November 2005 Archives

owen relents!

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luminousmiseries is back!

A wonderful set of comments


from the Trousered Ape.

GOd and the Internet

I confess that I have a personal interest here - this is the article from First Things that actually mentioned my blog (albeit not in a terribly flattering manner).

It's the Catholic New Year

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and the carnival is up, with seasonal reflections and commentary on the new Narnia movie, as well as other good reading.
I may be scarce - back to work after a week off, and I know that I am going to be slammed.

seasonal thoughts


Bed in Summer
Robert Louis Stevenson
In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people's feet
Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?

Support for research into NFP


Pope urges work on natural fertility regulation

True family planning is more than pregnancy prevention.

First Sunday in Advent

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Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead we may rise to life immortal, through him who livest and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. amen (Collect from the book of common prayer).
We ended up going to two Masses today - we thought that the early Mass at one parish was at 0900 but it actually started at 0830 - so we arrived after after the Offertory. We stayed to the end, because our daughter would not be able to attend a later Mass (she had scheduled an alumni interview for her first choice college). Moral - don't always trust - check directly!

Anyhow, John and I ended up going to a complete Mass a little later. As often happens, the homily hit upon items that I have been struggling with in my life. Father talked a bit about his recent pilgrimage - a return to the place where he surrendered his life to God and not-so-incidentally found his vocation (after what sounds to have been a typically screwed up early adult life filled with the usual sins and addictions). But this trip was not filled with the emotional highs and blessings that he had come to expect. And eventually he realized that what was different was not God but him.

The particular priest likes to refer to God as occasionally using a 2 by 4 to whack him upside the head - as in some of us need that kind of reminder or we won't pay attention. In the homily, he reminded us that God will use whatever concrete examples He needs to get us to pay attention. Around this point, I started to drift off a little bit, trying to remember points at which God has thwacked me a good one to get my attention... and so I missed a little bit of Father's specific examples (something about finding a heart shaped rock and realizing that is was his own heart of stone that was keeping Jesus out).
When I came back to attention, Father was talking about how we try to fill the cracks in our hearts with stuff. And how we need to really look at the stuff in our lives and see it for what it is. Is it stuff that we truly need, or is it filling the cracks with a false repair that will further harden our hearts and ultimately further block Jesus from softening and healing our broken hearts?

I went Christmas shopping the day after Thanksgiving. I really had a rough time, because I don't do well with crowds but also because I found that I had no attraction to most of the stuff that was being hawked. I found a couple of gifts for some of my children, but I found also that the blatant consumerism was really giving me a headache. When I got home, I realized that what I really needed to do was to give away a lot of the stuff that has been cluttering up my life and my house.

Yesterday we sorted and bagged lots of clothes that are in good shape but not getting worn. Tomorrow I will call St. Vincent de Paul and see if they are interested in it. Our deanery penance service (individual confessions to follow) is coming up next Sunday afternoon - time to unclutter the soul as well. Or maybe I will try to get to confession Saturday if it is quiet when I am on call.

Meanwhile, I realized while unpacking the Advent box what a packrat I occasionally am. Remembering one year when I couldn't find Advent candles for the wreath, I now almost compulsively buy marked down Advent candles during the after Christmas sales. I have enough pink and purple candles in the box to get through the next ten Advents!

I pray that the Lord will continue to be able to reach me and help me to soften my heart. I pray that He won't be compelled to use the two by four on me, either!

in time for advent

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a love poem to God God Is. . .

for my scots friends and family


Hail, Mary. Earna Mhoire

Link via Flos Carmeli

dishwasher update again

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The inspector guy came by, and agreed with me that the dishwasher is kaput. Within an hour we got a phone call from GE offering us a brand new dishwasher of comparable value, delivered and installed. If we want to upgrade (say, to a stainless steel interior instead of the flammable plastic) we will get credit towards the higher cost - not sure exactly how that will work. We need to call them and let them know what our choice will be.
So, I think the drama is almost over.
I didn't realize it when looking over the warranty, but the door is apparantly considered part of the tub - and the tub had a full lifetime warranty. So sending out the inspector guy was apparantly needed to verify just where the damage was and how it happened.
We also will be getting interviewed by an inspector from the Consumer Product Safety Commission sometime after the holiday weekend. But soon, I hope that this whole episode will be behind us.

