Monday, September 30, 2002

So many Saints, so little time.........
Am looking forward to a busy week. This is always a fun week, since the religion lessons just about teach themselves. Actually, I should have worked the Archangels into last week’s lesson plan. Adding them to Saints Jerome, Therese, Francis and the Guardian Angels should have heads spinning by the end of the week. (But I mean that in a good way!)
Beware of the Groovy Nun
Jeff Miller’s Atheist to a Theist blog gives an excellent link to a story about a priest who had the backbone to speak out against a groovy, Church-of-What’s-Happening-Now nun. I must quote Jeff’s pithy summary of his reaction, "I thought the request was "Feed my sheep" not
"Poison my sheep" with false doctrine."

Sunday, September 29, 2002

Calling All Ben Stein Fans....
I know there are Ben Stein fans out there. Anyone? Anyone?
Check out this article on NRO

What Was Your PastLife?
Local Woman at Mercy of Appliances....
OK, now I’ve fixed the resolution or whatever and I can read the screen.
Now the clothes dryer quit.
Will the surprises ever end.............?

The Frog Lives On........
........and will be blessed next Saturday morning before being released at the forest preserve. The diet must be helping - he’s making lots of happy noises. Or at least loud enough noises to disturb Martha as she does her homework. It could only be better if the park attached to our church had a pond that we could simply guide him to after the blessing. (I must work on Saturday morning, so Dad will have the pleasure of transporting frog and gerbil. He was out of town last year and missed the fun. And it should be fun........just watch where you step.)
Greetings from Tiny Town
I arrived home from mass with a plethora of ideas to write about and the quiet time in which to do it since Dad took Rod and Todd to early church and then to Grandma’s to watch the Chicago Football Bears on TV (which I may have mentioned before is about as fun as watching paint peel for me!) But when I turned on the iMac all of the type is very tiny. I can hardly read anybody else’s blogs, let alone my own writing. This has happened before.......but I don’t remember how to fix it. Rather than be paranoid and assume the family is ‘Gaslighting’ me by way of the computer, I’ll take this a divine nudge to spend the afternoon on school preparation.

Saturday, September 28, 2002

More protest protest
If you enjoyed the Old Oligarch, check out Eric Johnson’s piece on Globaloney on Catholic Light.

I’m wondering if there would be a market for some sort of a theme park (like in the movie, Westworld) that would be a perpetual Madison, WI of the seventies. This could be a dream vacation destination for those who are protest inclined . They could have a special week-end of protest activities without bollixing up the workings of the real world.
Protest, anyone?
The Old Oligarch has some witty (and true) things to say about the protests in Washington , D.C. My sentiments exactly. Though I probably won’t bring it up at the dinner table, since my husband still has warm, glowing memories of his ‘protest’ days at the University of Minnesota in the ‘70’s. The last discussion we had about it turned ugly, with me mockingly asking him if he thought that he really changed the world. I think I lapsed into singing a bad parody of CS&N’s ‘Ohio’ just to show my disdain. Really ugly.

Friday, September 27, 2002

The Irish Sports Pages.......
The Chicago Tribune website offers an interesting service. It’s called ObitMessenger and they send you a daily customized e-mail obituary update. The obituaries are one of the first things I turn to. This is puzzling and somewhat distressing to my family, but I find it to be fascinating reading. There are always people so interesting, that I think, darn, I wish I had met them when they were alive. (Of course, there is often an occassional obituary that catches me off guard because I didn’t know the person in question was still alive!) I heard someone refer to the obituaries as the ‘Irish Sports Pages,’ a rather charming way of describing it............

