April 2003 Archives
Fonticulus Fides is a blog by Sparki, who I first met in the comments box and have come to know and love as a fellow Catholic and mom. Check it out!
The Mighty Barrister is looking for personal stories about why the writer is personally opposed to abortion. I really wanted to get in there, but I have come to the conclusion that too much of this is a story not mine to tell.
There are those still living who trusted me with secrets of their deepest heart, stories of anguish and sin and triumph - and though those stories affected me, I cannot, will not violate that trust. There were those who hurt me deeply, and who I hurt, and after all the pain and sorrow, after all the repentance and forgiveness, remains the blessing. I cannot betray that. The repentance of those who hurt me has been a blessing and a gift. My ability to forgive has been a gift and a blessing. I pray to God that I have been forgiven by those I have hurt, but I will probably not know for sure this side of eternity. The details of the sins, of the hurts, of the reconciliations and of the distances - no, those are not mine to tell. Though I cannot forget, I can forgive, and I can pray for forgiveness. I am not unaffected, but I can strive to overcome the wounds and the pain.
There are those - many? few? I do not know for sure - whom I have wounded with deep and greivous sins. Some have rejected me. Others - I just do not know how they feel about me or what they think of me. It really does not matter. My sins have permanently affected who I am. Only rarely does there come a story that I am free to tell.
Dear Lord - I sometimes wish that you had created me enough of a poet to tell these stories without causing hurt, betraying others. Lord, why have you given me these stories and no way to share them? Am I too blind to see?
I confess to envy of the writers of fiction. I envy those story tellers, who through fantasy, myth, and legend, can tell the deepest truths,
1 dozen hard cooked eggs, split and yolks put into a bowl
1 TBS dijon mustard
1/4 cup olives (I use pimento stuffed greens, but you can use what you like as long as there are no pits)
1/4 cup capers
4 anchovy fillets
2 TBS vinegar ( I like sherry vinegar for this)
4 TBS olive oil
Mash egg yolks with mustard
chop olives, capers and anchovies together (blender or food processor)using oil and vinegar to hold them in suspension
stir this into egg yolks and use to stuff the egg whites.
Commentary: Marine's-eye view in Iraq -- The Washington Times from St. Blog's Eric Johnson (Catholic Light).
I am now in Eugene OR after a Friday that lasted way too long! Up at 0330 to drive to Boston for a flight leaving at 0645. The big advantage is that we avoided Boston traffic on the drive down. Of course, my dh had to drive back and go to work. The flight across country into SFO was not bad until we hit the Bay Area - it was raining buckets and the landing was a little rough, but tolerable. There were 3 hours between my arrival and my scheduled departure to PDX, and I asked about flying on the earlier flight but was told that I couldn't because I had checked luggage. So I decided to get lunch at a sit-down place - wandered over to the Crab Pot and was seated at a table that has sugar or salt stuck to it, was given a menu and ignored for 15 minutes while groups and men that came in after me were seated and served. So I walked out. I went to the sushi place in the Food Court and had some tolerable inari sushi - I later wished that I had tried the udon as it looked good. Oh well. Airport food being what it is..... The rain played havoc with flight scheduling. The flight into PDX left a few minutes late but not like the flight to Salt Lake City that was waiting to leave from the next gate over! The landing was one of the roughest I have experienced. We were over water, with the runway visible, and suddenly there was turbulence such that the pilot had to accelerate rather than decelerate, just to keep us from going into the drink. The touchdown was so hard that items in the galley broke loose from their anchors and went bouncing up the aisle. But we made it in safely, me praying furiously the whole time!
Portland OR has a Catholic FM station, KBVM, and I was able to listen to Patty Bonds being interviewed on the program Catholic Answers while I drove, which was wonderful. The signal faded about 1 hour's drive south of Portland. It was good to hear her speak.
Sat around with my son at his job for a couple of hours, then he took me to dinner at a good Mexican place where I had camarones and a marguerita (he was driving!) and to bed around midnight PDT (0300 EDT) for a day that lasted nearly 24 hours awake.
Today - Saturday Market, see my daughter, go to my friend's wedding, buy groceries that I can't find on the other coast.
on a saturday The Friday Five
1. What was the last TV show you watched?
EWTN's birthday tribute for Mother Angelica
2. What was the last thing you complained about?
The inanities of air travel - I got into SFO early, and there was space on an earlier connection to PDX, but they wouldn't let me take it because I had checked luggage and there was not time to transfer the luggage.
3. Who was the last person you complimented and what did you say?
My son, on his job performance after he showed me an official 'attaboy' letter from his boss.
4. What was the last thing you threw away?
A used teabag.
5. What was the last website (besides this one) that you visited?
Erik's Rants and Recipes
Sean Roberts has swum the Tiber, and describes it in beauteous detail. I am so joyous for him and all our other catechumens. May the mystogogia be equally rewarding!
Link from Two Sleepy Mommies
what kitchen utensil are YOU?
I'm overdue for some serious blogging but I am also overwhelmed right now. My boss wants me to see 3 patients every hour I am in the office. My husband leaves tomorrow for a last minute trip to Washington DC (just an overnight) to assist in an evaluation of some radio stuff that I don't really understand. Since I am always on overnight call Wednesdays, that means we had to scramble to be sure our 14 y/o daughter had a safe place to spend the night. And...she leaves on a bus Thursday at 3PM with several of her Orchestra, Band and Chorus school mates for a trip to Florida. They are playing Disney World. If you are in the area, the Concord High School orchestra is playing on Monday 4/28/03. My daughter plays the cello. And, as if that isn't enough, I leave at 0630 Friday from Logan to fly to Portland OR - by way of SFO - to go to a friend's wedding in Eugene and to visit a couple of my kids. Whew!
1. Now that the weather (in America, that is) is getting nice and warm, what have you been looking forward to doing the most?
Putting in my garden.
2. On Easter, I had to run around all day visiting family. It turned what was supposed to be a special day and turned me into one big stress-ball. Do you enjoy spending time with your family (parents, siblings, etc.) or do you prefer to see them now and then?
