31 May 2008

Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy

Will be at the MN Homeschool Conference for the day (Father Mitch Pacwa is the keynote speaker) buying some curriculum for the upcoming start of Kindergarten homeschooling, so here's a softball question for you.

Category: World Religions

What are the three (major) forms of Lutheranism in the US? (My husband's uncle and some of his cousins are pastors in one of the branches)

Demerits for using Google or other search engines!

St. Alex says, place your answer in the form of a question in the combox, say a Hail Holy Queen on this last day of May, while you wait for the answer to be revealed.

Your humble prize for a correct answer is the satisfaction of knowing you are a brainiac.

30 May 2008

Oedipus in context

A few Christmases ago when my brother and his family were visiting from Switzerland, they kept talking about how their two boys were both going through an Oedipus Complex with my sister-in-law. I chalked it up to my brother being gone for a few months for warrant officer training and figured my nephews had just gotten used to relying on their mom for all their emotional and temporal needs.

I thought that stuff liked this happened, but it wasn't a common occurrence. My son hadn't shown any more affection to me than he had my husband. He'd take a hug and a kiss from either one of us with out batting an eye.

That all came to an end last week. Suddenly, my son wants to be my friend only. When dad comes home from work, he doesn't run to see him, instead he's pretty indifferent. If I'm on another floor in the house than my son, he tells me he's lonely. Now he wants to hold my hand when we're in a store, when he previously had been a "big boy" who didn't do those silly things any longer. I've been told, "I love you," a lot recently, even in public.

I'm basking in this honeymoon period knowing it won't last long. Childhood doesn't last long. My son can hold my hand and sit by me on the couch all he wants.

He'll get over it long before I will.

Memorial Day

Happy Birthday Dad

Quiescat in Pace

30 May 1924 - 29 May 2000

29 May 2008

Parents prayer

Busy day today. Visiting my aunt who will be 90 in a few months. She just got out of the hospital and isn't doing very well. She's had congestive heart failure and a pace maker for years and wasn't even supposed to live this long. Please keep her in your prayers.

I heard this prayer recited several times in our homeschool group and recently one of the members sent it out to our group. Thought it was a good one, since I need work in all these areas!



Oh, God, make me a better parent.

Help me to understand my children, to listen patiently to what they
have to say and to answer all their questions kindly. Keep me from
interrupting them, talking back to them and contradicting them. Make
me as courteous to them as I would have them be to me. Give me the
courage to confess my sins against my children and to ask of them
forgiveness, when I know that I have done them wrong.

May I not vainly hurt the feelings of my children. Forbid that I
should laugh at their mistakes or resort to shame and ridicule as
punishment. Let me not tempt a child to lie and steal. So guide me
hour by hour that I may demonstrate by all I say and do that honesty
produces happiness.

Reduce, I pray, the meanness in me. May I cease to nag; and when I am
out of sorts, help me, Oh Lord, to hold my tongue.

Blind me to the little errors of my children and help me to see the
good things that they do. Give me a ready word for honest praise.

Help me to treat my children as those of their own age, but let me
not exact of them the judgments and conventions of adults. Allow me
not to rob them of the opportunity to wait upon themselves, to think,
to choose, and to make decisions.

Forbid that I should ever punish them for my selfish satisfaction.
May I grant them all of their wishes that are reasonable and have the
courage always to withhold a privilege which I know will do them harm.

Make me so fair and just, so considerate and companionable to my
children that they will have a genuine esteem for me. Fit me to be
loved and imitated by my children.

With all thy gifts, Oh God, do give me calm and poise and self

By Garry Cleveland Myers, P.H.D.
Co-Founder Highlights for Children

28 May 2008

Devil in the details

My alma mater looking for some matter with the Swiss

UW scientists join hunt for 'God' particle to complete 'theory of everything'

When the world's most powerful subatomic particle collider begins gathering data this summer, it will be a major milestone for a number of University of Washington scientists.

The UW, led by professors Henry Lubatti in physics and Colin Daly in mechanical engineering, played a central role in designing and fabricating nearly 90,000 tubes that are key to the workings of the Atlas detector. Atlas is one of six particle physics experiments that are part of the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland.

