Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's Christmas time



As we were saying the Family Rosary this evening, I was reflecting on the fact that my children will not be getting all the Christmas gifts that I would like to give them this year. And in fact the gifts we are giving are practical and essential. Warm socks, long underwear, books... you get the picture. And I thought to myself, what do my children have to be thankful for this Christmas? And then it came to me.

Faithfulness.

While we may not be a family of generous and easy means, while we may struggle and worry, while we may not have everything material advantage we try to be faithful.

To one another.

To the Church.

To our obligations in our state of life to the best of our ability.

To friendships and those struggling- with thanks or without.

And I hope that that will be enough.

Enough to give them happy childhood memories.

Enough to let them know that their father and I love them. And were faithful to one another and to them.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Nocturnal Upon St Lucy's Day, Being the Shortest Day



St Lucy's burial by Carravagio.

I will admit that my newest interest in John Donne can be traced to the book Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers and today's sermon about St. Lucy's day but anyway, having made those admissions: Enjoy:

A NOCTURNAL UPON ST. LUCY'S DAY,
BEING THE SHORTEST DAY.

by John Donne


'TIS the year's midnight, and it is the day's,
Lucy's, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks ;
The sun is spent, and now his flasks
Send forth light squibs, no constant rays ;
The world's whole sap is sunk ;
The general balm th' hydroptic earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the bed's-feet, life is shrunk,
Dead and interr'd ; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compared with me, who am their epitaph.

Study me then, you who shall lovers be
At the next world, that is, at the next spring ;
For I am every dead thing,
In whom Love wrought new alchemy.
For his art did express
A quintessence even from nothingness,
From dull privations, and lean emptiness ;
He ruin'd me, and I am re-begot
Of absence, darkness, death—things which are not.

All others, from all things, draw all that's good,
Life, soul, form, spirit, whence they being have ;
I, by Love's limbec, am the grave
Of all, that's nothing. Oft a flood
Have we two wept, and so
Drown'd the whole world, us two ; oft did we grow,
To be two chaoses, when we did show
Care to aught else ; and often absences
Withdrew our souls, and made us carcasses.

But I am by her death—which word wrongs her—
Of the first nothing the elixir grown ;
Were I a man, that I were one
I needs must know ; I should prefer,
If I were any beast,
Some ends, some means ; yea plants, yea stones detest,
And love ; all, all some properties invest.
If I an ordinary nothing were,
As shadow, a light, and body must be here.

But I am none ; nor will my sun renew.
You lovers, for whose sake the lesser sun
At this time to the Goat is run
To fetch new lust, and give it you,
Enjoy your summer all,
Since she enjoys her long night's festival.
Let me prepare towards her, and let me call
This hour her vigil, and her eve, since this
Both the year's and the day's deep midnight is.



Source:
Donne, John. Poems of John Donne. vol I.
E. K. Chambers, ed.
London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1896. 45-46.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

House Carpenter

Oh, does this bring back memories.

Joan Baez sings it nearly as well as we did growing up around the campfire.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fr. Tom DiLorenzo summoned to the Chancery in Boston


And it isn't going to be pretty.



Fr. Tom is well known for his ardent and vocal prolife beliefs and his radio show "In Season and Out of Season". Apparently EWTN carries Fr. Tom's show. Eventhough Fr. Tom is a bit of a charismatic but we don't hold that against him.


Apparently Cardinal O'Malley has decided that it's payback time. Fr. Tom made the unfortunate, and probably career-ending mistake of opposing Cardinal Sean's attempt to sign a contract with Centene, an abortion-providing health insurance company. Unfortunately, the Boston Archdiocese lost money (perhaps millions according to my fellow warrioress in the trenches, Carol McKinley) and the opportunity to sell its soul, and give away gratis any integrity they may have had left.


Fr. Tom has been summoned to the Chancery to discuss his "mental health".


The tactics don't change. The villains never come up with anything new.


