Sunday, November 30, 2008
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
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
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
Monday, November 24, 2008
(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.
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
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
Thursday, November 20, 2008
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 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
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
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'mon...it'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!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
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
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
You Are Fozzie Bear
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.
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, friends....lol!
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]
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
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.
HAPPY VETERANS DAY!
Monday, November 10, 2008
It all began at Tun Tavern:
The Establishment of the United States Marine Corps.
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!)
And at the bigger, on-base USMC Balls, the Band will play on!
The Marine Corps hymn - here
"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!"
Special Happy Birthday shout-out to our dear Cavey, his fellow Leatherneck Bloglodytes, and his House Sergeant Major, too!
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
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" parents....to "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."
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" (Hmmm...you 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.
(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.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
On November 4, 2008, America elected its first black president, and my daughter got asked out on her first date.
She said no based on parental advice and age concerns, but has not excluded the possibility of having him come over to meet the parents and be interrogated accordingly. He asked what sports teams the Beloved likes, whether he hunts and fishes....smart kid.
Click on the link above to watch the Cheerleader's new favorite song/video. This absolutely nails it. It is exactly how I picture her romantic little 14-year-old, Jane-Austen-loving mind at work...
I can't tell you what the 18 year old Football Player's mind is thinking. Pretty sure this isn't it, however.
Is it any wonder that her parents are a pair of trainwrecks?
Oh yeah - today's revelation: his after school job? Lifeguard. Problem? My daughter has had a starry-eyed lifeguard crush thing going on since she was 2. Every single session of swimming lessons back in CA, there was some 18 year old Adonis lugging her around, and they loved her as much as she loved them. A favorite quote from the tall blonde reincarnated Viking surfer god from the summer of 2000: "Your little heartbreaker is an excellent swimmer - I will miss having her in my class, but she's ready to move up to [whatever the next level was] with Jen."
I am torn between running to the kitchen to gulp down a large glass of wine or perhaps agonizing over tea and chocolates. Update: I resorted to all 3
Monday, November 3, 2008
As many of you have seen and pointed out in recent weeks, his image is being misappropriated by the "'Catholics' for Obama" contingent, which is so deeply offensive to me - just imagine the great joy and "prophetic" symbolism they are attaching to this day? I can't help but wonder what St. Martin would say, knowing that his image and likeness is being linked to Barack enemy of the unborn Obama.
St. Martin, pray for us!
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
He walked her to her last class, thereby making himself tardy for his own. They talked for 2 hours on the phone last night. Other senior football player boys, who have never taken note of her existence, are suddenly greeting her and being nice to her at school.
The Beloved (who, thankfully, was at work chasing wildlife and tackling an elderly woman who tried to take an unloaded .357 in her luggage last night) has a bulge-y looking vein at one temple, and has refused to allow the poor boy to come over to our house. Ever. Or at least until after they're both out of college.
He has, however, offered to take him hunting. Or fishing. Without witnesses. Very soon.
11-3-08 Helicopter Mom Update:
I am truly not ready for this. I have just discovered and am willing to admit that I lack the requisite maturity and self control to deal with boys courting my daughters. The Football Player promised to call the Cheerleader yesterday, but did not do so until the late evening. She was on pins and needles all day, checking the phone lines, cell phone ring volume, wondering if she'd said something wrong the night before, etc., so we all had to be on pins and needles too, and NO ONE was allowed to say anything about it. The Beloved was exhibiting signs of barely controlled warrior rage - he is extremely unhappy with the entire situation based simply on age. I was ready to kill the kid myself (he's got a full foot on me at 6'5", but I think I could take him) after watching our girl agonizing in silence, but then he called after getting home from work - he's spent the month of October volunteering at a Halloween haunted house/fundraiser for foster kids programs, and last night was the end of it. He really is a good kid. On the other hand, I - someone who you'd normally perceive as being a fairly well-adjusted, intelligent, and slightly amusing 40 year old woman - am a neurotic freak of a mother. This was just ONE DAY. The first of many to come. Lord, give me strength.
Okay. The Cheerleader Princess - a freshman - is being pursued by a Football Player senior. He is a nice kid, nerdy, not at all the "bad boy" type.
But he's a senior.
She's a freshman. A cute, smart, funny, but completely inexperienced, never-been-kissed, got her first-ever phone call from a boy today FRESHMAN.
I am not ready for this. Suggestions?