Sunday, December 30, 2007

16 and 0 and it's Oh So Sweet!

The Patriots beat the Giants and achieved the perfect season. Records were broken. A new standard has been set and the outlook for the Playoffs is bright. I've promised the kids that if the Patriots win another Super Bowl they can all skip school and we will go into Boston for the victory parade.

I've always valued winning decisively rather than graciously. And in that vein, the quote of the postgame pressconferences is from Randy Moss.

Q: Was it like a vindication for those that questioned this team signing you? How special was it for you to break Rice’s record?

RM: I don’t really think that me breaking Jerry Rice’s record was special. I think shutting you guys up was really what made it special. All the negativity and all my critics, I think this really is a good feeling to be able to come in and have a good season like this, to have confidence in myself that I can still get it done. And still I really wasn’t coming into the season not thinking that I was going to have a good season. My mindset was to come out here and have a hell of a season. Now what the numbers were, I really didn’t know. I just wanted to come up here and play some good football this year, knowing that it was my 10th year in the league. Good things happened and you see what happened.

You've gotta love Randy Moss when he speaks to the press. He is so volatile. So honest. So uncontrived.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Oldest Catholic Church in Iraq

Said to be 1500 years old. Waiting for restoration. The building of this Church predates Islam by 120 years. And then the looting started. There is only one point with which I disagree- this article states that Syriac was the language of the early Christians. It was Latin I say- ONLY LATIN! (just kidding)

Forget about UNESCO- I'd like to see Rome rebuild it.

Article by yahoo news.

by Jacques Charmelot Wed Dec 26, 1:39 PM ET

AIN TAMUR, Iraq (AFP) - No-one celebrated Christmas in Al-Aqiser church on Tuesday, for what many consider to be the oldest eastern Christian house of worship lies in ruins in a windswept Iraqi desert.

Armed bandits and looters rule in the region and no one can visit the southern desert around Ain Tamur unescorted, local officials say.

But 1,500 years ago, the first eastern Christians knelt and prayed in this barren land, their faces turned towards Jerusalem.

The remains of Al-Aqiser church lie in the windswept sand dunes of Ain Tamur, around 70 kilometres (40 miles) southwest of the Shiite shrine city of Karbala, forgotten by most.

But some Iraqis are determined to restore the ancient edifice -- which some say preceded Islam in the region -- to its past glory.

"It is a place of worship, a church, and without doubt, the oldest church of the East," said Hussein Yasser, the head of the antiquities department of the province of Karbala.

"According to our research, it was build 120 years before the emergence of Islam in the region," Yasser said as he took an AFP correspondent on a tour of the site.

Islam emerged in the Arabian peninsula in 622, or, by Yasser's account, 15 years after Al-Aqiser was built in a region teeming with Christian tribes.

In time, Karbala overshadowed it and became a key Muslim Shiite pilgrimage destination, while across the region Christian communities began to recede.

Deserted by its worshippers, Al-Aqiser slowly sank into the sands and would have been totally forgotten had it not been for a team of Iraqi archeologists who stumbled on its ruins in the 1970s.

The foundations of the church jut out of the desert, forming a perfect rectangle 75 metres (yards) long by 15 metres wide.

The nave is clearly visible as well as the central part around the altar where masses were celebrated.

"The church was built facing Jerusalem," said Yasser, who has been struggling since 1993 to attract funds and interest to restore the church and carry out excavations in the area.

His efforts were briefly rewarded some years ago when the authorities agreed to finance a brief excavation that lasted six months.

The work revealed an archway which he believes probably belonged to an underground crypt, bearing inscriptions in Syriac -- the language spoken by the first Christians.

"I am sure there is a city underneath the sand," said Yasser, a Shiite Muslim.

"Even then the city was known as Ain Tamur and stood at a major trading junction between Persia, the Arabian peninsula and the Roman empire," he added.

"There used to be a vast lake. People made their livelihood from fishing," he said, adding that the site was more archeologically, than religiously, significant.

A sand embankment indicates the location of the outer walls that protected the church, and Yasser is convinced that the uneven terrain that surrounds the church hides a wealth of archeological evidence.

"There are certainly houses beneath it all, and inside I am sure we can find cooking utensils, inscriptions," he said.

In the past Catholic Chaldeans, the largest single Christian denomination in Iraq who follow an eastern rite but recognise the Pope in Rome, used to pray in Al-Aqiser on Christmas Day but the faithful have not returned in a long time.

According to official figures, the Christian community in Iraq has slumped from around 800,000 in the 1990s to between 400,000 and 600,000 now.

The church "is part of out country's memory, part of the great civilisation that the Iraqis have built and it must be saved," said Yasser.

Ain Tamur police chief Mahfoud al-Tamimi said he agreed that Al-Aqiser must be saved.

"The church does not belong to the Christians only or to the Muslims. It belongs to the world," Tamimi said.

"The world must help us save it," he said, calling for the church to be added to UNESCO's world heritage site list.

Feast of the Holy Innocents

Today commemorates the Massacre of the Holy Innocents. This bleak day in history inspired a play called the Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors and the haunting song, The Coventry Carol, reprinted below. It is the only carol that has survived from the play.


Lully, lullay,* Thou little tiny Child,
By, by, lully, lullay.
Lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
By, by, lully, lullay.

O sisters too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we do sing
By, by, lully, lullay.

Herod the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight,
All young children to slay.

That woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever mourn and say, **
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
By, by, lully, lullay.

* Sometimes rendered "Lully, lulla

An analogy is often drawn between aborted babies and the innocents killed by Herod. The difference is that the mothers of the children in Herod's time tried to save their sons.

The Shepherd's Prayer: A Christmas Novel

Available from Amazon

I received this book in the mail and it has a beautiful cover. The story is about a young man whose mother saved him from the Massacre of the Holy Innocents and lost her own life in doing so. He was found by a merchant who brought him home and adopted him, raising him as one of his own sons. In spite of efforts to find the rest of his family his origins remain mysterious. Finally, the young man journeys to Bethlehem to discover what happened and where he came from.

I won't give too much away except to say that this is a wonderful story, completely lacking in misplaced sentimentality. A good book for a young man that gives a slighty different perspective on the Christmas miracle.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Over the river and through the woods to...

Grandmother's house

Painting by Ray Peterson.

we go tomorrow. I'll be bringing Pear Sour Cream Cake

1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/4 c. butter
1/3 c. flour
2 medium pears, peeled, cored, sliced
2 t. lemon juice
1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 c. buter,softened
1 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs
1 8 oz carton dairy sour cream

Grease 9 inch sping form pan or 9x9x2 baking pan. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon. For topping cut 1/3 c. butter into 1/3 c. flour to make coarse crumbs. Stir in 3/4 c. of the mixture. Set aside.

Toss pears w/ lemon juice; set aside. Combine 1 3/4 c. flour, baking powder, soda, and 1/4 t. salt. Beat. Beat in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating after each. Add flour mixture and sour cream alternately to batter. Beat on low speed. Spread 2/3 c. batter into pan, layer pears over batter. Spread remaining batter over pears. Sprinkle with reserved topping. Bake in 350 degree oven 45-50 minutes or more until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove side of springform pan. Serve warm with carmel sauce drizzled over it.