The Mass begins with the phrase:


"Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cuase against an ungodly nation: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man."
Somehow I don't think this meeting will make the Cardinal's blog.
I don't think the public relations firm employed (and paid handsomely) by the Archdiocese of Boston would recommend it.




Monday, October 12, 2009

Fireproof


Okay, so I'm a bit behind the times. Can I be forgiven being the mother of 8 children? Overly involved in good works... I hope and employed part time by 2 companies?

Either way, I watched this movie and loved it. We ordered the sound track, the biography of Kirk Cameron and of course the DVD... which we still have NOT received.

I really enjoyed the movie. Cried at the end. Loved the soundtrack and hope that everyone I know watches it.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

One of the Best Things About Fall....

...besides the sight of leaves changing color, and the smell of burning leaves, the foreshadowing pre-winter coolness, the feel of wind blowing through the trees, the smell of freshly split wood (some green) in anticipation of the winter wood burning, hot cider, caramel apples and ultimately Christmas is:



picking bittersweet
to decorate my dining room chandelier.

I just looked up bittersweet and found this blog "What your wedding means" or something like that and it said that bittersweet meant "truth".

How very apropos.

But can I have a truth-vacation. Can I ignore truth for a while? Read another Oscar Wilde fairytale? Make homemade bread as if the price of propane is not prohibitive?

I really must grow some. On my own land.

And little did I realize that when I began this blog post there was a controversy about "bittersweet" versus invasive oriental bittersweet. (If my dear grandmother were here she would pronounce it as "Or-E-Ent-Ul".

Saturday, September 26, 2009

In Tribute to the "Plain Housewife"



Corazon Aquino, who led the bloodless coup.


From a Time Magazine article:

Though hampered by the government's near monopoly of the media, the Aquino campaign attracted millions of fervent supporters, all decked out in yellow, the reluctant candidate's favorite color. And when Marcos cheated her of victory in the February 1986 vote, the outcry was tremendous — and his doom was sealed. Bearing witness to their political allegiance, the millions who crammed the streets to protect reformist soldiers who had mutinied against Marcos chanted the now familiar mantra: "Cory, Cory, Cory." Nuns armed only with rosaries knelt in front of tanks, stopping them in their tracks.

(snip)

Aquino was convinced that her presidency was divinely inspired, even as her political foes mocked her piety. "If the country needs me," she said, "God will spare me." And miracle of miracles, she proved God right and her critics wrong.

And this is what she inspired:



Tomorrow will be part II of the tribute to the plain housewife.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dog Mania





I can't stand the way dogs have replaced children in our society. I'm sure everyone knows the story of Mother Teresa going up to a baby carriage in London only to find the carriage contained not a baby but a dog!

The following just came through our freecycle list:

I am wanting to make my Chihuahua a few winter coats. Walmart has done away with all their flannel / fleece.
I wondered if anyone had about 2 yards of any print flannel or fleece. Also double wide seam binding.
Also any fabric remnants left overs would be great too - I could make her some dresses.

Thank You Very much.




Like Linus in Peanuts. "I can't stand it!"

And just think Halloween is coming:



In honor of the upcoming Feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, American Catholic has dedicated a significant portion of its website to "Pet Blessings in the U.S. and an editorial asserting that animals will go to heaven.

Good grief! Salvation for animals! What next? But I suppose it goes to the heresy of "universal salvation". After all animals are part of the universe.

Friday, September 18, 2009

What does this mean?



Oh, no. I have the same white ruffled blouse as Michelle Obama.

What does this mean?

She's shopping the clearance rack of Kohl's in an effort to "get in touch" with the people?

If only we were so easily taken it.



But we remember the $540 sneakers at the homeless dinner. This current pretense is merely a distraction from the current takeover of the economy, health care, the WORLD.

Don't fall for it.

And just don't have a garage sale, no matter what.

And finally more shopping advice from the First Lady. A friend sent me this:

Let's say you're preparing dinner and you realize with dismay that you don't have any certified organic Tuscan kale. What to do?

