July 2003 Archives

The Car


what the car looks like.

Blog Move


Erik's Rants and Recipes has moved. Make a note.

Thanks for the prayers!


I have to tell you all that they were effective beyond my greatest hopes - and there was a bit of God's sense of humour involved.
First off, my daughter in Memphis. When I last posted, she was close to despair. She could not see how she would be able to find transportation of any kind for the $$$ that the insurance company was willing to offer. Some one who overheard her mentioned that his boss had an older used car for sale, and maybe she would be interested? So she went out to see this car - and it turned out to be a near clone of her (wrecked) car - same year, same model, lower mileage and a very different color - for around half of what the insurance payment would be for her old car. The Lord gives, the Lord takes away - blessed be his name.
Meanwhile, my husband agreed that we should probably get another car for me, since I put around 20,000 miles a year on a car (driving 100 miles round trip to get to work). I spent some time Tuesday on line researching cars, and then Wednesday (yesterday? was it only yesterday?) I picked up a 1 week rental car when I got off work at 0830, and started working. Hit a used car lot, saw an OK car but it didn't feel right. Went by the credit union to verify credit and get a ball-park number and interest rate quote. Went by a dealer recommended by two of my staff. Asked if they had any (used) of what I was looking for - I had my heart set on a PT Cruiser - and was told that they had just taken delivery on two fleet lease returns - one with 7000 miles, one with 9000 miles. Both with the 7/70,000 warranty - and both blue. One was electric blue, the other a darker blue they called patriot blue. Both within my price range, too. So I brought my husband over to the lot and we agreed that we would go after that car, subject to financing.
Now you guys have to realize that I am not terribly fond of buying things on credit. We haven't had a car payment in more than 20 years (paid off the one and only car we previously bought on credit in 1980). But we really hadn't anticipated needing to replace this car for another year or so. I was filled with trepidation on the whole thing.
The dealer said that he thought we could get a better interest rate than that quoted by my husband's credit union - and he did. Through St. Mary's Bank (actually a credit union founded by the Quebecois who lived in Manchester NH and weren't allowed to bank with the WASP bankers of their day).
I just now realized that the Blessed Mother must have been behind some of this. Blue, whether sedate or electric, was not exactly my first choice of car colors. I tend to the maroon, burgundy palette, or failing that to deep greens. But a blue car finanaced through St. Mary's Bank has got to be some kind of message.
Tomorrow, we will call the parish and ask if Father would be willing to bless the car.

Prayers greatly appreciated


I heard last night from my daughter in Memphis - she still does not understand why the situtation there is not national news. Her car is being totalled out by the insurance company. Not good news at all, as she does not have the option for public transportation - not leaving for work at 0400 (AM). Meanwhile, back here, my car which I thought was fixed last week, on Sunday (again!) decided to not function. This time, we were 50 miles from home, but were able to get a ride back to town with some other parents. Went out the next morning with my husband's car, tried all his tricks, and still nothing. Had it towed back to the mechanic (again!) and the news is very grim. It might be repairable to drivability with a new engine. But at 260,000 miles, my mechanic is suggesting that I might really want to consider car euthanasia.

The Passion


EWTN's Life on the Rock showed the trailer for Mel Gibson's The Passion. You may be able to see it on their web site.

New Blog


I have added the Shrine of the Holy Whapping to my blogroll, and I suggest you all get over there and read it. Thoughtful, interesting, entertaining and thoroughly Catholic - what more could one ask for?

Induced abortion and risk of


Induced abortion and risk of later premature births.
An interesting research article. Needs adobe acrobat (free software) to read file.

Storm in Memphis


I don't understand why the national media is ignoring the aftermath of the wind storm in Memphis, so here is a link with information.

Blogger Blues


I am getting really upset at the way Blogger keeps changing stuff with no advance notice. I mean, they have all our email addresses - they could easily spam us with the changes. I just get used to one way of doing stuff and it changes again! I do not like having the create new post and manage post on separate pages. Maybe I should really think harder about migrating - but as a surviving "Air Force Brat" - I hate to move. I really hate all the hassle of moving anything anywhere.

