Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mom moment

(Rambly - beware!)

Sometimes I have days like today where I sat here with a nice little baby in my lap but could not tell you what cute things he did, because I could not stop thinking about my middle one.

This past weekend, the 14 year old invited three friends over for a non-birthday sleepover. She is currently on the "outs" with her usual clique (which, frankly, is fine....snots, all of them...) so invited only nice, parent-approved kids over. If it was a real birthday party, she'd have felt obligated to invite all of them. Her idea, and I love it!

Sadly, because of the bad weather, only one girl came, and gave her a little gift bag for the "non-birthday" filled with all manner of girly things AND a movie . "The Craft." A movie about a group of Catholic HS girls who are witches/wiccans/into the occult. I did not want to cause any more trauma than the low attendance already had, but suggested they watch something else - "Amazing Grace" - they did, they liked it, and they were both out cold by midnight.

The next day, after the lone other girl went home, I started the quiet discussion about why I did not think this was such a great movie for them to watch. However, because I am determined to NOT do the "NO because I say so"/raise my VonTrapps in a bubble thing (which, IMO, drives the kids right at wrong choices at this age), AND because my kid has a fairly mature and reasonable head on her shoulders, we agreed to watch it together, with the condition that I would shut it off if it got too out of hand. I gave running commentary throughout on why I did not like the subject matter, howit might appeal to more lost and malleable types than she and send them down perilous paths. She agreed(!), and we laughed at some of the more "emo" aspects. This was actually a positive experience, she was able to look critically at the issues and decided she disapproved....and just then, the beloved came in toward the end of the movie, lip curled, snorts of derision blazing....which started some dad-daughter sniping, which sniping I then tried to quell.

The 10 year old shut us all up. She'd listened to some of the pre-movie debate and elected to go play in her room, but came down when she heard the ruckus. She looked at her sister and said "Sissy, you should listen to Mom and Dad. Movies like that are bad for your soul, and they offend the Lord." Back up to her room without another word.

Whoa! Stopped us all in our tracks.

This is our Little Professor (academically brilliant, but has mild Asperger's Syndrome and struggles with peer interactions), whom we also call our "Little Therese" (from her favorite churchy movie). We did have a 3-4 month run of Fatima apparitions from her when she was in 1st grade...on the 16th, she would stand in the doorway in a blue veil and say "Pray the Rosary. See you in a month." and take off. (Hee!) She is beautiful inside and out, but also very breakable. She can tell you anything you want to know about anything from Catechism to cicadas, adults adore her, but she has few friends - always far away and/or above her age group in many ways. I worry about her ability to cope with the world, especially the junior high world, which she enters next year. Girls are so brutal - and given what I've seen with my 8th grader at the quasi-Catholic jr. high, I am torn up wondering what to do. Send her there? Keep her in public school for a broader base of potential friends? Take a full-time professor gig and homeschool her to keep her away from it all until she's of an age where kids are more tolerant (college, maybe?!)? This is my dilemma. I want this pure, innocent, kind little soul to stay that way. (She occasionally talks more than in passing about becoming a nun when she's older...I invariably say "That would be lovely!" and inwardly hope and pray that she finds that she does have a true vocation) I love the law, but I love this kid exponentially more and would put practice on hold for as long as she needs me.

The older one is going to do well in life. Well-adjusted, turns her back on trouble, tells me EVERYTHING, adores her sister and brother, and would rather go to the mall with me than her gang of annoying 14 year old friends (not a stupid kid, knows where the shopping money is...). She has expressed some concern to me about how her sister will fare, based on what she's seen and experienced with girls and cliques at this school. What for her (and most of us) is a rite of passage could seriously wound the younger one.

Much to ponder and pray about.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

More Madness?