The Frog Chronicles.
When I came downstairs this morning, about 6:00am , the frog was making frog type noises. Amazing. Rick is trying to bulk him up before we release him at the forest preserve. The buckets of crickets are getting expensive and the flies that the boys caught in the garage have a nasty way of escaping the frog sanctuary and buzzing around the house. So at WalMart the other night I looked at various pet foods. The best I could come up with was food for aquatic reptiles. Martha had to read the 6pt. type on the label for me and protested that it didn’t say anything about frog worthiness. I decided the price was right and frogs might eat the same stuff as aquatic reptiles. Martha just had to tell the checkout lady it was for our frog. She looked at me with pity and then reminded me that frogs are amphibians, not reptiles. Oh, well, I think he has eaten some of the little nuggets. Rick says frogs want live food. I can only quote my father, “If he’s hungry enough, he’ll eat it.”

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Really Must See TV
Check out Victor Lams programming ideas, re: Amy Welborn's suggestion from yesterday.........

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Amy Welborn asks the question, “What would you do if you were developing programming for EWTN?” (ideas anyone? serious or satirical) I, of course, have my own ideas for a touching/humorous slice of rectory life. Read some of the other suggestions..........

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Summa Minutiae passes along a link to a fascinating NY Times essay titled Am I Dad, or a Tutor? I would have to say that I see where the author is coming from. One of the reasons we started homeschooling was that so much of our evening hours were taken up with ‘re-enforcing’ the work done during the day (not to mention special events like atom models built out of gum drops......) that we decided that it might be better just to do it ourselves, earlier in the day, when we are reasonably fresh.

I’m not so sure that the no help approach is such a bad thing either. My parents took relatively little interest in my homework unless I specifically asked for their help. And the school was not sending home regular notices on how to become an active, involved parent. The playing field was, as we would say today, level - no one had parents who were overly concerned with homework. At this point, I must interject that my mother, though a professional educator, did not think parents needed to nudge their children’s progress. From what she told me, her student days, especially high school at which time her mother was dying, no one in her family took any interest in her school performance. But she did well nonetheless. (Humble, too. Going through some papers a few years ago, I found a copy of her graduation program with a copy of her valedictory address. That was my Mom . She told me she did well. She didn’t mention she was valedictorian.)

At some point, schools - home or not - should be growing little autodidacts. Or at least pupils who can work for an hour without detailed instruction.
And More Marketing Genius
By popular request, I must introduce more of the line of vonHuben action figures.........

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.

If you’ve started with Chinese Ed and Jerry, continue on with Swiss cousin Urs and Aussie cousin Phil.

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.

Dad’s groovy Amigo. Put enough of your action figures in and it becomes a clown car.

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

COMING FOR CHRISTMAS 2002...........
The vonHuben’s shabby/chic dream duplex.
Some assembly required.
More Marketing Genius
This is what I get for watching TV news while working on the computer. The newest cool toy (according to Fox News Channel) is a line of toys based on the Osbournes. They even talk.......bleeping, of course, at the appropriate moments.
Oh, if I only had a little seed capital...........what I could do with my family.....
(my group did veto my idea of finding a working battery for the video camera and taping a typical day with us for submission to ABCFamily Channel’s real family contest.) Those wacky vonHuben’s collect all ancillary characters that drift in and out

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
Ed.......Emily’s cute and smart boyfriend......bonus pack includes Ed's cute smart brother Jerry, too.
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!!!!

better stop now.........I’m probably getting into lawsuit territory...........Or maybe I just don’t want any genius to misappropriate my cast of characters......

Monday, September 23, 2002

Amy Welborn had a link to an editorial written by Fr. Frank Pavone. It came along just in time for me. Our Parish Respect Life Committee participates in the annual Life Chain every Respect Life Sunday (along with praying at our local hospital on other occassions, too). After years of these events, it is getting more difficult to get psyched to stand on the sidewalk and pray while people drive by flipping us off (and let’s not forget the family that mooned us a couple of years ago.) But I want to remember what Father said.........Just ask yourself for a moment where the pro-life message is being proclaimed to people who don’t want to hear it. If someone in your community does not go to Church and would never go to a public pro-life talk, how and where will they hear the message that abortion is violent and must be stopped?