Humanae Vitae


I wish all on the list a Happy and Blessed 35th Anniversary of Humanae
Vitae - July 25th 1968 to July 25th, 2003.

Memphis Storm


I got an email from my daughter in Memphis. She is driving a rental car right now while the insurance adjuster figures out what the plan will be. to quote her:
I'm okay... we got power back around 6 pm yesterday (mud island that is... rest of city is still sporadic on power).
car not okay... claim filed... waiting on adjuster... four blown out windows (windshield okay, sunroof okay, hatch window okay)... dings in paint... 2 inches standing water on floorboards... soaked seats...

Of course, since she works in news media, she hasn't really had a lot of time to take care of her own needs. Thanks for holding her in prayer. Also hold up David Ancell and another Memphis blogger as they begin the long task of helping their city to clean up and rebuild.



We are now in week six of our local community supported agriculture program. Today I picked up mesclun salad mix, tomatoes, red potatoes, summer squash, rainbow chard, baby yellow carrots, scallions, baby fennel and a head of green cabbage. Last week was salad, tomatoes, zuchini, steaming greens, fresh parsley, a few new potatoes, a large bag of leafy kale, scallion, parsley and fresh peas.
It has been lots of fun figuring out recipes that use this bounty. Salad is pretty obvious, but some of these veges I have not tried to cook before. Last week I broiled a steak and served a side dish of steamed peas, parsley potatoes, and salad greens. I kept the pea pods and boiled them for a flavorful stock. Another night I served polenta with greens and parmesan - not only did the people in the house enjoy it, Hazmat the carbo cat enjoyed some leftovers as well.
Last night I cooked a dish of pork braised in the pea and carrot broth, seasoned with curry type seasonings. It was very tasty, and I will have to try to recreate the recipe some time. And tonight, I made a dish I think I will call Kalecannon - similar to the Irish dish colcannon, but rather than cabbage I used kale. It turned a simple meal of hamburgers into a gourmet delight.
Of course, one thing that makes this easier is that my 14 y/o is away at Summer Youth Music School (orchestra camp) for 2 weeks.

Thanks be to God!


Nota Bene
Sean's son returns home!!!! Thanks be to God!

Praise Report


My husband fixed the dryer today.
My car is fixed, and they didn't have to break and replace the senders.
I emailed enetation, and they told me how to activate the 'donated' features (for which I had paid, but hadn't been using) and now my comments seem to be working better.
My oldest daughter survived the nasty storm in Memphis.

Delivery debate


CNN.com - Delivery debate: Vaginal or C-section?
(CNN) -- More women are choosing to have Caesarean sections instead of vaginal births, according to a report released Monday, and their decisions, together with doctors' cooperation, has become a contentious subject among obstetricians, politicians and feminists
And to top it off, the picture with this article shows a mom bottle-feeding her baby.

Memphis Story


This is what my daughter in Memphis had to deal with at work yesterday. She works for the local AM newsradio station, and they were evacuated to another location. The Gibson guitar factory is across the street from the parking lot she uses.



With apologies to Kathy the Carmelite, but every time I see this set of letters, my medically trained brain insists that it means Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (s).
But there is actually a bit of compulsive geekiness going on over at her blog. Last count, there were 25 comments on an obscure mathematical concept - the mantissa. I kid you not. St. Blog, the (non-existant) patron saint of geeks and nerds.

Back to Blogging


A Religion of Sanity is back to blogging after a 3 month hiatus. Maureen has some interesting insights on wicca, feminism, and the pro-life/pro-choice discussion.

I am getting peeved


Enetation can't seem to count. I actually have one more comment actually in the boxes than the number listed outside - and that includes a few cases where I actually have one comment but enetation says "no comment". I am still too lazy to join the change to Movable Type but the temptation is growing. I like the embedded comments feature.
BTW, it did turn out to be the fuel pump on the car after all. The mechanic says that if they can get the tank off without damaging the senders, it will cost half as much as if the senders are damaged and also have to be replaced. He tells me that they will be as careful as possible.......I pray and hope that it will turn out OK. I will not have my car back for a couple of days, though. So tomorrow my dear husband will have to drive me to work (again) and pick me up at 0800 on Wednesday morning after my 24 hour shift. I love that man - have I mentioned that to you all?

