Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Save us from the fires of Hell,
Lead all souls to Heaven,
Especially those who are in most need of Thy mercy...
Nothing major to report, but I really gotta get my Lent on in these lastfew days - have missed Mass one Sunday with a sick kid, haven't made it to Confession yet, been okay with some of my regimen but not so much on other aspects...have had much to cuss about and little self restraint.
Silver lining: Our Little Flower is a rich kid - lots of penitential ice cream money has been dropped in her piggy bank. Which isn't an actual piggy bank...it's a mock-ATM machine. Oh, gotta love this culture....
Sunday, March 29, 2009
So I'm taking those words and applying them to my spiritual life here in the DOR, and trying to draw comfort from them in the face of this:
And then there's this tasty treat:
Two words: REIKI MASS
[CORRECTION: Per the Sagacious Dr. K, the above took place in Cinicinnati, but see combox for more detail and links to DOR-specific pics... ]
Go on over to Rich's blog, Ten Reasons (from whence I swiped these photos), and scroll through the posts and better yet, the comments.
The death of Catholicism this Diocese (its murder, really) is a tragedy - thousands upon thousands of lost souls, and thousands more misguided and lied to by the liberal snake oil being sold to them each Sunday at travesties like this. The few brave souls who stand up for the Faith are ostracized, marginalized, and branded as crazies and/or troublemakers.
But I say we crazy troublemakers are the wheat, and in a little over three years, when the detritus is cleared and the current Bishop decamps for parts (hopefully) unknown, we will grow...and the splendor of Tradition and Truth will return.
St. John Fisher, Pray for Us!
Friday, March 27, 2009
Happy Anniversary To My Beloved!!!
Sixteen Years of Sublime!
May 1992. Marine meets recovering sorority queen. Engaged in 7 weeks, married 10 months later. They said we'd never make it as they smiled and danced and drank their way through our wedding.
It has been (and still is) my pleasure to beat the odds those friends and family members laid on us and otherwise to irk said naysayers after all these years. Many say it is "sweet" that I'm still so "in love" with my husband, and he with me. I can't imagine life any other way. I don't just love my husband, I live my husband. We finish each others' sentences...if words are even necessary. (Usually a raised eyebrow and an answering smirk will suffice.) We email each other the same odd and obscure news stories because we know that the other one will appreciate the bizarreness of it as well as the hunt for the story. When I'm lonely and I go to pick up the phone to call, it rings. It's him.
We are 8500 miles apart at the moment, but we might as well be sitting side by side. But then I wouldn't be sitting at the computer telling you all this. I'd be snuggled up under the blankets, secured in one big arm, listening to his heart beating as I fell asleep like I do every night we're together. Just a few more months 'til summer, babe.
Say I'm a fool...
[They] say I'm not for you
But if I'm a fool for you
Oh, that's something...
Thursday, March 26, 2009
But having read Cavey's latest, I'll go ahead and say it.
It PISSES ME OFF!!!! No Catholic parent should consider sending their children to that school, despite the "prestige," the overrated sports program, whatever. Notre Dame lost its soul decades ago. This is the final nail in the coffin, and not surprisingly, it is one made of tin pretending to be silver.
The One is not an impressive leader - the facade is cracking at an alarming rate. As I discussed with you last Fall, he ain't much of a lawyer or ConLaw scholar either, which makes the law degree additionally insulting, even to a fairly average law student like I was. He's a whiny, blame assigning, no-sack-having poseur that duped a nation into making him President.
He's Chance the Gardener come to life, but the stakes are too high for that to be even a remotely funny movie reference.
Shame on you, Notre Dame, and shame on all you sheep who voted for the most dangerous President in our nation's history to date.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The Princess has a Religion assignment. She has to turn in a "creative" project about Judaism. Among the choices, making a cookbook, a movie, a magazine, or 7 greeting cards depicting the seven Jewish holidays (Oy! Seven? Who knew? [Seriously...I didn't!]) That last one's what she picked.