Dawn surfaces again


birthday verses


my birthday is 1-12, so here are the gospel verses to match
et post transmigrationem Babylonis Iechonias genuit Salathihel Salathihel autem genuit Zorobabel
And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoni'ah was the father of She-al'ti-el, and She-al'ti-el the father of Zerub'babel,
et statim Spiritus expellit eum in desertum
The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.

et Zaccharias turbatus est videns et timor inruit super eum
And Zechari'ah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.
quotquot autem receperunt eum dedit eis potestatem filios Dei fieri his qui credunt in nomine eius
But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God;
from the Vulgate and the RSV.
meme shamelessly lifted from Julie, who obviously has all her Thanksgiving prep work done already!
Me, it's time to get off the computer and go downstairs - I have sweet potatoes to bake so that tomorrow I can candy them, pies to bake, and basic housekeeping to accomplish. The dishwasher person is supposed to be here later this afternoon - and GE agreed to waive the $70 fee. I took this week off from work to try to put some order into the chaos around here, but so far my major accomplishment has been to defrost the deep freeze (and flood the back porch in the process).

a list of francophone catholic blogs


from a classic text

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I collect old medical texts in my specialty area, and I just acquired a copy of Dr. Leo Latz's classic The Rhythm. My personal copy is the 6th revision, 1939. A brief handbook, written in a FAQ or Catechism style, it introduced the first scientific method of periodic abstinence for the regulation of births.
I was struck by the following phrase, found on page 67 in my copy - in answer to question 37:

The human mind is not very hospitable to new ideas, especially if they run counter to others that have been harbored for years and have been handed down by uncounted generations...Scientists do not readily surrender a position which they have held for years, which they have defended in the class room and on the lecture platform and in their writings, all the more, when they are under the impression that they have excellent reasons, based upon years of obsevation, for their opinion. They will oppose contrary theories with all the resources of their position and learning.

Also of note is a quote later in the book of an article by a Reverend John O'Brien in the May 1933 issue of Homiletic and Pastoral Review.

What a sobering uplifting thought for decent Catholic parents when they realize that their privilege of cooperating with God in His work of creation is also a responsibility that must be deliberately accepted or declined. As for the other class of Catholics, a large proportion, if not the great majority, are probably practicing birth control (my note - he means here artificial contraception) already, salving their conscience with the plea that the Catholic law as understood by them is morally impossible of observance.
(question 66, page 139 of Latz's book). Latz later on notes that in the period from 1921 to 1928 36% of the clientele of birth control clinics (predecessors of Planned Parenthood) in 4 major cities listed their religion as Catholic. He also quotes a statistic of 700,000 abortions (criminal) in 1930, with 15,000 maternal deaths related to the abortion.
Anyhow, it is an interesting book.
Calendar rhythm as a means of estimating the fertile period for the purpose of family planning usually demands about 10 days of abstinence per cycle. It has an overall suprise pregnancy rate of around 20% (whereas unrestricted non-contracepted intercourse has a pregnancy rate of 80%+) over the course of a year. However, in those women who compulsively track their cycles and who have reasonable regular cycles, the use-effectiveness of calendar rhythm approaches that of more modern methods of NFP - but it does demand more days of abstinence.
I really feel like I learn a lot when I can find the historical perspective on things.

in my wildest dreams


In defense of maternal love

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Lifelong benefits of cuddling your baby

It is so sad that we need to have scientific research to support common sense.

A book that I read years ago that persuaded me that God had planned human parenting was by the secular humanist Ashley Montague. Touching, the Human Significance of the Skin, explored the many ways in which human touch is critical to normal development - and Montague also discussed prenatal touching as well as the biological advantages of labor and birth to the newborn.


