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Thursday, January 31, 2008

It's not Pepys but

...the other day I ran across a Diary I had kept for a very short time at the beginning of Jan 1993. I'd quite forgotten I'd made an attempt to keep it at all. I'd always liked the thought of keeping a diary since about the age of nine, but was never very successful at it. The longest attempt I contiguously had was at age fifteen for about six months. I have always hated the tedium of writing by hand, which the computer age has greatly ameliorated.

Forthwith, here is my exact entry for Sunday, Jan 17, 1993 - Plus ca change:

"More raids in Iraq. Clinton is pissed because it takes away from his delusions of grandeur. "F" him. [no, I didn't spell it out then. A few days before the Iraqis violated yet again the cease fire agreement not to fly below whatever latitude they weren't supposed to fly below.]

Dad says Bush [I] is trying to kill Saddam before Clinton takes office and surrenders. [How prophetic dad was, given Clinton's pathetic response to the first attack on the WTC. Clinton was due to take office that coming Tuesday] 40 Cruise Missiles Used. To quote Cindy [X] 'it sort of makes it all worthwhile, doesn't it?' [She and I had put in our time on Tomahawk projects in the 80s ]

Father S.'s mother at Mass tonight. [She was visiting from Chicago]

Assault with Intent. "

I wonder if Pepys would blog if he was around today? It's not the same in that one does not generally convey one's most intimate thoughts on a blog, although here and there people do write with candor and passion about things closest to the heart. But a blog is only a small slice of one's life, and unlike Pepys, we tend not to encode our entries. For anyone who hasn't run across this famous diary, I suggest starting with his account of the great fire of London. (Starting Sept. 2, 1666) See the year 1665 for what it was like living through the plague!

How many bloggers still keep a traditional diary I wonder? Show of hands? I confess I don't. Although that's not to say I wouldn't in future. If I do, it's bound to be in electronic form on my laptop. I must say I enjoy giving the diary I kept at 15 a read, as it captured certain delights and pains of growing up that in some cases I'd forgotten.

And so, to bed.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

?!Benny, it was just a joke, Really!

Either someone forgot to close a tab, or I kept the Vatican Entertained for 21+ hours! They surfed in via Fr. Blake's blog -- which probably means they ARE scoping him out for Cardinal. Obviously. Start getting fitted for that pointy hat, Fr. Ray. New? or would you like us to rustle up something expensive and antique?

I'll be curious to see if the pope adds a six-shooter next time he wears that red saturno. IF he starts getting greeted with "Howdy Pardner" it's his own fault for wearing something like that!

A gaggle of Saint Friends

Some of Esther's friends came up with a meme about saints. How cool.
Answer the questions! You can give a reason for the answer if you like. As for tagging people, you tag as many as you want or as little...minimum of one. There's no obligation to play.
Last of all, have fun!
1. First Saint you "met"?

Not counting the Blessed Mother (who is in a special category all her own, who I was taught to honor as "my mother in heaven" from the time I was learning to speak) it would be:

St. Therese of Lisieux. When I was a little girl, about 7 or 8, my mother joined some sort of Catholic Children's bookclub for me for a bit. The books were usually biographies of saints, and the biographies were written about the saint in a way a child would enjoy. Most adult books aimed at the saints don't go into a lot of detail about a saint's youth, which is often what a child is interested in. This book was at a level I could appreciate and understand. I was also a good reader at age 7-8, I know by the time I was 9-10 I scored at a 10th grade reading level (age 15), but I'm guessing the average 10 year old could have handled the books. I was fascinated that Therese was so mature for her age, and that they let her enter the convent before she was a grownup. Like Therese I really hated spiders, and I shuddered when the Mother Superior made her clean out some closet or other that had 'em. [Sister, won't it just be easier to burn the closet and build a new one?] I was fascinated that her sisters were all nuns too. And I really was taken with the story of her relationship with Mary ia her vision of the Statue of Our Lady speaking to her. I felt so sorry for Therese losing her mother at such a young age, and thanked God that my mother hadn't died. Therese didn't seem much like the kind of girl I'd pick if we were choosing up sides for anything BUT she had the saving grace of loving dogs and liked to go fishing with her father -- so I could also see her as a companion and not a prissy thing. [I could not ABIDE prissy girls.] Okay, so I might have to go over to someone else's house to play "little green army men" but we could have caught a few fish together. I envied her relationship to her dad, because my dad, though he had some fine qualities and I did not have those intimate conversations that Therese had with her dad. The Therese book was the first book that came to me in the series, and turned out to be, next to the Blessed Mother my favorite female saint. Still is. I took my confirmation name after her and have used it ever since. [My mother's mother's name "Paraskevia" translates to Theresa.]

2. Favorite Saint(s)?

St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Thomas More, Tony, (St. Anthony and I are REALLY "tight" so I just call him "Tony" he doesn't seem to mind.) St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Tarcisius, (I was impressed by this boy who died rather than give up the Eucharist), St. Genesius (who was an actor performing an anti-Christian play, and he realized he DID believe in Christ - mid play he announced he was a believer and was martyred right then and there - patron saint of actors), St. Joseph of Cupertino (levitating saints, by definition, are cool and darn it his feast day should be celebrated on my birthday if the church didn't have a hole in its head), and St. Polycarp -because he's so happy someone has him as one of their favorite saints. I'm also liking Katherine Drexel more and more. And of course, Mary is in that special category all her own.

3. Patron saint for the year?

This year I'm getting more and more familiar with St. Jude.

4. Favorite book by a saint?

Story of a Soul. Therese of Lisieux

5. Saint book you are reading now?

I received a very nice book about the English martyrs.

6. Favorite movie of a saint?

The Song of Bernadette. I have to say for all I love St. Therese, I really can't stand the movies about her. Insipid, and they made me want to tick off the script writers for getting so many details WRONGl And yes, Ive blocked out the whole thing.

7. Favorite Autobiography/Biography of a saint?

Again: Story of a Soul.

8. Favorite novel/book of a saint?

Utopia, St. Thomas More.

9. Saint (besides your favorites) you'd want to meet?

St. Benedict. Now there's a man who understood the "Via Media."

10. Saint you look to for help?

St. Anthony when I'm frustrated and rushed and can't find diddly. He's a good "Generic all purpose Saint."
The Blessed Virgin Mary every day and when I'm feeling alone or forgotten. She's my shoulder to cry on and my comforter.
St. Therese when I'd dearly love to choke someone.
St. Thomas for resolve when I need to defend the church. "What would Thomas do?" "He'd suck it up and say what needed to be said regardless of who you had to say it to."

11.Favorite saint quote?

"Karen, dammit, your keys are in the back door, right where you left them! If they were snakes they'd have bit you by now." - Tony

12. Favorite Holy Card?

Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I love all holy cards, but the ones done icon style I love the best, they cut right to my soul in a visceral way ever since I was tiny.

13. Favorite story of a saint?

After St. Therese had been in the convent for a while, she chanced to be near the door when a workman was admitted, but chance, her spaniel Tom had at that moment been walking by the convent, he saw Therese and made a beeline for her and tried to burrow under her skirts. Therese was overcome with joy at seeing him and cried. It struck me as a child how very brave she was to move away from home at such a young age, and that I felt she'd miss her dog, because I would have. You can explain you're going in a convent "forever" to people and they understand and know where you went. You dog wouldn't know what happened to you. For all her maturity she still had that very human need for affection from her pet. I found this story out years later and almost cried myself when reading it.

