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how was your tuesday?

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Today's Wedding Cake

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This is a pic from the celphone. I was too busy as the mother of the bride to do much else. We are having a wonderful time in Post Falls Idaho.

a set of memories

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My grandmother died last week. Here is a cropped out picture of her, from the photo sessions we did last October.
She was in her early 90s. She outlived two husbands and both of her sons. She is survived by 9 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren (14 g-granddaughters and 7 g-grandsons) and one great-great granddaughter, (Emma).
I lived with her for a year when I was seven and again for 6 months when I was twelve. Her house in San Diego was our legal residence for many years of my childhood while my dad was in the Air Force.
Gram was quite a lady. She loved to read and she instilled that love in all of us. She taught first grade from the time her children left home until she turned 65 and retired - then she turned around and stayed on at the school as a reading specialist until her health was so that she could no longer drive herself there - sometime in her 80s I think. She introduced me to science fiction and she herself was a big fan of the horses - she loved to read Dick Francis novels.
The following is from the first draft of her obituary (a work still in progress)

Anne EHRHART, 93, a pioneer resident of San Diego died peacefully in her sleep 15 February 2008 at the home of her grand-daughter Catherine EHRHART STARR in Lexington, Kentucky. Anne was born 16 June 1914 in Onoway, Alberta, Canada. She was the daughter of William Yates and the grand daughter of James Yates, who settled in Alpine around 1885. James brought his family by ship across the Pacific from Lancashire, England, landing in New Orleans in 1885, then traveling with his wife and 7 children overland to San Diego County where they settled.

Her father William married in Canada and Anne was brought from Canada to San Diego by way of Detroit, Michigan by family members after the death of her father William in WWI. William was with the Canadian Infantry (Alberta Regiment) and died at the battle of Regina Trench in France. He has a memorial at Greenwood Cemetery with other family members.

By 1920, she was living with her grandmother and aunts in Mission Hills and remained there until her marriage to Ed Lindley, except for a short sojourn in England where she was schooled at Battle Abbey in East Sussex.

Anne was predeceased by her two husbands, her two sons and one great grand daughter (Sophie Isadora Kessler). Her first husband Edward Ise Lindley was the son of Fred E. Lindley, Esq and Alma Ise Lindley. Together they had two sons, William Yates LINDLEY EHRHART, and Robert Yates LINDLEY. William took the last name of his stepfather in school and as an adult. Her second husband was John Victor EHRHART.

Mrs. Ehrhart received her Masters Degree in Education from San Diego State University. She taught school at All Saints’ Episcopal School in Hillcrest As a gift to her long time dedication to learning, the school library was dedicated to her.

As the ravages of old age overcame her, she sold her home in San Diego to be near her son in El Segundo, when William died she went to stay with her grand daughter in Kentucky.

She was a loving, caring mother, grandmother and great grandmother to her family and a loving teacher to her students, she will be greatly missed.

From the internet page for the school library

Anne Ehrhart Library

whither the weather, woes

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Here in Rockford IL we are under a severe winter weather condition - the snow is falling at 1-2 inches per hour. John won't make it home for crepes (traditional Shrove Tuesday fare in our household) because he is out helping with Super Tuesday coverage for the radio station. I got a phone call earlier from Memphis - they are under tornado warning conditions and it has to be scary there too. I am just hoping that the babies have enough sense to stay inside where it is warm, at least until the weather clears up a bit.

I guess the crepe batter will keep in the fridge until thursday.....

thirty five years

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Today is the 35th anniversary of the day I entered the Catholic Church. It is also my birthday. I have taken the day off call, which means that my patients are trying not to go into labor today! (my physician partner will take excellent care of them if they do)
We have started making the arrangements to head back to the Pacific Northwest for another child's wedding - this time it is child #5, whose sense of humour is such that she planned her wedding for February 29 - leap day.

please pray for him


Pansy and Peony: For My Father

popping up very quickly to put in this bleg
with luck will have a 5 generation picture to post next week!

more stress

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My brother in law is home now and getting home nursing care. The ultimate diagnosis was MRSA. He is doing a lot better.

Emma is back in the hospital for at least overnight observation. She was vaccinated on Friday with Pediarix and an oral Rotavirus vaccine. She started to run a fever Sunday afternoon and spiked today despite tylenol. She saw her neurosurgeon, her pediatrician, and was then sent to the ED at the Children's hospital, where they did a CT scan and tapped her shunt. The fluid was clear but they are going to keep her overnight for observation and repeat blood tests in the morning.

