June 2003 Archives

Dial up connections drive me nuts


How did I ever manage in the old days? Well, I didn't spend much time on the net, that is for sure! I am writing from a motel room in beautiful Eugene OR. Went to Sunday Mass in my old parish. After nearly 3 years away, they still recognize us. And when I went by my old job, I was asked if I would come back to work there. Traveling can be tough sometimes.
I am going to the laundromat now - after 7 days on the road it is time...... maybe more later - if I can pry my daughter off my laptop. Seems she also wants to chat with her friends.

Well, well, well.


I log in from the road and find a "brand new blogger". This should be interesting.
I am checking in from my son's DSL connection in Eugene OR. It is Thursday around 1950 as I type this. Tuesday my family and I had a wonderful evening and dinner with Erik (of rants and raves). Chicken Risotto, salad, and samplings of various home made liquers - and of course tons of conversation. Amalia is indeed just as cute and intelligent as advertised. Guys - Erik is managing to maintain his blog on a dial up line! is that love or what?
Anyhow - who knows when I will pop up again.

Pending Travels


Just getting ready to leave from my son's in Los Angeles. One of the great things about being a mom is watching kids become adults.
PS - the time/date stamps on this blog reflect the time zone of residence, not where I happen to be just now.

Envoy Encore


One last thing to do while I am gone. Bop over to Envoy Encore and read The Place and Purpose of NFP. A topic that truly warrants extended discussion and prayer.

Leaving on a Jet Plane


In a few hours, that is. I will try to pop us as available. In the meanwhile, for those of you in the NorthEast USA, here is a family centered Catholic way to spend an August Saturday. Thanks to Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. for the info.

Birth Story


What follows is a birth story from a friend of mine. She is a devout Christian who lives in a state where CNMs are not allowed to attend home births, and where DEMs are legally precarious. She also has had some complications with prior pregnancies, but after much research and prayer decided to birth her most recent baby at home with the assistance of midwives. Although she does have access to pro-life Christian OBs, she has the same concerns that I and others have expressed - that "Christian, pro-life" does not necessarily translate into "respectful of the spiritual value of birth in the family". She and I also share a concern that "Christian, pro-life" is being used as a marketing tool rather than a simple description of what is truly central to the values of a given medical practice. Anyhow, here is her story, as she emailed it to me and a few others.
Thur. June 12, 7:30 am lost mucous plug. With other three children, baby has arrived within 12 hours. Piddly contractions. Sent dh off to work, I went to health food store. Tried to run other errands but felt distracted. I got back home about 11:30.

My friend came to take my 3 daughters to her house for the day... just to be nice, I really wasn't having ctxs or any more mucous.

I picked up my house some, had some Braxton-Hicks contractions that were very mild and irregular. I don't know if I was experiencing leaking of water bag or incontinence but I felt kind of drippy. I listened to the baby with my fetoscope through a ctxn, it was fine before and after. Rung the midwife, who was not at home -- unbeknownst to me she was nearby, (lesson one, try her cell phone!)

About 3 I had a friend who homebirths, and who used to be a L&D nurse come over and check me. She said I was a "stretchy 3" & posterior cervix. If I was leaking, which was questionable, I should stay home & take temp occasionally -- no going out!

I was kind of disappointed as I figured my record --of baby 12 hours after mucous plug -- would be broken. At 4 PM called dh and asked him to come home early, just to comfort me in my lack of labor.

At 5 PM I was contracting semi regularly but lightly, rang the midwife and my doula friend. My husband came home, and the BellSouth man came over to replace my DSL modem. About 5:15, the ctxs started to get more intense, I listened to Ruben Studdard's new song (lesson 2 -- Ruben Studdard makes great labor music!) I decided I'd get a "midwife's epidural" (bath) to slow things down while the DSL man was here.

My dh saw me on all fours in the bathtub and called the doula and midwife. I argued with him, did not want people over "that early, so we could just sit and look at each other!" He called anyhow. It was 6 PM. The BellSouth man left. He did not make it through our list of friends I wanted around me, to call. We put on Gary Wright's Christian music CD.

At 6:20 my doula arrived and I do not see how people labor without them! (To my friends who don't know what a doula is -- this is an incredible, wise, motherly lady who uses Physical Therapy and other 'techniques' to help women birth with ease and comfort.)

The ctxs were still not "regular" but were pretty intense! I can't put it into words but wish every mother could have a doula. I splurged & bought some rich, buttery lime/coconut lotion from Bath & Body Works for the event, and it felt and smelled sooo nice! I worked hard at relaxing, sending O2 to the baby, and enjoyed being 'mothered' by our doula. She sent Scott to go boil water.

If I remember anything about this time, I remember that it seemed very holy. I continued to pray through each contraction, wanting to hear Psalm 91 and God's comfort from Isaiah. It struck me that through this sacrifice of bringing the baby into the world, I was brought to tears with the reminder that Jesus suffered and died for those he knew were his enemies, and for those he knew would hate Him! And I had the priviledge of laboring for a beloved child.

