Monday, December 29, 2008

A Quick Break from Helo Hiatus...

Yes, Helo Mom is alive and well. The saga has continued from a distance over the past week. The Athlete has been out of the area - but not far from his phone - since Christmas Eve. We are up to 2-4 hours of evening conversation per night between the two young people...and to sum it all up, let's just say he's very anxious to return home to his little non-girlfriend Cheerleader. (I don't know why the pretense re: nomenclature persists, but it does - I'm scared to ask the girl about it lest I jinx something or get glared-at).

Anyway. We went to the regional "Cinders" Mass as usual, due to the Beloved's Sunday 7-3 stint. The Athlete called shortly after we returned home, chipper and chatty when I answered, and asked me how Mass went (don't ask me why, I just cracked up at the question). I reassured him that it was just fine, and we actually had a rarely-bestowed VERY GOOD homily about the Holy Family as well as the vocations of married life and parenting from conception to death. Thinking that I was boring him, I handed the phone over to the Cheerleader, and apparently the Church conversation continued. Somewhere around the 45-minute mark, the Cheerleader shoved the phone back into my hand and said "someone" had questions and wanted to talk to me.

What ensued was a 30 minute Q&A session regarding the Athlete's reservations about Catholicism and his potential for final conversion - as has been revealed in previous posts and comments, the kid's got a lapsed Catholic Dad, a strident Methodist Mom, and most damningly of all, perhaps, a DOR "Catholic" school education. No wonder he's confused!

He started out by declaring himself as a "waiting until marriage" (good to know!), politically/morally conservative, ardently pro-life and faith-centered kinda guy. (I had gleaned as much by observation over the past few years, but it was good of him to confirm these things). The main points of Capital Letter Contention: Purgatory (got the good lifetime Protestant Bible-camp goer's "I've read the Bible from cover to cover several times and it's not in there" spiel), Confession (as a Sacrament as opposed to a privately-conducted conversation with Christ at one's own convenience), Gay "Marriage" (between non-Catholics, anyway), Abortion (he has 3rd party concerns about the issues facing rape victims and life-threatening conditions for mothers), and barrier-method Birth Control for married people who wish to use it.

Whew! (I'm gearing up for Transubstatiation and the Immaculate Conception of the Theotokos next...)

So, I did my level best at teen-oriented impromptu apologetics. (The Beloved was nearby and high-fived me for a few clever, well-placed sports analogies.) I had much more to say, but kept it brief. I think I clarified a lot for him and made some forward progress - he thanked me profusely and said he understood many things much better now, and had a lot more to think about. As do I.

Helo Mom is taken aback by the sudden, out-of-the blueness of the questions, flattered to be the one he's chosen to ask, and feeling a great deal of responsibility for providing fruit-producing answers to these questions. I wish we had a solid young priest - locally - to whom I could entrust this nice boy and his questions for far better answers and lived-by-example formation than I can possibly provide him. Regardless of this kid's present or future association with our family, I sense that he's seeking out information and answers that will shape the rest of his life and how he lives it.

Helo Mom is feeling the gravity of this assignment. How to guide without overwhelming with too much information? Would a 17-1/2 year old follow through with book recommendations? Probably not. So...what's a Helo Mom to do?

(Calling on wouldn't-it-be-ideal-future-Bp. Richtsteig of Rochester...)


In the meantime, all prayers and positive thoughts for this good young man, his soul, and the wisdom of his chosen answer-bearer would be appreciated.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Joy to the Wii (v. 2 & 3)

2. Joy to the Wii
The Baby's thrilled
I hope he won't be killed!

He loves to play with ba-ad things
Electric sho-ocks really sting

I'll need another gate,
To keep him from the bait
He'll be cra-a-zed, cra-a-zed
with rage and hate.
3. Wii rules our world
Thanks to our kin*
He got it all plugged in
There's Madden for 2009
That flat-screen's resolution's fine
I love that DDR!
I've won each game so far
I wonder, I wo-on-der
Where my kids are?

* Snaps to the Midshipman, Beloved's Naval Academy cousin who popped by for dessert, for getting us wired for Wii and the new wireless home theatre system in less than 15 minutes!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Joy to the Wii!

1. Joy to the Wii!
The box just came
We'll ne-ver be the same!
Beloved can't inst-a-all it
He's gonna blow a ci-ir-cuit
Because he's got no skills...
...I hope that Geek Squad bills
I ho-OPE, I ho-o-ope
that Geek. Squad. Bills.
[Additional verses to follow after dawn tomorrow...]
But now for something far more serious and heartfelt:

Have a very Blessed and Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Especially For The Much-Missed Ma Beck...

Today's feast day honors St. John Cantius, Bishop and namesake of a rockin' parish in my native Chicago, of which our dear Ma is lucky enough to be a member.

For all parishes like SJC that treat and present the Faith with beauty, honor and reverence...thank you, God bless you, Merry Christmas...wish you were here.

My favorite quote from St. John of Kanty (and one I need to remember and put into practice myself):

Fight all error, but do it with good humor, patience, kindness, and love. Harshness will damage your own soul and spoil the best cause.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

We went to Mass at a different-than-usual parish yesterday due to cheerleading camp conflicts today. From the local cluster bulletin:

Winter Solstice Celebration: Come and celebrate this very special night with hot chocolate & cookies at a beautiful ceremony at the [Parish] labyrinth TODAY, Sunday, December 21st at 7:00 p.m.



Saturday, December 20, 2008

Helo Mom Dispatch #12 - Christmas at the Hangar

Oh we go....

Snow day yesterday - no school - and an extra day of Christmas vacation. Woo hoo! The Athlete came over in the early afternoon to watch as we baked cookies and to exchange gifts with the Cheerleader. She bought him a tie with his favorite NFL team's logo (for school uniform use) and made him an ornament to commemorate the excellent state semi-final football season of 2008. He gave her perfumed lotion to go along with her daily scent...wait for it...."Princess." Both were pleased, and I believe there may even have been a quick mistletoe incident while I was in the kitchen between cookie batches, and they were running interference for me with the baby.

They sat on the couch talking and laughing for several hours while I baked, covering topics ranging from sports to doll collecting, and she schooled him in the finer techniques of driving a cat crazy with a laser pointer and a pinch or two of catnip. All in all, they had a great afternoon together.

Then....disaster struck. He left later on in the evening and then called her immediately after he got home to let her know he'd just gotten his first college acceptance letter. She was thrilled and congratulated him...and then I watched the realization hit her.

Now it's getting too "real" - the age issue is back to the forefront.

She sat down slowly, became quiet and rather pale, and they talked for an hour, during which time she assured him that he was free to date other girls his own age whether now or when he leaves for college, she would not expect him to wait or remain tied to our little north of nowhere town simply because of her. He would hear none of it, assuring her that was a bridge they could cross later, and they should just enjoy the present together and sort the rest when the time comes.

Seems that now she's finally starting to feel attached, the thought of detaching is too much to bear. And she has a valid point.

They will both have plenty of time to ponder these issues - he is leaving to spend a week with the family in warmer climes, while we have a houseful of nieces and nephews coming in to ski by day and hit the local wineries by night. I will be purchasing extra chocolates and pocket kleenex packs for the Royal stocking today. I think we're gonna need ample supplies of both.

So...will there be a Happy New Year for our young crush-birds? Or will the Helo Mom be hanging it up for awhile?

Stay tuned, my friends....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Belated tribute - St. Lucy

Santa Lucia, patroness of the blind, pray for me!

Holy smokes. After what we're calling the "Cosmetic 9-1-1 incident" and ER visit a week or so ago, I thought I'd hit my quota for random ocular trauma for, say, at least a decade.

Not so!

Today we went in for our 6 month dental visits. As I received praise for yet another cavity-free year during my cleaning, disaster struck. A huge chunk of nasty abrasive dental polish flew off the spinny-polisher-thingy and shot straight up and under my upper eyelid in the (now formerly) good eye.

It was second scratched cornea - minty fresh exfoliation in this instance - in as many weeks. Fortunately, I still had plenty of antibiotic eyedrops and rinse left, so I decided to self-treat and forego another ER visit. Why? Vanity, thy name is Kit.