Here's how Michelle Obama handled this very predicament Thursday afternoon:

The Secret Service and the D.C. police brought in three dozen vehicles and shut down H Street, Vermont Avenue, two lanes of I Street and an entrance to the McPherson Square Metro station. They swept the area, in front of the Department of Veterans Affairs, with bomb-sniffing dogs and installed magnetometers in the middle of the street, put up barricades to keep pedestrians out, and took positions with binoculars atop trucks. Though the produce stand was only a block or so from the White House, the first lady hopped into her armored limousine and pulled into the market amid the wail of sirens.

Then, and only then, could Obama purchase her leafy greens. "Now it's time to buy some food," she told several hundred people who came to watch. "Let's shop!"

Cowbells were rung. Somebody put a lei of marigolds around Obama's neck. The first lady picked up a straw basket and headed for the "Farm at Sunnyside" tent, where she loaded up with organic Asian pears, cherry tomatoes, multicolored potatoes, free-range eggs and, yes, two bunches of Tuscan kale. She left the produce with an aide, who paid the cashier as Obama made her way back to the limousine.

Dana Milbank even does some comparison shopping for her:


Obama, in her brief speech to the vendors and patrons, handled the affordability issue by pointing out that people who pay with food stamps would get double the coupon value at the market. Even then, though, it's hard to imagine somebody using food stamps to buy what the market offered: $19 bison steak from Gunpowder Bison, organic dandelion greens for $12 per pound from Blueberry Hill Vegetables, the Piedmont Reserve cheese from Everson Dairy at $29 a pound. Rounding out the potential shopping cart: $4 for a piece of "walnut dacquoise" from the Praline Bakery, $9 for a jumbo crab cake at Chris's Marketplace, $8 for a loaf of cranberry-walnut bread and $32 for a bolt of yarn.

The first lady said the market would particularly appeal to federal employees in nearby buildings to "pick up some good stuff for dinner." Yet even they might think twice about spending $3 for a pint of potatoes when potatoes are on sale for 40 cents a pound at Giant. They could get nearly five dozen eggs at Giant for the $5 Obama spent for her dozen.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

They Insisted: the kids



...that I post this. It was too funny.

Are the "sheeple" waking up?"

Is it too late?

Is Tiananmen Square next?

This is Getting Serious:


Largest protest against Obama Since he took office.

It will be time to declare martial law anytime now.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Won't Back Down



Dedicated to my daughter Rose, whose courage inspires me.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

O'Malley and Obama



O'Malley's Defense of the Indefensible.

I think you will find it as touching as I did. Especially when the Cardinal goes on about Placido Domingo and Yo Yo Ma and the 1000s lining the streets for Ted Kennedy.

From the mob calling for the crucifixtion to the mob storming the Bastille and cheering on the guillotine, has it ever been on the side of morality and right?

And the Cardinal made sure to endorse Obama's universal healthcare program. Heartwarming isn't it?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Candy Floss by Rumer Godden



My Becksie and I just finished reading it.

And Teddy and Stephen and Timmy had to listen in.

It's a very sweet story about a doll who lives in a Cocoanut Shy. And if you don't know what a Cocoanut Shy is then you will just have to read the story.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Great Injustice



When I first found out about the Seven Hills Pediatric Center I brought my children for a tour of the facility. The Center takes care of children and adults with very complex medical needs. So many of the individuals there reminded me of Terri Schiavo.



However with one great difference. The lives of these individuals were being preserved and I would even venture to say; treasured. In all its years of operation there has never been a bedsore. Each resident receives a whirl pool bath every day. There are activities provided, education, and very specialized care for each person residing there.

At a recent Family Day, which I posted about here, I became aware of a great injustice that is about to be visited upon some of the residents of Seven Hills.