Sunday, September 22, 2002

When I talked to my sister, Karen, on Saturday night, she said that her plans for the week-end, weather permitting, were to take the kids to one of those monumentous corn mazes in Minnesota (or maybe it was Wisconsin. Somewhere in the heartland..........)

Karen had accompanied her son’s pre-school class on a field trip to the apple orchard last week. One of the attractions at the orchard was a mini-maze for the kids. This clever maze had been constructed out of that bright plastic mesh stuff that is used for fences, etc. The walls of the maze were tall enough that 4 year olds were truly challenged to figure their way out. While their parental units, a few feet taller, could easily see which way to go. Karen reported that her nerves were on edge from listening to all the moms direct their little ones on how to find their way thru. Exercising the control that must be possessed by a candidate for District Attorney, she refrained from yelling, “Shut the @*$#&% up and let the kids do their own thinking.” But she was thinking it.

During the course of our discussion, I said that I thought this orange vinyl maze was something of a metaphor for life. Parents can see things more clearly. And the temptation to give more direction than is necessary is always there. Just as a mother who might see a deep hole ahead in the maze should warn a child, we should warn our kids when we see pitfalls imperiling faith, morals, or safety. But so often, I think the temptation is there just to spare our children the hard work of learning things the hard way. From our perspective, be it height or age, we can see things that they can’t. It is such hard work to keep our mouths shut and let them wander about the maze learning the lessons that must be learned.

Saturday, September 21, 2002

New Additions.........
We were very pleased to have the Fed Ex man deliver some of our new science stuff. Everyone is quite taken with Tiny Tim the 16 inch skeletal model. Budgetary good fortune allowed us to up-grade to Tiny Tim from 11 inch Petite Pete. (altho if his name is Pete, shouldn’t it be petit?; oh , well, it’s not worth arguing the point with the scientific supply house.) Tim arrived the same day as our Undercover virtual frog dissection book, so we could have an interesting comparison of skeletons. (much to the relief of Mr. Real Frog who is happy in his glass dream house) Did you know frogs do not have ribs? Just some little cartilage type thingies (pardon my lapse into scientific jargon) along the upper spine.

We may keep Mr. Real Frog long enough to attend the Blessing of the Animals at Church in a few weeks and then transport him to the forest preserve where he may begin burrowing in for winter. Perhaps the rest of us will go out to lunch in his honor afterwards......
Designer Baby
Take a look at Designer Baby to Have Perfect Hearing.
So so many ways.
And how does a child feel once it knows that its existence is predicated on conditional love?

I’m bummed out already and it isn’t even time to start looking at the Sunday Trib.

Friday, September 20, 2002

Too Young?
Read as Frederica Mathewes-Green makes some good points on young marriage. I would have to say they I tend to agree.
On the other hand, Amy Welborn, sees it from another angle and I’m eager to hear what she has to say.

Yes, it is difficult to think of late adolescents being able to pick a partner for life, but I don’t think they would do any more poorly than the thirty-somethings I hear on talk shows mewling on about finding the ‘soul mates.’
Mixed Emotions

I read an article on WND about students in Massachusetts suing because the mandatory exam for graduation was biased against the poor and minorities. At the risk of sounding less than sympathetic, wouldn’t students who are aware of their poverty and its concomitant ‘ignorance’ perhaps want to hustle a little harder during their school years and try to cull the necessary knowledge that will put them on a level playing field? Or make them fit to play on a field that is never, really, level?

I remember an article that I read about Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher being taken to task for commenting to a science class (in a poor school) that was studying the environmental effects of sulphur, that, of course, is why we don’t eat our poached eggs with a silver fork. (The article was in Punch, but I do labor all these years under the impression that it was a true.) Poor Mrs. Thatcher addressed those students as though they had silver forks. Which I think was the noble thing to do. To speak to them as though they had no sterling, and probably would never would have, would be demeaning. Mrs. Thatcher didn’t ‘dumb it down.’