As it turns out, the local ER Chief doc is a fellow quasi-Catholic high school parent who treated me at the ER after the Boy-meets-Mamma's-mascara-wand episode, and with whom I've struck up a nice little chatting-at-basketball-games acquaintance. He has kindly asked after my visual health at each of the games since, and he, his lovely wife, and I have discussed their various boy teenager issues and my Cheerleader teenager issues. Somehow I am not sure a second eye-related trauma in as many weeks would seem entirely coincidental...although those who know me well would laugh and say it's par for the course! I don't want to become known to them as the creepy "Eye Lady" who frequents the ER between basketball games with yet another bizarre eye injury. To be safe, I did chat with my lady doc buddy (after she got done laughing at me) and she assured me I'd survive, so long as the pain did not increase, etc.

What am I supposed to be learning from this, dear Lord?!?

St. Lucy was an early Christian martyr historically believed to have been tortured, burned, and blinded before being murdered courtesy of Diocletian. There is a lovely Scandanavian tradition wherein a young girl is selected to dress as St. Lucia, wearing a headdress of pine and candles to symbolize the fire that did not immediately kill her, and to bring light to conquer darkness. She also brings candy, saffron or anise-flavored coffee-cakes and presents to the little kids. Her feast day was December 13th, the day we had three major school events to attend from 9 am to after 11 pm, or I'd've mentioned her sooner - I love the traditions associated with her feast day.

Maybe this is her gentle way of reminding me...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Helo Mom Dispatch #11 - Silver & Gold

In recent news:

The Athlete rejoined the school band a few weeks ago in order to have a mutual class with the Princess. (Say it: "Awwwwwww!!!!"). The band director is thrilled.

So at their Christmas concert last night, I sat halfway back in the auditorium watching the two of them perform, but more importantly, I observed them in some of the unscripted moments. As they entered and exited the stage, he followed a few steps behind her, towering over her as he does by more than a foot, and gazing down at her as though she's the most exquisite creature he's ever beheld. The kid's heart is on his sleeve and in his eyes. As they stepped on and off the dais and the stairs, he with his rumpled shirt and hands in his pockets, she in her smart little black and white outfit and strappy heels, he instinctively reached an arm out behind her, just in case, ready to catch her if she stumbled. All unconsciously done on his part, and therein was its beauty. She had no clue about any of it - she could not see the expression on his face and he never touched her back, but I can tell you, it was heartachingly adorable for the Helo Mom to see, even from a fair distance. The young man is a natural - he's a gentleman. And he is beyond smitten.

She is slowly warming up to the idea of having him around in a more "official" capacity. By the time we got home, it was far too late for their typical hour-plus evening chat. This morning she came down to breakfast and said "You know, it's just not right when I don't get to talk to him before bedtime. I didn't sleep well at all." Hmmmm....the polar ice cap may be melting....

Today's dirt:

I am a traitor. The Athlete sent me an urgent text [translated here by me from "txt-eze" to normal English for your convenience]:

Hey, it's me, [Athlete]. I know I probably shouldn't ask you this, but can you please, please help me? Just between you & me, I don't know what to get the green-eyed one for Christmas. I'm desperate. I want to get her something she will really like but I have no clue what to do. Please?!?

Well, what's a soft-hearted Helo Mom to do? As it happened, I was at the mall shopping whilst the Cheerleader & squad rang bells for the Salvation Army. I texted back my 30 pieces of silver:

Of course I will help you. What are you thinking of so far?

His first idea was to get her football memorabilia for her favorite team, my Chicago Bears. Very y-chromosome of him. (Can you blame me for breaking the chick code and agreeing to help him?) So I gently texted back:

Well....that may be too "sporty" for someone so GIRLY. What else can you think of that interests her, but that you like? I'm at the mall for another hour and can scope stuff out for you while she's doing the bell thing.

[Long pause] Then he replied:

You ROCK! I just got home from practice. I'll wash up and meet you there in 20 minutes.

So he appeared in record time, visited with all the Cheerleaders (who catcalled at him and teased him terribly about being at the mall when his little friend happened to be working her bell-ringing shift), looked assessingly and then menacingly at a few creepy old guys who donated money and tried to engage the Cheerleaders in more than a few seconds of idle conversation. He then "accidentally" ran into me at a department store, where we struck gold and found an excellent item the Princess will love, and which also coincides with one of the Beloved's three motivational agenda items vis a vis lovestruck 17 year old boys - it smells good. He had a second item in mind (from their movie date) and I gave it the thumbs-up, so he loped off toward the bookstore after they said their goodbyes.

As the Princess and I left the mall, I received the following:

Thanks Mrs. [Kit]!!! U R AMAZIN'!!!

(Well, what can I say....the lad's got a point....)

Backatcha, kiddo. See you this weekend.

We've invited him over to participate in our annual manic Christmas cookie making/decorating extravaganza this weekend, during which time we will somehow manage to leave them to their own devices by the Christmas tree for a few minutes so they can exchange gifts in a less conspicuous place than the school hallway. The Beloved has grudgingly agreed to have him over for a few hours, but I think he may require sedation. Gonna have to spike the 'nog.

Helo Mom is feeling a little more cheery as the week approaches its end.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

There Is No Rose Of Such Virtue

In the spirit of embracing the Rose and rejoicing this week...

One of my favorite carols comes from the time of the last "Good" King Henry of England, Henry VII:

There Is No Rose Of Such Virtue

English Traditional, c. 1420

1. There is no rose of such virtue,
As is the rose that bare Jesu;

2. For in this rose contained was
Heaven and earth in little space;
Res miranda.

3. By that rose we may well see,
That he is God in persons three,
Pari forma.

4. The angels sungen the shepherds to:
Gloria in excelsis deo:

5. Leave we all this worldly mirth,
And follow we this joyful birth;

6. Alleluia, res miranda,
Pares forma, gaudeamus,

Monday, December 15, 2008

Are we there yet?

I will post a new Helo Mom update in a day or two (I know, I know...but Larry, Kasia & I will enjoy it!). All is relatively well.

Just got back from watching my 11 y/o perform in the public school's "Winter Concert" that had not one Christmas carol. Songs about snow, "the longest night," hot chocolate, and the only C-word-containing song: Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer. I wanted to bang my head against the chair ahead of me and get out of there as fast as possible.

We're at 10 days until the Feast of the Incarnation. This is the first year since I married my Beloved in 1993 that we are going Santa-free. The Boy is too young, and sadly, middle school has put the lingering hopes to rest for our Little Therese. (I keep thinking of St. Therese describing her "last" childhood Christmas Eve in Story of a Soul, and its depiction in the recent Therese movie). It's kinda like that.

In many ways, it's a relief. Less ridiculous hiding stuff int he house, last minute late-night wrapping, scrambling, sneaking about, and silly overspending on toys that don't hold interest past a month. We have a respite for another year or so, then we're back at it with the Boy - and the girls are thrilled at the prospect of being big sister Santas. I will let them do it all...and just foot the bill. And that's just fine. I can't abide the crush, the crowds, even the online shopping is getting annoying. That part, I won't miss. But there are a few other things that I do like, and I do miss.

We have a small, table-top tree for the first time a family room with a 12-ft. ceiling. It's that Boy. He climbs like a monkey and he's got snake-like long fingers that are into everything. Child-locks, schmild-locks. You get the picture. We knew the temptation would be too much for him to bear, and we were right. We have the tree up and blockaded, but it doesn't stop him from trying to climb up from beneath and behind the table, chewing on the cord that he knows leads to the lights....ahhh, boys! Similarly, most of my regular decorations, like my large, beautifully painted ceramic nativity scene, are not Boy-proof and are remaining in boxes this year. I have 5 Nativity scenes - the Waterford will be the only one out, because I can fit it on the mantel where it's safe. I am a Christmas decorating diva...and all my neat stuff has to take a year (at least) off.

It's a transitional year for Christmas here by the brook. Now, Christmas morning is going to be a pure gift-exchange extravaganza - not as many surprises, none of the childhood wonderment. And I am going to miss that part - a lot.