I am exhausted but I think of how much more exhausted Jess must be, and so too my youngest daughter B who has been helping Jess out since just before Emma's birth. I am also experiencing some guilt that I have been begging prayers from my loyal readers and not giving you any real content, but such is life right now. Soon, eventually, I will try to focus my energies to pull it together. I have had some great ideas but life trumps blog, anyday. I am faced with 2500 unread messages in my inbox and I have been scanning it and only answering personal and urgent stuff - so if you have written to me about something and haven't gotten an answer, just write me again and put something compelling in the subject line so that I will know it is one of you folks!
Will update when I can.

that's an iced tea in his hand

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on holiday

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We are on vacation in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. We've had this time share for several years, but were never able to use it while we still lived in NH - but now that we have moved away, we can both take vacation at the same time and travel back. Even though we will have family events that will use all out available vacation time this year, we decided to take the plunge and come here. So far, so good. Yesterday we rode the cog railway to the top of Mt. Washington.

Traveling with a vegetarian teenager can be challenging, but one of the nice things about a time share is that it has a kitchen. Last night we made a very nice spaghetti with vegetables in tomato sauce, accompanied by a ciabatta with pesto. A little high carb, but healthy carbs and good olive oil as well.

I have been very busy lately (I've attended more that 60 births since my move to IL) , and haven't been keeping up with all the items that I wanted to post. And then, after time goes by, I wonder if it is really worth it to comment on matters that have become essentially old news. For example, I had the list of music we did for Holy Week and Easter, and I had a few things that I wanted to say - but now we are past Ascension and headed towards Pentecost. Or the things I wanted to say just after Mother's day, about my daughter's baby shower and the Mass we attended at the Cathedral parish in Memphis TN. Where did those thoughts go?

The best I have been able to do is to make occasional short comments on a very few news items as they cross my path. I miss having the luxury of time to write - that has been a real downside to me of what has otherwise been a good move. If you miss me, you might pray that we are able to find the two more midwives and two more physicians that our practice is seeking to hire.

Meanwhile, I intend to enjoy my vacation.

for the love of God


so sad :(

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The Dawn Patrol will be in my neighborhood next week - but not near enough. I am on call when she is here, and I can't be that far away. wahhhh

What has been on my mind

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Thanks again for all the prayers, especially those of you who didn't quite know what the prayer need was. I'm at the point now where I can try to shed a little light on the situation.

We learned at Thanksgiving that we are/will be grandparents. As requested by our daughter, we have been keeping this news private within the family. She really did not want to disseminate the news widely until she was past the first trimester. I have no problems with that, none at all.

She went for the 'routine' second trimester ultrasound screening. She really wanted to know if she was having a boy or a girl, and hoping for a girl. She called me at work (something that she rarely does) in tears. On the ultrasound, they saw a birth defect called gastroschisis. oh, and the baby is definitley a girl. I told her that I have seen a few babies diagnosed with this prenatally, that they need surgery right away but that they usually do quite well. She told me that she had decided to let them draw blood for maternal serum screening, although she had originally declined this test. I reminded her that the AFP would come back abnormally high, as that is characteristic of gastroschisis. She told me that she would be seeing a specialist in maternal-fetal medicine the next day for a more detailed ultrasound. I told her that they would probably advise her to get an amniocentesis. She told me that she didn't want to take the risk of one, and that if she did, she would want me to be there for it.

I went and told my medical director (a wonderful Christian OB/Gyn) what was going on and started asking for prayers.

The next day, I got a text message from my daughter that they also found enlarged ventricles in the baby's brain, and also that the baby has shorter than average femurs. These could be signs of a chromosomal problem , especially one of the trisomies. I called her cell phone right away. My daughter was so distraught that she could barely speak. She told me that she thought that she should get an amniocentesis but that she wanted to wait till I could be there. I told my boss (the medical director) and she told me to get on the road, not to worry about the office or the practice, that they would cover things so that I could go. "Family comes first".

I called my husband, and he arranged with his boss to be gone. We got on the road at 7 PM and arrived at our destination at 6 AM, having fought an ice storm the last 20 miles. The last 5 miles of the journey took almost 30 minutes, due to weather. We pulled into a motel and napped for a couple of hours, and then picked up our daughter, took her to breakfast, and took her to get the amnio done. I also had the chance to talk to the MFM doc and look at our granddaughter on ultrasound. Good signs - she had open hands, perfect feet, a 4 chamber heart, and was very mobile. The amnio was done quickly and with no problems, and we stayed in town with our daughter until the critical 48 hours were over.

The results came back - normal chromosomes. 46XX. A deep sigh of relief, and thanks for many prayers answered. The baby will have her fetal echocardiogram monday (a closer look to see if there are subtle heart defects. She will be monitored closely throughout gestation, to determine the optimum time and route of delivery. She will need at least one surgery right after birth, and will not be able to eat until that heals. She may need other surgeries as well, depending on how the brain condition develops pre and post natally.

We are not out of the woods by any stretch, but we are cautiously optimistic. Prayers are still appropriate.

My daughter's specific prayer requests from the moment this first happened:
1) The best possible outcome
2) That the baby will continue to be a fighter

My prayer - that we can "be not afraid".

