Monday, March 31, 2003

How did Michelle know....
that I was fantasizing about dougnuts? Eating a banana....but thinking about doughnuts.
Boston Cream
What Kind of Donut are You?

brought to you by Quizilla
working through my guilt about being gone to work so much. On the one hand, Chuck said the other night that lots of kids have both parents who are always working so I shouldn’t stress about a temporary up-tick in my time away from home.

On the other hand, every time I come home Chuck does a perfect imitation of the anorexic teen princess in Drop Dead Gorgeous: “Who are you? Who are you?,” he asks in a meticullously vacuous falsetto.

That kid really knows what buttons to push.
Aunt Jean's Blueprint for Happiness
Check out Elizabeth Austin’s article on Jean (Please Don’t Eat the Daisies) Kerr and the genre of domestic life....
Once I'd gobbled my way through Kerr's slim oeuvre, I went looking eagerly for another writer just as good. Decades later, I'm still looking. No one since has managed to write about the domestic scene with Mrs. Kerr's pitch-perfect balance of wit, warmth, and intelligence. Instead, the mother/writers of the half-century have focused on the anxieties and stresses of parenting. Personally, I don't need anybody to tell me how hard it is to bring up a child; trust me, I already know. What I really need is someone who will refocus my attention on the sheer, unalloyed delights of sharing your life with babies--and teenagers, too.

This is the pre-marital advice my mother should have given me!
From the age of four, boys process sounds slowly, a phenomenon that inhibits their performance at school, a leading education researcher has claimed.

Australian Council for Education Research principal research fellow Ken Rowe said yesterday that compared with girls, boys heard less efficiently.

Dr Rowe said this resulted in many boys spending their early and middle years of schooling "bobbing up and down like corks in a sea of classroom- and teacher-generated blah".

"That funny old story that men have selective hearing is actually true," he said.

"It's different from hearing. It's the ability to hold sequence and to hold accurately what is heard."

Based on recent clinical trials conducted with about 2500 children, Dr Rowe said he found 20per cent of five-year-olds "can't handle anything more than an eight-word sentence".

And all these years I’ve been feeling guilty about applying a technique that Embot’s pre-school teacher taught me for talking to inattentive little boys to my spousal unit.
1. Make eye contact
2. Hold the listeners face in your hands if necessary.
3. Speak slowly, clearly and never more than about 8 words at a time.

My husband is technically a genius. (let’s think Absent Minded - not Nutty - Professor in this instance) I must use this technique when giving him instructions about simple household chores or errands. All this time I’ve resented him as an idiot in disguise - now I know it’s just a typical man thing. He spent the better part of yesterday doing all sorts of techno stuff for a friend’s computer. So I know he can think. But last week-end I told him to transport the two bags and a box of baby supplies at the base of the stairs to another location for the Respect Life Committee Lenten diaper drive. He took care of the stuff at the bottom of the stairs at Church but totally overlooked the two bags and a box at the base of his own stairs that he has been walking past several times a day for over a month!

Sunday, March 30, 2003

I am 48.
I haven't even read Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose.
The movie gave me a headache.
Dave Barry's blog gives a link to this site that will help lower your self esteem. Based on age and accomplishment.
48 doesn't seem like a terribly productive age.
But not necessarily dangerous, like the legendary rock 'n roll 27.
James Watson does have a lot in common with John McEnroe. They are both enormously gifted.........'personalities.'
This is a very interesting reflection on Lenten observances. Especially coming from a non-believer. I can say no more, since I'm doing this during a slack time at work and don't know how to copy text etc. to make my own observations. I don't want to gum up the works here. Really.
I am up early, can’t stand the silence and don’t want to watch non-stop war coverage, I check out VH-1 - basically to watch the decline of civilization. Occasionally there are videos that amuse me. This week it is Jason Mraz’s The Remedy. Maybe it’s all the chickens. Chickens are nice. The chickens in this video are amazingly cooperative. Having had chickens (for a short time, as a child; sort of a science project that my parents indulged me in) I know that they don’t just do what you ask. At this point I must admit that chickens couldn’t be any more disastrous than the ‘little dog,’ whose personal habits may be giving us a clue to why he was found wandering about Lake Forest, collarless, in the snow..........Fortunately, for him, we are a family that tends to forgive much, especially if the offender is 'cute.' It is fitting that his 'owner' is the family member who has the worst personal habits. Mea culpa - I let her get away with a lot of stuff for twenty years because she is 'cute.'

Eeeew. Now it’s Justin Timberlake’s Rock Your Body.............where’s the remote?

About the war coverage...I do care about the war. But the non-stop talk makes it almost impossible for me to keep the information straight. I think checking in once or twice a day should be sufficient...

Saturday, March 29, 2003

A Good Thing
I remember a time when a common device on TV and in the movies was for ‘blue’ women to cheer themselves by buying a new hat. This may actually have been true in society at large, but I can’t remember my father telling my mother, sister or me to go out and get a new hat just for jollies. Of course, we weren’t really a hat wearing family.

It is with a bit of surprise that I have noticed that I have developed the habit of cheering myself up with new dishtowels. Fancy, luxury dishtowels. It all started last Christmas (2001), when I returned a sweater to a store and couldn’t find a suitable sweater to take its place. Instead, armed with a store credit, I found myself facing an incredible array of kitchen linens. I came home with 4 nice tea towels, two pot holders, plus a new bath towel and a still some credit which I used later when Christmas ornaments were marked down by 90%.

The new towels made my Wal-Mart specials and the Williams-Sonoma towels that my late Aunt Tommy purchased for me in the mid-1980’s look quite dreadful by comparison. That is when I fell into the habit of wandering in to places like T.J. Maxx when I was down and troubled and needed something. Paying just $1.50-$2.00 for a $10 dishtowel is such a comforting accomplishment. (I can’t imagine any sane person paying $10 dollars for a tea towel. But they are really nice towels. A joy to behold. A joy to use. Even a joy to launder and fold.) My spiritual director doesn’t think I have a big problem with material attachments. I think it’s time to ‘fess up to the dishtowel fetish.

BUT, as I said, it’s a good thing. Having been home fewer hours this past week and doing less laundry than usual, having a stash of towels has come in real handy. I found a big pile of used towels at the bottom of the basement stairs. (Here is where I should count my blessings. Indeed, it occured to no one to actually wash some kitchen linens. But, at least, they haven’t been using the same nasty towel all week.) It’s a good thing.
Say what you want kids........
Has anyone written a song about your haircut?

I know Dylan is a genius, but he’s outdone himself this time!
to look at the Weather Pixie. I really don’t want corroboration of the snow outside the window. Really.

I’m finally getting caught up after being gone most of the week. I only had to work a few hours this morning and managed to come home fairly energetic considering that I had spent the better part of two hours on my knees in supplication and imprecation in front of the rectory copier. After the third (or maybe fourth) jam, I gave up. I think the copier is OK now for one sided copies, but I sure won’t attempt any two-sided copying tomorrow. I tend to believe those little “ACHTUNG!” stickers inside the copier and will only dig so far in that infernal machine to pull out chunks of paper. Electrocution in the process of copying children’s bulletins is not the sort of martyrdom I had ever envisioned.

Right shift key still not working. Am rapidly retraining myself to do all shifting with left hand.
Saturday Scruples!

1. Your lover isn't attentive unless someone else wants you. You have an admirer you don't like as much. Do you encourage the rivalry?First answer: As if........
Second answer: it’s not fair to play ‘games’ with people
2. Excavating for your new house, you discover priceless artifacts from an ancient Indian village. If your property becomes a dig, construction will be delayed. Do you keep quiet?No. But I’d certainly try to work a deal catering for the dig participants. And try to get a cut of any souvenir deals.
3. At the casino, you develop a rapport with the blackjack dealer. You give generous tips and s/he gives you an edge. Do you let the arrangment continue?As if.......
Slept through most of The Stepford Wives. It was just so cozy on the couch, with the little dog curled up on my feet. I did wake up during the part when Katherine Ross realizes that Paula Prentiss' character has been 'changed,' and her husband chides her about it being time for this woman to change because her home is a "pig sty." So I washed part of the kitchen floor on my way to bed. Traffic patterns in our home demand that only part of the floor be washed at a time, leaving me off the hook for a full-scale scrubbing. Ouch.
...a 22-year-old African-American, said the operators of a Great Clips for Hair salon at 5145 Chambers Road charged her an "ethnicity" fee when she came in for a haircut on March 8.
Aren’t hair professionals trained to deal with all types of hair? And if they can deal with it, shouldn’t it all be considered the same? Let’s talk ethnicity.......I’m sure the girls at SuperCuts are just thrilled to deal with my stick-straight, fine, fly-away white girl’s hair. There just is not much that can be done with it. I try to avoid these procedures during high static season (i.e. October-April) Well, they’re kind enough not to say, “Would you like the Angry Lesbian again, Ellyn?”

Friday, March 28, 2003

Why run down to Blockbuster on a blustery night when we can revel in a guilty pleasure such as this.............