If I could, I'd rather spend these upcoming days as follows: read, pray more, watch old movies and EWTN specials, listen to the all-Christmas-music XM channels, bake, and cocoon. But the world doesn't let me. Another concert, 2 basketball games, and a wrestling match to get through this week...and then Friday's my last day at the office, which is bittersweet for me.

So I'm in a mini-funk, and it's mostly because I can't wait for the secular, stressful side of Christmas to be over.

It will get better once the kids are out of school and we have a nice, 2 week long CHRISTMAS - not "Winter" - vacation.

Hurry up, O Antiphons! Hurry, Baby Jesus! I need to think about You more and the world less...nothing restores the "wonderment" of Christmastide more than that.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Blog Holiday Potluck II - C'mon, there's still time!

It's not too late...we've had a number of side dishes added, so let's do cookies and other fun Christmas-y stuff this month! I've got a football-friendly addition over at the Bistro for ya...always a hit with the boys on a college Saturday or NFL Sunday.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas in the Red Zone

Any of you who have been reading this blog for the past year or so have probably figured out that I am generally good-natured. But reading something like this sends me into that rare place...the Red Zone.


The fact that I am in my ragey place in connection with Christmas seems sacrilegious. We are waiting for the Light of the World to arrive on the Feast of the Incarnation. Are there any brave priests or Bishops in Napoli who can stand up and protest this sickness?

I can't imagine that any Catholic of good conscience (not to mention taste) could possibly think this is a good idea, or that any amount of money is worth displaying this travesty in their stores. Not when your soul is at stake.

Why, after all this time, am I still capable of being shocked at the depravity of human nature....

Helo Mom Dispatch #10 - Friday Night Roundup

A number of tidbits since the last posting.

The boy finally got annoyed with her! (It's about time!)

After the Wednesday night ex-girlfriend debacle, my child texted to him:

Ummm....we need 2 talk 2mrw. Going 2 sleep, ttyl.

Well, as one might well imagine, the poor boy slept little, wondering what he'd done now. After all, he'd just put the ex-girlfriend in her place. "2mrw" came, but the little minx chickened out and avoided talking to him all day. Unbeknownst to the Princess, one of her "friends" texted to him after school, advising him that she was mad, didn't want to talk to him ever again, and to stay away from her from now on. (Never was on the Princess' agenda to go that far, so when the girl called to brag about what she'd done, the world ended once again). He got the message on his way to a wrestling match and was understandably hurt and angry. He crushed his opponents to the mat, however, and after he was done, sent a terse text:

I won my match. Ur friends r talkin' crap fyi. 'nite.

After several frantic unanswered return texts from a horrified Princess, he finally relented and called her back. 45 minutes of tearful apologies and repeated acceptances later, they each went to bed late, but slept better than the night before.

Yesterday, as a peace offering, the well-meaning Athlete came to the Princess bearing gifts. A project he made in his art class. A ceramic self-portrait. [I know, I know!!!]

He delivered it to her at her locker, asked if she liked it...and she (being my child) had to ask if it was "supposed to be him." He hung his head and showed her the note on the back apologizing for his lack of artistic ability, then ambled off to his next class.

She very gamely managed to make it to her next class before breaking into hysterics - half giggling, half weeping. " was so cute, but SO odd...all the kids in his art class knew he made it, so half of 'em are laughing, and the other half is offering to put me in a witness protection program."

[What came to mind for me: "It took me like 3 hours to finish the shading on your upper lip...." and "There's a lot more where this came from if you go to the dance with me...Yours Truly, Napoleon Dynamite" LOL!!!!]

But I digress. All is now well. I think. They're at the Youth Court Christmas party, so I am preparing for anything when I go to pick her up. Will it be Sweetness & Light, or Histrionics? Who friggin' knows.


In other news:

  • The dress is here! It's a bit more wine-colored than the holly-berry red as pictured, but it's lovely - it came beautifully boxed with perfume samples and a thank you note. It is now wrapped and hidden.

  • Advice was dispensed, appreciated, but will not be followed. Still worried. about my George Bailey-esque buddy.

  • Eye is almost back to normal. Not something I want to have happen again...gotta get a higher gate to keep that boy out of the female inner sanctum (he appeared out of nowhere, I jumped mid-swipe, OUCH!)

  • We got clobbered by a foot of snow overnight and the kids had a snow day. The Beloved was at work for 19 hours ensuring the safety of travelers, appeasing the FAA, and riding herd over his minions on less than 2 hrs. of sleep, courtesy of the Boy's new bicuspid. More snow is coming tonight, and so he's gone again. But he will be at the wrestling match tomorrow. Apparently this is important enough to forego sleep...gotta make sure the Athlete can take down any would-be predators that might come near the Princess.

Progress indeed. Helo Mom is having tea and chocolates, then taking a long winter's nap...somehow I feel I will need my strength tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Helo Mom Dispatch #9 - Mom Needs A Chiropractor

My neck keeps snapping back and forth, you see.

The Beloved remains steadfast in his disapproval. However, he did "bend" a little and indicated that he'd be interested to see the Athlete in action at the next wrestling match (at 6'5"/189 lbs. it must be quite a spectacle), and wanted to know when that might be.

WHOA! That's progress!


The Cheerleading Princess is horrified at the thought, because she is leaning toward putting the kibosh on the whole non-relationship.



The small-town, even smaller-school rumor mill has suddenly been set ablaze, and the two of them are at the center of it. One of the Athlete's former upperclassman girlfriends is spreading vicious rumors about the "easy" freshman and the "desperate" senior. A fellow freshman girl who has a senior interested in her stated loudly at the lunch table that she'd never even consider dating a senior, "unlike some people." Her cheerleader friends are teasing her more than ever - there's a lot of dating crossover between the Athlete's friends and the cheerleading squad, as one might imagine. A teacher has asked even her about it, and volunteered to intercede and help her break things off if she'd like assistance because she's feeling "pressured" by an older boy.

After being targeted by that pack of mean girls for over a year now, the Princess goes into meltdown mode whenever she discovers that people are talking about her behind her back - she was in tears most of the evening. "I just wanted a new start in high school! I wanted to be invisible! I don't want people I don't know and who don't know me gossipping about me!" The usual platitudes about jealous girls, immature teenagers, high school drama starting and ending quickly, and being the bigger person don't work. She's extremely sensitive, and not without some justification given what she's been through. It's such a shame to see something that has been sweet and innocent turned ugly, and a kid turning away from the good to protect herself from the bad.

The odd thing is, nothing's changed between the two of them and they haven't seen each other outside of school since the infamous night at the movies. He has made no secret of his admiration for her, but has also told his friends that although they talk quite a bit, they are NOT dating due to the age issue and parental interdict. Why all hell broke loose on an otherwise average Wednesday remains a mystery.

So, will their association survive the scandal....or will they part ways?

Stay tuned....

Helo Mom out.

More Implausible Deniability


The outgoing junior senator from Illinois had no contact with the governor who would appoint his successor?


Kinda like sitting in a pew for 20 years and having no idea what your racist hate-mongering pastor was saying all that time.

How stupid does he think us gun-clinging religious types are?

I wonder if [suddenly] "mistaken" David Axelrod - the top aide who discussed the [now-denied] contact between The One and Blagojevich's office on the air a few weeks ago - will keep his job...or conveniently go the way of Vince Foster at some point.

Harsh of me to say? Perhaps.

Jailtime will tell.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Not a prayer request I wanted to make...

...but please keep our dear Thorn and family close in your prayers.

Too verklempt to continue.

So You Wanna Be A Senator?

It'll cost you. Just ask this clown, IL Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who just got shackled and taken into custody for "staggering" corruption relative to whoring out Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder.

Sheesh. That's two criminally corrupt Democratic Governors ousted in one home state of NY and now my native state of IL...the political springboard of The One, carpetbagger extraordinaire.

Coincidence? I think not.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Please - prayers for my friend...

...the Boy's Godfather, whom I love like the younger brother I never had.

He has a lovely wife, a successful firm in only 2 years since start-up, a boundlessly generous heart...but then suddenly the market's tanked, it's Christmastime, work's busy, he has 3 kids aged 4 and under, he's not sleeping...he's severely, George Bailey depressed. He has a wonderful life, really, but like many people who suffer from depressive disorders, he doesn't see it.

