Monday, May 31, 2010


I am mystified by all the people who have wished others "Happy Memorial Day" on facebook, twitter, store signs and more.

This is not the kind of holiday I think of in the same vein as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, or New Year's.

Like Veteran's Day, it is a day to remember service and sacrifice. And while it is absolutely right to celebrate the fact that so many in this country have been willing to serve--even to the point of the ultimate sacrifice--so that all of us Americans, no matter who we are, can enjoy the same freedoms, it is wrong to celebrate without remembering.

People died in the service of this country. That's what today is all about--that's who we are remembering.

Is it a happy day? Yes, because we are able to enjoy those hard-earned freedoms. But that happiness is bittersweet. It came at a great personal price for a great many people. When the flag passed you by at the parade today, carried by proud veterans, did you bother getting up from your chair and saluting or clapping or singing along to the band playing "God Bless America?" An awful lot of people at the parade I attended couldn't be bothered.

So I'm just not sure that "Happy Memorial Day" is the way I want to be greeted.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


It's Prom night for Big Brother.

Due to a multiple-schedule conflict, I am unable to attend "Promenade," the two-hour-plus pre-prom event at his school. I was not invited to stop at the house where the bus that his group of friends rented would be picking them all up.

So I have no pictures. I wasn't even here to see him leave.

I hope he remembered the flowers--the ones I had to order yesterday because he hadn't remembered the flowers.

I was hoping to be able to show up at his school around the time that the prom bus did, so I could at least see him and his friends as they headed in the door.

For that, I have to depend on a text message from my son regarding the timing of said arrival. I haven't gotten that text yet. And I have to go get Little Brother at his friend's house in 15 minutes, get him and Middle Sister fed, and then take Little Brother to the cemetery where the Cub Scouts will be placing flags to honor veterans, in advance of Memorial Day.

Big Brother doesn't seem to care that I'll be missing this. He seems to prefer it. And I can understand that, because I'm like him, playing many things close to the vest--especially big rites of passage.

However, now that I'm on the other side of the fence, I know just how hurt my parents were when I excluded them, in whatever way, from my own rites of passage.

Growing up is tough. Even when you're 44.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


So I'm working on a spotlight article on the Power Wheels Escalade for the product blog I write over at The New Parents Guide. It'll be live on Thursday.

And I wanted to think of a catchy title.  Those are important in this line of work.

However, I didn't think it was a wise move to go with my first idea.  Something tells me that it's not smart to title a post on a baby-products blog "Pimp My Ride."

It's just a hunch...

Monday, May 24, 2010

More Study Needed

I'm not sure Little Brother has a future ahead of him as a meteorologist.

"There's a 40% chance of rain today," he told us this morning. "Mom, how much percent do you think it's going to rain?"

Middle Sister told him that it doesn't work that way, but he's insisting that the possibility of rain is somehow related to the percentage of people who think it's going to.

So Much for Idealism

There's a song from the musical Barnum that goes, in part:

Bigger isn't better,
Taller isn't smarter,
Stronger isn't always wise.

It's a lesson I've always tried to teach my kids--all of whom started out as little "peanuts."

But last night my kids learned, without a shadow of a doubt, that the one with the memory foam pillow wins the pillow fight.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Suddenly, it all makes sense

Little Brother is on his third lunchbox of this school year, and I'm hoping it will make it through four more weeks.

He doesn't lose them; he beats them to death.

And I had no idea how that was happening, until yesterday. When I arrive for my library volunteer time, the primary and intermediate age groups are out playing after lunch. I always go onto the playground and get a hug from Little Brother before heading into the school.

Yesterday they were playing kickball. It looked like a fun game, and I was watching Little Brother as he had his turn to kick. Another boy was jumping up and down on first base--also known as little Brother's lunchbox.

That explains it.

Guess I'll be buying lunchboxes in bulk next year.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Translation, Please

What the Panera "barista" says when she hands you a latte with no lid on it: "I'll just pass you the lid. This way you can enjoy the beauty of the latte."

What she means: "I put too much whipped cream on this latte, and I won't be able to put the lid on without making a huge mess and spilling all over the place. I'll let it be your problem."

Honestly. "The beauty of the latte?!" Yes, for $3.59 it had better be beautiful. But don't think I'm snowed by all that. I'm happy if it tastes good (and doesn't make a mess.)

Communion Practice

Poor Little Brother.

Since his First Holy Communion weekend (May 1) he has only received Communion twice--once on First Friday and again on Ascension Thursday.

On Mother's Day, he sat with the folk group at church. He was very well-behaved and sang along enthusiastically. But in our parish, the musicians receive Communion last. It was the last Mass of the weekend, and they ran out of hosts. Or as Big Brother put it, "They ran out of Jesus."

The deacon apologized after Mass; he said that by the time they realized they had to start breaking the hosts in half, it was too late for the ten or so of us in the choir who still needed to receive.