Addendum: the carmel sauce is almost too much. Delicious. Moist. Would make an excellent coffee cake.

From Better Homes and Gardens Annual Recipes 1999. (I've taken out any references to walnuts that were unfortunately found in the original.)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Joan Andrews-Bell Arrested in Manchester, NH protesting Guiliani

Go Joan!

And boy is my husband lucky that I didn't know about this protest!

When is it a good time for a child to be born?

I dedicate this to those enslaved by the modern prejudices and self destructiveness of family planning.

The Risk of Birth, Christmas (1973--and now)

This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war & hate
And a comet slashing the sky to warn
That time runs out & the sun burns late.

That was no time for a child to be born,
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
Honour & truth were trampled by scorn--
Yet here did the Saviour make his home.

When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on the planet earth,
And by a comet the sky is torn--
Yet Love still takes the risk of birth.

~~Madeleine L'Engle

With thanks to the blog- Yearning for God

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Huckabee Anti-Catholic?

Sure thang.

While some Catholics were ready to jump on the Huckabee bandwagon, I was concerned that a Southern Baptist Minister, with its history of anti-Catholicism would be a problem. And I didn't have to wait long to be proven correct.

Huckabee appeared at a mega-moneylaundering Church, where like so many "ministries" it's really about the money. Here's what the Catholic League had to say about John Hagee' book, "Jersalem Countdown".

A few highlights:

"The Roman Catholic Church, which was supposed to carry the light of the gospel, plunged the world into the Dark Ages.... The Crusaders were a motley mob of thieves, rapists, robbers, and murderers whose sins had been forgiven by the pope in advance of the Crusade.... The brutal truth is that the Crusades were military campaigns of the Roman Catholic Church to gain control of Jerusalem from the Muslims and to punish the Jews as the alleged Christ killers on the road to and from Jerusalem."

· "The Spanish Inquisition was perhaps the most cynical plot in the black history of Catholicism, aimed at expropriating the property of wealthy Jews and converts in Spain for the benefit of the royal court and the Roman Catholic Church."

· "Adolf Hitler attended a Catholic school as a child and heard all the fiery anti-Semitic rantings from Chrysostom to Martin Luther. When Hitler became a global demonic monster, the Catholic Church and Pope Pius XII never, ever slightly criticized him. Pope Pius XII, called by historians 'Hitler's Pope,' joined Hitler in the infamous Concordat of Collaboration, which turned the youth of Germany over to Nazism, and the churches became the stage background for the bloodthirsty cry, 'Pereat Judea'.... In all of his [Hitler's] years of absolute brutality, he was never denounced or even scolded by Pope Pius XII or any Catholic leader in the world. To those Christians who believe that Jewish hearts will be warmed by the sight of the cross, please be informed—to them it's an electric chair."

Almost as disturbing as Hagee's bigotry is his complete ignorance about history. But then it's never really about the truth. It's really about advocacy, self enrichment, popularity, pandering, exploiting the gospel for personal gain.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

O Antiphons Day 3, 4, 5 and 6

December 19
Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the
kings shall shut their mouths, Whom the Gentiles shall seek, come to
us, do not tarry.

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt
reges os
suum, quem Gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli

- The Magnificat
- Repeat Antiphon
- Sing "O Come O Come Emmanuel"

December 20
Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no
shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the
from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel; qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit: veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in
tenebris, et umbra mortis.

- The Magnificat
- Repeat Antiphon
- Sing "O Come O Come Emmanuel"

December 21
Dayspring, Brightness of the everlasting light, Son of justice, come
give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!

O Oriens, splendor lucis aeterae, et sol justitae: veni, et illumina
in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

-The Magnificat
-Repeat Antiphon
- Sing "O Come O Come Emmanuel"

December 22
King of the Gentiles, yea, and desire thereof! O Corner-stone, that
of two one, come to save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis
unum: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.

-The Magnificat
-Repeat Antiphon
- Sing "O Come O Come Emmanuel"

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

At the very top of my Christmas list

My husband just emailed me from work to ask if he could get me these "boots" for Christmas. No. He isn't kidding. I'm only surprised they don't have fringe and lights that blink and rhinestones. These must be the toned down version of what he really wanted to get me for Christmas. I don't know what website he found these on and I have a strong feeling that I don't want to know. Wasn't it St Augustine who said that marriage was the cure for concupiscence? 19 years of marriage and 8 children have not cured him yet.

Just Fer Fun.

And to lighten the mood a bit. Since it has grown increasingly vicious in the comboxes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

O Antiphons Day 2

December 18

Lord and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in
the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with
an outstretched arm!

O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi
apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

- The Magnificat
- Repeat Antiphon
- Sing "O Come O Come Emmanuel"

Monday, December 17, 2007

Veni Veni Emmanuel


(From The Twelve Days of Christmas, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN,

The theme of the Advent season has been one of joyous expectancy
as the Church, in vigilant preparation, waited and watched for
the first signs of the coming of the Lord. The very name Advent,
and the Masses of the four Sundays with their urgent plea to
Christ to "hasten and delay not" have reminded us that we are
awaiting His coming in grace at Christmas, and in glory at the
end of time.

On the evening of December 17 the last and most intensive phase
of Advent preparation begins. On this evening is inaugurated the
first of the Great "O's" of Advent. The "O Antiphons" are seven
jewels of liturgical song, one for each day until Christmas Eve.
They seem to sum up all our Advent longing as they paint in vivid
terms the wretched condition of mankind and his need of a Savior.
Addressing Christ with seven magnificent titles, they beg Him
with mounting impatience to come to save His people.

The "O Antiphons" are intoned with special solemnity in monasteries
at the Vesper Hour, before and after our Lady's great song of
thanksgiving, the Magnificat, which is sung every evening as the
climax of this Hour of the Divine Office. But in recent years
families interested in the liturgy have discovered these gems of
poetry and have used them as part of their family evening prayers,
sometimes in conjunction with the "O Antiphon House." This is a
little house which can be bought or constructed simply; it has
seven sealed windows, each masking an appropriate symbol for the
different "O Antiphons," and an eighth window hiding the Christmas
scene. These windows are opened one by one each day at the singing
of the antiphon. The Twelve Days of Christmas Kit contains an "O
Antiphon" Tower which the children can cut out and put together.



December 17
Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that
reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily
and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudence!

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine
usque ad finem, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad
docendum nos viam prudentae.


My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God
my Savior. For He hath regarded the humility of His handmaiden.

For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He that is mighty hath done great things to me, and holy is His
Name. And His Mercy is from generation unto generations upon them
that fear Him.

He hath shown might in His arm, He hath scattered the proud in the
conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their
throne, and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry
with good things, and the rich He hath sent empty away.