In 1998, a "public interest group" (liberals who have lawyers) filed suit against the state of Massachusetts "on behalf of" mentally retarded adults who are residing in "nursing homes". A settlement was reached and the state of MA has agreed to transfer 640 adults from "nursing homes" to group homes. Somehow, 30 Seven Hills residents have been included in the list of individuals to be transferred.

Against the will of those who care for them.

Against the will of their parents or guardians.

A transfer to a group home would be a death sentence for these individuals. And what worries me is maybe that is the point.

After we witness the shameful starvation death of Terri Schiavo it could only be a matter of time before the lives of every individual who has difficulty communicating, will be considered marginal and expendable.

Are we seeing it?

This soon?

This website tells the stories of the individuals who will be affected by this settlement. The story of the helplessness that the parents of these individuals feel. The story of the powerlessness of the victims.

And I would ask you to look at this story and not cluck your tongue and pity those poor people for a nano second before you pick up your latest edition of People magazine and switch the TV channel. Instead think about what this means for YOUR children and YOUR loved ones who are at the mercy of the state.

The families of those "represented" in this class action lawsuit were SUPPOSED TO BE NOTIFIED, but somehow they weren't....

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Family Day at Seven Hills

Today was Family Day at Seven Hills in Groton, MA. Seven Hills is a pediatric care center for children with complex medical needs. My oldest 4 have been volunteering there for about a month now and go on Saturdays to play games with the kids. Today was a special day with outside entertainment, moon walk, facepainting, live music, cake and raffles.

Andrew & Savannah. It got a bit chilly but Savannah was ready with her Cinderella fleece throw.



Rose and Nate



Me and Erin. How do you like her Barbie Superstar balloon?



Nathaniel and Brian, you can't tell in the picture but Brian was sporting some very cool Air Jordans and a #34 Pierce cap.



Blinky facepainting. I so wanted to get my face painted but I couldn't summon up the nerve.



If you are interested in volunteering or having your children volunteer you can contact the volunteer coordinator Arlene Howard at 978-448-3388 X 207 or by email at ahoward@sevenhills.org.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fr. Jenkins, President of Notre Dame and his definition of "reasoned dialogue"



This is from the American Papist Blog

Concerning the brave Catholics who protested Obama's sacrilegious presence at Notre Dame, Fr. Jenkins has refused to drop the bogus charges against them.

So, who is welcome at Notre Dame?

Prolife Catholics? NO

Proabortion Obama? YES

Friday, June 05, 2009

Homegrown Revolution

Growing 6000 lbs on 1/10th of an acre. This takes place in Pasadena, CA so New Englanders, do not despair.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

It's Official



They're engaged! Congratulations Patrick Harvey and Jessica!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Reporter Dragged Kicking and Screaming from near Air Force One



Now, I thought this was going to be a good, "Let's bash the president for this one." But when I read the article I came to a different conclusion:

The reporter stated:

"I said, 'I'll take my chances if (the president) comes by here,'" said Lee, who identified herself as a Roman Catholic priestess who lives in Anaheim, Calif. "He became annoyed that I wouldn't give him the letter."

Lee, who was wearing what she described as a cassock, said she protested when she was asked to leave....

[emphasis mine]

Certifiable. There is no other word.

Immaculate Heart of Mary School Band in NYC for St. Patrick's Day



Immaculate Heart of Mary School

Still River, MA

Coolest high school band in the universe and not just because my sons are in it! Show me another high school band that carries the American flag and the Vatican flag!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fatima: New Movie: The 13th Day



This looks to be beautifully filmed. And the Christian answer to the Salem Witch Trials.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand and Some Sanity

In response to the disgraceful performance by Christopher West the "Catholic" sex guru, Dr. Von Hildebrand points out the obvious problems with West's approach and the dangers.

The article is here.

Her comments:

“My feeling is that Christopher West has become famous because he started discussing the Theology of the Body, which is extremely appealing topic. The difficulty is that, in the meantime, he became so famous that I do believe he has become much too self-assured and has lost sight of the extreme sensitivity of the topic.”