Physicists the world over are hoping that Atlas will help unlock some deep scientific mysteries and perhaps even lead to discovery of the Higgs boson, sometimes called "the God particle" because it is believed its discovery will refine the understanding of exactly how the universe came to be and how it functions, and how mass came to be in the first place.

UW researchers are primarily involved with an Atlas subsystem that detects subatomic particles called muons. These particles have little interaction with each other or with other matter and are formed as a byproduct of the collisions between protons, the nuclei of hydrogen atoms. The collider will provide far too much data for scientists to log all of it, so the first appearance of muons can be a signal that scientists need to record information on collisions taking place at that time.

"They are like little messengers that tell us a potentially interesting event may have occurred, a signal that we should look more closely at that event," Lubatti said.

Potentially that could lead to direct evidence of the elusive Higgs boson.

"That's just one example of the detector's value," Lubatti added. "There are many other interactions that produce high-energy muons, so it is very important to be able to observe these."

The scientists are looking for other information that will help them to fill gaps in what they call the Standard Model of particle physics, a framework that explains the fundamental forces of nature. The Standard Model explains the way particle interactions create the strong nuclear force, the electroweak force and electromagnetism, and how those forces work with each other, but aspects of those interactions still are not well understood. The Large Hadron Collider also could lead to better understanding of the fourth fundamental force -- gravity -- in terms of particle interactions, and help solve the puzzle of why gravity, while perhaps most recognizable to a lay observer, is the weakest of the fundamental forces.

For entire article, go here.

* The Atlas Experiment at CERN
* Higgs boson info on Wiki
* List of subatomic particles on Wiki

27 May 2008

the FIXX - Driven Out

With Vincenzo and Terry posting videos recently, I thought I'd add one of my own since I got to listen to the FIXX this weekend. All 80s, all weekend. (OK, there was some Beatles in the mix.) I'd wager the mysterious V is around my age since he posts videos that I used to listen to, but Terry has all those disco era ones :P I'm glad I was too young to notice music then ;}

Granted, this isn't Mozart or even great video quality, but it's my generation, baby.

Driven Out
Driven out by thieves,
I watch them pillage the planet
Fuelled by a fattening greed,
Trees fall to the hatchet
Chopping against the grain,
Our spirits in a vacuum
Sadly ignore the pain,
In the end, we all lose
I hope it comes around

Driven out
Holding out
Day by day survival
Castaways have silent lives
With the strength to rival you

Well, now I'm driving in my car
I used to be able to walk this far
Now I turn on the light
I used to be able to sleep at night
I'm cooking with microwaves
To warm up food that's not seen the soil
Plugged into my TV
I'm used to the lies they're telling me
I hope it comes around

Driven out...

Now I'm hoping that we'll find,
More to life than meets the eye
Can we escape the grind,
Build a life that's more worthwhile
Be rid of this empty pride,
Full of selfishness inside
Bathe in a turning tide,
Until then we all hide
I hope it comes around

Driven out...

Rudderless ship

Before my father passed away, I always thought that once he was gone I would be a spiritual rudderless ship. With the traditional Memorial Day, my father's birthday, approaching this Friday, and the eighth anniversary of his passing this Thursday (a few hours short of his birthday), I've been a little introspective this past week.

I've always been a lot like my dad. Many things got done just by the force of my will and one of my mottoes remains, "there's always more than one way to skin a cat." But, I kind of had an inkling that with my father removed from the front lines of my spiritual defenses, God was going to grab me by the neck and whip me into shape.

My father was a third order Carmelite, very knowledgeable about the Faith, great apologist and one smart cookie. Through no fault of my parents, I was poorly catechised. When my parents were kids, religious education was sound and kids learned their Faith. My generation, however, got dropped off at CCD only to sit around and sing foo-foo songs and do religious art projects. We were given nothing of the Faith and learned nothing. I was blessed to have my father (and mother) to provide an incredible example and to be my sounding board and religious text book. Whenever I had a religious question, I took it to dad. If he didn't know the answer, he'd track it down.