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curses, memed again! Thanks, Julie!
Heavenly Father:
I acknowledge and bewail my manifold sins and wickedness, which I, from time to time most grievously have committed against your divine
majesty, provoking most justly your wrath and indignation against me. I do earnestly repent, and am heartily sorry for these my misdoings. The remembrance of them is grievous unto me, the burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy on me, most merciful Father. For the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, forgive me all that is past, and grant that I may ever hereafter serve and please you in newness of life, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
I confess that I dearly miss the Anglican liturgy of my youth, and still refer to my 40+ year old copy of the Book of Common Prayer. I would join an Anglican usage parish in a heartbeat if one was reasonable close.
I confess that I learn things best when set to music, preferably catchy tunes.
I confess that I have no talent for matching names and faces, and that even after 5 years I still don't know the names of all the nurses in Labor and Delivery of the hospital where I catch babies.
I confess that I have a weakness for vodka cocktails like Cosmos and other 'girlie drinks'.
I confess that I have been known to play the guitar and/or the flute in more than one 'contemporary music' church choir - and at Mass, no less.
I confess to a weakness for selected songs by the (otherwise evil) trio of Haugen, Hass, and Hurd.
I confess to a tendency to automatically sing the alto part of most hymns even if no one else in the pews does so.
I confess to puzzlement at why Catholic hymnals only include the melody line in the book.
I confess that even after 32 some years as a Catholic, I still don't know quite what I am supposed to do or say when I go to confession.
I confess that I get quite angry at my fellow drivers when they don't know how to merge in or out of highway traffic.
I confess to preferring to read SF to my Bible most of the time.
I confess to having an addiction to playing Scrabble on my Palm Pilot during boring meetings.
I confess to taking notes on the homilies during Mass, on my Palm Pilot.
I confess to loving the Nicene Creed and to getting confused when saying the Apostle's Creed.
I confess to getting really angry when Father (or whomever) skips the word "men" in the phrase "for us men and for our salvation" in the Creed.
I confess to having no idea what this meme is really about.
I hereby tag Ukok, Selkie,Papa-Lu, and Sparkie

tagged again


By Rebecca at Doxology

1. Write three things for which we are grateful to God for in this past liturgical year.
* My wonderful husband
* The daily necessities of life (everyday at work, I see those who live in physical poverty as well as spiritual emptiness)
* The presence in our community of a Perpetual Adoration chapel
2. Write three ways in which we hope to improve our relationship with God in this coming liturgical year.
* I am trying to get my emotions to be in synch with my intellect
* I will continue to work on communicating God and the faith to my 9th grade Confirmation class (and thereby learn more myself)
* Spend more time in undistracted prayer
3. Pass this on to three other bloggers
* Steve Riddle
* Bill Luse

Therese asks

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What carries you over unbelief?

It's a good question. God generously gave me the gift of faith. I haven't always been appreciative of this gift, and I've occasionally thrown it back in His face. I've treated His gift much as a spoiled child at a birthday party, grumping and whining that I wasn't given toys instead of clothes. But whether I said yes or no to God, he still gave me the precious gift of faith.

God forgive me, please. I think of all the times when I have snidely refused to see the good in the schlock and tackiness of everyday life. When I have allowed my esthetic sensibilities to overule my ability to join in worship. When I have been harsh and judgemental about what is, after all, a difference of style and not content.

I don't know how I have managed to carry my faith over the mountains and molehills of everyday life - I think that it must be that at some point I agreed to be yoked with Jesus, and even when I have given up He hasn't. Even if I try to put down this gift and burden of faith, He carries both it and me until I have come to my senses. Deo Gratia.

We are still washing dishes by hand. When John got ahold of the proper person at GE, he was told that they would need to send out some one to inspect the dishwasher to see if it could be repaired. He offered to email them pictures and the fire department report but was told that they need to send a person out to the house. Now, I am pretty darn sure that the dishwasher is totalled - and even if they could fix it I WOULD NOT TRUST IT!!!! I'm traumatized. I wake up smelling smoke that isn't there (and having the hospital alarms go off twice during my last call night didn't help any). Well, I was OK with them having to go through the motions et al. So we waited for them to call us to set a date and time. And we waited.
John had told them to call him at his work phone #, and to leave a message if necessary. His work voice mail pages him anytime a message is left. He told them not to call the house because no one is there most days during business hours - and the voice mail isn't checked very often. Of course, they didn't follow the instructions. Finally, today, they got around to calling us.
Guess what. They want us to pay a $70 fee, up front, for the guy to come out and inspect the dishwasher that caught fire due to their design flaw. This whole episode has been a near occasion of sin for me. I am trying really hard to be understanding etc but right now I could spit nails. Pray for me, will you?

