Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Yet Another Reason

...why TheDad is officially an Awesome Guy.

I am just not in the mood to cook anything today. Never mind the fact that my eyes are filling up with tears at irregular intervals, and chopping things for the planned lo mein dinner would probably not be a good idea. I don't want to amputate any fingers....

But all I had to do was ask and he said, no problem--you don't have to cook.

I did iron today, and do laundry, and I got some "absolutely necessary" errands in--like making sure we had some stuff in the house so there would be lunches for the kids tomorrow. But I just did not get to anything else, and I'm thankful that TheDad is understanding about that.

I just feel like I am walking around in this weird state; I can go along for a few minutes just fine and then it occurs to me, oh yeah, my dad has cancer and he's not going to have it taken care of for 2 1/2 more months.

I think tomorrow I am going to start the day with some caffeinated coffee and throw myself into something big like cleaning out the garage.

Guess I'll Take That as a Compliment

I wouldn't want to be the president anyway.

Your result for The Presidential Capacity Test...

Religious Adviser to the President

79% Values, 53% Charisma and 47% Judgment!

How would YOU do on the Presidential Capacity Test?

Prayer request

I had a ton on my agenda today, but it's not looking like a lot of it is gonna happen.

I just got some bad news. My dad got the results of a cat scan yesterday, and there is a 90% chance that he has kidney cancer.

It's not putting my mind at ease any that he has decided to defer the needed surgery until mid-December because he insists on completing the semester at the business college where he teaches.

I want him to have the surgery tomorrow.

Needless to say I am very upset. So I have given myself permission to clear the agenda today. I'm leaving now, to go to Mass. Anything else may go by the wayside.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Time's Almost Up!

Have you preordered your copies of Donna Marie Cooper O'Boyle's 2 new books?

She's even sweetened the pot here: they'll be autographed! (How cool is that?)

Preorders for The Domestic Church: Room by Room and Grace Cafe will be accepted until Sept. 30.

Donna Marie's books are wonderful, thought-provoking, and encouraging to moms--no matter how old their children are. I'm sure these two new books will be no different. I'm looking forward to mine.

Take a Moment--Take a Stand

Today you have the opportunity to let your voice be heard on the issue of Healthcare Providers' Conscience Rights: that is, the right of healthcare providers to refuse training and practicing procedures such as abortion or emergency contraception that violate their religious or moral beliefs.

Denise, the Catholic Matriarch in My Domestic Church and a medical doctor herself, has details on how you can contact HHS on behalf of healthcare providers in the USA.

An email takes less than 5 minutes. Take the time.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

Little Brother and I were in the car on our way to pick up Big Brother after stage crew. We were listening to the radio, which was playing a classic rock song.

"Is this the Guitar Hero station?" he wanted to know.

"Yes," I told him.

"Can you put on the New Britain station?"

For a minute I thought that maybe XM was changing their lineup again: they've got all-Kenny Chesney, all the time, and all-Metallica, all the time...so I asked him what they play on the New Britain Station.

"You know, Amazing Grace," he responded.

I was completely shocked. "How do you know that Amazing Grace is New Britain?"

"It was in the church book," he informed me, like I should know this already. "I look it up every week. Amazing Grace is my favorite." (He learned it at Vacation Bible School this summer).

If XM had a New Britain station, Little Brother would listen. So would I, for that matter.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Things That Can Be Stopped by the "Mom Glare"

I've worked a long time to perfect the "Mom Glare:" that way of looking at your children that says to them, "If you don't cut that out right now you'll be grounded until you're 45" without saying a single word.

And fortunately the Mom Glare works when my older children make plans like this:

"I bet that if we sit directly across from each other and use our forks as catapults, we could shoot dumplings right into each other's bowls."

But it's going to be a long time before I make chicken and dumplings for dinner again.

Thanks for Prayers! Keep Them Coming!

Thank you for your prayers. Pop's surgery went well, although it was 5 hours behind schedule. TheDad said that they will get to see him a little later, but he will be kept asleep until tomorrow morning. The doctor said that everything looks good, so we are thankful for that!

Your prayers are appreciated. Please keep them coming during his recovery.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Not Specific Enough

This is what happens when you tell Little Brother and Adventure Boy to pick up the toys they have scattered around the yard, and put them in the screened porch. But you forget to tell them to put them in the basket on the screened porch.

They did what I told them to do, after all...