He hath received Israel, His servant, being mindful of His
mercy. As He spoke to our Fathers, to Abraham and his seed

- Repeat Antiphon:
Wisdom that comest.....
or O Sapientia....
- Sing "O come, O come Emmanuel"
or "Veni, veni Emmanuel"

Who's blog is this anyway?

And how come it's never updated!

But here's the family Christmas picture taken by my sister at Thanksgiving. Andy and I are sitting on the sofa arms and on the big comfy couch are (left to right)Rose 16, Andrew 14, Anastasia 17, Stephen 6 (on Ana's lap)and Tim 10. Front row (left to right) Nathaniel 12, Rebekah 2 and Edmund 4.

And if your next question is "Don't you know about NFP?" The answer is, "Thank God we didn't let that interrupt our family.

And due to the encouragement of a dear friend, who will not let me become wholly pagan, I will be posting the O Antiphons- the very phrase is mysterious and wonderful.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Novena Abuse

Saint Andrew Christmas Novena

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

It has come to my attention that in the past some members of my family made this novena with very questionable intentions. I understand that one son prayed fervently for the intention of being able to fly. (not in an airplane)

Another son had the intention that our family would get ATVs or dirt bikes. Unfortunately that intention came true through the activity of a very indulgent parent. Ahem.

The third intention that has caused me some concern is currently being prayed that:

"Aunt XXX will get married to a cute guy who really likes us and has 2 dirt bikes that he will let us use."

I think I have some work to do- if it's not already too late.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Bill Gates on the Real World

[My favorite is # 7]

As a blogger this week I give myself an F.
As a mother and homemaker I give myself an A-.
Think there is a correlation?
I think there might be.

Bill Gates on the Real World.

Love him or hate him, he sure hits the nail on the head with this! To anyone with kids of any age, here's some advice.

Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1 : Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2 : The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3 : You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4 : If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5 : Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your
Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6 : If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7 : Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8 : Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9 : Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10 : Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually
have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11 : Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Mother Teresa: In the Shadow of Our Lady

Available at Amazon.

You are probably thinking- another book about Mother Teresa. Another book showing heartbreaking images of Mother Teresa as she cares for starving people. Seen it. Can't go there. Can't do that.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

This book is about the spiritual relationship that Mother Teresa had with Our Lady. Drawing on the spirituality of St. Louis Marie de Montfort, it was truly Our Lady who sustained and inspired Mother Teresa to become the saint that she has been declared.

The book was written by Fr. Joseph Langford, MC. Fr. Langford is the founding priest of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity. Perhaps no one knew Mother Teresa as well as Fr. Langford. There is also a very interesting insight into how the Apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe inspired the work and the vision of the Missionaries of Charity.

One of my favorite descriptions in the book is when Mother Teresa would say that she always held her rosary, even when working, even while not praying the rosary, because she felt that she was holding the hand of Our Lady.

The book also contains some insight into the newly reported "Dark Night of the Soul" suffered by Mother Teresa. In Mother Teresa's own words,

If I ever become a saint I will surely be one of "darkness" . I will continually be absent from Heaven - to light the light of those in darkness upon earth.

This is a well written book and would make a wonderful Christmas present.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I received this comment today on an old post entitled "Face East Young Man" and if you want to you can read it here.

I smiled at the March 13 entry where it said, "Fr. Thomas Kocik" is forbidden to say the Latin Mass at the Indult located just a few miles away from his parish. As the Associate Pastor of the Indult parish myself in my own Archdiocese, I was expressly forbidden in writing by my ordinary from offering the Tridentine Mass. Thank heavens Pope Benedict freed it up for the whole world now, I'm happy to have offered it twenty times by now. Wow, what a difference! Wow, what we have lost! I hope a change comes, and, finally admitting the obvious failure of the Novus Ordo, the Pope and Bishops simply return to the 1962 Missal and prohibit the Novus Ordo to the same measure they squashed the Tridentine Mass.

How many untold stories of priests forbidden to say the Traditional Mass. Slowly it's all coming right.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Papal Reforms of Legionnaires Continues

From Matt Abbot at Renew America

A reader sent me the following English translation of a Nov. 19, 2007 story on

Vatican City — Vatican sources said today that Pope Benedict XVI personally requested the abolition of two special private vows professed by seminarians and priests of the Mexican religious congregation, the Legionaries of Christ.

They deal with promises related to internal aspects of the order. The first prevents any criticism by members of their superiors or of their decisions; the second prohibits religious from seeking positions within the congregation itself.

Vatican sources have told Notimex that the measure was taken by the Congregation for Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life following disciplinary actions in 2006 against Legionary founder, Marcial Maciel Degollado.

In May of that year the Apostolic See announced that the Mexican priest was being obliged to follow a "reserved life of prayer and penitence." This followed an investigation by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith "for crimes falling within the exclusive jurisdiction of this office."

Sources stated that the abolition of the private vows is a "measure parallel" to that of Maciel's sanction and that it was personally ordered by Benedict XVI and given to the current director of the Legionaries of Christ, Alvaro Corcuera.

These vows, which are included in the text of the congregation' s constitutions, specifically state that one is "never to desire, seek or scheme to acquire responsibilities or positions in the congregation for oneself or for others." They also state that no one may ever "criticize the outward actions of governance or the person of any director by written word or by any other means. If it is known for certain that a religious has broken this promise, [one must] inform his immediate superior."

According to a letter written by a former legionary, Emilio Bartolomé, and confirmed as being true by Vatican officials, Corcuera has carried out a series of visits to Legionary houses throughout the world. The purpose of these visits has been to inform superiors of the abolition of the vows and the "relaxation" of certain restrictions placed on seminarians, such as those related to visits with family members.

Previously restricted to a few times a year, visits between seminarians and their families will now be more regular and less restrictive as part of the pope's directives to the order.

The norms related to family visits were approved by the congregation' s Chapter General (or assembly) and cannot be changed by the director general. Only another Chapter General or the pontiff himself can modify them.

Sources conclude that, "since no Chapter General has taken place and the constitutions have not been modified, this confirms that it was a papal decision."

Friday, November 23, 2007

U.S. Soldier in Iraq

This is from Catholic News Service.

May Our Lady Watch over and protect our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Daring Book for Girls

Available at Amazon.

[And Amazon is having an awesome sale right now- though the list price for this book is $24.95 it is on sale for $14.97]

Just in time for Christmas a companion book for The Dangerous Book for Boys has been released. Paging through the chapters it has so much to offer for girls of any age. I believe it is recommended for girls 12-14 but that didn't stop my 16 and 17 year old daughters bringing it up to their rooms to begin the feast on all that it had to offer.

Some of the chapters include:

Pressing Flowers, Princesses Today, Jump Rope- Double Dutch and Chinese, How to Tie a Sari, Queens of the Ancient World, Joan of Arc, Explorers, Words to Impress, Peach Pit Rings, Make your own Paper and Books that Will Change Your Life.

If you are like me you want your daughters to be curious about things, familiar and exotic, cultured, capable and well informed. This book presents so much interesting information in an approachable format. A must have for sleepovers. The girls may even forget to turn on the TV.

