Friday, July 29, 2005

Which Model of the Church am I?

You scored as Mystical Communion Model. Your model of the church is Mystical Communion, which includes both People of God and Body of Christ. The church is essentially people in union with Christ and the Father through the Holy Spirit. Both lay people and clergy are drawn together in a family of faith. This model can exalt the church beyond what is appropriate, but can be supplemented with other models.
>What is your model of the church? [Dulles]
created with

Yes, this is pretty much on the mark for me.

The Power of Mom

Little Brother is in search of some toy that Neighbor Boy made for him with some Tinker Toys. Those toys used to belong to Neighbor Boy and he enjoys coming over here and constructing things under the guise of playing with Little Brother.
Anyway, Little Brother is pathetically wandering the house trying to find this irreplaceable construction.
"Mom, where's my (insert unintelligible name of toy here)?"
"I don't know."
"But you know where everything is!"
He's only 3, and has already figured out that when you can't find something, Mom's the one to ask.
He thinks I know everything.
The Big Kids know better (or think they do).
I'll enjoy it while it lasts. And I'll get up and help him in his pathetic wanderings until he finds the thing he's looking for.


Today is the feast of St. Martha.
We all know her. Maybe we ARE Martha. I know I have plenty of Martha Moments, and it's not Martha Stewart I'm talking about.
Jesus gently reminded Martha that "Mary has chosen the better part" by worrying less about the dinner and the dishes and more about the happiness of the guests.
Yet Martha showed such faith and trust in Jesus after the death of her brother Lazarus; she professed her faith loud and clear, even in her grief.
My Martha Moments are the kind Martha had in the first story....worrying, anxious, even cranky.
May we all have more of the kind she had after her brother's death....putting her faith where it needed to be.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Which M*A*S*H character am I?

It's an honor, I think....despite the Grape Nehi thing.

Click here to take the M*A*S*H quiz!

DIY--or Don't!

DIY is not always a good thing.
Middle Sister's door and doorknob for her bedroom have been in bad shape for years....actually, since the spring of 2000! 2 years ago we were supposed to have her door replaced when we had a contractor in here doing other work. I bought the new knob, but the guys never did that job (never got paid for that job either). So yesterday I thought I'd change out the knob myself. Yes, the door was a mess but at least the knob would work. How hard could it be?
It took me a couple of HOURS to pry out the old knob which had been badly installed by the previous owner of this house. Then I had to use some wood filler in the giant screw holes. I waited 24 hours for the filler to cure. That was the easy part.
This afternoon I went back to try to install the new knob and discovered that the HOLE is 3/8 inch too small.
I took out the drill. MY drill. I got it as a wedding shower gift, at my request.
Well, the hole is big now.
Really big.
WAY too big for any doorknob.
Middle Sister will get her new door AND knob, and we won't be able to put that off for too long.
I hope that when Himself gets home from camp and sees the hole, he can also see the humor in the situation!
(Or, I could take the door off the hinges now, and get her one of those "beaded curtains" for the door, and we could wait another 5 years to deal with it!)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

An Old Favorite Book

I firmly believe that there are no coincidences.
It must be time to reread this book--as I had thought of it last week, when I ran into someone sharing the name of a main character, on Friday when I found other books by the same author in the back of my bookshelves (I stack my books 2 deep!) and as just this evening I ran into a mention of the book on The Anchoress' blog.
So what's the book?
In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden.
I'll be tearing apart my bookshelves in a few minutes to dig it out. It's GOT to be in there somewhere. I found 2 others of hers just the other could I not still have this one?
Check it out. It will not disappoint.

Why ask why?

Middle Sister and I were listening to the soundtrack from Sister Act on our way home from my parents' house today. (Little Brother was busy with his Game Boy).
We were enjoying ourselves, singing along and quoting our favorite lines from the movie.
Then she wanted to know:
"Why didn't we ever go to visit Reno?"