For anyone who may be interested.........the Paula Prentiss character is the one I relate to most.
right shift still stuck. but we’re happy anyway..........
Dylan is back!
Friday Five
1. What was your most memorable moment from the last week?Last week-end’s retreat. I’ll count the whole 48 hours as one sweet moment.

2. What one person touched your life this week?Ties.......always ties.
My children. My friends with whom I went on retreat. My friends at work.

3. How have you helped someone this week?More ties. I’ve helped the kids in various ways. And I hope I was of true service to the people I help at work.

4. What one thing do you need to get done by this time next week?
laundry, laundry, laundry

5. What one thing will you do over the next seven days to make your world a better place?Pray. (And do some more laundry...)
right shift key still stuck
will check it out when I return this evening.
Otherwise we can just retrain our fingers.
Hey Jesse, this could be a good idea, but........

The Rev. Jesse Jackson called Thursday for a truce to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered to Iraq and asked for permission from both U.S. and Iraq officials to allow religious leaders to visit with prisoners of war.

Would all sides honor this truce? There are some people I just don’t trust.
Will Jesse volunteer to walk at the front of the humanitarian parade?
Michelle suggests a bedtime snack/quiz...

find your inner PIE @

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Funny? The WB wants Funny?
The Curt Jester gives a link to an article about a proposed WB comedy about a homeschooling family. It sounds like the writers have heard of homeschooling, but haven’t really done it. If they want funny homeschooling, I could sell them some stories that would leave the audience cataplectic and incontinent. But they wouldn’t feed into any one’s preconceptions of homeschooling families.

This week on The Adventures of St. Benedict’s School.......Dad is persevering in the homeschooling while Mom is working as a temporary office worker at the family’s home parish. The atlases scattered about the house lead Mom to think that Dad is overdoing the interest in the war in Iraq. Mom gets really peeved when she comes home from work to find that a neighborhood urchin has broken the hand off of Tiny Tim, the 20 inch skeleton who was purchased as an educational item - NOT A TOY!
A meteor flies over the family home but no one notices.
The little dog poops in the living room. Only Mom notices.
Mom adds gluing Tiny TIm’s arm to her list of week-end activities. That and planning Shakespeare month, which will be short because the first week of said month will be spring break.
Spring break is declared because parents are too weak to fight onslaught of public school kids coming to visit. Mom prays that those kids are able to travel and leave the St. Benedict’s students in peace.
Housekeeping is below Mom’s usual mediocre standard. Mom threatens to steal MOM DOESN’T LIVE HERE sign from rectory kitchen.......
The keyboard is just about dried out.

Bridget spilled water on it last night. While shopping online for a bowling ball.

Could have been worse - it could have been the drug of choice, Mountain Dew Code Red.
That would gum up the works real good.

I have to stop going to bed so early............
Chunks of rocks believed to be the remains of a meteor that lit up the Midwestern sky as it exploded rained down across the southern suburbs early this [Thursday] morning, damaging homes and other buildings but injuring no one.

The meteor streaked across the sky about midnight before apparently blowing up with a bright flash and a thundering boom. About 100 fragments ranging in size from small stones to softball-size chunks were recovered from yards, driveways, streets and even the insides of houses in Park Forest, Matteson and Steger.

For the department of poor sleep hygiene: I fell asleep on the couch - after deciding not to go to a book discussion at church because I thought the children deserved a maternal presence for the evening. Someone woke me up about 10:30, so I could floss, brush and go to bed. To help lull myself back to sleep, I watched Rosemary’s Baby on Bravo. I don’t know if it was the story line or Mia Farrow’s Vidal Sassoon haircut, but I didn’t sleep very well. And a splendiferous meteor comes streaking through town, but I miss it. There is some sort of lesson here, but I’m not quite sure what it is. I can look out the window before I pop into bed every night for the rest of my life and most likely never see a meteor come crashing into the ‘burbs.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Maybe it’s maternal instinct....
but I wouldn’t shoot a few Iraqis, I’d be willing to dismantle them barehanded...
Do readApologia on women in
active combat. So why do we put our women in harm's way?
And for those who think our cause in this war is nothing to die or kill for, I'd ask you to take one more look at Miss Johnson's picture and ask if you'd be willing to shoot a few Iraqis to get her back safely. Would you lay your life down for this friend? She looks like she could use one right about now.

I am tempted to lay some blame for this and similar situations on a society that accepts men’s irresponsibility to women (and their children), thereby forcing single mothers into what may look like expedient and responsible ways to support their families* - for instance, military service. And if we weren’t at war, that might be a good idea. The problem is, you can’t count on war not happening. The military is meant to be the military, not a jobs program.

*see Onion article below.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

This from the Onion is sooo funny. Except that it’s so true. And that’s tragic.
This-or-That Tuesday

1. Poetry or prose?Prose

2. Funky modern art or the older, "classic" variety?Classic

3. Sculptures or paintings?Paintings

4. Theatre: exuberant musical or serious drama?Musical. The more tap dancing, the better!

5. Ballet or modern dance?Ballet

6. Movies: major studio or indie?indie

7. Authors: Shakespeare or Dr. Seuss?Tie.

8. TV: PBS or A&E?A&E

9. Music: Beethoven or Beatles?Beatles (not that I dislike Beethoven, I just have more need for Beatles in my daily life.)

10. Thought-provoking question of the week: You are a contributing member of your favorite art museum, and visit on a regular basis. They announce a new, temporary special exhibit by an artist surrounded by controversy...this person's work and/or political views offend you. Do you stop supporting the museum, or just stay away during the time the exhibit is there?Stop supporting the museum. I don’t need to underwrite those who offend me. (With the exception of the ‘performance artists’ living in my own home.And they can't afford to push their 'art' too far!)
We were just discussing this at dinner.........
and wondering how long it would take PETA to get their collective dander up.
It’s not that they are not smart enough to perform these risky tasks, PETA must object to the fact that they are not able to volunteer for this service. Can an animal give its free consent to military service? What about dolphins who want to serve their country? How can we presume to know how the dolphins feel?
And, remember, in times of crisis humans have also been conscripted for military service.
PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has strongly condemned the U.S. military's use of dolphins and sea lions in the Iraq war to help clear underwater mines.

About 100 dolphins and sea lions are helping U.S. troops clear shipping lanes in the Persian Gulf to ensure safe passage for vessels, including those that will provide humanitarian relief, reports the London Evening Standard.

The dolphins use a small camera strapped to their fins.

Until I get a digital camera, this must suffice..........
Scrappy is:
2/3 this......

and 1/3 this......

Michelle makes me late, while I take a little quiz......
French Cuisine
What ethnic cuisine are YOU?moxfyre

My......that’s politically incorrect.
Hey, is that Gary from SpongeBob?

Stitching the Standard
Edmund Blair Leighton
Attention Fr. Sibley.....
Doctor Dictionary’s Word of the Day for Monday March 24, 2003
salmagundi \sal-muh-GUHN-dee\, noun:
1. A salad plate usually consisting of chopped meat,
anchovies, eggs, and onions, served with oil and vinegar.
2. Any mixture or assortment; a medley; a potpourri; a
WARNING: High Eeeew Factor!
The Curt Jester gives us a link to a lesbian website that has hijacked some saints for their own agenda. Very eeew.
Last December, Clonaid president Dr Brigitte Boisselier claimed the world's first cloned baby, Eve, was born to American parents on Boxing Day.

A second cloned baby girl was said to have been born to a Dutch lesbian on January 3, while a third, a boy, was claimed to have been born in Japan later that month.

Since then, Dr Boisselier has claimed a fourth cloned baby was born to Saudi Arabian parents on January 27, and a fifth on February 4. Dr Boisselier did not say where the fifth child was born.

According to Clonaid's website, all five babies were "in excellent health".

I suppose they’re all good looking and above average, too.

Monday, March 24, 2003

The dog’s name is Scrappy

He appears to be a cross between a Chihuahua and a toilet brush. Just the right size to ride around in my handbag. If I were the type to carry a dog in my handbag.
He dances on his back legs. I must go to the fabric store and purchase a small length of tulle with which to make a tutu. Then my personal Cirque du Merde will be complete.

Time for work. The clowns will be in charge.
You can dress him up, but you can’t take him anywhere!

I don’t believe I slept through this. Actually, I slept through most of the show. Oh, well, I feel well rested this morning.
Michael Moore booed
trashing Bush at Oscars

Sunday, March 23, 2003

So, Ellyn, how was the retreat?....

Marvelous. I must remember not to wait ten years between retreats.

Everything was great. I’m sitting here touching up the toes of my shoes with a Sharpie Marker, so I must have spent enough time on my knees. We had 7 or 8 wonderful meditations by a great priest, interspersed with time for reading, confession, Mass, Rosary, Benediction.....everything. And no idle chit chat. Well, until last night, when we had a short social hour. To have so much time to dedicate to prayer was a refreshing luxury that no spa can provide.