I'm very worried. All of my standard rallying tactics have failed, and that's saying something. I will be having a heart to heart with him tomorrow and will not rest until he seeks outside assistance.

Please keep my friend in your prayers, and wish meddlesome me luck.

St. Dymphna, pray for us!

Amazing Cover....

....of one of my all-time favorite songs.

I'll always have my little '80's tender spot for Hall & Oates, but Brian McKnight just NAILS this song! (Apparently, H&O gave him high marks for this rendition as well).

Back to my break - the eyes have had it....and I've gotta get to Mass!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Pictures Will Do The Math AND Tell The Story!

Take one of these:




So went my evening last night.

Yes, that may have been my voice you heard crying out in the wilderness....but I toughed it out long enough to get through the firm Christmas party (open bar, duh!) before heading to the hospital on the advice of a fellow lawyer's physician wife.

Blogging will be a bit light for a few days, but do enjoy your second week of Advent!
Update: BTW, the whole patch thing lasted about 5 minutes...the Boy took one look at my face, cackled madly, and screeched like a boy-banshee because I wouldn't let him claw the thing off my face. So I'm taking my drops every few hours like a good girl and wearing my Maui Jims inside and out.
This really stinks.

Helo Mom Dispatch #8 - Heavenward

Our stupid cable phone service has been down for 2 days. Most aggravating. The Princess is allotted a budget of $15/month for her cell phone. So she borrows mine, and (DUH!) rather than calling the boy, she texted to him all day. I had no idea - I didn't hear speaking, so I figured she'd left him a message.

She showed me the following text [I have supplied full words for the txt-challenged like me...]:

I know it will take time for you to trust me, and for you to know that my intentions toward you are pure and honorable. But for now, know that I pray each day for your trust, and by God, if I get it, I will make sure never to lose it or cause you to regret it.

[Take THAT, o jaded Beloved!]

I'm saving that exchange for posterity....or perhaps as evidence....on my phone.

One more bit of cuteness - because he now has my cell number, he let me know that my personal ringtone is Queen Latifah - "When You're Good to Mama" - from Chicago.

If Mamma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy...

The Female Essence Factor

If you hadn't guessed, one of the key topics around here these past few weeks has been boy-girl and man-woman relationships and relationship dynamics.

The Beloved proffered this bit of wisdom about the Athlete:

He's a 17 year old boy. Trust me. He only wants one thing.

I objected to this over-generalization and went into a full-blown defense of the Athlete and of well-formed young men (rare though they may be) everywhere. I see a caring, socially responsible and well-rounded young man who's been respectful (other than the movie-smooch move) and far more patient with the Princess than a purely hormone-driven 17 year old boy might otherwise be. So the Beloved revised his analysis:

Okay, fine. They want to smell you, touch you, then have sex with you.

At that moment, the baby crawled into my lap, put his head down on my shoulder and started sniffing my neck (like his daddy, he loves my perfume) while petting my hair with the hand that was draped down my back. An instant later, he shoved his other cold little paw down into my decolletage, started patting my sternum, made his happy-boy cooing sounds, and then grinned at me, much to the Beloved's delight.

See, we're all the same. We can't help it. Pigs, pigs, pigs. Pigs from birth to 95.

He smirked at us and sauntered off to the living room, copping a quick neck-sniff, a smooch and a terrible eyebrow wiggle on his way past me and our happy little boy.

Not a dry eye in the kitchen.
Merci, Monsieur Cartier...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Kudos to Lord & Taylor

So here's how my Saturday morning has gone.

Our Princess has found THE DRESS for the dance she has not yet been invited to. ("I know it's a while off, and I don't care if he doesn't ask me... maybe someone else will, or maybe I'll just go with my other dateless loser friends, but I am GOING to that dance!"). We found it at a late-night mall raid.

Sadly, our local Macy's didn't have it in her puny size (4), and at 9:55, it was too late to call around to other stores. So I went online last night. Gone. But the Macy's online shopper live-chat chicks gave me the names and numbers of several other stores in the NY/NJ/PA area that allegedly had it in stock. This morning I called 9 stores on the East Coast, and another 4 in Chicago. So....3.5 hours of effort. On hold for 30 minutes at a time in some instances. Got some major league attitude from a few of 'em, too. ("We have a doorbuster sale going on, we can't take time to go look for the dress for you, you'll have to come in like everybody else" --White Plains dress dept. clerk) Even after a few calls back from two well-meaning sales ladies in the midst of a huge in-store, one-day sale, NO LUCK.

So I google the darn thing. There it is on the Lord & Taylor website for $130...not on one-day sale for $90 like at Macy's, but that's academic at this point. Now it's a power struggle between me, the retail world, and the other skinny succubi in America who have snatched up all the 4's. I'm on a mission. So as you can imagine, I was thrilled to see it...

I clicked away to order it...

got the error message at checkout...

"item is out of stock"

I go back to the dress page, and sure enough...sizes 2,6,8,10,12,14 are all available. No 4.


[String of expletives]

I hear blood rushing around inside my skull. Calming breath. I got the L&T online chat chicks engaged in the struggle, but they can't find it in a 4 either. So they referred me to the "Personal Shopper Service" in NYC. I called, spoke to a lovely NooYawkuh named Clara, who took my name and number. 30 minutes later, she called and had me on 3-way with a local store, they took my credit card number, gave me a 30% off coupon before I could even ask for a total, and so all told, tax and shipping included, $109.

It's a tough year for retail (and everyone else), but after all the time I wasted on Macy's, it was simple, painless, incredibly professional and prompt service, and they went out of their way to make it easy and cheaper than it needed to be. They're getting a thank you letter from me, and if you have any reason to shop there, I say please do, and show them some support if you can. Certainly, if you're looking for an out of stock item, they ROCK.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Helo Mom Dispatch #7 - Breaking the Code

UPDATE: 48 hours post-gym-spat, and all is going swimmingly. The Athlete called again last night...

Athlete: Hi Mrs. [Kit], it's me, Athlete.

Me: Hello m'dear. Let me get your little friend.

Athlete: Thanks. Oh, can I tell you one thing first, though?

Me: Sure...

Athlete: Thanks so much for your help the other night. Not just for me, but for whatever you said to make her see the other side of things. You have no idea how much it means to me. Most parents wouldn't care, especially in this case, because I know you and Mr. [Beloved] aren't real happy with the age thing. But I just wanted you to know I really appreciate it, and I hope you and your husband know I will always protect your daughter at school or anywhere else, no matter what happens between us. If there were a coolest mom of the year award, I'd totally make sure you got it.

Me: [a little verklempt and red-faced] Awww....thanks kiddo. Now...make sure you don't blow it. [Laughing] I'll go get her.

I'm with you, Kasia - whoever ends up with this kid is gonna be a lucky girl!

Oh, one more tidbit - I sat with another cheer-mom at the basketball game last night (she has senior and sophomore cheerleader daughters), and she extolled the Athlete's virtues at length, having known him and his family for quite some time. Good to know.


Me: Hello?

Athlete: Hi Mrs. [Kit]. It's me, Athlete.

Me: Hello, Athlete...what have you done?

Athlete: I. Don't. Know. I was hoping you might be able to enlighten me.

Me: I only know part of it. She told the rest in a pitch only the dogs could understand. And they looked really scared. So you'd better tell me your side so I can piece it together.

[Their stories matched perfectly]

Athlete: She thinks I didn't stick up for her, but I really couldn't do what she wanted me to without looking biased. But if it's any consolation, those two [unkind word] girls got in huge trouble, and they were made to apologize to me today for interfering with my class project.

Me: Excellent. Explain it to her just as you did to me. Stand your ground and only apologize if you mean it, or she'll see right through it. If she's mean, kick her to the curb.

Athlete: WHAT?!? Oh, you're kidding. Okay. I'm really nervous now. She's gonna yell at me, isn't she?

Me: Remain calm. She'll listen.

(She did.)

During the 90 minute conversation, I get the following text:


Yes, I broke the code and gave him words of encouragement. But all is forgiven, she did not kill me, and they are back to normal.

Whatever that means.

One more thing. She just told me she wants to hit the after-holiday formal dress sales when we go to Chicago. Seems the "Snow Ball" is sometime at the end of January.


