October 2004 Archives

Life, Stats & Election-Year Snow Jobs


An Atlantia ob-gyn on abortion, Kerry & the Catholic Church.

Nothing really new here, but still worth reading.

Better late than never


M'Lynn threw out the challenge. Here I go
Virtual Wife Swap

Inspired by the new addictive television show, our Friday focuses on what someone would find if Wife Swap came to your house!

1. What time do you wake up in the morning? What's your morning routine? Do you work outside the home?
On M, T, W, and F I wake up at 0545 at home, grown, get out of bed, get dressed,feed the cats, fix tea, and try to get out the door by 0650. Showering, feeding myself, any housework, dealing with the 16 y/0 or my dh are optional activities, to be handled if and when I have time or energy or can get myself moving. Th, I wake up at the hospital (that is if I have gotten any sleep - an enormously variable issue!) make rounds on my patients, report off, grab a travel mug of tea, and drive one hour home. Saturday if I work is the same as Wednesday and Sunday is like Thursday. If I am off that Saturday, I try to sleep.
If I manage to get up early enough, I will check email and/or anwer queries.

2. Who does the nasty jobs in the home? Do you clean the toilets (and how often) or do you foist it off on someone else? What about the dishes, the cooking, the shopping?

Anyone who is upset by the toilets is welcome to clean them. It is done on a need basis. Same for dishes, except that I like to see them done at least once in 24 hours - preferably before going to sleep at night. But not always by me. Cooking - if I am home, I cook. I am the best cook in the house, and I usually enjoy cooking. If I am not at home, dh is competent, so is 16 y/o dd. But they are more likely to eat the leftovers or go get Chinese than to cook a complete meal from scratch. Shopping - I usually go by the supermarket on my way home from work Thursday morning - I check out the cheap meat and buy bargains that go into the freezer for future use. Otherwise, we operate on the Pantry Principle - there is usually enough food at home to eat for weeks without shopping - except maybe liquid milk.

3. Be honest-- what's the state of your wardrobe? Will the visiting wife recoil in horror at your lack of clothing, look on impassively, or shudder at the copious amounts of cash you blew this season?
I have lots of clothes, many of them are years old but still in great shape and useful for work at home or in the office. I would still recommend bringing your own, though - I am an odd size and have stubborn tastes that many would find problematic.

4. How's your self-care? Are you an indolent pleasure seeker, a responsible caretaker of your body, or have you just let it all go?

See # 1 above. My self is not my highest priority - I take care of myself to the extent that I consider necessary, but not indulgently.

5. How's your parenting going? Do your kids walk all over you? Do you treat them like it's boot camp? Do you like it that way? Do they?
5 of 6 are out of the house, and the last one is almost there. She requires an inordinate amount of chauffering, though.

6. If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be? Be honest-- do you like it the way things are or are you silently seething? What's it going to take to make things better?
I'd like the house I'm in to get a makeover, and I'd like to live near my internet friends. I could stand to have an Anglican rite parish nearby, too!
About the house makeover - does anyone know a simple way to get paint off the bathroom tiles? Turns out that the last owners didn't like the colors and painted over with ordinary white house paint, and it is now peeling and chipping and looks like crap. And the cabinet fronts in the kitchen look like someone nailed wooden siding to the doors and then painted it white. I would gladly replace the seafoam green formica counters with a classic white (although granite would be ideal).
Oh, and a job that didn't have a one hour commute would be most excellent too!



Please pray for these friends and acquaintances in their situations.
A friend whose unborn grandchild may well die before birth, if not soon after, from serious heart defects.
A young woman who will be on bedrest for the rest of her pregnancy because at 21 weeks she is already 5 cm. Pray that she will be on bedrest for a long time, not a short one!
This young woman who is now homeless.