The food was great, too. To go into too much detail would put me in peril of salivating all over the keyboard while trying to recreate each lovely meal. And I’m not a food writer. But I am a food eater. And I think most moms appreciate what a luxury it is to be served a meal - a meal that you didn’t have to plan or cook.

The accomodations were perfect, too. On the shore of Lake Michigan in a rustic atmosphere that was straight out of the L.L. Bean Home Catalog. I felt like I was at the Columbia Inn in Pine Tree, Vermont. While I didn’t have Bing Crosby singing to me about counting my blessings, I did have a priest who gave me the same message minus the song. And the clean lake air - I had forgotten how wonderful it is to be right on the lake. (I slept quite well. In fact I was so drowsy on Friday night, I started to doze off towards the end of the Rosary - the problem being that I was leading it and had to make some effort to stay awake through the end.

This retreat center is also the private home of a family with 8 children and 36 grandchildren - the ideal family compound where the whole gang can get together. Some of their daughters and grandchildren were at the retreat with us. We were so blessed that they shared their blessings with us.

So I’m starting to save up now....I want to be ready to go back next year.
Maybe so..........
considering I just got home, the house is in its usual disarray and the family has adopted a little dog to keep the big dog company.
And I’m not screaming or anything..............

Balanced. You accept your emotions as normal and
are not overly happy nor depressed. You are
emotionally balanced and should find peace in
the way you deal with life situations. Your
emotions are normal and well understood. You
see the light in the dark.

How Emotional Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
Link thanks to Rosa Mystica

Friday, March 21, 2003

No, not that kind of silent.........
Am off to a silent retreat until Sunday evening.
Will keep you all in my prayers
Friday Five

1. If you had the chance to meet someone you've never met, from the past or present, who would it be?My grandmothers. Or some saints, maybe St. Therese or St. Teresa of Avila. Or Al Pacino.

2. If you had to live in a different century, past or future, which would it be?The Nineteenth Century seems more romantic and civilized, but I’m hooked on modern conveniences and dental care, so I think I’ll stay put.

3. If you had to move anywhere else on Earth, where would it be?New Orleans, Louisiana.

4. If you had to be a fictional character, who would it be?Melanie Wilkes in Gone With the Wind. Or Mother in Doctorow’s Ragtime.

5. If you had to live with having someone else's face as your own for the rest of your life, whose would it be?Candace Bergen

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Check out Our Lady of Loretto Carmelite Chapel
Why Don't We Do It in the Road!
On the other hand.....if I thought my actions could influence Saddam Hussein to bring this all to a tidy end, I would walk down Lake Shore Drive backwards, barefoot in a clown suit.
Attention Chicagoans!
This is not the balmy night for you to take a relaxing drive down Lake Shore Drive. The TV just showed us how the drive has been brought to a halt by anti-war protesters on foot. We're entitled to our opinions........but tying up a major thoroughfare is the act of pure personality.

I'm thinking back to the night Chuck was born at Weiss Hospital in Chicago. That's a pretty long ride, even at 2:00am with little traffic. If I had been caught in a morass like tonight's mess, you would have seen road rage. Crazy road rage.
And Rick might have gotten upset, too!
Found this...
while looking for something else.

Nice ice-breaker at parties.
Life goes on..........

Serious things on the news.
Goofy, gesturing passersby dancing around in front of the windows on the Fox News Channel set.
What? No Randy Newman’s Political Science?

Ellen Ingunn Andersen, head of Norway's biggest radio station, NRK P1, said that their programming would not be shifting to somber mode in case of war in Iraq, but that they would be very careful about choosing titles.

"Rock the Casbah by The Clash, Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits and Buffalo Soldier by Bob Marley are song that first and foremost touch upon or are openly associated with war, death, power, blood, violence and similar concepts," said P1 Producer Robert Sæthervik.
The dog..........
is sleeping on my treadmill. Oh, well, I wasn't using it at the moment.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle.......

The Accolade Edmund Blair Leighton
Note to self:
write letter to Trib in the morning, refuting the lame thinking of this letter-writing doofus:
Elmwood Park -- Now that there is solid medical proof that there is no link between abortions and breast cancer (Editorial, March 11), I suppose that columnist Dennis Byrne, being the responsible journalist that he is, will write a column telling everyone how wrong he was in proclaiming such a link as the truth, and apologizing to women everywhere for using that right-wing scare tactic to terrify women during one of the most frightening and confusing times of their lives.

What part of “16 of 17 statistically significant studies report increased risk of breast cancer among women choosing an abortion. 7 studies report a more than twofold increased risk,” doesn’t he understand?
Stats courtesy of Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer.
Sic semper tyrannis!
Chuck's take on the situation in Iraq.

The children aren't particularly 'worried' about the war.

How did parents in London in WWII handle their children without televised psychologists
to advise them? I returned from work yesterday to find the boys playing Risk - Chuck was Saddam Hussein; Eddie was Tony Blair. Luckily it didn't turn physical. I don't think Chuck was too keen on being Hussein all the time. But Eddie fancies himself something of an orator. (Well, he certainly can talk and talk and talk.)

The boys are suitably unstressed. Even after reading the disaster readiness brochure the township sent, complete with a color chart for the terror alerts. And directions on how to dial 9-1-1. We are sooo comforted.
Isn’t that a clever idea!
The head of a company that says it has produced the first cloned humans said on Wednesday it would show proof at a gathering of some of the parents in Brazil next week.
My Heart Bleeds Peanut Butter....
Academy Awards show producer Gil Cates says the red carpet arrivals portion of the pre-show will be "truncated" this year.

Some Oscars watchers had speculated that the show might be canceled in light of an almost certain war with Iraq. That will not be the case, but Cates said things will be a little different for this year's ceremony.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Time for my Tuesday Routine.
Plunk on couch. Watch Judging Amy.

Make sure the schoolwork is all lined up for tomorrow. (I've turned the lesson plan book over to Rick, instead of transcribing each days work. This has streamlined things considerably.)


Get some sleep. (As if the nap before dinner wasn't enough!)

Prepare for work tomorrow. It's weird working in more or else the same place but doing different things with different people. (Thank heavens I negotiated nibbling rights' in the Rectory kitchen. I could hang out there for half an hour and feel back to normal.) The overall weirdness quotient was greatly increased by the tornado/disaster drill that the school had (and the Religious Ed. office is in the school building) which culminated with the DRE, his administrative assistant and me standing in the private bathroom of the office until the all-clear was sounded. Talk about your uncomfortable work/social situations. Everybody seems a little hyper, worrying about imminent disaster. Actually, this time of year - in Illinois - we're getting to the point when tornados present more danger than elusive 'bombs.' But we're used to the concept of tornados.....they're a known quantity. And as deadly as they are, we accept them as part of life in the Midwest.
Dylan's in the hospital!
Go to Gospel M*I*N*E*F*I*E*L*D for details. And then join us in prayer.
Another perk....
of my job is the permission to pillage catalogs from the recycling bin. Priests and staff who are no longer at our parish do not have third class mail forwarded. It is either passed along to someone else who is interested or pitched. In a free moment the other day I pulled a music educators catalog out of the recycling bin........and now my mind is reeling with ideas on how to spend some of the extra money I have earned. I already decided to dedicate some of my earnings to investing in extras for the boys’ educational needs.

So many fabulous things to choose from. The one item that I am absolutely obsessing about is the Highland Bagpipe & Learning Kit. Full-sized rosewood bagpipes, rosewood practice chanter, tutor book and audio cassette, instruction card, seasoning oil, stopping corks, sandpaper, spool of hemp, and set of reeds. In a satin and velvet-lined carry case with side pockets. Just $259.

I wanted to hire a bagpiper for my father’s memorial service but my husband and sister talked me out of it. Now I never miss the chance to remark on the lovely pipers that I hear at funerals at our church. And how I hope someone won’t be too cheap to hire a bagpiper for my funeral.

So here’s the scathingly brilliant idea. We take up the bagpipes as a school musical pursuit. And maybe one of the children would actually be good enough that we would have a ‘free’ piper in the family for my funeral. (Or at least excellent revenge on the Tuba Boy who plays Danny Boy on the other side of my bedroom wall at 10:00pm!)

Or maybe I’ll just order some books, posters and CD’s. While I’m ordering I should pop for the 12 white mime masks for $9. That would be just the touch we need for the intolerable family portraits we pose for every Christmas, Easter and whenever.

And a new bust of Beethoven.
this-or-that Tuesday
1. Cold frosty ski slopes or warm sandy beach?Warm. Sandy. Beach!
2. Chevy or Ford?Chevy.
3. Mac or PC?Mac.
4. Dial-up or high speed internet access?High speed access - if possible.
5. Small *family-only* wedding or large 200+ guest wedding?Small. The smaller the better. And, no Embot, this isn’t a hint. This based purely on my own experience.
6. Would you rather be the bridesmaid or the bride? (if you are a guy, substitute best man or groom)Bridesmaid.
7. AC/DC or ABBA?Such a dreadful choice. ABBA is cheerful and more ‘hummable.’ But that guy from AC/DC with the short pants is kind of fun to watch.
8. Roses or daisies?Roses.
9. Trashy romance novels or classic literature?Classic literature.
10. NEW! Thought-provoking question of the week...If you had to choose one...would you rather be blind or deaf? Why?I guess deaf. I’m a visual much as I love music I would rather give up the chance to hear new tunes to preserve the ability to look at beloved art, faces, scenery etc. Based on the supposition that this would be a sense to be lost, rather than never had, I think I could remember songs and sounds better than I could recreate images in my mind.
A study corroborates what my Dad used to say. Think about how happy you are on an average day.........that’s about as happy as you’ll ever be.