14. If you could go anywhere on a pilgrimage to a saint's homeland, where would it be?

My mother and I had one of he nicest days of our lives when we got to go to Lisieux in 1990. My mother had had a relapse of the cancer the year before which eventually killed her in 95. If I could pick five days of my life to relive, that would be one of them.
I don't know if you could properly call it a pilgrimage, but it was for us.

15. Any Blesseds or Venerables that you would like to become canonized?

They need to get cracking on Therese's parents already.

I tag The White Stone Name Seeker and A Thorn in pew and Ebeth and Faccio La Mamma, and of course, anyone else who think this looks like fun.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I love it when they grade on the curve!

The White Stone Name Seeker and A Thorn in the Pew both really like my blog so they were being liberal in the good sense of the word. Thank you!

Here's the deal:

By accepting this Excellent Blog Award, you have to award it to 10 more people whose blogs you find Excellent Award worthy. You can give it to as many people as you want-even those that have received it already, but please award at least 10 people. You don't have to say why you're giving the award but I thought it would be fun to.

I would like to award, in addition to tagging back WSNS and Thorn:

1. Swiss Miss for her infinite patience in trying to get me to abandon all thoughts of the historical critical method of bible study. So far, neither of us is giving in.

2. Paul at Side of the Angels for still speaking to me after virtual ash tray throwing fights. What fun would it be if everyone agreed with you? I love his logic quizzes and his quirky sense of humor, or in his case, humour.

3. Digihairshirt ... BECAUSE. I need help to bury that Hawaiian "thing" in our sacristy and I might need a good lawyer some day. :-D

My "troika" priests:

4. Fr. Ray Blake of Brighton, who always asks the interesting question. I wouldn't be his campaign manager for cardinal for free otherwise.

If I were casting a Fr. Brown movie, I'd have Fr. Blake play Fr. Brown. Humble, philosophical, and he would know just when to pull the twitch upon the thread. He's not allowed to face away from the camera too much though, because I'll have the director ride herd on him in a New York minute if he tries to pull that stunt. I just hope I can meet his "quote" and that he's not secretly some prima donna that's going to demand ONLY red and tan M&Ms and live lute music piped into his dressing room.

5. Fr. Tim at the hermaneutic of continuity or however the heck you spell it. I learned a new word from him the other day. The ambularium or ambulatorium or whatever it was for that fancy schmansy walkway they use because they do not like to get wet and cold and it's a "churchy kinda thing" so it has to have a Latin based name. I bet ambulance and ambulatory come from the same root.

Fr. Tim gets to play the "genial host" in the film. He hosts a conference of priests, and naturally one of them is the victim. In this case, Father Z. -- because you have to kill someone famous to get real notoriety. Father Z. shouldn't mind. It's only "pretend." And you need someone whom other people have a lot of motives to "off" to be the vic.

6. Fr. Stretch Boyle, because charmingly he had no idea why I called him "Stretch."

I'm casting him as the "Perp" -- you have to have someone no one would guess in a million years would be the killer. It's a good part. If Fr. Blake gets tired of playing Fr. Brown and vice versa, I could make it a stage play and they could alternate like Othello and Iago.

And then there's the all-American "go to" guy:

7. Fr. Erik -- well, damn it, HE'S the NRA. I'm not going to fool around with him. I'm afraid not to award him. He's a Freddy Mercury fan to boot.

I'm casting him as the American guest who stumbles across the body when he's out pheasant shooting or hunting whatever game the laws of England now allow. Hopefully, he can still be out with a matched set of Purdeys, rather than ferreting out rats with a stick when he's in the fen country. [I'm giving Fr. Tim a palatial place in Norfolk, I hope he doesn't object.] He'll also be the one everyone suspects at first...because you know those gun crazy Americans.

8. Mac the Mulier Fortis because mantilla twitches are cool.. She gets to be housekeeper in the film and has most of the smart-ass lines (along with Fr. Erik.) Somehow I feel she will require very little direction.

9. Fr. Justin - because he has a blast and supposedly "nobody" knows who he is. Like an obscure member of the royal family. I'm casting him as doing the funeral in the movie, because he already knows camera left from camera right.

10. Ma Beck - For her prolific wide ranging interests and great Chicago style.

11. Esther - Always has an interesting twist on everything. And I'm putting the world on notice: I'd like an "Aloha attire" funeral. Ask Esther if you don't know. I will haunt anyone who holds hands at the Our Father. I promise.

12. Adrienne - Way the heck up in Post Falls, Idaho. What's not to like about a woman who has a nursery and was once a dance instructor in Fred Astaires studios? Maybe she can succeed in teaching me a triple time step after I get new knees.

13. Tara - Any nurse that runs around in pajama bottoms in cold weather is a force to be reckoned with.

14. Adele at Journey to Therese - I love her antics with the 4 munchkins.

15. Jackie Parkes - Whatever she's on -- I want some! After the movie has its run and goes to TV, Jackie can be the energizer bunny in the commercials.

16. Philip - Calm, cool, collected, ever charming and a real nice guy! Dog lovers are like that. Siena has a bit part in the movie as Fr. Erik's gun dog. Yes, I know German Shepherds aren't usually gun dogs, but the spaniels and labradorks are threatening to be out on strike. Philip gets the behind the scenes job as "wrangler."

17. Angela Messenger - That is one heck of a roller coaster of a conversion story. I'd love to have her for a neighbor.

The other priests on my blogroll also get parts because you have to have lots of interviews and suspects!

Oh, jeez, now to be nice I should tag you guys. I think that's optional but probably a nice heads-up. Try not to hold it against me if I bail out for a gin and tonic before completing that final task...which means, Angela dear, that you have almost no hope in hell of me making it that far, but you pretty much read my blog almost every day, unless there are two of you insane people up there in the frozen tundra who read it.

Happy 19th Birthday, Teresa S.!

Teresa is the older sister of one of our 5:15 Sunday Mass servers, her little brother Francis inherited the job from her last year. She graduated high school last year from Our Lady of Peace Academy with highest honors, and is now a theatre arts major (with a history minor) at University of Evansville in Indiana. She's just started her 2nd semester there and is away from home for the first time. Teresa got a 2/3rd scholarship there and that's no small matter with the cost of private colleges these days.

I feel privileged to have gotten to watch her grow up. I've known her since she was 7, and asked her one day after Mass if she'd like to help me bring things from the sanctuary back to the sacristy. She served Mass most weeks from age 9 until a little after she turned 18 and got senioritis! I must say it's interesting watching her little brother serve Mass now. Same genes, similar good looks and charm ... and her mom reported yesterday that "Hey, when she came back from Christmas break they actually got along!"

She just sent me her first professional head shot the other day, and I must say she is as beautiful a person inside as she is on the outside. At 19 you're chomping at the bit, and can't wait to grow up and get on with life, turn around and it's 30 years later. Life is all too short, and Carpe Diem!

May God Bless her always

[And you thought I forgot Monday was your birthday, Teresa. Hope the day was fine and your suite mates weren't toads and treated you to something fabulous! ]

Monday, January 28, 2008

A different Book Meme

Oh, Cool. Mac at Mulier-Fortis tagged me on this as a "payback" for all the times I tagged her. [Mac, it's not "work" if you especially like book memes!]

1) Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?