Okay. One of our priests (one of the two decent homilists we have in a 50 mile radius) is nearing retirement, and has had health issues. On Christmas Eve 2006, he had a cardiac event while saying Mass. Since then, he has explained to us that he must sit as much as possible throughout Mass, and has received the appropriate permissions to do so. I have NO problem with this. However, he has now stopped distributing communion, leaving it to all 8 of the the EM's (I call them "Excessive Ministers" around here, given the fact that there rarely over 200 people at Mass...do the division). I truly don't know what the deal is on this. It just seems like the celebrant ( who stands in persona Christi, after all) should not be abdicating this particular responsibility to the lay ministers.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Reason # [Gazillion] the Marines rock...

...you know how I love those Marines!


An inspirational story about one HARD CHARGER! Send him an email and let him know you appreciate his service. I wonder how many he will get?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pray for the salvation of Cuba!

Fidel has resigned, his brother is not much younger...there is hope!
I also pray that St. Michael will defend Cuba against the influence of Chavez and others of that ilk...

Monday, February 18, 2008

1900 Voices Crying In The Wilderness

Bishop Clark strikes again...


Now do you see why I want to get the hell outta here?!? Five years until mandatory retirement is too long for so many souls here to bear.

Thanks to Rich at Ten Reasons for keeping the dialog on this one up to date.

(Side note: Karen, I am a hopeless linker!)


And though I've been on a musical bent of late, I don't mean the group... ("ONE....STEP....BEYOND!!!!)...at the moment.

I will be brief. Due to the beloved's Sunday work schedule, we often go to the late 5 pm "regional" Mass (or, more properly, "cinders" Mass) so we can go as a family. The kids call it "Cheater's Mass" for all the people who slept late. The priests rotate weekly, so I do my best to avoid going when I know that one of the less inspiring and/or alarmingly liberal (I barely stop short of "heretical" here) of the local clergy will be saying Mass. Here's why:

"He took the cup, gave it to His sisters and brothers, and said...."

Is it just me? WT....? Maybe he believes the DaVinci Code and thinks St. John is really Mary Magdalene in the painting? This is a new one in the "all inclusive" Hall of Shame.

I wanna move away from here before I give in and only watch Mass on EWTN instead of subjecting myself and my family to this nonsense each week.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Little Miss 13-Going-On-35 is 14 today!

[pic removed at family's request - sorry!]

Happy Birthday, Princess!

(Here in her uniform with The Boy on his first day with us back in April...she hopped off the bus, ditched school and walked two blocks over to the hospital instead....that's my girl!)

Saturday, February 16, 2008


New album from the B-52's coming just in time for the big 4-0...

Title track is available on iTunes...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Rome Wasn't Built in a Day

HT to Stephanie (a.k.a. Digi) and Obscure Music Friday:


Great groovy-time song. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Potomac Primaries

Slight rant. I have spoken and emailed with five friends and family members in the last day or two - some far more conservative than I am, others not, who all claim to be conservatives (whether Republican, Libertarian, or Independent). ALL FIVE are vowing to stay home on election day because they "just can't support McCain."

Is he really a worse prospect than Hillary or Obama?

By not voting at all (self-disenfranchising, I call it), they may as well be voting for the Democrats whose views they despise even more than what shortcomings McCain has.

Am I missing something? Does no one remember the hanging chads and recounts from 8 years ago?

Don't let it happen! VOTE for what you believe in.

I saved these emails, and oh yeah, the minute I get a whiny complain-mail from any of them if/when the Democratic candidate is elected, I'm sending it back to them.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Middle Name meme...

...OK, AA & Mother (ANN! A is for Amateur! LOL!!!) here you go:

1. You have to post the rules before you give your answers.
2. You must list one fact about yourself beginning with each letter of your middle name.
(If you don't have a middle name, use your maiden name or your mother's maiden name).
3. At the end of your blog post, you need to tag one person for each letter
of your middle name.

M adly in love with my husband. Even though he snores. Loudly. A lot.

A lways available - for friends, colleagues, family who need a friendly ear to listen to tragedies and triumphs, who want (mostly) solicited advice, or who want to share a good laugh. Especially the last part.

R elentless - one of my best and worst traits, depending on the situation and who you ask.