I guess it is obvious to us who find our true happiness in Jesus that the ups and downs of daily life are just that -ups and downs juxtaposed on a life of true happiness.

Marriage produces a big increase in happiness but according to a study of the "life satisfaction" of 24,000 Germans the newlyweds' satisfaction returned to pre-marriage levels after just two years.

The researchers, from Michigan State University, set out to discover whether the increased happiness of newlyweds was permanent.

Previous studies have found that the satisfaction of people undergoing extreme change - positive or negative - quickly reverts to previous levels.

Oh, and why does Michigan State have to study Germans? Couldn’t they find 24,000 happy Michigan newlyweds?

Monday, March 17, 2003

As in, not my backyard
Word of the Day for Monday March 17, 2003
verdant \VUR-dnt\, adjective:
1. Covered with growing plants or grass; green with
2. Green.
3. Unripe in knowledge, judgment, or experience;
unsophisticated; green.

I couldn't get this to work at home.
But it works on the Church 'puter.
You Are Romans
You are Romans.

Which book of the Bible are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
Thanks to Michelle....
I can't resist trying this at work.
I've run out of constructive work. But am waiting on phone calls to be returned.
I hope this doesn't get me fired.

What Type of Villain are You? /

Other years.....
a leprechaun scatters gold covered chocolate coins about the house on St. Patrick’s Day. (procured from the same chocolatier who supplies St. Nicholas each December!) Because of the dogs presence, the leprechaun passed on us this year. Now it dawns on me, ‘he’ could have tied the coins up in little mesh bags or something. Maybe on ‘his’ lunch hour today.........
I Mentioned......
David Hockney in a post last week. Now I’m getting eMail updates on the value of his work. I think the Turandot poster from the laundry room door is the full extent of my Hockney investment for the time being. The $9.95 frame at Wal-Mart put me over budget.
Help Me, Nihil!
Vice President Dick Cheney said "it's difficult to take the French serious"
Shouldn’t it be ‘seriously?’
Or ‘take them as serious people.’
I can only hope he was misquoted.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Working. Mother. Guilt.
I’ve spent a lot of today doing extra lesson planning so that I can turn a lot of the edu-process over to pater tomorrow. I’m filling in at the rectory again. Then on Tuesday I move to the DRE’s office to fill in for his administrative assistant who was badly injured in an accident 2 weeks ago. This will only be about 5 hours a day, but it is still enough for me to need to shift a lot of the school stuff over to Dad. This may last from one to three months.. The extra money will be a blessing, but I’m worried about everything working out in my absence. I am familiar with stories of mothers who work full-time and homeschool at night. I don’t know how much of that energy I can muster. (A year or two ago, I saw a story on TV about a homeless woman who homeschooled her child while living in a car. The story focused on his brilliance, well adjusted attitude and acceptance at an Ivy League - or equivalent - university.) Rick is good at the academics, but I know must instantly turn him into the POD parent - mapping out our daily prayers that he has heretofore not been included in and upping his daily dose of Latin.

Going to bed now. Have a bit of knot in my gut.

What Flavour Are You? Buzz buzz, I am Coffee flavoured.Buzz buzz, I am Coffee flavoured.

I am popular in the workplace, even though I am often bitter. I am energetic to the point of being frenetic; buzz buzz, out of my way. I tend to overwork myself and need periods of recovery time. What Flavour Are You?

Thanks to Michelle. And Then? gives this quiz an R-rating.
Look, Bridget, no talent required!!!
But I bet this girl entered the contest more than once.
Persistence, my child, that is what pays off.
You’re eligible for 5 more years. Do try again.
And remember, you’ll always be my Irish Princess no matter what.

Parade queen Jaime Dineen of Arlington Heights, who was chosen over 120 other women, played down her role. "There's no talent required," said Dineen, 23, who played volleyball and basketball at St. Mary's College of Notre Dame and graduated cum laude. "We didn't have to bake soda bread or anything."

Note to Embot: You could enter, too. You’re not too old. And the prizes are great. Besides riding in the parade, you get a trip to Ireland, a bunch of Waterford (that would be nice in your ‘hope chest,’ right?) and lots of other stuff.
This was so sad I just about cried. (And I am not terribly lachrymose!)
A man who believed his regimen of strict discipline and diet of herbal supplements would bring his large family closer to God was sentenced to more that 16 years in prison for letting one of his children starve to death.

But I may print out the article and pass it around on those Fridays when the children imply that lack of pepperoni on a pizza is ‘child abuse.’
If We Only Were Back in the 1960’s....
this could be the inspiration of a great sitcom.
NEW SQUARE, N.Y. - And so it came to pass that a talking carp, shouting in Hebrew, shattered the calm of the New Square Fish Market and created what many here are calling a miracle.......

"It said `Tzaruch shemirah' and `Hasof bah,' " he said, "which essentially means everyone needs to account for themselves, because the end is near."

The fish commanded Rosen to pray and to study the Torah and identified itself as the soul of a local Hasidic man who died last year, childless. The man often bought carp at the shop for the Sabbath meals of poorer village residents.

Rosen panicked and tried to kill the fish with a machete-size knife. But the fish bucked so wildly that Rosen wound up cutting his own thumb and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. The fish flopped off the counter and back into the carp box and was butchered by Nivell and sold.

You must read the whole story.
Who needs ‘reality’ TV?

And if the tadpoles start to speak apocalyptic aphorisms, I promise not to kill them. Maybe. Embot, do you remember where Daddy keeps the machete?

Saturday, March 15, 2003

Welcome, Tadpoles!
The boys received a 'frog environment' for Christmas. The 5.99 fee for a tadpole seemed a bit steep and was complicated by the fact that the tadpoles would not be shipped during our current climatic conditions. Fran took Eddie and Martha shopping this afternoon and they found a pet store that carries tadpoles. (2 for $.98). She forgot to buy food, but the book says that they may not wish to eat for their first 12-18 hours here. Then I had to run out and buy bottled water (which should be good for the Beta fish that pater received for Christmas, too. No more of this letting a glass of water sit around for 24 hours for the chlorine to evaporate.) Then over dinner we had a lovely discussion of why we will pay for bottled water for the tadpoles but expect the beloved humans to drink the reclaimed, cleaned-up water from Lake Michigan. Hey, I'm not crazy about drinking the stuff, either. But right now eau-de-la-tap is all we can afford. (And at the rate some prima donnas bathe, that is becoming burdensome, too.)

The last frog lived quite happily next to the fireplace, but with the arrival of our canine friend we must look for safer confines. Next to the gerbil is the best place for the 'environment.' This has caused me to relocate the white ceramic cock, coq, rooster that I received for my birthday. It was just right next to the gerbil, on top of the book case in the dining room. Oh, well. [Sorry about the whole cock/coq/rooster thing. I had been perfectly content referring to it as my white chicken until some wiseguy at my birthday fete mentioned that it should be more correctly referred to as a rooster.]
Satuday Scruples!

1. You're the coach on a kid's soccer team. In the finals do you let the bad players get much field time?Yes. It’s still a kids’ game. What kind of adult would be so emotionally invested in the outcome of a children’s game?

2. As a dental hygienist, you see the dentist fondling a patient who's "asleep" in the chair. the dentist doesn't see you. Do you tell the patient?Yes. And I’d tell the dentist. And all the other appropriate people.

3. You gave the wrong directions to a tourist family. They've already walked two blocks. Do you chase after them?Of course. But not in a scary way. I wouldn’t want to scare them.

I've given up on trying to post art favorites on the template.
So I'm just throwing them on the blog.
Why? Because I like them...

God Speed!
Edmund Blair Leighton
So true...
Noise of any sort is irritating when you're in the mood. Smacking gum, loud chewing, humming- it's about as pleasing as bodily noises. You dislike emaciated people because of jealousy and just plain disgust. You're a procrastinator but a hard worker, too.
Is it passionate..........or just plain irritable?

link via Kathy

I am truly passionate.

Find your soul type

Where will it stop?
An airline passenger has complained to U.S. authorities that a government baggage screener left a note in his suitcase criticizing his lack of patriotism after finding a "No Iraq War" sign inside his bag.

I really don’t mind the concept of people going through my luggage.
But I don’t want to return home to some surprise notes........
“Treat yourself to some new underwear.”
“Does your mother know you dress like that?”
“Maybe you’d be happier with a whitening toothpaste.”

the nasty looks I’ve received simply carrying a baby onto a plane, I wonder if they’ll be able to find a jury that will convict this guy:
Authorities charged a former Northwest Airlines flight attendant with assault for allegedly putting a prescription depressant in 19-month-old girl's apple juice to stop her crying during an international flight.