It was only by the sheer grace of God that I still have a kitchen or possibly even a house. The fire moved incredibly fast, and even though I have been trained in basic fire (Los Angeles hospitals require a 4 hour class for all staff)it still took me by surprise. I shudder at the thought of what would have happened if I hadn't been standing right there or if I had been alone in the house without John to help by shutting off the breaker etc.
I really don't want to have to hire an ambulance chaser to seek compensation, but I am getting perilously close. I'm not looking to make a fortune off this, I just want just compensation for the total destruction of an appliance that should have lasted at least 6 more years.

My 15 seconds of fame

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I was downstairs putting the finishing touches on dinner (meat loaf, winter squash, vege pasta with artichoke pesto, and home made refried beans). John was upstairs finishing reading something on the computer. He called out to me, "Hey, have you been over to Video Meliora today?"
me: "not yet - why?"
him: "You're mentioned in the same sentence as Amy Welborn. And it comes from an article in First Things."

Since I was downstairs, I grabbed the print edition of First Things out of todays mail pile and proceeded to read God on the Internet by Jonathan V. Last. It's an interesting article, and I was somewhat bemused to have been the first blog actually mentioned by name. Blogging midwives are somewhat of an anomaly anyhow (last time I googled it I only found 4 of us) and a Catholic midwife blog is probably hen's teeth.

Mr. Last has some sharp observations, but I think that on some level he sells Catholic bloggers a little short. Here is his closing sentence and summation:

But even at its best, the Internet is a weakening of reality, and with its consumer satisfactions, politicizing impulses, and substitutions for the body, it constantly lures us up into thinner and thinner air. Isn’t religion supposed to enrich the world around us instead? Shut off your computer. Take a deep breath. Go to church.

From what I have seen, the majority of us in St. Blog's have not abandoned our incarnational reality and our physical religion for the thin air of the blogosphere. I read about fellow bloggers who go to daily Mass, who participate in various ministries, whose works show forth their faith. Many of us regularly participate in Eucharistic Adoration, groups such as Cursillo, Knights of Columbus, Faith on Tap, music ranging from Gregorian Chant to LifeTeen masses, and all sorts of other physical manifestations of our Catholicism. I have found the Catholic (and other Christian, for that matter) blogosphere to be an incredible support and challenge to live out my faith and to "work out my salvation in fear and trembling".

The cross-fertilization of ideas is unprecedented. I have learned enormously about Carmelite spirituality from Steven Riddle. (before this, I really didn't understand why Therese was a doctor of the church!) I have learned about the Catholic economic theory of distributism from Caelum et Terra. I have learned about ordering my life as a mother to God's plan from several other Catholic mom-bloggers (too many to list).

And so, I will respectfully disagree with the conclusion reached by Professor Reynolds (quoted in the above mentioned article).

As Professor Reynolds explains: “Kneeling, on a kneeler made of oak, in front of a priest with trembling hands handing you the very Body and Blood of Christ which you taste and touch and smell is different than mouse-clicking your way through reality. . . . Is [the Internet] real fellowship? No, I don’t think so. I view it more as co-laboring.”

Yes, there is a difference between virtual reality and physical reality - we as Catholics take delight in the physical realities with which God had gifted us. But virtual fellowship has a reality that is also of great value. The few occasions that I have been able to physically meet fellow bloggers has born this out for me.

yummm - tea

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Welcome to Portsmouth Tea Company

I live on tea the way many others live on coffee. This place looks intriguing.

fascinating conversion story


Capitulation or prudence?


Canada's National Shrine Pulls Plug on Location of National Pro-Life Conference Due to Threats

By John-Henry Westen

MONTREAL, November 16, 2005 ( - One day prior to the opening of the Canadian National Pro-Life Conference the religious priests who are in charge of Canada's national Catholic shrine, St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal have reneged on the conference location due to threats received from 'pro-choice' and homosexual activists. The decision is not based on police inability to offer adequate protection, according to police officials. Organizers of the conference are scrambling to find another location at such short notice. (complete story)

addendum to recipe

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I forgot until now, but I also added in a cup or so of cooked mukamame (shelled edamame, green soybeans) at the very end of cooking the risotto. It added a nice color and crunch!

take the time


and read the last few days posts at Flos Carmeli. Start with November 9 and come up to the present, if, like me, you have been distracted away from serious spiritual reading.
Thank you, Steven, for letting the Holy Spirit speak through you. And thank you for your gentle encouragement to all of us to do likewise.