Monday, July 25, 2005

The guy on the bike

My father is a bicycling enthusiast. He took up the sport 30 years ago after his doctor ordered him to get some exercise. It has kept him thin and young, and despite the installation of a heart pacemaker 22 years ago and its replacement last summer, as well as cancer treatment this past year, he hasn't slowed down much.
Earlier this summer his dream came true: with some friends, he took a cycling trip through Ireland. He has wanted to do that since his first trip there in 1980 when he was forced to see Ireland through the windshield of a rented van rather than from the seat of a bike.
Naturally he has been following the career of Lance Armstrong, also a cancer survivor. He is thrilled when Little Brother sees pictures of Lance in the newspaper and says, "There's Grandpa!"
Lance may have retired after yesterday's decisive victory in the Tour de France, but Grandpa will keep on rolling. He wore his own yellow jersey for his ride yesterday morning, and I'm proud and impressed at his commitment to the sport and his ability to ride 100 miles or more in a typical week.
Great job, Dad! And thanks, Lance, for inspiring even those cyclists who have been at it since you were on training wheels.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Hats off to My One & Only!

Himself has just completed a grueling 2-year graduate MBA program at Villanova University; this while holding down a full-time job, being a husband to me and Daddy to 3 kids, and putting Everything Else in Life on the back burner.
The "final final" has been taken--just last night. All assignments have been turned in. The student parking pass has expired.
Now he is preparing to depart tomorrow morning for a mosquito-filled, non-air-conditioned week at Camp Powhatan Boy Scout Camp with Big Brother and the rest of the Scout troop.
Many dads wouldn't think of spending a week in the woods with a bunch of adolescent boys and no internet connection. Big Brother is lucky that he has a dad who's going to do just that.
I'm really proud of Himself and what he has worked hard to do. It has been a big sacrifice for him. He has missed out on a lot of the fun (and a good bit of the not-so-fun). The kids have missed him and so have I. I think it has taken its toll on his health as well.
I am looking forward to his return from Boy Scout Camp next weekend. It will be wonderful to have him home for dinner every night, with no homework to think about. I'll be encouraging him to eat better, exercise more, and find something spiritual to do just for him--just as he supports my life as a Secular Franciscan. He will get to read Curious George with Little Brother, Winnie-the-Pooh with Middle Sister, and talk about Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings with Big Brother.
In other words, he'll get to be Daddy again. So, to My One & Only, welcome back--and we're proud of you!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

It's a scary world out there

This morning I was on my way to get my driver's license renewed. In New Jersey, the only thing more difficult to do than get one of the new, special, tamper-proof licenses is to find cheap housing. I had to bring my original birth certificate, marriage certificate proving, I guess, that I WILLINGLY took on this wacky unspellable Polish/Lithuanian name, recent bank statement with my name on it, Social Security card, a form, a check for $24, and the fervent hope that I was having a Good Hair Day (for the record, I wasn't).
As I reflected upon the fact that any terrorist can get a New Jersey driver's license with far less documentation than I had to produce today, I turned on the all-news radio station.
More bombs in more London buses and subways.
Luckily for everyone, the kind of carnage that took place 2 weeks ago didn't happen this morning.
I can't even begin to think what to pray for end to terrorism....healing for those injured/bereft by any terrorist attacks.....and a world in which we don't have to live in fear of getting on a bus.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Harry Potter Alter Ego

You scored as .

Ron Weasley


Remus Lupin


Severus Snape


Hermione Granger


Ginny Weasley


Harry Potter


Albus Dumbledore


Sirius Black


Draco Malfoy


Lord Voldemort


Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...?

I'm not fond of the character's name, but Ron Weasly, IIRC from the first few books that I did read, was a pretty good guy. I'll take it!
created with

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Nightstand Meme

I've been memed by Steve
I don't really have a nightstand per se....I used to, but then I discovered that a bookshelf would be SO much more useful! So I moved the nighstand into a far corner. On top of it:
one lamp (broken)
statue of the Infant of Prague, which used to belong to my grandmother and which Middle Sister has requested to take with her to her own home
San Damiano cross
framed embroidered picture of St. Francis of Assisi

On the top shelf of the bookshelf, which is functioning as a nightstand (the rest of the bookshelf is, of course, full of books):
clock radio (alarm is set for 5 AM on days when Himself goes to work)
small wicker basket containing Christian Prayer, thermometer, and a booklet with a reading a day for Lent 2005
remote controls for: TV, VCR and ceiling fan/light
2 novels I haven't started reading yet, and
1 stuffed bulldog that Middle Sister won for me at our church carnival, since she felt sorry for me that I had injured my hand that day.