About 6:40 the midwife's assistant arrived. Her presence was so soothing and comforting. I remember her voice was so peaceful and calm. A few minutes later I felt like I needed to visit the bathroom. My doula made a comment about "that pacing". (Not the first time I've paced when complete.) I felt the forebag bulging and demanded my midwife's assistant check me. She said she felt forebag and looowww head, no cervix. All of us prayed together, for this baby, that the midwife would arrive safely and God would anoint her hands to do His work, for the birth and for minimal bleeding & quick birth of the placenta. It seems almost unreal now that I think about it, but the transcendence of this moment still sticks with me.

I've been at births with a local Christian OB group. The labor and delivery nurses have all been nice ladies. However, I have yet to see them as motherly servants, prayer guardians, and comforting angels of the birthing family the way this care team was. They were incredible! If Shiprah and Puah were anything like my care team, I see why God blessed them at the beginning of the book of Exodus. I also understand why in Titus 2, His plan is for women to learn the womanly arts from other women.
I can't get the comparison out of my head.

The mw assistant listened to baby. I waited what seemed an eternity for the mw (she lives over an hour away), and when I could bear it no longer, I gave small pushes. The first big one popped the membranes and PTL the fluids were clear! (Lesson 3, ask the midwife to come with the first twinge when it is your fourth baby!)

The mw pulled up, ran in the house, donned some gloves, and out came our baby! My husband and doula exclaimed, "It's a boy!" I could scarcely believe I had a son! He nuzzled and began nursing in a few minutes.

In a few moments my midwife noticed a gush and cord lengthen. Scott set up a plastic bag on the potty and I walked in there to birth the placenta. The cord measured 36"!!

(In case you wondered, in our local hospital the protocol is to take baby from mom to measure and so on, give pitocin and pull on the placenta until it delivers, and hope mom doesn't bleed excessively. Our local Christian OB's would hold up the screaming naked wet baby, episiotomy blood pouring, and the doc, not the father or mother, will lead everyone in the room in prayer. Many women in my community love this aspect of their care, however, it strikes me as so different from a spontaneous prayer joyfully offered by a mother, father, and their servant guests)

Another thing that strikes me when I think of this is how my midwife, even in my own home, cared about my comfort and modesty. She continued to check my vitals, and monitor bleeding, and push fluids. She checked our newborn son's lungs -- clear PTL!

When I think of it I am amazed at even without ctxs I still did 12 hours from mucous plug to baby! We praise God for this wonderful birth and sweet boy. In case you are wondering why anyone would be crazy enough to choose to birth the way we did, here is a link from a South Dakota paper that is worth your read on homebirth safety and statistics. Thank you for reading this far. No matter where or how you birth, get yourself a doula! :-)

CSA report


I must admit I was at somewhat of a loss about how to cook and eat some of our bounty of fresh organic vegetables. Lettuce is pretty obvious, but pea tendrils? Mizuna? I pulled out a few cookbooks but couldn't even find the above named vegetables!
So I fell back on general principles and instinct.
I cleaned and sliced the garlic scallions. I thoroughly washed the mizuna, some spinach, and the pea tendrils. The mizuna I sliced into about 1/2 inch sections, the pea tendrils (which actually included also leaves and blossoms) and spinach Ioosely chopped. Heated up about 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil (Costco store brand, quite good actually) in my 10 inch skillet - sauteed the garlic scallions until they were starting to get soft, then tossed in the greenery, sauteed it for about 30 seconds, sprinkled about 1 tsp soy sauce over the top of the greens, put the lid on the pan and turned off the heat and let the greens cook to just wilted in the residual heat. Before serving, I sprinkled a tad red wine vinegar over the top and added some fresh ground pepper. I served it with a baked fish fillet and garlic buttered curly noodles. Hazcat loved the greens, too - he was meowling around the table begging. He turned up his nose at the fish, nibbled at the noodles, but scarfed the few greens I gave him in his dish.
That was Friday night dinner.
Tonight, I needed to cook the bok choy - I stir-fried it in a little garlic oil, and dressed it with a mixture of vinegar, sugar, soy sauce and sriracha rooster sauce (just a drop,enough to give it a kick). This was accompanied by salad and some lovely broiled lamb chops. Our daughter who doesn't eat lamb had some chicken and apple sausages instead.
We are trying to eat as much of our perishable stuff as possible before we leave on vacation.



The morality of cesarean section is something that needs to be addressed, and Greg Popcack and the gang at HMS blog do just that. I only wish they had comments boxes!!!!!
A trully frightening book on the topic is Just Take It Out! : The Ethics and Economics of Cesarean Section and Hysterectomy by D. Campbell Walters and Edward Quillinan . A midwife colleague came back from a conference where Walters spoke, truly shaken up. She said that if this man has his way, the only way women will have normal birth is by accident, and that all women will have hysteretctomy at menopause (if not before).
Do any of you think that the trend towards voluntary bodily mutilation (sterilization) has had any impact on the trend towards medically non-indicated cesareans and hysterectomies? How about the other forms of 'cosmetic' bodily mutilation that are becoming common?



Speaking of hair...... a rare pic of me with my hair down.