Seasonal Fare

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I haven't blogged any food lately. I've thought about it, but I haven't done it. Actually, that has been the story of my life the last few weeks - thinking but not doing. I'm so frickin tired so much of the time.
Anyhow, last night I got off the dime and made a winter squash risotto. I adapted a recipe I found in the Boston Globe Magazine.

2 shallots, chopped fine
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups pureed roasted squash (I used pumpkin that I had frozen previously, thawed) (You can also use canned in a hurry)
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh sage (or 1 tsp dried)
1/2 cup white wine or dry vermouth
4 cups vegetable broth ( I use a boxed roasted vege stock)
Bring the broth to a boil and keep simmering on the stove next to where you are making the risotto. Keep a ladle handy.
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesano (may also use asiago, romano, or similar)
fresh parsley or sage for garnish

In a large, non-stick pot, saute shallot in butter until translucent. Add arborio rice, stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup wine and bring risotto to a boil. Once liquid is absorbed, reduce heat to medium. Stir in the pureed squash with 1/2 cup of the broth, simmer until mostly absorbed. Gradually stir in hot broth 1/2 cup (one ladle full) at a time (make sure to allow liquid to be absorbed between each 1/2 cup). Taste the risotto for consistency (after all the liquid is absorbed, the risotto should be tender but not soft, moist but not runny). Remove from flame. Stir in cheese and chopped sage.

Spoon the risotto into bowls, top with herbs.

For Vegans (or dairy free fast days) omit the cheese and add in a little salt.

I also like to spice it up with a little tabasco sauce.

2004 birth statistics for the USA

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from the CDC
Cesareans, preterm birth, and birth to unmarried moms are all up, some by substantial margins.

Cesarean rates

how sad this is!

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In 'wrongful life' suit, disabled woman blames doctor for letting her be born

Do you suppose that she is actually seeking euthanasia?

A Hard Pill to Swallow


For those who miss Dawn

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The Carnival of Dawn Patrolees
One thing though, Bob.
It's spelled fructus, not fructis.
(I can't tell you how many hits I get from folk looking for shampoo!)

And asks some good questions about the questions he is being asked to qualify for
Jury Duty

I did 6 months on the county grand jury last year. It was a fascinating and sometimes disturbing glimpse into the criminal justice system in this country.



wonderful exegesis


Arwen/Elizabeth: Love and Its Result

my quick comment: Xerox machines reproduce - human beings procreate.

hat tip to Rebecca at Doxology (link in the blogroll)

Still on the market

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Warning Issued for Birth-Control Patch
FDA Release
For 40 years, women have been taking risks with their health and even their lives, in pursuit of the goal of spontaneous baby proof sex.
Vioxx is no longer on the market. How many people died from Vioxx, compared to those hurt by synthetic female hormones given with the goal of completely suppressing the normal female menstrual cycle?

moments of grace

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Have you ever caught yourself thinking one thing and doing something else?
When I leave work, I usually make a left turn out of the parking lot and drive past the hospital to get on the road home. The other day, I found myself turning right instead, and ended up in the drive through lane of the local McDonald's. I ordered the seasonal 'pie' (pumpkin at this time) and sat and waited for what is an unusually long time. The truck ahead of me had a bumper sticker with a picture of a basket of puppies and kittens and the caption "We are not disposable". I got to thinking that this could easily be modified into a pro (human)- life bumper sticker. And then I got to the pick-up window. Instead of the usual bustle of activity, the window was closed. I could see inside the store that there seemed to be only one staff person for both the drive through window and the counter - and at this time of day, McDonalds is usually hopping. That one staff person was hustling trying to meet the needs of the public without adequate support from co-workers. My initial annoyance melted away as I realized what a tough and thankless job she was doing. Thankfully, there was no one behind me in the line to get annoyed at me!
Finally, the window opened and my bag was handed out. I looked at the face of the person who had been working so hard. I recognized her as one of my middle-aged patients, who sees me for her Paps and her female complaints. I don't think she initially recognized me.