When my sons received their copy of The Dangerous Book for Boys they stayed up until 4am reading it. And the next day they headed out to the woods to try some squirrel hunting. Thankfully the squirrels outwitted them.

But this is the kind of book that inspires action, involvement and interest in the real world. It is such a welcome alternative to electronic entertainment. It's a great book to read with your daughter and you find that you will get to know her a little bit better.

I do want to mention that as a mother doing this review for MotherTalk that I understand that some objections have been raised to a few of the chapters- specifically the chapers on Palm Reading, a discussion of Levitation- remember "Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board"? From my perspective the two pages on Palm Reading acknowledge that the "reader" uses psychology and observation to draw conclusions about the person. I didn't find it of concern. The section of levitation actually began with a discussion on saints that levitated like St Edmund, St Joseph of Cupertino, St. Gemma Galgani and others. Again, I did not see any occultic indications but I do want to make any mothers who may have a concern about this book aware of it.

I enjoy having this book in our home and look forward to paging through its treasures with my now 2 year old daughter in just a few short years. For Christmas it's a gift you can enjoy with your children.

Dying to Date

by Kathleen Parker seen in the Detroit News

If you're younger than 30 or maybe even 35, you may not recognize the word "date" as a verb. But once upon a time, dating was something men and women did as a prelude to marriage, which -- hold on to your britches -- was a prelude to sex.

By now everyone's heard of the hook-up culture prevalent on college campuses and, increasingly, in high schools and even middle schools. Kids don't date; they just do it (or something close to "it," an activity that a recent president asserted was not actual sex), and then figure out what comes next. If anything.

As one young woman explained "hooking up" to Washington Post writer Laura Sessions Stepp (author of the book "Unhooked"): "First you give a guy oral sex and then you decide if you like him."

This conversation took place in the family room of the girl's home. Immediately after that definition was served, the mother offered Stepp a homemade cookie. And we thought cluelessness was for teenagers.


Too often what follows the hook-up is emotional pain and physical disease, the combination of which has created a mental health crisis on American campuses.

That diagnosis comes from Miriam Grossman, author and psychiatrist at UCLA and one of five women, including Stepp, who spoke recently at the Washington-based Ethics and Public Policy Center about sex on campus.

Grossman is most concerned that politically correct ideology has contaminated the health field at great cost to young lives. As Grossman sees it, when the scientific facts contradict what is being promoted as truth, then ideology has trumped reality.

Speaking to a packed room of mostly women, Grossman noted that while some in the audience had attended college during the free-love days, the world is far more dangerous now. Today there are more than two-dozen sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) -- 15 million new cases each year -- some of which are incurable.

The consequences are worse for young women, says Grossman. In her psychiatric practice, she has come to believe that women suffer more from sexual hook-ups than men do and wonders whether the hormone oxytocin is a factor. Oxytocin is released during childbirth and nursing to stimulate milk production and promote maternal attachment. It is also released during sexual activity for both men and women, hence the nickname "love potion."

Feminists don't much like the oxytocin factor, given the explicit suggestion that men and women might be physically and emotionally different. But wouldn't a more truly feminist position seek to recognize those hormonal differences and promote protection for women from the kind of ignorance that causes them harm?

Physically, young women are getting clobbered by STDs with potentially deadly results. If a young woman begins having sex as a freshman in college, there's a 50 percent chance she'll have the human papillomavirus (HPV) by her senior year. While most cases of HPV are harmless, the virus causes nearly every case of cervical cancer, says Grossman.

Stacey, one of the college students featured in Grossman's book "Unprotected," contracted HPV even though a condom was used. But HPV, like herpes, lives on skin that may not be covered by a condom. An HPV expert tells college women, "You'd be wise to simply assume your partner has HPV infection."

Your partner. What happened to your dearly beloved? He -- and she -- disappeared with coed dorms and the triumph of reproductive health ideology. While coed dorms replaced obstacle with opportunity, ideologically driven sex-education programs promoted permissiveness and experimentation.

Because sex ed is based on the assumption that young people are sexually active with multiple partners, kids have been led to believe by mainstream health professionals that casual sex is OK. That's a delusion, says Grossman, because scientific data clearly indicate otherwise. Casual sex is, in fact, a serious health risk.

Rather than spread that word, sex educators have tweaked their message from urging "safe sex" to a more realistic "safer sex," any elaboration of which would defy standards of decency. Interested parents can find out for themselves by visiting one of several university-sponsored sex advice Web sites, such as Columbia's

To all good and bad, there is an inevitable backlash, and casual sex has lost its allure for many students. Having learned painful lessons from their elders' misguided altruism, they are seeking other expressions of intimacy.

At Duke University recently, Stepp asked how many in her audience of about 250 would like to bring back dating. Four out of every five raised their hands.

It would seem that young people are not hook-up machines, but are human beings who desire real intimacy and emotional connection. Toward that end, parents might buy Grossman's book for their children -- and themselves.

Serve with cookies.

Kathleen Parker writes for the Orlando Sentinel. Her column is distributed by the Washington Post Writers Group, 1150 15th NW, Washington, DC 20071. You can reach her at

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tea Party

I had such a nice visit with my friend Rebecca. (Rebecca is on the left holding her adorable baby, Leo) It was the perfect way to spend a rainy day- we had tea and orange cinnamon bread and chatted.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Absolutely Love This!

The Buy Nothing Christmas

Filched from The Brocante Home Chronicles- a vintage housekeepers blog I haunt.

Let's not let the Mennonites get ahead of us, shall we?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Heresy and Choice

Heresy is from the Greek word meaning 'choice'.... But we are not permitted to believe whatever we choose, nor to choose whatever someone else has believed. We have the Apostles of God as authorities, who did not...choose what they would believe but faithfully transmitted the teachings of Christ. So, even if an angel from heaven should preach otherwise, he shall be called anathema.

--Saint Isidore of Seville

(with thanks to Saint Quote of the Day Blog)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Latin Mass at the University of Notre Dame

With gratitude from the Shrine of the Holy Whapping.

This picture was taken from the back of the Traditional Mass held on Notre Dame's campus every Sunday morning at 8 AM.

Not bad.

Kidz at the Patriots game

My sister took this picture and did some photoshop editing. It was the Patriots-Giants Preseason game where the Patriots killed the Giants. It almost met the definition of bullying. My sister, the fearless, wore her Eli Manning jersey regardless. She's loyal if nothing else. Happily inspite of wearing a "Manning" jersey she survived the experience and left the stadium in one piece.

From back, left to right- Rose, Anastasia, Andrew, then in the front two friends- Patrick and Jacob Crory and Nathaniel and Tim.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


And that's all I have to say about that.

Friday, November 02, 2007

November the Month of Hope

From the very talented poet, Hilary Flanery and her blog, "Long Skirts".


Yes, I know November
The tolling of the bell,
The whispers of the suf'ring souls
From mountain top to dell.

The chilly, gray, damp mornings
The rusting of the leaves,
The whispers of the suf'ring souls
Like moans from one who grieves.