Friday Five


Friday Five
1. Is your hair naturally curly, wavy, or straight? Long or short?
Long, thick, wavy.
2. How has your hair changed over your lifetime?
I started life as a strawberry blond with fluffy hair. It then became straighter and darker, and by high school I was auburn/ash blond depending on season. At 25 I started to go grey, which I have since fought off. Better living through chemistry, I always say! Now I am a dark reddish brown. I have tried short hair but it is too high maintenance for me. My long hair I wash, braid, and twist up into a quick twist or bun, and I am good to go.
3. How do your normally wear your hair?
Up, as described above.
4. If you could change your hair this minute, what would it look like?
I would naturally be the color it is, so I wouldn't have to touch up every 3 weeks.
My color is actually pretty close to my natural hair.
5. Ever had a hair disaster? What happened?
Not that I can remember. I will confess, my hair is my one big physical vanity. If I ever have to do chemo, I will chop off what I have for the wigmakers and shave my head ahead of time.



I stole this link from Jeff Miller, the Curt Jester, because it involves my line of work.
I hope that the clinic does not also become a facility that pushes tubal ligations and depo shots on these impoverished women.
Star Telegram | 06/19/2003 | Midwives hoping to open free clinic.
Representatives of Catholic Charities, the city and county public health departments, Cook Children's Medical Center, the Fort Worth school district, the March of Dimes and other organizations are involved.



Wednesday was the first pickup for our share in the CSA (community supported agriculture) co-op that we joined. This is the first year for this particular group. I now have bags of fresh organic mizuna, lettuce, spinach, garlic scallions (Erik - are these what is meant by 'green garlic'?), pea tendrils, bok choy, and a loaf of multigrain bread. I also need to figure out how to eat all this up before we leave on vacation! I don't think my house-sitter knows quite what to do with fresh produce.
The membership includes a cookbook, but they aren't ready yet. The newsletter with the veges has a couple of recipes that I will have to try.
Alas, the very short NH strawberry season will come and go while we are on the other coast. sic transit gloria mundi.



I am an overly happy A.D.D kitten
(Picture deleted - way too big!!!)

Which cute or possibly strange kitten are you?

Link from And Then
Warning: If bad spelling and grammar atrocities make you ill, avoid this quiz.

Dr. White


I had the occasion to meet Dr. White a few times. He was always, to me, the epitome of a Christian gentleman and Catholic physician.
>From the Chicago Tribune (free registration required)
Dr. Gregory White, 82
Prominent breast-feeding advocate
When Gregory J. White was a young doctor in Franklin Park in the 1950s, he noticed a sense of frustration among his patients who wanted to breast-feed their children, but had no resources or support. He suggested to his wife and her friends that they form a group to offer that support during a time when breast-feeding was often discouraged.
Dr. White was also a founding member of the American College of Home Obstetrics and the Catholic Physicians Guild and served as president of both. He was also past president of the West Suburban Serra Club, an organization that encourages men to join the priesthood, and was active in the anti-abortion movement.
Dr. Gregory White died Monday, June 16, in his River Forest home from complications of leukemia.
(Click here for the full-text.)

This or That


This or That
1. Newspapers or magazines?
both in large quantities
2. Books-on-tape or regular books?
words on paper
3. Paperback or hardcover?
paper for reading, hard for keeping
4. Fiction or non-fiction?
a bit of this, a bit of that
5. Sci-Fi/Fantasy or romance novels?
F&SF, no contest. Romance only rarely.
6. Borrow from library or buy books (either new or used)?
Buy and keep and share and re read.
7. Subscribe to magazines or buy on newsstand?
Read them from the waiting room at work, or borrow from friends. If exceptional, buy at newstands. Exceptions - Magnificat, Envoy, Crisis, etc (see list at top of my blogroll.)
8. Current best-sellers or classic literature?
Classics or obscure items. Most best-sellers are trash.
9. Read books once, or re-read favorites every so often?
If good, re-read until the ink wears off or I have it memorized.
10. Here in the U.S., we have two hot best-sellers...former First Lady Hillary Clinton's memoirs, and the new Harry Potter book (coming out June 21). If you had to read one, which one...Hillary or Harry? Why? Neither. Both trash.

Just so you all know


I am going on vacation very soon. I will be leaving New Hampshire June 23 to fly to the other coast with my dear husband and our youngest daughter. We will spend the might with our oldest son and then start the drive north to Oregon, where our # 3 (son) and # 4 (daughter) currently live. We will be visiting our kids, my brothers in law and their families, some friends, and our old parish, including Sunday Mass. We will then drive south into California and hit Family bible camp for 2 days, and then visit more family (of which we have enormous quantities - both John and I are the oldest of six kids) and hopefully Disneyland. Will also have to figure out Sunday Mass in the greater Los Angeles/ Valley area. We will then fly into Louisville KY and drive to Lexington to visit my sister and her family, and then to Memphis to visit our oldest child (daughter) and find Sunday Mass in Memphis. Then home again via Nashville.
3 weeks. I will be dragging the laptop along, but I expect blogging to be very sparse between 6/23 and 7/15.
Oh, we are flying Southwest, so I guess we will have to pack our lunches, too!



In my Father's Day blog I forgot my fellow Catholic Book Shelf(er) Stephen Riddle. Mea maxima culpa, and I hope you had a great day!



Psalms in Metre for Christian Worship will be added to the blogroll. Thanks to Bill at Summa Minutiae for the link. And Bill, Happy Father's Day to you too!