I said,"looks like you are short staffed in there. You're doing just fine, don't work too hard and get all stressed out".
She looked at me funny for a moment, and then recognized me. (out of context it can be hard, you know?). She said,"Did you nurse tell you that I called? She told me to go to the emergency room because I was so depressed and suicidal."
me: "did you go?"
her: "No, I didn't want to."
me: "Are you still feeling bad?"
her: "Yes"
me: "Are you taking your medications?"
her: "Yes"
At that time, I noticed that she was wearing a collection of medals, including a Miraculous medal, on a chain around her neck.
me:" Remember that there are people who care about you. If you start to feel down again, come and get help. And remember,(as I reached out and held up her Miraculous Medal) that you can always pray. There is a prayer on this medal. Say it if you need to. And I'll pray for you too. I don't like to read bad things about my patients in the newspapers."
and she laughed as I rolled up my window and drove away.
When you get a chance, please pray for her. And while you are at it, please pray for all the others at the margins, those who are just getting by on minimum wage jobs, with no health or other insurance, living day to day. They are the invisible poor, taking handouts reluctantly, hoping that one day somehow things will be better. Working as hard as they can just to keep from slipping deeper into the muck, and they need our prayers and our works as well.

leaving on a jet plane

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We are down to one child at home, and she won't be home that much longer if events go according to her hopes and plans. She's a senior in High School, and is doing the college application process. I hadn't realized just how stressful it has become. I don't remember it being nearly this tough 14 years ago when our firstborn decided to go straight from High School to the university. It certainly wasn't all that stressfull for me back in the dark ages. I took the SAT once, scored what I considered to be a very respectful 1370, and got into the college I wanted right off the bat, despite a less than stellar GPA.

But my daughter and her peers seem to agonize over everything. I try to be supportive and to offer what help I can. But the kids are right. I just don't get it.

Anyhow, I'm asking all y'all for prayers for her (and for me, while I'm at it). In a couple of days, we're putting her on an airplane to fly to California for the open house/prospective student day at her current first choice school. Her big brother will pick her up at the airport and be her chauffeur and general moral support. Her godmother (aunt) will take her to the campus and be in loco parentis. It's a stressful event, and I'm feeling a little guilty that I'm not taking her, but there are lots of reasons (including last minute notice) why it didn't work out that way.

Those of you have done the college thing more recently (personally or with your kids), does it seem to be way out of proportion stressful? Any words of wisdom? Is there a patron saint for would be college students?

Of course, getting in to college is only the first challenge. There is also paying for it.....

A lenten post in autumn

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Selkie: Leaves
good prayers to be found here

for those who have missed his wisdom

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a new post from Apologia

more on dishwasher fire

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The fire seems to have started in a bundle of wires within the door. They were at a flex point that would have been stressed every time the door is opened or closed. This strikes me as a basic design flaw. The dishwasher was only 4 years old. We bought it shortly after we moved into this house, and it was professionally installed.
Our particular model was not included in this Recall of Built-In Dishwashers. However, from the description of the problem, I think that what happened to us is what the recall was all about.

You know, I still shudder to think of how quickly we could have lost the kitchen, if not the entire house! And you know, the dishwasher is one of those with the 'delay start' cycle. That, to my mind, is an implied warranty of safety, that you shouldn't have to be standing there watching the machine wash your dishes.

We left a message for our home owner's insurance. I don't know if this is covered or not, but I think that they should be notified. I don't know if we will get a bill for the fire department turn-out. If so, I hope that insurance will cover it.

John talked to a person at GE yesterday. She gave him the phone number for the proper persons who should be notified of this, and they will be in on Monday.

We went to the appliance store yesterday. It is overwhelming what the choices are - and it is difficult to decide. The thing that is clear to me is that I don't want one with plastic based construction. The smoke from just a short fire had me wheezing pretty bad the next day. I also would like to avoid the main cause of dishwasher fires, which is the heating element for the dry cycle. Those two factors automatically bump the price up to the $700 and above range - and I hadn't been planning to buy anything in that price range anytime soon.