I immediately came up with several ideas and the requisite artwork....I will only share the tamest/most PC ones here: 1) a Passover card that, when opened, squirts genuine lamb's blood on the recipient ("Just wanted to make sure the Angel of Death passes you by this year..."); and 2) One of those annoying musical cards that blasts out a tune by Rosh Hashannah Montana: "You get the best of both worlds! Two New Years to get plowed on! Mazel Tov!" (Vincenzo, master of Adobe...a little help?!?)
I will spare you (and your souls) the rest. But if you have any ideas, we're open! Nothing horrible or anti-Semitic - i.e., the ones I'm not posting had just slightly inappropriate PG-13ish humor that's not fodder for the blogosphere and/or the easily offended - rememberI have a few junior readers out there.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
As I got closer, I saw the Stars and Stripes flying high on another pole, which had been obscured by trees. I saw what looked to be a plaque or other sort of historical marker, so I made a beeline for it. There was an actual year-round display about....the Civil War prison camp. I looked at the map and the boundaries, and my house sits close to where the main gate was, and on top of where the Union officers' barracks and mess were. The infirmary [gulp] edged up into my back yard.
As you might imagine, this revelation on top of my "knowing" that my visitor was some sort of military man about floored me. I hobbled home as fast as I could, called the Beloved in CA, and started researching what little bits and pieces I could find online. I called my priest buddy up near Buffalo Road and asked him what to do until he could come down to bless the house. I booked out to the nearest Catholic store after we got off the phone. Each room and hallway has a crucifix now.
I didn't have another meeting with my friend until later that year. I'll get back to him later. There's more in the meantime.
The first day of the new school for the girls. So I am busy capitalizing on my solitude to start doing a ton of move-in laundry (sheets, towels, etc.) down in the basement/first floor. (The house sits on a little hillside, so the finished half and garage face out to the yard, while the cellar-ish parts have garden windows.)
As I bent over the dryer, dragging out a load of flannel sheets, I felt, rather than saw, someone enter the laundry room - it was a familiar feeling, as if the Beloved had walked in, not a scary feeling. But wait. Beloved was still in CA. I was alone in a new house. I gasped a little as it hit me, started and whipped my head over to look at the doorway. Empty, of course.
So I returned to the sheets, and at that moment I felt as though someone, once again, was standing right next to me, trying to help me. I got all hackle-y again, but continued working. All at once I knew that this was a man, and a military one at that, and suddenly I felt like I was being smiled at for being a stubborn female who tried to do everything herself, injuries and all. How or why I "knew" all this - well, I have no clue. I just did. I knew without a doubt that this "visitor" was a proud, proper, old fashioned military guy. But as sure as I can tell you what the Beloved does for a living and what his personality is like, I knew the same about whoever was visiting me.
And I thought it was crazy, and maybe I was finally losing it.
Then I started up the basement stairs to the kitchen with my wobbly knee and an overstuffed basket in my hands.
When I got near the top of the stairs, the door swung open on its hinges. Okay...old house. Must be a weight on the stairs thing, I told myself. Right. Never mind that the door hadn't done that on my first several trips up and down those stairs. I made it to the top as I had that thought, and then as I walked into the kitchen, the door swung back shut - and latched - behind me. I have fairly long hair. It had to be sticking straight out at this point...
"Thank you, sir." I said. And then I got the feeling whoever "Sir" was, he was happy, and he was bowing. Then he was gone.
This was a little over 5 years ago. I remember it like it was yesterday - the feelings and intuitions I had - everything.
The Beloved retired from his beloved Corps. I was burnt out from 5 years of non-stop litigation and not seeing my kids much. On paper, we were living a great life in San Diego, but we weren't enjoying life - too many obligations, long commutes, and no family time at all.