Happy Father's Day


Especially to my husband (who rarely reads blogs), and also to William Luse, Jeff Culbreath, Davey's Daddy, The "Moss" fathers, Erik Keilholtz, Jeff Miller, Sparki's husband, JB the Kairos guy, and all the other fathers in the parish. And let us not forget the Fathers - our priests.
God, our father, our abba, be with these men, and protect them as they seek to do your will.

Women's Fashions


Over at El Camino Real posted a link to a great article on Women's Fashions from a traditional Catholic perspective. Two Sleepy Mommies, take notice! This will further the discussion we have been having recently.



You are Storm!

You are very strong and very protective of those
you love. You are in tune with nature and are
very concerned with justice and humanity.
Unfortunately, certain apprehensions and fears
are very hard for you to overcome, and can
often inhibit you when most need to be strong.

Which X-Men character are you most like?
brought to you by Quizilla
Link from Two Sleepy Mommies

How Belief Shapes Birth


Mother’s Intention:How Belief Shapes Birth
By Kim Wildner, CCE, CHt, HBCE. This link takes you to a preview of the first chapters. I haven't read it yet, but it looks interesting. I have some reservations about hypnobirthing in the wrong hands, but I think it is safer than epidural birthing.

Mahony Resisted Abuse Inquiry, Panelist


Mahony Resisted Abuse Inquiry, Panelist Says
Keating added that "I think there are a number of bishops — and I put Cardinal Mahony in that category — who listen too much to his lawyer and not enough to his heart."
I don't know how long the LA Times keeps their links live, as they try to squeeze every peso out of the reading public.



BILLBOARDS AND THE ENCROACHING BARBARISM set off an interesting conversation in the comments boxes about what, in truth, is our duty as Catholic Christian parents and citizens? How best can we fulfill our mission to "evangelize our environment" (as cursillo phrases this duty)? Should we retreat to '40 acres and a generator' with like minded others? Should we invade and take over an urban neighborhood? How can we preserve civilization (which, after all, translates as city living) as well as preserve our salvation, and that of our neighbors?

Hazmat the Carbo Cat

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This is another experiment with posting pix. This is my daughter's cat Hazmat the carbo cat. He has excellent taste in food. He loves raw tomatoes, bell peppers, sauteed mushrooms, steamed asparagus, and bread of all kinds. He is also partial to baked yams, skin and all. He turns up his nose at all canned cat food except Trader Joe's tuna for cats.

Blogroll Addition


I have added Bene Diction Blogs On! to the blogroll. Interesting comments from north of the 49th parallel.

Commenting on Comments


enetation seems to be intermittent. if the comments are down, try refreshing the page. this too shall pass.......

This is a test


It should be my house in winter (2/16/03, not 2002!)

Thanks to Peony Moss if it works.
Back to the drawing board for me if it doesn't!
Update: It worked!!!!!!