When my dad passed away, I felt like I had lost my mentor, my spiritual director. But, that wasn't quite all God had in store for me. I had been learning my faith on an intellectual level, text-book style. God was going to teach me a lesson about faith, humility and trust. It was time to set down my St. Thomas books and figuratively pick up the writings of St. Teresa of Avila or St. John of the Cross.

During the past five years, I have been turned upside down and removed from my comfort zone. Huge emotional and spiritual challenges, along with many blessings and miracles, came my way. I did learn to trust God, primarily through my father. I could always trust my father to have my best interests at heart, to want what was best for me, so when the chaos started in my life, I figured I would trust God as I trusted my earthly father. He did not disappoint.

Now, I feel like I'm at a cross-road, wondering what's next. I don't know if there is something more I should be doing aside from being a mom. Could be God working on that humility piece, since I seem to continually get the smack-down in that respect? For the past five years, I've felt like I have something to offer beyond being a mom, probably a remnant of feelings from my pre-mom days as an engineer, but that's MY will at work.

So, I keep praying that God will make things clear or at least gives me the grace to see what it is He has been trying to tell me. Many moms wear multiple hats -- active in things like their parish or school. I just don't know what my calling is, or even if it is to be beyond my own family. Maybe now is not the time. I just wish God would give me my marching orders. But, then again, my other motto is, "careful what you wish for."

26 May 2008


Memorial Day is actually a pretty big event in my mother's family. All my aunt and uncles, distant relations, cousins, etc., attend Mass then head to the cemetery for a prayer service. It is amazing to me that I have so many generations and branches of my family buried in one cemetery, St. Patrick's in Hudson, WI. For about a century, my family has been remembering their dead in this wonderful way.

For me, however, I was at the cabin with my husband's family. Aside from having to will myself to have good time despite my in-laws' very poor behavior, there was stuff that really made me shake my head.

At the campfire at our place on Saturday night, my CINO sister-in-law asked us, in all seriousness, what the differences between Catholics and Lutherans are. Her CINO grandmother had asked her and she didn't know the answer(s). OH MY.

My convert husband was the one who answered her. I think it was an education for everyone there since most of them were Lutheran. It's a good thing that my husband answered because I get too emotional about things. I would've had a tone in my voice when I talked about Martin Luther that might not have gone over well. Plus, it's more palatable coming from him since he used to be "one of them."

Then the conversation drifted to the children what were removed from the FLDS ranch. My MIL ranted about that for awhile and I said that it was handled very poorly. Doesn't matter to her that a prank caller brought about all this chaos, doesn't matter that the courts sided with the FLDS folks in some respects, she has them tried and convicted based on her education from the reports on CNN. I'm not saying the FLDS folks are innocent, but to allow the police to take these children and place them in foster care without credible evidence is an erosion of rights.

If that wasn't bad enough, then my husband's cousin had to chime in with snotty remarks about priests and abuse. Before my brain could over-rule my impulses with some shred of restraint, I was defending the Church. I didn't say the abuse didn't happen, but that abuse happens in all denominations and you never hear about it. Only the Catholic Church gets bashed.

I live in a bubble. Honest to goodness, a bubble. I know I wasn't catechized very well, but I think I saw just how ignorant people are about the Church and how hostile ordinary, every day folks are to it. With all the ecumenism we've been through in my lifetime, I don't think people have given the Catholic Church a "good going over" and looked at what She really stands for. If all they know is that the Pope has a neat voice and that priests are bad, then we've got more problems than ecumenism, we need to hire a PR guy.

23 May 2008

Memorial Day Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy

Since we will be gone for the weekend, here are some questions to keep you thinking:

Friday's Category: Cults and nut cases

Where did Jim Jones establish his People's Temple Church, and where did it come to a tragic end?

Saturday's Category: Sacred books

What is the Jewish prayer book containing both Hebrew and Aramaic prayers used in the Eastern European daily liturgy called?

Sunday's Category: Celebrity gossip

Where will Bishop Peter Christianson of the Diocese of Superior be celebrating the Feast of Corpus Christi this year? Hint: It's at the parish we attend while at the cabin and the parish that a cousin of mine (twice removed) used to be the pastor at years ago.