I felt a little deprived myself; it was Mother's Day, after all.

Then this Sunday, Little Brother had a fever, so we pulled a "Divide and Conquer." TheDad and Middle Sister attended Mass at a different time. So once again, no Communion for Little Brother (though he did read the readings in his Magnifikid.)

I hope it will work out for him this weekend, though I am a little nervous about what will happen when he goes to receive from the cup. At the parish where he attends school, the wine is suspiciously like grape juice; at the parish where we generally attend on Sundays, it's definitely wine. He has practiced receiving from the cup at school, but I'm wondering if there's going to be a grimace when he tastes the wine at our parish!

Friday, May 14, 2010

That's a Relief

I went for that followup mammogram this morning and the radiologist gave me the results right then and there. I'm fine. Everything is normal. Come back next year for my regularly-scheduled scan.

So it's all back to what passes for normal around here--shuttling kids around, avoiding dust bunnies, trying to clean off my desk, and ordering a pizza for dinner tonight because the kitchen-sink drain is pouring water into the cabinet below.

Fortunately, we keep our "recycle bucket" there, so the only thing that got wet was a bunch of empty cans. Now there's an empty bucket there. But hey, it's an excuse not to cook (or clean up) when I'm feeling lazy. Yes, I have called for a plumber.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Just Routine

Last week I went for my routine annual GYN visit. The doctor sent me along for a routine mammogram and an ultrasound to follow up on a few minor issues related to January's surgery.

I've had a mammogram before, so I knew what to expect. And I didn't expect to worry. I was more concerned about the ultrasound, especially when the technician called in a second technician to view the images.

But today I had put all of it out of my mind. I got everyone off to school. I made my grocery list, went to daily Mass, stopped at Dunkin' Donuts to get my free iced coffee, then went food shopping. As I opened the front door juggling my keys, purse and half a cup of iced coffee, I heard the phone ringing and dropped the coffee just inside the door.

It was the imaging center, calling to let me know that I needed to schedule a followup mammogram as well as a breast ultrasound. And I get to wait until Friday to have this done--and who knows how long before I'll have the results.

Good luck putting that out of my mind.

I think my new rosary will be getting quite the workout these next few days!

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Real Thing

Grabbing the milk when we were ready to sit down to dinner, I noticed some writing on the red cap. After I poured my glass of milk I flipped over the cap to read it.


"Drat, I bought organic milk," I complained, turning the milk bottle around to see if the label matched the cap. (It did.)

"So what's wrong with that?" Big Brother inquired.

"I paid twice as much for the same gallon of milk," I explained.

He responded, "At least you know it came from real cows."

Beetles and Orchids

Like Barbara, I am not much of a flowers person.

Must go with the name.

But yesterday morning, when I was heading outside to put my guitar, my music bag, and the amplifier and electric bass that Big Brother is borrowing into the car so we'd be ready to leave for church, I found a little box sitting next to the front door.

A pink paper was sticking out of it.

The box contained an orchid corsage, and the paper was a homemade card featuring a colorful flower and Herbie "The Love Bug" and signed "Sincerely Adventure Boy your god son."

Adventure Boy thinks that Herbie is the coolest EVER. He's been Herbie for Halloween, and his cars in the last two Pinewood Derbies have both been Herbie variations.  So it's no surprise that Herbie was featured on my card.

I'm not a flowers person, but I proudly wore that corsage to Mass and to the diner afterward, because it was so sweet of Adventure Boy, my godson, to tiptoe over here early in the morning and leave it for me.  I think the real treasure is the card, though.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Shiny New Learning Curve

Happy Mother's Day!

I had little doubt in my mind that my family would give me a Mother's Day gift of some electronic item. There's a history's either electronics or a gift card.

My husband went a lot overboard this year and presented me with a shiny new laptop. Brand-spanking-new with a whole different operating system and everything. Hello, Windows 7!

I was instructed to go to the store sometime soon and purchase a book about how to use Windows 7. My husband has dealt with my frustration over learning new operating sytems in the past (cough, cough...Windows XP...Windows 98...Windows 95...) and while he loves giving techie gifts, he doesn't love it when I'm stuck in that learning curve.

Right now he is in the middle of backing up all my pictures and documents and what-have-you from the old computer, which my mom will inherit. I, on the other hand, am getting used to a keyboard with things in different places (where are you, DELETE key?) and these flat keys. Ooops. I keep hitting the wrong things and turning on the caps lock when I want the shift, and...oh my, what are THOSE keys for?

If I'm late for tomorrow's routine mammogram, it's because I was busy playing.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Question du Jour

Sometimes on my way to church for daily Mass, I hear the readings of the day on Sirius/XM radio's Catholic Channel.

And then I get to church, and I hear the same first reading, same responsorial pslam, and a completely different Gospel.