NFP Planning Week


This is national Natural Family Planning Week (July 20 to July 28, 2003). Has your parish mentioned it at all? I went to mass Sunday in a different parish than usual, and I noticed that the priest included a petition in the Prayer of the Faithful for "an end to contraception, abortion, and euthanasia".

Blog Post Thoughts


I have had a lot of thoughts and ideas for blog posts - but not enough energy to actually write them down. Part of it is probably post-vacation letdown and part of it is summer blahs. I apologize for not having some meaty and thoughtful posts - they are there in my brain but can't quite make it to my fingers!
This morning during Mass I had a thought about the culture of death and the generational gap between boomers and GenX - but now I can't quite capture the vagrant thought. Of course, what happened when we got to my car after Mass was a contributing factor. The darn thing would not start. My husband tried every trick in his book, and after my daughter rescued us and brought us home, he looked in the book for alternative ideas. We drove his car back to mine (fortunately we had parked in the shade) and he tried a few more things, but finally we had to admit defeat. So the car has been towed to the mechanic and we will have to call tomorrow AM to tell them what is up. My husband thinks it is the fuel pump, which means the car needs to go up on the rack. Either that, or one of the two fuel injectors. At any rate, it is beyond our ability to fix at home. So that means that tomorrow he will have to get up early and drive me to work (1 hour each way).
The other thing that has me bummed out is that our dryer died. We got home at midnight last Monday night (7/14) and ran one load - the next morning, nothing. John (my husband) took it apart and has ordered in the part. Our parts guy told him that if this went wrong to some one who couldn't fix things, he would recommend junking the dryer, as replacement would be cheaper. The part is not exactly inexpensive either, but I don't want to get a new dryer until we run the gas line to the laundry room, as I would prefer a gas dryer to the electric. Meanwhile I am engaged in some intense discussions with one of our attending OBs about life issues. This doctor keeps trying to enlist me to persuade a patient to terminate her pregnancy - and I won't. I recognize that this mom is faced with a medically complicated pregnancy carrying a child with fatal anomalies - but I am going to support the mom 100% in her decision to carry the pregnancy.
Yeah, I am tired, and frustrated, and almost wishing that we hadn't taken such an intense vacation - if only for the $$$ reserves that we don't have right now.

Prayer request


My grandmother Dorothy is a feisty and spry woman. She is in her early 80s, and has survived a lot of stuff in her life - in the mid-1950s she took 4 young children aged 12,10,8 and 6, and left Texas and an abusive alcoholic husband to move to California. She later re-married and had 2 more children. (Her first husband eventually made it into AA and turned his life around, BTW). Grandmamma survived breast cancer when she was 42. She watched her oldest son die of Hodgkins disease when he was 25. She was there when her youngest daughter died of metastatic breast cancer at age 45. She also lost her another son a year later to complications of diabetes. Besides surviving breast cancer, she also survived an operation for a meningioma (benign brain tumour) a couple of years ago.
Two weeks ago, she was taken to the hospital for increasing episodes of fainting and memory lapse, and it was determined that she was suffering from inadequate blood flow to the brain because her heart was not beating regularly. A temporary pacemaker did her a world of good, so the plan was made to put in a permanent one. This has become a fairly routine heart operation, but in her case it was anything but.
Due to anomalous circulation, the catheter that was to have been threaded up to the heart perforated and Grandmamma ended up with bleeding into her lungs. They were able to get that under control, eventually, and to put in the pace maker, but her recovery has been problematic. A recent attempt to place a PICC line (kind of like an IV that can stay in longer) was also not well managed, despite the docs having been given the heads up that Grandmamma's blood vessels never read the anatomy textbook. So she is still in ICU where she has been for nearly 2 weeks. The other thing is that she is very sensitive to drugs of all kinds, and despite the family's request to start with the low dose and titrate up, she had several times been given doses of sedative and pain medication that has knocked her out for 12 hours or more.
My mom and my aunt (both in their 60s) have been alternating 24 hours at the hospital to try to prevent any more screwups. They are both getting tired as well.
Please pray as God leads you - my aunt and grandmother are both mormon, my mom is a Christmas and Easter Anglican, and I would ask for prayers not just for their bodily well-being but also for their souls. Oh, and prayers for our mixed up health care chaos would not be out of order. I know that the nurses and docs are probably doing their best, but I also know that the pressures to continually do more with less have a real and negative impact on the quality of care, especially of the elderly.