This is “very troubling” because what she calls the “intimate sphere” is something “very mysterious, very profound, something that has a direct relationship with God.”

“My feeling is that his vocabulary and his way of approaching it totally lacks reverence.”

“Reverence is the key to purity,” she told CNA.” The intimate sphere “is not a topic of public discussion” but is “extremely serious.”

“It seems to me that his presentation, his vocabulary, the vulgarity of things that he uses are things that simply indicate that even though he might have good intentions he has derailed and is doing a lot of harm.”


Most troubling are the comments at the end of the article which mostly support Christopher West and his pornographic views of intimacy. The prevailing sentiment seems to be that if it were not for Christopher West, some of the writers would not be Catholic. It makes you wonder what they have converted to? The Faith or hedonism and the Theology of the Body's attempt to redeem hedonism by couching it in spiritual terms?

Apparently a "clarification" was released on behalf of Christopher West, painstakingly explaining the difference between Hugh Hefner and Pope John Paul II. Thanks but the differences are obvious to anyone of sense. It is the similarities that West "cites" and has convinced himself of that is so troubling. The whole "clarification" can be read here.

Best of all is this statement in "the clarification"

Christopher West is not a sex therapist. He is a Catholic educator, author, lecturer, and faculty member of the Theology of the Body Institute. The TOB Institute is an educational organization and does not engage in sex therapy.


Why pray tell would that be necessary????? Could it be because of the way that Christopher West has characterized his own work? Of course.

The clarifications and halfhearted back tracking can only mean one thing- donations are down. And that's good news.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Christopher West on Pope John II and Hugh Hefner

If there is anyone who still does not understand what is wrong, so very wrong with Theology on the Body and Christopher West and his cottage industry please watch this and I think all will be made clear.

Warning- graphic content.

Video can be seen here.

Friday, May 08, 2009

In This Day and Age


...with all the buzz about the NY flyover that resulted in panic and distress for New Yorkers who thought they were reliving 9/11 I can't help but ask myself:

Was this necessary in the day of Photoshop????

And we have the customary resignation.


But the "sacrificial lamb" seems especially artificial this time around. we've been there. We've done that. And martial law is still coming, fresh on the heels of socialistm.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Fr. Thomas Berg, leaving the Legion of Christ


... to become a priest of the New York Diocese.

The article is here from Catholic Culture.

Highlight:

Father Berg, who had urged his fellow Legion members to reflect seriously on the "profoundly disturbing" revelations about the order's founder, Father Marcial Maciel, said that he has been considering the move for some time. He said that he hoped the apostolic visitation recently announced by the Vatican would help provide a "new beginning" for the Legionaries, adding that "I remain their friend and brother in the Lord." The Westchester Institute, which has been sponsored by the Legion of Christ, will be reorganized under a new board of directors.

Kids Visiting the Convent



My sister took this picture when some of the kids and I were visiting my sister,
Sr. Brigid Mary, MICM
during the Octave of Easter. From top to bottom, Stephen, Edmund, Rose holding Rebekah and Tim being Mr. Cool on the right.

Friday, May 01, 2009

My Apology to Perez Hilton: Mike Adams

I really love the South.

Here is Mike Adams of Townall.com and his apology to Perez Hilton.

I am sorry that you cannot keep your political opinions out of a beauty contest. I am sorry that gay men are rarely capable of keeping the subject of gay marriage out of any conversation.

I am sorry that, in this country, people are often afraid to talk to gay people because they believe that if they tell others the truth about their views on gay marriage, they will upset other people. I am sorry that gays really do try to get people fired or destroy their careers for opposing gay marriage. I am sorry that many gays cannot see how this reinforces the stereotype that homosexuality is an emotional disorder.


He will probably go the way of Jay Severin who has been suspended indefinitely.

