Thursday, January 31, 2008

Oh, all RIGHT!!!

More fun with avatars...the girls wanted to make a daddy avatar. He has been awarded a spot on the sidebar. Out of privacy concerns for the family - especially when one has adolescent females to protect - I don't use their names or put their "real "pictures up. Similarly, while I use my real nickname (Kit), my last name on the blog is a derivation (translated from its European origin) of my real maiden name. If I ever write a cheap, trashy romance novel...well, you'll know it's me!

Ok. Part III (the rest of the story)*

...moving right along.

So, we were married, bought a nice little house in Scottsdale, and now all I wanted was a baby to make the picture complete. Wanted one real bad. I'd met my soulmate, I knew I was in a very safe, secure place, and I wanted a new life and a new family of my own - mostly to make up for the craziness I grew up with.

One thing my husband told me early on in our engagement was that before he met me, he'd pretty much decided he was going to remain a bachelor (some bad hurt feelings in his past), or if he did stumble and get married, he certainly did not want children because of the "bad state" of things in the world. (Being from a big family also played into it, but he is reluctant to admit it.) But then, he said, he looked me in the eye on one of our nearly-non-verbal, excruciatingly uncomfortable early dates, as I was trying desperately to entertain him with some amusing story, and it struck him, full force, that he wanted to see his - our - children looking back at him through those same big brown, laughing eyes (awwww!). [Aside: Incidentally, he has yet to attain that...we have two - and likely a third - hazel-eyed little beasts. The boy is still changing from baby blue-grey to his big boy color, but his shade's just like the older two as babies.]

So I thought it was a sure thing. Time to get to work. And then he said no. He wanted to wait, enjoy being a newlywed couple for a year or two, and then get to work. But, as I pointed out, I had taken the semester off from the Masters program to get married, and wanted to go to law school. If we waited for all of that, I'd be close to 30, and too OLD to be a mom (snort!). He stood firm, and wanted to know which contraceptive method I thought would be best. Our first serious philosophical difference. Not that I had any problem (then) with contraception, but it did not fit in to my plans for marriage, at least not at that point. I had clear ideas of having 4 properly spaced, adorable children. (More than that, well, ya gotta figure one's always running free, because the parents have no more hands!). We argued, I was crushed and turned inward and away, wondering if I was being selfish. After about a month of impasse, I got a puppy - my first golden retard - to love instead. I refused to use any birth control, or to have him do so (more out of sheer stubbornness than any particular moral or religious conviction), so we decided to try NFP. It didn't work. I got the puppy and probably got pregnant the same day. :)

Five weeks into the pregnancy, I got up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain, feeling like my abdomen was being torn apart from the inside. My husband was snoring away. I crawled to the bathroom, sure that I was going to find myself in the midst of a miscarriage, but needing to know for sure before I called for him. Incredibly, no signs of it. But the pain got worse and worse, until I couldn't stop shaking, and sweat was exuding from every pore on my body - from my scalp to my fingertips and even the tops of my toes. I was going into shock, and finally, I realized I was crying. Then my husband was there, white-faced and terrified. As a military firefighter, he had been a certified EMT for years and immediately knew I was in trouble. He assessed me as best he could, picked me up out of the pool I was laying in (it was like a crime scene outline of me, but drawn in my own sweat! Eeew!), wrapped me in a blanket, put me in the car, and we flew to the hospital - no time for an ambulance. I was on the verge of passing out...until the ER docs introduced me to my first Foley catheter...and then all I remember is that there was a blur of tests, tubes, wires and electrodes sticking out of every limb, several docs and nurses chattering on the other side of the curtain about potential diagnoses, and then a bossy, foul mouthed specialist of some sort coming in and asking if anyone had bothered to do an ultrasound yet to check on the baby. "No, there's a 2-hour wait to get her up to radiology." She started yelling at everyone - "WTF are you doing with this patient, looking for a 4th to play bridge? She needs answers!" - and no, they were NOT sending me off to radiology when you can find out what you need to know from here. Just like that, she ordered the ER's ultrasound machine brought to the bedside. (I'm lolling about, hovering on the edge of consciousness, in horrible pain but thinking "Yeah! DUH! What she said!").