I love being with my family but rarely am able to do so due to distance.
3. Did your parents play along with the whole "Easter Bunny" legend? Did you eventually figure it out or did someone tell you? How did that make you feel?
We always knew that it was a game, but we played along to keep our parents happy.
4. This isn't necessarily a religious question (although it certainly can be if you'd like), but what does "Easter" mean to you personally?
Christ is Risen, Lent is over, Alleluia.
5. When I was a kid, we didn't have plastic Easter Eggs (except for those that came with Mom's L'eggs pantyhose), so we always hid real eggs. One Easter I remember I threw away a broken egg in my bedroom trash can and it took me weeks before I realized why my room smelled like something died in there. Do you have any funny or memorable Easter stories?
One year my folks hid an egg in the arm piece of the clothesline tree, and couldn't get it back out again.
6. I currently watch way, way too many TV shows. In fact, I feel some relief that some are being cancelled or are ending because I just can't give any of them up. Is there anything you do too much of and just can't stop?
Play Scrabble on the computer.
7. Long ago, I took a leadership seminar. At one point the leader gave his philosphy on life: the three things that matter most in life are "your family, your religion and your job, and what they mean to you." Would you agree? What are the three things that matter most in life?
God, family, and friends. People before things, always.
BONUS: Were you just being kind, or am I losing my mind?
I am always kind, but not always obviously so.
Today's Comment Question: What size bed do you have (Full, Queen, King, etc.)?
King sized that goes slosh. Love that heated water bed!
Garlic crusted rack of lamb
for the rub - peel all the cloves in one head of garlic (that is NOT a typo!)
Puree cloves with 1 TBS olive oil, 1 ounce wine (your choice - generally whatever I have hanging around the fridge), 1 tsp salt, a couple of springs rosemary and a few sprigs fresh mint
rub this paste over the rack of lamb. Tuck into a ziplock bag and seal with as much air removed as you can. Let sit in fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
To cook - preheat oven to 450. Remove lamb from bag, leaving as much puree stuck to the surface as you can. Put in roasting pan using the ribs to act as a cooking rack. Roast at 450 for 15 minutes, then check meat for doneness with a thermometer. reduce oven temp to 350 and keep checking every 5 minutes until done to taste. In the right season this can also be cooked on an outdoor grill, by those with better grilling luck than I!
My Easter dinner menu
A small standing rib roast of beef (per request from my daughter)
Garlic crusted rack of lamb (my choice!)
Freshly mashed potatoes
Brown beef gravy
Dinner rolls made with stone ground cornmeal and whole wheat flour
Served with a bottle of Willamette Valley Vinyard's Oregon Blossom wine
Dessert will be lemon tartlets
not a bad meal for the three of us - and lots of leftovers to feed us during the week!
Among St. Blog's catechumens, Katherine ( not for sheep) is back on-line. Will (Mysterium Crucis) and 'Joe' (Meet Joe Convert) have both posted a bit about their experiences at the Easter Vigil Liturgy. I am eagerly anticipating reading all these wonderful stories - it almost makes me wish that I had been willing to wait another 3 months for my entry into the church just to be part of that awesome liturgy. Readers - if you entered the church and (not having your own blog) want to post your experience, send me an email and I will gladly post it for you.
Welcome home, everyone!
My Hungarian-Russian godmother taught me how to say the above greeting and response in Russian - I can still speak the first part but not the response and I have no idea how to write them down!
This will be a somewhat lonely Easter for us. I sorely miss my 5 older children. Two are in Memphis TN, two are in Eugene OR, and one is in Los Angeles CA. How quickly it has gone from having to pull out extra chairs and tables for the evening meal, to just 3 of us around the table. I cook way too much food, I have still not learned how to cook for only 3 instead of 8 plus. We were always the house that fed the neighborhood. Now I give away casseroles to my friend with a young baby and another on the way. When our children were younger, we always went to their paternal grandparent's house for Easter. They would play and fight with their cousins while the adults made dinner and sat around, and later the older ones would hide eggs for the younger ones. Dinner was preceded by prayers, said standing in the living room in a great circle. We had a traditional prayer:
We thank you for the house in which we dwell
For the love that unites us
For the peace accorded us this day
For the hope with which we expect tomorrow
For the health, the work, the food
And the bright skies that makes our life delightful.
Followed by a traditional 'Bless us oh Lord" and ending with prayers for the souls of the faithful departed, the morning (or daily) offeratory, and sometimes a Hail Mary, Our Father, and Glory Be for all the intentions of those present.
Then we would take plates and serve buffet style and sit around 2 or 3 tables and eat and share.
A few years ago, my in-law's health started to fail, and we moved festal meals to houses of the next generation. Then, family by family, we all started to leave the Los Angeles area, and the get-togethers became fewer and fewer. My mother in law failed rapidly, and died shortly after we left for Oregon. Her funeral was a bittersweet reminder of the times we had been together as a family. My father in law died shortly after we moved to the East Coast, and his funeral was the last time we were all together as a family.
As we sit, the three of us, around our Easter meal, we will remember the missing members who are still here on earth, but also those family members who have 'gone before us, marked with the sign of the cross'. I pray that you all have a holy and happy Easter with whomever of your family and friends are with you.
This account of the life and death bed conversion of Oscar Wilde started me thinking. It is a dangerous thing, to flirt with God - one never knows the day and time of the final call from this earth. What a signal grace has been given to so many sinners, the final opportunity to turn away from sin! Last week, my pastor preached about (among other things) a couple who came to him seeking the sacrament of matrimony. They had been living together, they had a house and several children, and they had finally been convicted of the need to repent, confess, regularize their life and to return to God and the Church. Praise god! said the priest - Although you did this backwards, God welcomes you home and so do we - welcome home. The confluence of this homily and the article about Wilde was, I am sure, no coincidence.