It seems that so many bloggers have already done this one....I'll toss it over to Jill and Lofted Nest.

Harry's not as compelling as I expected

I am amazed. I thought Big Brother would do nothing else but read this book. He waited for it so long, and by Saturday afternoon he was stalking the mailman, who delivered it 5 minutes before Big Brother had to be at church to be altar server for a wedding. Then we had a party to attend. I expected him to stay up all night Saturday night. But he did not! He was in bed early (for him).
Yesterday he read little if any of the book.
This is highly abnormal. This child would read his way through the day and night if we'd let him--including mealtimes. (There is an ironclad "no reading at dinner" rule at our house, though we're more relaxed about breakfast and lunch).
However, I did read that this book is very "dark" and that someone who had appeared to be a Good Guy really turns out to be bad, in this book.
Maybe he's had enough of that with Star Wars this summer.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Breakfast of Champions

Little Brother came downstairs this morning announcing, "I want ice cream! With butter!"
I talked him into having a yogurt instead.

Later he asked for juice, and Big Brother chose to hand him the more expedient option of Sprite. Then I heard, "Look out! You're gonna spill!"

Whatever happened to pancakes and syrup, with a big glass of milk? (Or in lactose-intolerant Little Brother's case, a sippy cup of water).

Now if there were any COFFEE ice cream in the house, I might reconsider this whole thing.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I never thought I was the type....

Your travel type: Jet Set

A visit to a museum or an art gallery in the morning, an afternoon of shopping, dining out in a good restaurant and some drinks and a little party to end the day, the Jet Set traveller likes a full day.

Although he is quite active he is not the type to do any outdoor sports. When he has to walk a few blocks, he takes a cab. The Jet Set traveler is not much of a nature lover. "You mean the green stuff my parents have in their backyard?"

top destinations:

New York

stay away from:

Ciudad Perdida
Darien Gap
get your own travel profile

....maybe it's just because I've never had the money!
Except for the aversion to walking anywhere, this quiz was pretty much right on. Eat, shop, sightsee, get a good coffee, get a good ice cream....I'm easy to please. Especially if I get to sleep in my own bed at the end of the day.
Hat tip to Happy Catholic for this quiz.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Room-Cleaning Ritual

Where else could I find 5 mittens (2 complete pairs and one oddball) and one "ear wrap" in the heat of July? Oh, and did I mention that the owner of one of those pairs hasn't fit into them for at least 2 winters now?
Where else would I see assorted Magnetix pieces buried among clean tissues still in the box?
Where else might I discover an entire desk-drawerful of crayons in conditions varying from new to broken and naked?
Other odditites:
4 "Box Tops for Education"
3 earring backs (no fronts)
a tiny lip gloss container
3 mismatched Bratz feet
1 plastic stegosaurus
2 Game Boy cartridges
2 spoons (essential utensils for the "Put a spoon under your pillow and there will be a Snow Day tomorrow" tradition practiced by children on the school bus)
4 pairs of school scissors

Yes, all of this--and more can be found on Room-Cleaning Day in Middle Sister's Room!!

To be fair, I cleaned out my own top desk drawer and found no less than 6 wheels from Hess trucks. I know how those got there. They were confiscated from Little Brother's mouth when he was a toddler and had a propensity for teething on Hess trucks.

Yes, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I love her all the more for that.

Toddler Tutoring

From the "Let's Not Let Kids Be Kids" department:
Today's Wall Street Journal features an article on how tutoring centers such as Sylvan and Kumon are now offering tutoring services to children who still drink from sippy cups.
Silly me. I thought that kindergarten was the place for children to learn to write their name, say their ABCs, count to 10 and use scissors.
I certainly don't run for the opportunity to hand scissors to my three-year-old! I'd rather leave that to the experts, thanks. Preschoolers can do amazing things with scissors and, trust me, those things almost never involve paper.
It used to be that reading to your child, maybe coloring a bit, and (if you were a real overachieving parent) using Play-Dough with the child was all that was necessary to prepare your child for school. Oh, and let's not forget potty-training.
Now they're doing algebra in third grade. I am just thankful that I have a teenager in the house who could help Middle Sister with her math homework. It was certainly beyond me.
Maybe I'd better get over to the nearest Sylvan and take a quick calculus class before Little Brother goes to pre-kindergarten....