So we decided to simplify life, move back to his family's homeland, and seek quality of life as a family. We'd looked at houses here and there the summer before we moved, and I fell in love with a particular house. But it sold to someone else while we were mulling over the move. In October, it was back on the market. It was meant to be. We took out a home equity loan (courtesy of the real estate craze in CA) and bought it outright, and put our CA house on the market. It sold within 2 weeks, and the movers came the second week of December. We slept on air mattresses until school let out for break.
The girls and I transplanted here after Christmas to get started in school, while Beloved finished out his job with the City. We arrived from a 1,500 sf CA bungalow house to a 4,300 sf, 4 story big brick monstrosity of an "old money" rural NY banker's custom built 1920's house. There were boxes everywhere. (I bought up enough furniture and extra beds before we left to fill the extra bedrooms and maxed out our terminal military move weight allowance). It was so exciting...but...problem: shortly before Thanksgiving, I blew out my knee playing softball in the San Diego County Bar Association's league - shredded ACL & PCL - so I was limping around in a brace, having decided to put off reconstructive surgery until after I was safely in NY. If I didn't have the brace on, my knee would randomly buckle and collapse - all the ligaments were torn, so nothing was holding the joint together. So I wasn't supposed to do much unpacking, toting, lifting, or hauling. But of course I did.
Day 2 in new house. I was carrying a box of linens upstairs. Knee hyperextended and gave out. I started to fall backwards down the stairs, no time to drop the box and grab the railing. As I started to panic, I felt as though my back hit a net, and I bounced off it and fell forward onto the landing. I sat there for a few seconds, gathering myself, wondering if I'd had a dizzy spell because it seemed so strange that I was falling backwards and yet somehow managed to end up falling forward with the box onto the landing. I even noticed a crack in the ceiling as I fell, looking skyward as I was. I looked up from where I sat, and there it was - not my imagination, a big crack. I shook my head a few times, trying to figure it all out. I felt a reassuring hand squeeze my shoulder and I turned, expecting to see the Princess there, comforting me. But there was no one there. The girls were up on the third floor, squealing and bickering, tearing through boxes and establishing their new playroom. Yet I felt as though someone was still sitting on the stair right next to me, steadying and reassuring me.
That's when the hair on the back of my neck stood up for the first time.
I sat there for a long time pondering the implications of what had just happened, and I ended by thanking my guardian angel out loud for helping me, having decided that's who had saved me from what would have been a really bad fall. When I did that, the feeling of the kind "presence" at my side disappeared. I felt strangely sad and disappointed, thinking that my guardian angel would rather take off instead of staying awhile longer after I spoke aloud to him/her.
There were more visits to come, however.
I will continue tomorrow - stay tuned.... (Or should we say attuned?!?!?)
Monday, March 23, 2009
It's Monday morning, I'm surrounded by children and domestic livestock...missing the Beloved, but otherwise life is pretty darn good.
(The only suck factor so far is that it's really cold - the rest of the week will be nice and warm. Figures.)
Sunday, March 22, 2009
The mandate should apply to anyone who serves at the altar in any capacity. And there needs to be a test that they have to pass, as well as a dress code they must follow.
Yeah, Mass was "like that" again this weekend.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
First, some historical background. Western/Central NY is not only a beautiful place, it is actually overflowing with early American history. The area where we live is close to the Finger Lakes, as well as to the confluence of the Susquehanna and Chemung Rivers, which were busy waterways and feeders to the Erie Canal. Major Revolutionary War battles took place within a few miles of our house, led by General Sullivan. [Quick novel and movie recommendation: Drums Along the Mowhawk...Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert...that loosely follows General Herkimer's campaign, which was to the northeast of here.] Large guns and munitions were buried and hidden along the river that is across the street from my back yard (great doggie walking...and dunking).
Religious freaks of all sorts sprang up from this region...Mormons, Oneidas, Shakers, Seventh Day Adventists. (It must be something in the water. You should see some of the people around here.) The women's rights movement, headed by Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Cady Stanton, came to life at Seneca Falls, just about an hour's drive from here. Passionate abolitionists lived and preached in our town. (The Beechers...and Ms. Beecher-Stowe) This area, with its frontier trading post past, established waterways and railways, was also chock-full of Underground Railroad stations. Mark Twain met and married his wife here, wrote his major novels here, and is buried a mile from my house.