Hell will freeze over solid before I get through anything ever written by Ernest Hemingway. I despise John Steinbeck too. I had to read Tortilla Flats in 10th grade and I've never forgiven the ba$tard. And he knows what he can do with his little Red Pony too. But actually I think the decision is quite rational. I don't know who decided these boys should be in the pantheon of US writers, but I'd like to wring their collective necks. Oh, and why Torvald didn't kill his wife in A Doll's House is totally beyond me. She was a total twit and I didn't feel a bit sorry for her.

2) If you could bring three characters to life for a social event (afternoon tea, a night of clubbing, perhaps a world cruise), who would they be and what would the event be?

I choose Lord Peter Wimsey, Rhett Butler, and Blackford Oakes - this last Bill Buckley's creation. All these men like women with brains and are dashing, witty, debonair and have cool heads in tight situations. What else but a weekend in the country?

3) (Borrowing shamelessly from the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde): you are told you can’t die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for a while, eventually you realise it’s past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?

I'm tempted to also pick The DaVinci Code. But Mac picked that. I WOULD prefer living forever to rereading The Book Man Without Qualities again. I'll bite the bullet and choose to go with:

"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

--Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

4) Come on, we’ve all been there. Which book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you’ve read, when in fact you’ve been nowhere near it?

not me. Ever. Well, not since I graduated from college anyway, and that was only on the occasional exam. So it doesn't really count. I'm told Moby Dick is actually quite good and I rather like the illustrations and extra goodies in the edition I still have staring from my bookshelves saying "Read me." Ditto, The Scarlett Letter and the Tin Drum these three books got the full bore "good skim" and Cliff Notes treatment. But I've never sat around at a cocktail party and said "yes, wasn't 'X' Marvelous" when I was no where near the thing.

5) You’re interviewing for the post of Official Book Advisor to some VIP (who’s not a big reader). What’s the first book you’d recommend and why? (If you feel like you’d have to know the person, go ahead and personalise the VIP).

H'mm... I guess it depended what position the VIP occupied professionally. I'm going to personalize it a bit and make it a US politician. Non-fiction: The Federalist Papers - just so s/he'd know there are limits and a reason why things were constructed the way they are. Too many politicians don't take the long view into consideration, and don't have a clue as to why the republic was structured as it was. Fiction: If Catholic Brideshead Revisited, because I think they'd enjoy it - if otherwise I'd want them to read the New Testament! [The Catholic had better have read it before. I can't make bricks without straw.]

6) A good fairy comes and grants you one wish: you will have perfect reading comprehension in the foreign language of your choice. Which language do you go with?

Koine Greek so I could read the New Testament in the original. Like Mac, I was also tempted to pick Latin, but Greek won by a nose. I'm going to cheat here and pick a second for more modern literature: Russian. Great language, but it's always been a slog for me. I do like Chekov especially and Ilf and Petrov are unbeatable.

7) A mischievous fairy comes and says that you must choose one book that you will reread once a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick?

Witness by Whittaker Chambers. Non-fiction, it combines autobiography, history, politics, philosphy, intrigue, and spy thriller.

8) I know that the book blogging community, and its various challenges, have pushed my reading borders. What’s one bookish thing you ‘discovered’ from book blogging (maybe a new genre, or author, or new appreciation for cover art-anything)?

Indirectly: I'm always pleased when I look at other people's profiles and find that often there are titles under the "favorite book" list that coincide with my own favorites. I've seen everything from Witness pop up to even childhood favorites like Harriet the Spy. Oh, and I'd LOVE to run barefoot through the books Dr. Peter has.

9) That good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she’s granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leather bound? Is it full of first edition hardcovers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favourite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead-let your imagination run free.

Why not a huge octagonally shaped room reached via corridor with windows all around and the book stacks in the middle and partly along the walls? Near the bay windows are comfy couches and armchairs (with foot rests!) and a good lamp by each one. And there are a few French doors too. There are writing tables here and there, with internet. I don't care if the books are leather bound, though they are great. EVERY book would be printed on acid free paper. I'd be able to see the ocean from one side and the mountains from the other. I'd also have a nook or two with a wet bar, because I don't want to go all the way back to the kitchen for a drink. Better put a one-holer just in the corridor too while I'm at it. The library room would be staffed by a genie who would put the dust covers back on any books that needed the dust covers put back on because I am notorious for taking those suckers off not to muss them up and then they're all over. Wood flooring, oriental rugs in reds and cream colors scattered around, it goes without saying it's got central heating. Oh, and it's got a good bound magazine section too. Time, Life, and the Illustrated London News, National Geographic are some I'd have.

I tag:

1. Adrienne

2. Fr. Boyle

3. The White Stone Name Seeker

4. Tara

5. Paul - On the Side of Angels

6. And anyone else who wants to do it - any of my readers without blogs who want to do this can feel free to use my combox.

BTW, the chair in the picture above does sit in the library at Prince of Peace Abbey in Oceanside. It is one of the most comfortable chairs I have ever sat in. I want one!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

One Good Painting deserves another

Father Ray Blake has been thinking about doing his Masses Ad Orientem instead of facing the people.

(Click here for more photos of the whole altar piece and enlargements.)

There was a little heated discussion on his blog here. And he's added a post concerned that people aren't in tune with the sacrifice as much as they should be. (Perhaps it was something I said that concerned him? I dunno. :-D ) If it's any reassurance, I think of the Mass as BOTH sacrifice and meal. You can't have the meal without the sacrifice, of course.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I think the "Adoration of the Lamb" section of the Ghent altarpiece by the van Eyck brothers is appropriate. All very PRE-protestant in the early 1400s. There's a nice New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia article about the van Eyck's here, and good enlarged photos of the whole altarpiece in question here. I often think our Catholic schools too often fail to incorporate study of the fine arts in the school curriculum. I think it would be great if there was a concerted effort here and there to put them in Catholic school books. One of my 6th-7th grade nuns would occasionally make a stab at making sure we were familiar with some great fine art material, but she was about the only one I can think of who did so. Thank you, Sister Pauline! (She had her hands full as our English and music teacher as it was.) I think all our schools are too concerned with teaching to standardized texts these days. It was nice sister made the extra effort.

(BTW, I loved studying this one in art history. The *practicing* Catholics definitely had a leg up on this one in getting all the symbolism. I took a little time with one of my "raised vaguely Christian-but-the-children-can-decide when they're older" classmates to slip in a little Catholic apologetics helping her "get it.")

When Elections were "Fun"

Personally, it's been one of those weeks I'd never want to live through again, and I have been very naughty being so sulky. And it is SATURDAY, for heaven's sakes. Time to lighten up. This vid. is from illWay odgersRay OlliesFay (yes that's Pig Latin, no point in alerting those dweebs at incolnLay enterCay who'll only sit guarding their musty old tapes that are such fun that no one will see unless you can bribe your way in and claim to be some student going for his doctorate with some bogus letterhead from some, Stephen dear, not you, we know you're a real doctoral candidate.) It's from the onTy Awardsway from a while back and it's 3 minutes long. IF you dial-up duffers like me want to save a copy use

The great Sooner State of Ok-La-Hom-A casts its 22 votes for William Penn Adair Rodgers

What does this have to do with religion? ZIP all except notice how well the choreography is done and TLM fans should groove on the "unison." This particular video is a favorite of mine.

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Good Lord. I knew it was getting bad over there for common crime but apparently the way the laws are written now in the UK you can be tried over and over again on hearsay evidence for allegedly being a homophobe. [Anecdotal incidents have been reported in the English Catholic blogosphere too over the last months, so this is no joke. Where's it going? Tried and convicted for teaching the fullness of the faith?] Meanwhile, people who've been convicted for heinous crimes with alleged "life sentences because of course they're really in for life and there's no need for a death penalty" walk after 15 months.