Monday, July 11, 2005

Rachel posted an interesting article on education and gender differences.

I have to say that through my own observations of my children, friends' children, and children I have taught, this study is right on. So why is it not "PC" to suggest that boys and girls think differently? Wouldn't children be better served if their different tendencies were acknowledged so that their natural strengths could be built upon? Yet there is the danger of demonizing one gender over another, especially when it's a way to get ahead with one's own agenda.

Last night we went to the swim club. Children under 13 who want to swim in The Big Pool have to pass a test and wear an ankle bracelet ("band") that, by color code, shows the lifeguards which sections of the pool the child may access (Slide Only, Low Dive, or High Dive). There's also a rule that a child with a band may not go in The Baby Pool.

Now, that last rule is rather loosely enforced. Generally it's not a problem. Most older kids know that The Baby Pool is largely populated by people in diapers and the "gross factor" deters them. And sometimes primary-grade kids go in there just to take a break and play with the toys. When things get too rough, the lifeguards kick out all the kids with bands.

There were a few Renegade Band-Wearers in The Baby Pool last night, and it got a little rough in there, and a toddler wound up crying. Instead of comforting her toddler, Angry Mama yelled at the lifeguard and every child over 4 in The Baby Pool while her little boy stood next to her in tears. Then she proceeded to tell another mom who immediately had ordered her kindergarten-age daughter over to The Big Pool that "The girls aren't the problem. They can stay in the pool. But the boys should get out."

Big Brother and his friend had just walked over to me to beg for snack money and heard this. Were they hot--and they were justified! "She's giving boys a bad name! It's not only the boys who are too rough in the pool." They're right. Girls can be just as bad. In this case, it was a boy who was the problem....but just wait 5 years until someone accuses Angry Mama's little boy of being too rough in The Baby Pool. Let's see how she likes it.

It wasn't my kid who was treated unjustly last night but my kid felt his pain. I hope he learns from it that you don't judge people just on their appearances or even their gender, and that you don't make blanket statements like that. Maybe just a little extra sensitivity all around would go a long way.

Feast of Saint Benedict

Happy Feast Day to our Pope, and also to another inspiring priest, Father Benedict Groeschel, CFR!

I think the prayer from today's Liturgy speaks volumes on the original St. Benedict as well as his two contemporary namesakes:

God our Father,
you made Saint Benedict and outstanding guide
to teach men how to live in your service.
Grant that by preferring your love to everything else,
we may walk in the way of your commandments.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Please indulge me in a little rant

Since January our front lawn has sported a sign advertising the Catholic grade school our Big Kids attend. It has a picture of the school, the phone number, and the slogan "Keep the Spirit Alive."
Those little metal racks that hold lawn signs are fairly flimsy and earlier this week I saw that our second rack was starting to break. Last night Big Brother mowed the front lawn, taking the sign down in order to do a neater job.
After dinner this evening our neighbors stopped by for a visit. As we all chased a wayward toddler around the corner of my house, I saw MY lawn sign in another neighbor's trash can!
Big Brother feels bad that he hadn't replaced the sign firmly enough.
But it's really not HIS fault.
The neighbors know whose sign it was. We're the only people on the block with one of these. It's been there for 6 months. Even if their landscaper was responsible, those guys park their truck in front of MY house every week, so I'm sure that even they must know whose sign it was.
These neighbors have spoken to us once in the 8 years we've been here, to complain just last winter that my kids threw a few snowballs that hit their house.
OK, now that I'm done with my rant, I guess I will need to do what I know to be the mature and Christian thing to do, and say a prayer for my neighbors. Sometimes it's a little hard to "love thy neighbor." But I guess that's when we need to do it the most.
By the way, I took the sign out of their trash. It's now in my family room window.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

How American Am I?

You Are 85% American
You're as American as red meat and shooting ranges.
Tough and independent, you think big.
You love everything about the US, wrong or right.
And anyone who criticizes your home better not do it in front of you!

H/T to epiphany for this one.

My first meme!

I've been memed by epiphany for this Movie Buff Meme!

She may be sorry. I am SO movie-clueless it's pathetic!