But I digress.
Then there was the Civil War. No, there were no Civil War battles up here...however, there was a short-lived and rather lethal POW camp. I didn't know it when we moved here. Nor did I know that my house sits squarely on the site of the prison camp. In one winter, nearly 3,000 men - mostly from a unit of captured coastal Virgina oystermen - died in or near our back yard, between my house and the river.
Therein lies my first story...which I will post shortly.
New Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream
In honor of the 44th President of the United StatesBaskin-Robbins Ice Cream has issued a new flavor, Barocky Road.
Barocky Road is a blend of half vanilla, half chocolate, and is surrounded by nuts and flakes. The vanilla portion of the mix is not openly advertised and usually denied as an ingredient. The nuts and flakes are all very bitter and hard to swallow.
The cost is $100 per scoop. When purchased it will be presented to you in a large, beautiful cone, but then the ice cream is taken away and given to the person in line behind you.
Thus you are left with an empty wallet, no change, holding an empty cone, with no hope of getting any ice cream.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Why fight it?
So she's decided to paint the barn red and build a fence around it. She invited the Athlete over last night to have a "serious talk" - he was visibly terrified when he showed up - and, after a few terms and conditions were set forth, she told him she was all his and no longer cares who knows about it. He accepted and looked like he was floating...and taller than he already is...when he left. Even HeloMom got grabbed up into a bear hug as he left for home.
Privately, I wonder what will happen at the end of August. It is going to be terrible when he leaves for college.
Pleased but pensive HeloMom...out.
*Yes, that's a snide and nearly literal reference to the relative sizes and characteristics of the pack of girls responsible...and as a well-nourished and outspoken woman myself, I don't make size or b**ch cracks lightly. But when a 200 lb. + kid calls my 119'er "fat" and a sexually active 14 year old accuses my unassailed 15 year old of being an unchaste abortion-haver, well...all bets are off. (See why I keep things relatively anonymous here?)
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I just learned a few days ago that the Athlete's mom and I share a bizarre disorder...a seasonal dish/glassware fetish.
I use 5 patterns throughout the year...sometimes more. Springtime (yay! only a few days til I get to make the change!) is a refreshing, sunny yellow and blue floral on a white background. Memorial Day - Sept. 11 is a commemorative set - a primitive flag pattern that I got at Target because it benefitted a 9/11 charity. Sept. 12 - Black Friday is the southwestern Mikasa pattern we registered for when we got married, and Christmas is a Pfalzgraff Christmas tree/winter/polar bear setting, with 4 spare settings of a matching plain red, used as a "filler" when I have more than 12 to dine. I also have Valentine's Day dishes, as well as my 23 formal Lenox wedding china place settings, and a 4-setting Christmas china that was an early Christmas gift from the Beloved, along with some Spode Christmas Tree pieces I've collected along the way. I will spare you the details of all the coordinating glasses and formal stemware.
Fortunately, I have a big-@ss kitchen with ridiculous amounts of cabinet space and a butler's pantry with built-in china cabinets. I have terrible urges to get a Spode formal Thanksgiving service...as well as a new Mikasa blue and white Southern-y floral pattern that just came out. The Beloved said I could make that last one my birthday present to myself....but I'd have to give one of the others up. Princess agrees - she wants me to box up the spring set for her to take off to college and beyond. And I could do that...easily....
I'm so glad someone else out there understands this...Mom of Athlete gave a set to her oldest for that first college apartment, then went out the next day and bought herself a new service for 8 in a pattern she'd been coveting for a few years.