Then the "virago" from the other side of the curtain swept in...a tiny, delicate, beautiful little lady with a long curly ponytail, smiling a sweet and calming smile... and she started patting my hand and arm, wiping my face and neck with cool cloths to make sure I was alert, all the while talking gently and quietly to me about the pregnancy, how she was sure it was fine, and that the debate was about my appendix, kidney stones, a ruptured ovarian cyst, or - highly doubtful - an ectopic pregnancy. So she wanted to do the ultrasound right then and there. Within a minute, I saw my first miracle. At 5 weeks, there was just a tiny little white strand on the screen, fluttering madly. I looked at the ekg monitor and saw my own heartbeat. Then I looked at the screen again and saw a much faster little ekg racing along and knew that it was the "flutter" that belonged to that tiny little white creature who, while attached to me, was running a separate little operation of [her] own. I looked at the doc, she grinned and said "Well, looks like you've got a perfect little 5-weeker in there! God is great!" and she left. The tears just slid down my face. And despite not knowing whatever else was going on with me, I felt this great, overwhelming calm wash over me. The ferociously cussing - yet cherubic - doc was right. God is great. I was not losing this baby. I saw that little life, it was part of me, and [she] was alive. Not an embryo, not a fetus, but a tiny, mighty little heart was beating ferociously deep inside and a foot or so beneath mine.

This was it - my final conversion. I lay there, crying without a sound for awhile, thinking back on my wild years, my liberal arts education and resultant liberal political thinking, my sliding-scale morality ("I'd never have an abortion, but I'd never tell anyone else they can't, it's their body, it's an embryo, not a person," etc.), my anger at a God, who I'd been told all my life I was not good enough for by a number of really awful people, and all of the contrariness in my thinking that sprang from that - poor priests who misled me and likely so many others, my wretched post-Catholic upbringing with divorced parents who'd acted like alley cats in heat all through the 70's to the exclusion of providing any moral guidance to 4 adrift kids, my nasty new holier-than-the-pope-let-alone thou inlaw(s)...and yet in that moment, I managed to forgive most of what I'd been raised on, and determined to make my own life better through studying all of these issues of faith, culture, and morality as I waited for this new life to come into the world. A nurse came in to check on me and slipped something into the IV to make me sleep. Later on that day, still no diagnosis other than a strange amount of fluid in the abdomen, I was sent home. On to my new life. Waiting to meet the life who very likely saved my eternal life.

About 8 months later, just before our first anniversary, little miss 13-going-on-35 arrived - as beautiful and well-mannered a baby as I'd ever dreamed she'd be. I looked at my beloved a few days after we brought her home and asked him if he was glad that we'd been surprised with this little one despite his wishes...and he asked me if I minded being married to the stupidest man alive. We're coming up on 15 years this spring.

I have told this story several times over the years to people who ask me why I am so adamantly against abortion. If just one other person, hearing it, could understand, and maybe even experience that moment as I did - that absolute truth and the peace that came along with it - and pass it along to another...and if it changed just one heart and mind, saved one life, I'd feel like my life's work was done. Whatever my professional life has been or holds in store, it is nothing compared to the possibility of persuading just one person that life is beautiful, that each life is precious and has dignity, that yes, tiny little strands on a screen are persons developing, growing, adn waiting to meet you with their sassy attitudes and hazel eyes....I will never, ever give up the fight. And if you are reading this, I hope you feel the same.

(*There could be a "Part IV" one of these days, but this is the pivotal point that I wanted to share.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


To WhiteStoneNameSeeker and Mother's Pride for the "Excellent" award! It has been so fun getting to know everyone these past few months. I still have much to learn (like how to link within posts, for one thing...) but in the meantime, I shall bestow my 10 awards as follows (links are at the sidebar!)

1. Digital Hairshirt - my soul sister on the SoCal lawyer scene, who has such a great sense of humor and excellent taste in obscure music

2. That Gem of a Karen at Gem of the Ocean - for introducing me to so many of you, and for pretty much all of her stated personal convictions, which I share

3. Ma Beck - shares the baby road and lives in the Homeland (Chicagoland). Is it Portillo's or the original Billy Goat?

4. Dymphna at Dymphna's Road - always interesting, her depth and soulfulness exude from the
screen (and I love the thought of her at Mass in her red veil!)