Prayer Request

TheDad has headed up to "Refineryville" where my in-laws live. Tomorrow morning, early, he will take Pop to the hospital for an aortic valve replacement.

Everyone is nervous. This is a Big Deal. And recovery will be a Big Deal.

I'm holding down the fort here at home, and I'll be making and freezing some individual servings of healthy meals for him to bring up on subsequent trips. Today he took along 2 portions of Chicken Parmesan with pasta. This way, there will be something available for his mom and cousin when they get home from visiting Pop in the hospital.

During Pop's recovery, TheDad plans to spend a couple of nights a week with his parents so he can help with the heavy chores. I'm glad that he is able to do this for his parents. Little Brother will not be so understanding.

Please keep Pop in your prayers in the coming weeks--but especially tomorrow. And don't forget a spare prayer for the rest of us who worry about him!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Because the Least I Can Do Is Tell YOU About It

If this pharmacy were in my neighborhood, I'd shop there in a minute.

Mike Koelzer
is a pharmacist who has chosen to stop selling birth-control pills in his family-owned pharmacy, because of the abortifacient qualities of these pills.

But check out this press release from American Life League on what this man has to put up with because of his choice on how to run his business!

Washington, D.C. (18 September 2008) – P.Z. Myers, the infamous Minnesota biology professor who incited national outcry after desecrating the Eucharist and photographing the act for his blog, has now unleashed his venom on a new target - Mike Koelzer, a member of American Life League Associate group Pharmacists for Life International.

"Not content with desecrating Catholics' most sacred Sacrament, Myers is once again spewing hate and anger at anyone who would dare proclaim a belief in God or attempt to stop the murder of the preborn," said Judie Brown, president of American Life League.

Koelzer, owner of Kay Pharmacy in Grand Rapids, Michigan, stopped selling contraceptive products in 2002. He's been featured in The Washington Post and on ABC World News for his views on abortion-causing drugs.

Myers' latest screed of religious intolerance on his blog Pharyngula incited an all-out internet attack against Koelzer. Threats and hate mail inundated Koelzer's e-mail after he inadvertently sent Myers a speaking invitation.

"I would enjoy speaking at your church or your organization's conference or other event. I also would be honored to have you share my apostolate in your blog etc. To learn more about my apostolate, please see www.prolifepharmacy.com," Koelzer's invitation read.

An outraged Myers asked his blog readers to flood Koelzer's Web site with mail. They replied en masse with over 400 threats of profanity and hate-filled messages including:

"Burn the building to the ground. And have Mike Koelzer sterilized."

"Commit suicide."

"Mike Koelzer is being persecuted for trying to protect innocent human life," Brown said. "We encourage all American Life League supporters to log onto this site and lend your support to the efforts of this courageous man."

American Life League was cofounded in 1979 by Judie Brown. It is the largest grassroots Catholic pro-life organization in the United States and is committed to the protection of all innocent human beings from the moment of creation to natural death.

Pharyngula: He Doesn't Know Me Very Well (15 September 2008)

Pharmacists for Life International

Catholic News Agency: Pro-Life Pharmacy Owner Explains Hi No-Contraception Policy (15 September 2008)

The Washington Times: Professor Solicits Hosts to Desecrate (12 July 2008)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New to the Blogroll

New to my blogroll is More Moms for McCain.

From their sidebar:
**We want a future for our children that is full of goodness and hope.

**We want a tomorrow full of opportunity for them.

**We want a country that stresses both individualism and community--a place where people reach out in kindness to help, but also encourage one another in self-sufficiency.

**We want safety, security and a country with a CULTURE OF LIFE.

**We want freedom to worship our God without ridicule.

**We want minimal government intrusion and the LIBERTY to PURSUE HAPPINESS.

**We want to keep what we work so hard to earn.

**We want to be partners in rebuilding the America our forefathers envisioned.


This blog is packed with news and links and commentary. Add it to YOUR blogroll/RSS feed.

3-Ply TP: Not for Me

I don't quite fit the demographic, and I can't say that this is a product I'd buy.

Triple-ply toilet paper?

The article linked above says they're marketing this to over-45 women (I'm close, but not there YET) who view their bathroom as a "sanctuary for quality time."

I'm still teaching some people in this house that one doesn't barge in when the bathroom door is closed. My bathroom hasn't hit the level of "sanctuary" yet. And there's the small matter of that Army Guy standing guard over the sink (maybe I'll make a tiny little sign to hang on his rifle: USE SOAP! If I do, I WILL post a picture!)

