Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Originally written in Latin, my version was translated in 1900. It is supposedly one of the most widely read spiritual books, second only to the Bible. Of course, books that have been around for six hundred years have quite a head-start on anything written in the last century.
I confess that, knowing nothing of this book or the author, I was extremely intimidated at the thought of reading it. It is one of three books in a nice, leather-bound volume that Bill gave me for Christmas. All three are books I intended to read at some point in my life. I took one look and decided to save it for Lent when suffering is expected.
Bracing for the headache that was sure to come, I began on Ash Wednesday. Surprisingly, it is easily digested. The chapters are fairly short, and it reads much like the book of Proverbs. Because of the hundred year old translation, there are plenty of "thou"s and "didst"s and some archaic spellings like "contemn" instead of "condemn." But the original Latin must have been so plainly written, that the more flowery style of prose I've noted in many "great" works of literature is absent here.
Although written for those with a religious vocation, many of the recommendations for how to live life are applicable to the lay person's life, even six centuries later. No, perhaps the lay person can not withdraw from human interaction to the extent that a cloistered nun can, but the exhortation to minimize negative contact with others is a valid one: it is one thing to spend time chatting with other moms about recipes, child-rearing tips and good shopping deals and quite another to spend the time complaining about your husband, gossiping about the neighbors and criticizing the upbringing of the other children on the tot lot.
If you are looking for a five-minute spiritual meditation for Lent or any time, I have to recommend this as a bedside companion. One caveat: if you were to buy a copy, I would suggest vetting the edition. My volume, by a secular publisher, has an annoying introduction focusing on this book's role in the Protestant Reformation (a hundred years later) and barely indicating it's ties to Catholicism - especially not to modern Catholicism (as though, had a Kempis lived a century later, he would have been right there next to Martin Luther nailing those 95 complaints to the church door).
Next, a hearty congratulations to Sarah, who is expecting Baby Number Two.
And then there's Jennie who is due today with Number Six. I hope if she's already labored all is well, and if she's still waiting that hubby gets there in time and all is easy and peace-filled.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
German Siblings Challenge Incest Ban
Leaders of Germany’s Green Party have voiced their support for the Stubings’ cause. “We must abolish a law that originated last century and today is useless,” said party spokesman Jerzy Montag. Critics of the laws against incest say that they were developed as a product of Hitler’s theories on racial purity.
A lawyer for the couple said that their relationship should be preserved as a matter of “sexual self-determination.” He pointed out that neighboring Belgium, Holland, and France do not make incest a criminal offense.
Gee, I really thought laws against incest pre-dated Hitler by at least a few years - give or take 5 or 6 millenium. I vaguely remember reading something about it in the Old Testament...could be wrong...and really, if Belgium, Holland and France think it's okay, why on earth should we argue? And another thing: they have four kids already! They are just doing their part to raise the declining birth rate! They're actually saving Germany! Ja wohl!
Fritz: Those are MINE! You can't play with them!
I overrode him, assisted Billy with a math problem for thirty seconds and turned to go upstairs to get the blue Lego bucket. By now, Katie is hysterically crying.
Me (more than a wee bit exasperated): What, Katie?
Katie: Jenny took my (plastic Playmobile) unicorns and washed them in the sink!
Me: Yes, I know (and there was peace and quiet throughout the house). What's the problem?
Katie: They're MINE! She can't play with them!
Right. Because we don't share toys around here. Saves me going up the stairs for those Legos...........oh, what's that? We do share toys?
Yeah, that's what I thought.
Monday, February 26, 2007
You know, if you've ever received poor services from a professional, some wisecrack may remind you that for every doctor or lawyer or CPA or whatever to finish in the top half of his (or her) class, there is a doctor or a lawyer or a CPA or whatever who finished in the bottom half. The same goes for architects and engineers and designers.
Half of my problem is that I went to a really good school, the kind of school that makes you think. It was not enough to design an adequate road system or an adequate bridge or an adequate sewer treatment facility. No, you also had to look at cost, convenience and common sense. Major engineering failures are well-known, generally for the catastrophic loss of life, but it is the minor engineering failures that cause us the biggest trouble in our daily life. Most of us can get in our cars and quickly find a badly designed parking lot or intersection. Perhaps you don't really know why it doesn't work, you just know to avoid that area because it's a nightmare. Well, a degree is a degree and at some point potential employers stop asking you for a college transcript and an account of your GPA. My guess is that most parking lot designers for shopping centers were not in the top fifth of their class...but that's just a guess.
And so I live in housing on a military post. The housing is new - my house is less than one year old. But the neighborhood style is not new - this is the third neighborhood like it built on this post by the same private firm. You would think that by the third neighborhood they might have made some design changes. Surely, surely, families who live in the other neighborhoods have had similar complaints.
I won't even bore you with construction complaints like the creaking hallway floor, the bathroom door that sticks (and sticks again a month after my husband shaves down the edge), the drafty windows and doors, and the carpet padding with obvious holes in it. OK, I just did. My bigger complaint, though, lies with the poor design of the house itself.
Overall, the layout and the size of the rooms are good. I think the closet size in two of the bedrooms is ridiculously small, but they meet my young children's needs (I wouldn't want to live here with teen girls, though). We have an attached garage and a five foot tall privacy fence that locks in the back yard between my neighbor's garage and mine. There is no gate to the fence.
Problem number one: the phone/cable/internet hookup is on our outside garage wall - which is in my other neighbor's backyard. When the poor phone guy came to install our connection he had to climb the next door fence three times (6 times if you include the return trip) to access the box, since we had no neighbors at the time. And if we had had neighbors, they would have had to allow this person access to their yard for my sake.
Problem number two: I have a laundry room between the garage and the kitchen. This laundry room has a single electrical outlet for the dryer. There is no place to plug in an iron. No place to plug in chargers for cell phones and other electronic leashes (even though it makes the most sense to have them there, since it's right by the garage where they want you to park your car). No place to plug in any of the rechargeable household things that some people (not me) may have.
Problem number three: the hot water and furnace and blower for the A/C unit are "conveniently" located right there in a closet between the kitchen and the family room. I'm not sure who finds this convenient. If I needed work done on my furnace, I'm not sure the middle of my living space is the best place for someone to park themselves, especially since that kind of work is usually dirty and done by filthy men (no offense, just an observation of the nature of the business) and that section of flooring is carpeted. But the worst part of this location is the noise, which seriously, seriously reduces quality of life every time the heat or A/C kicks on.
Problem number four: speaking of carpet, the eating portions of my kitchen and my dining room are carpeted. I really prefer hardwood floors throughout, but if you're going to be cheap, I'd really rather have linoleum in the eating areas. Not carpet. Do you know what tacos can do to a beige rug?