5. A Thorn in the Pew - her intentions are in my prayers

6. Fr. R. at Orthometer - funny, in that 40 days in the [Utah] desert kind of dry way that is rare and AWESOME

7. Fr. F. at Bonfire of the Vanities - I wish he and his homilies were closer than Piqua...

8. Adrienne's Catholic Corner - for her work in RCIA, her educational and insightful posts are great, and she's nice as heck! (Italy WILL be on the itinerary, I promise!)

9. Kelly at Answering the Call - she is in RCIA and on her way home. She is really working hard and deserves this - and as much prayer and encouragement support as you can send her way

10. The heavenly Angela Messenger - so loving and kind and thoughtful to all.

11. (OK, had to run over) The Lair of the Catholic Cavemen. You don't have to like it, you don't have to agree with all you see, but you will laugh. Besides, I have a tender spot for my Marines, especially the naughty ones who nevertheless lead upright lives. Semper Fi, Cavey!


Shamelessly borrowed from the highly entertaining Catholic Cavemen...

Goofy stuff

UPDATE: The girls wanted in on it, too...enjoy!
My oldest and I had fun over the weekend making up avatars for the family on and - I made one for each aspect of my everyday life (see sidebar). It's so like me...if I ever get around to adding some collagen in the lips and regaining my formerly visible waistline. Oh well. Silly but fun.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Mille Grazie!

Thanks to St. Anthony for finding what I never knew I lost!

Another cold, grey day here, kids (and thus I) home from school for some sort of teacher's in-service day to grade recent NYS math and English tests, and I am supremely annoyed with the older two because my linen closet is ALWAYS in disarray, empty, jumbled, or a combination thereof. We have 22 towels for 5 people (one of whom is quite small). Each bed has 2-3 sets of sheets, which are folded neatly by me, but somehow end up crammed on shelves, separated, pillow cases mismatched...maddening. I have tried everything - color coding, stacking by family member, rationing, death threats - to no avail. So I feel my Irish rising and start tearing everything discover, nestled behind some nice flannel wads of sheets, one of my most favorite girlie things. My last (and I'd thought used) bar of Santa Maria Novella "Garofano" (Carnation-scented) milk soap. Oh joy! Oh rapture! I bought it in Italy (Firenze, near the basilica and piazza of the same name) a few years ago when we took a family trip to Italy. The scent is so....lush and feminine, I guess, without being too flowery. It made my day, and a fabulous hot soak to soothe my hot temper.

The Farmacia Santa Maria Novella dates back to the early 1200's, when the Dominicans began their own distillery and formulated herbal remedies, and then came under the patronage and exclusive control of the Medicis in the 1600's. They make all kinds of good stuff - perfumes, soaps, skin and body care, candles, potpourri, all from recipes and formulas that are hundreds of years old. You can buy a few items online through sites like, some of the tonier department stores, and they have satellite stores in major cities in Europe (I hit the one in London (Chelsea) in 2003) as well as NYC and (I think) LA. The latte per il corpo (body milk) is wonderful, smells like fresh roses, as is the men's version - soft and spicy. The baby soap and lotion is one of a kind. I use it on me more than on the baby! Mmmmmm.....

My ideal dream-job retirement fantasy would be to run a SMN store in LaJolla, or maybe on Maui...

The Basilica Santa Maria Novella The Sales Room at the Farmacia

The Spice Room (Compounding/Distillery)
It's gorgeous, and well worth a stop if you are in Florence...or anywhere you can find a shop!

Oh yeah. The linen closet still looks like hell. :)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Vacation Poll

UPDATE: The poll is acting up...and I have no clue how to fix it! Feel free to respond via combox. And to reassure those who wonder, I have indeed forded the Tiber several times and would love to again. However, 3-4 days in Italy is NOT ENOUGH!!! So no slight intended to bella Italia. I just love it too much for this trip!

As many know, I turn 40 on Easter - all sorts of fun symbolism there, resurrection, life begins at 40, etc. I was all set to run off to Mexico for a week, leaving on the big night, with one of my dear friends/godmother to the boy, a beloved male friend of ours, who was also set to celebrate his 40th, and a group of 5 other grown-ups to an all-inclusive resort to bake my hide, pickle my liver, get massaged and facialed...and then my birthday buddy had to drop out for financial reasons, and the spirit of fun kinda fell out the bottom and we all decided to cancel. But my beloved knows I need to get away, and we are trying to decide how and where. As a family? Just the two of us? Cheap Europe trip? Islands? Or suck it up, get over it, stay home and save the money? Hard to know, and with the season approaching, I must make up my mind. I am open to suggestion!