So what’s my point? (besides my blood sugar is low and I should probably eat, rather than rant?) Shouldn’t this be the least ignorant era in human history. Any student who can find his/her way to the public library has the world as his oyster and really shouldn’t be complaining.
I would wager that these poor students know the lyrics to most popular hip-hop songs, who won on American Idol, and most relevant fashion and sports stats. So they can’t absorb the basics to get out of high school.

By the way.........technically we are poor. But I would not want my children ever using that as an excuse for lack of intellectual acumen. They will have to come up with a better excuse than that.

And, please, dear family, stop eating the eggs with the really does tarnish the tines!

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

It is 3:30 PM. Do I know where my children are?
School screeches to a halt. All jump on the couch and watch Jeopardy.
(This was my favorite part of 'sick days' as a child and now we can watch 5 days a week!)
Speed Reading - HUMBUG!

Bill White on Summa Minutiae has some ‘bad’ things to say about speed reading.
I second that motion.
One of his commentators suggests reading aloud.
I second that motion, too.
Having children has gotten me into that habit. And it is one that I recommend to my own children when they have trouble comprehending material. Or even enjoying it! Read it aloud to yourself or to a sibling (especially if reading to an audience of 0 makes one self-conscious.) Babies love to be read to. Dad has been known to read technical literature to infants- definitely more for his benefit than the baby’s. (Oh the treasure of info on alternative energy and bio-fuels that is locked away in the subconscious minds of my children.)

Libel is read, slander is said.....
Or so my mother taught me to help remember the difference. Rod Dreher on NRO has an interesting article of the legal ramifications of libel for bloggers and other internet 'word artists.' Good points to ponder. Though I'm not too worried, unless the kids pitch in to get a lawyer.

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Sometimes we just get lucky..........

The boys and I made a second trip to the used book sale today. I offered to sub as a lector at 9:00 am Mass, while forgetting that Dad is out of town and I’d have manage to Rod and Todd all by myself. (This is usually done by sitting between them, but the lector needs an aisle seat so that plan was a no go. So I just relied on a well aimed glaring eye ball coupled with the incentive of breakfast at Burger King for all cooperative family members. Remember this was an incentive. A bribe is an offer of compensation for bad behavior. An incentive is.........well an incentive for good behavior beyond the knowledge that virtue is its own reward. ) Mass and breakfast having been accomplished, we headed directly for the big tent at the park to line up for all the half price books. So many fabulous finds. I think I would have done much more damage had I not had two boys following me like a Greek chorus. (This bag is heavy, the tent smells funny, the books smell funny..........) But the whole sale would still have been a fabulous success for I found a CD that I long ago gave up on locating at the library (yes, Amazon has it, but I am cheap). Eureka. It had been discarded and put up for sale. And today my eyes saw what they had overlooked on Friday. And I flew home with my 50 cent copy of La Toussaint by Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys. What a day!

Saturday, September 14, 2002

Good Press
There is a fairly positive article on Catholic homeschooling in the latest issue of The Catholic New World, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago. It's always nice to see homeschoolers portrayed as not having lobsters coming out of their ears........or anti-social neo-Luddites..........or just plain weird.
The Frog Lives........

Memo to anyone interested in the exploits of the laundry room frog (that means you, Em, since you may be bunking near him on your next trip home. Remember, he’s so much quieter than the gerbil!) He’s thriving in his hastily prepared habitat. Enjoys bathing in the little pool that Eddie made for him. And has eaten about 2 dozen crickets purchased at the pet store over the past week.

Dad has discouraged my purchasing of a home dissection kit. Have I discussed this here? I’m sorry if Im dragging everyone through that debate again. I was all set to get the kit, complete with vacuum packed perch, frog, crawfish, worm etc. Dad was ‘uncomfortable’ with the thought of his sons handling scalpels. There’s always next year.