How long before they come around to the homeowners demanding all the pointy knives in the kitchen draw? Beef up the regular police force? Uh-uh....but boy, better get a massive effort on to collect fines from someone driving over the speed limit. "Pat down the grannies at the airport while a herd of Muslims screaming 'Allah-Akbar ' don't get challenged" "logic" run amok. In other words, hassle the law abiding and turn a blind eye to people who kick up a fuss if you try and put the cuffs on.

I hear they go out in the Midday Sun too.

But then this scenario, (save double jeopardy) is something the DNC and Hitlary would love. Even she would keep the rules regarding double jeopardy though, I mean, if the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit, right? Nicole Simpson's killer must be a golfer or something, because OJ swore he wouldn't rest until he found him. He's been doing a lot of looking on golf courses. And of course, more of Hitlery's natural constituents would be around to vote for her if you bussed them wherever they needed to go and gave them enough booze and cigarettes.

Sheriff Arpaio, please check your cell phone messages.

(And yeah, I know it's an older article, but still an interesting read.)


Friday, January 25, 2008

KitBrookside - By the Brook

Hey, relatively new blog from Kit at By the Brook. As she puts it: "Chronicles of a mom, wife, lawyer, professor, daughter, sister, mentor, boss, and employee embarked on the perilous journey toward 40." Give her a howdy and some encouragement! Welcome to the blog world, Kit!

BTW, Kit, turning 40 isn't very much more traumatic than having your house burn down or anything. It will help that yours is on Easter. :-D

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Would you like a Stock Pick?

As the US campaign is hotting up, might I suggest an investment in hard liquor of all kinds. Breweries are also good too. Might I particularly recommend Seagram's? - I will be imbibing quite a bit of it from now until early November, and probably after it. This particular bottle was half full as of about 4 months ago. Until then it had taken me several years to gradually drain the bottle, this being the one I kept (notice the past tense here) for New Year's, Easter, and "Medicinal purposes." I expect minimally to go through a good half case. Multiply by millions.

Some of my US readers in particular notice that even though Duncan Hunter, who I was supporting, the ONLY decent conservative in the race, dropped out for lack of funds and a "shut-up-I-paid-for-this-microphone" moment of the Reagan variety, which is what he needed to do but didn't. I'm keeping his logo on my site as my little hissy fit.

That backstabber McPain, with his so-called campaign finance reform and his willing accomplices in the press and government, virtually guaranteed that unless a candidate is very wealthy or has union slush money, it's going to be all about the money and not the ideology.

For various reasons I literally can't abide ANY of the presidential contenders. Hucksterbee is a fraud, Paul is a wimp-nut, Guiliani over-my-dead-body, and Romney is a socialist blow dried Massachusetts I-too-can-become-a-god untrustworthy SOB. And this last is the BEST candidate still in. I am NOT at liberty, as things stand now to vote third party or write in in the general election come November, particularly if that witch Hillary gets the nod in her party. Because as bad as Romney or any other Republican is, she is a danger to the republic. Never has such evil seeped into the body politic of America as the Klinton Klan.

There is no true conservative still in the game for the GOP. The best I can pray for is Mitt winning the nod, the conservatives insisting on a REAL conservative like ex(thanks yous a$$hole$ in the Philly 'burbs for falling for Casey)-senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum or Hunter for Veep, Mitt winning, then on the day after the election Mitt fooling around on his wife, and his wife incapacitating him so he can't count to 21 unless he is naked, and he is forced to step down in favor of the veep-elect to take office. That's going to require a MIGHTY thick prayer rug. Dream on about a brokered convention, it ain't gonna happen, and if by some chance it does it will be one of the three losers with one of the other two as the running mate, unless the GOP grows hundreds of "sets," which they currently lack, their former "sets" having shriveled up, dropped off, and rolled under couches and behind ice-boxes.

I will continue to display "Hunter" on my blog. So don't assume I haven't been paying attention. As for why McPain is toast, see here, Ann Coulter's 2nd paragraph says it all. For all you need to know about Rudy, the below photo is not photoshopped, other than possibly lighting adjustments.

(C'mere sweetheart, gimmee a big kiss.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

In my Case, I need the "Perspiration" Part

Sorry I've been a little light on original content as of late, I've got a few good ideas, but don't have the energy to fuss with a few features of Photoshop I need to learn before I can execute them! Ah well, give me time and I can snap out of it.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

35th Anniversary of Shame

Today marks the 35th anniversary of the darkest date in US History: 5 idiots on the US Supreme Court decided that innocent human life was not worth protecting. We need to stop this insanity. We hear the misguided cry "What a woman does with her own body...." I don't know any women with two heads, two hearts, 4 lungs, 4 arms, 4 legs, etc. Do you? Didn't think so. No other issue has ripped the US social fabric as much as this one.

It's not a "choice" it's a baby. Call it a "fetus" if you like, but that is latin for "little one." It's not going to be born a salamander.

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you..." Jeremiah 1:5

Book Meme, AKA --ah, fer cryin' out loud, Jean

Well, I was about to turn in, and Jean over at Catholic Fire left me a note that she'd tagged me on a book meme. Here are the rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

I look down, and what do I see? The book I had out earlier today, i peridvizhniki, (The Wanderers) which I'd grabbed from my bookshelf when I did the procession post. It's artsy-fartsy. It's also in Russian. Guess who doesn't have the energy at this hour to deal with a cyrillic font. IF you said "Karen" you were right. But I do have a scanner....which is why this flipping picture is sideways. Jean, you asked for it, you got it. I'd translate it, but the third sentence is a bitch of a run on sentence and I've already taken my contacts out and I'm not putting them back in at this hour to look up taxing verb forms. Maybe tomorrow. Or, I guess at this hour that's later today.

The five people I tag are:

1. Jackie Parkes
2. Mulier-Fortis
3. Swiss Miss
4. Digihairshirt
5. Father Boyle

My privileges Meme

Esther, over at Hawai'i Catholic mom, saw this meme. It was new to her and I hadn't seen it either. It's sort of interesting the things we take for granted as perhaps being a privilege for someone else. I consider myself blessed! Meme statements are in green, my comments on some of them will be white. True statements are bold.

From What Privileges Do You Have?, based on an exercise about class and privilege developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. If you participate in this blog game, they ask that you PLEASE acknowledge their copyright.

True statements are in "Bold."

1. Father went to college
2. Father finished college
3. Mother went to college
4. Mother finished college

This would not have been unusual for parents who grew up in working class or poor families in the 30s or 40s. My dad could have graduated high school, but hated his home life and joined the Air Force 3 days after his 17th birthday. He idolized his uncles who'd all served in WWII, a conflict he missed by 5 or so years for being too young. Mom was a good student, but it was expected the girls would quit school at 16 and go to work because the family was poor. Dad did a couple of hitches and proceeded to work his way up the ladder in corporate America as a soft drink salesman, from the ground up to eventually be a plant manager. He worked his behind off. A fact which I didn't fully appreciate when I was little. Thank God for the opportunities in the USA, because there aren't a lot of societies where without a formal education that one can improve from the social/monetary class you were born in.

5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor

Yes. Hush now. One of my cousins is an attorney, but try not to hold that against him.