Problem number five: I guess the specs called for two outside water spigots on the house. So they gave us one in the front and one on the side. But the one on the side was on the same side as the attached garage. The only way to access the backyard was to get a really long hose and wrap it from the spigot by the front door, across the threshold and around the other side. Unsightly and inconvenient to say the least. They finally, begrudgingly, corrected this after six months.
And today pops up problem number six. Last week, I received a letter informing me that a contractor required access to my home this morning for an unspecified purpose, and that they would come in regardless of how I felt about it. I just wonder, if I am not at home and my protective German Shepherd gets a little too defensive of home and hearth, would I be liable? They followed up with a phone call, and I said that I would indeed be home (I have no life). I should have asked the nature of the business, I suppose. When the doorbell rang this morning, the dog, of course, had to let the people at the door know that she was here and she did not like visitors. Not knowing where they needed to go, I put her in the backyard.
Guess where they needed to go? The backyard, of course. They needed to get to the electricity meter in the backyard right next to the phone/cable/internet box. But that's not my electricity meter, it's my neighbor's. Mine is in my other neighbor's backyard.
Soon, the powers-that-be will begin charging me for my electricity and water consumption (that's right, I don't pay a single red penny right now, which is good since the drafty doors and windows have me cranking the heat up quite a bit). The water meter is on the side of the house near the front. It is easily accessed without bothering anyone. But to reach my electricity meter, you have to enter a home. In my case, it is my neighbor's home, although some of the houses do happen to have them in their own backyards. They really should have just installed them right next to the furnace in the middle of the house. Or next to that water spigot at the front door - why not? It's not like these designers have to live here, right?
And that, ultimately, is my biggest complaint. Nobody who designed these houses had to actually live in the models they built. They couldn't have, since quickly certain flaws would have been corrected. In addition, I don't believe these houses were actually designed to be lived in at all. Not really. How many neighborhoods today are populated by people who spend sun-up to sun-down at work, or school or daycare? And the weekends are so packed with errands, or sports or mini-vacations that they're never home to notice that the furnace drowns out the TV or to realize how difficult it is to fill a kiddie pool without a water tap in your backyard.
It is terrible, I know, especially during this season of Lent, to be complaining about my adequate house when there are people starving in the world and living in shacks. I should be grateful for the roof over my head and my "cushy" lifestyle that permits me the luxury of sitting at a computer with a fancy high-speed internet connection typing away with the heat cranked and no job to go to because I have a husband with a good enough salary to keep me home by my choice. And that, really is part of the problem. Having finished near the top of my class, I should be out there affecting change for the good instead of backseat-driving all the hardworking schleps out there. That guy who has to go through my house to read my neighbor's meter? It's all my fault. At the minimum, if I were working, I wouldn't be around to notice all these pesky problems.
"I always thought I'd like to marry someone like Lauren Bacall. Little did I know I would marry a Katharine Hepburn."
Ouch. Sadly, Hepburn's character's behavior made me wince through the whole flick precisely because I recognized the same obnoxious tendencies in me. From her oblivion to the overt passes made at her by her neighbor and her equal oblivion (disregard) to how much these passes irritated her husband to her competitive nature that compromises marital harmony, there's not much to like about Amanda Bonner, defense lawyer.
We hope to watch Desk Set later this week. Every movie I've seen with Hepburn has her playing an independent, liberal (for the 40s), strong-minded woman. Unfortunately these qualities come across as harsh, self-serving, and irritating. Also unfortunately, it doesn't seem that the movie makers are unjustly portraying her this way: her bad decisions are in character, she shows remorse for hurting someone's feelings, but not remorse for doing what she's doing. In other words, she is sadly real.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
My miracle baby. Born with a knot in the umbilical cord. Reluctant to breathe. The first 30 seconds of your life were the scariest in my life; the next 30 seconds were the the most joyous as I heard you cry. I've been threatening your life ever since. You are my biggest challenge, but you are worth every minute, and I love you so.
May the Lord bless you and keep you; may you grow up to be the man He wants you to be; and may He send His angels to protect you day and night, since you need all the help you can get, and the Lord knows I am insufficient for the task.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
In the waiting room, Fritz leaned over and put his head on my lap. He said his stomach hurt. Nerves. I rubbed his back and told him it would be fine. When he went in, I briefly thought that I ought to have taken a picture of him or at least taken one last good look at his crooked mouth. After a while, they fetched me and I got to see the appliance. It closely resembles a medieval torture device...and I get to crank it twice a day. I feel like I should be wearing a black mask to protect my identity in case the prisoner manages to escape.
We left the office and headed for home. Suddenly a wave of emotion swept over me, and I felt myself struggling to keep from crying. In part, it was that mother's nostalgia that comes when your child passes yet another milestone. I cried when he outgrew those 0-3 month clothes, and the 3-6 month clothes and the 6-9 month clothes. I cried when that first tooth popped out. I cried when he made his First Penance and his First Holy Communion. And now, he's getting braces.
In part, my tears reflected the pity I had for him having to go through this. My poor boy. He's too young for this - he's not even nine. Why did he have to have a cyst? Why does he have to have an expander? Why can't his life be easy?
And if that pity for my son isn't pathetic enough, I realized finally that my tears were in part ones of self-pity. Why do I have to go through this: the appointments, finding babysitters or dealing with squirming toddlers at the doctor's office, cranking his torture device, listening to his complaining and whining, correcting his uncooperative attitude? Why can't my life be easy?
Fortunately, recognizing self-pity is, for me, the fastest way to get over something. There is no emotion I loathe more. From self-pity comes anger at my uncoordinated little ones, since I have to clean up their spills. From self-pity comes impatience when they want to do something themselves or when they want to help me, since I have to slow down and wait. From self-pity comes annoyance at my husband, since he isn't able to help out around the house or with the kids.
Fritz will get through this ordeal, and so will I. They say the expander is only for 4 or 5 months, and I will pray it does its job quickly. Even the braces they say will only be for 6 to 9 months. This is no big deal. Really. There are worse things than hauling your kid around to doctor's appointments, right?
Friday, February 23, 2007
My guess is that this allowed us to blend better in normal society. Office party on Friday night? No need to look different by shunning the chicken marsala. Neighborhood barbecue? Go ahead and chow down on those burgers. Of course, that substitution clause quickly fell by the wayside. After all, can't we all come up with some other "sacrifice" we made during the day if pressed? I cleaned the pantry instead of reading a book...I walked the dog even though it's my husband's job...I cleaned up that mess my toddler made without complaining. That counts, right?
I will be the first to admit that I am not perfect in observing meatless Fridays throughout the year. There are times it is inconvenient. Perhaps we are traveling or running errands and need to get a quick bite to eat. Perhaps we are visiting friends and that's what's on the menu. Perhaps we have people at our house and a meatless meal would not be popular.