I have a bad tendency to be overly judgemental. I try to love the sinner and hate the sin, but all too often I hate them both or love them both. I have a tendency to think it unfair that a great sinner can, at the end of life, gain entrance to the Kingdom. Meanwhile, all the rest of us everyday sinners struggle along. As I was mulling this over, how I am not the arbiter of God's mercy (good thing, no?) I thought of two different parts of scripture. One is the parable of the laborors - found in Matthew 20:1-16. Those who worked all day, and those hired at the last hour, all were given the same wage. Is this just? It is certainly merciful - and by hiring the other laborors at the end of the day, those who had been there all along had less work to do. God brought in help at the end. Could this (along of course with God's desire that we all enter the Kingdom eventually - of our free will!) be part of why the signal grace of deathbed conversion is granted?
The other scripture that occured to me is Jesus's words to Dismas (the traditional name given to the Good Thief) - "Today, thou shalt be with me in Paradise".(Luke 23:43) You can't get much more of a death bed conversion than that!
There can be so much anguish in a true conversion - to turn away from sin and stay turned away is extremely difficult. I do understand the temptation to delay making the necessary changes. A death bed conversion or a life time of hypocrisy - which is the worse? Yet once we know, once we are convinced and convicted of the Truth that shall set us free, how can we choose NOT to take up the cross and follow Him? Alas, all too easily.
Lord, grant me the grace of a continuous and ongoing conversion. In your mercy, grant me the grace of knowing that the time of death is near, that I might be able to make a final Reconciliation with You.
Thursday night, after returning home from the Maundy Thursday liturgy, I was inspired to pull my copy of Kathleen Norris's book "Amazing Grace" off the shelf. Allow me to share with you a brief excerpt from the introduction.
Language, used truly, not mere talk, neither propaganda, nor chatter, has real power. Its words are allowed to be themselves, to belss or curse, wound or heal. They have the power of a "word made flesh," of ordinary speech that suddennly takes hold, causing listeners to pay close attention, and even to release bodily sighs - whether of recognition, delight, grief, or distress.
On Good Friday, it is traditional to meditate on the "Seven Last Words (actually, phrases)" of Christ. I was leafing through my 1940 hymnal (Anglican) earlier tonight, searching to see if it uses the same translation of "O Sacred Head" as Kathy the Carmelite posted (it doesn't, but nor is it the version I find in my missalette) and I found what looks to be a musical meditation on these seven phrases. Here it is from the Oremus Hymnal online. There are three verses for each phrase.
I remember hearing about the "Seven Last Words", but I never really knew what they were - foolish me, I thought it was seven individual words and I couldn't make sense out of that. This year, I have a subscription to Magnificat magazine, and I found in the Holy Week volume the actual words and a well done meditation as well. Something to remember and learn. I have been Catholic for 30 years now, and have studied my faith as well as I could in between the inane perversities of everyday life, and I am still learning new things! How do all you cradle Catholics keep up with 2000 plus years of tradition?
One thing about having a two story house - I get some exercise just going up and down. Thursday is my day off (after being on call all night) most weeks. So I try to get caught up on tasks and blog in between or during rest breaks. My computer usually resides upstairs on my desk where I have the internet connection, although I do take it to work with me on call days. Right now I have hot cross bun dough in the bread machine, a load of towels in the washer, a load of towels in the dryer, and the dishwasher just finished running the load my husband started before leaving for work. I have vacuumed and swept. I am feeling like a virtuous housewife, and I have been up and down the stairs about 6 times already since I got home at 0845. Of course, I still have 2 more loads of laundry, a sink full of dishes that didn't get run earlier, and I need to dig out and organize my music for the next three days! To say nothing of planning dinner for tonight............
Hot Cross Buns and an Easter Bread decorated with dyed eggs.
I will be making my hot cross buns later today. I add in candied lemon peel and chopped assorted dried fruits (apricots etc) to the currens and raisins, and I also add in a teaspoon of lemon extract.
You can make the dough in a bread machine with minimal troubles, too.
I will disagree with one line of this. I don't think I talk too much, and if I don't have the information I say so rather than presenting wrong info as fact! But it is a cute quiz.
Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!
discover what candy you are @ stvlive.com
I couldn't resist. I was eating gummi bears when you had to haunt import stores to even find them, long before they became a hip and in candy.
In the U.S., April 15 is the deadline for filing our income taxes. Even if the deadline is a different date in other countries, the fact still remains that we all have to pay taxes. And we can't survive without money!
In honor of this occasion, this week's theme is *Money*. A few questions about taxes, the rest about money in general. And a little bit of silliness, too!
1. File taxes as early as possible, or wait until the last possible minute?
Depends on thie year. This year, today.
2. File electronically, or mail paper forms?
electronic - since before the internet
3. Prepare your own taxes, or have someone do it for you?
always do it ourselves
4. Are you a saver or a spender?
5. Do you prefer to carry cash, or pay with plastic (credit/debit cards), or by check?
check or plastic, better records.
6. You're broke and desperately need a job, but the only places that are hiring are retail or fast food places. Which would you pick?
I'm not qualified for either. I have always managed to find other work.
7. Keeping track of your money: are you more meticulous or careless about it?
money is a tool, not an idol. keep enough track of it not to get in trouble, but not so much that it takes over my life.
8. What do you do if you find yourself with a lot of change weighing down your purse/pocket/wallet? Do you try to spend it to *get rid of it*, or do you put it in a jar or a piggy bank?
Give it away or put it in a jar.
9. Which form of fake money do you like better...Monopoly money or those chocolate coins covered with gold foil?
10. Thought-provoking question of the week: You find a wallet containing $5,000 in cash, as well as several credit cards and the owner's drivers' license. Your rent is due tomorrow and you're short $200. Do you take the money (some or all of it) and mail back the wallet anonymously...or do you return the wallet with all contents intact?
Return it in person if possible. Tell the owner (if asked) about the rent situation, but expect nothing and don't volunteer the info if not asked. trust in God to see me through.
This is after Jesus was seized in the Garden of Gethsemane, when his closest friends were too sleepy from the Passover dinner (Last supper) to stay and wait with him. It is recorded that Peter, James and John were there. I am not certain who all else was in the crowd that followed Judas to see him betray Our Lord with a kiss.