A few gripes


I went to Mass at a few unfamiliar places while on vacation. I found that I really get upset when the priest says," The Lord IS with you", rather than "The Lord BE with you". One is a statement of fact that I would hope to be true (but can't always prove) - the other is a blessing and invocation. What say you all?

Humanae Vitae


Opponents Tried to Put Pressure on Pope
The 3 Panels Paul VI Turned to When Writing "Humanae Vitae"

ROME, JULY 18, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Next Friday will mark the 35th anniversary of the promulgation of Pope Paul VI's encyclical "Humanae Vitae" (Of Human Life), in which he reaffirmed the Church's teaching on contraception.

Bernardo Colombo, professor emeritus of demography at the University of Padua -- brother of Bishop Carlo Colombo (1909-1991), a trusted theologian of Paul VI in the years of the Second Vatican Council -- has just published an article in Theology, the review of Milan's School of Theology, in which he tells of the writing of the encyclical.

Sectors opposed to the Church's teaching on contraception contend that Paul VI published "Humanae Vitae" in opposition to the majority vote of the members of the preparatory commission.

In April 1967, an article published in France in Le Monde, in Great Britain in The Tablet, and in the United States in the National Catholic Reporter stated that 70 members of this commission favored the pill while only four members opposed it.

Those numbers turned out to be false, Colombo found in his research. The articles, in fact, were published to exert pressure, he said.



Women Ovulate Once per Cycle
New Canadian Study Supports Natural Family Planning
Another interpretation of the same data quoted in the news media (see several comments below and on several other blogs).
--“Of course, for pregnancy to occur, not only does there need to be an actual ovulation – not just follicular development – but there also must be a host of other factors present, including cervical secretions and an appropriate luteal phase during which the egg- if fertilized—will implant itself in the uterine lining,” says Dr. Arevalo. --

Pregnancy in a Heat Wave


Rachel at HMS blog has some excellent suggestions for pregnant women during heat waves. I second every one of her suggestions.



A bit of a well deserved rant (from Fonticulus Fides).
Pardon me while I rant. And feel free to rant along with me.

I've long been a fan of Real Simple magazine and frequently purchased newsstand copies that covered my personal areas of interest. But no more.

Real Simple recently ran an article called "20 Rules to Break" which listed breastfeeding as a waste of time. They actually interviewed some ignorant male doctor who said there were no real benefits to breastfeeding. I don't know what rock this joker has been living under but here's a quick list off the top of my head:

Blog Recommendation


Another long tour de force over at Apologia. He writes some of what I was thinking after hearing the sad but unsurprising ruling of the SCOTUS in the Texas case.

Upcomming Feast Day


My name day is coming up (July 22, the feast of St. Mary Magdalen). I took Magdalen as my confirmation name when I converted - for a lot of good reasons.
St Mary Magdalene
Mary of Magdala was healed of “seven devils” by Jesus. She ministered to him in Galilee and was present at his crucifixion. She was in the group of women who were the first to discover the empty tomb, and it was to her that the risen Jesus first appeared.
The Western tradition is that Mary Magdalene is also “the woman who was a sinner” and the sister of Martha and Lazarus of Bethany. There is no evidence either way, and the tradition is tenuous enough for even such authorities as St Ambrose to hold, with the East, that they are three different people. It seems, therefore, that although the Western tradition is to be respected and is a real inspiration, it may not necessarily be historical. This kind of ambiguity is inevitable in a religion such as Christianity, which is founded on definite historical events, but we need not worry about it too much: if it had been harmful to us to celebrate the tradition of heroic penitence, the Holy Spirit would not have allowed it.
Even without the extra tradition, Mary Magdalene is a unique and important character in the story of the Resurrection, chosen by Christ as one of the first witnesses of the event that changed the world.
from Unversalis



What Video Game Character Are You? I am an Asteroid.I am an Asteroid.