And no matter how obnoxious I find his comments, it frightens me that alternative opinions can no longer be expressed. Even obnoxiously. Whatever happened to Cohen v. California?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The "Specter of Death" Switches (officially) to the Party of Death



Thank you Rick Santorum. You campaigned for Arlen Specter (formerly R)and endorsed Arlen Specter OVER a prolife challenger. You lost your own bid for re-election over this treacherous betray of life.


And now Arlen Specter will switch parties
giving the Democrats a Filibuster proof majority in the Senate- the magic number 60. (providing Al Franken wins MN- is there much doubt of that?)



The Republicans who helped Specter-of-death amass $5.8 million were not consulted about his switch.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Obamanation

To be "unveiled" in NYC on April 29th:



And by sculptor, Matthew J. Clark:



From World Net Daily.


And I'm thinking the Swine Flu will be an excellent opportunity for Obama to declare martial law.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sleeping Beauty at the Wang



The Lobby of the Wang Theater:



It doesn't get much better:



And coming in October 1-11, 2009 the Boston Ballet will be performing "Giselle", and in April 8-18-2009, "Coppelia".

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Recent Rainy Day Reads


The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.

Here's the website for the film which I think I am going to have to see.



The Midnight Dancers by Regina Doman. You can see Regina's site here.

The book has its own website here with ordering information.


Rather than review them I'm just going to say read them. I read them both in one sitting because I couldn't put them down. I'm glad because they were that good but on the other hand, now they're over.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Beauty That Matters is Always on the Inside

Susan Boyle Hype Revitalizes 10-Year-Old Cover - Be sure to listen to the
music.

http://new.music.yahoo.com/blogs/videogaga/16130/susan-boyle-hype-rev...

http://www.theherald.co.uk/features/featuresopinon/display.var.250174...

Susan Boyle's story is a parable of our age. She is a singer
of enormous talent, who cared for her widowed mother until
she died two years ago. Susan's is a combination of ability
and virtue that deserves congratulation.

So how come she was treated as a laughing stock when she
walked on stage for the opening heat of Britain's Got
Talent 2009 on Saturday night?

The moment the reality show's audience and judging panel
saw the small, shy, middle-aged woman, they started to
smirk. When she said she wanted a professional singing
career to equal that of Elaine Paige, the camera showed
audience members rolling their eyes in disbelief. They
scoffed when she told Simon Cowell, one of the judges,
how she'd reached her forties without managing to develop
a singing career because she hadn't had the opportunity.
Another judge, Piers Morgan, later wrote on his blog that,
just before she launched into I Dreamed a Dream, the
3000-strong audience in Glasgow was laughing and the
three judges were suppressing chuckles.

It was rude and cruel and arrogant. Susan Boyle from
Blackburn, West Lothian, was presumed to be a buffoon.
But why?

Britain's Got Talent isn't a beauty pageant. It isn't
a youth opportunity scheme. It is surely about discovering
untapped and unrecognised raw talent from all sections
of society.

And Susan Boyle has talent to burn. Such is the beauty
of her voice that she had barely sung the opening bars
when the applause started. She rounded off to a standing
ovation and - in her naivety - began walking off the stage and
had to be recalled.

Susan, now a bankable discovery, was then roundly patronised
by such mega-talents as Amanda Holden and the aforementioned
Morgan, who told her: "Everyone laughed at you but no-one is
laughing now. I'm reeling with shock." Holden added: "It's the
biggest wake-up call ever."

Again, why?

The answer is that only the pretty are expected to achieve.
Not only do you have to be physically appealing to deserve fame;
it seems you now have to be good-looking to merit everyday
common respect. If, like Susan (and like millions more),
you are plump, middle-aged and too poor or too unworldly to
follow fashion or have a good hairdresser, you are a non-person.

I dread to think of how Susan would have left the stage if her voice
had been less than exceptional. She would have been humiliated in
front of 11 million viewers. It's the equivalent of being put in the
stocks in front of the nation instead of the village. It used to be a
punishment handed out to criminals. Now it is the fate of anyone
without obvious sexual allure who dares seek opportunity.