51: And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body; and they seized him,
52: but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.
I assume that the 'him' being followed was Jesus, else why would they try to seize the young man? I don't know why, but I never noticed these verses before. Mark is the shortest Gospel and it does not contain extraneous details, so why is this important to record? Who was this young man? Could it have been Mark the apostle and gospel writer? Are there legends or tradition? I know it wasn't Peter, because we find out later what Peter was up to later that long night. Could it have been John or James?
My 14 year old daughter amused children and adults alike by making palm crosses before and after mass. For directions, see the listing in my blogroll. Remember that blessed palms are sacramentals - the ashes for Ash Wednesday come from the palms blessed the year before. Now back to excavating my desk so my husband can finish our tax return. Yes, I know it is Sunday.
Have you ever noticed how blogs, like children, can develop in unexpected directions? When I started this blog, I envisioned chatting about music (liturgical and otherwise), midwifery, and religion and spirituality. I never imagined that food and cooking would pop up the way they have! I guess it is the domestic gift that I have been blessed with deciding to go public. But it is not what I envisioned! not that I am complaining. I just wish that the St. Blogs cookbook could pull the recipes off all our blogs and post them so that I wouldn't have to set them out twice. lazy me.
1. What was the first band you saw in concert?
I honestly don't remember now. I think the first real 'concert' (ie not garage bands or high school auditorium gig) I went to was the Montery Festival in spring 1970. That included such bands as the Beach Boys, and such artists as Joan Baez. Also sometime during high school I saw Phil Ochs with the Dillards opening, Judy Collins, Procol Harum, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Grateful Dead with New Riders of the Purple Sage opening, and a few other random bands and artists. After graduation, when most of my classmates got on buses to Disneyland, I went with a couple of friends to see Cheech and Chong, with the Temptations opening.
2. Who is your favorite artist/band now?
No one particular artist. I am fond of many singer-songwriters, and my husband just bought me the Marie Bellet CD "What I wanted to say" to which I am listening a lot. I really have pretty broad tastes in music - I just dislike the majority of what is out in the genres of opera, hip-hop, and rap. But even then, there are random items I enjoy. Genres I really enjoy include guitar based singer-songwriter stuff, folk, bluegrass, Tejana, Norteno, rock, chant, renaissance, world, baroque. I guess there really isn't much I don't like, but the stuff I dislike makes me nuts!
3. What's your favorite song?
Again, hard to say. It really is situational, unlike my ethical values. I think one of my all-time favorites (when well sung and complete) is the hymn "For All The Saints' sung to the tune Sine Nomine. I just think it rocks. I also like Amazing Grace sung to the tune of the folk song "House of the Rising Sun". I am currently enthralled with Johnny Cash's song "When the Man Comes Around". But I like lots of stuff.
4. If you could play any instrument, what would it be?
I play flute and guitar pretty decently, used to be OK on the piano (out of practice now) and can play the mountain dulcimer. I would like to be able to play the hammered dulcimer.
5. If you could meet any musical icon (past or present), who would it be and why?
Another tough question! I think Johann Sebastian Bach, because of the sheer scope of his music. I would play him some of the musical themes running through my head and ask if he could compose a mass based on them.
My daughter sent me the link to this marvelous article about a California child exiled to New England. Here are a few lines to whet your appetite.
I wandered to the supermarket down the street, a grocery store that nearly stretched across an entire city block. In many ways, it resembled those I had shopped at in Santa Barbara, Calif., and Los Angeles, except it was underground.
So imagine my surprise when I stepped off the escalator onto the cavernous floor and the only type of chiles I could find were jalapenos. When I asked for tortillas, I was directed to hard taco shells. Even the tomatoes looked a little gray.
I craved the simple Mexican food that my family made, or that could be found in any neighborhood restaurant in California.
The article also has a couple of easy recipes, too.
My archives are all messed up, and my hotlinks are not working right. The Mighty Barrister posted a wonderful comment about cigar smoking, vice and Pope St. Pius X. It was attached to my post about Moral Theology from Thursday April 3,2003, and so I thought I would include the hot link. No can do. Well, at least, I thought, I can post the date and you can find it in the archives. Good luck. Also, my right-click "blog this" utility has died. What a pain.
The thing about my work that keeps me slogging through the Bandini is the chance to witness miracles. Life is full of the ordinary everyday miracles, like birth. I had a few births recently that are stuck in my mind.
One was this mom's third baby. Her first baby she had a one hour labor, her second she couldn't remember how long it took - her memory was that it was "Fast!". I had delivered her second baby 2 years ago and my memory is also that it was around one hour. So with this baby she was very anxious that she wouldn't know when she was in labor early enough to get to the hospital. She also was very vocal that she wanted me there again for this baby, too. I told her that I could only guarantee being there if she birthed on Wednesday, the day I am always on call. A few Wednesdays ago, she called me around 10 AM to say she felt kind of funny and could she come in? I told her to come to the office. I checked her, and she was just starting very early labor, far too early to go to the hospital, we both thought. So I told her to go out and hang around, and come back to the office around 1 PM for a recheck. At 1PM, she was a little more dilated, and she was nervous about staying home, so she headed over to the hospital. This labor was going more slowly and much more gently for her than her first two, and she was so grateful and happy. She gave me permission to stay in the office and see patients, and I told her that if she needed me at any time to tell the nurses and I would clear the rest of the afternoon and come hang out with her. But she didn't really need me, she said - she had her husband and her mom and the nurses. She was also OK with having the OB resident involved in her care, as long as I was there to supervise. She spent some time in the Jacuzzi, got her IV antibiotics (preventative in her case for a specific reason - another reason she had been antsy) and around 430 PM I saw my last office patient and headed over. She was then 9 cm and doing great. She quickly got to 10 cm and pushed 13 minutes - as the baby's head was just out the resident unwrapped one loop of umbilical cord from around the neck - then another, then another. And as the body was born we could see that this active baby had tied a true knot in the middle of the the cord as well! Not once during labor had the baby's heart rate shown any signs of stress, let alone distress. A healthy placenta maintained enough blood pressure in the cord that even with all the loops and the knot, the baby always got enough blood flow. As I said - I love it when God sends these little miracles to make life easier.
such small hands "Thoughts on Christianity, politics, popular culture and everyday life." >From a kindred spirit and fellow mom, with teenager and cats.