Sacramental realities

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Last February, I was in Florida for a conference. I had the opportunity to go to Mass in a completely unknown to me parish, which always is an interesting experience. I got to the church early, and took a few minutes to read the covers of the missalette. There were the usual instructions on who can and who cannot present themselves for Holy Communion, and as usual, I was struck by what is and isn't included in the standard statement.
Allow me to quote from the USCCB's 1996 statement:
Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Holy Communion.
This is a true statement, as far as it goes. But I don't think it goes far enough, and in fact I think the limitations is reveals may also show some insight into not only problems with our relationship with out Eucharistic Lord, but also problems in our marriage relationships, and possibly even problems with vocations to the consecrated celibate life.
The statement basically ignores that in the reception of Holy Communion, we physically partake of Our Lord - Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. It is much more than a sign of unity.
The Eucharist is one of the seven Sacraments instituted by Jesus the Christ for His Church. A sacrament is a physical sign - as we are physical people. Christianity is at core an incarnational religion. "The word was made flesh, and dwelt among us". Carne - meat. We are made of meat, and our worship, our religion needs to acknowledge that. There are many heresies, old and new, that seek to ignore, deny, or denigrate that reality. If we see Eucharist as primarily a spiritual event and not also a physical event, we run the risk of creeping towards heresy.
The thought that struck me that Sunday in Florida was something like this.
Our Holy Father Pope John Paul II has spoken about marriage having both a unitive aspect and a procreative aspect. True sacramental marriage incorporates (another 'flesh' word) both of these aspects. The mutual giving love of the spouses is enfleshed in the marital act, which if open to life, also then displays the procreative aspect - whether or not that particular marital act actually leads to new life. We cannot demand that gift of life from God - but our openness is vital to a completely sacramental marriage.
True communion, in the form of sharing Eucharist, also involves a unitive and procreative aspect. By welcoming Jesus into our bodies, we may become gifted with the opportunity to share that new life of salvation with others through evangelization, either formally or informally (by living a Christ-centered life).
Our culture has focused almost exclusively on the unitive aspect of marriage and has for the most part downplayed the procreative aspect. Hence so many marriages that end up in trouble and when examined, turn out to be non-sacramental in nature.
Have we likewise been so focused on the unitive and community aspect of the Eucharist that we have lost something important here as well? Are there ways in which, in reception of communion, we are doing the equivalent of accepting only part of Christ into our bodies, into our lives, onto our selves?

Do you ever have days like this?

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There are days when I run up against a brick wall, in that there are world views that are so totally different from what I value as a Catholic Christian. It is hard to quantify, but it has to do with the 'of course' reaction to various day in and day out events.
For example, I was reading a blurb about a restauranteur in the Boston area. It mentioned early on that she had twin children, that her business partner was her ex-husband, and my 'of course' reaction was "Oh well, too bad they didn't work on keeping the marriage going, but at least they are an example to the children of one kind of partnership". But at the end of the article, I learned that the children were the product of artificial insemination with an anonymous donor. Excuse me? Did I read that right? Yep - she wanted children and heard her biological clock ticking to she just went and did it - high tech style. I don't know and would not presume to guess why she didn't have children while married. I was just flabbergasted that what once would have been a private issue now becomes a tidbit in a fairly humdrum nnews feature.
I have some others that come to mind, but I am having trouble figuring out how to share them without compromising the privacy of some of those involved. I'm not out to pass judgement - that is for God and I'm not He! I just want to try to share how every so often I am brought up short by the contrast and disparity between Catholic moral and social values, and the commonly accepted cultural values.
I was talking to a medical student about OB/Gyn docs like Dr. Hilgers, who do not prescribe artificial hormones for any purpose, including contraception, cycle regulation, etc. I was mentioning this in passing when discussing how that caused him to do a lot of research into the female cycle, and how to support rather than suppress that cycle. The student expressed the opinion that it was 'unethical and cruel' for a doctor to impose his judgement on women by refusing to prescribe contraception. I was taken aback - I don't know why - and wasn't able to whip out my usual snappy reply about it being unethical to prescribe dangerous drugs when there is a safer alternative. It was just such a knee-jerk reaction on the student's part. I did point out that this doctor is perfectly up-front about his practices, and that patients do have the right to choose to see or to avoid him.
These moments have a way of making me think about the upcoming election. Maybe the Second Coming is at hand. Maybe we will all meet on the fields of Armageddon. Last I heard, the Sox were ahead in game 3.
Addendum - Dawn Eden posts a letter from a reader that says what I was trying to say, only much much better!