Now for the truly sick part - this only pertains to me. When I walk past the fine china and crystal section at a department store, I occasionally have a mad, never-would-act-on-it-in-a-million-years, "wonder what it would be like?"-ish urge to smash everything to bits...yet I get nervous and make sure kids and handbags are under tight control lest one of us accidentally knock into anything while we are in or near that part of the store. (I didn't tell her that part. Not sure it's normal. Hee!)
I am sure there's some sort of strange psychological meaning behind all this...
Anyway, now that I have spilled this pithy little secret and insight into my psyche, anybody got something like that going on, dishware or otherwise? Or is it time for me to seek help?
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
(Mmmmm....haven't had a Whataburger in about 15 years....it's an AZ thing. Not even sure they still exist!)
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Well, so much for getting back to normal. After a week off from school, the Princess went back to school, overdid things, and has been experiencing additional abdominal pain. So we took Friday off and went back in to the hospital for outpatient testing to ensure all is sound and healing properly. No bad news from that yet, so we will assume all is well.
In the meantime, the Princess noted some tension and much smirking and snarking from her classmates when she returned (yes - the same little pack of snots who've been horrible to her since jr. high) and the Athlete noticed some strange behavior among his set as well. It all finally made sense on Thursday...one girl asked the Princess if she was going to be able to return to gym due to her "delicate condition" and another chimed in that no, she'd be recovered soon, and didn't she look like she'd actually lost weight due to her "procedure." Princess didn't put it all together until she was sitting alone on a crowded bus and pondering it all on her way home. A girl in hysterics burst through the door and related all of the details. Then she got sick.
Later that evening, the Athlete was asked about "the rumor" by his physician father, who'd been told outside of the school environment that something unkind was circulating about the Princess at school - more specifically, that she'd had something other than her appendix removed. Fortunately, he knows his son as well as I know my daughter (and really, you can't get pregnant by kissing each other goodnight with mom right there...), and no one who knows either of them well lends any credence to such nonsense. But try telling that to a 15 year old mortified Princess and a now-feral Athlete whose Princess' good name (and his by implication) has been besmirched by a group of vicious, nasty, jealous little [bad word]s for no purpose other than to hurt and damage two nice kids whose lives are centered around living out the kind of goodness and virtue that such maladjusted creatures cannot understand. He's very, very angry and ready to "throw down" if anyone dares speak it aloud.
So this weekend has revolved around soothing the wounded pair and coming up with strategies to get through it. It will all blow over, they will emerge unscathed, those who know them will laugh it off, and those detractors who persist will demonstrate their own foolishness to others. (I will spare you a recounting of the inner thought processes and utter rage that HeloMom has experienced these past few days...)
And yes, I had a chat with one of the school administrators on Friday . For all the good it did, which was not much. The Athlete was in the office raising hell and I was on speaker phone with a silently weeping Princess in the background trying to come up with a solution. There isn't one when you're dealing with teenaged girls. Pulling the rumormongerers from class (this was the school's suggestion) and engaging in the accusation/denial ritual will not cure the problem or make life easier for Princess. In fact, it is like throwing gas on a fire and things will escalate. Plus it's a matter of giving legs to the rumor and making it more talked-about, more widely. I think the Athlete and Princess need to deal with it under the radar by starting a counterintellgence campaign among their peers and that will be more effective than anything the adults can do at the school level. Fortunately, the little pack of 9th grade girls who seem to have started it are not well-liked by anyone...save themselves. It will die down, and they will been seen for what they are.
The one thing that struck me most about the administrator's reaction to it all was the utter lack of understanding that it is NOT simply a matter of gossip and slander - she's put up with that crap from this group for awhile now. But to a minority-opinion-having, ardently prolife girl, this is the lowest and most disgusting sort of rumor imagineable. I had to explain more than once that it assaulted her character, sure, but worse, it violated her core beliefs and her dignity. And given the flak she's taken for voicing her feelings about abortion, about the presidential campaign (remember the inauguration letter flap?), and even the teasing about her purity ring, who can blame her for never wanting to set foot in the place again? We're past that now, and she's ready to return and fight back tomorrow.