A letter from a colleague, posted with her permission
I recently spent two weeks in Iraq on a humanitarian outreach to the Medical community in Basra. I wanted to share with you a little about the trip.
I went with Operation Blessing.
I am safely home from Iraq, and happy to see green grass and trees. Iraq really is the desert! very little green, and miles of taupe sand. We flew in to Kuwait City, and signed up at the Humanitarian center for badges and passes.Then the drive to the border..we passed the US and British army camps along the road. I felt so sorry for the soldiers...it was 127 degrees, with blowing dust and sand. After we passed the border, with many inspections of papers and passports, we traveled two hours into Iraq to Basra. I was surprised that the country , while poor and very run down, had very little visible "war" damage. An occasional bomb crater, or destroyed government building, but the most part was intact. Basra is a city of 1.5 million, very third world, with trash everywhere and crumbling buildings. We stayed at a hotel near the UN headquarters. The windows were covered with cement blocks, to deter looters.
The following morning we started work at two local hospitals. There were 14 doctors and nurses on the team, all of whom came with 3 days notice. It was really a God thing, that we all got there and had just the skills needed for the time.
I worked in the Labor and delivery department of the Maternity and Pediatric hospital. It is a bare, filthy and brutal place. The staff is very rough with the mothers, and seem to not have any concept of clean technique. It was not at all uncommon for them to get up one mother from the delivery table, which was a bare plastic cushion, and immediately put another mother down there, into the pool of blood,etc that the previous occupant left., to deliver her baby. I spent a lot of time asking them to clean between moms. At best they would wipe off the visible blood with tap water. By the end of my ten days, I had them cleaning at least three times a day with disinfectant.
With such a situation and limited time, I had to choose my battles.I chose to focus on teaching the midwives and doctors to deliver the mothers without an episiotomy. Their policy is to do a large sideways surgical cut for every first or secondtime mother. They do this without any numbing medicine, and sew them up afterward also without anesthesia. As you can imagine, the women scream through-out this procedure. There is a huge infection and complication rate with the women who are subjected to this. There is frequently pain and disability for months or years .
I was able to give them studies and information discouraging episiotomy, and teach them how to deliver without a cut. They were very surprised, and when I would help a woman deliver, suddenly there would be hordes of medical students and midwives around, watching, and questioning me. It was great!. And by the time I left, many of the midwives were routinely delivering without a cut.! Praise God! So this impacted the women I delivered, and now many women for years to come.
The medical standards at the hospitals are 30 years behind. The doctors told us they had no outside information available since Saddam came into power, and he confiscated all the western medical texts. I carried in 15 up to date medical textbooks, which were gratefully received, and I was told that the doctors would all read them. These were 3 inch reference books! And I bet they *will* all read them cover to cover!
Throughout our time there , there was only one negative incident. When we went to the local street market, the atmosphere was hostile, and we were struck by bags of dirty water. I was shocked, having been so well received by the hospitals and other Iraqis I had encountered. But no real injury, and soon safe back at the hotel.
One day a British medical unit asked our plastic surgeon to evaluate some kids how had been injured in a tribal conflict. Mark, the surgeon, bless him, said.of course I need to take the nurses with us!. So off we went in a British armored vehicle, out to a tribal home. It was fascinating to see the traditional lifestyle. I was taken to the women's room ,and examined the babies of the household.. We were able to make some arrangements to have the injured children treated at the hospitals by the Operation Blessing (our) team, and left to go back to the hotel. As a compensation, the British took us to the palace compound, where Saddam had built one of his sumptuous homes, and showed us the medic unit there . This was a huge treat, as it was strictly forbidden to *tour* the compound, just to see the buildings. The buildings were very elaborate, with carvings and inlaid wood.Quite a contrast to the rest of the city.
All the Iraqi's we talked to were very concerned with "security". It was not safe to be out after dark, because the remaining regime people, or just outlaws, were active with their rifles at night. Many people were injured and robbed every night.Looting was still ongoing. But I never felt unsafe in our hotel.
All told, we were there 11 days, and really impacted the health care, and were able to begin teaching the nurses and hospital personnel more modern ideas.
I really felt guided and protected by the Lord. I came home with a virus, and have not had a voice for two weeks, but it was so worth going, and I'm glad to be home.
Blessings, JK CNM
(and in reply to a question, asking what could be done to help).
Yes, the doctors are educated in English, as Arabic is not a precise language, and the terms do not translate. So the books I took were English medical references...Principles of Gynecology, prescriptive updates, etc.. I'm sure they could use any other donated books on any medical topic. I'm sure journals would be welcome, but the postal system is in total disarray, so I don't know how they could get there.
The NGO I went with is working on getting equipment to the hospitals in Basra. Probably the most direct way to actually help is to donate to them. You can donate from the site or get addresses to donate items. Thanks for your interest.

Garden Report


I finally put my poor plants in the ground. I have two different kinds of tomato, a white eggplant and a japanese eggplant, several different peppers (pimiento, bell, jalapeno, banana), and a row of rainbow Swiss Chard. In a different spot, my dear husband planted pumpkin, acorn squash, zuchinni and yellow squash, and watermelon. We will see how many survive the erratic weather.
I went looking for a Taxi tomato, but no such luck. Maybe they don't grow well in New Hampshire.
The fruit trees that we planted last year bloomed a bit, but I have been told that we shouldn't expect fruit for a couple more years. Still, it was pretty while it lasts.
We have two crabapple trees in front that every year have a bumper crop - if only I could figure out what to make with them (other than pectin, that is).
I have a great picture of the house with the crabapple trees in candy cotton bloom. I wish I knew how to post the picture in the body of the blog. I still haven't seen an equivalent of "Blogging for Dummies" yet. I'm not technically illiterate, but I never learned HTML - no need before now, and not really the time either. Any suggestions gratefully accepted.

Promo Guy


The Promo Guy (Better known for Monday Mission) has a bit about Pentecost Sunday (which he misspells Pentacost, but give the guy credit). He did his homework on the net, but maybe some of you folks might want to bop over and add a few sources that he might have missed.



Earlier this week, I posted about my husband's visceral reaction to a radio broadcast on Gnosticism. Over at Gaudete Semper is a more thoughtful post, by some one who actually heard the broadcast in question. This post, titled The Gospel of Thomas (you may have to scroll down), is a very insightful commentary, and includes a permalink to the audio archive of the show. Here is a sample:
Pagels sounds an interesting note toward the end of the interview. She suggested Thomas, with its appeals to individual discernment about the divine light emanating from inside us, may someday become part of the Christian tradition. I find that about as likely as the pope converting to Scientology. Nevertheless, Pagels is a provocative scholar, and I'm sure to give her book a look since argument is always good fun.
I will confess, I have yet to listen to the interview. If there were a transcript, I would probably read it, but I have much the same trouble just sitting down to listen that I do planning to watch TV or a movie. Radio is something that I do incidental to other stuff. If I wasn't stuck in a hospital call room 2 nights a week, I would probably have never learned to love EWTN.
PS: Here is the link to the audio archive.



A good word for days of impasse and drizzling miserable rain.
The Oxford English Dictionary Word of the Day for today.
gridlock, v. trans. (lit. and fig.). To make a gridlock of or cause a gridlock in; to block the progress of (a person or thing), to bring to a standstill. Usu. in pass. Also intr.: to be involved in a gridlock in or with.