Hmmmm.....perhaps some vino before bed for the Helo Mom.

Helo Mom Dispatch #6 - Fatal Error?




Somewhere, someone's head is beating against a wall.

Today's drama:

The Senior Athlete had to student-teach a class as a project for one of his own classes. So he chose a class he was sure would be great. The Cheerleader's Freshman gym class.


She was stunned to see him there, suddenly "in charge" of her (oh, and the rest of the class, too). He thought it would be fun, AND he had a built-in excuse to spend 50 minutes of his day with his cute little not-quite-official-but-everyone-knows-it-girlfriend...with the added bonus of seeing her trot about in a gym uniform as opposed to the regular school uniform. What a great day! God is good!


Foolish, foolish move. When he selected teams for the class rather than allowing the class to divide itself up along its usual partisan lines, she was separated from her usual gym-team buddies and became bitter with him. Apparently her team usually wins - and he seemed to be testing her ability to deal with loss and adversity. He made the mistake of telling her so when she complained about it.


When he then did not officiate the game in her [team's] favor, she sassed him. He had to respond appropriately, and so he called her on her unsportsmanlike conduct...followed by a whispered plea that she not get angry, he was doing what he had to, and trying to get a good grade.


THEN....just when it couldn't have gotten much worse....her two chief adversaries/girl-tormentors came into the class (cutting their own regular class) because they'd gotten wind of what was going on and wanted to see for themselves, and to sneer at and heckle them both. The Princess whispered to him that they didn't belong in the class, and that he should send them on their way (she had a point), but he refused, not wanting to make a scene and fuel their fire (a valid counterpoint).


Another teacher happened by, espied and yanked the skanks, and sent them to the office. The Princess, being an irrationally outraged 14 year old at this point, took this as a direct personal insult...he did not defend her honor.


"HE should have done that! He could have asserted his authority as a teacher and gotten rid of them! He certainly asserted his authority over ME in front of everybody! I could've done a better job! I'd've SO kicked their a**es out of there, to HELL with the grade!!!" (Ouch! She was so furious, she started speaking in salty tongues!)


She cut him dead for the rest of the day.

There was no 2 hour phone call tonight.

There was no call at all.

Radio silence.

(Oh, dear....)

I did my best to be the voice of reason, I really did. I sympathized with her, but I also advocated for the poor boy and tried to get her to understand that there might possibly be some good reasons for what he did, and moreover, for what he did not do.


I got the trademark slitty little green eyes of rage in return, which were only slightly cured by a peace offering of a hot fudge sundae and tea. Then we snuggled together under a blankie for a few hours, saying very little while the phone didn't ring....

She knows she's a brat. She knows that petulance rarely plays well, and pays even less. And we all know she's only 14. Some allowances must be made. She'll get over it and she'll even laugh at herself about some point. Hopefully he will, too.

Oh, that poor, poor boy.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Eating Raul

Well, eating out of his hand, anyway - apparently that's what we can look forward to after The One takes office and undoes a half-century of US foreign policy regarding Cuba.

Maybe he'll announce the end to the embargo while picnicking on the beach with all of the newly-freed Gitmo detainess and the Castro brothers.

Wait! I know...they can call it a "Bay of Pigs Roast" and he can help light the fire to help them burn the past 8 American presidents in effigy.

Then he can head south on his American Downfall/New World Order Tour to hang out with his good buddy "Hurricane" Hugo Chavez.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Helo Mom's Head Hurts (Dispatch #5)

Okay, I thought it was over after the post-movie dressing-down and subsequent lull in the action over the holiday weekend. Then they talked for over two hours tonight. He did something so cute for her today, I can't stand it.

The Princess, much to her dismay, discovered at her annual eye exam early last week that one eye has gotten much worse (astigmatism) than the other. Hence, the contacts she assumed she'd be getting are not an option for her. She's mortified from the roots of her honey-blonde hair to her dainty little toes, but she did pick out some killer glasses (for classroom use only, Mom!). Apparently they discussed her ocular horror and shame at the movies.

The young gentleman figured she'd have the new glasses today, so in solidarity, he deliberately did NOT wear his own contacts and instead wore his "former 10th grade nerd" glasses to school so she'd have an optically-challenged buddy at her side in case anyone teased her. Of course, he discovered early in the day that she was still glasses-free and so his valor was all for naught. He didn't say a word to her about why he did it, but one of his friends pointed it out to her after school. I know I'm a major sap, but I thought it was a darling gesture, and so did she. So he's back in the game.

Two things:

1. That poor kid has it BAD.

2. I just want to bring him home and give him cookies, milk, and a hug. This is a good, thoughtful boy.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Constitutional Crisis?

What happens if The One turns out to be a un-natural (as in foreign-born) fraud? The domino effect of such an inutterable scam...the generations-long besmirching of the Executive Branch, its authority, and the consequences of its downfall on the other branches of this tripartite government would be incredible.

Link to article here

As I've been screaming at the tv since the summer, just suck it up and produce the da*ned birth certificate if you've nothing to hide...and as the Harvard Law professor interviewed in the article points out, I'd fire his a** too, were he my client and still refused to do so.

H/T to the fabulous Vincenzo

And then there's this:

Link to "Open Letter to Barack Obama" from the Chicago Tribune - an ad taken out by ""

The United States Supreme Court is meeting later this week to conference on one of the several cases demanding production of The One's original birth certificate for inspection and analysis. Four justices must recommend hearing the case. Oh to be a fly on THAT wall!


Love this quote at the end of the ad, too:

“In a government of laws, the existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a
lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become
a law unto himself; it invites anarchy .” Olmstead v. U.S., 277 U.S. 438

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Prayers for Mrs. Martin

Stephanie's mom is heading home to be with our dear Lord. The hour is imminent.

Please pray for Dorothy, and for our dear Digi and family.

As we enter into Advent today, let this be a special time of hope and peace for your family, amiga, until you meet again.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Helo Mom Dispatch #4


The Cheerleader has told the Football Player (now Wrestler) once and for all that she is NOT READY for the whole boyfriend-girlfriend thing.
I chaperoned for them at the movies (Twilight, and it really wasn't half bad, actually) from a few rows too far back, apparently - as an enthralled and opportunistic 17 year old kid does at the movies, he did the basic hand-holding maneuver (saw that, didn't care) and attempted the "sneaky kiss in the dark" bit (missed that one!).

She was having none of it - she's been waiting forever to see this movie and was visibly annoyed each time he whispered to her during the movie. I was trying hard not to laugh out loud or warn him off. Afterwards, I stood discreetly out of earshot while she told him he's moving too fast, she's not "there" yet, and hinted perhaps he should look for someone older who's more experienced than she is if he wants a make-out buddy, or worse. (Ouch!)
He was stunned, crushed, but not entirely dissuaded. He apologized profusely, hugged her goodbye, and told her again that he is content to stand by and "just talk" with her until she figures out what she wants to do re: the dating thing. She said she'd think about it, and bolted to the car. Two phone calls later, they've agreed to continue their daily chats about sports, cheerleading, youth court (he's a kid-judge, she's a kid-prosecutor), and take it from there.

All the while I've just wanted to shout: MOVE ON, KID! MOVE ON! Call her when you're 30!

Whatever the next hours/days/weeks entail, I do know one thing that should hold him off for a bit longer - she swore she'd never kiss anyone until her braces come off, so we're good to go until sometime in January, anyway!

This whole thing is keeping me up nights - of course I am pleased that she's keeping this strapping young lad at arms' length and making no bones about it with him, but on the other hand, I feel really bad for him. He's a popular kid and has plenty of other female options before him, but he's clearly smitten, despite all the teasing from his friends and hers about the age difference, and despite (or because of?) her aloof manner toward him. And make no mistake, my girl has a will of iron - flattery and persuasion will not win her over unless she's darn good and ready to be won. She does like the boy quite a bit - she is not trying to torment him, and is not keeping him at her beck and call simply because she can...she just doesn't want the PDA stuff. At all.

I don't know what will happen, but I do know one thing. It is not going to end well - someone's going to get their feelings hurt.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday Indeed

This story just absolutely sickens me.