G regarious - imagine that!

A mbivalent - about a number of things, mostly to do with juggling the mom, lawyer, and teaching gigs. The first one will always be my top priority, but the other two are about to present a crossroads and I can't decide which path to take. (Maybe a future post on this one...)

R eserved - I am actually rather shy in large/unfamiliar groups. But that's only until you get to know me. Then...look out.

E asy going - most of the time (see below)

T emperamental - I say this in the interests of full disclosure, justice and fairness, and only if you hit the RED ZONE

I tag the first 8 people on my blogroll who have not already done this one. You know who you are....

Sunday, February 10, 2008

"We are sinners"

Well, the first Sunday of Lent and already I am falling short of my own expectations...

However, I do find encouragement with the Little Professor, age 10. As we were rushing out for the late Mass today, she stopped dead in her tracks and said "I forgot something...don't leave!!!" She came down with a few crumpled-up dollars in her fist and we asked what it was for. "Oh, it's just some of my money. I don't need it." Exactly $2.50. Her .$50/day ice cream or cookie lunch snack habit that we 1) did not know she had, and 2) gave up without saying a word about it. When I suggested we grab dinner on the way home, she was horrified, because I'd suggested that dining out might be one of the things we forego as a family. Bad Mommy!

Meanwhile, the eldest was kicking herself for eating a hamburger on her ski trip on Friday, the beloved was smirking in shame for having his "girly" flavored creamer in his coffee and work, and I....have managed to do one or the other of my 40 minute exercises, but not both. And I ate some verboten stuff because I just flat-out forgot myself.

Like I always tell myself, it's all about practicing. The 10 year old is my own little Therese in so many ways.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Top Ten Signs John McCain is Getting Too Cocky

(From the David Letterman Show, of course...)

10. Canceled tomorrow's campaign appearances so he doesn't miss "Lost"

9. Spent the afternoon roughing up Romney supporters

8. Last night, he blew half campaign war chest playing internet poker

7. Already working on his 2012 re-election strategy

6. Plans to campaign for the next three days in "Vodkachusetts"

5. Recently told voter "Keep that ugly ass baby away from me"

4. Now refers to Mike Huckabee as "Mike Suckabee"

3. Has started yelling, "Bingo!" when he doesn't even have bingo (come on, folks, he's old!)

2. Renamed his campaign bus the "Bite Me Express"

1. Went to Mexico with Jessica Simpson

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Lenten meme

1. What's been your best Lenten-effort-idea ever?

40 days, 40 minutes of prayer each day, and 40 minutes of exercise each day. Body & Soul

2. And your worst?

Avoiding Sugar.

3. What good Lenten advice would you share?

Be an example not by showing the suffering on your face, but by relishing the challenges and following through on what you set yourself to accomplish.

4. And what will feature this year?

I am going to try my 40-40-40 regimen again this year. (See #1)

Tagging anyone who did not succeed in their Lenten regimen last year!

Saint meme

1. First Saint you "met"? St. Bernadette, via "Song of Bernadette" on the weekly "Family Classics" movie program hosted by Frazier Thomas, WGN-Chicago.
2. Favorite Saint(s)? Maria Goretti, Gianna Molla, Bl. Teresa of Calcutta, Margaret Clitherow, Catherine of Sweden, Catherine of Siena, Therese of Lisieux, Bl. Andre Bessette, Thomas More, John Fisher (all the English martyrs, really), Jude (thank you for favors granted!), Francis of Assissi
3. Patron saint for the year? St. John of Avila
4. Favorite book by a saint? Story of a Soul
5. Saint book you are reading now? Well...not quite a saint book, but Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton
6. Favorite movie of a saint? Song of Bernadette was my first and is still is a sentimental favorite, sappy or no.
7. Favorite Autobiography/Biography of a saint? Story of a Soul
8. Favorite novel/book of a saint? I enjoyed "Pillars of the Earth" which touched on Thomas a Becket but was a novel.
9. Saint (besides your favorites) you'd want to meet? Mary Magdalene? That's a tough one because there are so many.
10. Saint you look to for help? Jude. He is going to run in the other direction if/when I get to heaven.
11.Favorite saint quote?
“Christ has no body now but yours
No hands, no feet on earth but yours
Yours are the eyes through which He looks with compassion on this world
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”
- St. Teresa of Avila
12. Favorite Holy Card? Gianna and Therese are tied.
13. Favorite story of a saint? Margaret Clitherow's good naturedness even as she awaited death by pressing, conversion of St. Augustine
14. If you could go anywhere on a pilgrimage to a saint's homeland, where would it be? Poland (Krakow and the Jagellonian for JPII and also for St. Faustina)
15. Any Blesseds or Venerables that you would like to become canonized? SoG's Fulton Sheen and John Paul II - both have converted so many hearts and minds, and Bl. Andre Bessette, who is on par with Therese for his beautiful humility and simplicity