I’m horrified at the idea of a flight attendant slipping Xanax to a toddler. But I wonder how many of this man’s peers will be more sympathetic with his humanitarian urge to quiet a fussy child on a long flight.

The Irish Princess and I flew to Vermont when she was about 2. She was just getting over an ear infection and the pediatrician told me to slip her a dose of elixir of Tylenol with codeine just before the flight to combat any ear discomfort she might have. He assured me she’d doze all the way to Burlington..... Ha.
We were in the take off queue for so long that she chewed and swallowed all of the gum that I gave her to help her ears pop. Then the drugs resulted in a paradoxical reaction that turned her into the most animated, lively little traveler I’ve ever accompanied. The flight from Chicago to Burlington,VT is relatively short..........but it’s quite a long time for a 2 year old to keep up a running monologue.
Thanks to Embot....
the Weather Pixies are back to Fahrenheit. Today that's a good thing - it gives the appearance of being warmer.....something of a placebo effect.

I was getting used to the Centigrade Pixie. It was becoming a learning thing. Oh, well.

What I'm really getting excited about is the prospect of leaving the house in the morning without my hair freezing. (sorry, no time for hair dryer) I'm sure any hair care professional would attest that drying by sublimation is as hard on hair as a good 1650 Watt hair dryer. And the novelty of hair that cracks wore off a l-o-n-g time ago!

Friday, March 14, 2003

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!
Thought I’d have the whole week-end off.
The girl who was supposed to work 9-11 tomorrow called and asked if I could do it. Sure. Why not. I was planning on going to Mass at 8:00 anyway, so it’s no big deal to stay a while longer.

Then I can finish all the work I didn’t get done tonight.
Just some minor crises plus making 2700 copies of the Easter schedule. I decided it was easier to do all the copies myself rather than to write up a description on how to feed the special paper into the machine. Had to let the copier rest a few times when it started to smell ‘warm.’

Still, not a bad day. The boys have been doing well with their school work. I was anxious to go over it with them this morning to see how well they were doing. My fear has been that they would manipulate their father out of following the lesson plan (which is flexible) to an absurd extent. They didn’t convince him that their readers are ‘gay,’ - so I’ll be doing a little better next week as I stretch my working/homeschooling routine a while longer. Thank God I have Rick here to run things. I’ve heard of single mothers who work full-time and homeschool. I think that would be too high a degree of difficulty for me.

Now, to bed. I’ll probably be punching that copier button in my sleep....(with tricky jobs we tend to do copies 50 at a time, so as to cut any potential I only hit the print button 54 times tonight. Plus assorted other copying.)

Friday Five

1. Do you like talking on the phone? Why or why not?I don’t mind talking on the phone. But it’s not the lifeline it was when I was a teenager.

2. Who is the last person you talked to on the phone?The police. Nothing personal. Just business.

3. About how many telephones do you have at home?3 - 4 if I plug in the one in my bedroom. #4 explains why I tend to keep it unplugged.

4. Have you encountered anyone who has really bad phone manners? What happened?Lots of people at work. (You’d think people would be nicer when calling a church!) The best, though, was at home. We get a lot of calls at odd hours from the kid’s friends. I don’t think some of these young people realize that they are calling a family phone and not a private line in the girls’ rooms. One night someone called at about 12:30 am looking for Fran and Bridget, who were still out with friends. The caller had the nerve to ask me to look outside and see if there was anyone interesting just hanging around in the cul-de-sac. The absurd part was that I complied and told him politely that nothing was happening.

5. Would you rather pick up the phone and call someone or write them an e-mail or a letter? Why or why not?Call. Which is a shame because I talk to Embot and my sister, for example, all the time. By the time I graduated from college, I had several shoeboxes of letters from my parents. I think Em has a couple of Valentines and Halloween cards that we lengthy written correspondence. Now that my parents are gone I treasure the letters that they wrote to me. And I found all the letters I wrote home among their things. Em and I have no such legacy. But we do yack a lot....

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Note to Embot
I'm having trouble putting images in the template again.
I have some good ones for Lent, so now I'm just putting them right on the blog.
Call me sometime - I'll be at work but I'll try to squeeze you in.
Remember Gum Wrapper Chains?
Fox News Channel just showed a man who has been working on a gum wrapper chain for 38 years. It is sooo long. (The exact length has suddenly escaped my mind.) If I hadn't given up, my chain could be that long, too. Of course, this man's chain is now so large it is something of an albatross that takes up half of a room.

I don't think this is quite so possible anymore. Most gum wrappers are too crummy to put into a chain. The best ar the old fashioned gums, BlackJack, Beeman's Pepsyn, Teabury....they added such fragrance to a chain. I think I remember how to make one. Perhaps I'll buy some gum and start over.....
I Didn't Even Like Death Valley Days.
Republican - You believe that the free market will
take care of most things, but that the
government should be there with moderate
taxation to provide for national defense and
enforcing morality. Your historical role model
is Ronald Reagan.

Which political sterotype are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
thanks to Michelle for the link.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

The Flagellation of Christ
William Bouguereau 1880

Thinking a little more about Thomas the Tank Engine.....

While caught in the usual grid-lock under the railroad tracks this morning, I remembered how Chuck and I would stand under the tracks waiting for trains to pass over. Back in the Thomas days, my fear was not so much that Thomas and his friends would scare the boys. No, I was afraid they would see trains as so benign that I was constantly making them stand farther back from the tracks than necessary. Unlike the experts in the British study, I was the scold who told them, “Real trains don’t talk and smile. Real trains will kill you if you aren’t careful.” Last spring, the boys and I waited along the tracks for an antique steam engine to pass by. It was fun, but my stomach was in a bit of a knot the whole time, worrying about the boys (13 and 8 at the time) getting to close to the tracks. I’ll admit it - I’m afraid of trains. And it wasn’t Thomas that scared me.
I may have previously written about the friend who returned a whole chicken to the Jewel because, upon her return home, she noticed that it weighed 6.66 pounds. Which was more amazing - her actions or the fact that the Jewel accepted the chicken? I don’t know. Last night was my moment of truth. I needed some boneless, skinless chicken breasts. About one and a half meals’ worth. The perfect package cost $6.66. I took it.

If you don’t hear from me after dinner tonight, you’ll know I made a mistake.
Between the chicken and my actually working with Microsoft products at work (and we all know who Bill Gates really is, right?) I may be skating on thin ice.

Another morning at work. Will be at home this afternoon to micromanage the schoolwork and catch up on laundry. I don’t know how mothers who work all the time manage.

(Note to boys: Please don’t call me at work to tell me your readers are ‘gay.’ There is a reason for you to read them. Content, sentence structure, vocabulary...... Please come up with a better word of derision than ‘gay.’ And if I anwer the phone to hear that your readers ‘suck,’ I’ll put you through to a higher power to straighten you out.......)

PS - Did you know that on a Gateway, you can type-over and delete forward? You probably did. This is rather marvelous......but not enough to make me foresake the iMac. I just hope I don’t make any serious mistakes - primem non nocere, right?

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Do you have or were you ever a disappointing child?
Feeling unattractive?
In a bit of a ‘pickle?’
Do you know your saints from your sinners?
Then Fr. Bryce Sibley suggests the perfect quiz for you.
Firing Woman for Lack of Attractiveness Violates Anti-Bias Law
I wouldn’t want to work in a biz that put so much pressure on physical beauty. Of course, working at a church, I suppose I must maintain a certain level of piety. Beats working for L’Oreal. And the benefits carry over into eternity...
Blogging out of the underground into the mainstream.
Online journals getting easier, envisioned as marketing tools.
Now if I just had something to market.
We must admit.....
Chuck was a tad afraid of Diesel. What with his oily voice and shady personality.......

The televised adventures of Thomas the Tank Engine feature too many crashes and could be leaving children terrified of going on a train, a psychologist said yesterday.

Dave Rodgers, 66, of the Railway Enthusiasts Society, accused the programme-makers of distorting the truth and worrying children unduly. “Thomas the Tank Engine is giving children the wrong information,” he said. “I’m sure the Rev Awdry, who was a rail enthusiast, would not approve of these new stories which seem to contain a crash in every episode.

I’m rather fond of the episode in which Sir Topham Hat is in the barbershop and one of the engines comes crashing in. Of course, the boys have this fear of hair care............maybe that’s where it started.