Wal-Mart worker killed in Black Friday stampede

Is a friggin' flatscreen or GPS for your car worth doing this to someone?

I have never, ever shopped on "Black Friday" because the display of unbridled greed, materialism, and sickness of the human condition and culture in this country is too much to bear.

Lord have mercy on us all.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

It is almost 2 am. One more pie in the oven. Eyelids are drooping. 10 guests coming. Why do I do this to myself every year?
Answer: I love entertaining in our big formal dining room (our record is 21 at the table with an extra table added on at the end). I do not enjoy the hours of housecleaning and cooking on Wednesday, or how tired and edgy I am until the moment I sit down and eat in 7 minutes what it took me at least 7 hours to prepare. But a room full of people eating and chatting, rolling out the old family yarns and adding a new touch...well, it makes me strangely happy. And thankful.
Hope you all have a great day, too.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Well, now I've done it...

...I've quit my day job as of the end of this year so I can stay home full-time with the Boy and begin planning to - perhaps - homeschool the 11 y/o.

(Remember my prayer request several weeks back?)

No, I have not lost my mind. I will continue to teach an evening class or two each semester, and will take on some "contract work" (i.e., research and drafting for other lawyers) here and there as needed and as may come my way.

My partner in crime and punishment at work is crushed but 100% behind me. Especially because not paying my salary just made his spike!

My mother is freaked. I am officially a "failure" (she equates six-figure incomes with personal success in her children) and apparently I have gone off the "Radical Conservative/Catholic Deep End."

My friends, many of whom thought I was nuts enough for having a baby at 39, are horrified. The last of them just returned to work, all have kids in school and none have kids as young as mine. It's like I've gone in reverse while they are moving forward. I've fallen off a lot of invite lists this past year.

My Beloved has his resolute face on - he will be picking up some of the slack and taking a new, more lucrative job.

My kids are thrilled, especially Little Therese. Since starting middle school this fall, she of the 99 overall average has been called "retarded" (because she gets a 15 minute Aspie respite in a special ed room each day), taught recreational drug vernacular, and propositioned for sex - twice now - in the hallways by 8th grade repeaters, and the special ed handling of her "Aspie social deficit" consists of twice-weekly sessions where she is told to tutor and speak to a severely learning-disabled, behaviorally challenged scatalogically-fixated boy, who she describes as a "human swear word dictionary."

I've had enough. She is too good and pure to be subjected to this crap. So I'm putting an end to it...and to a lot of things my career has allowed us to do, see, purchase, and experience.

Please keep our family in your prayers as we make the adjustment. This was a long, difficult decision making process.

Christ the King

Well, one of my favorite Masses of the year and I ended up staying home with the Boy, who is feverish and blowing snot rockets. So I had to settle for watching Mass on EWTN, which even on a bad day is better than most Masses I've attended since moving to the DOR.

My love of this particular feast day was solidified by the good Augustinian fathers in San Diego, who did it up right. They processed in with a crown of thorns, which was placed next to the altar on a red velvet pillow, wearing their most striking red vestments. A surprising majority of parishioners wore red, too, including our little family. The homily was always excellent, with a meditation on the four "end considerations," discussion of the juxtaposition of the cruel crown our King was forced to wear, displayed on the luxurient fabric of worldly kings, and a solemn reminder about the finality of Christ's mission in the flesh...and then a hint of the beginning coming after today's end, with Advent just around the corner. Outstanding stuff.

Thanks to Fr. Tony and Fr. Tom out there in North Park for solidifying the importance and beauty of this Feast in my mind and in my heart with their devotion to this day, their excellent homilies, and learned counsel. I miss everything about my former parish and hometown.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

And you thought I was kidding...

Sadly, our #6 team lost a tough game to the #1 team (which, incidentally, just dropped down one Class to our dinky-school division this past season). The Cheerleader was brave until we got to the car, and then she burst into tears because the season's over, and because she saw the stricken faces of all the boys as they walked off the field. It really was wretched.

Given the sharp decline in enrollment (there are 2 seniors for every freshman at the school) and the fact that they already had 9 players doing double duty on offense and defense, only 6 returning juniors and not enough kids to field a JV squad after a few got hurt or quit...well...saying "we'll be back next year" is hollow rhetoric indeed. The curtain is slowly descending on both the football program and the school. It is very sad.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ahh Ahh Ahh...!

1. VON! That's VON Cheerleader who vants to see the T[v]ilight movie this veekend, but can't! [Ahh ahh ahh...!]
2. TWO! That's TWO dedicated parents who vill be driving her to Rochester to freeze their bahookies off vatching her cheer at an outdoor football playoff game in Rochester tomorrow.
3. THREE! There's THREE inches of snow predicted to fall in Rochester tomorrow!
4. FOUR! That's FOUR hours of driving for the TWO dedicated parents tomorrow to get the VON Cheerleader to the game in THREE inches of snow! [Ahh Ahh Ahh....!]
5. FIFTH! That's VON FIFTH of R-r-r-rumpleminze! That's vhat Kit vill have tucked in her parka tomorrow to be dumped into the hot chocolate during the game!
(Thank you to Fr. Erik and his Vampire posts for the inspiration...)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Helo Mom's Heartstrings Are Being Tugged

Okay, I have to say it - the Football Player is adorable inside and out. Because he adores my "extremely beautiful" daughter (of course), and because he has done wonders to rebuild her self confidence, (which was and remains severely damaged by the rotten mean girls/former friends she still has to contend with at school), by defending her publicly and reassuring her privately that she is well liked and respected by the older students for standing up to the pack of nasty girls. Turns out that one of their other middle school bullying victims is the younger sister of one of the Football Player's teammates. The mess for her started when she told them to leave the younger girl alone. Huge boost for her respect level among the older boys and fellow cheerleaders.

Better yet, he is being very gentlemanly and respectful of her timidity when it comes to the boyfriend-girlfriend thing, and has indicated that he is willing to wait as long as necessary until she is comfortable with him to renew his addresses. In the meantime, he has set down two rules:

1. Please don't die (i.e., while getting tossed about in the air during cheerleading practice) because someday, I plan to kiss you.

2. Please don't let any other boy but me be the first one to kiss you. That could result in such boy being a victim of Rule #1.

So far, she seems willing to abide by those rules. They will be going (separately) to the school play this weekend after the big game to watch various friends and teammates perform, and they plan to sit together. We shall see what transpires. I will be in a nearby row with the 11 y/o and perhaps a cattle prod or some pepper spray.

Ahhh, young love....or is it young like?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Welcome, Rochesterians!

Hmmmm....since posting Monday's offering, I've had a spike in hits from Rochester, NY.

Welcome to you all, whether from your homes or from your offices on Buffalo Road or elsewhere. I hope you enjoy reading the opinions expressed here. I hope you learn something, whether you take it to heart or merely absorb what's said as a means of studying your opposition.

I also hope and fervently pray that I never have to read another local news item like this. Is it too much to ask all of you suddenly visiting Rochesterians to pray for our One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, our priests, and their parishioners as well?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Someone's cranky....[edited]

...but maybe it's because he's an apostate married man who calls himself a priest!

All I can say is:

1. To "ElDoctorK": Suuuuhhhh-NAP!!!

2. To Rich: Thanks for all you do, and keep at it!

3. To the "Reverend":

a) Nice sweater and turtleneck. Makes quite a statement. Did you come up with the idea to do this video on your own? You don't have to answer that, on second thought.

b) I have lots of books at home too. How about giving some page, chapter, or code section citations to the texts you display that support your position. And hers. And his.

c) As one of "the others" you censure for expressing opinions contrary to yours and perhaps even those of the Bishop of Rochester (not to mention your poor misunderstood "good friend"), I can tell you that YES, I am a Christian. A Roman Catholic one at that (!) stuck in one of the worst-run, worst-reputed Dioceses in the Western Hemisphere. One who loves, reveres, and would like to practice the faith of my fathers without being subject to derision and labeled as an "extremist" for doing so by the Bishop and actual priests who work so hard to suppress and dilute the Faith in this Diocese. One who believes self-serving apostates masquerading as priests have zero authority to call out lay Catholics in full comminion with Rome for objecting to the liturgical abuses inflicted upon the people of St Anne's Church by a radical female activist wannabe priest and her sympathetic Bishop.

d) A video disavowing any support of married or womenpriests, lay homilists, liturgical puppetry, mimery, clowning, and/or dancing would be nice, too.

