Tuesday, October 28, 2008

4 things, which matter to no one but me

1. My new iPod arrives Friday. My nights are so cold and lonely without my audio book.

2. My daughter is being referred to a geneticist. First the stubby fingers, second the leg length discrepancy (which possibly caused the ginormous cyst behind he knee?) and third the possible enamel issue with her teeth. My daughter and my second son are so similar, physically. Their little bodies are nearly identical: same big ribcage and narrow waist, same weird chicken bones when their arms are raised, same oddly situated legs, flat feet and same large head. Very different from my eldest, with his straight slim build and lovely legs and feet. I'm making them sound so attractive. Really, 2/3 of my kids look a little like aliens. I first noticed it with the second boy when he was an infant. He just didnt look too bright to me, to be frank. And then the girl came along and people said how pretty she was and how nice her coloring was and I thought, hmmmm. Maybe... Of course, both are lovely looking now. For aliens.

3. The football team lost tonight, ending a great season. I have never been prouder of my son. He was a real trooper. He met his goals that he set at the beginning of the season and the coach informed me he is one of the most improved players. He never missed a game or a practice. He was captain tonight and called the coin toss, too. Though I had thought we'd hear a ton of complaining about the grueling sport, in fact he loved it. He has set a goal of playing first team next year. I'm setting a goal of learning what the hell is going on out there.

4. If this election doesn't come soon Im going to need a rubber room and an IV with narcotics in it. I have a feeling I'm not alone.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Insomnia- uncured

For two years I have been relying on my iPod to banish my insomnia.

Today the iPod died.

140 dollar 30 gig refurb photo, how I long for you.
I am not yet finished with the Wordy Shipmates.
I hear Sarah Vowell calling my name in her slightly lisping nasal twang.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Uncle Ernie and the Apple Tree

Way back in the good old days, after the Prohibition era but before Vatican II, my Great Uncle Ernie and his friends used to have a little passtime which irritated their mothers. It seems that in those days of lax environmental standards, those who braved the icy waters of the Pawtuxet River could claim the reward of a nice cold beer simply by swimming up near to a beer bottling factory and drinking the swill that ran off, through a pipe, into the river. MMMMMmmmmmm.

So naturally, all the teen boys, being irish and poor and more or less naughty, found this to be the One Best Way to spend an afternoon. Who would blame them? Frankly, it sounds pretty fabulous to me, too. In a ghetto irish way.

Let's be clear- Ernie's mom, Susan, was not into ghetto fabulous. She was a little prim. She had 3 girls and only 1 horrible boy. Her daughters were well behaved to a fault. They did as they were told. They shared. (My grandmother, for instance, married her sister's ex boyfriend.) So Ernie was probably to his mother what my eldest boy is to me. You know, a real PITA. and Im not talking about bread.

So at any rate, Susan forbade this activity and Ernie disobeyed. He came home one day, inebriated, stinking of beer run off and river water and my great-grandmother decided enough was enough. And so, in his less than coherent state, she wrangled him into his sister's dress and tied him to an apple tree in the front yard. Needless to say, all the neighborhood kids walking by found it a very entertaining sight.

And that, my friends, is Time Out. Old School.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Religious Zealots for 1000, Alex

Look, God knows crazy when he sees it. If you are very wrapped up in the Old Testament's description of how to decorate your church, you may need to step outside and take a breather once in a while and realise that this is not 370 BC.

Also, the catechism of the Catholic church isnt available pocket sized and it doesnt always address your every crying need. So occassionally you are going to have to wing it. We all sin all the time so you better just accept that first and move on from there. If you are going through your daily life patting yourself on the back for your utterly perfect catholicism you should probably look up Pride in the list of the 7 Big Ones. If you have ever called someone a cafeteria catholic you need to step up to the line and grab a tray. because you are one too.

And another thing. Your 8 child family is not any holier than my 3 child family. The Holy Family itself was a small family. Mary didnt even need to consider a 15 passenger van. Or donkey. Or camel. Whatever.

Last of all, there were no good old days. The good old days were pretty crummy for blacks, women, and even catholics here in the good old USA. Let's not waste our time grieving for an age where our government didnt allow certain people to drink from the same water fountains as others. Or when as a nation, we were firmly convinced there was nothing wrong with advertising for a position and actually saying, "NO IRISH NEED APPLY." Or when women left alone by their deadbeat husbands were committed to mental "hospitals" (miserable fetid warehouses) and their children given up for adoption, which was a misnomer for being sent into white slavery. What? That didnt happen? Oh yes it did. To my maternal grandfather's family. Of the 8 children, only one was "Adopted," thank goodness. The others were parcelled out to live in various states of misery among their less than nurturing (but catholic!) family members. And that is a long story for another time.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Shouldn't a catholic church look catholic?

I think so. I like a few statues, a big gigantic crucifix with those 4 letters I-N-R-I (which baffled me as a child, and which I still can't recall the meaning of except its something latin for King of the Jews))and I really prefer the altar to have some sort of throne like structure for the priest to sit on, and I like a shiny golden Tabernacle with a glowing candle nearby.

My church has none of that. My church is large and round and plain. The Tabernacle, which is a big box where the Blessed Sacrament resides, is in the back. In fact you can't see it at all unless you really go over to the small chapel and peek in. Im not really sure I ever have done that.

I miss the visible banks of lit candles near the front. I like the really reverant old school mass of my childhood, with all boys on the altar and very formal priestly garb.

But so what.

None of that matters all that much in the long run. My preferences are relatively unimportant.

Our church serves and that matters way more. WWJD? quibble about the decor of his house or get out there and help people?

