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.