6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers.

7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.
8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home.
9. Were read children's books by a parent

Big time on the books. I had close to 1500 before I went to college. Most of the books in the house were mine, and every nickel I had went into buying books. Mom and dad indulged me to the hilt on this one. The best gift I had was a surprise gift at age 9 of a 24 volume encyclopedia set + a 10 volume science set and a 10 volume set about art, music, literature, stories, crafts etc. Some time back when I were going through my parents effects, I found payment book for same. Those books are dog earred now, but the best presents ever.

10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18
11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18

Caught a break here. Lessons in things weren't nearly so expensive as they are now. I had piano and dance lessons growing up and professional driving lessons the Christmas after my 17th birthday. [They made me wait an extra year!] Oh, and swimming, Stephen reminded me ....

12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively

No funny accent, I don't wear flipflops with tube tops and Daisy Dukes, so I'm okay.

13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18

My parents were generous, but not insane.

14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs

I'm going to go about halfies on this one. I lived at home. Mom and Dad paid for Frosh year. Then I got a job and paid tuition/bills/books and my own pin money and car insurance. Dad took a job in Sacramento towards the end of my junior year and they paid almost all the freight my last four academic quarters. On my 2nd degree, I paid the whole whack. I caught a break because there are a lot of good colleges in San Diego, and I didn't want added expense of going out of state or living away from home for the bulk of the time. It was about a $1200 a year for tuition/registration, books back in the 70s for the University of California. I don't know how families do it today with college as expensive as it is. "Son, how about going to West Point? That will save us a quarter million and Uncle Sam pays you! Deal?"

15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
16. Went to a private high school

And thank you mom and dad! I adored it.

17. Went to summer camp

I don't know if Girl Scout Daycamp at age 7 for two weeks counts.

18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18

Too smart for my own good as it was. Okay, I could have used help in Algebra, but there was as much likelihood of being a civil engineer as Bill Clinton had of remaining faithful to the Hildabeast. No point in being insufferable by getting straight As. Keeps you from being neurotic.

19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels

Big time. Dad's job involved some travel and when he traveled WE traveled - especially in the summer and on school breaks or even when I could manage to play hookey a bit. I got to see a lot of the country before I was 18, and a few foreign countries too.

20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18

Nope. Most of it was bought, but my mom was an excellent seamstress, and had worked in a garment factory for about 10 years before she married my dad. She made a lot of skirts and dresses for me when I was little, -- other stuff that was more of a pain to make i.e. blouses, jeans and stuff were bought. My Barbie had "fashions by mom" and were way better than what Mattel sold separately. I wasn't really a "doll kid" by any stretch of the imagination, far preferring little green army men, and board games, but something about Barbie was just .... appealing.

21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them

Halfies. After Frosh year in college mom got tired of driving me and dropping me off or us alternating days where I'd have the car and she wouldn't (dad had his own company car) so they got me a '75 Volvo that was new. I had a trade in (which I had bought myself from savings) I paid gas and insurance and half the car payment. They didn't quite cost the earth then. I think it was about 5 grand, and I got 800 bucks on my trade in. (They thought it better if I got a safer car than the one I bought. I first bought a used Toyota Corolla that had a charming habit of stalling at red lights unless you kept your foot lightly on the gas. It also would let you start in reverse...which I found out by accident.)

22. There was original art in your house when you were a child [kid's work is original!]

Yeah. A few pieces, but more the kind you'd buy at an art show. Nothing you'd worry about having an armed guard for.

23. You and your family lived in a single-family house
24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home
25. You had your own room as a child
26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18
27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course
28. Had your own TV in your room in high school

Got a small black and white one for my birthday when I was nine. Later on I can remember bringing it to school once in a while so we could watch NASA launches and Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral.

29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college
30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16

Yeah, first flight aged 6. My Pittsburgh Pirates plastic batting helmet became my "crash helmet" for the next few times. Well, I didn't crash, did I? SEE? I was an old hand by 16.

31. Went on a cruise with your family

Nope. Just as well. Mal du Mer. My mom and dad had a small fishing boat back in the mid 70s that they/we took out fishing on a lot of weekends. Mom was the best at fishing, which frustrated dad and me. We'd be lucky to get one or two between us, mom would have a string of 6 or 7. We were sure she was just "lucky." My answer to the question: "Karen, we're going out on the boat this Saturday, wanna come?" Was " ...are you guys going down to the Coronado Islands, because if you are No, NO, NO...a thousand times NO, I'll be throwing up about a half hour after you stop. But if you're staying inside the bay, yes, and can I bring a friend?"

32. Went on more than one cruise with your family

Nope. Mom and dad went but when I was old enough and could have gone it was "no way, Jose!"

33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up

Usually that sort of thing was a vacation time activity. Smithsonian? You betcha. Going somewhere noted for that sort of thing, yeah, in spades. Go to the museum close to home? Yeah, occasionally, but not often.

34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family

Are you kidding me? Regards the gas and electric bill: Any time I left a room with the light still on it was "DAMMIT, KAREN, WE DO NOT OWN STOCK IN THE PENNSYLVANIA POWER AND LIGHT COMPANY, WE ARE NOT MADE OUT OF MONEY, TURN THAT LIGHT OFF!!!" It did not matter what state we had moved to - the rebuke was always the same. This did not apply to the night light I had when I was little, because as everyone knows, monsters live under little kid's beds, and they come out to eat children unless there is a light on.

Esther tagged anyone who wanted to do the meme, and I tag the same.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Ilya, Dear, Your Slavic Soul Appeals to Me

Last week, Father Blake had a nice posting about religious procession in Manilla. We suffer for a general lack of public processions in southern California, and I think we are the poorer for it.

(Click here for larger version.)

A favorite painting of mine is by Ilya Repin, a Ukrainian, who straddled the 19th and 20th centuries. There is something wild, untamed and passionate about the Slavic soul which cuts right to the heart. Of all the broken threads in Christianity, the one between the Orthodox and Catholics pains me the most.

My favorite fellow in the above picture, is the one with the crutch in the foreground. The "authorities" are trying to keep the poorer classes from getting too close to the middle class folks in the official procession party. But this fellow has his "eyes on the prize" and is willing to risk being whipped.

(And Stephen, if you see this one, snaps for you -- or anyone -- who gets the musical reference in the title! Replace "Ilya" with "Joseph" and have a go.)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Great Priest's Name

You can't make this up. Father Stephanos reports that they had a fairly distinguished guest at Prince of Peace Abbey in Oceanside recently. He is Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, who is assigned as preacher to the Papal Household. As someone else already pointed out, father's last name means "Sings the Mass" in Italian. I bet God had a special gleam in His eye when he tapped this man for the priesthood.

We All Need Heroes

Recently, Father Tim had an article on his website regards the book called "Priestblock 25487" - it's the memoirs of a Catholic Priest, , Fr Jean Bernard, from his time in Dachau. It looks like a great read. In addition to these two books, I can think of a few other books by or about Catholic priests regards their difficulties in serving the people of God when they put their very lives in jeopardy.

Here are some good reads in a similar vein:

1. With God in Russia by Father Walter Ciszek, S.J.

Father Ciszek (1904-1984) hailed from Schuylkill County, Pa., the same neck of the woods as my own father. After the decimation of the Russian Orthodoxy clergy after communism took over, many priests answered the call to the Russicum, which specificially trained priests from different countries to answer a call to serve in Russia. Fr. Ciszek was in Russia for 24 years, and was in and out of prison, including the infamous Lubianka and the northern reaches of Siberia. In between times of his imprisonment, he also established a "parish" of sorts, serving the Orthodox and Catholics. In 1963 President Kennedy exchanged him and released a Soviet who had been spying. A cause for canonization has been put forth for him. Amazon has a good deal on it now. He also wrote a follow on book called "He Leadeth Me" -- about his spiritual journey.