Monday's category: Statesmen

What soldier, politician and reputed (although I dispute it) relative of mine was instrumental in establishing Memorial Day?

Bonus or make up point:

What is a prie-dieu?

Demerits for using Google or other search engines! However, educated, and even not-so-educated, guesses are welcome!

St. Alex says, place your answer(s) in the form of a question in the combox, say an Our Father for the Feast of Corpus Christi and a prayer for a deceased loved one for Memorial Day, while you wait for the answer to be revealed.

Your humble prize for a correct answer(s) is the satisfaction of knowing you are a brainiac.

22 May 2008

Out and about in Pig's Eye

Seen on the bumper of a car in St. Paul (aka Pig's Eye for you out-of-towners) yesterday.

Get yours here.

New Evangelization results

A lady in our homeschool group sent this out, thought it was pretty interesting:

'Catholics Come Home': Bringing them Home to the Faith

Catholic News Agency

PHOENIX (CNA) - In less than three weeks, 3,000 Catholics returned to the Church in the Diocese of Phoenix due to the effort of a new lay apostolate, CatholicsComeHome.org.

The program consists of a website and commercials aired on local television that effectively portray the truth and goodness of the Catholic Church.

In an interview with CNA, Catholics Come Home, Inc. founder and president, Tom Peterson explained that the ads are designed to take people to the website, CatholicsComeHome.org, where they can find answers to questions about Church teachings, and also to put them into contact with their local parish to be led home, back to the Catholic Church.

Prior to founding Catholics Come Home, Peterson worked in advertising until he attended a retreat that completely changed his life. It was then that he knew God was calling him to use his advertising talents for evangelization.

Years later, he was contacted by the Diocese of Phoenix to help start a three-week campaign which was launched last month. In Phoenix, the commercials were aired on all major television networks and also ESPN, Lifetime, FOX News and others.

After the first commercial campaign, not only did the diocese report a marked increase in Mass attendance, but over “31,000 unique visitors came to the website from Phoenix and other US cities plus 60 foreign countries, with questions, to look up Mass times, to read information on marriage issues, to watch testimonies or to order Matthew Kelly’s book, ‘Rediscovering Catholicism.’”

The commercials aired on television are produced by CatholicsComeHome.org. Before airing the ads, two of the clips, “Epic”, and “Movie,” were shown to a focus group that consisted of former and practicing Catholics, non Catholic Christians, as well as those without any faith.

The feedback received from the group was outstanding. Seventy-eight of the 100 participants had positive responses to the ads. In another assessment, the organization found that before watching the videos, 90% of the participants had negative impressions of the Catholic Church. After viewing ads one time, 54% had a much more favorable impression. Hearts and minds were changed after viewing these creative and inspired ads.

* Link for the whole article

21 May 2008

In the name of blood

Gov. Pawlenty Protects Genetic Privacy Rights - Vetoes "DNA Warehouse" Bill
For me, I don't really care how you slice it, this is nefarious stuff and the arguments for this "DNA collection" are weak. Under the guise of "screening" newborns, who knows what the heck THE STATE wants to do with this information. This is not merely providing one piece of data, like your blood type or shoe size, it provides your entire genetic make up to the Health Department.

If this is in the name of screening newborns, well then screen right then and there in the hospital and dispose of the blood (hazardous waste) immediately, DON'T STORE IT so you can later come up with a bunch of ideas about what to do with the blood, many of which could entail uses we could only imagine.

The argument that this will slow tests or test development for rare diseases is fluff. Since when is the State in the business of doing this (I could be wrong here) but this is big pharm's ballywick or best left to the folks in a research department at the University. Do they really think we believe this isn't already being done or hasn't already been done?

One of the diseases they claim they want the DNA for is phenylketonuria, or PKU. A simple blood test already exists for PKU (and many other diseases), so what the heck are they wanting DNA for? Get the State out of the business of doing the private sector's job. Let these companies or universities do a study and collect blood from willing participants. Go get your own d*mn control group. What's the problem? Folks aren't so willing to hand over their kids' DNA to a bunch of strangers? Go figure.