St. John Fisher, pray for us!

(P.S. Rich, not sure why you took the video down - I will maintain this link to youtube as long as the video remains "up" - anyone who wants to take a look at the video collection on youtube, have a gander at videos posted by "priestray" - have some Tums and/or Tylenol close by, though.)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

WONDERFUL news!!!!

I won't tell, but Thorn will....

Thank you Sts. Jude & Gerard for prayers answered.


Blog Holiday Potluck

All right - tonight we officially have our first snow here in the middle of nowhere, NY. Thanksgiving is coming up, then Advent, then's on! So, in the spirit of camaraderie and to provide some variety in all of our holiday menus, I propose a blog holiday potluck recipe exchange. Consider it a meme. And if you're reading this, you're tagged!

I've posted a new favorite (and easy) pork roast recipe over at my Brookside Bistro blog, and I invite you all to click on over and add a favorite holiday recipe to the comments (you can do it here, too). I'll post them all individually with backlinks to your blog.

C''ll be fun! Or would you rather watch the news?


P.S. Guys, favorite beer brands don't count. Talk to your brides, your moms, your parishioners - they'll hook you up!

Biden's Disconnection

That's what the Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee calls Biden's unwillingness to protect the unborn in his recent letter to the VP-to-be.

C'mon Bishops - man up and keep at it!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Happy Blog-Day to me...

Today is my one-year anniversary in blogdom! Kinda took me by surprise, actually. It's also the opening day of deer season here in NY - which triggered my memory, as deer season was the subject of one of my first posts. As I am off to the soggy wilds of Syracuse, here's a link to my thoughts then, which remain the same now.

Thanks to all of you for stopping by over the past year - it's been equal parts of fun, thought-provoking, edifying, and a downright honor to meet so many good, like minded people from all over the country and around the world. Thanks for your many kindnesses, your advice, your opinions, and most of all, your prayers. You are all in mine.

You've made my little corner of nowhere a better place.


Friday, November 14, 2008





In honor of my 300th post:

Good luck to the Cheerleader's football team in their tiny school division State quarterfinals tomorrow. Sadly, I fear they may go the way of King Leonidas and his companions...

"Remember this day, men, for it will be yours for all time!"

I must say, the movie was a bit gory, but well worth watching just to see that handsome Gerard Butler running around, being brave, saying cool stuff, bleeding....mostly shirtless....

For the record, being quite content with my Beloved, I do not lust after Mr. Butler in my heart...but I wouldn't mind having him, say, come over and do some yardwork at my house on a warm summer day while I supervised from the patio...he could take breaks and chat with me in that cute Scots brogue and stuff. Yep, that would be fine. If he wanted to drop by to practice and maybe improve his shotput skills while wearing a kilt and undershirt, that would be lovely as well...I'd make him some oatmeal:

Hee hee hee!

I will make the last of my Scott's tomorrow at dawn before trekking off to somewhere outside of Syracuse to get the girl to the game. And her Football Player, who persists in his attentions despite her gentle rebuffs. I feel a little sorry for him.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

No communion for BO supporters

Score one for this priest - article here.

(Psssssst! Father! The DOR needs you!)

San Diego de Alcala

Otherwise known as St. Didacus, celebrates his feast day today, and is the namesake of my former hometown. San Diego was a Franciscan friar and recluse, who eventually came to care for and effect seemingly miraculous cures for his patients (convent and monastery fellow religious.)

The Mission San Diego de Alcala is the oldest in California, founded by Bl. Junipero Serra in 1769. The site of the mission changed due to earthquakes and fire over the years, and it fell into disuse and ruin from shortly after the Civil War until the early 20th century.

After its restoration and renovation, the Sisters of Nazareth (from Ireland) began an orphanage and boarding school attached to the Mission. It is a beautiful site and a great school - my girls attended before the Beloved's retirement and our move to NY. Two years ago, the Sisters' decades-long tenure ended and Nazareth School was taken over by the Diocese.

If you're in the area and have an hour or two to tour gardens, check out the museum and attend Mass, it's a lovely place to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Break from Bitter

Courtesy of our dear Clam

You Are Fozzie Bear

"Wocka! Wocka!"

You're the life of the party, and you love making people crack up.

If only your routine didn't always bomb!

You may find more groans than laughs, but you always keep the jokes coming.

And once again

Bishop Clark has just been sued for having actual/constructive knowledge of sexual abuse and failing to act - article here.

Lord, have mercy.

The Jackals Are Out

Not surprisingly, scammers are already out there selling "tickets" to The One's inauguration on January 20th, thereby demonstrating that the spirit of capitalism may well survive the next four years.

Me, well, you won't find me within short-range missile distance of Obamagrad* on January 20th. I will be in NYC spending my money on other forms of theatre.

* All it takes is an Executive Order,!


I need them. Every time I hear the words "President-Elect Obama" I have this immediate urge to either throw things at the tv, rip out the car radio, or engage in an impromptu primal scream therapy session. (<--This would scare the baby.) So I think I need to find some earplugs. .

After yesterday's leaks to the press regarding The One's meeting with Bush, the stats saying that 72% of us believe The One can fix the economy, the re-emergence of Farrakhan and Wright to discuss The One, and the overall cockiness of The One and his entourage.....


[Excuse the interruption, primal scream event in progress]

I may have to give up all external media until America sees the light.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank you

To all of our service members...for your service, for your sacrifice, for the scars we can see and those we can't.

God bless you all.

It occurs to me that Veterans Day is enjoyed as a "day off" for more non-vets than for vets - think of our active, former, and retired service members, who now continue their service in civilian law enforcement, firefighting, and other jobs that keep us safe. Be sure to thank those you know, and maybe even those you don't, when you're enjoying a stroll at a park or hitting the sales at the mall.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy 233rd Birthday, Marines!

To all our beloved Marines out there, present and future....

...there is no such thing as a "past" Marine - once a Marine, always a Marine!

It all began at Tun Tavern:

The Establishment of the United States Marine Corps.

10 November 1775

Resolved, That two Battalions of marines be raised, consisting of one Colonel, two Lieutenant Colonels, two Majors, and other officers as usual in other regiments; and that they consist of an equal number of privates with other battalions; that particular care be taken, that no persons be appointed to office, or inlisted into said Battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve to advantage by sea when required: that they be inlisted and commissioned to serve for and during the present war between Great Britain and the colonies, unless dismissed by order of Congress: that they be distinguished by the names of the first and second battalions of American Marines, and that they be considered part of the number which the continental Army before Boston is ordered to consist of.

Source: Journal of the Continental Congress, 10 November 1775, in William Bell Clark, editor

Celebrating the Marine Corps Birthday is a time-honored tradition. No matter where they are - in the field, on base, at a swanky hotel, in a VFW Lodge in rural America with no one in the room under the age of 60 - there are Marines of all ages celebrating at a Marine Corps Ball. There's a message from the Commandant, speeches from the local commanding officer, veteran or current Marines, ceremonies depicting the history of the Corps and my favorite:

...honoring the oldest and youngest Marines present with a slice of USMC birthday cake.
(If the Marine can't get to the party, the party is brought to the Marine! I love this picture - it's hard to see, but there are two slices of cake on the table, one for the oldest and youngest Marines in the photo!)
The wives and sweethearts are dressed to the nines in formal ballgowns, the Marines are in their dress blues - some even have the formal "evening wear" version!
Standard dress - but trust me, there's nothing "standard" about a handsome Marine in dress blues!

Evening dress (cool enough on your screen, but it transports you to a beautiful, bygone era to see these gorgeous uniforms on our proud, brave men and women in person!)

The Dress Whites are for special duty - depending on where you are, you may catch a special performance by the USMC Silent Drill Team or Drum & Bugle Corps on Birthday weekend! (I can guarantee you that dog has one of two names: Chesty or Gunny!)

And at the bigger, on-base USMC Balls, the Band will play on!