There is also a film of the same name, quite good.

2. Autobiography of a Hunted Priest - John Gerard, S.J.

This account is a breath taking read, by a Catholic priest guided his flock in the Elizabethan years. Many of my English readers are probably already familiar with this one, but my US and other anglophone readers perhaps not as much. Father Gerard was ordained in France and then secretly landed in Norfolk and ministered to Catholics and brought many Protestants back into the fold. He was responsible for many vocations, and was constantly on guard for imminent arrest. He served as a priest in England for 17 years. Once he was captured and had a dramatic escape from the Tower of London. He also knew many Catholic martyrs such as St. Henry Walpole and St. Southwell. There's a little bit more in this old Time Magazine Article book review.

3. My Thirty Third Year by Fr. Gerhard Fittkau

Also well worth a read, if you can find it. Your best bet is a used book store or ebay. It was originally published in German. He was a priest in East Prussia, and when the church was overrun from the Russians in the east towards the close of WWII, he was shipped off to the Arctic Circle. His account is of the daily struggle keep his priestly dignity intact under severe conditions and also his tale of survival and ministry to those around him.

4. Bishop Walsh of Maryknoll - Prisoner of Red China -- by Ray Kerrison

I believe a used book store is also your best bet here. Bishop Walsh was among the first to attend Maryknoll in 1912, and institute founded for development of those called to foreign missions. In his time he founded many hospitals, clinics, schools, seminaries and orphanages. He returned to the United States in 1936 but in 1946 went back, and suffered under the Communist regime. At one point being sentenced to 20 years. He was released in the early 1960s

I'm sure I've missed others. Please feel free to add them in the combox.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008

How's that new play ground for the kids?

Why living in Alaska has its "challenges."

But I suppose the good thing is the kids have lots of new "friends."

Wheeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sure hope they don't build the fence too high. Can Goldilocks come out and play?

Who the Heck is Venus Flytrap?

Whatever. Archangel and I have something in common.

What classic sitcom character are you?

Venus Flytrap
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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hey, neato Award

This one's from Philip. I can use all the love I can get! I get to tag eight people, so I'm going to concentrate on eight that as far as I know haven't been tagged yet, which is not to say they haven't, but if you were on Philip's list I'm not gonna tag ya by default, so a little more of this will be spread around.

1. The Cricket Team - especially the troika, and polo subset, by way of whom I came into the Catholic bloggosphere. Indirectly, anyway. [See my comment here if you have no clue whom I'm talking about. Okay, I'm cheating here a little with this one, but safety in numbers!]

2. Adrienne

3. Tara

4. Mac

5. Esther

6. Stephanie and Archangel's Advocate - the dynamic Richers.

7. Ma Beck

8. Swiss Miss

9. Angela Messenger (c'mon, do I LOOK like I do "evens?")

Naturally, Peterkins already has one. (And he better get his act together before we have one hellovabigBBQ with all the Moose Meat Stephanie's got on ice in her fridge. Such A Fine Romance. ♫)

And Stevie captured my heart ♫ long ago, even when he's not singing and dancing. (youtube clip on this one 3:19)

Sorry for not going to tag you all but I'm in a heck of a hurry!

Keep up the Good Work, you Guys

Well, with the trend being what it is, and the writer's strike in television, the rate should soon skyrocket up to 3.0 births per woman. ;-D If there seem to be more babies around, you're right! Crumb crunchers and future taxpayers of America, unite! You have nothing to lose but your pacifiers.

Following quote extracted from full Breitbart article:

"ATLANTA (AP) - Bucking the trend in many other wealthy industrialized nations, the United States seems to be experiencing a baby boomlet, reporting the largest number of children born in 45 years.

The nearly 4.3 million births in 2006 were mostly due to a bigger population, especially a growing number of Hispanics. That group accounted for nearly one-quarter of all U.S. births. But non-Hispanic white women and other racial and ethnic groups were having more babies, too.

An Associated Press review of birth numbers dating to 1909 found the total number of U.S. births was the highest since 1961, near the end of the baby boom. An examination of global data also shows that the United States has a higher fertility rate than every country in continental Europe, as well as Australia, Canada and Japan. Fertility levels in those countries have been lower than the U.S. rate for several years, although some are on the rise, most notably in France."

The CDC report is here. And the population Reference Bureau (didn't even know we had one of those!) is here.

What's with the low birth rate in Italy in particular? The full article points out that there isn't particularly a correlation between government-handouts-per-baby and a high birth rate. I know the population is pretty dense there, but what's holding the Italians back especially?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Church Calendars - or - More than One Way to Skin a Cat

I've never particularly cared for the reform of the Latin Rite calendar which was lobotomized more than 30 years back. Probably closer to 40. A lot of the dates were moved around or dropped all together. [Where the HELL is the St. Joseph of Cupertino memorial, which should be celebrated on my birthday, Sept, 18th? Here we have a saint that could LEVITATE and he doesn't get a day? As my friends in da hood would say, "What up wid dat?"]

I've always been a calendar geek (and a map geek too, but that's a different thing) -- so I've always enjoyed it every year when my Aunt Mary sends me a copy of the church calendar from St. John the Baptist in Northampton, Pa. It's Byzantine, and the calendar is in Ukrainian and English. EVERY day has something you can choose to celebrate. The way it should be. And they didn't mess around with the names of things. Jan 1 is "Circumcision" and also Basil the Great.

St. John's is also the first church I ever remember attending too. I can't say I much liked it when I was tiny, aged 2 to almost 4 - mostly because all I saw were OVERCOATS, mom not liking to sit up front and me, even then wanting to see what was going on. HOWEVER, I remember the most wonderful incense, and I was sure that the ceilings, walls and iconostasis were painted just for me so I'd have something to look at!

A lot of the saints aren't familiar to Latin Rite Catholics, but no matter - it's nice to know there's more than one way to skin a cat. On the back of this calendar, the readings are listed for the day. Often times different ones than what would be read in the West.

I've always liked attention paid to the saints. I.E. the "Church Triumphant." It's nice to know we've got friends in heaven we've never met. I've always favored by far Eucharistic Prayer I -- particularly the litany of Saints. I used to love hearing them read in Latin when I was little. It really fulfills "the communion of saints" in a way that I don't get from the other options. The calendar also has the added bonus of making me think of my grandmother every time I look at it. And of course, this one reminds me that Lent starts on the Monday before Ash Wednesday and there is also abstinence on Wednesdays too. [So stop whining, some of you, you've got it easy.]

Monday, January 14, 2008

Hey, not bad

Almost a 50-50 shot.


Zombie Survival?

I expect I'd have a higher chance of survival if I wasn't so Catholic [i.e. I'd also risk trying to save family and friends and wouldn't "off them" if they became zombies.]

But I didn't score lower, 'cuz I'm an American familiar with weapons. If they're gonna "get me" some of them are goin' with me! I'll make 'em pay!

h/t to Tara(36%) and Fr. Erik(71%).