My granddaughter's name is Emma Collette. This name is very special. It was my mother-in-law's Christian name. At their grandmother's funeral, my children made a pact that the first girl born to any of them would be named after their grandmother. I am so glad, because I know that Emma in Heaven is looking down on her great-granddaughter and namesake.


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i'm home now and headed to bed pretty soon. just in the door less than an hour.
thanks for all the prayers - the situation remains in need of prayer and will be an ongoing concern. right now we are waiting for the results of some advanced testing. it will take about 2 weeks to get them back. we are all trying to get back into so-called normal mode of life for right now.
thanks again and keep praying

emergency prayer request

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I can't go into details, but I really need all the help I can get from the prayer warriors out there. I will be leaving soon to drive about 8 hours to be with a family member in a medical crisis situation. In some ways, this situation is an attack at the very heart of my being as a person, a mother, and a Catholic. In others, it is just a crisis, to be weathered with prayer and whatever strength God can grant.
Please pray and intercede for:
1) A medical miracle of healing
2)That test results will turn out to be hopeful rather than ominous
3) That, if God denies us a miracle, he gives us the strength to do what is right in His eyes.
4) That in all things He will be glorified.
St. Gianna, pray for us.

tony, tony come around

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something's lost and must be found.
My Palm Pilot went missing Monday afternoon. I have NO clue as to where I might have left it. Sleep deprivation does weird things to brain cells.


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has been hectic, stressful, and scary. prayers appreciated.

happy new year

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I can't believe it's been so long since I posted an entry. Having my laptop dead is part of the problem (I just took a new one out of the box a few days ago, Merry Christmas!). But it isn't the whole problem.

I really did not realize just how busy I would be here in Northern Illinois. My midwifery position is in a very busy practice, and they expect everyone to be in the office 40 hours a week, plus whatever evening and weekend hours are required by the call schedule. It's the first place I've been where you don't get time off post-call. Of course, if there is no one in labor, one can sleep at home on call nights, and that does happen on occasion. But just as an example - I've caught 21 babies (and assisted in 5 cesareans) between 10/26/06 and now.

I've also been trying to use my down time at home to get this place more organized. I am pleased to announce that my cookbook collection is finally all out of its boxes and on shelves. Our library/guest room is getting neater by the week. It has actually been used twice for its intended use as a guest sleeping quarters.

Our Christmas tree was up in time for the open house, even though it only had lights and no ornaments. I never did get the ornaments on it, either. Oh well. All the creche sets managed to make it out on time, though. John volunteered us both for the choir for Midnight Mass, and those rehearsals took a chunk of time. I had told the choir director that I was on call Christmas Eve and she was still OK with that. True to form, I did get a page just at the beginning of Mass and it pulled me out of the church during one of the two pieces where I was playing the flute. But it was a false alarm, and that baby was actually not born until yesterday. I made it through the rest of Mass OK. Thank God for silent alerts on the pager.

We had our youngest daughter home for Christmas. The rest of the children celebrated with their other family and friends in venues ranging from OR to TN to Los Angeles CA to ID. My sister and her family came up from Kentucky for a 36 hour stay, and I got to meet my sister's new son-in-law. If I can figure out how, I'll try to scan in their Christmas picture.

I cooked a traditional Christmas dinner. Standing rib roast, Yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes, carrots, brocolli, green beans. I made a salad with baby greens, romaine, pomegranite seeds, mandarin oranges, and grape tomatoes -designed to be dressed with a light vinegar and oil dressing. Almonds were available but left off because of the food allergies of one of the guests. In a concession to my vegetarian daughter, I cooked the Yorkshire pudding in butter rather than beef drippings. It was still yummy. I had various wines and beers and juices available as well, Since the dining room is very small, and the food took up the entire table, we ate buffet style and shared TV trays in the living room. It was very cozy and lots of fun.

I've missed so much news in my involuntary blogfast! I finally had the chance to read Pansy Moss's birth story. Congratulations, one and all. And who knows what all else I missed? I finally got the chance to clean out my email inbox of over 1000 unread and not likely to be read entries. (I've been trying to scan every day or so to see if there is anything urgent or personal).

Who knows when I will surface again. This new laptop is running on WIndows XP and it is making me crazy, as I can't figure out how to put my old shortcuts for blogging onto the system. I have been on Windows 2K for 6 years and I plan to upgrade this thing to Vista fairly soon, so maybe that will make it a little easier.

Hope that you all are having a Merry Christmas. I'll try to resurface sooner than Epiphany, but who knows?

God bless us, each and every one.