Can you imagine with 3-ply TP would do to those low-flush toilets? Already they have to be flushed twice (or more), canceling out any "water savings" they claim to have.

I think their target market is not over-45 women, but plumbers who will be laughing all the way to the bank with all the unclogging work that will come their way after this stuff hits the store shelves.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Help! I'm Nag-Impaired!

Big Brother's high school uses this convenient online service that allows parents to spy on their kids' grades keep a check on their children's academic progress.

It's a nice idea, because a parent can check out test grades, homework completion, and participation.

It's a nice idea when the site works.

We're two weeks into the school year and I can't access any data on my son's progress for this year. According to the website, there have been no assignments or tests to date.

Today I contacted the school's tech support person and explained the problem, and I got this reply:

We apologize for the inconvenience; however, we are awaiting a necessary update which needs to be done by the Diocese in order for ParentConnect to work for this year. Please be patient while we work with the Diocese to get this done. Thank you.

Did the Diocese not realize that school started 2 weeks ago? Whose idea was it to wait until school started to make sure things were updated?

If the site doesn't do what it's designed to do, I have to assume that all homework is being done and all tests have been preceded by proper study. I need this site--it helps me nag!

Things Parents Say (when they live in my house): a retrospective

  • Who left their gum at the Nativity scene?
  • If you go around hitting people with your T-shirt, don't complain when it gets ripped.
  • Pouring your glass of milk down the toilet does not constitute Drinking The Milk!
  • You may not hang your robe from your ceiling!
  • Little Brother, don't walk on chairs that have place mats on them!
  • Do not dribble the basketball on your sister's head.
  • You may not do damage to anyone else's eyebrows.
  • You may not use silverware to clean your sneakers.
  • Don't braid your earrings.
  • Stop tickling your brother's soda cup!
  • Candy corn is NOT a vegetable!
  • HEY! Get this hockey stick off the organ!
  • Paper dolls and Koosh balls don't mix.
Brought to you by the mom with the Paratrooper in the Candlesticks and the Army Guy guarding the bathroom sink.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


That's where I'll be spending a good deal of time this week.

TheDad has determined that his at-home computer work requires a better place to concentrate than the Dining Room Table.

Not to mention that I keep kicking all his stuff out of there every time we want to eat. Which we do fairly regularly....

We've got a semi-finished basement with a bedroom/office space in the "finished" section. It's about a 12X12 space. Right now it is chock full of bins of clothing for Little Brother to grow into (one bin each for sizes 8 through 14), a whole bunch of Little Brother's old toys, lots of craft supplies that Middle Sister enjoys rummaging through, 2 bookcases of TheDad's computer books and the overflow of my literature books, and miscellaneous camping gear. Then there are the 2 defunct printers, the 1/2 case of printer paper and the paper shredder....this room is not an office. It's a dump!

Except for what I refer to as the "Technology Graveyard," there's no good reason I can't deal with most of what's down there. So I'll be busy cleaning and hauling and offering things on freecycle and throwing out and reorganizing and repurposing--and I hope that pretty soon I will have made a nice office space for TheDad.

I think the printer paper and the paper shredder can stay. Anything else is fair game.

The Stigmata of St. Francis

Father Daren at Servant and Steward has a beautiful post on the Stigmata of St. Francis, including a reading from his biographer, Thomas of Celano, and some art depicting the event.

If you're interested in learning more about Francis, read here.

And don't miss a beautiful prayer of St. Anthony!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Prayer Requests

On my heart today:

My father-in-law, who needs heart valve replacement surgery, and who is NOT going to like the recovery...he will not be able to go out each day and get his coffee and his paper and chat with the other retired guys and roam Home Depot...may he be restored to his full health so he can get back to his regular routine and return to building computers for his friends.

SFO Girl's daughter N, who should be released from the hospital today. I pray that a donor kidney will be found soon so that her time on dialysis will be short. I also keep her family, especially her sisters, in prayer at this time.

Barbara's dear friend Jill.

All those in the path of Hurricane Ike, including Milehimama and some members of Denise's family. Donna Marie Cooper-O'Boyle has a prayer for those in the hurricane's path.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


OK, it's not much. But I'm happy with it.

This morning I made a "Stuff-Mart" run to pick up some over-the-counter medicines, TheDad's "Chick Coffee" (this chick won't touch that stuff, but he loves it, so I graciously buy it for him, even though the checkout lady probably thinks I'm the one addicted to it...) and a new mop head.