But what a thing for anyone's child to go through. As I told the young couple, the devil never seems to relent, especially when you do your best to live out your goodness and principles for others to see. Don't give in to the anger and despair, and hold your heads high.
St. Michael, pray for us. (And yeah, I'm thinking it's high time for some Old Testament smiting on the evildoers. Is that so wrong?)
Helo Mom is not a fan of the meds, but a little Xanax might have been nice these past few days. But in the absence of that, there's this:
PSALM 23 v 22
1 Yahweh is my shepherd,
I lack nothing.
2 In meadows of green grass he lets me lie.
To the waters of repose he leads me;
3 there he revives my soul.
He guides me by paths of virtue
for the sake of his name.
4 Though I pass through a gloomy valley,
I fear no harm;
beside me your rod and your staff
are there, to hearten me.
5 You prepare a table before me
under the eyes of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil,
my cup brims over.
6 Ah, how goodness and kindness pursue me,
every day of my life;
my home, the house of Yahweh,
as long as I live!
(From my Jerusalem Bible, 1966 ed. )
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
I know, I know, as Cathlolics we aren't supposed to believe in this stuff at all, or if we do, we must be cognizant that it's probably Satan and his minions tormenting us, but I've just seen and experienced too much to completely discount or discredit it. I am not afraid of anything/one here, just sorry and praying for these wayward souls to find their way home to where they belong. Pretty sure it's not here.
Sadly, none of the priests nearby have the time or the inclination to come bless the house much less lead us in an Enthronement of the Sacred Heart ceremony, so I'm going to have to bide my time and lure my Nigerian priest buddy here from far too close to where his boss lives. After my first encounter in 2004, he blessed each room of the house as we processed through all 4 floors and prayed the Rosary. It was quiet for awhile, until now - three episodes in the past 10 days or so.
I hesitate to divulge what's gone on, not because it's scary (it's really not that bad, just hackle-raising when it happens) but, well, I don't want to scandalize, alienate, or otherwise sport with the intelligence of non-believers.
Vote at the sidebar...I'll have to think about posting more about it though. In the meantime, please pray for what/whomever is hanging out here, and for our guardian angels to see to our family's spiritual protection.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Interestingly, back in January when the Princess and I went on our day trip to NYC to shop for shoes and other Big Dance essentials, we snagged a cab at Bryant Park and went down to Canal Street, trolled Chinatown, turned the corner and had a fabulous lunch at one of the innumerable restaurants in Little Italy, and meandered our way all the way back up to Times Square. We stopped and looked around at Old St. Patrick's Cathedral (odd name for a church Little Italy, we agreed), which is one of Andrew's more recent stops.
Worth a visit to his blog - enjoy!
Monday, March 9, 2009
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Today may be an all-time low.
The priest called for spare EM's, and the rush followed...and one of the lucky fastest sprinters declined receiving...yet proceeded to serve the Eucharist to others.
We can debate this one all you want (more learned readers than I will probably come up with good theories*), but it seems to me that if you are conscious that your own soul is not in a state to receive the Host, why would you be distributing same?
Madness. Ignorance. Hubris.
* Let's go with the most innocuous explanation I could come up with - the guy went to Mass already this weekend, and didn't want to receive twice. The APPEARANCE of impropriety should be enough to dissuade him...not to mention the surplus of wannabe EM's. Step aside and let someone else do it, don't send mixed messages to the sheep...
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Inquiring Athletes want to know...
Looking for a traditional, orthodox priest willing to answer questions, catechize and get chainsawed while doing so.
I think this is a very interesting concept, really...casting the net while playing Gears of War or Call of Duty - why not?
And I have to say it, just between me, you and the internet, I'm really not into the spiritual reflection mode that I usually am at this point in the liturgical calendar year. I haven't had a chance to get my laundry done, for cryin' out loud! So I'm feeling Lentless.
I'm trying. I really am.