But isn't that the whole point of abstaining from meat on Fridays? Are we, as Catholics, called to "blend in," to not draw attention to our faith, to segregate who we are outside of church from who we are while sitting in Mass? I'm not talking about holier-than-thou pointing out to everyone you know that you're eating a tuna fish sandwich because it's Friday or ranting that the office cafeteria doesn't offer any vegetarian selections on Fridays for all those Catholics who work there or demanding that your neighbor who invited you over for the barbecue grill up some shrimp too. Most people would think you are eating tuna or shrimp because you like tuna or shrimp. I like tuna and shrimp, and I'll eat them on random days of the week just because I enjoy them. I like lots of meatless meals, and really have no trouble observing the no meat rule during Lent. It's just those few inconvenient times during the rest of the year.
But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams." 1 Samuel 15:22
Hooray for me and for you if going meatless is no sacrifice. The point is obedience. And then try to obey the rule come Easter time. See just how difficult it can be.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
That's Pete having a temper tantrum. And that's frequently what I see when I sit down to the computer or have the audacity to want to take a few pictures.
This is the spent casing from a real bullet that went through the gun of a real tank. His plan had been to polish it up and turn it into an umbrella stand. We are not umbrella people. Bill thinks it is unmanly to carry an umbrella (unless you are carrying it for someone else like your wife...then it's chivalrous), and I prefer a hat myself since I generally have my arms full of kids. And if we did go out and buy an umbrella, it would likely be the collapsible kind that wouldn't fit in this case. Maybe in 30 years, we can use it for our canes, but for now, it holds my broom. Had he brought home a tire from a NASCAR race, I would have planted flowers in it.
And here is my desk:
This secretary belonged to my husband's grandfather. That spot in the middle is my inbin that I happened to clean up last week. It has a limited height capacity, which indicates to me when it is time to move my piles. This desk is my #1 Hot Spot (for you Flybabies). If my desk is clean, the rest of my house is usually pretty good too. Or I may have a clean home, but my computer is buried. The desk is my Final Dumping Ground. Even the kids dump stuff there, and that simply must stop.
Typical: the page-a-day calendar to the left is on January 19th. I feel a month behind too.
Several years ago, I got into the habit of putting a CODE on the back of each piece. Someone had given us a few puzzles, and I noticed that they were labeled on the back. What a great idea, I thought. Admittedly, it may be tedious to label those 100 pieces...
...but thank goodness, I do.
Pete, now, has decided he loves puzzles too.
And he knows where they are.
And he can open the door.
Of course, he doesn't know how to put them together. And those cardboard boxes can be a bit difficult for a 20 month old to open. But no matter.
The fun, you see, isn't in assembling the puzzle. That requires time, effort, fine motor skills, and thought processes above and beyond the capabilities of his little mind. No, he finds it vastly more amusing to rip open those pesky boxes and dump the contents in a heap about him. And to a toddler, 7 or 8 hundred puzzles pieces piled about you (plus their cardboard containers) has an effect similar to being buried in sand at the beach. Cool!
And so, when I spend an hour taping boxes and sorting pieces and counting to see if they're all there when I had really planned that time to cleaning out the walk-in
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. Let the priests, who minister before the LORD, weep between the temple porch and the altar. Let them say, "Spare your people, O LORD. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?' "
Then the LORD will be jealous for his land and take pity on his people. Joel 2:12-18
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Horrific story about healthy, full-term babies who suddenly die and disappear. But don't worry, it's in the Ukraine (capitalist slime that they are). It would never happen here. We would never go that far down the slippery slope, right? We're so much more in control of ourselves.
H/T: The Daily Eudemon.
I myself toyed with that idea. But...
Virtually all of the blogs I read are Catholic. Most of them routinely address living a Catholic life in a secular world. They are inspirational, encouraging, and often challenge me to be a better Catholic mother. Reading them is like getting a daily pep talk from a good friend. In addition, I suspect that the majority of folks who stop by here on a regular basis are getting a similar inspiration and encouragement from me. I don't want to stop offering that to others.
But again, blogging takes time. The key is to find a decent balance between blogging about life and living life. Pep talks are great, but a team can't spend the day in the locker room. It's got to go out and play the game.
And so I have proposed to myself a two-part compromise.
First of all, I'm not going to comment on other people's blogs. I am not a frequent commenter anywhere, but I do try to speak up often enough to not be considered a lurker. I'll still read the blog, but I'm going to refrain from putting in my two cents. If you have grown accustomed to an occasional pithy remark from me, don't worry, I still love you. Perhaps you may find my comments about your blog over here on mine.
Secondly, I'm turning off comments on my blog. My husband didn't understand how much additional time and energy goes into your comments here. For whatever reason, Blogger does not usually send me an email notification of a comment. Before I began doing comment moderation, I had no idea that someone had left a comment. And comments sometimes require comments. Someone may ask a question or say something particularly nice, and silence on my part could be perceived as rude if the person didn't realize that I was completely clueless that they had said something. It's like leaving a message on an answering machine and never getting a call back.
Even after I enabled comment moderation, Blogger still doesn't email me that comments have been left. I have to manually go into the moderation page to see if anyone has commented. It's a pain, as you might imagine. And it takes time. And it causes me to compulsively check the dashboard about every hour. If there are no comments because you can't leave comments there will be no excuse to go and check. I can better regulate my time online and stop wondering if anyone has left me a love note.
My email address is in the sidebar. I'm not saying that I don't want any of you wasting my time by trying to engage me in conversation! No, I don't mind dialogue at all. Feel free to send me a note.
So, this is your last chance!! Comments will be open here until bedtime tonight. Wish me a blessed and holy Lent as I wish the same for you.
Monday, February 19, 2007
Lesson #1: Wither goest THE PRESIDENT, there also goeth large crowds, long lines, hassles and inconveniences.
Lesson #2: When you know you will encounter situations involving large crowds, long lines, hassles and inconveniences, it is best to leave children under the age of 10 at home.
Lesson #3: If the adventure is in part for the benefit of the children and there will be large crowds, long lines, hassles and inconveniences, it is best to have all other conditions be optimal: nice weather, plenty of snacks, not nap time, a stroller for resting, amusing things in pockets, etc.
Lesson #4: Having FREE admission in honor of President's Day will draw HUGE crowds.
Lesson #5: Freezing weather and ice on the ground will not deter HUGE crowds, rather it will deter sane people but encourage cheap fools who have deluded themselves into thinking that perhaps, just perhaps, the freezing cold weather might keep people home.