Im no bible scholar but I am guessing I know where Jesus stands on the relative importance of human trappings of the Body of Christ.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My daughter is a blessing

My daughter's birthday is next Monday. The memory of her birth day is still with me so vividly, kept alive by the sensation of her gift to me on that day- a hemmorhoid which will not be tamed.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Eagles get Rammed

The Rams took out our football team today in a 13-0 victory.

It was interesting. I have a couple issues with football- one, I don't understand a single thing that goes on out there at all. Two, I have no real desire to understand. Three, my kid plays an average about 5 plays a game and so I feel no real need to learn.

My son missed their walk thru practice on Saturday, but apparently the team has been a little over confident. So at practice the coach kicked them all off the field and said they weren't worth bothering with. And though they played hard in the first quarter, the following three they didnt play well.

In addition, the starting quarterback was ejected from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct and arguing with a ref. Im guessing he won't be starting for a game or two.

All in all I predict a weight loss of about 2-3 lbs for Al this week.

Because there is going to be an incredible amount of running happening. These coaches do not mess around. The punitive running starts at about a mile (on top of regular practice running, which is substantial) and goes up in relation to the severity of the offense.

These boys are in the best shape of any kids in the city and the coaches are the reason. I have gained a real appreciation for them over the last few months.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Nothing to see here

I thought I had til Thanksgiving to get it together with my refurbishment of core 5 but it looks more and more like I only have until Halloween. Yes, that's right. We are ahead of my imagined schedule. Terrifying!

In other news, the house is still untidy, the football team still undefeated, the soccer team fighting for every victory, the dancer still dancing and the less important members of the family are doing a lot of driving.

Speaking of which, gas hit the low low price of 2.99 today at the costco in Indy. Im going to party like its late 2007.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Yesterday I got my vote on

It was a really exciting day. My kids and I headed out to the Obama campaign headquarters at about 10 for a quick brunch and a little mixing before we walked down town to vote.

In our state we can vote early, using absentee in person voting. This is encouraged by the campaign because we feel it will help alleviate crowded venues on election day.

All early votes are sealed and counted on election day. YES THEY COUNT.

If your state has early voting, you may want to look into it. Its a matter of convenience for some people and a matter of getting to vote for others. Don't be disenfranchised! Get out and vote (unless you're a McCain supporter. if that's the case..wel, you know, if you get around to casting your vote...its not important. I wouldnt worry.)


So we walked down to the courthouse and we stood in line and we went in and cast our (diverse) ballot. (We vote republican on a lot of state matters because the democratic party and the teachers union have a little romance going on. And we dislike where that is headed for homeschoolers.)

After voting we went back to the campaign office and volunteered! The boys ran the shredder, Brenna provided ample amusement. And I did some cutting and stuffing and the like.

Its exciting to be a part of something so big and of which yuou can be proud.

And it was exciting to see that Catholics were heavily represented among the voters and voluteers. And I thank God for our parish and our pastor, who do not mis-use the Mass as a mere opportunity to preach party politics from the pulpit.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

2 Topics, 1 Post

1. When I say you can't stubbornly disagree with church teaching what I mean is, you can't stridently argue against Catholic theology. I mean, you can't be Catholic and suggest your child have an abortion because her pregnancy doesnt suit your timing. You can't be Catholic and be pro death penalty. I don't mean you can't think to yourself that the church's position on X is out of touch. Like married priests. I dont think if you believe the church should consider allowing priests to marry that you ought to step back from the communion rail. If we had one still. No. You are entitled to your HUMBLE opinion. It's cool.

2. Now, no less controversial: Let's talk about children's literature.

Im a connoisseur. I have read a lot of kids lit and I remember a good bit of it because I was a re reader. And this is why Sonlight holds SUCH tremendous appeal to me. They seem to have distilled the elementary school experience down to my favorite books. And I am enjoying them every bit as much this time around. in fact Im learning more from them than ever.

As an 11 year old, I didnt quite grasp the level of deception involved in the white boys' plot to lay the blame on TJ in Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry. But in reading it with the kids I did. And I was able to point it out to them. We were all astonished at the audacity of it.

Anyway, the Newbery is under fire! Read more here:

and a nice and interesting rebuttal here:


interesting stats here:


I disagree strongly with the first and third articles on one count. Charlotte's Web is no Secret of the Andes.

I hate Charlotte's Web.

but Im terrified of spiders and I think pigs really stink.

I just need to say outloud

That I have kicked off 20 pounds of flab.


Do you hear me, blog world?

That is 20 boxes of butter. That is 5 bags of sugar (the new generic ones at the Kroger are 4 lbs, did you notice? sugar cheaters.) That is 4 bags of flour. That is almost the weight of my 4 yo (she's 29 and gaining, we hope.)

I never ever thought it could happen for me but wa la. There it is.

Now if I can steadily trim away the last 10 I'll be a happy woman. I have sort of slowed on journalling and tracking using the wonderful Weight Watchers tools and system. But Im still losing, regardless. About 0.7 lbs a week, on average.

now, off to burn some calories by cleaning the wretched house.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

A vague sense of uneasiness

What is it? Its like I have forgotten something. Like Im about to blow it.

We have had a year of peace. That's an excessive amount of happiness. In 11.5 years of marriage we have never had a period of ease which lasted much longer than this.
Is the other shoe going to be the election results? It really matters to me. Or is it going to be the total collapse of the credit industry? We owe them a lot of money, between some consumer debt and massive student loan debt and a mortgage.

On this feast day of the Guardian Angels, I suppose I should just offer the angst up. To quote Sister Mary Martha over there in the side bar, that's catholic for let it go.