“The programme should be stressing the fact that trains are safe, not showing crashes all the time.”
Of course, real trains don’t have faces and make chit-chat.
This-or-That Tuesday

1. Married or single? Married.
2. Knit or crochet? Crochet.
3. Homebody or world traveller? Homebody, for now. A sudden reversal of fortune could change everything.
4. "Star Search" or "American Idol"? Neither. I’d rather.....have a root canal.
5. Dancing or karaoke? Karaoke. I’d enjoy it - there’s no guarantee anyone else would.
6. Elvis Presley or Elvis Costello? Costello.
7. Bus or train? Train. I hope to never take a bus trip again. The bus is as bad as I had imagined/remembered. The bus can take a relatively short trip and s-t-r-e-t-c-h it into a prolonged Twilight Zone episode.
8. Batman or Superman? Super.
9. Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate. Always chocolate.
10. Which came first...the chicken or the egg? Hmmm?
A Change in the Weather?
I hope.
A phonics poster fell off the wall during the night. Junk falling off the school walls is a good indicator of climatic changes. Let's hope it's a change for the better.

Monday, March 10, 2003

I’ve got it all under control. I think.
Back to work tomorrow.
The real secretary has pneumonia and I’ll be filling in more this week.
After 18 months of avoiding the computer at work, I have to bite the bullet tomorrow and attempt to type the liturgy sheets for next week-end. Rick gave me a quick little run through on Microsoft Word so I don’t look too ignorant. I am afraid of Microsoft products. So afraid.
(Well, I did get addicted to that FreeCell game when I was staying with my sister..........but I’m still uncomfortable. So uncomfortable.) It’s all Rick’s fault. He did his best to convince me to avoid all Microsoft products.

You’re all invited to my house to peruse our fine collection of BETA videotapes. And then I’ll reminisce about the Peugeot we had......a car with just about everything installed bass-akwards.

Now to line up tomorrow’s lessons for the boys. Things went quite smoothly - if all reports are to be believed - and I was only called twice while at work. And one call was just to report that Eddie’s missing reader had surfaced.
Salve, Magister!
Have been called in to work today. So the education of the boys is in the hands of their father. (An article in the Sun-Times a few weeks ago said homeschooling fathers is the next big thing. It’s not just for mousy Christian ladies in jumpers and Birkenstocks anymore.*) I have everything organized - all Dad has to do is follow the simple schedule that I’ve planned. If you’re lookin’ for me Em, call the Church. I won’t be back until after 9:00. (Sorry about last night, I fell asleep during the Simpsons.)

*Didn’t mean to offend anyone with that comment on the stereotypical homeschooling mom. I’m a bit mousy myself. Rarely wear jumpers - they make me look pregnant when I’m not.
Aggression 'fuelled by childhood TV violence'
They lost me when they started citing the RoadRunner as a violent influence.
Maybe I could credit the Bugs Bunny opera (Kill the Wabbit!), which I saw about 5 times on Cartoon Network this week-end, with turning me into an opera lover.

Sunday, March 09, 2003

Has He Breathed Too Many Paint Fumes On One Too Many Habitat Projects?
from Jimmy Carter’s op/ed piece (registration required) in today’s NY Times.....
The war can be waged only as a last resort, with all nonviolent options exhausted. In the case of Iraq, it is obvious that clear alternatives to war exist. These options — previously proposed by our own leaders and approved by the United Nations — were outlined again by the Security Council on Friday. But now, with our own national security not directly threatened and despite the overwhelming opposition of most people and governments in the world, the United States seems determined to carry out military and diplomatic action that is almost unprecedented in the history of civilized nations.

My sister thinks she knows where to look for her friend Marcia. She hasn’t heard from her in almost a year, after Karen told her the seventies were over and that living in Madison didn’t entitle her to protest in perpetuity. (Just one of those benign little School of the Americas discussions that turned ugly.) Karen and I don’t agee on a lot of things, but we never let it get personal.

With Passion and a Dash of Pink, Women Protest War
.....and if Starhawk is behind it, it must be great..........perhaps, though she should consider a name change. How about Pinkdove?
Morbid Valentine Gets Teacher in Trouble
PHOENIX -- A theology teacher at a Roman Catholic high school lost his job after giving a student a valentine that read, "I hate you, I wish you would die."

A police report stated R. Scott Jones passed out similar cards Feb. 14 to his other students at St. Mary's High School, many of whom regarded it as a joke, but one 17-year-old boy said he was "freaked out" by the card.

I’m not implying that I may not have had teachers who felt that way about me. But they had the good sense not to put it in writing.

Mission Accomplished
Rather than sitting here looking smug since Amy Welborn added me to her blogroll - and having limited success explaining to the family why this may be the major accomplishment of my year, Chuck and I took off on a little post-Church shopping expedition to get a few things at Wal-Mart. I try not to do this on Sunday, not just for theological reasons but also because the atmosphere there on a Sunday afternoon is zoolike and the temperature stays a constant 95 degrees, winter or summer. But this will be a busy week and this was my big chance to get paper towels, detergent, and a frame for that Turandot poster that must cover the blank wall in the family room. Getting the poster off the laundry room door was not as easy I had hoped. For once, those 3M sticky squares really, really stuck. (How many times in college did I return from a week-end away to find that most of the stuff had fallen off my walls?) The poster looks a lot nicer in a $10 Wal-Mart frame and does enliven that corner of the family room. That is the corner where the new, bigger TV showed up at Christmas, rendering the wall somewhat unusable for posting school materials. A Puccini poster (by David Hockney - very bright, very edgy. There is a bit of Lautrec influence to it, too.) will count as subliminal indoctrination. And I did wash the wall. It still looks gross. I’m just waiting on the angle of the sun to change.........
This one is just to scare you, Em!
Ha. Ha. Having just turned 48, I think a seventh child would be miraculous, and wonderful. Although I know of people..........who have been greatly surprised. And they’re not just in the Bible.

'babyholic' gives birth to 15th child
Sue Povey, 43, gave birth on Friday (local time) to daughter Isabelle, 23 years after delivering her first child.

"I really adore newborn babies. I suppose you could say it's like an addiction," she said from her hospital bed in Swindon, western England.

The article gives no indication of whether or not Mrs. Povey does well with the her little addictions as they get older, but I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. It is sad that people who love babies and family life are newsmakers, but those who are not open to life are considered ‘normal.’ I’ve heard some really sad things from new mothers while I was hospitalized after birthing my first three. Women would be happily awaiting getting their tubes tied or joking about their husbands ‘little operations,’ so they could be safe from being blessed more than two times.
No wonder Rick worries that “I’m looking at him funny.”

You Have the Power to Turn Things to Stone!

What's Your Magic Power?
brought to you by Quizilla

And I thought 'people skills' were my strong points!

Another great link from Michelle

Saturday, March 08, 2003

Saturday Scruples!

1. Playing golf, you hit the ball into the woods. Your partner isn't around. Do you place the ball on the fairway?No. That would be cheating. But I wouldn’t anguish over this, since the chance of my ever setting a foot on a golf course again is very slim indeed. (There was that summer when I was convinced that mowing greens would be a fabulous, outdoorsy, pro-feminist didn’t quite work out that way. At least I came away from the job slightly wiser, with my dignity and digits intact.)

2. Your spouse has become a nervous wreck since s/he began trading stocks on the Internet. But s/he's made $10K in two months. Do you make him/her stop?I would implore him to stop. Not sure if I could make him. We could coast for quite a while on $10K. Maybe I’d try to convince him to do it every other month? Pace himself?

3. The only other person at the bus stop - a poorly dressed, overweight man - is crying. Do you express concern?Of course. I don't think the fact that he is fat and poorly dressed would make a difference. Some might think that would make him more suspect, but that's not necessarily so. (Hey, I've seen American Psycho. I didn't enjoy it, but I saw it. If there was one redeeming lesson: dressed well doesn't mean good person. Oh, and that poor Christian Bale, he was such a nice boy in Little Women. I'm trying to put the whole mess out of my mind.) Not condescending, but truly concerned. It’s hard to say exactly what I would do, since the particulars of the situation could vary. Anything from a simple, “Bad day, huh?” to a more pressing inquiry as to his need for help.
I started this last night, but I wandered off........
aka - a day lot and a whole lot more than a dollar short!
Friday Five
1. What was the last song you heard?Amsterdam by Coldplay. I am totally ignoring the nerve shattering Muzak floating through Dominicks’ while I was shopping for dinner. I’ve been under the impression that stores count on shoppers spending X number of dollars per minute in the store. So why does the store play the same kind of music that is played in public places to discourage loiterers? You know, that sort of screechy over-the-top emoting that conjures the feel of an aural root canal procedure!

2. What were the last two movies you saw?Amelie and The Godfather. (on tape) In fact, I was thrilled to find Amelie for $3 at the rummage shop on my birthday. The last two movies I saw in a theater were Amelie and The Royal Tenenbaums. I don’t get around much these days.

3. What were the last three things you purchased?
some food, a bottle of ibuprofen and 5 gallons of gas at $!.75 per gallon!

4. What four things do you need to do this weekend?
Mass, visit with a friend, laundry, Mass.

5. Who are the last five people you talked to?
2 kids - mine, 2 priests and the ckeck-out woman at Dominicks’.
It Finally Dawned on Me..........
why that poem James Garner recites in those Chevy commercials sounds familiar. I think “Mother” has been ripped-off. Compare and contrast:

Nobody Knows it But Me

There's a place that I travel,
When I want to roam
And nobody knows it but me.