What a bunch of crapola. Maybe we should start with DNA samples of all the members of the House and Senate, their spouses and children, then we can talk.

This issue was discussed in our homeschool group. I heard that the State was already doing this (collecting DNA) and was told to stop. I had my kids at St. Joe's and no one took their blood. Despite the drugs from the C-sections, I didn't allow my kids out of my presence or my husband's. They were never alone with any of the nurses, we didn't do any vaccinations or tests. The only test they received was a hearing test. Control freak that I am, it seems like a wise move in retrospect.

Goodness, can't even have a baby without worrying that someone is going to stick a needle in them in the name of science.

Thank you, Governor, for the veto.

At The Capitol / Newborn blood-storage bill vetoed
Pawlenty rejects 'opt out' provision in research program
By Jeremy Olson

Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed a bill Tuesday that called for broadening Minnesota's collection and storage of newborns' blood samples for the screening and study of rare diseases.

The end-of-session move by the governor is the latest step in a long-running debate over medical advancement versus privacy rights.

In a letter to legislative leaders, Pawlenty said he supports the collection of newborn blood samples, which are used initially to screen babies for more than 50 inherited and congenital disorders. But the bill would have required parents to specifically "opt out" of having their babies' blood samples stored by the state Health Department and used in medical research.

The governor wants parents to "opt in" by signing a consent form before the state can collect the blood samples for this purpose.

"Government handling and storage of genetic information is a serious matter," he said in the letter.

Current law already requires parents to opt out of the initial blood screening of their newborns. Pawlenty's decision doesn't change that.

Rep. Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said the veto undermines the program and defies a promise he said he obtained from Pawlenty two weeks ago that he would sign the bill if certain changes were made and if it got significant support in the House. It passed with 103 votes.

"The veto is yet another example of your breach of a personal commitment to legislators," Thissen wrote in a letter to Pawlenty.

The veto contradicts the governor's own Health Department, which has argued that it needs to collect as many blood samples as possible to identify and create tests for rare but serious newborn diseases, such as phenylketnonuria, or PKU, a metabolic disorder that can result in mental retardation if left untreated.
An opt-in policy for parents could reduce the number of samples collected by the state, said Mark McCann, program manager for the Health Department's newborn-screening program.

"Long term, it will probably slow down the ability to develop and implement new testing," he said.

McCann said Health Department officials would meet with the governor to discuss his concerns and also will seek legal guidance about requirements under the current law.

The department has continued to require parents to "opt out" of the storage and research of blood samples, despite criticisms from a privacy group and a ruling last year by an administrative law judge that sided against that practice.

The privacy group, Citizens' Council on Health Care, released a written statement accusing the Health Department of breaking state law since 2006 and demanding it change its practices.

"No more children should have their DNA and genetic code owned by the government, without their parents' written informed consent," said the council's Twila Brase.

This report contains information from the Associated Press.

* Kare-11's coverage
* Star-Tribune coverage
* Wired - Newborn Blood-Storage Law Stirs Fears of DNA Warehouse
* Citizen's Council on Health Care

Hump day meme

Via Karen who got it from Ukok.

It's Hump Day. Only a few more days until the weekend, yeah!!

Brother update: Finally got an e-mail from him. He's currently in Germany, heading to Kuwait in a few weeks then will be stationed along the Iraq-Jordan border. He's claims it's as safe as it gets there, but there's still a war going on. Please keep him in your prayers. Thanks.

But, since this is the first week in I can't remember how long that I don't have one single, solitary appointment/activity scheduled, I thought I'd coast along by doing a meme.


What time is your alarm clock set to?
I don't have an alarm clock. Throughout school and college, I didn't even use an alarm clock because I would always wake up at the right time. Now, I get woke up when my husband gets up (5:45am) and if, by chance, I fall back asleep on that rare occasion, my kids usually will make sure I'm awake by 7am.

What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?
Just like Karen said, their face. Bonus points if they have a head of moppy, black, curly hair (I have a thing for Italians).

Do you think people talk about you behind your back?
Always. I'm into paranoia and conspiracy theories.