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Operation Voodoo

As any of my U.S. Readers who have not been living under a rock know, Campaign '08 is at a stage in January where we start to take things seriously. For those of you overseas who most likely do not follow US politics closely, and my U.S. readers who live-under-a-rock -- be aware that this season will be sickeningly unlike any other. Many of us political observers are horrified that last year a number of states got involved in playing "Alpha Dog" in moving their primary elections up FAR TOO MUCH in advance of the nominating convention. It has been ages since there was a brokered convention, but NEVER has the potential existed for such calamity. For a run down of how all this stuff works, see here.

U.S. elections had nicely evolved over the years to spread out state primaries, thereby giving the electorate at large ample time to observe how candidates handle themselves. Some candidates look good on paper, but then may do absolutelyl stupid stuff which reveals them to have flaws. Flaws which might have gone undetected in a short frame of time, but flaws that over time would be exposed. The last few election cycles have had the larger states mad, because by the time they got around to those primaries, the candidates had their bids locked up, and the large states got NO attention. It's like penning the Rottweiler and giving him the picked clean bone to suck on. Thus the alpha dog hissy fit in '07. Early this February, a considerable number of states have moved their primaries up to Feb. 5 -- almost HALF the states will hold primaries or caucuses on this single day.

The Republican field is a mess all right, but the Democrat field holds the frightening spectre of that she-wolf, the Hildabeast locking up an early Democrat nomination, before her own party remembers how much they despise her. I know people who were born with a donkey tattooed on their rear ends who despise her. But there's always the idiot vote, who can't remember what happened two weeks ago, much less the 8 year nightmare of the Clinton regime.

What to do? The church is always urging Ecumenism. As I was browsing the drug store aisle this afternoon, my eyes fell on a number of Hildabeast dolls. AH-HA!!!!! THERE'S THE ANSWER. An Instant Hildabeast Voodoo Doll!!! These things were discounted 75% -- YES!!!! Lay out 20 bucks? NO WAY.... but 5 smackeroos? IRRESISTIBLE!!!! Hours of blog fun. Plus the fact that it will save me from throwing bricks through the television set. It's hard plastic, it supposedly says stuff (I haven't put batteries in yet) but everytime She-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named wins some primary delegates I will DO things to it. When the time comes as a coup de grace, I can't wait to tie it behind the car and drag it. It and Jimmy Hoffa may eventually have something in common.

Update: Last night I was trying to think up appropriate music for "Operation Voodoo" and "The well ran dry" but I figured I could later add some to the campaign. Hats off to Archangel's Advocate who reminded me of Cole Porter's line: "Do do that voodoo that you do so well..." from You Do Something To Me, from the Musical 50 Million Frenchmen. This time around Amazon has the 30 second clip ♫ ... and once again, DEAD ON for the needed line.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Fashion Felony - Guided by the Hand of God

Have you ever heard God laugh? I have. The best story I have to illustrate this is an incident which happened not long after my mother died, in 1995.

Dad at his sartorial best. Mom didn't need help.
The older I get, the younger they look.

Let me preset the story by going back a few years before that. My mother had done laundry and was helping my dad get ready for a business trip that he'd be taking for a few days. My dad was the manager of a bottling plant and occasionally he'd go on a bottler's convention, and "the guys" would also take time for a round of golf or two.

My dad, never a snappy dresser, occasionally had to be chided by mom for the odd fashion felony here and there - mom would catch him before he made it out the door. My dad had some casual clothes to take along for the "hanging out and playing golf" portion of the trip. There were two items that gave my mom concern: one a light blue shirt, with tiny white dots, as well as a pair of very thin stripe white/blue seersucker trousers. Both nice garments in their own right.

My mother looked at the two items and said to my dad: "Ed, these blues ARE about the same shade, and *you* will be tempted to wear them together, but stripes and dots Do. Not. Go. Together. PLEASE promise me that you will NOT wear them together, against my better judgment, I will pack them, but you have to promise me."

Dad said "sure, I promise." When dad got back, he had a souvenir photo of his golf foursome. What was he wearing? Yes. you guessed. Mom just shook her head and she and I laughed about that.

Fast forward to two afternoons past her death when dad and I were to go to the funeral parlor where a my mom had been prepared in her casket. It was the first time I would look at my mom since she had died, and I was a little concerned how I would handle that. Normally I'm good in crisis times but knew my dad tended to be a basket case in such matters. I'd not seen my dad that day, having last minute errands to run. We arrived at the funeral parlor separately, me first. He came in with my grandmother, and predictably, he was not holding up. Not that he was prone to tears, just that I knew that it would be the case this time and it was. I took some time calming him down and playing "good daughter."

When he was finally calm ... I suddenly noticed what he was wearing. If you guessed "links special" you are right. I *almost* *almost* laughed out loud right then and there.

The funeral director right then came over to me and asked if I'd like to go in first to see that everything was okay. I practically leapt from the chair and went in to be with her alone and said: "Mom, he DID IT AGAIN!!!!" I like to think this was the last private laugh my mother and I had together. I kissed her, and knew everything would be okay for me. I am QUITE sure God guided my dad's hand when he selected those two particular items to go together. I thought "GOOD ONE, God!"

Predictably, *I* fell apart three weeks later...but that sure helped at the time. I never told my dad about that, not wanting to chance hurting his feelings ... but I expect he knows about it now.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Catholic Guilt Trip Does a Number on Me

First Fr. Erik said that if "you loved Jesus" you should do this blog. Then Angela Messenger at her new website tagged everyone with a vowel in his/her name ... so ... herewith more about me that you didn't especially want to know. But, as you've probably figured out, I'm a sucker for these things anyway, so I didn't need much coaxing.

(Where the elite meet to eat. See #3)