Today, Mount Vernon offered FREE admission. They opened at 9 am, I read. We've been to Mount Vernon, but not in a while, and not inside the house. We had a year-long pass, but it has expired. Since we are moving this summer, I didn't want to spring for another year-long pass, or even the one-day admission, which is more than $10 for anyone over 6, I think. I'm cheap.
My thought was to get there at or before 9 am. It was cold. It's a holiday. I thought we could get there before most people roll out of bed on the Monday morning of a three-day weekend. Perhaps we'd wait a bit for entrance to the house, but surely not for long, right?
We ended up getting there around 9:20 am. I won't even include that as a "mistake" because arriving 20 or 30 minutes earlier would probably not have significantly altered the rest of the morning. The parking lots there were full. We had to go up this one road, but our return route was blocked. We cut through residential streets and discovered satellite parking in a church lot with shuttle buses. The line was long - more than 2 bus loads. And it was now after 10 am.
Mistake #1: The smart thing at this point would have been to announce a change in plans and gone to Dunkin' Donuts or Krispy Kreme. Really, this would have been the best thing to do. Instead we decided to hoof it over to Mount Vernon. It was only about a half mile, and the half inch of snow that fell yesterday thankfully provided just enough traction over the icy, cratered path. So it seemed like a workable plan.
Mistake #2: I had no idea that THE PRESIDENT was going to Mount Vernon at 9 am. Had I known this, I would have killed the plan or considered a much later time frame. At least we now understood the large crowds and blocked traffic. Grrrr.
Mistake #3: I had no idea that THE PRESIDENT's visit would continue until about 11 am and that the house would be closed until his departure. By the time we got up to the house, it was nearly 11 am, and THE PRESIDENT was gone. But hundreds of people had gotten into line for the house tour while listening to THE PRESIDENT wish everyone a merry President's Day.
Mistake #4: We actually got in line. Bill figured if we were going to debate and waffle about waiting in line, we may as well do it while in line and not stand to the side watching the line grow longer and longer. The line began to move and this led us to believe that it might not take that long to get to the head of it.
We waited for an eternity, that was probably about 15 minutes in duration to anyone who wasn't accompanied by a 5 year old who clung tightly to your leg in an attempt to keep warm making muffled complaints about the weather into your pants, a 3 year old who repeatedly and loudly declared her desire to return to her place of residence while imitating a 30 pound sack of loosely bound potatoes lying on a dirt path, and a 20 month old who bemoaned his cold hands but who continually pulled his mittens off or squirmed and fought whenever you tried to put them on.
Finally we gave up and went to IHOP. It's supposed to be in the 50s for the next three days - a high of 57 on Thursday. Couldn't have had that weather today, huh? Saturday is supposed to be 48 degrees. Maybe we'll try then. I may be a cheap fool, but I'd usually much rather lose money than time. In this case, it seems I will lose both.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Last night we watched West Side Story. I made the mistake of not checking the length of the movie before I promised it. It is 2 1/2 hours long. We got about 90 minutes in when I called a halt on account of the three younger ones who really needed to just go to bed. The older boys were disappointed. I was sorry, but that was that. This morning, Fritz woke up at 6 am as usual, and I found him in the family room cuing up the DVD to where we left off the night before. He and Petey and I watched the last hour before anyone else awoke.
This musical did not hold my kids' interest nearly as much. They like tap dancing much more than modern dance and ballet, the songs are not as catchy, and the whole gang warfare concept was outside of their world view. In that last hour, there is the big rumble scene where the two gang leaders are killed. "Romeo" goes to "Juliet"'s home and tells her he is responsible for her brother's death, but that he didn't mean to do it. They agree to run away together. He departs to wait for her to meet him later. Then word comes that an angry friend of her brother found out about their plans and killed her. It's a lie, but "Romeo" believes it as truth and goes out looking for this man in the hopes that the friend will kill him too and end his misery.
Fritz asked: Why does he want to die? Oh, how glad I am that he is still young enough to not get that. And how glad I am that I am old enough to almost forget why myself.
Later in the morning, Billy told me that he didn't need to watch the ending of the movie. Fritz clued him in that there was a big fight, people died, and that the ending was sad. OK, I can take a hint. Next up I think will be Annie Get Your Gun. They've recently learned about Annie Oakley, and this musical is supposed to be a battle of the sexes, happy ending love story. Sounds good to me.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Me: Uh, when you're 19?
Me: Why do you need your own phone?
Fritz: So I don't have to borrow a phone when I go over to a friend's house. I can just use my own to tell you where I am.
Me: What's so terrible about using someone else's phone?
And then I get a huff and a shrug as though he were twelve and I'm just an out-of-touch mom for goodness sake: You just don't get it, Mom.
For the record, we don't know any eight-year-olds who have their own phones. I honestly think he was just being practical. And lazy: that additional step of asking to use a phone can be a bit troublesome, I guess. He seemed genuinely surprised when I told him that phones cost money. Yes, I think it'll have to wait until he finds steady employment. Poor kid.
This school has not been closed, but our scheduled has been lax and abbreviated. Not that my kids can't make 20% less work take 20% longer to do.
My neighbor just called about something and then asked me how I was making out with house-bound kids and all. We got off on a tangent about the weather conditions under which we went to school back in the day and laughed over how we sounded just like our parents. I realized after she hung up that she was struggling a bit to maintain sanity under adverse conditions: two
The problem I've found with many systems has been the need to regularly file things. That just doesn't work for me. Instead, my systems allows me to pile things.
My system might be considered more dynamic than most. Using normal filing systems, you might expect to take a document, put it in the appropriate file and then leave it there. Such a system generally eliminates searching for a necessary receipt or tax form. But gone too is all that fun. Life, in my opinion, needs a little hair-pulling, frenetic adventure every now and then.
Instead of carefully placing each and every piece of paper neatly in a clearly marked file or folder (a somewhat time-consuming chore), I merely pile everything I consider worth keeping in my in-bin on my desk. Over the years, I have whittled down the papers I consider necessary to keep. Most things are on-line and in electronic format. Unless there is a questionable charge, there is no need to retain last month's cell phone bill...let alone last year's. Nonetheless, within three or four months, that in-bin manages to be quite full. Thank goodness I homeschool or the additional proliferation of forms and calendars and notices sent home by an institution might be overwhelming.
If I need to find a document, it may take me several minutes to sift through the stack. A traditional filing system may offer immediate gratification in this area but at the expense of several minutes of filing every week. Since I only need to search this pile once or twice a month, I estimate that in time-cost, my system is at worst on par and more likely superior to a traditional system.