But I did do the next best thing. No, I didn’t decide to pith our current family room guest and dissect him in the name of education. I was able to find one of the GeoSafari Undercover books which allows us to do a ‘virtual’ dissection with plastic parts. So, on Monday, we’ll be back to watching for the Wells Fargo Wagon (ok, UPS) to bring the rest of the new school stuff PLUS a virtual frog. What fun!
I have a teenager.......

#1 Son is 13 and technically a teenager. I’m not trying to execute some end run around the difficult teen years, such as putting 10 candles on his birthday cake for the next decade. But it would be nice if he could avoid some of the dreck that is waiting out there for him. For example,
L. Brent Bozell III of the Media Research Center has written a nerve shattering summary of the latest Teen Choice Awards show. One nice thing about homeschooling is that a young person who is not yet interested in viewing this sort of cultural debacle does not have to face the schoolyard post-mortem of who wore what, sang what, and was bleeped for saying what.

Many will say that young people have always been rebellious and eager to push their limits. But never in the history of civilization have there been such huge, greedy businesses turning a profit by encouraging youth to ignore their parents. To quote Mr. Bozell, “They also gave it an award under the equally inappropriate category of"Choice Movie Your Parents Didn't Want You to See." (that is, American Pie 2) If the film inspires teenagers into the joys of reckless sexual abandon, perhaps next year Seventeen will go a step further and create a category for "Choice Birth Control Clinic Your Parents Didn't Want You to Attend Without Their Consent." This is precisely what leads me to those ol’ if I had a gun I’d play Elvis and just go through the house and shoot all the TV’s. (Though there is ample documentation in an archived letter to the Chicago Trib in which I said I’d take a brick if a gun were not available. The family remembers this - and restrains their watching accordingly........) <

Friday, September 13, 2002

He’s baaaack..........
Took a look at Amy Welborn's piece on the ‘erstwhile Father’ Matthew Fox. Hmmmm. Interesting.
Will have to read more on it when I get back from work tonight.
Matt Fox was my faculty advisor for two years during college. I learned a lot. (Not so sure my parents were thrilled sending tuition checks to keep a daughter studying Spirituality of Mime. And I don’t even like mimes......)
To sum it up in one cheap, throwaway line.........I’ve changed more than he has. Lots.
Field Trip....
I declared today a field trip day and the boys and I took off for the Friends of Lake Forest Library used book sale. We came back with many fabulous finds, our shopping curtailed only by our limitations of tolerance for heat/humidity under the tent and the fact that a human being can only carry sooo many books (even toting bags with handles.) I know I’ll be back on Sunday for half-price day - the crowds should have churned up a lot of good stuff that we couldn’t even see today. Chuck’s prize find is a New Yorker album encompassing the best of 1950-55. It even has color repros of some covers. So it is fun to look at the world of the time of my birth. And it’s still funny! Unfortunately, it also smells like it has been in someone’s basement since 1957, so Chuck had to pop a few Benadryls and collapse in a heap. Mom will try to air it out........ Em, the Library Daughter who must be mentioned several times a week, claims there is no secret spray that can de-fungus a musty book. I hope she’s kidding. We’ve got a few great books around here that no one can touch (literally) and stand to breathe near. Yet I can’t part with them either. I did set one old college art text of mine out on the deck on a sunny day hoping to stop some spores in their tracks. I don’t know if it helped.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Thought for the day.....
I had thought it best to take a blog-break for the day. I attempted to strike a balance between prayer and proper education.........not always easy. I had planned on attending tonight’s special Mass of Rembrance at my parish, preceding the regular monthy Holy Hour. With Dad out of town, I decided discretion would be the better part of valor and opt not to attend, since the evening hours tend to be the twitchiest, especially for a hyper-active 8 year old. As much as I would like to be at Church, I wouldn’t want ‘Rod’ and ‘Todd’ to turn the Mass into a time of special penance for those sitting around us. (Oh, if I could only get Rev. Lovejoy on the speed-dial to discuss this..........)