Fiber is fun!

Okay, sometimes it's the little things...

I'm sitting here under the SEB (sweet electric blanket) because it is a cold, cruddy, gray day. It needs to snow or get off the pot. Then, I hear the side door thunking shut and the roar of a departing truck, which means some sort of parcel is here. No idea what it might be, Christmas is way over, and I have ordered nothing since well before. So I dragged myself away from my novel to see what might be here gray day is immediately brightened!

Yay! It's one of my strange favorite things....Scott's Porage Oats, which I have to get online through British specialty stores. I picked some up at a British shop[pe] over the summer when I was back in Chicagoland, and became an addict. But there's nothing close to that kind of shop here in the middle of nowhere. So after we ran out, I found it online and ordered 2 big boxes. I reordered about a month ago and it was backordered. Totally forgot about it with the holidays, travel, etc.

Anyway...I LOVE THIS STUFF!!! (It's not the guy in the kilt, honest.) For some reason, despite all the Quaker, Silver Palate, Bushmill, steel cut, hand rolled by blind midgets at a Croatian orphanage varieties of oatmeal you can find out there these days, Scott's, cooked with more milk than water with a bit of salt and brown sugar tossed in, is THE BEST. Now, to our British and Scots friends, this is probably as bland and bourgeois as it gets -- maybe Scott's is the Quaker Instant of the UK -- but I tell you, nothing comes close. My beloved is making beady eyes at the boxes and asking if it's wrong to have oatmeal for lunch, so I know it's not just me.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Practicing, Part II

As promised...the rest of the story from one of my November posts.

I saved this for January because, well, I started this blog during the holidays, AND because of this month's focus on Life issues.

So there I was, in my dissolute early 20's, totally adrift and living the life of the late 80's/early 90's. Hair and shoulderpads were big, I was thinner and lovelier...and miserable. I was in serially monogamous 1-2 year dating relationships looking for something that the young men I associated with simply could not provide. I had finished college a year early, was all set to go to law school, but (thankfully) had a 21 year old's rare moment of clarity - I was not ready. SO I worked for a year and started grad school instead. Still trying to find love, acceptance, and ... something (permanent, meaningful, etc.) that I had always lacked in my post-nuclear family.

Then I was set up on a blind date with - ack - an enlisted Marine recruiter. As a spoiled ex-sorority chick and daughter of a former Naval officer/dentist, this was unthinkable, but I was between boyfriends and up for anything new and interesting. We went to a surprisingly highbrow, happenin' place. He did not speak much. He knew our cocktail waitress (gorgeous blonde bombshell - his ex-girlfriend's roomate as it turned out), and chatted more with her than with me. When he went to drop me off at my apartment, he pulled up to the curb and did not even offer to open the car door, much less walk me to my apartment door. I was disgusted. I waited for at least 2 minutes (long time when an uncomfortable silence is in progress). The car idled. He did not move, he did not speak. I finally gave up, shook my head and hopped out. Just as I went to slam the door on a strange, wasted night, he caught it and asked me if I'd go out with him again (WHAT?!?) As the "Nnnnn" of "NO!" started to form on my lips, something came over me and for reasons still unknown, "Yeah, sure" came out instead. (HT to the Holy Spirit?!?). I told my mother the next day that I'd been on the worst date ever, with this older Marine guy, and she laughed when I told her that I'd spoken in tongues and said "yes" instead of "no" to another date. But I also told her, not completely joking, that there was something really strange about this guy, and either he was a serial killer, or I'd end up marrying him. We both cracked up, and she told me to cancel...but I said no. I was a poor working student, always up for free food, and I figured I'd order lobster or something obnoxious to compensate me for what would be another lost weekend evening.