And in the windy noon-time
When clouds fight 'gainst sun's might,
The whispers of the suf'ring souls
Cry, "Sanctuary light!"

So 'fore the red-glassed candle,
Compelled, I go to pray,
The whispers of the suf'ring souls
Plead, "Sacrifice today!"

Now, deep, dark sanctuary
Is lit by candle, bold,
The whispers of the suf'ring souls...
"Your prayers are autumn gold!"

So like the leaves of autumn
I fall to kneeling posture,
The whispers of the suf'ring souls
Beg, "Say a Pater Noster!"

The flicker in the red glass
Burns hotter, now, with Creed.
Oh, yes, I know November!
The month of Hope...souls freed!

In honor of All Souls

A series of images compiled by a Florentine Art Historian Cecilia Frosnini, in commemoration of All Souls Day. She describes the images in her own beautiful way thus:

I have some images for All Souls Day on my blog.
The text points the close relationship between
death and life in the ordinary daily life in the
Medieval Age. There were lot of frescoes, on the
facades of the buildings, inside the palaces and
houses (not only in churches) representing it
and admonishing about the possible sudden death.

It is an honor to know someone who has dedicated her life to the study of beauty as expressed by the human soul through art.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

And What Do They Think Barbie is?

This is a good article. It is well written and to the point. Best quote:

As boys age, their clothes get baggier until their bodies disappear. As girls become teens, their attire becomes so small and tight to the point that the clothes disappear.

Wed, Oct. 31, 2007

Karen Heller | Naughty - and definitely not nice

By Karen Heller

Inquirer Columnist
As we well know, Halloween marks a sanctioned occasion for girls to dress up - or is it down? - like the trollops of MTV and get candy for it.

They're sweet tarts, Lolitas-in-training with lollipops.

Young people may be shocked to learn that MTV began life as a music channel, one that aired a constant stream of videos with nubile women in scanty clothing.

Today, MTV is a "reality" channel featuring the appropriately named Hills and frisky bisexual and ultimate MySpacer Tila Tequila, her claim to fame being that she's an equal-opportunity tramp.

The music on MTV is now used to set the mood. Only the women in scanty clothing have remained the same.

Indeed, it's one of the few constants in contemporary culture on which you can depend. Another is a strange permutation of sartorial physics. As boys age, their clothes get baggier until their bodies disappear. As girls become teens, their attire becomes so small and tight to the point that the clothes disappear.

The holiday Victoria's Secret catalogue arrived the other day because nothing quite says Christmas like a Very Sexy® Infinity Edge™ Snow Leopard convertible push-up bra with Gel-Curve™.

How do we know it's Very Sexy®? Because it's written all over the bra, subtlety being anathema to the company.

A colleague immediately hid the catalogue of supermodels busting out all over, not so much from his 16-year-old son as his 13-year-old daughter.

A quick perusal through the 188-page doorstopper reveals marketing no longer directed at his wife but teen girls, if not tweens, contributing to what my colleague labels the continuing "slutification of America."

Victoria's Secret's Pink line, launched in 2004, has bloomed into a $1 billion brand. The company publicly promotes Pink to college kids, but dog prints, slumber party pj's, sweats aping soccer attire, camis and panties in ice cream-cone packaging suggest a decidedly younger demographic.

Have we mentioned that there are dress-up dolls "plush and pretty for the ultimate girly-girl?" Sure, that's what every college sophomore desires.

The catalogue features a "supermodel pj party," vixens in sequined bras and flannel bottoms - right, that frequent combo - without a cigarette, champagne bottle or Leonardo DiCaprio in the photo.

Pink is the Joe Camel of thongs. The line is advertised in YM and Teen Vogue magazines, which boast 12-17 aspirational demographics. The success is in the bottoms. All you need to do is count the number of teens with "Pink" plastered on their rears, the word in the VS world being more suggestive than simply being a "girly-girl." What kind of parents are paying for these clothes, which give strangers the pleasure of reading their daughters' keisters?

Going after a younger "Santa's naughty list" demographic is as logical as it is distasteful, the idea being that from the Pink sleepshirt it's just a few pages to the bustier and Brazilian panty.

Most teenagers like to shop. Many, sadly, want to appear older than they are at precisely the moment when their mothers' bodies are heading in a decidedly different direction, one more suited to Spanx slimming intimates than the Very Sexy® Infinity Edge™ Snow Leopard convertible push-up bra with Gel-Curve™.

Sometimes it seems as if the American Dream is all about trying to become something we're not and can never become, no matter how high our credit limit.

It's too bad that adolescence has become such a market-driven moment. Shopping shouldn't be what defines our identity, though, sadly, it often does. When parents have to hide a lingerie catalogue from their girls, you know a Very Sexy® shift has occurred.

Contact staff writer Karen Heller at 215-854-3586 or To read her recent work:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Man and Woman

From MIT- they're obviously doing some good work there.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Red Sox Nation Building

I'm watching the game right now and we are at the top of the 7th inning. The Red Sox, who I had pretty much written off, are winning. But I am wondering a few things-

1. What is it with the extensive NECKWEAR???? One player appears to be wearing his mother's string of pearls. Maybe her 50s pumps were not his size? And pitcher Josh Beckett seems to be wearing something woven and of hemp with a heart cut out attached.

2. Poor, poor Terry Franconia. He keeps his head down, chews gums with jaws working like the shafts that power the wheels of a locomotive. How does he relax, if ever?

3. Why are the Cleveland fans waving towels or washclothes or barkeep rags or ...something? The Pittsburgh Steelers tried that. It was a failure.

4. There is a short in our living room light. In this house it's not surprising. But you know that your husband is a gadget/mad scientist/inventor type when your son asks if Dad programmed the living room to turn on and off when someone walks in and out of the room. (Oh that, and your son is as clueless as only teenage boys can be).

5. Just saw the beer commercial when the guys bring bottles of beer into an opera and watch helplessly as the opera singer makes the bottles crack. That's funny. And only 1 in 10 beer commercials are.

6. And what are the little goatee, goatee-wanna-bes, tufts of hair growing haphazardly on player's faces? They remind me of the little pencils with stiff brush attached that we used to use to brush away the eraser shavings when we were typing. In other words, "not a look". That's one thing (of many)that I love about the military- no beards or facial hair.

7. Beckett seems to be a good pitcher but is a lousy fielder. He just got an error. If he blows the game it won't matter how many strikes he threw- ya know?

8. Why doesn't Boston have anyone warming up in the Bullpen? It's the bottom of the 7th.

9.Why am I staying up so late to watch this game? The lack of sleep will surely wreck havoc with my looks. I need my beauty sleep- let me assure you.

10. Do the Red Sox players who are drumming with empty water bottles know that it is a law in Massachusetts that you hav to recycle?

11. I still don't understand naming your son Coco Crisp. And I don't care what country you're from.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Simply Tea and where it is Best

The hills of darjeeling

For tea lovers who understand the importance of a good cup of tea: the Frugal Traveler from the New York Times traveled to Darjeeling in Nepal. (And not even a mention of Mount Everest *sniff*)

Where the egos of the tea barons are as big as their fortunes.

