He will quickly disavow any knowledge of Barney, aforesaid shirt, parents, siblings etc.)

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Where do we keep the bluing?

When did I get so old? I woke up this morning to the white Christmas we’ve been waiting for...knowing that I had spent the past 24 hours plotting how I would get to work and back, blah, blah, blah with the minimum of snow related angst. It wasn’t that long ago when I was perturbed by relatives who were willing to pull the plug on short local travel plans because snow was predicted. Guess what? I’ve become that which I found most annoying. Why don’t I just kick things up a notch and go blue my hair. (The bizarre ugly doily that one of the Fathers put under the candy dish on my desk yesterday only reaffirms my feeling that I am a 90 year old trapped in a 49 year old body.)
May I recommend...

Too bad I don’t get a ‘snow day.’ I would love to curl up and finish this. And then there is the stack of magazines that I have hardly touched because December was just too darned manic. (Kinda makes me think of The Simpsons episode in which Homer makes a customized video for Lisa which names her favorite book as “magazine.”)

Monday, January 03, 2005

No Whispering Here!
But when I try in here to tell you, dear
I love you madly, madly, Madam Librarian...Marian
It's a long lost cause I can never win
For the civilized world accepts as unforgivable sin
Any talking out loud with any librarian
Such as Marian.....Madam Librarian.

Congrats to Embot on her aceptance into the MLS program!
Note to Embot:
One more comment on my hip and my taste in shoes, and I’ll make good on my footwear threat for the wedding.... (I’ll talk to Mrs. Cheng first to make sure my fin doesn’t clash with her dress.)
We're uber-serious about this list!
Among the 22 expressions on the "List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness" are "blog," "sale event," "body wash" and "zero percent APR financing."
I have my owned list of banned words. Propriety forbids me from listing the bulk of the list.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Well, I am stubborn...
Take the quiz: "What Historic Woman Are You?"

Katherine of Aragon
Daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, Katherine married Henry VIII of England in 1509 and, after 20 years of marriage and only a daughter to show for it, was displaced by Henry for a younger woman. She refused to grant him a divorce, even when he made her live in a shack with no funds or medical care. To her dying breath she refused to acknowledge that she was not the Queen. She was stubborn, brilliant, pious, and beautiful. Read more about her:

Link viaSumma Mamas.

This queen has big plans for her day. After Mass, I'm putting my jammies back on and am going to spend the day hanging out with the family. If I can take control of the DVD player for a while, I'm in the mood for a good long session with the ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT boxed set that Bridget's beau gave us for Christmas. Or Chuck's THE CRITIC collection... Did anyone buy any cheese corn?

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