For the next 4 weeks, we saw each other once or twice a week, and through it all, this odd, silent man refused to do more than walk me to the stairs to my apartment, and had never made any sort of "move" on me - not even a hand-hold attempt. So I gave up on him, because I figured either he was some combination of snotty/crazy/stupid/a killer or, somehow, I was not appealing to him, but looked damn good at his side on dates. My sense of self worth was tied to being groped (or not), I suppose you could say, in the shallow, vain (and fabulous) days of my youth. :) I told the friend who'd set us up that I was not going to see him anymore. Within 5 minutes, he was on the phone, assuring me that he DID like me, he was quiet by nature, and that he had never tried to touch me or walk me to my door because he did not want me to be offended or think that he wanted to be asked inside. (What?!? Chivalry is NOT dead?) I was astonished. 3 weeks later (after some all-night phone chats and - finally - some rather chaste smooching) I was presented with a gorgeous engagement ring. Whoa. NOT ready for that, at all, and the "Nnnn" thing happened again...but it came out "Nnnn...okay!" Again, some larger force was at work and literally changing what came out of my mouth.

10 months later, we were married, a lovely Nuptial Mass, full military uniforms, gorgeous. We were both cradle Catholics (he had a much more conventional and devout upbringing than I did), but looking back, even though we did all our pre-Cana stuff and had our paperwork in order to obtain the Sacrament of Marriage, neither of us knew the true Sacramental nature of what we were doing. To make matters worse, my husband's brother was married to a serious zealot, who (though younger, raised in a highly insular homeschooling family, and not nearly as educated or worldly as moi) presumed to lecture me on the eve of my wedding about Catholicism, assured me that, being from a "broken family" I was never going to be accepted by her or my husband's family, had no idea what a real wife's duties were (I intended to keep working and then go to law school the following year), and for all this and many other sins, would go to Hell because I was not a "real" Catholic. After the wedding she cornered me and demanded to know why not everyone in the church knelt during the consecration. "Not everyone in the church is Catholic" (Uh oh. Not a good enough answer. I wondered to myself if that was some sort of faux pas, should we have planned better, given out instructions in the Wedding Mass program?)

But anger overtook that moment of self-doubt. Another Catholic - one who wore her "orthodoxy" on her sleeve and prides herself on being the model Catholic wife and mother, was telling me I was not good enough to be a Catholic, a wife, a member of the family, etc. (15 years later, we still cannot abide one another - I really did try for the first 10, but her hard heart and my hard head have prevailed.) However, I credit her with blowing some of that hot air to spark and fan the flames of my Faith - I was going to start reading up and fighting back. Surely, "good" Catholics were not supposed to be so hateful and judgmental. I had to start gathering an arsenal to fight back - quotes from Scripture (nothing like calling me out on the speck in my eye when she had a log in her own...), the Catechism, whatever it took. I was going to refute every rotten, insulting thing she said to me using her own material to do it. (Future lawyer in me, I guess.)

Part III to follow...

OK, I can't help it...

Nice baby at Christmas...
[pic deleted at family's request - sorry!]

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"Survivor 73"

This is the shirt my 13 year old wears to her quasi-Catholic school on "free dress" days - we bought it at the EWTN gift shop 18 months ago...(story for a later time). This is what it says:
Since 1973 1/3 of my generation
has been slaughtered
by abortion at the date of
4000 babies per day.
My friends....My classmates....My generation
compromised by the selfishness of others.
As a survivor I will not let
future generations be murdered
in the name of convenience.
I will not be silent.
I will not forget
I will not compromise.
She gets unfavorable looks from some of the leftist teachers and crap from some of her classmates, but she stands firm, and she answers questions and critics. I hope and pray she remains resolute and active in the fight.
Anyway. It's available on the EWTN website catalogue under "specialty items" and "apparel" (I have yet to figure out how to link stuff - sorry)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Home again, home again


I have to say it (because I am totally unbiased, of course...) I have a spectacular baby. Scream-free flyer, smiled at all the relatives (except one I cannot stand - cried when she tried to come near him...extra points!), snuggled with many, but especially with his 18 year old cousin/my nephew-godson, who let him chew on his x-box remote and canceled plans with friends because, as he said, "I got a better offer."

Friday, January 18, 2008

On the road again

Tomorrow I will be the person everyone hates...on a plane, with the plague, and the coup de grace...a BABY! Off to the homeland (Chicago) for a family event, just me and the wee one, as he is a free lap-rat passenger. As previously mentioned, I now dread flying (which I used to love, pre-children) but strangely, this trip doesn't seem to be freaking me out yet. Probably because the older ones will remember me if I go down in flames, and the little one will be with me. Kinda sick logic, but so far, so good. A little DayQuil, a few airplane-size bottles of hooch and some baby Benadryl in a dropper and I will be golden...