"First Flush"- the first crop of tea leaves, said to be superior to later harvests.

I have drunk tea brewed by the women who picked it
At the end of their day and the start of my night.
I have drunk tea after birth and it tasted like nectar.
I have had tea with milk, sugar, jasmine and Mary.
I have drunk Ceylon in Ceylon, and Darjeeling in Darjeeling.
I have had it green, black, white, red and golden.
I have drunk it from porcelain, bamboo and clay.
I have cried into it and had my future read from it.
I have drunk it when I haven’t wanted it, and when I’m desperate for one.
I’ve drunk it with Russian sailors, Shivas, divas, grandmothers, vicars, lovers, friends.
In my dreams I’ve had a nice cup of tea with the Queen, Attilla the Hun, Elvis, Nelson Mandela.
I’ve had it hot, iced and spiced.
I’ve drunk it in the air, up a mountain, on an elephant, in a train, and tea at sea.
Tea, tea, tea, will you share a cup with me?

Annamaria Murphy

Friday, October 12, 2007

A Prayer Request to St. Gianna del Molla for this mother and baby

Picture by Anton Rausch

Subject: Please pray for my friend, Stacey P.
Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2007 17:22:27 -0400

Hello Friends and Family -

This is Erin Hopkins with a very urgent and sincere request for prayers. My friend and one-time college roommate is battling brain cancer and has been receiving chemo and radiation for nearly one year. Stacey is a mother to two young children and a wife to Joey, they live in Atlanta. She just found out that she is 18 weeks pregnant. She became pregnant during her chemo and radiation and therefore, the baby has been exposed to these chemicals from day one.

She has opted to take a 10 week break from her treatment to allow the baby to reach 28 weeks gestation, when they will deliver the baby via C-section. She has been informed by her baby-related doctors that the chemo is very strong and particularly attacks DNA growth in cells and therefore the baby. They are quite certain that there will be neurologic damage to the baby, although the ultrasounds have thus far showed relatively normal growth.

Additionally, her cancer-related doctors have told her that they do not want her to stop her treatment of cancer (even for 10 wks!) because her cancer is so aggressive. They said that if they allowed her to carry the baby to 40 weeks gestation, she would probably not live to deliver the baby. So, Stacey is choosing to give her child a chance and risk her own life. I still cannot believe the situation that this family has been put in, even as I type this.

As a member of Stacey's network of support and prayers, I am asking that you specifically say a prayer to Pope John Paul II. He is in the process of being named a saint and needs a second miracle to "qualify" for sainthood. We have decided to storm heaven with prayers to our former Pope, specifically asking him to stop the growth of Stacey's cancer while she stops her treatment.

Many of you may also be calling to mind the story of St. Gianna Molla, whom JPII canonized in the 1994, whose story is very similar to Stacey's. You can read it here:

Finally, I just want to thank you for having read this far. I appreciate the time you took to read this and say a prayer for Stacey, her unborn child and her family. Stacey herself asks that we be sure to pray for her husband, Joey who is truly heartbroken.

Erin Hopkins


UnHoly Cross College Defies Bishop

This should be interesting.

Holy Cross President Fr. McFarland is determined to go ahead with the Teen Pregnancy Conference in spite of the Bishop's request to cancel. Even Boston College doesn't sink this low according to the article.

The Worcester Telegram and Gazette article
has this statement from the President of Holy Cross:

“Beyond the contractual obligation, it is important to emphasize that the college believes a meeting of adult professionals pooling resources, engaging in a dialogue and exchanging information is a beneficial way of grappling with pressing issues related to the health and well-being of Massachusetts teenagers and children,” said Rev. McFarland. “As an institution of higher learning, we are dedicated to the open exchange of ideas. As a Jesuit college, Holy Cross is committed to its mission of engaging with the larger culture on even the most problematic and divisive of moral and spiritual issues.”

By "contractual obligations" the President of the college is referring to the $10,000 fee paid to Holy Cross to hold the birth control and abortion event. Though it is hard to put a price tag on the veneer of respectability and perception of approval from the Church, I would say that the Teen Pregnancy Alliance really has a bargain.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

What They Don't Tell You...

When you make this cake- shown on the cover of Country Living October 2007 is that your teeth and lips will turn black. Like in this picture:

And having your lips and teeth turn black does not contribute to a general air of romance. And we place a very high priority on romance here.

I think it took an extra glass of white zinfandel to overcome the black teeth in fact.

By the way I snagged the picture from an adorable blog- Brenda's Cottage that I found and will definitely go back to visit. Thanks for the picture Brenda. Thanks for the black teeth Country Living.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

His Excellency Bishop McManus at His Most Excellent

[Note the veiled threat to remove the College's designation as Catholic]

Statement from Most Rev. Robert J. McManus, S.T.D.
Regarding Teen Pregnancy Conference at the College of the Holy Cross

A controversy has arisen at the College of the Holy Cross that has resulted from the College’s renting space for a conference sponsored by the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy. The conference involves workshops presented by members of Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts. Both organizations promote positions on artificial contraception and abortion that are contrary to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.

I have received numerous complaints from people who are shocked and outraged that a Catholic institution like Holy Cross would have anything to do with such groups. They have appealed to me to ask Father Michael McFarland, president of the College of the Holy Cross, to revoke the College’s agreement to rent space to the Massachusetts Teen Alliance. I have done so.

As Bishop of Worcester, it is my pastoral and canonical responsibility to determine what institutions can properly call themselves “Catholic.” This is a duty that I do not take lightly since to be a Catholic institution means that such an institution conducts its mission and ministry in accord with Catholic Church teaching, especially in cases of faith and morals.

The moral teaching of the Catholic Church on respect for life at all stages of its development is manifestly clear. Life is a fundamental good that must be protected and respected from the moment of fertilization to natural death. This teaching is so basic and important that it provides the foundation upon which much of the Church’s moral and social doctrine rests. It is beyond modification and compromise.

Both Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice are notorious for their policies and practices that directly reject the Church’s teaching on artificial contraception and abortion. The College of the Holy Cross should recognize that any association with these groups can create the situation of offering scandal understood in its proper theological sense, i.e., an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. Certainly it is understandable how people of good will could interpret the college’s allowing presentations to be made by such groups as truly scandalous.

I strongly contend that the confusion and upset to the Catholic faithful and others that flow from the perception that the administration of the College of the Holy Cross supports positions contrary to the fundamental moral teaching of the Church must be avoided. To deny Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice a forum in which to present their morally unacceptable positions is not an infringement of the exercise of academic freedom but a defensible attempt to make unambiguously clear the Catholic identity and mission of the College of the Holy Cross.

It is my fervent wish that the administration of the College of the Holy Cross will unequivocally disassociate itself from the upcoming conference sponsored by the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy so that the college can continue to be recognized as a Catholic institution committed to promoting the moral teaching of the Roman Catholic church.