Most Catholic health care institutions have succumbed to at least part of the current culture. I personally know of clinics, on both coasts, where at least some of the directives for health care are being 'winked at'. True, abortions, sterilizations, and euthanasia are not provided in the hospitals. But there is more to Catholic health care.
I was partway through a rather whiny post, about how miserably I do when my husband is out of town. I really shouldn't complain, I mean it was nothing like what Katherine has gone through, just the minutiae of everyday life and my insane job. Then for no apparant reason, my computer just shut down - boom - like that. A total hard shutdown. Not from power issues - this is a laptop and I have good battery backup. Not (as far as I can tell) from program conflicts. And it doesn't give me the "You shut down your computer illegally last time" message either, when I reboot. Really weird, I think. So I will can the long-winded complaint and simply mention what it was like to walk in the door at 7PM this evening.
I got off work later than I like due to a last-minute project dumped on me that I have to finish by Friday. My daughter had arranged to go to her friend's house after track so that I would know that she was safe and where she was. I picked her up, drove home, and parked. Followed her into the house just in time to hear shouts of outrage. "Mom, the cat puked all over the rug!" Yep - apparently the cat (or one of them) had a hair ball, and the evidence of half digested Meow Mix was everywhere. I tackled the clean up after finding the (still hacking) cat and banishing said feline to the basement. I then proceeded to start figuring out what to make for dinner (besides reservations, that is) only to be interrupted by yet another teenage wail of anguish. "Mom, the cat peed on my keyboard!!!!". Yep - and not just the keyboard but all over her desk and a few other choice spots in her room.
Keyboard is disconnected, I sprayed with lysol and daubed where I could. I have no clue if it will be salvageable or if we will have to try to find another one. I have a message in for my son the computer tech and I will ask my husband about it later when he calls to check in.
Meanwhile, I can offer a wonderful deal on a few 9 month old cats. The cats are free, and I will throw in a litter box, food, and carriers.
Dinner may end as leftovers deluxe. Oh yeah, I forgot. We have eaten up all the leftovers already. Maybe cereal or nuke and serve frozen stuff. I had to mop part of the kitchen, too. I think I will turn in my Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow charm. That is, if I can find it.
Update: I threw together chile relleno casserole. 4 eggs, 1 1/2 cup milk, 2 Tbs flour beaten together (salt if desired). Pour over a nice layer of green chiles (canned - whole or chopped - about two of the 4 oz cans) and a lot of cheese (grated, chunked, sliced) in a greased 9x9 pan. Bake at 350 for one hour. serve. also good cold for breakfast or rolled into tortillas for lunch. A great potluck dish, too.
Go read This was my weekend; how was yours? from Katherine at notforsheep. I think I will shutup about my weather now.
Today's first reading at Mass is the story of Susanna, found in Daniel chapter 13. If you don't have a Catholic Bible, you will not find this inspiring story of lust, sin, false witness, virtue, and justice. It is quite inspiring, and reminds one (just a bit) of St. Maria Goretti.
One of the great treasures I gained upon my conversion was the gift of the books titled Deutero-Canonical ( or labelled by some apocryphal, a term I prefer to reserve for such as the Gospel of Thomas or the Proto-Envangelion of James). For a long time, I was uneasy with the book of Tobit, the Book of Judith, the Wisdom of Solomon, but I have come to appreciate the value of their contents. I was recently leafing through my copy of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer (the old Anglican equivalent to the Roman Missal) and found that many of the first readings for Morning and Evening Prayer were taken from these books. I also recently learned that the original King James Bible included these books integrated into the Bible (not segregated out as they usually are in the rare cases where they are included in a Protestant translation of the Bible), and that it was not originally the intent of the Protestant movement to delete these books from the Canon. Anyhow, If you have not read or heard the story of Susanna, please read it.
1. Would you rather impress or influence others? Why? Which do you tend to do more than the other?
I would rather influence others, as it is more long lasting than impressing them. I have no idea which I do more of, as I do not have any good way to see how I affect others.
2. Are you able to admit your weaknesses to others? How do you handle your weaknesses (Can you accept them and see them as a strength? (Do you strive to overcome them? etc.) Some weaknesses I have no trouble fessing up, others I hide to the max. When I recognize a weakness (such as a lack of insight into my own behaviours) I try to go those closet to me for help. That includes my family and my Lord.
3. How do you react when you are bossed around, treated as inferior or taken advantage of?
Not well. I try to suppress the less than helpful impulse to do things like sabotage the lives of those that have mistreated me. I try to offer up my suffering, but mostly I just moan and bitch about it. I am a very sore loser, a frustrated perfectionist, and I need all the grace I can get just to get through some days.
4. Do you live your life to meet your own needs, or do you live to meet the needs of others? Why?
I meet my needs by helping others, and I find the strength to help others by caring for myself. It is a circle, not an opposition.
5. This is your Mission on Mondays, but what is your mission in life?
Baltimore Catechism. To know, love, and serve God, by seeing the face of Jesus in my fellow human beings and using my skills and talents to the best of my ability.
6. Can you focus on your goals and achieve them, or are you sidetracked by minor distractions along the way?
I am easily sidetracked, but I get back on track, again and again and again. Kind of like an addict doing the 12 steps program. Besides, things that seem like minor distractions can turn out to be God-given detours.
7. When was the last time you cried? What were you feeling at that moment (anger, sadness, etc.)?
I refuse to answer that question, mostly because I cannot remember the last time I cried. The feeling that is most likely to inspire me to tears is 'hurt feelings' - shame, anger, pride rolled in together.