my computer is ill

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I am in the process of backing up all my files so that I can send my laptop to my son for diagnosis and repairs. It has been shutting down in the midst of processes, with no warning, and it has reached the point where I am afraid that it will get completely fried.
I will still have access, but not as readily, and I may end up posting a lot less over the next few weeks.
I also need to do something to get my blogroll under control.

latin blog names

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here and here

please pray for them


Powerful earthquakes shake Japan
At least 13 people have died and more than 700 have been injured in a series of earthquakes and aftershocks which shook northern Japan for several hours.

Small world department

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I went up to Maine for a regional LLL conference and to meet up with one of my comment box regulars. It was great fun and a wonderful antidote to the discouragement I often feel dealing with my usual run of patients. Anyhow, it turns out that a person I saw at the conference was attended in birth by one of my former midwifery students (doing her apprenticeship) and another mama was attended by another of my friends.
It is so fun to say "Tell her hello from me!"
It is also wonderful to see so many babies and toddlers peeking out from within their slings - and to see little girls and boys carrying baby dolls in miniature slings!

I love you all

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but, to tell the truth, there are a few bloggers I will like a little better after the election is settled (for better or for worse). I am weary and worried and wistful and a whole bunch of other "W" words about the political nastiness that is everywhere. I wonder if the Lord is getting as tired of it all as I am. Lord, help me to keep my words tender and sweet, for one day I may have to eat them.

On bad translations and bad worship

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This is the kind of celebrity we need


I'm not trying to dis all cesareans, I recognize that they can be life and health saving. But I thought this was very interesting.
Caesarean Birth May Raise Allergy Risk in Babies

Researchers at the Children's Hospital at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich found the babies delivered by Caesarean section were twice as likely to be sensitive to cow's milk and other food allergens than infants born naturally.

new journal online


Red Sox Nation

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We WON!!!!!! At the stroke of midnight, at that! The Sox go to the series!

Thank you marla!


took me a while to notice


But the Kairos Guy is back on-line. I guess the kids are sleeping through the night now?

as promised
The US FDA (food and drug administration) has a long and somewhat checkered history. This bureau evolved out of efforts to protect the public from manufacturing processes in the food, drug, pesticide, etc industries that were clear and present dangers.

another controversy

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The continuing saga of a pharmacist who refused to fill a prescription for oral contraceptives. (My commentary will be in the extended entry)
An early alert to the story
The nasty comment at the beginning of the fooforaw
further nastiness and 50+ comments
The Culture War at the Revealer
Mark Shea gets snide
Mark Shea gets serious
Bene Diction's thoughts

From last Sunday's local paper


It was worth waiting a week for this


Bill Luse does it again.
Who Are the Innocent?

political solicitation

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What follows in the extended entry is something I got in my mailbox today. I am somewhat surprised that it wasn't left in a comments box.
I admit, I am somewhat intrigued by anyone who admits to being a cafeteria catholic. So I went over to the site and looked over their poll. Whoa, the way those questions are phrased are so loaded that I am incredulous. One of the best ways to bias a poll is to phrase your questions so that the answers will be what the pollster's financing wants it to be.
I haven't taken the time to really look into this organization. But I thought that some of the more political among you might be interested in investigation.
Oh, and the results they gave me don't really agree with how I intend to vote, either. It is all in the weighting of the possible answers.

read this


Thomas (who used to call himself a misplaced Protestant) posts a sermon never delivered.
It may be a few days before I get any substantial content posted, but with all the other wonderful bloggers out there I don't feel too terribly guilty.
I'm ruminating right now on connections involving the Vioxx recall, the flu vaccine fooforaw, and the FDA. Maybe it will turn into a post. Maybe it won't.

Birth Dearth

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CDC - get a clue

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from my inbox, what do you all think? alicia
-----Forwarded Message-----
Apparently sick mothers are supposed to WEAR A MASK while nursing their babies?