I do wish to add one thought. The ChicagoTribune published a special commemorative section for today. In general, it was well done. But I was taken aback to see that they had given half a page to the musings of Garry Wills. And, of course, made a mental bet with myself that he could not get to the end without working in his ill feelings about the Catholic Church. What an opportunist! It took him til the third to last paragraph to do it, but he did. As the spaghetti boiled - past al dente, I’m afraid - I fired off a letter to the Trib, as follows.........

Does Garry Wills not have an editor, advisor, friend - anyone - to tell him that September 11 might be a good day to rest the ax that he must perpetually grind with the Roman Catholic Church? A special commemorative Tribune section dedicated to the memory of the horror and heroism of last September is just not an appropriate forum to insert his negative feelings about the Church. And to say, “Roman Catholic bishops, once revered, are now feared for the way they unleashed pervert priests on minors,” is bombastic journalism worthy of a tacky tabloid. This one statement minimizes the true pain of certain particular circumstances while attempting to smear the Roman Catholic Church and her many good and loyal Bishops. Would Mr. Wills, or any other writer, be allowed to paint negative pictures of any other groups with such broad, sloppy strokes?

Monday, September 09, 2002

Confront boldness...

Went out to check the mail in hopes that some of our new school materials have arrived. (Not that we don’t have enough to do.........but there is a thrill in the new.)

Instead, I get a slew of bills and the new Vanity Fair (which shall remain in its plastic wrap until tonight, when I take it to work to be opened in the unlikely event of there being nothing to do but stare at the phone and wait for it to ring.) Each month VF puts some little profound aphorism on its cover- in <9 pt type, but it is there. This month they quote Napoleon, “Confront boldness by being still more bold.” Nice. Then they put Madonna on the cover. Yawn. Haven’t we reached our toxic limit yet? Maybe they should have paraphrased it “Confront oldness by being still more old?”

Michael Medved on WND has some interesting things to say about the recent trend of older women pairing up with younger men. He quotes novelist Anna Quindlen, “that all women can divide their lives into three stages: Pre-Babe, Babe, and Post-Babe.” And now medicine and technology allow women to greatly extend the ‘Babe’ phase of their lives. Oh, well.

As someone who is definitely in the Post-Babe phase (And not with great regret. The ‘Babe’ business is really too much work.....) I do find myself noticing women who are still technically ‘Babe’ but should really be behaving a bit more Post-Babe. At Mass one morning last week, there was a mother with several children, noticeable because she had chosen to come to Church wearing a tennis dress, which struck me as inappropriate, no matter how good her legs looked. There was a time when I lived in my tennis dresses (OK, I was pretty shallow, I livedtennis) but there was no way, no how that my own mother would have allowed me to enter a Church (and we were Lutheran, mind you, so there was no issue of appearing immodest in the Real Presence of our Lord) wearing what could be called a ‘dress’ in only the most technical terms. Please do not think these are just the rantings of a bitter 40-something who now has a greater resemblance to the Venus of Willendorf than to Venus Williams. There is a certain wisdom that comes in the Post-Babe phase which more than makes up for what may have been lost in other areas. That wisdom is what we should be seeing more of.........and a little less leg, ladies!

Sunday, September 08, 2002

A Note to Mother from Emily

A duel it shall be Mater. I want the purple noodle! Ha ha ha ha!

I shall have Mgstr. Woodruff be my second!

You know, it isn't a spoken language Mater, we should leave it that way!!!

Jonah Goldberg on NRO has written an excellent piece on the anticipated maudlin media observances of 9/11. I haven’t approached this grim anniversary with a feeling of dread, except for a dread of what the major media outlets will trot out to ‘help’ us through our ‘feelings’.......
Good TV...........for a change

EWTN is back with The Apostle of Common Sense II. Delightful, as before, and now I realize it to be a wonderful way to introduce my #1 son to Chesterton . Various difficulties have kept his reading skills from being equal to his vast intellect (tho we’re making progress!!!) Tossing a child a TV program or movie instead of the real book goes against my basic educational instincts, but in this case I think this show is a greaty opportunity for a young guy whose brain is ready for Chesterton. (It is great fun for Mom and Dad, too!)