BONUS: Who can it be knocking at my door?
Who can it be now? Who can it be now? Don't come around no more.
Today's Comment Question: How much is a gallon of gasoline where you live? (leave your state & city for reference)
Central New Hampshire - regular gas around $1.54 to $1.69 .
Those who know me well will recognize that I don't often confess to ignorance, but I keep running into a term in the blogosphere that I just don't get. Please, some one, enlighten me. What is the meaning and etymology of the term "to fisk"? I've seen it a few places but without enough context to figure it out. thank you.
This caught my eye from Priests for Life.
The Bishop and the Atheist by Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life
Bishop William Weigand of Sacramento has something to say to pro-abortion
politicians who claim to be Catholic. So does Doris Gordon, an atheist and the
founder of "Libertarians for Life."
On January 22, 2003, Bishop Weigand preached the following words:
"As your bishop, I have to say clearly that anyone - politician or otherwise -
who thinks it is acceptable for a Catholic to be pro-abortion is in very great error,
puts his or her soul at risk, and is not in good standing with the Church. Such a
person should have the integrity to acknowledge this and choose of his own
volition to abstain from receiving Holy Communion until he has a change of
He made explicit that fact that his words have direct application to Gray Davis,
the Governor of California, who is pro-abortion and says he is Catholic. The
bishop's homily made national news. And many of the faithful are saying It's
Yet to speak this way is the duty of a bishop. More surprising to many is that an
atheist would say the same. My friend, Doris Gordon, founded Libertarians for
Life" and recently wrote an article, "A Libertarian Atheist Answers
‘Pro-Choice Catholics.’" She issues this challenge:
"The Church holds that such children are human persons with rights, yet the
"personally opposed" hold that it should be a woman's choice to destroy themIf
there is a credible reason for such a position, what is it? Opposition to legal
abortion cuts across the religious and political spectrum. I'm an atheist. I was
born and raised Jewish. Catholicism had nothing to do with my coming to
understand why abortion is a wrong, not a right, and why it should not be legal."
Both Bishop Weigand and Doris Gordon are calling for consistency. If one claims
to be Catholic, he/she should accept the teachings of Catholicism. It's as simple
as that. Holy Communion, moreover, reinforces the need for consistency.
Communion means "union with." To receive Communion is not magic. It is,
rather, the summit and source of all our efforts to think, desire, choose, and live
in union with Jesus Christ. When one knows the definitive teaching of Jesus as
expressed in the Church, and deliberately refuses to accept it, he/she rejects
"communion" at that moment. It no longer makes sense to receive physically the
One whom you have rejected by clinging to your own conflicting doctrine.
Moreover, both the bishop and the atheist are saying that abortion is wrong not
because the Church says so, but because of what abortion is. The taking of a
child's life is simply not a civilized act. Nor is stealing. The Church teaches
against stealing, but we don't hear people complain that laws against stealing are
an imposition of religious doctrine. They realize that stealing does not only violate
religious doctrine; it violates basic human rights. So does abortion. That truth isn't
so hard to understand. But if we forget, then fortunately, we have both bishops
and atheists to help us.
1. Outside a conference room in a hotel, participants are enjoying sandwiches, coffee, and pastries. You could use some refreshment. Do you help yourself?
Only if I am attending the conference and have paid the conference fee.
2. It's a sweltering night and you don't have air conditioning. Your new neighbors are away and their swimming pool looks inviting. Do you cool off in it?
Only if I had discussed the matter with them ahead of time.
3. Your teenager nervously confesses that s/he is sexually attracted to his/her own sex. Do you react in a supportive way?
I would give my child a copy of David Morrison's book Beyond Gay. I would discuss the difference between temptation and sin. I would talk about how we are all, from time to time, attracted to behaviours that are not in our best interests. I would pray a lot. Does this count as supportive?
I have been invited to join The Catholic Bookshelf. As a life long bibliophile, I hope to have something to offer.
1. How many houses/apartments have you lived in throughout your life?
Let me see - 14 by my 14th birthday, moved to college at 17, married at 19, 2 in the SF area, 5 in the LA area, 1 in Oregon, 2 in New Hampshire - that makes 24 - in 48 years.
2. Which was your favorite and why?
I think the one in France. 3 stories and a full basement with wine cellar, laundry room, coal furnace and storage. Formal living and dining rooms and large country kitchen, also a WC on the main floor. 3 bedrooms on the second floor with a sink in each room and a huge bath room with bidet. 2 more bedrooms on the third floor (attic conversion) 1/2 acre yard with lilac trees and a brick and cast-iron gate at the end of the circular drive. Downsides - no shower (tub only) and a pain to keep warm!
3. Do you find moving house more exciting or stressful? Why?
I hate it, hate it, hate it.
4. What's more important, location or price?
Neither. How the house is built, does it meet the needs of my family, and then can I afford it and how far will I have to commute?
5. What features does your dream house have (pool, spa bath, big yard, etc.)?
A large well-organized kitchen with gas range. A real fireplace or two. A well-prepared vegetable garden space. Fruit trees. A front porch wide enough for rocking chairs. A patio that can be easily accessed from the house, with a brick barbecue/outdoor oven. Large capacity water heater(s). A hot tub. A music room. and a library with built in bookshelves. Hey, a girl can dream - no?
"Inspire" by Alicia Huntley, CNM (Association of Christian Childbirth Professionals)
Another of my older articles.
sit at the computer
listen to A Thousand Years of Rock and Roll from Tunes by Táncos
the perfect background for the day
bounce around from blog to blog
play scrabble solitaire
(no one wants to play scrabble with me except the computer)
think about vacuuming the two rugs I own
try to out stare a cat
wonder why i have no energy to be productive
think about the real writing i should be doing
check email again
lose another scrabble game
mentally write the outline of a book
try to pray
win a game of scrabble
write some more
read some more
change the CD in the player
avoid the news
In an earlier post I alluded to the desire for 'the perfect child'. This morning, on NPR's Morning Edition, "NPR's Jon Hamilton reports a genetic test for cystic fibrosis in a fetus is raising big questions about making such tests widely available. Some doctors and patients may be misunderstanding the test results, and that could be leading to unnecessary abortions. " ( Will be rebroadcast between 0930 and 1000 EST and 0830 and 0900 PST, and will be available on the web site later today).