What I have been up to

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My new job has kept me busier than I imagined possible. My hospital privileges came through just before Thanksgiving, and already I have caught 14 babies. I participated in a diocesan NFP/Repect Life conference back in October, and already three couples have come to visit me professionally for care. I flew back to Los Angeles for for my dad's memorial, organized by 3 kids of my generation, and that was a whirlwind as well. I went to a fund raiser for the local Crisis Pregnancy Center, and bought a set of matrushka dolls at the silent auction. I've wanted some for years, and this was just a great opportunity.

I feel so overwhelmed sometimes. My eldest daughter came to visit us over Thanksgiving, bringing along the man she intends to marry. That brings to three the count of daughters who are engaged but not yet married. With my luck, they will all decide to do it at the same time in 3 different states.

Our new parish has a very orthodox pastor and assistant pastor. We have had some wonderful and insightful homilies, and I leave the church thinking that I should really blog on the homily,. but then get home and totally space. A recent example was one on music and liturgy and how a parish the size of ours should really have at least 30 voices in the choir at each mass (as well as congregational participation). I took the time after Mass to let him know that one of the big reasons why I haven't yet joined the choir is that I want the freedom to refuse to sing certain songs due to the borderline heresy of the lyrics and/or the inappropriate musical settings - he then told me just how much worse it was when he arrived at the parish and how he found it necessary to let the previous music director find another parish......If I had the resources, I would buy the parish some decent hymnals and 1000 subscriptions to Magnificat for the pews.
Of course, after Mass last Sunday, a choir member spoke to us personally and asked us to really consider joining up.......

My computer is in bad shape. I can't boot it because it won't take keyboard commands. I basically just want to recover my data from it at this time and upgrade. It's a laptop that is probably nearly 6 years old and it has been having overheating problems for about a year. Still, I am used to having my own workspace for blogging, email, and so on. I am currently using John's desktop because he is tied up at work with a problem.

We weathered the recent midwest snowstorm reasonably well. Northern Illinois was hit pretty hard, but not as badly as some other areas. John got a phone call around 0500 from the on-air announcer - there was a problem with snow related static and icing on the guy wires for the antenna towers. He cleared the driveway for me and I left at 0700 to head to the hospital to meet a mom in labor. It is normally about a 7 minute drive, it took me about 30 minutes and the parking lot of the hospital was the worst part. I basically hung out there all day. My boss was at the other major hospital across town and she hung out there until about midnight, when she came to join me. It was not the kind of day where you wanted to be running from office to hospital to hospital. Since our practice goes to all 3 hospitals in town, sometimes you are trying to figure out how to bilocate - though we do have enough folks on board to send a backup if really necessary.
Thankfully it was a Friday, because that gave the crews the weekend to try to get the roads reasonably cleared.

I'm way behind in my listserv email but I am trying to keep up with my personal stuff.
Oh - I got a phone call from a friend for whom we have been praying, saying that the Lord has blessed her with a financial windfall that will really help with some of her situations. She is still asking for prayers that the other issues get resolved favorably, but she asked me to let you know that at least part of the prayers have been answered abundantly.

Here is my prayer that you all have a blessed Advent and a holy Christmas. I'm on call Christmas eve and I don't know if I'll make it to Midnight Mass or if it will be the midwife mass instead!


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At long last, my open house party.
It will be Saturday Dec 16.
Show up anytime between noon and stay as long as you want. We hope to close up the house around 10 PM.
There will be beer, wine, hot mulled cider, snacks both cold and hot, and whatever else tickles my fancy.
Send me an email with the heading "Open House" if you need directions.
I have already sent email to many of you who live in the area, but just in case I couldn't reach you, know that you are welcome.

plane trip from ORD

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I'm in Los Angeles now, after spending way too much time at Chicago's O'Hare airport.
Our flight was originally supposed to leave at 8 PM. We finally got off the ground at 1230 AM. Got into LAX and found that our luggage was not on our plane (I thought that TSA was supposed to make sure that luggage didn't fly unacompanied?) Stumbled in to the hotel and slept for a while.
I heard plenty of worse stories from other travelers. One gentleman told me that his flight from Detroit to Chicago was almost ready to land, 500 feet off the ground, when they were waved off and ended up landing in Milwaukee - and then after refueling were back to Chicago - just in time to wait and wait and wait for the LA flight.
I talked to another family who was standing in line for the gate agents. (The line went from gate B10 to gate B8 and past the entire ingress from security). They had just arrived back from China with their new baby daughter and just wanted to get home to Albany NY. They had been in the terminal since 1 PM (and this was at about 9 PM).
Still, I was reminded by yet another traveler that, despite the headaches and frustrations, how lucky we all were - that we could go to the airport, eat pizza or whatever, be warm, safe and dry. How fortunate that our frustrations were so really minor on the grand scale of life. This young woman had the right perspective. She was on her way back west to visit a High School friend, a friend who at the age of 28 was undergoing chemo for an aggressive cancer. Kind of put things in the right proportion, no?

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The WeatherPixie

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