Say a prayer and wish me luck!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

St. Maria Goretti - Patron of Teens and Purity

It's a cold, crummy day here...perfect movie day! My eldest was confirmed in November, and she took "Maria" as her Confirmation name in honor of her favorite Saint.* I bought a biopic (Italian, with English dubbed in) on Maria from Ignatius Press as one of her gifts, but it did not make it in time, so I saved it for Christmas. We finally cracked it out this morning and watched it.
While not really historically accurate in terms of Maria's passion, the film was nicely done, shot on or near the actual location, and compelling enough for Little Miss 13-going-on 35 to watch -- and weep -- with great interest. After we watched it, she told me about all the missing info, the miracles, and the fact that her murderer and her mother sat side by side at her canonization in 1950. (I forgot she did a research paper in her regular school religion class at the same time we were going through the Confirmation process.)
I have often thought that St. Maria Goretti merits her own devotional scapular, as she was stabbed while protecting her virginity and actually died looking at a painting of the Blessed Mother on her hospital room wall...
OK, I won't give any more away if you have never heard of or read the life of this brave young Saint. 0:-)
*See combox for uncharitable Confirmation info

Friday, January 11, 2008

Jane alert!

Starting January 13th, PBS' Masterpiece Theatre will begin showing adaptations of each of her major novels, plus a biography special...always good girl-night fodder at our house.

I have been a Jane Austen fan since reading Sense & Sensibility the summer after 7th grade, way before it was "cool" (i.e., a good 15 years before Colin Firth came out of that pond in his wet shirt...). Not a rabid JASNA member, Jane-ite or vitriolic scholar type, just an ardent admirer. I have read everything there is -- Juvenilia, letters, biographies, etc., and of course have watched the numerous adaptations of each novel. Her work was/is to me what JK Rowling's is to this generation, I suppose. I keep a copy of Pride & Prejudice in my nightstand, as my 35 year old Steiff teddy bear is a bit more fragile (she's on top of the armoire keeping an eye on me from afar, however). Call it my literary blankie.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

January and Respect for Life

As mentioned below, I watched Into Great Silence this weekend and I was fascinated.

[SPOILER ALERT -- for those who don't want to know anything about it, stop here...]

Amazingly, so were the beloved husband and girls. It was so compelling that, as we watched, whenever the kids had questions, or we'd "ooh" and "ahh" at the incredible mountain landscape around the monastery, or try to guess what was coming next, we whispered all these things to each other like we were intruding on their privacy in a reverent-yet-voyeuristic way. Aside from generally marveling at the life these men lead, feeling exhilarated when they snowboarded, fell, and laughed out loud, I was moved to tears watching a younger monk tend to an elderly one, and again when this elderly, blind monk spoke about his faith and mortality. Well worth the rental or the buy.

I spent another two hours looking at the rest of the special features (including the extended version of the blind monk interview), the history (rise and post-Reformation and especially the post-French Revolution fall) of so many of the chapter houses. But at the very end, looking at notes sent back and forth between the filmmaker and the monks was this little gem that I think is a lovely way to start contemplating January's message, that we have to shout from the rooftops all year long:

I was still within
my mother's breast
when the Lord's call came

In her womb*
I was still at rest
When he called my name

(* the original French word used was actually "entrailles" so I freely admit that translate loosely here..."entrails" "innards" or "intestines" did not quite work for me...)

Anyway, January's a Catholic's gut check month that starts off every new year after we've just celebrated the Incarnation of the Lord (aka, Christmas). Are you comfortable with your apologetics when faced with questions or debate with a pro-life friend or co-worker? Take time now, in this month where we are especially called to Respect Life, to read up and arm yourself with brave and true words to wear as your mantle through the coming year -- and the election! Don't sit back and nod, smile, and "go with the flow" when these issues come up -- speak your piece! Despite the term "apologetics," (which is not synonymous) make no apology, make it clear where you stand, and always try to do this in a way that invites dialogue (not diatribe), and fosters understanding (not anger, invective, or judgment on the souls of the obstinate). Stand up for the little souls...and tell your local Barack Obama supporters that the unborn should be allowed the audacity of hope as well.