18 months ago, the American College of Ob/Gyn issued a recommendation that all pregnant couples be offered screening to see if the couple is at risk for having conceived a child with cystic fibrosis. This screening recommendation is just the latest in a series of like recommendations. It started in the late 1970s with the recommendation that women over the age of 40 (later dropped to 35) be offered amniocentesis and karyotyping (chromosomal analysis) since the incidence of all chromosomal abnormalities increases (as a percentage of pregnancies) as the woman ages. Numerically, more chromosomally abnormal children are actually born to younger women, but the likelihood of a specific pregnancy being affected does increase with age. Amniocentesis is not a benign procedure. Although considered relatively 'safe' it does invade the uterus and can trigger bleeding and in rare cases premature birth or miscarriage. The anxiety while waiting for the results to return is also not inconsiderable. An excellent book on this topic is The Tentative Pregnancy by Barbara Katz Rothman.
The basic assumption behind this, and later tests, is that mothers and fathers want to know and want the option of abortion if they conceive a 'less than perfect' child. It is also being offered on the basis of making decisions about place of birth and post-birth options such as surgery, therapy, etc. But the basic idea is to prevent the birth of babies with various handicaps and disabilities, and it has been very successful. The March of Dimes has led the campaign to make more and more prenatal screening available and to make it a standard of care that midwives and doctors ignore at their peril.
We are now required to offer testing to every pregnant woman. Maternal serum screening is a blood test done on the mother between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. It looks at levels of various chemicals (alpha feto-protein, estriol, human chorionic gonadotropin and possibly others) in the mother, and compares the level of these chemicals to the statistical norms across the population to estimate the risk that the baby will have one of several conditions. This test requires accurate dating of the pregnancy and an accurate weight on the mother on the date the blood is drawn. It is NOT diagnostic. It simply identifies a sub-group of women and babies for whom additional testing is recommended. The vast majority of 'bad news' on this test turns out to be a false alarm - meaning that the further testing done cannot identify a specific problem. The further testing usually involves an extensive ultrasound examination to accurately date the pregnancy and to look for visible defects. Sometimes amniocentesis is recommended also.
Most people expect to have one or more ultrasound examinations during the course of pregnancy. This window into the womb is fascinating, and can personalize the baby to the mother. While generally considered non-invasive, it has only been widely available for 20 some years and the technology is continually evolving. Interpretation of the images requires skill especially when trying to identify some of the smaller body parts. Also, certain findings are appearing that have uncertain significance. Not every birth defect can be picked up US, nor does every abnormal finding on an US turn into a birth defect.
Some kinds of genetic screening are targeted to specific ethnic groups. Examples include sickle cell, thalassemia, Tay-Sachs, and a host of other conditions found in certain families or groups. Most of these conditions are what is called autosomal recessive - meaning that in order to have the condition, one would have to be given the gene from each parent. In order to transmit the condition, both parent would need to be carriers (having the gene but not the condition). If both parents are carriers, the chance for each pregnancy of having an affected child is 1 in 4. If one parent has the condition and the other does not and is not a carrier, all children will be carriers, but none will have the condition. If one parent has the condition, and the other parent is a carrier, all children will be carriers, and the chance for any pregnancy to be affected in 1 in 2. If both parents have the condition, all children will be affected. (autosomal dominant and mixed are different cases and I won't go into them).
What makes screening for cystic fibrosis and a few other conditions more difficult is that there are many variations on the genes that can cause this disease. The testing currently available looks for 25 of these mutations. In the ethnic group at highest risk (caucasions of European ancestry) it is possible to identify close to 90% of actual carriers, but the rate goes down to 70% or so in other groups).
It sounds so simple, actually. You test the mother - if she is a carrier, then you test the father. If he is also a carrier, you tell the mom that the baby has a 1 in 4 chance of having CF and you offer amniocentesis. But what sounds so simple becomes incredibly complex, given that we are dealing with human beings. And how does the prenatal diagnosis affect the entire experience of the pregnancy? Suppose that you are told that your child has this one in four chance - what do you do? Do you go for the added testing? Do you chew hour nails to the bone for the rest of the pregnancy? Do you panic every time your newborn has the sniffles or a cold? What do you do?
And if you decline testing, and you end up with a baby with a problem that could heve been detected, what do you do then? How do you feel?
We have let the genie out of the bottle. We are still just at the very beginning of the ability to do prenatal diagnosis. Most conditions detected cannot be treated, if at all, until after birth. Knowing about some of these conditions does improve outcome - where immediate post-birth surgery is helpful, birth can be planned to take place near a facility with the right people and equipment. In very rare cases, fetal surgery can be an option. Knowing ahead can help to prepare for helpful interventions. But very often, the first response may be to end the pregnancy, to 'take care of the problem'. These are often the cases where 'partial birth abortion' is chosen - as diagnosis is usually between 20 and 24 weeks of pregnancy.
HMS blog's Wednesday Book Club on von Speyr's "The Mystery of Death". Another book to add to my wish list.
PSALMUS 121 (120) (from the Vulgate
1 Canticum ascensionum.
Levabo oculos meos in montes: unde veniet auxilium mihi?
2 Auxilium meum a Domino, qui fecit caelum et terram.
3 Non dabit in commotionem pedem tuum neque dormitabit, qui custodit te.
4 Ecce non dormitabit neque dormiet, qui custodit Israel.
5 Dominus custodit te, Dominus umbraculum tuum ad manum dexteram tuam.
6 Per diem sol non percutiet te, neque luna per noctem.
7 Dominus custodiet te ab omni malo; custodiet animam tuam Dominus.
8 Dominus custodiet introitum tuum et exitum tuum ex hoc nunc et usque in saeculum.
And from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer
Psalm 121. Levavi oculos.