1. Do you wear a name tag at work? HELL, no.
2. What kind of car do you drive? Mine is also green and has 4 wheels. There seems to be a lot of that going around You can see a picture of it here.
3. What do you order when you go to Taco Bell? Seldom go there, as there's a bombing 24/7/365 one-of-a-kind Mexican food drive through not far from my house.
I was going to blog about that soon, but I decided it would be a fun picture to use here.
4. Have you ever had a garage sale? No.
5. What color is your iPod? Nope. No iPod. I only got a microwave this Christmas and held out on the cell phone to last year. I'm not a Luddite or anything, having worked in computer programming for 17 years. It's. Just. That. I. Don't. Need. *Everything* Right. Away.
6. What kind of dog do you have? No doggie currently. My last was an English Springer Spaniel, Maggie, named after Margaret Thatcher and Princess Margaret. In the past I jointly owned a beagle, Mr. Mike (first dog), a Heinz 57, Taffy, and an Irish Setter, Brian (dumber than a post, but gorgeous.)
7. What's for dinner tonight? Like I can think that far ahead? It will be whatever strikes me.
8. What is the last alcoholic beverage you had? I don't know if you can count the Communion Wine. Other than that a shot of whiskey, Seagram's 7 at New Years at midnight.
9. Stupidest thing you ever did with your cell phone? Nothing. Yet. Give me time.
10. Last time you were sick? Last week. You don't want to know.
11. How long is your hair? For the moment almost shoulder length. I had it way overly long for a while, and cut it about 6 weeks ago.
12. Are you happy right now? I'm STRESSED OUT right now.
13. What did you say last? To anyone? "See you next week." To the saintly Father S. as we were leaving Mass, haven't spoken to anyone since. Oh, I've uttered snatches of song here and there, just haven't come face to face with anyone yet today.
14. Who came over last? The Fire Department. They agree with me my neighbor has his head up his a$$. Don't go there with me.
15. Do you drink beer? When the occasion calls for it. Not often, but about 5 times a year I get into a *I could REALLY use a beer right now." mood. St. Pauli's girl or Budweiser, or if my friend Jim has some Heiffewieseen or however you spell it, I'm game.
16. Have your brothers or sisters ever told you that you were adopted? No siblings. So I missed all that along with the "would you stop touching me. Mom, make her stop looking at me" stuff.
17. What is your favorite key chain on your keys? Okay, I'm a jerk. No doo-dad, but just a bigass ring.
18. What did you get for graduation? College graduation - a thousand smackers to add to my Grand Tour of Europe slush fund which I later took with my college best friend and her big sister that August of 78.
19. What's in your pocket? Wallet, Olympus WS300 recorder, and 53 cents and a crumbled up dollar I should have known better to put in my wallet but didn't.
20. Who introduced you to Dane Cook? Who?
21. Has someone ever made you a Build-A-Bear? What's a Build-A-Bear? Already I feel cheated!
22. What DVD is in your DVD player? Niente d'affato. That's Italian for BUPKIS. My computer DVD player anyway. The DVD player attached to the TV has.... wait a minute while I go look ... OH. Richard Burton's Hamlet performance. The one he did on Broadway in the early 60s. I've been affecting a low-brow air with this blog. Don't tell anyone. I don't want you to blow my cover. It will be our little secret, okay?
23. What's something fun you did today? The post I did re: Father Blake's dancing girls. I thought I was going "dry" there for that first week in January.
24. Who is/was the principal of your high school? Soph. Year. Fr. William Cornelison, who defected to get married the summer of '72. No kidding. (It was the early 70s, my RELIGION teacher also defected - same thing, to marry the nun who was head of the high school religion department. Is it any wonder my generation is so "confused?" The next two years we got MISTER Dennis Hart. No more shennanigans, thank you very much. "At least" both priests were heterosexual for sure ... God only knows what some of them would be running away to get "married" with today. So at least we were spared that trauma.
25. Has your house ever been TP'd? No. Although I was a kid that got along pretty well with everyone, I was never popular to *that* degree! [I guess one trying aspect to explain to a Mongolian immigrant who spent his early years in a yurt is why popular kids would be the target of getting their house TP'd. It's an American thang I expect. Maybe the Mongolian equivalent is putting acutal buffalo dung on the roof. I can just see HIS mom and dad, "get that **** off the roof" would be literal!]]
26.What do you think of when you hear the word "meow"? Who's harboring CATS around here?!
27. What are you listening to right now? Pretty Little Picture ♫ from A FUNNY Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum. [OCR w/Nathan Lane] To cap the normal "triplets" a la many lyricists, Sondheim did some nifty ones, the line"The sand and the sea and the stars in the sky and soft little satisfied sigh" comes just after the snippet following the link. (From now on any time you see a link iwht the little musical note/notes, know it's a 30 second sound clips. Loads quickly, even for duffers like me with dial up.)
28. Drinking? Last drank a can of RC Cola. I was in a nostalgic mood and got some. When I was a kid my dad worked for Royal Crown Cola for quite a number of years. I was twelve or so before I drank an actual Coke. Out of loyalty. Dad was impressed! ]I drank other soft drinks, particularly A-Treat, *the* specialty of Lehigh County, Pa. - just not Coke.]
29. What is your favorite aisle at Wal-Mart? Don't go often, but I suppose the DVD stuff. Never know when you're going to see something good amongst all the dreck.
30. When is your mom's birthday? August 4th.
31. When is your birthday? My aunt used to call me "The Last Rose of Summer." Sept. 18th.
32. What's the area code for your cell phone? 619
33. Where did you buy the shirt you're wearing now? Not wearing one! [But I DO have a sweatshirt on. Black mitt neon windex blue letteringer saying "The Laguna Playhouse," with two artsy fartsy art deco purple stick figure dancers. It's "spiffy." Yes. I bought it myself for theatre blacks. The perfect light weight sweatshirt. Goes nicely with the black T-shirt I have with the black lettering that says on the front "It's a theatre thing" and on the back "you wouldn't understand."
34. Is there anything hanging from your rear view mirror? NO!
35. How many states in the US have you been to? Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, (how the hell I managed to miss South Carolina I don't know but it really ticks me off because it's the only state on the eastern seaboard I haven't been to), Georgia, Tennessee (a little itty bitty corner of it anyway), Floriduh, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana (don't tell anyone, I spent a year there one month), Michigan, Illinois (technically only O'Hare, but I've been through there SO many times I have to count it), Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii. Before I die I want to "collect the whole set." Except, possibly, Arkansas, because it might be fun to leave one out. So far 33 in all.
36. What kind of milk do you drink? Hate milk. Always have. A "dark day" from age two was when I turned my glass upsidedown as a "no thank you" which I had seen adults do when the waitress would come over with coffee in a restaurant. How was I to know that it wasn't done if your mother was POISED to pour you the drink with the milk just over the glass, and turned to your dad to answer a question? Fade to black.... If I DO consume any, it's in a vanilla or chocolate Jello pudding or EGGNOG, which totally rocks.
37. What are you going to do after this? I owe, I owe, its off to work I go....
38. Who was the last person you went shopping with? Couldn't you ask something easier? Like "Who put the dexadrine in Mrs. Murphy's ovaltine? ♫" I HATE shopping. I am loathe to do it in a group endeavour unless by accident. I think the LAST accident last year before Christmas when a friend, her mom and I had gone to see a movie, and afterwards they did a quick run in to Bed, Bath and Beyond. And then it was just "in and out."
39. What is your favorite fruit? Apples.
40. What about your favorite dessert? Cherries Jubilee. But as that happens soooo infrequently: as of late Creme Brulee. [I don't feel like looking up the unicode for the fancy schmansy accent aigue.] OR white cake with white BUTTER CREME frosting. [Take that whipped creme stuff and throw it away, it doesn't belong on cake.]
41. What is something you need to go shopping for? As soon as I get some extra bucks I'm going to throw out every stitch of ratty old underwearout and get ALL NEW THINGS. Or is that TMI?
42. Do you have the same name as one of your relatives? Negatory.
43. What kind of car does one of your siblings drive? No siblings. But if HAD any, they probably wouldn't be driving any weeny little cars because I'd be mercilessly giving them crap over it.
44. Do you like pickles? Bigtime. Salt is My F*R*I*E*N*D.
45. How about olives? Yes, when I'm feeling in need of a spree I go get the ones stuffed with Blue Cheese.
46. What is your favorite kind of gum? None.
47. What is your favorite kind of juice? Apple cider.
48. Do you have any tan lines? I live in California, I have them whether I want them or not. Which is just as well because I have that pale European skin coloring that in my case would be positively ghost like otherwise. I try and not get too much sun to avoid "that leathery look" but have a bit of year round what the French would call "an agricultural tan" a little more on my left forearm as that's the one that rests on the open window when I'm driving if I'm in a "free spirit who needs AC and to worry about getting grit in a contact lenses?" kind of mood.
49. What hospital were you born in? Sacred Heart, Allentown, Pa. ... which gives me the idea for a blog entry maybe later this week if I can find the right bumph. [Which is a British term for "paper" I wish they'd adopt over here.]

Considered yourself tagged if you love Jesus, have a vowel in your first name, AND don't mind like making an ass of yourself by being honest about the questions.
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