Saturday, September 07, 2002

There is an interesting article on National Review Online discussing ‘classical’ education among the educational choices today. Quite a bit of food for thought................On first reading I would have to give our little school an A for effort and a C- for performance (judging by the author’s standards) But in the pat-yourself-on-the-back-Ellyn department, I would say we are still doing better than the other kids around here. Of course, I’ll probably read it again later in the week-end or while our paternal unit is out of town and I’m in the mood for a pity party.

(Don’t even get me started on sending a child through 4 years of Classical Latin at the local high school, just so she can come home and rip on our Church Latin pronunciation. Next time, girl, it’s you and me..........out front............with the noodles!)

I wonder if the author knows that you can sing the conjugations of the regular verbs (amo, amas, amat etc.) to the tune of the Mexican Hat dance? Works for us...............

Friday, September 06, 2002

Science 101

Called in to work for a few hours yesterday afternoon, I put Frances in charge of the remainder of her brothers’ educational day. Actually, they were about finished and I needed someone to keep them from dismembering themselves and/or each other.

I was jarred from my church secretary reverie by a phone call announcing the capture of the phantom frog of the laundry room. Heretofore thought to be a figment of mater’s overactive imagination, its appearance made quite an impression on everyone. That answers my questions about what to do with the fish tank - it is now a terrarium for the frog. (But it’s not going back on the bookshelf, the books have already moved in......) The frog appears to be happy and healthy, especially after having a chance to jump in a pan of water and wash off the layer of lint that he had accumulated while living under my dryer. And I have been redeemed from the fate of being held as just delusional ol’ Mom.

Thursday, September 05, 2002

Does this dress make me look fatuous?..

WorldNet Daily has yet another story of a teacher trying to do her job and not getting the expected results:
Teacher reprimanded for word choice

A fourth-grade teacher at Williams Elementary School has received a formal reprimand for teaching her students the word "niggardly," the teacher's son said Tuesday......

The state of our society is worrisome indeed. Not to mention the state of our language. I should be offended if you call me fatuous. But I shouldn’t think you mean I have a hefty derriere.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Another Nasty Oprah Experience.......

Turned on the TV this morning when I went up to change out of my church-y clothes into some serious school work duds. [Shorts, T-shirt and obligatory ‘thinking cap’!] I found myself sucked into an Oprah vortex from which I had difficulty extricating myself. Today’s show had an extreme feel of deja vu and coupled with the fact that Oprah was wearing a dark wool sweater, I am led to suspect it was a repeat. Miss O was commisserating with a representative of some coalition to promote better child-friendly television. Oprah was just oozing righteaous indignation and exclaiming over and over, “I didn’t know you could say JackAss on TV!”

This must have all gone right past me the first time it aired. But within just the past few weeks I accidentally sat on the remote for the TV in my bedroom and activated the auto-program function .This wonderful piece of technology put back all the channels that I had worked so hard to keep off of my television. MTV, BET, all 3,000 ESPNs...........and Oprah’s own cooperative venture, Oxygen. Before I had a chance to hit the erase button, I was treated to the Sunday Night Sex Show. How can Oprah play innocent on her show and tsk about how careful parents need to be, while Oxygen has an amoral crone (who makes Dr. Ruth Westheimer look and act like the Flying Nun!) spewing obscene sex advice in a milieu specifically meant to be outside of the moral realm. I watched longer than I should was fascinating in the same way that the reptile house at the zoo is. More than once, this sexologist reminded her young viewers to put out of their minds any advice they may have received from their families or churches and to think for themselves and about their own pleasure. It was the most nauseating thing I have ever seen on basic cable. And it’s not just on Sunday night. A quick look at the TV Guide shows that it reruns often during the week.