If it happened just once in a blue moon, I'd think that Father had just turned one page too many in the Lectionary. Mistakes happen, after all. But I'm beginning to suspect, as one of the Blues Brothers band members famously observed, "these lights are off on purpose." Father's reading a certain Gospel because he wants to.

This only happens at weekday Masses. And based on the homily that's delivered after the Gospel reading, he came prepared to read that Gospel and preach about it afterward.

But it's kind of weird, and it definitely bothers me. I just don't know what to do with it. Just attend daily Mass at some other parish? Speak to the pastor, who hardly ever celebrates daily Mass at our church, leaving Father to his own devices each morning? Just let it go?

Spiritual Exercise

All that recuperating I've been doing this year hasn't been so great for my waistline. So with the beautiful weather today, I knew that I had to just get out and get walking.

Walking by itself, though, is pretty boring. Unfortunately, there's no one around to be my walking buddy, so I decided that this would be a good opportunity for me to get caught up on the podcasts I keep downloading but don't always get a chance to listen to. So I grabbed a string bag to hold my cell phone, ID, house key and iPod, as well as a bottle of water, and I cued up a two-week-old edition of Among Women, since I've gotten a little behind in listening lately.

Boy, did I luck out. Pat Gohn began the podcast with a discussion about St. Bernadette--how appropriate that I'm listening to her story in May, the month of Mary! And then I got to hear an interview with Laraine Bennett, whose books on temperament are both fascinating and useful. In fact, I want to dive back into them, because I think that a little refresher course will help me understand my kids better. A little awareness of temperament is a really good thing in family relationships.

So now, I'm looking forward to tomorrow's walk! I wonder what I'll get to hear next.

Sarah's on the same page as me--last week she had a guest blogger, the author of The Rosary Workout. Sounds intriguing--especially in May!

A Sick Sense of Humor

Someone at Fox29 in Philadelphia has a pretty sick sense of humor. I love it!

When the local news returns after a commercial break, they play a quick clip of a song while showing video of some local sight--a park, William Penn atop City Hall, someone rowing on the Schuylkill River.

A few minutes ago they played a bit of Van Halen's "Jump!" while panning the camera up a large building with many balconies on the side. Turns out they were watching a goose that was pacing up and down the railing of one of the balconies on an upper floor.

I have the feeling we'll be seeing more of this goose this morning, unless he flies away before the news show goes off the air. The anchors have been speculating on whether he'll poop on anyone walking on the sidewalk below. Lovely.

Monday, May 03, 2010

A Little Chant

You might think that just because I play guitar in church, my favorite religious music consists of tunes like "They'll Know We Are Christians By Our Love" and "Abba, Father."

You'd be wrong. (Actually, I'm not a big fan of either of those tunes, and I call them "tunes" on purpose. There's much better church music for guitar out there.)

One hymn that really sticks with me is the Salve Regina. I learned it in college; Father Campbell, the chaplain, held Night Prayer and Benediction each Sunday night. He "guilted" a few of us campus-ministry "folk groupies" into going, so that there'd be somebody there.

Father Campbell was smart. He knew that he'd only have to use the guilt trip once or twice. After that, we were hooked--we wanted to be there.

Having grown up on guitar Masses, Sunday Night Prayer was the first time I ever heard Gregorian chant. We concluded Night Prayer with the Salve Regina. It is so simple, spare but beautiful. I know all the words, and I love to pray it by singing it.

In honor of Mary's month, here is the Salve Regina:

Thanks go to Barb at Praying for Grace, who is hosting a whole month of Marian topics on her blog.

Saturday, May 01, 2010


Today, Little Brother received his First Holy Communion. He has been waiting and waiting and waiting for this day. And I was pleased to see that Father put this day into excellent perspective.

At the beginning of Mass and during the homily, Father reminded everyone that today is a very special day for the Church. The boys and girls who received their First Holy Communion today are welcomed--and always welcome. They are welcoming Jesus into their hearts and lives, and they are following the words of Jesus, "Do this in remembrance of Me."

I noticed that Father was careful not to tell the children (and their parents) that this is their special day. It seems that he doesn't buy into that kind of thing. WTG Father!

He also began his homily by talking about how bread has many forms: bread, rolls, bagels, donuts...and how even though the Host looks like just another form of bread, it is not bread--it is Jesus. We can't see the change happen during the Consecration, but we believe that it does.

I'm thankful for Father's words today (and his words last night as he helped the children with their last-minute preparations at practice.) I'm thankful for Little Brother's wonderful teacher who had her class on fire to receive the sacraments this year. Those kids were ready, and they knew what to do. You could pick the parochial-school kids out of the lineup at practice last night, because they were the ones who knew that the correct response to the words "The Body of Christ" was not just to stand there with their hands at their sides, but to say "Amen" and joyfully receive the Lord.

God bless Little Brother and all of this season's First Communicants!