The other factor is a more philosophical one - if we are going to be in this house for another 5 years or more, it is probably worth it to spend a little more. But if we are likely to leave anytime soon, we would be leaving behind that investment, and probably would not recoup it in the sale price. Only if it were part of an overall kitchen remodel would it even be a sales point.

Meanwhile, I am doing the dishes by hand. We have put a cardboard 'floor' over the holes where the hoses and wires were, and the cats have been enjoying sniffing around the ex-dishwasher space. I suppose that I could just put a cabinet in there and go back to the hand washing all the time!

I don't do policial posts much, but not because I have no interest! It is just that others do a much better job than I can on some of these issues. For example, Kobayashi Maru. Today he blogs on Europe Under Siege - Van Gogh One Year On
And a couple of days ago, the Paris Riots
I've lived through riots - most recently the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles. The amazing thing is that one can be watching TV and see violence going on just a few miles from home and yet be able to distance oneself from the reality. It is so unreal, that one just dissociates, much like the victim of abuse or torture does during the event. It's a kind of survival mechanism.
In the USA, we used to celebrate 1492 as the date when Columbus opened up the Western Hemisphere to the Old World. In Spain, it was celebrated as the year that the last of the Muslim invaders were forcibly expelled from that end of the European continent. Now, more than 500 years later, the Alhambra has been lost again.

AsiaNews November 4 2005


I think the adrenaline has worn off

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or, how not to spend a Friday Night at home.

John and I were sitting watching EWTN. At the end of The World Over, I went into the kitchen to get a cup of tea, preparatory to coming upstairs and settling down for the night. The dishwasher was humming away, washing the dinner dishes. I noticed an orange glow and smoke coming from the bottom of the dishwasher just as we both heard an electrical crackle from the same spot. John ran down to the basement to shut off the circuit breaker to the dishwasher, I called 911, he opened the dishwasher door and punched a hole in the melting plastic to get to the fire, he poured water on the fire while I talked to the dispatcher. By the time the fire department arrived, (maybe 4 minutes?)the fire was out, and John was busily disassembling the dishwasher to make sure that there were no smouldering areas.
The smoke alarm didn't go off until after we had the fire almost out.

Right now, I am incredibly grateful.

If we had already been upstairs when this happened, we wouldn't have been able to stop the fire as early as we did. The dishwasher is totalled, but it didn't have time to spread to the counter or even further in the house. We don't have any smoke damage, despite the heavily plastic nature of the fire. Not even any of the dishes were damaged.

We live 4 blocks from the local fire station. We have a fire hydrant in our front yard, so the firefighters know where we live. We are always careful to keep the fire hyrant shoveled out during the snowy season.

It was scary, but once again I realized that through years of practice, John and I can function almost seamlessly during a crisis.

I am once again grateful for the sheer competency of the man I married. He knew exactly where the breaker was and was able to turn it off within a few seconds. If I had been home alone, I would have probably had to turn off the entire house! He then had the presence of mind to use the nearby and available resources (broom handle to punch a hole in the melted plastic, jug of water to pour over the fire and thereby extinguish it). You may be thinking that you don't pour water on an electrical fire - but it wasn't an electrical fire, it was a plastic fire that had been started by an electrical short.

When the fire crew finished disassembling the door, it appeared that the fire had started in a bundle of wires that were pinched by the door opening and closing. Looks like a design flaw to me.

Anyhow, we got everything disconnected, and the shell of the defunct dishwasher hauled outside. I washed the dishes by hand, using the rack from the machine as a counter rack. Now, to try to calm down a little more and get some sleep.

Oh, and you have to imagine just how the cats reacted to all this excitement! I have quite a few claw marks from trying to herd them into a safe area while the firefighters ran the heavy duty fan to clear the air.

I've had quite enough excitement for the nonce. Now, I have to go shop for another dishwasher. I don't think we'll buy another GE, somehow.


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I need recipes
we got some in the CSA this week
I have never had it before!

prayers please

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I just got a prayer request via email - a young woman having her 6th cesarean who has a placenta accreta and the surgery is today.
There is a very high risk of hemorrhage even if a hysterectomy is performed (as may often become necessary in these cases). Please hold her up in prayer.



Go read the bearing blog: Catholic Carnival: All Saints'/All Souls' Day Edition over at the Bearing Blog. Lots of good stuff!


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