Battle on, mes amis!

For Jerusalem et St. Denis!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Because I love Jesus...

...and because Fr. R. over at Orthometer gets due response to the "no-name meme" is as follows:

1. Do you wear a name tag at work? No! In order to ensure this would never be the case, I pay monthly law school loan installments that exceed most peoples' mortgage payments

2. What kind of car do you drive? A distinguished (ok OLD!) BMW 740 and/or Volvo XC wagon

3. What do you order when you go to Taco Bell? One bean burrito, sans onion, sour cream added and one of those fried caramel apple pandita (?) things

4. Have you ever had a garage sale? Yes, it was expected in military housing

5. What color is your iPod? U2 special edition, baby! (Red & black)

6. What kind of dog do you have? Golden Retard and Yellow Labradork (well meaning, gentle and sweet but stoo-pid..."no, WE did not get into the garbage that's all over the was the baby....yeah, that's the ticket....oh crap! He can't walk yet?!?")

7. What's for dinner tonight? Ask my husband...he has it "all planned out" (YAY!)

8. What is the last alcoholic beverage you had? Chianti -- Ruffino, I think?

9. Stupidest thing you ever did with your cell phone? Got into a text war with some stupid skanky teenaged girl who was sure I was her boyfriend, then her boyfriend's new girlfriend, and then I had my Assistant DA friend end it all....awesome....

10. Last time you were sick? Oy. The September "back to school cold" that the kids always get. I know it is only a matter of time before the January version hits.

11. How long is your hair? Collarbone-ish

12. Are you happy right now? Sure. Ask me again later -- I will get my weathervane out.

13. What did you say last? "Oooh! Do you see the kitty cat? The bad, bad kitty cat cat cat?" (Hey -- I have an infant!!!)

14. Who came over last? Aside from the mailman? I think my husband's cousins right after Christmas. (Pathetic, I know...)

15. Do you drink beer? Yes, the darker the better out of respect to my German & Irish forebears.

16. Have your brothers or sisters ever told you that you were adopted? I honestly can't recall...but I was always told that I look so much like my dad, it would never have worked. (FYI, Dad was VERY PRETTY)

17. What is your favorite key chain on your keys? Little leather sandal that says "Assissi" from our trip there a few years ago.

18. What did you get for graduation? HS: matched luggage (a.k.a., get the he** out!); college: mom's used Nissan Sentra; law school: bought myself a Coach briefcase -- also got some flowers from my lawyer uncle.

19. Whats in your pocket? Yoga pants have no pockets

20. Who introduced you to Dane Cook? SNL. Not a fan.

21. Has someone ever made you a Build-A-Bear? No. But I have spent stupid sums of money on a few "$12" bears that somehow required $80 worth of accessories. Each. That place is tied for "#1 Most Evil Parent Trap "with Chuck-E-Cheese...

22. What DVD is in your DVD player? Into Great Silence, which I finally watched last night (or maybe Bear in the Big Blue House by now)

23. What's something fun you did today? Stayed home with the baby instead of doing an arbitration brief. Priorities.

24. Who is/was the principal of your high school? Tom Howard.

25. Has your house ever been TP'd? Here, no. Growing up, yes (sports event related)

26.What do you think of when you hear the word "meow"? "Bad, bad kitty cat cat cat"

27. What are you listening to right now? The Baroque classical channel on XM Radio

28. Drinking? Nothing. Yet.

29. What is your favorite aisle at Wal-Mart? Heebie-jeebies aside...I only go there for baby formula in emergencies (you'd have to see our rural upstate WalMart clientele to fully appreciate that it is not merely snobbery, but public health and safety issues that send me to Target)

30. When is your mom's birthday? December 24

31. When is your birthday? March 23 (Easter!)

32. What's the area code for your cell phone? 619 (old habits die hard...)

33. Where did you buy the shirt you're wearing now? Margaritaville (online)

34. Is there anything hanging from your rear view mirror? College faculty parking permit

35. How many states in the US have you been to? All but 7 (I've been to Alaska and Hawaii, but not places like the Dakotas, for example)