This small, brave soul took her courage in her hands to pitch
at her one hope of having her singing talent recognised, and
was greeted with a communal sneer. Courage could so easily have
failed her.

Yet why shouldn't she sound wonderful? Not every great singer
looks like Katherine Jenkins. Edith Piaf would never have been
chosen to strut a catwalk. Nor would Nina Simone, nor Ella
Fitzgerald. As for Pavarotti But then ridicule is nothing new
in Susan Boyle's life. She is a veteran of abuse. She was
starved of oxygen at birth and has learning difficulties as a
result. At school she was slow and had frizzy hair. She was
bullied, mostly verbally. She told one newspaper that her
classmates' jibes left behind the kind of scars that don't heal.

She didn't have boyfriends, is a stranger to romance and has
never been kissed. "Shame," she said. Singing was her life-raft.

She lived with her parents in a four-bedroom council house and,
when her father died a decade ago, she cared for her mother and
sang in the church choir.

It was an unglamorous existence. She wasn't the glamorous type
- and being a carer isn't a glamorous life, as the hundreds of
thousands who do that most valuable of jobs will testify.
Even those who start out with a beauty routine and an interest
in clothes find themselves reverting to the practicality of a
tracksuit and trainers. Fitness plans get interrupted and
then abandoned. Weight creeps on. Carers don't often get
invited to sparkling dinner parties or glitzy receptions,
so smart clothes rarely make it off the hanger.

Then, when a special occasion comes along, they might reach,
as Susan did, for the frock they bought for a nephew's wedding.
They might, as she did, compound the felony of choosing a
colour at odds with her skin tone and an unflattering shape
with home-chopped hair, bushy eyebrows and a face without
a hint of make-up. But it is often evidence of a life lived
selflessly; of a person so focused on the needs of another
that they have lost sight of themselves. Is that a cause for
derision or a reason for congratulation? Would her time have
been better spent slimming and exercising, plucking and
waxing, bleaching and botoxing? Would that have made her
voice any sweeter?

Susan Boyle's mother encouraged her to sing. She wanted her
to enter Britain's Got Talent. But the shy Susan hasn't been
able to sing at all since her mother's death two years ago.
She wasn't sure how her voice would emerge after so long a
silence. Happily, it survived its rest.

She is a gift to Simon Cowell and reality television.
Her story is the stuff of Hans Christian Andersen: the woman
plucked from obscurity, the buried talent uncovered, the
transformation waiting to be wrought.

It is wonderful for her, too, that her stunning voice is
now recognised. A bright future beckons. Her dream is becoming
reality.

Susan is a reminder that it's time we all looked a little deeper.
She has lived an obscure but important life. She has been a
companionable and caring daughter. It's people like her who are
the unseen glue in society; the ones who day in and day out put
themselves last. They make this country civilised and they deserve
acknowledgement and respect.

Susan has been forgiven her looks and been given respect because
of her talent. She should always have received it because of the
calibre of her character.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

There are things that make me laugh



Like reading articles about how to "save money". It's not that the subject is not a serious and important one it's just that the ideas put forth in the article are either so blatantly obvious or so stupid, I can't believe people are paid to write them. (Obviously people who did not put themselves through college if you know what I mean).

Some examples:

1. Buy fewer clothes that need to be dry cleaned.

My solution: Buy as few clothes as possible, rarely go out in public and when you do have a large enough family and well dressed enough children so that you can stand behind them. If someone asks who you are your children can say that you are a homeless person they have befriended.




2. Use coupons.

Now this is an idea that never works because coupons are ALWAYS for brand name, processed foods. If you really want to save money you don't buy brand name, processed foods or you buy as little as possible. So little in fact that the time you've spent clipping, storing and trying to keep track of your coupons would be better spent making something from scratch.