Once this pile gets too high for the limited space on my desk top (perhaps quarterly), I will spend about 15 minutes sorting through it. Interestingly, at least three-quarters of that stack will go into the garbage can or recycling bin. The remainder will be relocated to another pile on top of my portable, important-paper keeper. This small filing bin with a carry-handle contains birth certificates, immunizations records, leases and mortgage info, insurance papers, and one or two Mass cards because you never know when you may need one. If the house were on fire, I wouldn't remember to take it, but I like to pretend that I would.
The portable filing bin is right next to two filing boxes which contain less urgent things. The vast bulk of these files are Bill's. And they are very important and can never be thrown out. I stay away from them. The rest are things like tax returns dating to 1987, because some day it just might be really important to prove I made $1500 working at McDonald's when I was in high school.
Note that those papers I moved were not placed inside any of these storage containers. Remember, my system primarily makes use of piling not filing. I will add to this second pile throughout the year as I purge my desk pile. And then generally about once a year, generally about this time once a year as I need to assemble tax documents, I will decide it's time to tackle that pile on the filing bin. And once more I will note with amazement that at least three-quarters of this already purged pile will make it's way to the recycling bin. Once I go through that stack, it's time to put the documents away. But in so doing, I will look at the filed documents that are now about a year old (or older) and will reconsider their value. Quite a bit of them get tossed out too.
This is the one part of my filing system where, perhaps, a traditional system saves time and energy and hair-pulling. This part of my filing system may be an all-day thing. In fact, I started yesterday and, due to multiple interruptions, will have to continue the process today. But in the end, I have the satisfaction of a clean desk and the relief that comes with shedding unwanted clutter pounds. Now, if only I could get Bill to go through his stuff...
Thursday, February 15, 2007
What are your favorite top ten romantic movies?
I'm recently coming to the conclusion that 99% of the time, I watch a movie and immediately put it out of my mind. This is the only way to explain how I can scan my rental history at Netflix and only vaguely recall half the movies listed there. And romance movies are not a genre I typically aim to watch. There is only so much suffering to which I want to subject my husband. So, here's what I came up with:
1. 50 First Dates
2. It Happened One Night
3. Groundhog Day
5. The Notebook
6. The Sound of Music
7. The Princess Bride
8. The Age of Innocence
OK, that's the best I can do. They are in no particular order, but those last three are movies I would actually watch over and over again. #6 and #7 I have actually watched over and over again, because I own them (a rarity for me). #8 I saw only once in the theater, but I absolutely LOVED it. I read and loved the book first (see below), and thought Scorsese did an excellent job making it a movie.
What are your top five favorite romantic books (fiction or non-fiction)?
Again, I'm pretty good at forgetting books I read. Unlike movies, I will re-read books and it's more fun if you forget the ending, don't you think? Also, again, romance is not my favorite genre, so the pickings are slim.
1. All of Jane Austin's books. I have a three-volume collection of her six novels. I loved them all. But I will confuse one from another, so I won't even try to distinguish which I liked best. In my free time, I will re-read them, and I'll let you know my favorite then.
2. Much Ado About Nothing. OK, this is a Shakespearean play, but I'm including it here, since there isn't a category for this form of literature. Shakespeare's comedies were all great romances, and I prefer them to the tragedies like Othello and Romeo and Juliet. Even in my most angst-ridden teen days, I just didn't get the whole suicide thing.
3. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.
I'm sure if I spent another hour here at the computer, I could come up with more. But this will have to do.
If money were no object, where (on earth) would you like to spend your Valentine's Day and how would you spend it? In other words, what is your idea of a perfect Valentine's Day date?
I'd say Rothenburg ob der Tauber which is a small medieval village in Germany...but not in February. I'd rather be someplace warm. Maybe Cozumel? I've never been to Mexico, but I'd like to check it out.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
I know I give you such grief sometimes and run you ragged with my whining and complaining about your hours, your weekends away, your constantly buzzing Blackberry. Please realize that it is not so much that I need a break and lament you not being here to pitch in and help with taking the kids hither and dither or to allow me to go to the grocery store in peace but rather that I just really miss you. I could have you home all the time. I would put you to work, but I would enjoy your company too. And I know that you would be here too, if you could. I do appreciate the work you do for us, for me, in trying to give us a wonderful life. I am thankful that you don't dawdle at work or find distractions to keep you from home a minute longer than necessary. I love that you call me the minute you leave the office to tell me you are on the way, and that you would talk to me the entire drive if I didn't brush you off with having to attend to something else, although never something more important.
I know that I fail you and don't often have a hot meal, a clean home and cheerful children ready to great you when you come in the door. Instead you find a tired wife, cold food in the fridge, and children madly tearing through the house. You are even left to forage for clean laundry, sometimes only to discover there is none to be found. And you manage, uncomplaining, to make do with whatever you have. Thank you.
And thank you for supporting me, encouraging me, and challenging me. I am blessed to have found a man smart enough to keep me on my toes, strong enough to keep me going, and brave enough to dare me to be the best I can be. And through it all you make me laugh.
Life with you is a slice of Eden. Happy Valentine's Day.
German authorities have basically kidnapped a 15 year old girl, because her parents violated the law by homeschooling her. The worst part is the charge made by her father that the local papers aren't covering the story because "It is about a personal affair that is not of public interest." Gosh, that infuriates me.
I suppose that Jewish family that was "detained" in 1932 didn't interest the public either. Nor that other Jewish family, or that Christian family that hid them...
It also wasn't a public issue when authorities came knocking on someone's door and took away their mentally handicapped relative. Just a personal, private affair. Not my business, not yours. Keep it out of the papers, mind your own business.
You would think that the Germans would have learned that lesson long ago. Oh, no. The law is the law - right or wrong. And violators of the law, even an unjust law, deserve punishment. That is the German mentality, witnessed first-hand by me. Thank goodness I live in a country where enough people think the laws (at least traffic laws!) are somewhat optional. And thank goodness there is usually some media outlet for every outrageous governmental decision.
St. Cyril is responsible for the Cyrillic alphabet. I'm not really sure if we should thank him for that. Once in the very early 90s, I happened to be traveling with a German, a Brazilian and a Slovak (this sounds like the beginning of a really bad joke, huh?). We were heading for Prague and stopped at a rest stop sort of place. We were hungry. We opened the menus. Three of us almost immediately closed them and turned to our Slovak friend and asked her to order for us (I do NOT recommend Haluski). There was no way that we could make any sense of what sort of food was even offered. I mean, I don't speak French, but I know some words like poulet. Find that word, point it out to the waiter as what you want, how bad could it be? But on that menu, pointing to things on the menu might have brought me a glass of water or "the tongue of a castrated bull" as one man once described the food on the table in another country at a different time. No thanks.
If only my sister lived nearby. I'd have her trudge over through the snow and ice on the streets. She'd have to bring her kids, too, since schools are closed today, and we could all sit down and learn a few letters of the Cyrillic alphabet. Barbara studied Russian, and I'm sure is right now grinding her teeth at my dispraising of her favorite subject!