Check it out:

I guess bottle-feeding has some magical property that prevents you from transmitting germs. Also, no germs are passed during playing, cuddling, and changing diapers. Idjits. :-b

Could you PLEASE ask every human being on earth to write to the CDC
here and tell them to get their heads out of their keisters?


off to Boston


The cross-country team is running in the Tufts 10K, and I will be there to cheer them on. I'm not running. not this year at least! will be out of touch until later today.
addendum: She ran it in 1:12!

A potential complication of chlamydia


Reiter Syndrome
I didn't know this until today! It was being discussed on one of my email groups so I looked it up.

17 deaths linked to contraceptive

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Patch no safer than the pill
The Pill kills 0.3 to 1.9 women in every 100,000 users ages 15 to 29. (Statistic can be found in drug company literature).

catholicism 'lite'

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Joe Sobran's Column on John Kerry's Religion.
My question: Why is it that just about every male CINO starts out by mentioning that he was once an altar boy?

on the debate


Other bloggers have done a really good job talking about the substantial issues, and I will defer to their commentary. see
Tremendous trifles (A new blog I just found - well worth reading!)
curt jester
Josh M.
Get Religion

the truck or the hand grenade*

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When I was in the honors program at Loyola Marymount U, lo these many years, one of our seminars discussed (among other things) Greek tragedy. It was more than thirty years ago, and some of the details are a bit fuzzy. One thing I do remember is how, in reading the plays of the Oedipus cycle, we were all struck by the sense of inexorable doom approaching. Human pride and fear lead to decisions, and those decisions lead to consequences, and the consequences were as bad or worse than what would have happened had the players left well enough alone. The parents of Oedipus who thought that they could avoid the prophecy (He shall kill his father and marry his mother) actually setting up the conditions where that could happen, in their attempt to prevent it. I have to admit, I didn't read the actual plays of Sophocles until I was in that class, although I was familiar with the story line from reading mythologies as a child. (I had also read "Antigone",by Jean Anouilh, in high school French V).
We also read "A Streetcar Named Desire", "Julius Caesar", "The Doll House", and (I think) "The Cherry Orchard". Reading and studying tragedy left me with a feeling in the pit of my stomach that I still associate with the inevitability of impending doom. As I watch human beings choose the wrong road, make the wrong choice, I feel as though I am watching these plays from the opening line to the tragic denouement. I see them, and me, boxing ourselves into corners until it seems our only choice left is between running in front of the truck or jumping on the hand grenade.
In 8th grade English, we had to memorize many bits of classic literature. I still remember most of what I learned then - and what has been running around my brain lately is the famous speech from "Julius Caesar" - the one that starts, "Friends, Romans, Countrymen" - especially the line about 'honorable men'. "So were they all, all honorable men." The irony of that line hits me so very hard in this time of politicking and debate.
Art is one of the great gifts that God has given to us. We, a part (some say the crown) of His Creation, are privileged to share in the genesis of that creation. We share also in the procreation of life, and what a marvelous gift that is also. It is true that not all are called to co-create new human life, just as not all are called to create symphonies, literature, great visual art - but God has given us all some capacity to share in these gifts.
I was watching some of the presidential debates last night. I think that the questions that were asked were good ones, and well thought out. I was getting a little hot under the collar at times - I was yelling, "Answer the question, idiot" at the TV from time to time. But the question (or rather, the answers to the question) that made me the most apoplectic was the one posed on why we are so focused on embryonic stem cell research rather than adult or umbilical stem cell research. ( I give Mr. Bush a C minus on his answer, and Mr. Kerry an F).
Embryonic research has always struck me as a particularly gruesome form of cannibalism. It is also the prime example (to me, at least) of hubris leading to tragedy.
The human pride and sense of entitlement has led to the proliferation of artificial reproductive technologies. If the reproductive system doesn't produce according to demand, well, just bypass it! As techniques have become more and more sophisticated, there have been more and more early human lives produced (rather than procreated), and uncounted many of these lives are sitting in cold-sleep, slated for eventual death, their only crime that of being no longer wanted. Along come the prophets of utilitarianism, seeking only (they say) to rescue the pearls from the oyster, dismembering these very young human lives to harvest their potential for the 'betterment' of others.
I must be getting old and bitter. As I watch the world around me, and as I try to do what little I can to make things better, I am sometimes overwhelmed by some sad and familiar feelings. As I listen to the arguments and strife, the misguided altruism and the short-sighted optimism of the harbingers of "All New and Improved!", I return to those deep gut aches from my youth. I am viscerally reminded of the inexorable, inevitable, march of doom so reiterated in tragedies from Sophocles, Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams and others. I am also reminded that as Christians, we do have hope in the gift that Christ has given us - His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Without Him, I can do nothing. But as it says in Phil 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me." Time once again for prayer and sacrifice.