3. For Appliance Purchases, check Consumer Reports and buy the most cost efficient.

Well, the most cost efficient is to do without the appliance if you can. You don't really need a dishwasher and I would never buy one. If you have one by all means use it but if it dies, get rid of it and glory in more kitchen cabinet space. If you seem to have more dishes than you can reasonably do, this introduces a delicate subject. The trick is to have enough children so that you never do a dish until the last child leaves the house. Though not much of a math whiz this is how I figure it [Mom = Cooking] and conversely [Kids = Dishes].



4. Money saving vacations.

This is a good one. You see pictures of trips to Disneyland, resorts, ranches and the happy Mom and Dad and kids doing nothing but spending money. To the family who is trying to save money there is no such thing as vacation. You might go camping, in a tent at a state park. You do not go to amusement parks, you do not eat out, you do not play miniature golf. You splurge on a fishing license that will provide 3 or 4 family meals. Your outings consist of going to the beach, going for walks, having a camp fire and making yourself sick on s'mores every night.



5. Save on Car Repairs by maintaining your vehicles.

This is a good one. Obviously written by someone with a car payment. Forget about car payments. Drive a beater for which any maintainance is laughably unnecessary. Your best bet is a car about 9 + years old with at least 200,000 miles on it. Any repairs except those to get it through inspection will not be worth it. This relieves the cost and stress of car repairs. This is also a way to find out who your real friends are- real friends are not embarrassed to see you, and be seen with you in your beater.

6. Clothing, sales, purchases and other follies.

You will invariably see a hard luck story about a family that 'gasp' is in so much difficulty they cannot even afford to buy their children new clothes. The horror of it is they have had to rely on "used clothing", hand me downs or resale shops. Well, let's cut directly to the chase here. Short of dumpster diving (and I qualify that statement by saying it could change next week) there is nothing beneath me in acquiring clothing. Forget "Resale Shops" unless you are going to a wedding or something. I have two words for you "Thrift Store" and another one is "Garage Sale". When you get into the underbelly of the frugal movement you will find that some of the best dressed people you know acquire most of their clothing from these two sources.



7. Gardening and raising animals for food.

This is an urban myth that must die. While there are many good reasons to raise your own food- you don't have to drive to the store to buy it, it makes your children do chores, you know the food is clean and you will just enjoy it, saving money is not realistic. I love to can tomatoes but have noticed that in tomato canning season the grocery stores lower their prices on canned tomatoes so that it is cheaper to buy them than to buy the canning jar. Still can, still garden and still raise chickens if you can but accept the fact that after you purchase the animals, buy feed, you will have spent about the same as buying the same thing from the grocery store. The feelings of moral superiority though, are priceless.

8. Sports, Lessons and other Childhood Expenditures.

Have you ever noticed that the masters in their field, Mozart, Beethoven, master painters had nothing. They were usually born into poverty and never achieved middle class status. And yet that does not stop us from expensive childhood lessons in music, art, sports, foreign languages etc. I'm not saying you don't get these lessons for your child if they really have any talent and interest but you find the least expensive way to satisfy these interests like free classes at the library, befriending artists and musicians, having college students who are studying these subjects give reasonable lessons. And completely rule out expensive sports- hockey, dirt biking, etc. It's not just the equipment, it's the trips to the ER, PT and specialists. (I know of what of I speak).

9. Hair Care

Your children need never see the inside of a salon. Buy a good hair cutting buzzer and learn while they are young and will not be mocked by their peers for your earlier mistakes. [Mothers are exempt from this and must visit the salon faithfully ever 8 weeks to maintain a shred of dignity.]



10. Saving for Your Kids College Fund.

I saved this for the last because it is the most laughable. If you can afford it and want to save for your children to go to college I doubt that I will be able to stop you. However, it is a guarantee that your child's grades will be mediocre at best. What is the incentive for doing well in High School if college is "paid for"? And once enrolled what is the incentive to do well in college, graduate in four years and actually major in something that will result in a job. No, sir, college loans taken out for your child and by your child and their "ghost of Christmas future" specter will guarantee excellent high school grades, good SATs and a zeal that cannot be matched when everything is taken for granted.