1982 Jrnl. Econ. Hist. 42 20 Big U.S. industries..have become uncompetitive in the markets and are gridlocked in their labor arrangements. 1985 Christian Sci. Monitor 22 Apr. 18 In the West, the contradictory role of the US dollar as a source of stability and expansion had gridlocked the international monetary system. 1987 New Left Rev. July-Aug. 68 Commercial life in the centre began to wither as precocious automobilization..gridlocked the Downtown traffic flow. 1990 Observer 30 Dec. 40/2 Los Angeles with its totalitarian skyline and gas-guzzling ethics is everywhere, gridlocking our expectations and commodifying our dreams. 1994 Voice 18 Oct. 6/1 What happens is that people who are left with the responsibility of children are gridlocked into the benefits system and generational poverty. 2000 GQ Nov. 296/2 Our moped gridlocks with cross-currents of sinewy cyclo drivers and pert schoolgirls on Golden Peacock bicycles.



The Marketing of a Superbaby Formula
Why don't they just breastfeed? I can see this as important to babies who have to be fed second best (sick baby, sick mom, adoption, etc), but this formula is being marketed to moms who have the resources to breastfeed under the majority of adverse circumstances.

Latin Class on-line


A new online Latin class is beginning. If this might be of interest to you, please go here for more information, or email the group moderator, Leigh Ann, for more specific questions. (It is only confusing for the first assignment, after that you get the hang of it,REALLY!!)

These online classes have a good track record. The classes are appropriate for self-directed adults and highschool aged children, and possibly for jr-high children if done along-side a parent or other responsible family member. Best of all, the classes are FREE, you only need to buy the textbook.

The text is Wheelocks Latin 6th ed. There are 40 chapters in Wheelocks. 20 chapters is the equivalent of a college semester class, and 8 chapters is about equal to a highschool semester.

If you are planning to teach Latin in your homeschool, getting through the first eight chapters of Wheelocks will make you a much more confident teacher. Knowing the basics of Latin also helps in understanding medical and legal language.

Please feel free to forward this information to anyone who might be interested.
(thanks to my midwife friend Corrine)

Blog Move


El Camino Real returns - at a new site. Update your links!

Light and Darkness


Forgive me if I ramble a bit here, I am sort of thinking through my fingers, trying not to lose the fragments of ideas.
My husband was very upset by the Wednesday 6/4/03 episode of Fresh Air heard through NPR, upset enough that he paged me from his car to talk about it. Terry Gross was interviewing an author who was promoting Gnosticism and subtly misrepresenting church history. I haven't yet had a chance to listen to the interview. I intend to pull it out of the archives sometime in the next few days, and I may or may not have more to say about this specific issue. One thing that really upset him was her concept that the Gospel of John was nothing more than a polemic against the Gnostic 'gospel of thomas'. He also said something to me about Gnosticism and 'we are all part of the light'.
I'm on call tonight at the hospital. I was awakened for a patient, who is not in labor and was sent home, and now I am having trouble going back to sleep. I am slowly re-reading Kathleen Norris'es book The Cloister Walk, and her entries for January 10 and for Candlemas (February 2) resonated with the thoughts I have been having (since my husband's call) about Gnosticism, Christianity, and the New Age movement. (I guess I really do need to print out and read the recent encyclical on the topic - soon, soon).
Let me quote Norris - here speaking about St. Gregory of Nyssa.
What Gregory said of Moses, that he "entered the darkness and then saw God in it," that in God's sanctuary"he was taught by word what he had formerly learned in darkness," seemed to me to tell an essential truth about poetry, as well as religion. It confirmed a sense that I'd held as a child of the holy as dwelling in deep darkness, despite being told by my Sunday-school teachers that "God is Light."
The Nicene creed speaks of God who is creator of all things, visible and invisible. I always have thought the Gnostics unduly limited God by making Him purely light. He is pure light, but also pure dark. He is Alpha, and Omega, uncreated yet begotten, true God, true man, one with the Holy Spirit. In the bright light of noon, that casts no shadow, I have difficulty finding God. It is too harsh, too bright. I find comfort in the gentle enfolding dark, like the dark of the womb where light and brightness are diffused through the mother. I can feel the presence of God in the quiet stillness of the sanctuary, lit only by a few candles. The brilliance and light of Easter can only follow after the still quiet and darkness of Holy Friday and Holy Saturday.
I also keep in mind that Satan was called Lucifer, the light bearer. I wonder how many souls he has 'jack-lighted' into Hell with his uncanny beauty and attractiveness. I wonder how the New Age admonition to 'Follow the Light' - told to dying persons - actually pans out in terms of ultimate destination. I hope and pray that I can avoid becoming a 'deer in the headlights', paralyzed by the impact of an incomplete light that is not Lumen Christi.