36. What kind of milk do you drink? 1%

37. What are you going to do after this? Find out what the beloved is making for dinner - now I am hungry after doing this

38. Who was the last person you went shopping with? My 13 year old

39. What is your favorite fruit? You can't beat the versatility of the banana (again with the hungry...)

40. What about your favorite dessert? Oooh. Tough one. Up until recently, there'd have to be chocolate involved, but at the moment, I'd have to say warm apple pie and vanilla ice cream

41. What is something you need to go shopping for? A new vehicle. Not sure what yet.

42. Do you have the same name as one of your relatives? Middle name is for mom, first name is all my own.

43. What kind of car does one of your siblings drive? Distinguished (OLD!) BMW 5-series.

44. Do you like pickles? Yes, but not the sweet ones.

45. How about olives? As long as they are not out of a can.

46. What is your favorite kind of gum? Orbit sweet mint (only occasionally, and NEVER in church!)

47. What is your favorite kind of juice? Freshly squeezed orange. Preferably mixed with moderately priced champagne.

48. Do you have any tan lines? Ummmm....hello. January. Upstate NY. (Maybe if I ski this season, I will have them from my sunglasses?)

49. What hospital were you born in? Dude, I was born at Woodstock! (OK...the one in Illinois...1968)

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Another one of those awesome days of Christmas...and I am spending it working on the seasons greeting card/letter that I never got around to completing from Thanksgiving (I bought Thanksgiving cards, even!) on through Advent, Christmas, and the New Year. (*blush*). Lucky recipients of the snail mail version of this missive and pictorial will also receive the OTHER greeting I did not send out....the birth announcements for the 8 month old baby. (*eyes smashed shut with shame*). I figure this will be my last best symbolic way of presenting the boy and catching people up on what's been going on with us all in one festive shot. Bonus: holiday stationery will undoubtedly be on sale...

I used to be really good about these things, honestly, when the kids were younger (which seems odd, because the older two are far more self-sufficient now -- you'd think I'd have more time to sit down and get stuff out). Cards were always done and out the first week of December, cute kid pics enclosed, etc. Last year, I gave myself a bye -- I was high-risky-pregnant, working 3 jobs (teaching, law office, and freelancing for the journal), the dh was working overseas until 2 weeks before I had the boy, so I felt entitled to skip it and put my feet up. This year -- just the law job, took the semester off, and stopped writing until further notice. No excuses other than my own inertia. Ahhh well.

It has been a great year, lots to be thankful for (hence the Thanksgiving cards that are still sitting in my library), and those who know and care will understand. Maybe if we get REALLY lucky, we'll have a reason to send out the Thanksgiving cards next year? :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

I have been dissolute, but it is time to be resolute! I rarely make New Year's resolutions, much less stick to them (snort!), but THIS IS THE YEAR! The big 4-0 is coming. Soon! In fact, my 40th is on Easter (!) this year. Kinda gives "life begins at 40" a whole new meaning, non? The family has been made aware that I am going to be in training, shucking the rest of my extra "husk" (I can't even blame the baby -- I gained 25 and lost 27), and being more respectful of my body as I reach halftime. They are rolling their eyes, but I am going to show them!

Much of this has to do with not wanting to be an old, decrepit mom to a nice, new baby as he gets older. Shortly after our little friend arrived, Mom came to visit. We sat in the living room chatting, and in one of the rare pauses, we were both looking over at the little sleeping bundle in the bouncy chair, and she said aloud what I was thinking: "I still can't BELIEVE there's a baby on your floor!" Then, "I wonder what he's going to look like in 5 years..." and as I pondered that, smiling and imagining, I looked over at my 13 year old and was horrorstruck...he'll be starting kindergarten and she'll be starting college in 5 years!!! Oy! I don't want to be like my grandma, who had her youngest at 38, and was asked on the first day of school if she was her son's grandma! She always said she wasn't sure if the nun saw her flipping her off (bad Grandma!) but she'd find out when she got to Hell for other stuff. :) I don't know that I'd have the self mastery to use only sign language. Best not to find out.

One silver lining is this -- for the first time in my life, I will be able to eat chocolate without Lenten guilt on my birthday. (My self-conferred birthday dispensation aside...)

OK -- off to watch my beloved Illini get slaughtered in the Rose Bowl! Enjoy!