Well, now we have one other pitfall to look out for.
(Not to mention all of my children’s future peer group who may already be in the process of being poisoned by this evil...........)
I would like to get rid of the TV altogether - most of the time. That might help us in the short run. Like living in a bubble in Love Canal. But what about when we have to get out there and mix with all the people who have been poisoned?????

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Amy Welborn elaborates on the concept of corporate sponsorship of Saints.
Read her blog and put yourimagination to work.........
A Helping Professional to Avoid like the Plague........

Would you want this man as your lawyer or physician?
I think not.

Monday, September 02, 2002

A Fun Game.......

Daughter #4 has spent most of the summer with her aunt and will be home soon.

They have been driving around a lot, as my sister is in the process of running for office and building a new house. (I don’t know which is worse - from the updates I get, I don’t think I want to do either) To pass the time on the road they have started lists of musical groups that have a color or food in their name. It is really fun when you get going........ Rick gets double credit for CREAM - a food and a color. And it’s one of those games where you’re guaranteed to beat the teens as your brain dredges up the names of groups that were washed up long before the young folks drew their first breaths. It’s also a little scary to realize this heretofore useless info has been riding around in your brain all this time.

School Starts Tomorrow......

Another school year starts tomorrow. I think I’m ready........

We had a lovely holiday, without incident.

We went to a nice picnic - just Mom and Dad !!! It was strange to have the children disbursed all over the place, but nice to have adult conversation. I was sorely disappointed that the children missed hearing a priest say the dinner blessing in Latin, since that is what we do every night and some are convinced that this is something that I made up. It didn’t start out as an attempt to be precious, just as a reinforcement of the Latin lessons as recommended by our the curriculum we use. It has had an interesting side effect in that it has taught daughter #3 to start praying spontaneously. Miss Bridget (aka the ‘Irish Princess’) is terrified that her friends will think that we are members of “some crazy cult.” When we have guests for dinner, she is so eager to head the Latin off at the pass that she starts praying in English at the first possible moment. Oh, well, whatever works.

Tomorrow night we’ll go for $.99 Happy Meals to celebrate the first day of school.
And we’ll pray in English. No sense in weirding out the diners at McDonald’s.


All of our fish have died. Natural causes I guess. (Although we have had our share of fish who jump. The scene in Amelie with the
suicidal goldfish left me gasping for breath. My husband, on the other hand, just nudged me and muttered something about that happening
to us about five times. Well, it resonated with me.)

So, while the aquarium is on the deck being cleaned, I realize that it has freed up about 2 linear feet of bookshelf space.
What's a mother to do - I don't want to deprive anyone of the fun of fish but that shelf space is filling up already.......

Sunday, September 01, 2002


Check out what Greg Popcak has to say about another good reason for homeschooling.
Just the little reminder I needed as we approach the beginning of our school year on Tuesday.

Buy Three.......Get a Lobotomy Free

I was watching way too much of the boob tube Friday night. Just to keep me occupied while doing mindless tasks likely mating socks. (OK, matching socks - I do get complaints from family members who say that I make it sound like I am trying to produce more socks to meet our overwhelming needs without actually having to purchase new socks. With 6 out of 8 family members wearing the same size, it doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.......) I finally had to turn it off when I had been assaulted three times by advertisements for the new OrthoEvra contraceptive patch. It isn’t just that I find the product offensive, but the ad campaign. On Your Body. Off Your Mind. puhleeeez. Let’s do something bad. And let’s make sure we don’t have to think about it. This is really important. But we wouldn’t want women to have to think about what they’re doing. And one of the spots ends with a woman gushing about how great it is not to have to hear that ‘little voice in your mind” anymore. What a relief!!!

When will they come out with a patch to salve one’s conscience?

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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