God and His sense of humor


When I was in the 6th grade, I lived in a little village in France by the name of Premontre (there should be a circumflex above the o but I can't figure out how to put it there.) It was so small, it didn't even have its own bakery. There was a small village center with a cafe, a general store, and the village church. Just to one side of the village was a TB sanitorium, and just outside the town an ancient monastery. I regret now that I never heard Mass in that village church, (I was an Anglican Protestant at the time), nor did I ever visit that monastery. My siblings and I used to climb past the barbed wire fences into the bunkers and battlefields of two world wars, but we never investigated that only monastery.
Fast forward nearly 10 years. I become Catholic, marry my husband, and come to love my mother in law (Emma, I hope you are still praying from me up in Heaven!). She has a great devotion to St. Norbert and St. Gerard Majella. As a matter of fact, my husband's next two brothers are Norbert and Gerard. I came to learn that the feast day of St. Norbert is June 6, my husband's birthday. Several years later, I learned that the order founded by St. Norbert is also called the Premonstratensians, after the little village in France, Premontre, where the order was founded. Are you confused yet? My husband was born on the feast day of a saint, who founded an order, based in the little village in France where I lived for one year.
Coincidence? maybe - but I don't think so!

I would like to say thank you to all the Ephesians 5 men who have fasted and prayed for me, and for all women, today. May God continue to belss you and keep you in His love.



Have you ever been so tired that you can't sleep? I have been running on 4-5 hours per 24 for several days now, and I am just weary to the bone. As soon as this rosary is over (on EWTN) I think I will just sink into bed. My work has been driving me nuts. Last week I had to send two women my age for biopsies after bad mammogram results. We had to hospitalize a 28 weeker for severe kidney infection, and she almost ended up in the ICU before she turned the corner. We are getting to the end of the resident year, and we will be short one for next year unless a miracle happens. And I am just so tired. I need a break. My plants are sitting on the porch in their peat pots, waiting to be put in the ground, and I am just not up to it. My wonderful pastor's sister died last week of pancreatic cancer - and just when he came back from the funeral and so on, he got the phone call from the bishop - they are pulling him from our parish (where he has only been 2 years) to a parish that needs him to help heal after losing their pastor suddenly and tragically 6 months ago - the interim pastor was pulled from retirement and needs to step down again. Fr. Bill preached a wonderful homily about the virtue of obedience and the need to trust in the Lord, but we will sorely miss him. Thank God Pentecost is coming. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.



Kathy the Carmelite has been busy over at Quizilla - with a new, just for St. Blog's literati (yeah, right) quiz!
Which Wooster and Jeeves Character Are You?
Your home is like a three-ring circus--but, by
golly, you're the devil of a ringmaster! You've
seen all types of houseguests, but you manage
to extract some nectar from even the foulest of
stinkweeds before they biff off. You know the
two secrets to a man's heart: food and
letting the poor bird BE!

brought to you by

Monday Mission


1. One thing that really annoys me is when someone at work will just start clipping their fingernails at their desk. In most cases, it is men who do
this, which only makes it worse. I can't explain why this grates on my nerves, but when I hear that "click-click-click" of the clippers, I just imagine nasty fingernail fragments flying everywhere. What habit do people have that drives you crazy but doesn't seem to bother anyone else?
Saying "you know?" every 3 words.
2. I just had to replace the compressor in my car. That was $400 I didn't have that is now gone. Have you had any expensive car trouble recently?
I have 260,000 miles on my 1991 van. Last year I spent $800 to fix an oil leak. Now it is still humming along.
3. A friend of mine came over for dinner with us this recently, and brought her baby. At only 8 months he is as cute as the dickens, but when he got hungry, his momma just whipped out her boob for him to start chowin' down on. Among friends or family I can see why she wouldn't be shy, but it still made me a little uncomfortable. I realize it is a natural function and wonderful bonding experience, but I wasn't ready to be a part of it. How do
you feel about mothers who breastfeed their children in public? At what age do you think they should stop?
I have blogged extensively on this in the comments box over at Two Sleepy Mommies. Basically, if you aren't uncomfortable seeing a baby take a bottle, you shouldn't be uncomfortable seeing a baby nurse. My not so humble opinion is that the person who is offended needs to grow up and get over it.
4. I was watching the "Antiques Road Show" recently, and the resident "expert" presented the "Atari 2600" game system as a popular collectible. I am now officially OLD! Do you recall the first item from your youth that became an "antique" and made you feel old and how you felt? Or if it hasn't happened, yet, what item do you think it will be and how do you expect it to make you feel?
There is so much from my youth that is antique (vinly recordings, anyone?) that I don't even think about it.
5. It started raining last night as I was going to bed. Not storming or a hard rain, just a nice rainfall. The pitter-patter of raindrops hitting the window made for a peaceful way to drift to sleep (and also made it hard to wake up this morning). Do you like rainy days/nights? What type of weather makes you feel relaxed?
I like it to rain when I am sleeping. I despise snow. I am relaxed when it is warm and dry. I love New Mexico.
6. We used to joke about the retired couple across the street. Every night, they would pull out their lawn chairs, sit in their driveway and watch the world go by. We laughed about how someone would just waste away their life like that. Now 8 years later, I pull out the lawn chairs and we find ourselves doing exactly the same thing. Life has a way of making one humble. Have you ever found that you have become that which you once ridiculed?
Too many times to enumerate.
7. Have you ever sent an e-mail to the wrong person? What was the most embarrassing experience you remember?
I have not sent email to the wrong person, but I once gave a wrong email address for myself, and had to write to the owner of the email addy asking to have my stuff forwarded.