Morning prayers in the Magnificat included prayers for the Slavic peoples. Amen to that. Sts. Cyril and Methodius recruited locals as clergy and established a Cyrillic liturgy despite opposition from those troublesome Germans. Thanks, guys, for laying the foundation for my ancestors.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
...O-kaaay...he's so essential that he needs to risk life and limb to get there? Hmmm.
Notably absent from the list were all the truly important personnel: the ones with more gold on their uniforms than I have in my wedding band. My guess is that the "essential" personnel list is really an "expendable-essential" list: those personnel who's job is important, but who we can always replace. The "essential-essential" personnel need to stay home where it's safe, which makes sense - interest of national security, blah blah blah.
As he headed out this morning, looking so fine in his blue uniform, only a bit of drizzle was falling, and now some white stuff is mixed in. The roads are probably slippery...and I forgot to remind him that bridges freeze before roads. With all the construction around here, those yellow signs are not as predominant as they should be! And if I don't do my "drive-safely" routine, he might forget, right? Not too much snow is expected, but worse is the predicted half inch of ice from freezing rain beginning this afternoon. God, keep the amateurs home and give decision-makers the clear-sightedness to close shop before it gets too ugly! I'm sure everyone out there is "essential" to somebody else.
Monday, February 12, 2007
He had a word list, which he breezed through with ease (oh, I love teaching this kid to read).
He had riddles: A fruit used in pies? Cherry! A place where we worship God? Church! Jesus said, "Let the little (blank) come to me"? ??
He was a bit stumped. I pointed to his word list to offer some assistance. He thought I pointed to one word, when I pointed to another. "Chicken?"
"Let the little chickens come to me? Billy, does that make sense?"
They've been clucking around here ever since. Yes, I suppose the Lord loved the little chickens, too.
Except for those awful adolescent and teen years when Valentine's Day pointed out who had a boyfriend and who did not (I being in the latter category generally), this saint's feast was never a big deal to me. My parents were (and are) affectionate and hugs, kisses and "I love you"s were (and are) commonplace. I don't recall them doing anything extra like going out to dinner, and certainly my dad never got my mom an extravagant gift.
By February of my freshman year of college, I was dating my husband, and we had precious little spare cash. A card, a carnation
Once we left the insular college life, we were bombarded with commercials and co-workers who tried to define for us what a true expression of love constituted. Frankly, I was repulsed. I saw a complete disconnect between what had been a commemoration of a saint's martyrdom and what had become a Hallmark holiday. It's not that I was offended from a religious perspective (at that time of my life, religion was not particularly important to me, and I doubt I even knew the history of the two St. Valentines), it was more that rampant consumerism, instead of inspiring competitiveness with the Joneses, made me want to throw out the TV and live in a cave. We were struggling with student loans and paying for the rent; we could not live that life, and I didn't want to live that life. I didn't want to be poor, either, of course. By the time our finances were such that we could afford a dozen red roses, my anti-Valentine's Day resolve was ingrained to the point that I would accept flowers on any day of the year except February 14th.
I'm not quite that bad now. Bill can buy me flowers or not. It doesn't matter much to me what he does, although our FRG is selling flowers on Wednesday as a fundraiser. I suggested that he buy some for our daughters who always get all giggly and excited whenever Daddy sends Mommy flowers, which he does occasionally do for no reason other than because he loves me. I think if he failed to acknowledge the day with a minimal expression of his love such as a card or some special chocolates, I would be a little disappointed. But he knows he doesn't need to be scouring the diamond district for a good deal on a bracelet or earrings or whatever.
He was also very confused when I told him my plans to make this cake for his office on Wednesday. I told him it was a bribe cake. My hope is that all those good feelings that scientists say occur in the body when it eats chocolate will inspire everyone to go home at a decent hour, or at least send my husband home in time to eat a second cake I'm making for our family. He had to think for a bit...what is Wednesday? Why is my wife making a cake Wednesday? Why would my wife want me home for dinner on Wednesday? Oh, Wednesday is Valentine's Day! OK, got that...now, why is my wife making a cake on Wednesday? She's not a big Valentine's Day person...??? I told him that if making a cake is what is took to get him home mid-week...finally, he gets it. "Oh, you want them to think you're like most women!" With a faux teary expression I say, "That's right, honey. If you're not here on Valentine's Day, I will be so upset. Of all the days of the year, can't you come home and have dinner on that extra special day with your family? Don't you love me? Love us?"
I sincerely doubt this ploy will do much to affect my husband's schedule. The snow and freezing rain we're expecting on Tuesday and Wednesday might, though! Perhaps God's gift to hard-working husbands and their families this year may be weather foul enough to close the roads. And when ice knocks down power-lines, what could be more romantic than snuggling under blankets in a candle-lit room drinking hot cocoa from water boiled on our propane grill?
Friday, February 09, 2007
"Help IS on the way, right?" I asked as we passed. I have AAA and would gladly have called and waited with her for them to come and rescue the baby. "Oh, yes," she said. Good. I like to perform good deeds and all, but my kids were at a friend's house and delaying my return by an hour would have been inconvenient. Not that my friend would have minded, of course. "What? You stopped to help some stranger with a baby locked in a car and made me feed your kids lunch? How dare you!" No, said friend would have done the same thing.
Fritz and I buckled up, but I just had to drive by the woman and roll my window down. "I've done the same thing," I reassured her. "More than once!" She was visibly relieved. "Oh! I was starting to think I was the only one!" I smiled, waved and drove off. Nope. You're not the only one, honey. Been there, done that.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
But the thread did recall a most amusing argument that occurred over two years ago between Billy (then age 4) and Katie (then age 3). We were on a road trip which meant that my tolerance for such bickering would normally be very low. We had stopped at a gas station so Fritz could use the toilet. Katie started talking about one of the buildings nearby and referred to it, incorrectly, as a "house." Billy told her it was a "store." Back and forth they went: "HOUSE!" "STORE!" "HOUSE!" "STORE!" When Bill and Fritz returned to the car, he opened his mouth to silence it, but I stopped him - motioning that he should just listen.
Billy brought Fritz up to speed on the "discussion," and so he began to assist Billy with convincing Katie it was really a store and not a house. They used logic, pointing out that people didn't live there, it was a building wherein things were sold. They tried a forceful argument - shouting as loudly as they could. Thank goodness they were little and tightly buckled in or things might have come to blows.
Katie, even though she was only three, was not ignorant. She had realized early on that it really was a store. But she was apparently too proud to admit her mistake to her older brothers. She stuck with "house". After a bit more, she realized she had both brothers in quite a snit, and kept arguing just for the fun of it. I know this to be true, because eventually the discussion went something like this:
"Katie, it's a STORE...say, STORE."