I am a drifter. I go where life leads, which makes me usually a very calm and content sort of person. That or thoroughly apathetic. Usually I keep on doing whatever I'm doing, and it takes something special to make me change my mind. What Video Game Character Are You?

Link via Oblique House.

Gender Roles


Kathy the Carmelite starts a wonderful discussion on gender roles. Check out the comments box, too.

Pill's Dark Secret


Addition to Blogroll


Where Charity and Love Prevail has just been added to the blogroll. She has resumed posting after a long hiatus. Welcome back, Susan!

News Reports


Has Natural Birth Control Been Proved Impossible? from the current issue of Christianity Today Magazine online.
This reiterates what several bloggers have been saying all along - that the news reports of the research just plain got it wrong.
An interesting article from a non-Catholic Christian perspective.



Over at HMS blog is an interesting thread on rape and pregnancy prevention. The discussion centers around the use of high doses of female hormones to disrupt the menstrual cycle and prevent ovulation (and hence fertilization). This is one of the mechanisms of action of the so-called morning-after pill (aka emergnecy contraception or ECP). However, there are several mechanisms by which these medications act. One is that they disrupt the menstrual cycle. Dependant upon where in the cycle the hormones are given, they can prevent ovulation, delay ovulation, or have no effect on ovulation. They can disrupt the formation of the uterine lining so that implantation cannot occur (very early chemical abortion). They also cause thickening of the cervical mucous and can make sperm penetration difficult or impossible (however, that is not protective after rape, as the mucous is either present or not present at the time of insemination, and fertile mucous transports sperm pretty rapidly to a waiting egg, whereas infertile or no mucous is pretty much a death trap for the sperm).
I am not near my NFP texts right now and don't remember exactly what the transport and survival time is for healthy sperm in fertile mucous - Is there enough time that disruption of ovulation would be the actual mechanism of action for pregnancy prevention?
I don't think we really have enough knowledge on some of this to endorse any specific post-facto method of preventing pregnancy in rape victims (that is not abortifacient).
One thing that few people realize is that there are really very few days of fertility in every cycle, the recent University of Saskatchewan study notwithstanding. The problem for NFP is iidentifying those days with enough precision to make behavioural recommendations. The likelihood of conception related to a single incident is variable dependant upon the time within the menstrual cycle, which is data that can be teased out of the ECP studies - the reason these pills seem to be so effective is that most of the time the women weren't in their fertile days anyhow!

Deal Hudson

| | Comments (1)

Deal Hudson at Crisis also publishes an excellent weekly electronic Newsletter. Below is an excerpt from the most recent one.
There were a couple of other news items from last week that I wanted
to point out to you briefly. One involves the latest attempt to
discredit natural family planning (NFP).

A study at the University of Saskatchewan recently announced that a
new understanding of a woman's menstrual cycle will change the way we
look at fertility and finally lay to rest those arguments in favor of

Originally, it was thought that egg sacs (or follicles) would grow
at one particular time in a woman's menstrual cycle. From those sacs,
one egg would be released and the rest would die, resulting in a
specific time every month when a woman would be fertile.

This new study, however, shows that the follicles actually grow in
waves, rather than all at once. According to the researchers, this
means that eggs could be released at different times throughout a
woman's cycle, making the old idea of one window of fertility per
cycle outdated.