I WILL lift up mine eyes unto the hills; * from whence cometh my help?
2 My help cometh even from the LORD, * who hath made heaven and earth.
3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved; * and he that keepeth thee will not sleep.
4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel * shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD himself is thy keeper; * the LORD is thy defence upon thy right hand;
6 So that the sun shall not burn thee by day, * neither the moon by night.
7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil; * yea, it is even he that shall keep thy soul.
8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out, and thy coming in, * from this time forth for evermore.
A brief essay into moral theology - please correct me if I err!
Incarnation literally means enfleshing. Carne (as in chili con carne) is Spanish for meat. Carnal pleasures are the pleasures of the flesh. Over at Two Sleepy Mommies (posted Wednesday, April 02, 2003 11:33 AM by Pansy - hotlinks not working right) is an excerpt from her diocesan newspaper. The article is about lust, and the comments are also pretty interesting. Some comments around the parish (St. Blog's, that is) recently had me thinking about just how incarnate our faith truly is. Over at The Mighty Barrister a comment was made (and continued in the comments box at Gospel Minefield) about celebrating the return of dylan with a good cigar while ensconced in a hot tub.
Catholics are not Puritans. Seems obvious to me. Catholics have somehow acquired a reputation, though, for that ancient heresy - rejection of the flesh and the pleasures thereof. (Jansenism was the Catholic puritanism, carried to truly horrific extremes). How on earth did this happen?
I think that part of the problem lies in a misunderstanding of the relationship of Creator and creation. In Genesis, when surveying His creation - what does God say? "It is good." Creation is good. True, since the fall we have original sin, and that tendency towards succumnbing to temptation, but that does not negate the essential goodness that God imbued into creation. That which God has created is a good thing. Another part of the problem lies in a misunderstanding of what constitutes sin. Sin is an action, a choice. It is a rejection of God. It is a perversion (in the broadest sense, a turning away from) of the plan that God has for us and for His creation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church has a 3 fold definition of sin that starts "Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as "an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law."" (pp 1849)
God created us as fleshly beings. We are promised a resurrection not just of the spirit but of the body (see the Creed). Our flesh is not, in and of itself, evil. However, we can, and all too often do, sin by the misuse of our bodies.
Let us consider then a big occasion of sin in our culture, sexuality. >From the book of Genesis (birth)27 So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."
Pretty clear that God intends sexuality as a good thing, and that it has a proper place in the order of things. God blessed THEM - as a couple. He commanded fertility, and replenishment. The God-given natural order of sexuality includes these things - the blessing of God on a couple (male and female - equal in dignity but different in biology and function) and the concept of fruitfullness. Note that God did not have anything to say about using His gift to sell merchandise. Pope Paul VI and John Paul II have said it so much better than I could ever, and I do highly recommend actually reading the encyclicals Humanae Vitae and Evangelium Vitae, as well as reading about JP II's theology of the body.
Lust is a major sin. Lust objectifies persons - it sees other persons as objects of sexual desire to be acted upon. Lust and love can be easily confused in our wretched and confused culture. It is not a sin to look on a person(to whom you are not married) and have fleeting sexual thoughts - it is temptation that should be resisted and not encouraged. In marriage, it is not a sin to have sexual thoughts about one's spouse - it is one of the blessings of the married state. Sin comes in if the sexual thoughts are encouraged or acted on in a manner contrary to the natural law that God gave us. It is also sin to reject the goodness that God has made.
Chastity is the opposite of lust. Chastity is the ordering of one's sexuality to God's law. For the unmarried, this means celibacy. For the married, it means exercising sexuality in a loving and responsible manner. There can be unchastity in marriage even if there is no adultery. Any time a spouse uses sexual intimacy as a power play through demanding or rejecting behavior, I think it is a form of marital unchastity. Lust is a sin, even (especially?) if the object of that lust is one's spouse. Sexual intimacy is expressed in marriage through a multitude of behaviours, and should always be a giving and receiving, rather than a seizing and taking. Our bodies are not our own - they are God's - and they were purchased at a great price on the cross. We owe it to Him Who paid the price to treat the precious gift of incarnation with respect for our bodies and for those of others.
In closing, let me also say that the Song of Songs (Song of Solomon) makes great night prayer for married couples. And I also highly recommend reading Ephesians chapters 5 and 6 - in their entirety. Husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved the church - love them to the point of ultimate self-sacrifice. Any man that will love me that much I am willing to try my human best to obey and to submit my will to his.
Jeanetta posts about a dream she has (hotlink not working, scroll down to My Goal, posted Apr 1 2003). Don't skip the comments box! Here is the where you (and I and she) can go to fulfill that dream.
Poems should be previously unpublished and limited to about 50 lines and preferably typed. Please send poems to NCR POETRY, 115 E. Armour Blvd., Kansas City MO 64111-1203. Or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax (816) 968-2280. Please include your street address, city, state, zip and daytime telephone number. NCR offers a small payment for poems we publish, so please include your Social Security number.
I have a good friend, one who greatly encouraged and encourages me on my walk to being a more faithful and obedient Catholic. She asked me a fateful question a few years ago, "How do you reconcile being Catholic and prescribing contraception?", and introduced me to the One More Soul web site. She never condemned nor criticized, simply and lovingly called me to responsibility as a Catholic and as a Christian. I owe her an eternal debt for her willingness to step out in faith. She also lives what she preaches, and as a result, she is in dire financial need.
I ask those of you who read this to take a brief moment, and send up a prayer on her behalf. Not only that, but please pray for all who are persecuted in their employment for holding fast to the moral and ethical teachings of the church on what Pope John Paul II calls "the theology of the body". While physicians can usually continue to practice and support their families without violating these norms, the other health care workers in the system - nurses, nurse-practitioners, midwives, OR technicians, pharmacists, and so on - can often not be employed if they are forthright about their refusal to be complicit in what we and they see as sin.
May Blessed Gianna, our Holy Mother, St. Gerard, and mother Theresa bring these prayer to the foot of God.