"Come on, Katie, say ST-OOORRRRE."
"No, Katie, STORE."
"Try harder, Katie, STORE."
My husband spoke up from the driver's seat. "What can't you say, Katie?"
I don't know who laughed louder: Bill and I or the boys who couldn't believe that Dad could trick her so easily. They tried to do the same thing, but she went back to her "st-house" routine. "Do it again, Dad," they cried, and he might have done it. But since they now realized it was not an educational oversight that had her convinced a store was a house but rather that their little sister had managed to get them all worked up for her own amusement, the talk in the car quickly turned to other things like how much farther, what time is it, and what snacks do we have.
My initial instincts had been to squelch the debate from the beginning. After two or three rounds of "HOUSE!-STORE!" I was preparing my lungs for a loud, "CUT IT OUT!" I'm glad I was able to restrain myself (and Bill), because two years later the scene remains at the top of our funny road trip conversations.
I also understand now how my mom seemed to be "car-deaf" when we were kids. Smart moms go out and get one of those magic, invisible, sound-wave repulsers and install it between the front seats and the rear of the vehicle!
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Except King George and the Ducky...yeah, an adult will know it's about King David and Bathsheba. But if adultery and murder are too much for little kids (and gee, I hope they are!), why even bother trying to tell the story? Surely there are other examples of coveting thy neighbor's goods?
I digress. That is a problem with Veggie Tales, but not the one I intended to address. No, my big complaint is with Rack, Shack, and Benny and Daniel in the Lion's Den. Both stories come from the book of Daniel. My study Bible says that it is debatable whether the book of Daniel is prophetic and written during the Babylonian captivity, or if it was written long after the captivity and is more a recounting of the trials through which God brought His people. Either way, the moral of the story is God Saves. That's a great moral, right? Sure.
Find yourself being thrown into a furnace? No worries! Pit of hungry lions your afternoon's adventure? No problem! If you are good, love God, and pray hard enough, God will save you! On eagle's wings and all that...
Yes, but...what about St. Ignatius of Antioch? Did God not love him? And all those thousands of other Christians who met their fate in the Roman Coliseums? Or the millions persecuted in the past 2000 years?
Or is it that God only saves the Jews? Hey, remember the 1920s, 30s and 40s? Was God not interested in helping His people in Dachau?
The story of Joseph (with that amazing technicolor dreamcoat) is a much better example of God's saving hand. Joseph suffered for years in slavery and in prison before the Divine plan was revealed. Veggie Tales did this story as well - Little Joe - and it's fine. Doesn't quite show the passage of time and kids might think that God works all his miracles all at once, but it's fine. At least, though, you can see that all his trials put him in just the right place at the right time to save God's chosen people.
But Little Joe is overshadowed by Daniel and the three guys at the bunny factory who are saved from certain death by a miracle. And so, when my son, Billy, flips through our Picture Book of Saints to find a story to read and picks St. Ignatius who is depicted surrounded by lions, his little mind fully expects to hear about a miracle, not a martyr. The poor kid was flabbergasted.
I suppose the story of St. Stephen doesn't make for a good, happy-ending tale, eh? No, not if your martyrdom is the end of it all, which, thankfully, it's not. How about the story of St. Paul? Let's show him holding everyone's coats while St. Stephen is stoned to death, then show him blinded on the road to Damascus (en route to persecute more Christians!), and then show him writing half of the New Testament from prison! Hmmm...not too many happy endings in the New Testament. Perhaps that is why the makers of Veggie Tales have stuck mostly with OT stories like Daniel, Joshua, Joseph, and Esther. Let's skip Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah, and Aaron and the golden idol and that messy deal with slaughtering everyone who turned away from God.
It is unfortunate that the reality of this world is usually an unhappy ending...sometimes an unhappy beginning and middle too. We avoid suffering as much as possible, and that is understandable. But kids need to know the truth, too. No, they don't need to get all the gory details or never hear a happy ending. But they need to understand that suffering does not mean that God doesn't love you. They need to know that always God brings good out of misery...you just might not be able to witness the good of your personal misery from an earthly position. So let's see Larry the Cucumber as St. Paul dying a martyr's death! But let's see the spread of Christianity from all of his writings, too.
Yeah, OK, that's ridiculous. I guess I just need to add to my collection of Glory Stories and CCC of America Saints and Heroes DVDs. Would my kids even believe a cartoon tomato could get squashed beyond recovery?
Monday, February 05, 2007
You know the law that says that if you shampoo the smelly rug and the ottoman where your daughter threw up, that someone else in your family is sure to begin vomiting in short order?
I can't stand the smell of my family room, and as soon as everyone is up I plan to get out my Bissel.
I just hope there are no Murphy's cops around to catch me!
Sunday, February 04, 2007
But then Bill found out last week he had to go TDY on Saturday (in addition to the Sunday trip he already had planned). Carnival party - CANCELED.
Since Bill was going to be gone on Sunday, I invited several friends over to watch the Superbowl. Their husbands are deployed, so except for the boys (the oldest would be 12), it would be an estrogen laden event. Brownies, cheesecake, Smirnoff Ice or wine, Cheetos for the kids.
The first thing Katie said to me this morning was that her stomach hurt. She then spent the next two hours writhing in agony. I can not exaggerate her behavior in demonstrating how horrible she felt. She held nothing back. Finally, she began throwing up. She alternated throwing up and writhing for another hour or so, and then just switched to throwing up and sleeping. Mass - CANCELED. Later in the morning, I checked to see when it was on EWTN, but it seems to be on at 9 AM and that's it. At 9 AM I was still undecided how my morning would proceed - hoping that we could go to the late Mass if the vomiting got whatever was upsetting her out of her system.
When it appeared that the vomiting wasn't going to stop anytime soon, I called my friends and explained the situation. I still can't tell if this is an isolated "something I ate disagreed with me" or a virus that is potentially contagious. Superbowl party - CANCELED.
I also called my friend Monica in New Jersey. She and her 4 kids planned to come down to visit me on Monday for 2 days/2 nights. We agreed to have a pow-wow later in the day to see if Katie improved, indicating a possible non-virus upset stomach situation. Since Katie was still occasionally throwing up by 7 PM when Monica called, we decided to hold off for at least 24 hours. Visit from great friends - CANCELED.
I have to believe that this was just not meant to be a social time for me. I don't really know if I got much else accomplished. I did get back to work on my niece's dress - with dubious success. But other than that - hmmm. Holding an uncomfortable and unable-to-be-comforted child for two hours? Praying that my kids won't think that every time Dad is away all someone else has to do is pretend to have a horrible stomach ache and they'll get out of Mass?