I tag anyone who has a saint image on their blog! (Except dear Angela M., who tagged me with this one)

Ash Wednesday

Hope you all have an enriching, purposeful Lent!

Please remember to say a quick prayer for all the poor souls killed (nearly 50 at last count)overnight in the tornadoes in the South....

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super-Duper Tuesday

Oh my. I am not sure what to think. Not one candidate meets my personal standards - or even comes close - this time around. I feel vaguely ill at the thought of any of the current Republicans being in charge, and downright terrified for our country with ANY of the Dems winning.

Of course, it matters little in the final analysis. Upstate is actually quite conservative in many areas, but we get generally get sucked into the liberal morass at the state level due to the population center (NYC) and its liberal demographic (except with the mayor - at least NYC'ers get that the law and order thing is good for running the city If we could get them on the right page with their Assemblymen....). There are always exceptions to the liberal trends in NY, but I see none this time around.

Blech. I see no light at the end of the tunnel today.

However, I am dining with my dear friend who is the county election commissioner this evening, and whose husband is our local Assemblyman. (She is stressing out about the new machines she had to purchase, hoping they don't break down....like me, she is a mom-lawyer with more than her fair share of smarts but zero technical or mechanical expertise, and she has to personally inspect these new electronic machines if any problems are reported - "What the he** am I gonna do if they break?!? Will their little microchips back to life?") Anyway, always an interesting chatfest, and a good way to get some grass-roots ideas into the hopper in Albany.

Despite all the chaos and paucity of the field, don't forget to VOTE!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Mundane Monday

OK, I am recovered from my Red Zone rage of Friday. And - bonus - no friggin' snow day today. We had 2 last week, plus the MLK holiday. 8 days out of 10 at home with girls who had not quite enough to keep them occupied. Normally, I love being home with the kids, but there are only so many days of nonstop pajama wearing, cookie baking, and couch potato-ing a body can handle. So here I sit on my usual Monday-off, with Prince Cinquedente (5th tooth appeared over the weekend, hence he is no longer Prince Monofang) snuggled in for a nap beside me, wondering which old movie to watch. I just got "Fire Over England," "Captain Blood," "The Black Swan" and "Goodbye Mr. Chips" over the weekend in my latest Amazon order. Yay!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Welcome to the Red Zone

And not because it's February, the month of red hearts and Valentines.

Those who know me well will tell you I am one of the most easy-going individuals you'll ever meet. But there is a point past which one does not want to go with me. I have postulated, and gotten confirmation, that the proportionate share of "nice" to "filled with rage and hate" is 95%: 5%. It's not easy to get to the 5%, and it's best not to try. I call it my Red Zone. As a defense attorney once told me after a particularly contentious deposition, "You're like a rabid golden retriever...you look pretty and seem so nice, and then you turn on people and you bite 'em." (Yeah. You're welcome. They call that my JOB, numb-nuggets!) Yes, he got me to the Red Zone. Happens when your physically and mentally disabled client gets raped by his male caregiver, and your opposition is so morally vacant that he asks if he didn't "like it."