Researchers say this proves that NFP isn't effective. Senior author
Dr. Roger Pierson joked, "We all know people trying to use natural
family planning, and we have a word for those people. We call them

But the studies' findings might not be so clear cut as that. Dr.
James B. Brown, commenting for the Billings Ovulation Method
Organization (WOOMB), says that scientists have known about this
"wave" pattern of follicle growth for years. Citing its importance in
helping women determine their periods of fertility, Dr. Brown
verified the findings from the University of Saskatchewan.

However, Brown explains that it does NOT mean that fertile
ovulations can occur more than once during the menstrual cycle. From
WOOMB's own research of millions of women using NFP methods, the vast
majority ovulate only once per cycle.

Even the University of Saskatchewan's own research should have told
them something similar. Out of the 50 women they examined, all but
two ovulated only once during their cycle. The two who ovulated more
than once actually had abnormal (infertile) cycles during which
conception couldn't occur.

So out of research showing that 96% of women ovulate only once per
month, and the 4% who ovulate more than once have infertile cycles,
the University of Saskatchewan concluded that multiple ovulations
spelled the end for predicting fertility and, consequently, NFP.

Seems to me they jumped the gun on this one. Dr. Pierson might want
to take his findings -- and his NFP jokes -- back to the drawing

The Chieftans


Last night my husband and I went to a concert in Memphis TN - the Chieftans. It was a lot of fun to go with just him. After nearly 30 years of marriage, we can still have fun together.

Cell Hacking


Walk-By Hacking from today's NY Times - free registration may be required. For those of you with, or contemplating, wireless internet connection. I bought a wireless card on this trip (at Fry's, a really interesting chain of stores on the West Coast) and it has been very useful - but I also have concerns about security. I remember in the early days of cellular that my husband had to change his cellular phone # every 2 or 3 weeks because of hackers.

Post Recomendation


Kelly the pewlady posts another wonderful bit!

New Blog


Maine Catholic and Beyond a new blog found through Catholic Light (not lite). Welcome to the Parish! I am so glad to have a fellow blogger from the northeast USA!

Ovulation Method


Billings Ovulation Method comments on the article below.

Women may ovulate more than once?


Women may ovulate more than once.
I have a few questions on this - for one, I want to know how they defined their terms. My perception is also that it is an attempt to discredit NFP - and I wonder about that also.
BTW - I am still on the road - currently in Memphis TN visiting my oldest daughter.

Checking in


Hi folks, I am checking in again. I am at my mother's home borrowing her high speed connection. My dh and I spent all day yesterday at Disneyland - it was interesting as I saw stuff under the surface that I hadn't noticed when I was younger. It has been interesting the last few days. At family bible camp I learned that my best friend's youngest daughter is getting married in November. Wendy is 22, and she and her fiancee have decided on an early wedding. I was remembering discussions here in St. Blog's about the advantages (as well as disadvantages) of long and short engagements. Personally, I am generally in favor of engagements just long enough to prepare for marriage, but not so long as to be 'a near occasion of sin'. Anyhow, I need to be polite and get back to listening to my mom talk about geneology. BTW, my maternal grandmother is in the hospital with heart block - she is getting a permanent pacemaker tomorrow. Prayers appreciated.

On the Road


Now I can't get my email to download to my computer on the road. Yuck. The attbi to comcast transition of course happened while I was traveling. Oh well. I will be pretty busy once I get back.
One of the nice things about traveling is the opportunity to read on the road (no I am not the driver!). I just finished reading Belloc's The Great Heresies (I think I have the title right - but it is out in the car and I am not going to fetch it!). Quite interesting reading. Right now I am reading Donna Steinchen's book Ungodly Rage. I will read a few lines to my husband and then we will discuss them for a while. Reading this book, written in 1991 about events as far back as 1985, sends chills up my spine (and I haven't finished chapter one yet). In this, I can see the seeds for the Situation. She intends this, I think, as a polemic against the apostasy to radical feminism, but there is actually much more than that included. Will have to finish and reread it.
This is the last time for a few days that I will have computer access. Tomorrow we will join some fundamentalist/pentecostal/evangelical friends for a few days camping in the San Bernadino mountains. Prayer appreciated.

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The WeatherPixie

About this Archive

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

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