The Marine Corps hymn - here

No matter how you dress 'em up, the indomitable spirit of our brave Marines never changes:“We're surrounded...that simplifies our problem!"

"All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, they're behind us...they can't get away this time!"
-Chesty Puller, USMC

Have a very Happy Birthday, Marines, wherever you may find yourselves today. Prayers for your health and safety, and heartfelt thanks to Marines of all ages for your service and dedication to preserving our freedom and security against all enemies foreign and domestic.

Special Happy Birthday shout-out to our dear Cavey, his fellow Leatherneck Bloglodytes, and his House Sergeant Major, too!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Prop 8 Protests

Imagine this, only exponentially worse, had Obama lost. Apparently democracy is only fair and honorable if your agenda wins.

(Annoying self-starting video removed - link to KTLA here)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Courting vs. Dating, Part 1

The events of this past week have set my motherly mind to work, perhaps a little late, but not TOO late, on the best way to approach the impending dating career of my eldest child.

As many of you already know, the Beloved's got a neo-rad-trad contingent in his family that goes the "Cath-mish" route on everything from cloistering to clothing to courting. No unsupervised co-ed visitation, no touching, no impure thoughts allowed. (1)

That's a bit extreme and unwieldy for us. So is the common practice of my daughter's 14 year old peers being allowed to go out with any boy who asks, and/or to grab a sleeping bag and hop into cars full of slightly older kids whose driver's licenses are still warm from the laminator to head out to the post-football game bonfires....with beer and pot provided by the "cool" "hang out" with an older boy who invited them. No thanks. (2)

So the questions arise: how do you find a happy medium? And what's the difference between "courting" and "dating" anyway?

Here's my take:

Dating is what most of us did in high school - being asked out by/asking out your latest "crush" and heading out to movies, malls, school dances, parties, undisclosed parking areas (....!) without adult supervision, and peer attendance/participation becoming more and more optional as the dating couple progresses to full-on "going out" or exclusivity with one person. Not much has changed, except maybe that our kids are better versed in the various forms of VD (and institutionalized hands-on instruction in the importance of condom use to prevent it) than we were. (Ack!)

Courting is the "old fashioned" concept of a young man coming over in his best clothes, flowers in hand, to stay for dinner so he can see and spend time with the girl he's interested in, but just as importantly, the purpose is to meet the parents and extended family, befriend them, and to be considered as a potential future son in law. The couple is never unchaperoned or alone, and chastity of dress and behavior is expected at all times. No physical contact is considered - the point is to get to know the person, not to rate their comparative cup size or kissing prowess. The ultimate goal is selecting a future spouse. Courting, not surprisingly, is the preferred ritual among the very traditional, orthodox and/or the homeschooling set, for reasons that are self-evident.

From all that I've seen in person and from the reading I've done online and at home, I've extrapolated and would submit the following summary:

1. Dating celebrates the cultus of the body, while courting promotes the vocation, sacrament, and sanctity of marriage;

2. Dating emphasizes variety and quantity in discerning who the "ideal" mate is, while courting focuses on quality - the discernment of character before exploring physicality in a relationship; and

3. Dating puts control largely in the hands of the child, while courting emphasizes parental/family involvement.

There are good and bad points to both concepts, of course. On one side, yes, I want my daughters to meet and get to know any number of young men so they can develop their instincts about "good boys" and "bad boys" - who to avoid, and what qualities to look for in a young man who might one day be worthy of their time and attention. On the other, I'm not about to let them say yes to anyone who asks, or otherwise to engage in any activity that calls their good reputations into question.

As far as physicality goes, I think going to school dances, holding hands, and [low-impact] kissing are rites of passage in high school. Becoming a mother next summer after having too much fun at a football bonfire last fall, or being required to get Gardasil injections as a preemptive strike in your premarital sex life...not so much.

Unsupervised opportunities for physical contact and sexual activity in the dating context invites disaster. Period. But at the same time, completely excising the physicality from a budding relationship creates an artifice - not to mention encouraging your Juliet to sneak off with her Romeo - because physical attraction is an essential ingredient to a happy, healthy spiritual relationship with your marriage partner. Keeping that physicality in check, but not forbidding it outright...well there's the conundrum. (I was going to say "rub" but, well, let's not go there.) If someone can come up with a way to get those raging teen hormones under control, let me know - I'll help you get the patent if you can bottle it. I'm a mom looking for a miracle.

This brings up the next question: what is the parent's role in all of this?

As for that third prong of my summary, well, let's face it - my own experience has made me into the world's biggest hypocrite when it comes to the prospect of encouraging any child to live chastely and to imitate Christ - much less to follow my parental example. I have no grounds to lecture anyone. If I were my kid, I'd kill me! (3)

So I am not one to be doling out advice to my child on how to be modest and chaste in dating relationships - I never was, certainly - but I find the micromanagement of courting to be a bit oppressive, and its purpose premature at this stage of the game. At the same time, BECAUSE of the tender age involved in my case, I think supervision is absolutely necessary.

I want to know exactly who the boy is, what his interests are, who his family and friends are, because if there's anything or anyone questionable, as a parent it is my OBLIGATION to protect and educate my child about the occasion of sin and how to avoid it. And while I have absolutely no problem doing so, I don't want to do it in such a Draconian manner that my children cannot feel comfortable discussing things with me, try to hide information...or sneak off like I did!

CCC Section 1632 states:

"It is imperative to give suitable and timely instruction to young people, above all in the heart of their own families, about the dignity of married love, its role and its exercise, so that, having learned the value of chastity, they will be able at a suitable age to engage in honorable courtship and enter upon a marriage of their own."
[Emphasis mine]

So back to the main issue. The problem is walking the fine line between the two - dating vs courting - and that's what I'm dealing with when it comes to this senior boy and his crush on my freshman daughter. He seems to be instinctively following the courting route, changing his tactics once he realized that dating this younger girl was not an option. (See (2) below). He gets high marks for figuring this out on his own and for offering to forego the end-of-season blowout bonfire bash with his friends to come over and talk with a younger girl and her parents.

I just have to spend some time with him trying to discern whether his intentions are truly good, or if it's all for show. I also want to be there to promote the possibility of having fun and innocence within the relationship to try and avoid the inevitable drama and hurt feelings on either side. Wish me luck. I'll continue to post on this topic as I'm in the process of forming my own, better understanding along the way. Maybe I'll write a book and call it "How to Date in a Courtly Manner" ( read it here first, so let's call it a copyright) ;-)

Here are a few articles by Catholics and non-Catholics that I found to be interesting and helpful:

Family Life Center resource page here

A Catholic Critique of a Current Notion of Courtship (by an FUS alumna, Shell!)

Catholic Online - article from the Arlington Catholic Herald

A non-Catholic Christian perspective here

I've got some book recommendations, and will share them once I've actually done the work myself.

End Notes:

(1) We are not like that, thus we are unworthy of full communion with them, lest we or our school-going children foul the waters. But that's for another time and another post.

(2) To give credit where it is due, without even asking me first, she has refused her older Cheerleader friends' invitations to these gatherings. The Football Player asked her to the movies in lieu of attending this weekend's post-playoff-game bonfire bash - the last one of his HS football career at that. Good kid. But she's not going out anywhere with him, and she's told him so. He has now asked me if he might come over to meet us instead. I want to adopt him like a little puppy, he's so darn cute. But all puppies eventually pee on your carpet, so I'm keeping a close eye on him.

(3) Major CINO, no catechism growing up, parents who divorced and explored their - ahem - SELVES in the mid '70's and were so wrapped up in the "ME generation"/disco decadence culture that my siblings and I had ZERO supervision, were asked little and told even less about what we were up to. Me, well, I was an honor student and never got in trouble, mainly because I was too smart to get caught. Adult me grieves for teen-aged me, because even then I knew something was missing - I craved my mother's notice, but got little (beyond derision) when I screwed up, and even less when I did well. And that was just high school. Then I was a Big 10 school-going sorority queen in the late '80's, had a blast, had no rules and even less inhibitions - as long as I paid my own way, I could go off on whatever Spring-break bacchanalia I wanted. I'm striving to do the opposite as a mother. So far, so good...but we're just starting to hit the big stuff. I pray to St. Anne, but then I've got St. Monica for backup.