Issued October 10, 2007, WORCESTER

Fairs, Freaks and Finding a Catholic College

And it's oh dear, what can the matter be
Dear, dear What can the matter be
Oh dear, what can the matter be
Johnny's so long at the fair.

Well I've been away but I haven't been to the fair, though I did go to the Immaculate Heart of Mary October Bazaar. In a side note, the day following the bazaar I was at a Confirmation in the Traditional rite about 30 miles away and my daughter overhead someone saying, "I don't know what was going on yesterday, some kind of a 'Feeney fest'". Note to people who say such things- you don't make us mad- you just make us laugh. Heartily.

My oldest daughter has been getting so many interesting things from Colleges- she took her SATs and when you do, you get on the mailing lists of some unusual institutions. The College of St. Rose in Albany even sent Ana a bound book, highlighting the aspects of the College that they are most proud of. For example, they have a Professor of English who writes poetry about Queen. The rock band. A band that was popular in the 1980s. I think someone has been listening to one too many "Back to the Awesome 80s" nights on the local radio station. This professor has high standards (and obviously high aspirations) and says he is happy to have his students write poetry about what "moved them" on last night's episode of Survivor. The gate to tenure track is wide these days.

And if you don't know about the Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College make sure to get a copy if your son or daughter will be going to college soon. Oh, and there are more and more Colleges that are having the Traditional Latin Mass on their campuses.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

What About Bob Books?

When I was first homeschooling I asked about early readers. A good friend and successful homeschooler said to me, "Of course you know about The Bob Books"! I was embarrased to admit that I did not.

It's difficult to explain the Bob books- they are a series of small paperback books, sized mini to fit into a child's hands with simple illustrations and a simple and appealing storyline. The characters- Mat and Sam in the first book are adventurous and goodnatured creatures that will make you smile because they are always smiling. And when you are teaching a child how to read- you need to smile- sometimes from sheer force of the will. These will help.

The first set is for Beginning Readers and comes with 12 small books arranged in a neat box so they will not be scattered all over the house.

You will like these little books and most importantly your children will like them. They would make a great Christmas gift for your grandchildren, they are essential for homeschoolers or anyone who is teaching a young child to read and looking for phonics enrichment. And unlike those ridiculous "Hooked on Phonics" programs- did anyone ever really use those? These are reasonably priced and well worth the money- even to a penny pincher like me.

Available at Amazon.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Canned Tomatoes Sealed in the Cellar Hole

It's that time of year again. The kitchen is a mess. I'm a mess and when I close my eyes I see red. I'm canning tomatoes. I've only done 16 quarts so I'm a little disappointed in my gardening. I'm thinking this is the price you pay for going organic.

I found this beautiful poem that mentions canned tomatoes. I found it on this interesting blog, The Convoluted Muse. The poem was originally read on NPR. Try not to hold that against it.

Abandoned Farmhouse
by Ted Kooser, 1980
from Sure Signs: New and Selected Poems

He was big man, says the size of his shoes
on a pile of broken dishes by his house;
a tall man too, says the length of the bed
in an upstairs room; and a good, God-fearing man,
says the Bible with a broken back
on the floor below the window, dusty with sun;
but not a man for farming, say the fields
cluttered with boulders and the leaky barn.
A woman lived here, says the bedroom wall
papered with lilacs and the kitchen shelves
covered with oilcloth, and they had a child,
says the sandbox made from a tractor tire.
Money was scarce, say the jar of plum preserves
and canned tomatoes sealed in the cellar hole.
And the winters cold, say the rags in the window frames.

It was lonely here, says the narrow country road.
Something went wrong, says the empty house
in the weed-choked yard. Stones in the fields
say he was not a farmer; the still-sealed jars
in the cellar say she left in a nervous haste.
And the child? Its toys are strewn in the yard
like branches after a storm - a rubber cow,
a rusty tractor with a broken plow,
a doll in overalls. Something went wrong, they say.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ya' Think?

On Monday the book by Clarence Thomas- entitled "My Grandfather's Son" will be released. Amazon has it.

From Drudge.

Thurs Sept 27 2007 14:41:11 ET

In his first television interview, in which he discusses his childhood, his race, his rise to Supreme Court Justice and his job on the nation's highest court, Clarence Thomas says the real issue at his controversial confirmation hearings 16 years ago was abortion. Saying the issue was "the elephant in the room," Thomas also tells Steve Kroft that the hearings he called at the time a "high tech lynching" harmed the country. The interview will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES, Sunday Sept. 30 (7:30-9:00 PM/ET, 7:00-9:00 PM /PT) on the CBS Television Network.

Thomas, whose Supreme Court positions on abortion issues have been conservative, says the confirmation hearings in which he was accused of sexual harassment by a former employee -- allegations he continues to deny -- were really about abortion. "That was the elephant in the room... That was the issue. That is the issue that people are apparently so upset about," he tells Kroft. "[That is the issue] that you determine the composition of your Supreme Court and your entire federal judiciary, it seems now," says Thomas.

He says the hearings harmed the accuser, Anita Hill, himself, and ultimately the country by setting a precedent manifested in other highly charged, media-infused events such as the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton. "The process harmed her. It harmed me and we see sort of the precedent of this kind of thing begin to harm even people like President Clinton," Thomas believes. "Things are out of control. That's not good for the country. It's not good for the court," he continues, "What are we going to look like years from now if we can't get people confirmed because everybody gets to attack them. They get to draw and quarter them," he says.

In the interview, Thomas also expresses an opinion of his accuser for the first time in public, saying of Hill, who waited 10 years to accuse him, "She was not the demure, religious, conservative person that they portrayed. That's not the person I knew," Thomas says. "She could defend herself, let's just put it that way... She did not take slights very kindly and anyone who did anything, she responded very quickly," he says. When Kroft rejoins, "Didn't take 10 years?" Thomas replies, "It didn't take 10 minutes."

I can find nothing with which to disagree here.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Baby Worship

I found this picture looking for a picture of St. Cleophas. It is entitled St. Catherine the Madonna and Child and St. John the Baptist. To me it exemplifies 'baby worship" and not just any worship but worship of "the Baby, Our Lord". I first encountered the term "baby worship" in an L.M. Montgomery book- Anne of Green Gables, in whatever book Anne begain to raise her family.

It is moving to see St. Catherine, the illiterate Docotor of the Church worshiping Our Lord and embracing Him the way we all would like to.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What's God Got to Do With It?

This is a hysterical cartoon I found from a Creationist website.

My 17 year old daughter, Anastasia is being homeschooled this year and taking an AP Biology class at the local public school. We knew that Evolution would be a topic. As one Traditional Catholic told me, it is important to learn about the theory of Evolution, if for no other reason that to debunk it. We didn't have to wait long for Evolution to rear its head. A book assigned to the class called, "Survival of the Sickest" mentioned the "miracle of evolution". It's premise was that certain diseases like diabetes and even anemia can actually be beneficial to man. For example because diabetics has more sugar in their blood they withstand the cold better and the anemia caused by eating Fava beans (an African staple) helped the people avoid contracting malaria. Somehow the conclusion was drawn that these events proved evolution.