The roads don't go there,
And the signs stay home
And nobody knows it but me.

It's far, far away and way, way afar,
It's over the moon and the sea,
And wherever you are going,
That's wherever you are
And nobody knows it but me.
-Patrick O'Leary

Nobody Knows But Mother
How many buttons are missing today?
Nobody knows but Mother.
How many playthings are strewn in her way?
Nobody knows but Mother.
How many thimbles and spools has she missed?
Nobody knows but Mother.
How many burns on each fat little fist?
How many bumps to be cuddled and kissed?
Nobody knows but Mother.
How many hats has she hunted today?
Nobody knows but Mother.
Carelessly hiding themselves in the hay
Nobody knows but Mother.
How many handkerchiefs willfully strayed?
How many ribbons for each little maid?
How for her care can a mother be paid?
Nobody knows but Mother.
How many muddy shoes all in a row?
Nobody knows but Mother.
How many stockings to darn, do you know?
Nobody knows but Mother.
How many little torn aprons to mend?
How many hours of toil must she spend?
What is the time when her day's work shall end?
Nobody knows but Mother.
How many lunches for Tommy and Sam?
Nobody knows but Mother.
Cookies and apples and blackberry jam
Nobody knows but Mother.
Nourishing dainties for every "sweet tooth,"
Toddling Dottie or dignified Ruth -
How much love sweetens the labor, forsooth?
Nobody knows but Mother.
How many cares does a mother's heart know?
Nobody knows but Mother.
How many joys from her mother love flow?
Nobody knows but Mother.
How many prayers for each little white bed?
How many tears for her babes has she shed?
How many kisses for each curly head?
Nobody knows but Mother.
~ Mary Morrison

How many prayers for each little white bed?
How many tears for her babes has she shed?
How many kisses for each curly head?
Nobody knows it but me.

This was..........
going to be my little catch up on projects day. Little projects like laundry and dishes.

But the new Vanity Fair came, so now I must read about Michael Jackson's nose......and other edifying subjects! I could show more restraint if it were still sealed in its plastic wrapper, but someone opened it while I was cooling my heals at the DMV and now that I've taken one peek, there's no turning back.
The Weather Pixie Isn't Stuck
It's still cold and snowy.

But it's a good day anyway. This is the first Saturday in months that I haven't had to work in the morning, so after Mass I met a friend for breakfast. Just like we used to do every Saturday. We managed to get to Einsteins' before the sweaty members of the local running club............although there we some bikers (as in bicycle) who were sitting there with their shoes off, which I thought was just revolting, but I didn't have the nerve to say anything to them. After breakfast, we ran over to the rummage shop. Not a whole lot happening there. I found a leprechaun snowglobe that I intend to give to the Irish Princess for St. Patrick's Day or her birthday, two cotton kerchiefs for the boys with hieroglyphic prints and a $.25 copy of the Cliffs Notes for The Catcher in the Rye. I never read Catcher in the Rye - I don't know if I want to. But I'll skim the Cliffs Notes. My 30th high school reunion is coming up this year and I want to be well informed. The other thing that I avoided throughout the course of my entire education was reliance on Cliffs Notes. Now I buy them whenever I can - for a dime or quarter at used book sales. I think I'm better off for having actually read what was assigned to me, but those little yellow books are great for settling arguments, answering trivia questions etc. I'm a little ashamed to have them visible on my book shelf.......

Then I decided to bite the bullet and go to the Secretary of State's Office to renew my driver's license. It expired last Saturday. I've never let a license expire before....I'm really starting to walk on the wild side. There was no penalty, no raised eyebrows. But trust me, sitting in the mass of fascinating humanity for an hour with no reading material (nobody's fault but my own!) was punishment in itself. That ordeal being over, I can now get my hair cut. Letting it grow out a little for the picture was a good idea - I look only half as dangerous as I do on my passport.

The DMV is the only place I experience what would probably be described as 'test anxiety.' When I took the written test to get my Illinois license (about 12 years ago, having lived in Illinois as long as possible while retaining my Wisconsin license), the room started to spin. I thought I was going to fall out of my little desk. And I didn't have a pencil....A 400 pound man was obscuring my line of vision and totally blocking out the bucket of pencils for our use. So I took the test with a purple crayon that I found in my purse. I was so tense, I snapped the crayon in half. Of course, I thought through each question with an exactitude that might have impressed my college philosophy prof, Dr. Snapper. (love that name!) The Secretary of State doesn't really want us to think to long about these questions. The only question that I got wrong was "what is the fine for not having a baby in the required restraint." I didn't ever quibble over the fine amount, figuring the price of toying with the laws of physics is death or dreadful injury, that being enough to make me always strap in the kids. So the difference between $175 or $225 was of little consequence to me. Thank heaven I didn't have to take a road test. I would have fainted and/or vomited. I don't know what freaks me out about the drivers' testing facility - it is instantly apparent that the waiting room is not filled with Rhodes Scholars or Mensa members looking for a meeting. They have what I am lacking - confidence. Devil may care, any-idiot-can-do-this confidence. I can muster that for the SATs or a Jeopardy try-out, but to obtain a simple Illinois driver's license it all drains away.

Friday, March 07, 2003

Time for Work
Thanks to Michelle for the quizzes.
I hope an obsessive compulsive Blue Water Angel is just what's needed to answer the phones at church.

Actually, I think I am better than I used to be. I no longer hang up my clothes in ROYGBIV order. But I'm sure the family is a little glad to have me out of the house for the day. A short reprieve from my nagging about dishes that are too close to the edge of the table, etc. No need to fear - the boys lessons have been planned, Dad has been briefed (though he is losing his voice so I don't know how commanding he'll be.) and I'll be near a phone all day so I can micro-manage everything from five miles away.

obsessive compulsive

Which Personality Disorder Do You Have?
brought to you by Quizilla
Leader, wisdome, gentleness
You are the Blue Angel. You have powers over all
water. Any place by a body of water is your
home because the gentle sounds calm you.
You're a leader among all and you would never
stear anyone wrong. Sure your moods may change
like the temperment of the sea, but no one's

Which Angel are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thursday, March 06, 2003

If she had only asked............
By the time I knew Rosemary Ruether, I was in college and had long since given up publication of the Georgetown Herald. The Herald was a our neighborhood newspaper that a bunch of us kids had started in fifth grade. Our first issues were produced with a gel hectograph device and later on a second-hand mimeograph machine that my father found at a fabulous price. Now I’m reading The Public Square of last December’s First Things (it finally arrived - mid-February; same day as the March issue, so I’m digesting this material much like Lucy and Ethel working on the candy assembly line) that radical feminist theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether, who prefers to call herself a radical ecofeminist, provides a modicum of refreshment. Her purpose is to revolutionize the Catholic Church and, through it, the world. Many years ago, in response to the question why she remains a Catholic, she answered that that is where the mimeograph machines are. I had a seminar with Dr. Ruether in 1977. I guess it was OK. I don’t remember exactly what the class was about - I must be repressing something. But we had a decent enough working relationship and I would have been more than glad to give her my mimeograph. My parents would have been glad to get it out of the garage and Dr. Ruether would have been free to move on from the Catholic Church.
From the Onion....
The young fellow who lives in the other half of our duplex plays the tuba. Or some sort of loud brass instrument. His bedroom is on the other side of the wall from my room. Putting academics first, the tuba is his last task of the day...........meaning I have ended many a day being serenaded by Danny Boy at 10:30pm. Why don’t I complain? Those folks have shown plenty of forebearance with our quirks. So this article rang a bell.......

After 10 Months Of Bitter Struggle,
Downstairs Neighbor Masters 'Jumpin' Jack Flash'
GAINESVILLE, FL—After 10 months of bitter, around-the-clock struggle, pizza-delivery driver and aspiring guitarist Darren Lowell, 23, has finally mastered The Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash," his upstairs neighbor reported Tuesday. "I'm glad he finally nailed it," neighbor Jeremy Quinlan said. "From what I could hear through my living-room floor these past 10 months, he was really locked in an epic battle with that elusive 'dunh-dunh, da-da-da da-da-da da-da-da' riff. It was truly like Ahab and the whale." Next week, Lowell is slated to embark on his next ambitious project, Van Halen's "Eruption," which is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2004.
About the post below.........
All week my posts look funny on the edit page, but come up fine on the real blog.
Today, the post looks fine but is garbled on the blog. I'm leaving it so the Embot can look at it and see for herself. Much easier than trying to describe the problem.
Talk about functions...........
Confunction Junction........What's Your Function?*
Chirp has a link to a Malcolm Gladwell article from The New Yorker sometime last November. It is a fascinating account of the development of the modern disposable diaper. Anyone who has diapered a baby or may ever diaper a baby should read this. (OK, everyone should read this. You never know if you will one day be diapering someone. I, for one, was never going to have children. Nor a husband. Ha! God had other plans.......)

Two things stand out for me in this article.........