Anyway, here's one of today's news stories that has me over the edge and into the 'Zone:

BERKELEY, Calif. — [<-- Ha! Go figure...] Local officials in this liberal city say it's time for the U.S. Marines to move out.

The City Council has voted to tell the Marines their downtown recruiting station is not welcome and "if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome guests."
The measure passed this week by a vote of 8-1.

The council also voted to explore enforcing a city anti-discrimination law, focusing on the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

In a separate item, the council voted, also 8-1, to give protest group Code Pink a parking space in front of the recruiting office once a week for six months and a free sound permit for protesting once a week.*

Marine Capt. Richard Lund of the recruiting office declined comment on the council action.
The recruiting office opened in Berkeley about a year ago, operating quietly until about four months ago when Code Pink began regular sidewalk protests.

"I believe in the Code Pink cause. The Marines don't belong here, they shouldn't have come here, and they should leave," said Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates.

Code Pink is circulating petitions to get a measure on the ballot in November making it more difficult to open military recruiting offices in Berkeley if they are near homes, parks, schools, churches, libraries or health clinics.
[Just don't try to put those same restrictions on sex offenders, 'kay? - Ed.]

Some employees and business owners aren't happy with the weekly protests.
"My husband's business is right upstairs, and this (protesting) is bordering on harassment," Dori Schmidt told the council. "I hope this stops."
[because it hurts your business or because it offends your patriotic sensibilities, ma'am? - Ed.]

*Interesting. I wonder if the ACLU will spend millions to put a stop to the free parking space, like they did a few years back in San Diego to stop the city from leasing land to the Boy Scouts for a dollar a year, and forcing the cross on Mt. Helix at the Veteran's Cemetery to be removed after the County attempted to privatize that piece of land in order to preserve the cross. Same principle, isn't it? A governmental/municipal entity giving land at below-market value to a private organization? It is not to be borne! (And don't pull the free speech shibboleth out on me...)

Note to all terrorists: Invade San Francisco! They don't want the Marines there....yet.

Then there's this one:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Female suicide bombers blew themselves up Friday at two markets in Baghdad, killing at least 64 people and wounding more than 100, authorities said. [...]*

In both bombings, the attackers were wearing suicide vests, according to Qasim Atta, a spokesman for the Baghdad security plan. [...]

Atta told state TV that both women were mentally disabled and their explosives were remotely detonated.

*For the entire story: http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/02/01/iraq.main/index.html

Look. I am a huge military supporter - I have family and friends who are THERE. NOW. So for both selfish and philosophical reasons, I hate the fact that we are at war. I hate the evil that people are capable of in doing the things that precipitated and have prolonged this particular war. But these are not always necessarily Red Zone issues. However, NO ONE here at home better mess with our ALL VOLUNTEER members of the armed forces. The maxium period of military enlistment is 6 years. It has been over 6 years since 9/11/01. So these people are serving by choice in a time of war, knowing all to well what they risk by serving. Anyone who denigrates their service - their FREE SPEECH rights to express their patriotism by offering their very lives to serve - gets no quarter from me. Especially when 1) they use the intellectual chicanery of crying "Free Speech" and wrap themselves in the flag (which flag they'd just as soon burn) to do it, AND 2) are aided and abetted by local leftist governmental authorities as in the case of the Berkeley recruiters. And when the weak and vulnerable are used in this way (as weapons of mass destruction), when babies are cooked in microwaves, when you mess with the innocence of kids...you have hit the 5%!!!

UPDATE: Forgot to link this one (baby in microwave), in my red-haze frenzy this morning...


And now there's this (headline only):

Exxon Posts Record Profit on Oil Prices
HOUSTON (Feb. 1) - Exxon Mobil Corp. on Friday posted the largest annual profit by a U.S. company - $40.6 billion - as the world's largest publicly traded oil company benefited from historic crude prices at year's end.
[Wow...2 "rape" references in one post. Sorry! - Ed.]