My Music Personality
Here's what your music says about your personality! These dimensions are relatively independent, which means that you can be high on one dimension and low on others, or high on all of them, or low on all of them, etc. The feedback is based on the responses of thousands of people tested in our research. Obviously, we can only draw generalizations so it is quite likely that some aspects of the feedback will fit you better than others and it is even possible that none of it will fit you very well.
84 % enjoys reflective and complex music
People high on this dimension tend to enjoy Classical, Blues, Jazz, and Folk music. This score is very high.
Based on your responses, you scored above average on the reflective and complex music-preference dimension. Research in our laboratory indicates that people high on this dimension, like you, often have the following characteristics:
open to new experiences, creative, intellectual, and enjoy trying new things. When it comes to politics, they tend to lean toward the liberal side. Wisdom, diversity, and fine arts are all important to them. When it comes to lifestyle, high scorers tend to be sophisticated, and relatively well off financially. After a hard day of work, if they're not listening to music or reading a book, they enjoy documentary films, independent, classic, or foreign films.
33 % enjoys edgy and aggressive music
People high on this dimension tend to enjoy Alternative, Rock, and Heavy Metal music.This score is quite low.
Based on your responses, you scored below average on the edgy and aggressive music-preference dimension. Research in our laboratory indicates that people low on this dimension, like you, often have the following characteristics:
don't get their kicks on skydiving or rock climbing. They tend to be friendly, less assertive than the average person, and conventional. They tend to place a lot of importance on family security, salvation, and tranquility. When they're not listening to music, watching television, or reading a book, they probably enjoy watching a dramatic movie, major motion picture, romance movie, or classic film.
50 % enjoys fun and simple music
People high on this dimension tend to enjoy Pop, Religious, Country, and Soundtrack music. This score is moderate.
Based on your responses, you scored below average on the fun and simple music-preference dimension. Research in our laboratory indicates that people low on this dimension, like you, often have the following characteristics:
tend to introverted, unconventional, and artistic. When it comes to morals and values, chances are that they lean toward the liberal side, and consider beauty and inner harmony important principles in life. When selecting a movie to watch, they prefer suspense movies, cult movies, or foreign films.
4 % enjoys energetic and upbeat music.
People high on this dimension tend to enjoy Hip-hop, Rap, Funk, Soul, and Electronic music. This score is very low.
Research in our laboratory indicates that people low on this dimension, like you, often have the following characteristics:
introverted, less assertive than the average person, and detail oriented. As for politics and values, they tend to lean to the conservative side, and value intellect, ambition, and high art. When it comes to lifestyle, low scorers on the energetic and upbeat dimension often come from the middle and upper classes. When they're not reading, they're probably watching a romance movie, classic film, or western movie.

Are You a Freak?


Your scores are percentile between 1 and 100. The higher the number, the more your personality agrees with the associated comment. Your percentile indicates how you compare against others who have taken this test. Since you have an overall score of 70, this indicates that you have a higher need-for-uniqueness than 69 out of 100 people.
Need to be unique: You like to be a somewhat different than others. 67%
Need to NOT conform: You like to be different than others around you. 84%
Willingness to express dissent: You are typically respectful when you disagree, but are willing to speak your mind if it is appropriate.50%
Overall score: 70%
This test was developed by two psychologists in the 1970's to determine an individual's "Need for Uniqueness".
Link from Oblique House



The Star of the Country Down
is a tune Don blogged that was adapted to the Hymn tune "Kingsfold" by one of my favorite modern British composers.



God is so elusive. But why? I want to weep for sorrow and scream for frustration, but in moments of true candor, I know I will do neither. The tears won't come. Not real ones anyway. The only tears of which I am capable are those brought on by sappy movies and melancholy songs. I don't know how to manifest true pain. more (you may have to scroll to Reflection, hot links snafu).
Crystal - all I can say is that I have been there too. I can be on a retreat, or at a prayer meeting, or at Mass - and I can see that those around me are being moved not just spiritually but emotionally - and I am feeling nothing. My intellect and my will tell me that God is present, but I just can't feel Him. This, I think, is actually a truer pain that the bodily aches and pains. I have heard this referred to as 'dryness'. I don't know for sure if that is what it is - it seems like true dryness is a mark of great spirituality and holiness, and I know I'm not there myself.
Holiness, I have become convinced, is in the everyday stuff. It is in trying my best (which often isn't terribly good) to do what God wants me to do to help bring about His kingdom. I can't always feel the presence of God to love Him - even sometimes in the Eucharist I can't feel Him - but I can try to love those who God has put into my life. Sometimes that is even harder to do. My children are dear to me, but I can't always say or do the right things. My husband and I are truly one flesh in Christ, but I still manage to hurt him without even realizing it. I guess that I will just have to try to be holy in the small stuff. Ora et laborae. Offer up the things I despise (like kitty litter boxes) and the work I love (catching babies) and pray whenever I can.
Something that I have found helpful is to have physical reminders of prayer with me constantly. I wear a celtic cross around my neck - a gift from my husband. When my fingers brush against it I try to offer a prayer for him. In my pocket I keep a rosary next to my keys and my pager, and simply touching it reminds me to say a quick Hail Mary. When I turn on my computer, I offer a quick prayer for those I know on-line, especially those who have asked for specific prayers. It helps. Every little thing helps.

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This page is an archive of entries from June 2003 listed from newest to oldest.

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