1. He mentions the original disposable diaper being held on with pins. The article gauges this as being in the early 60s. When Embot was born in '79, Mt. Sinai in Milwaukee used Pampers that had to be pinned on. What a nightmare. Don't think there wasn't a wild moment when I fantasized about running out of the hospital, leaving the little pooper behind and changing my name and never looking back. Pinning the cloth diapers that the Didy-Wash man brought was awful (at first) but not nearly as bad as pinning two layers of thick synthetic stuff.

2. The diaper industry uses the euphemism "insult" for that which the diaper must handle. I wish I had this word at my disposal back in the diapering day. (Oh, Daddy, I think you check young what's-his-name. I perceive an insult.)
When Eddie was a baby, function was the code word. (Eddie has had a function.) That was alright, except that the children applied their own particular logic to the situation and decided that function must be a scatalogical word. I thought they'd hyperventilate laughing when they heard a radio advertisement for a banquet hall that asked, "Are you planning a function?"

*Confunction Junction was a little song we would sing while diapering young Edward. Using that tune from SchoolHouse Rock - Conjunction Junction.

PS - I can now pin any kind of diaper, one handed, in the dark.
Practice makes an expert out of the most inept.

PPS - Em, sorry for mentioning your name in conjunction with functions. We know you're brilliant. But I'm not going to imply that you sprung from the womb toilet trained and well versed in HTML. We all have to start somewhere.
Happy Birthday,Michelangelo

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

*My sentiments exactly. That is why the upstairs hallway and shell stamplng in the bathroom remain unfinished. I had no idea we had so much in common!

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

I'm woking on that picture mom.... I just think your page isn't updating right a way for some reason!
Contrary to any rumors you may have heard.....
the King Cake Mardi Gras pig graphic was not removed out of fear of offending Muslim children. I just thought I’d tone things down for Lent.

When I read this story it made me laugh........
The head teacher at a school in Britain is defending her decision to ban books that contain stories about pigs because they might offend Muslim children. because A) it’s a stupid idea; B) a close family member collects all things porcine, including books; C) pigs are such a cute staple in children’s literature and the teacher is asking the kids to read about the pigs, not eat them!
Does Everybody Cover Their Mirrors During Lent?
I don't think so. So we're already off to a shaky start. (not to mention the circus involved in getting to Mass by 8:00am) Last year, I ran a seven foot length of plain white paper along my dining room wall. Each week we added two Stations of the Cross for study and discussion. (I ordered a nice set of 6x4 inch pictures through the Catholic Heritage Curricula Catalog.) I decided to do this, since we had never prayed the Stations regularly, and my children would show up at Church on Good Friday with perplexed looks on their faces. Putting the pictures up at home would present a constant reminder and also prevent us from being a distraction in Church by walking and talking about each Station. (I did that with my CCD class one year, and by the third Station I had to return to the classroom and dispatch 3 students to the DRE's office for a "little talk.")

This year I have a mirror on the dining room wall. One of those cute folksy mirrors that looks like a 6-paned window. And it really does make the room look bigger. I was faced with dilemma of taking down the mirror and finding a safe place to store it, or run the paper for the Stations tableau right over the mirror. I thought the safest place for the mirror was on the wall. Now wise guys are asking if I'm going to cover all the mirrors for Lent.
Bob is not the Sponge we need to fear....
....not with the Today Sponge back on the horizon.
to get kids out the door and to Church.
Many family members are not 'morning' people - so just getting to the 8:00 am Mass is a penitential act for some (including the 'facilitator.')

There is a 9:15am prayer service for the school children but being under the same roof with several hundred of their peers makes my kids very jumpy. They are much better of in an age-integrated group.

More later about some of our special Lenten activities......

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

That’s What I Forgot!!!
(partying pig removed - just didn't look right during Lent.)
I was going to make a King Cake. The ‘baby’ disappeared when we moved everything while painting the living room. Those babies cost 5 cents, why didn’t I buy 20 of them. And I won’t try one with a LEGO man again, that was just........not right.
Snowy afternoon....time for a nice little quiz.
Thanks to Kathy the Carmelite.

How evil are you?

So.........there are still a few rough edges for me to work on, hmmm?
This-Or-That Tuesday
A few weeks ago, the theme was it is time for LUNCH!

1. Soup or salad? Salad.
2. Hot or cold sandwiches? Hot, I guess. How about a cheesesteak hoagie.
3. White or whole wheat bread (or rye, etc)?Whole wheat.
4. Pack a lunch for work/school, or buy it?Best of all worlds.....grab whatever I wish from the rectory kitchen. There are usually too many sweets, which can be a pitfall, but overall the selection is better than home.
And if I’m eating alone, there are both major Chicago papers at the table to aid my digestion.
5. If you eat chain, or mom & pop type place?Chains.... to be cheap. Popeye’s sounds good right about now.
6. Tuna or chicken salad?Chicken if I must. Shrimp would be better. Or crab.
7. Cheese: Swiss or cheddar (or American, etc)?Swiss. Or horseradish cheddar. Of limited versatility, but the children left it alone so I knew it would be there for more than three hours.
8. Mustard or mayo?Mustard.
9. Sandwiches: wrap/pita pocket, or regular bread/roll?Wrap/pita.
10. Sweet stuff: cookie/cake or fresh fruit?Fruit, then the sweet stuff - especially chocolate.
My Best Look....

Fr. Bryce Sibley gives a nice plug for Holy Habits paper dolls. (They are great - they were one of my favorite gifts last Christmas!) And he mentions that we can now send NunE Cards at the Holy Habits site, too.
Attention Bookworms Intellectuals......
Yesterday’s Chicago Sun-Times clues us in on a book look for....

Diane Ravitch's new book, The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn (Alfred A. Knopf, $24) due out in April.
An abridged version of banned words and stereotypes appears in the March issue of Atlantic Monthly.

According to Diane Ravitch, the following are some of the words, expressions and images avoided by publishers of textbooks and tests:
Words and expressions
* Adam and Eve (use "Eve and Adam," to show that men do not take priority)
* Bookworm (use "intellectual")
* Old wives' tale (sexist; use "folk wisdom")
* One-man band (sexist; use "one-person performance")
* Snowman (sexist; use "snow person")
* Baseman (sexist; use "infielder")

* Women as more nurturing than men
* Men as problem solvers
* People of color as politically liberal
* American Indians performing a rain dance
* Hispanics as migrant workers

Now bookworm is offensive? Back in the day, my library had a Bookworm Club. One’s worm received a segment for each volume read.....
I’m quite comfortable referring to myself, my family and friends as bookworms. I can’t imagine saying to someone, “Our little Eddie has become quite the intellectual.”

For our basic reading texts we use the American Cardinal Readers. (c. sometime in the 1920’s) I like them for reasons beyond their solid Catholic influence. I think the sentence structure is more complex and the vocabulary more advanced than the readers used in schools today. They are not politically correct and use some words that you certainly won’t find in public school textbooks. Yeah, Chuck has been influenced by the world enough that he did smirk a bit during a story that tended to overuse ‘gay’ as a happy adjective. And he knew there was something unusual in the story about the man walking around looking for fagots. There is a lot of de-educating I have to do.

About yesterday’s snow...........the yard looks nicer now, but there isn’t enough snow to build a person.
Tooth Decay is a Disease, too!
So the trick is good habits and don’t feed the pesky strep mutans bug.
A lot of stupidity is that way.........just keep it rolling with bad habits and feed it with a culture of crap.

As far as the genetically predisposed to low intelligence......I think everyone is entitled to live up to their potential. But it’s appalling to think of parents sceening for low intelligence. (Don’t let me get started, it goes far beyond the rights of the unborn. It’s about parents thinking they can make a list of what will be a problem and then eliminating it. Speaking in my 25th year of parenthood, you have no idea what the real pitfalls are going to be.........and if you knew, would you kill the child in question to avoid the trouble?)

I’m no math genius. but if Watson is concerned with eliminating the bottom 10% of the intelligence pool (out of purely humanitarian reasons, of course), wouldn’t that leave you with a new 10% vaulted into the position of shame?

IFifty years to the day from the discovery of the structure of DNA, one of its co-discoverers has caused a storm by suggesting that stupidity is a genetic disease that should be cured.

On 28 February 1953 biologists James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the structure of DNA - the chemical code for all life. The breakthrough revealed how genetic information is passed from one generation to the next and revolutionised biology and medicine.

But in a documentary series to be screened in the UK on Channel 4, Watson says that low intelligence is an inherited disorder and that molecular biologists have a duty to devise gene therapies or screening tests (my emphasis) to tackle stupidity.

"If you are really stupid, I would call that a disease," says Watson, now president of the Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory, New York. "The lower 10 per cent who really have difficulty, even in elementary school, what's the cause of it? A lot of people would like to say, 'Well, poverty, things like that.' It probably isn't. So I'd like to get rid of that, to help the lower 10 per cent."

Watson, no stranger to controversy, also suggests that genes influencing beauty could also be engineered. "People say it would be terrible if we made all girls pretty. I think it would be great."

And I suppose Watson gets to define what is pretty?

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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