I hate changing mop heads. Ewwwww.

Anyway, when I was rummaging around in the mops I found this really cool Libman Scrub-Brush-On-A-Stick. Let me be the first to say that this thing is a GENIUS idea. My kitchen floor (which is white--somebody smack me if I ever choose that color for a floor again) was bordering on the disgusting, so I knew that this scrubber was for me. Definitely worth $6.

So I took my new Scrub-Brush-On-A-Stick and a bucket of Lestoil and got to scrubbing. Then I took my old mop and another bucket of water so I could rinse as I go. I scrubbed and scrubbed. Scrubbing is a really good workout, I might add.

If Lestoil didn't smell so strong, it wouldn't work so good. (Can you sing that commercial jingle, too?) Well, it sure does smell; I'm glad the windows are open--but my floor is so clean. So shiny.

They are guaranteed to stay that way at least one more hour, until the school bus gets here. All bets are off after that.

So I think I have earned the opportunity to make myself a nice cup of coffee and put my feet up and read until that school bus arrives. And then I will greet everyone and force them to admire my nice shiny clean floor.

And then I won't let anyone in the kitchen, so no one can spill. Yeah, that'll work...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Stuff I Don't Do

Every mom has an unwritten list of stuff she doesn't "do" and I am no exception.

Danielle and Aimee have crossed over to the other side graciously written out their lists so every other mom will feel that she is not alone.

So...I will hereby demonstrate just how much of a Slacker Mom I really am.

I don't do window screens. I can't figure out how to get them out of the windows, which I admit I don't wash too frequently either.

I don't clean things that are higher than my head. I'm 5'2". A lot of things are higher than my head. I just chuck stuff up there and pretend it's invisible.

I don't do "outside." Inside the house is generally my domain.

I don't do insects. That's what TheDad is for; if he's not around, I can generally count on Adventure Boy!

I don't dust if I can at all help it. Lucky for me, Middle Sister likes to dust. When I was growing up, my sister had very bad asthma, and it seems like Mom was ALWAYS making me dust. I figure I've done enough dusting for one lifetime.

I don't vacuum behind furniture, except in the family room. If we ever move, I shudder to think of the size of the dust bunnies that must be living back there.

(I do iron, though. But not the kids' uniforms, once I discovered what they do with them in between the time I iron the clothes and the kids put them on.)

Monday, September 08, 2008

A Message to Obama

A HUGE "thank you" to Milehimama, who created this poster and has generously shared it.

In my house, we vote PRO-LIFE!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Common Sense

Via Colleen Hammond, I came across this column on personal responsiblity.

As Justice Casey Percell said, “It is not the responsibility of the government or the legal system to protect a citizen from himself.“ You made a poor choice, take your lumps and move on.

So true! Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A Book Meme

How could I resist? I love books!

I was tagged by Esther for this meme. Obviously she knows that books are my weakness!

Do you remember how you developed a love for reading?

There were always books around when I was growing up. Mom has always been an avid reader, and she took us to the library often. We loved attending "Story Hour" even when the librarian read The Story of Ping week after week after week after week.

What are some books you read as a child?

When we were preschoolers, Dad worked for Putnam publishing and got a lot of "seconds" (books sewn into their binding upside-down, or otherwise defective but usable books.) Some of these became favorites of mine, including anything by Wanda Gag (I love her artwork to this day) and Andrew Henry's Meadow, which my parents actually hid so they wouldn't have to read it to me anymore. When I learned to read, I branched out into series like the Bobbsey Twins, the Little House series, the Betsy-Tacy books, the Tuckers, Cherry Ames and a few Nancy Drew, though I wasn't a big fan of hers. And I loved Beverly Cleary and Pearl S. Buck's children's books.

What is your favorite genre?

For fiction, I love novels (not short stories) that take place in a locale familiar to me. For nonfiction, I enjoy cookbooks and books that deal in some way with human behavior (such as books involving marketing).

Do you have a favorite novel?

Oh yes. Just anyone who visits my blog regularly....okay...A Tree Grows in Brookyn by Betty Smith.
(I didn't even have to change this from Esther's answer! Obviously we share the same great taste in books. I discovered this book when I was about 12 and reread it regularly.)

Where do you usually read?

Anywhere I can. I have a comfy spot on the couch right near my desk, with a good lamp and a table for my coffee cup. There are about 15 books stacked there right now (2 piles!) What more could I want?