Total Number of Films I Own on DVD/video

Not counting stuff I have taped during "HBO FREE PREVIEWS" 15 years ago, and INCLUDING stuff belonging to my children, about 160.

The Last Film I Bought

The Indiana Jones Trilogy as a Father's Day gift for Himself, at Big Brother's suggestion. He's a smart kid. He knows what his dad likes.

Five Films I Watch A Lot/Mean a Lot to Me

In no particular order:
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (with Gene Wilder). The dark humor, great music, and Oompa-Loompas as the voice of reason. There's so much that goes over the kids' heads. Do I want to see the remake? I'm not sure. But I promised Middle Sister that when she finishes reading the book I'll take her to see it.

The Wizard of Oz. This is the earliest movie I have a memory of. My grandmother had color TV and my parents didn't yet, so when I was 4 or so, and this movie was on TV, my grandmother took me overnight to her house so I could see the Emerald City in all its Technicolor glory. The Wicked Witch still scares me, even though I can tell how cheesy the special effects are. And what kid--or even adult--having a bad day, hasn't wanted to be Dorothy?

The Blues Brothers. How many cars did they wreck to make this movie? It's got a great soundtrack and I can quote half the dialogue. Best lines:
"Don't you blaspheme in HERE!"
"We're on a mission from God."
"We've got BOTH kinds--country AND western!"
"Illinois Nazis! I hate Illinois Nazis!"

Sister Act. I watch it for the "Girl Group" music and their take on "Salve Regina." The soundtrack is my favorite "get off your butt and clean the house" music.

The Birdcage. Himself hates this movie, so when he's not home I watch it and laugh myself silly. This is just a funny, funny movie. My favorite character is Hagador.

I just realized, all but one are musicals!

Pass it on:
Danielle (make that Netflix membership come in handy!)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Cardboard boxes always make the best toys

Little Brother has become fascinated with a "Crayola Kids' Theater" video production of "The Trojan Horse." It's pretty cheesy but ultimately stays fairly true to the epic story.
His dollar-store sword has been pressed into service a lot lately as he reinacts the battles. Then he needed a shield.
A round one. No other shape would do.
I found a big cardboard box that some potato chips had come in (thanks to our neighbor, who passed them along). Using a lid from a large Tupperware container, I traced a big circle and cut it out with the kitchen shears. They work on chicken bones AND corrugated cardboard--who knew?
I figured out how to make a handle for the inside and attached it.
Middle Sister contributed to the project by sketching some designs on the outside of the shield. (The inside has the logo, QUALITY SNACKS.)
Big Brother can't figure out why Middle Sister included a peace sign in the shield design. I think it's because she is a Franciscan at heart.
And is it very Franciscan of me to make shields for my son, and encourage him in his swordplay?
Just remember, Francis started out as an aspiring knight.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Independence Day

I just read yesterday's homily at Fr. JC Maximilian's blog.

Relating to our nation's celebration today:
This weekend as we enjoy the blessings of our family and friends, and we celebrate loudly the freedom that we enjoy in this great country of ours, let us also become more filled with the joy of the gift of our Salvation. The freedoms we celebrate in our country, as tremendous as they are, only pale in comparison to the freedom from sin and death that Jesus won for us on the Cross. Jesus has won for us an everlasting freedom; He has given us eternal life. So come on, give me a “PRAISE THE LORD!”

Amen to that! Happy Birthday, America! And PRAISE THE LORD!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Please keep a fellow blogger in your prayers

Carol at An American Housewife has suffered the loss of her husband earlier this week. Please do keep her and her family in prayer during this time. Also, condolence notes may be left at her blog, so that she will know the strength of our prayers.
Thank you to epiphany and to Julie for the heads-up.

You're My Buddy

Little Brother has this way of disarming me just when he is at his most exasperating and I am at my most impatient.
Yesterday as soon as I turned off the water from my shower, he asked,
"Mom, are you done?"
"Are you done?"
Yes. I'll be out as soon as I get dressed.
"Are you done in the shower?"
Yes. I'm getting dresssed.
This went on until I was dressed and opened the bathroom door.
"Mom, YOU'RE MY BUDDY." This was accompanied by the World's Biggest Hug.
Who said cuteness isn't a survival skill?