Ana, in her confident way, explained that it was confusing to her that while evolution was proposed there was no answer as to what began or initiated the process of evolution? What (or even more importantly who)was the catalyst? She finished her paper by pointing out that in discussing the "miracle of evolution", naturally a miracle indicated Divine assistance.

That's my girl.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wagner vs. Nietschze

Nietschze, the philosopher said,

"Man must not eat meat."

Wagner, the composer replied,

"The life of man is a series of compromises. The only expiation is to do good. Man needs nourishment in order to do good."

Interesting excerpt from the diary of Cosima Wagner. Her husband gave Nietschze the life of St. Elizabeth of Hungary and Nietschze's only comment was that the work smelled more like incense than of roses.

At the end of the transcript Nietzsche says, "I noticed that I was already beyond all questions of dogma. For me what was important was the human being."

Like all liberal secular humanists who say they only want to do good and serve the human being, by ignoring the Divine and the laws of nature help to destroy him.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

On Borrowed Wings by Chandra Prasad

When I first heard about this novel by Chandra Prasad, I was very excited about reading it. My husband was born in Bombay India and I'm always interested in a peek into the Asian psyche. (Hey it beats marriage counseling - j/k- you know I love ya honey!)

So I was disappointed to find that the subject of the novel is not an Indian woman but of one Adele Pietra, daughter of a quarryman who goes to Yale disguised as her brother who was accepted but then tragically killed. Since the author did indeed attend Yale I was left with the thought that this book would have been much more interesting if she had written from her life. Her prose is very well done and her descriptions, a real interest-killer are not overdone. There are exciting and interesting elements to the story,a social outreach by the protagonist, a romance, a "National Treasures" find in the tunnels under Yale, suspense, drama, family conflict but what kept coming back to me was- "What will Adele do when she earns her diploma from Yale in her brother's name!"

I know I am the ultimate pragmatist and maybe I let that ruin the story for me. In the great tradition of literature the disguise of the feminine is not unknown. Immediately we think of National Velvet, Mulan, George Eliot. I understand that the point is to highlight the inequities that women face but I'm fiercely loyal to my sex and there is no enticement to me to "transform myself into a man".

While this was not my favorite book, I will definitely look for other titles by Chandra Prasad because I think she shows promise and she will hopefully keep writing. Maybe next time she will write about the "real girl" that went to Yale.

Available from Amazon books.

Traditional Confirmation

On August 25, 2007 my daughter Rose received the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Traditional form at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel in Still River, Massachusetts. This is a picture of her, His Excellency Bishop McManus and my sister Kathleen who is her sponsor.

After her Confirmation, Rose was so happy and said, "I feel like I could go out and conquer the whole world." I told her then she must! We are so grateful to the Bishop.

It was a beautiful day and there were 50 young adults confirmed.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Constantine's Dream by Piero della Francesca

Today is the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Wikipedia has an entry on the True Cross here.

In 312, Constantine dreamt of the Holy Cross and saw these words, "In Hoc Signes Vinces". An angel told him to lead his army into battle the next day under the symbol of the Cross. He obeyed and he prevailed.

In no way could it be coincidental that the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed that today the Summorum Pontificum would take effect. This historic document gives permission for any priest, any where in Christendom to say the Traditional Latin Mass as long as the Faithful request it. Could it be any more clear that the Holy Father is telling us, "In this way (with this Mass) you will conquer"?

To find a Latin Mass near you- come visit us here at the Latin Mass Network.

Surprised they haven't asked the UN for help

Austrian Jews Ask Pope for Help with Iran.

The implications of this are just way too interesting on so many levels. Does this help:

- the Neocons?
- the Muslims?
- the Jews?
- the Republicans?
- the office of the Papacy?

And who does it harm?

- the office of the Papacy?
- the Iranians?
- the future of Israel?
- the Democrats and their presidential delusions?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Why I liked High School Musical

When I first heard about this show I was skeptical. In fact I was prepared to dislike it, object to it, villify it, even rail against it. But I was pleasantly surprised.

The first High School Musical came out in February. We missed it. But with High School Musical II coming out soon it was being rerun. The characters were innocent and the theme was one of trying different things- specifically singing and drama for the high school jock and the nerdy scholastic. There is a rich, obnoxious socialite who provides the comic relief.

In contrast to most "teenie bopper" movies the students promote kindness, charity, respect for authority, acceptance of those with unusual or unpopular gifts and talents. Some of the heartwarming themes that illustrate what I mean:

1. When Gabriella (the brain)is invited to join the student decatholon, she demures and says she wants to concentrate on her studies and helping her Mom unpack the house.

2. When Zac shows kindness to an unpopular student, his kindnes is what wins the heart of his future singing partner.

3. When Zac is unkind he repents and asks forgiveness. He is forgiven.

One review I read called it a veritable bachnalia of singing and milk drinking. It's innocence and simplicity has astonished reviewers. Some of whom has made the unfortunate comparison of High School Musical to Grease. Grease it is not. The theme of Grease was compromising your values and changing to be popular. If anything High School Musical is the exact opposite of that.

I'm for anything that promotes charity, especially for high school students.

A final word on the dress of the students. For the most part the dress is respectful and appropriate. There are a few exceptions. In some cases I wish some of the clothes were a bit less tight and the tops a bit higher. Unfortunately in every day life I see far far worse and if the dress of HSM was the worst I ever saw it would be a huge improvement.

Another objection I have heard is that it encourages "dating" and high school romance. In the first HSM the two main characters never have a date. And they do not kiss, though almost. In the second HSM they have lunch on the golf course and sing together some more. And they are juniors in high school. At the completion of the show they do kiss.

The music was lighthearted. The kids were upbeat and enjoying life. You have to remind yourself- this is high school and these are high school students. Any angst is short lived and easily resolved. If only life were this simple. Let's pretend. Like the depression-era musicals enjoy the escapism and optimism.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Look What I Got at the Library

Creating a Cottage Garden in North America:

Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House

The Self Sufficient Life and How to Live It

Does a person who does not have time to make the corrections needed on her other website have time for this? Does a person who does not have time to weed her vegetable garden have time for this? Does a person who does not have time to keep up with the laundry have time for this?

Of course not. But I can dream can't I?

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Answering All the Objections....

...and hopefully silencing all the critics.

It has been said that I have not linked people who certainly deserve a link. There is a reason for that. I'm lazy.

I was also hoping to do a left hand sidebar with the title, "Not Your Ordinary Mommy Blogs" but apparently that is a distant possibility. Since I don't know how to do it.

So here are 3 awesome blogs by 3 awesome ladies who have lots of interesting things to say and lots of interesting pictures.

Go visit Jamie at Ad Silvam Ibimus.

And then Lily at Never Fading Wood.

And don't forget Beth at The Chronicles of Mommia.

These have been listed in alphabetical order so as to avoid any accusations of favoritism. Maybe someday I'll start updating this blog more often. The kids are going back to school this week so we'll see what happens. Stay tuned and don't forget to visit the Latin Mass Network and send any corrections you might have.