When do you usually read?

Several times a day but usually after lunch and before I fall asleep.
(recycling Esther's answer once again!)

Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time?

Yes, of course, doesn't any bookworm worth their salt ;-)
(Great minds think alike, Esther!)

Do you read nonfiction in a different way or place than you read fiction?

Yes. I tend to devour fiction books; nonfiction books take me longer to read but I also don't tend to read them straight through. I might read part of them, put them down for days, weeks, months and then pick them up again and finish--or not. It takes a lot for me to abandon a novel even if I don't like it; I usually want to know how it turns out.

Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out of the library?

All of the above!

Do you keep most of the books you buy?

TheDad would say I keep way too many of the books I buy. But I can't help myself.

If you have children, what are some of the favorite books you have shared with them?

The Little House books, Andrew Henry's Meadow, the Chronicles of Narnia, Wanda Gag's works, The Little House and Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel, McElligot's Pool by Dr. Seuss (another of my childhood favorites), and Beverly Cleary's works.

What are you reading now?

I'm "between books" at the moment but there are a few in my library bag waiting on me.

Do you keep a TBR (to be read) list?
Yes, I do--in my PDA.

What’s next?

I haven't decided what to read next yet.

What books would you like to reread?

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Flannery O'Connor's works

Who are your favorite authors?

Betty Smith, Ann Tatlock, Flannery O'Connor, Marian Keyes, Charles Martin, Jon Hassler, Maeve Binchy, Suzanne Strempek Shea.

Tag: Barbara

Cast Away!

Middle Sister missed a few hours of school this morning so she could have her cast removed. She almost forgot to bring along her other shoe, since it's been 4 full weeks that she hasn't worn a left shoe!

Hooray--the doctor x-rayed her foot and was thrilled by how well it had healed.

He told her she could do anything she wanted, no restrictions.

This mom could have done with a few restrictions, since she is now plotting to find a way to try out for boys' football when she gets to high school. Good thing parental signatures are required on sports permission forms....

She has a two-tone cast because while we were on the cruise, she slipped on a wet sidewalk in the Bahamas and fell, putting a crack in the heel of the cast--of course, right by the spot where she had broken her foot. The ship's doctor added a layer to the bottom half of the cast, so she sort of had a "good-n-plenty" color theme going. The doctor today was impressed that they were able to make the repair on board ship, and I am thankful that it didn't seem to impede the healing.

This morning when she got dressed she put her jeans on. She can get those flare-leg jeans over the cast and you can't even see it. So when we were called into the doctor's office they looked at her and said, "Where's your cast? Aren't you wearing your cast?"

She flipped up the leg of her pants a little and then they could see it. They were amazed that she had gotten the jeans on over the cast.

"Everyone underestimates me," she complained.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Music at Church

Soutenus brings up an interesting point in her post about a praise song she heard in church this weekend.

I've been playing guitar in church choirs for 28 years now. With the exception of 9 of those years when I was the choir leader, I have not had the power or privilege to choose the music. And many, many times I think that what we sing is just junk...songs with "Jesus is my boyfriend" lyrics, songs with tunes that would be more appropriate in a Broadway musical, songs that have been so done to death that if I have to sing them one more time I might go nuts....and that includes some of the "new" stuff in the hymnals as much as some of the stuff that I've been playing these whole 28 years.


The choir that I sing with currently has been singing a particular version of the Lord's Prayer for about 25 years. Our pastor wants the choir to increase its repertoire, which is narrow. And he has pulled the plug on the sung Lord's Prayer.

People really like this song. No matter what else we sing at Mass, they will belt out the Lord's Prayer far above anything else. While we're singing that, I look around the church and more people are singing it than any other song or acclamation in the Mass.

So, OK. It's the same one, week after week after week after week after week.

But people don't mind that. They really love to sing it. We have had people tell us that they asked for their child to be baptized at this Mass because of that one song.

And I had one woman, whom I've known for years and who I've never known was prone to violence, grab me by the lapel of my jacket and demand to know why we were not singing the Lord's Prayer anymore.

I basically just told her that Father told us not to sing it anymore.

And I'm failing in obedience right now by complaining about it. But I will abide by his wishes for our choir and hope that this will help me grow, in the process.

It would have helped, though, if there were a little "from-the-pulpit" teaching on why there are some different things going on in church now--musically and otherwise.