Oh well. I'm just hoping that nobody else starts vomiting tomorrow. Or if they do, they have the decency to wait until I've had my morning coffee.
I can't find my seam ripper, and I've had to rip seams all day long over and over again.
The fact that I am seam ripping is bad enough. But I'm working on a crowded dining room table - fighting for space between the Othello game and the school books that weren't picked up from Friday and various personal projects that the kids have their hands in. I'm sitting in Jenny's seat because it's the closest one to the outlet on the wall.
I'm taking a break because I've ripped the same seam more than once, and I just can't sit there anymore. Jenny decides to color. In her seat.
She comes to me, very sorry, because she accidentally colored the dress. Sure enough, green crayon on the white Communion dress. It's on the inside, but I can see it on the reverse.
Anyone? Any ideas? Crayon on white satin? I can't wash it because of the lace. Let me know...I'm the one, over there, with the bruise on the forehead and the dent in the drywall.
"It's a sorry state of affairs when you can feed the squirrels, the doves and pigeons at Lake Eola, but not a hungry guy down on his luck."
Yes, it is.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
One mother who had recently had her daughters given the vaccine was upset. She was completely unaware of issues surrounding it. I wonder how it is that I don't watch the nightly news, read the daily newspaper, or listen to NPR or any talk radio, and I still know about stuff like this. And I wonder how other people can be completely oblivious to it.
I was irritated by the first global email, and this "reply all" was equally annoying. I offered up the 5 seconds it took me to delete it and went about my day. Then several other woman did their "reply all" rants about how vaccinating against cancer is good. Who can really argue against that? Cancer = Bad...No Cancer = Good. Pretty simple, right?
Nevertheless, I felt compelled to do my own "reply all" (surely upsetting everyone, like me, who can't stand having strangers argue in my own personal inbox). I explained that the issue that seemed to be raised in the first email was not the vaccine itself but the government mandate. I explained that HPV is not a public health risk in the way that polio or small pox had been. I am opposed to government involvement in the minutiae of personal lives. Doctors can be forceful enough in
Of course, Merck knows well that doctors will only reach those potential customers whose parents actually bring them to the doctor every so often. There are legions of kids who might miss out on this chance to line Merck's pockets, so Merck feels the need to lobby state congresses. By making it a state law, thousands of kids who might otherwise never have the opportunity to get stuck in the arm will now be ordered to do so.
Unfortunately, you don't even need to lobby the state congress if your buddies are high enough up on the food chain:
By using an executive order that bypassed the Legislature, Republican Gov. Rick Perry — himself a conservative — on Friday avoided such opposition, making Texas the first state to mandate that schoolgirls get vaccinated against the virus.
That's right, one man gets to unilaterally decide what's best for all schoolgirls in Texas. Nice of him, huh? How about nice for him:
Perry has ties to Merck and Women in Government. One of the drug company's three lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, Perry's former chief of staff. His current chief of staff's mother-in-law, Texas Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, is a state director for Women in Government.
The governor also received $6,000 from Merck's political action committee during his re-election campaign.
A top official from Merck's vaccine division sits on Women in Government's business council, and many of the bills around the country have been introduced by members of Women in Government.
Merck is doing an excellent job of mucking the waters of what should be a crystal-clear issue: do we, the people, want laws and executive orders based on what is best for us, or what is best for large corporations? It is one thing to mandate that insurances cover the vaccine. It is one thing to mandate that the state pay for those who have no insurance. It is quite another to mandate that children receive it, especially when the public health is not at risk.
** UPDATE (3/1/07): For all you you have come here via a Google search, I've reiterated my main points in a newer post.
Friday, February 02, 2007
In the photo on the 28th, you may notice a dirty beer glass - a Guinness glass to be exact. Right in front of it is a corkscrew. I was making stew. I used red wine in the broth, and if you look carefully, you may notice the open bottle just peeking out from behind the bread maker to the left of the sink. And among the dirty dishes in the sink on the right is a stainless steel shaker - the kind for mixing drinks. We actually only used it to flatten beer used in the rye crescent roll recipe (that I messed up by forgetting the yeast! We had rye pita chips instead).
I think I'd better stop taking pictures of my sink area. I might start to think I have a drinking problem. Or maybe I should just start taking it straight from the bottle?
And another shot of the girls. I didn't want to make a special trip for fabric, but during my last move, I dumped quite a bit of scraps. I had to think for a minute, and then I remembered this pink material. Somebody did a promo for the National Guard and made sarongs using pink camouflage with NATIONAL GUARD emblazoned all over it. Bill brought two home for the girls and they used them for dress up. I only needed one of them to make both aprons. And what girl wouldn't just die for anything made from pink camouflage? (There's a bit of sarcasm there, just in case you weren't sure.)
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Obviously, I'm continuing my new month's resolutions!
I haven't yet made my to-do lists for tourist attractions to see before we move, but we did go to the Udvar-Hazy Center (Air and Space Museum) and I've scheduled some field trip somewhere next Tuesday, and Mount Vernon is free on the 19th, so we'll probably go there too (I've not yet been in the house).
Organizing closets, going through photos, getting rid of stuff...not yet.
Haven't touched hair dye so far. Resolve breaking down...
Did I really say I was going to potty train the baby ASAP? I think I meant that for next year...
I'm making an effort to run - 54.6 miles in January...not bad since I took a week off when I hurt my back.
Did January's First Friday and have put this Friday's Mass on my calendar.
Despite my whining yesterday, I have been doing some baking. A little more than usual. I did make a pie - pecan pie. I don't like pecan pie, but Bill does. He thought it was good. Visually speaking, it needed work. Practice, practice, practice. As for sewing...the machine has a thin coating of dust...
And one-on-one time with the kids? It's tough. We're squeaking it in, but, interestingly enough, Billy really seems to prefer to include Fritz and the girls want to include each other. Fritz, though, would prefer alone time with Dad (not me)...like 3 hours every day minimum. Yeah, me too, buddy.
And this month? Looking at the above recap, the most guilt comes with the sewing. I promised Billy over a week ago that I would sew on his Bobcat patch for his Cub Scouts uniform...it'd be nice to do that before he gets his Tiger patch this month. I must finish my niece's Communion dress. Bill wants a fabric book cover and all the kids want aprons (they've been reading the Kitchen Madonna's blog, I guess). I've got lots of extra ACU (camouflage) fabric that will do nicely for the book cover and aprons for the boys. And two of Petey's footed PJs have holes in the toes (they are on boy #3 after all!). So this month's resolution is to take care of these sewing projects and to continue to chip away at my goals for the year.
Let's hear it, folks. How are your new year's resolutions coming? What's your resolution for this month?