* "The truck or the hand grenade" was what we called a seemingly unsolvable dilemma with tragic consequences, and at the end of the semester we wrote and acted a play with that title.

twenty minutes/ one thousand words


My eighth grade English teacher did something that I hated at the time, but have since come to realize was a valuable gift she gave to all of us. Every Friday at the end of the day, she would put a topic up on the chalk board, hand out lined paper, and tell us to write an essay on that topic. We had 5 minutes to think about it, and 20 minutes to write about it, and she expected one thousand words, more or less. We were graded on content, organization, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and penmanship - in that order.
I am offering to you, my readers, the chance to challenge me in a similar way. If there is a topic you would like to see me tackle, send me an email and I will take it under consideration for a similar extemporaneous essay.
And those of you who are home schooling, might I suggest that you also set up a similar writing challenge?

queen of trivia?


You are DNA. You're a smart person, and you appear incredibly complex to people who don't know you. You're incomparably full of information, and most of it is useless.

Which Biological Molecule Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Catholic art blog


with the really long name of Dignare Me Laudare Te, Virgo Sacrata
TSO, you have competition.

Elena's great news


please pray for her!

october events

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Tuesday we took in all the last veges from the garden in anticipation of a killing frost. I have a basket of green tomatoes and green peppers and one lonely eggplant. The flowers on the eggplants will probably end up dying off, but I couldn't bear to uproot the plants yet.
I know that I usually put up a fairly long and thought out post most Thursdays, but today I probably won't. You see, it is my baby's 16th birthday today, and I have lots of other stuff to get done. I promised her that I would make it down to see at least part of her Cross-country meet this afternoon, and she is having a passel of friends over tomorrow for California style tacos, so I have to excavate the house a little more today.
October 5th was another milestone - my next to the youngest child turned 21.
Where did the years go?

ragemonkeys rule

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Pastoral letter Moral responsibility to society

From the journal of clinical nutrition


Good news from Sparki


milestone marker

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as far as I can tell, visitor # 10,000 came here looking for
"musical sacramental midwifery"
Hope you found what you were seeking!

Any readers in the Washington DC area - could you please find the article from today's paper about St Blogs?
According to Katherine, it's in the WaPo, p.B9 (Metro section) and is titled, "To Congregate or Confess, Believers are Turning to Blogs".
Grumble - you'd think that an article about in internet phenom would be in the online version of the paper!

Brokaw, Jennings Show Support for Rather

"What I think is highly inappropriate is what going on across the Internet, a kind of political jihad ... that is quite outrageous," the NBC anchor said at a panel on which all three men spoke.

Courtesy of Rudyard Kipling

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(seems to me that there was a rock song featuring this line)

The Female of the Species

WHEN the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside.
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When Nag the basking cobra hears the careless foot of man,
He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can.
But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,
They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws.
'Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

A bishop speaks out


Our Civic Responsibility for the Common Good
Archbishop Raymond L. Burke
be sure to skip to the end for the summary!
(via Envoy Encore)

Jill Staneck posts another one


Loyola's crayola.

What we have here is a failure to comprehend the meaning of the phrase "proportionate reasons". This misunderstanding colors not only this specific issue (preterm induction of infants with life threatening anomalies) but other issues. Say, for example, the Ratzinger letter that has been misinterpreted to say that it is morally licit to support the election of pro-abortion politicians.

Isn't there a heresy known as proportionalism?

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