What movie do you know every line to?
Uncle Buck

What is your favorite movie?
Uncle Buck, but really liked the recent BBC series of Jane Austen...even Sense and Sensibility with Hugh Grant...he's so not my type! Although Colin Firth, surprisingly, pulled off Mr. Darcy pretty well. Never thought he was leading man material, but my opinion has changed...just like Miss Bennett's!!!

Is anyone in love with you?
If not, he's putting up a good front

Do you eat breakfast daily?
I make sure my kids eat a good breakfast, but I don't usually. I've been trying to change that, that whole "lead by example" thing.

Do you sleep on your side, stomach or back?
I used to sleep on my back a lot, until I got pregnant, now it's on my side. I never was one to sleep on my stomach, can't stand it.

Who was the last person to make you mad?
I'm married with children, one of them is always seeing to it that I grow in the virtues of patience and humility.

Are you a lover or a fighter?
While I like to have my opinion/position known, I am more of a lover. Never sling any old transgressions back in my hubby's face and don't hold grudges, but I'm German/Irish, I have a temper! I get mad quick, but cool down fast too.

Are you a morning or evening person?
While I love to be up late at night, I also love to start my day early. I used to get to work very early so I could be done early and then have some chunk of the day to enjoy. Now, with kids, I don't have that choice, I get up early or they would tear the house down around me otherwise.

Are you a cuddler?
50-50, I have a huge problem with people breathing in my face, so "spooning" works. Yes, I have issues.

Are you a perfectionist?
Used to be. At least that's my new mantra. I'm recovering from my Type A/perfectionist tendencies. Kids will do that to you. I still am quite organized, but don't get as stressed out about things that don't go according to plan.

Have you ever written a poem?
Of course. Even some not required in school. Nothing since high school though.

Do you have more guy or girl friends?
Currently, now that I think of it, I have more girl friends. It used to be different, but that was primarily because I worked with men and that's who you kind of socialize with.

How many tickets have you gotten?
For a time when I lived in Seattle, I think I got pulled over at least a dozen times one summer. I really don't know why that was (speeding might've had something to do with it). However, I only got ONE ticket and that time I swear I wasn't speeding, at least not intentionally...I was going down a long, steep hill (it's Seattle, they've got lots of 'em) and I drive a stick-shift, so typically I coast down hills. Well, mean ol' cop had staked out this hill and gave me a ticket. I'm the one who drives in our house, so several times my husband was in the car and I still didn't get a ticket. Once when my father visited and we drove across WA to Spokane to visit a cousin, I got pulled over in the middle of no-where Washington. No ticket. And, you know what? I never carry my driver's license with me. Never. Oh, I have proof of insurance in the car since there's a law about that...can't break all the rules.

My ears are double pierced, but rarely do I wear any earrings.

Do you have a tattoo?
NO. My father had one of those old bluish ones on his forearm. He was in the Navy and I guess it was what they did when they had their equatorial baptism and became a shellback. His tattoo was of a ship (ancient mariner type thing) but it was so bad that I could never distinguish anything on it. Turned me off to tattoos forever. I think my dad regretted the hideous thing too, didn't suit him, but heck that's what all the guys did then, maybe after a few too many drinks.

Are you patient?
No. Getting better, but still have a long way to go.

Do you miss anyone right now?
Absolutely. I wish my kids could've met my parents, but think God has a purpose for them in Heaven, so am anxious to one day find out what that is. Hopefully, they are busy "preparing a place for me."

Tea or coffee?
Tea. I detest coffee. Never drink it. I love the smell of it, but can't stand the taste. I only drink tea if in Europe or sick or at a Chinese restaurant. I can't stand mocha flavored drinks or candy or ice cream or cakes or...

Regularly burn incense?
My father used to. I have bags of some of his really pricey stuff that I burn on occasion.

Ever been in love?
I'm an old married lady, what do I know of such things?

Best room for a fireplace?
Master bedroom or family room

What do you do when you’re sad or upset?
Sad? Get a little introspective
Upset? Raise my voice...a lot

Afraid of heights?
Never used to be, but as I've gotten older, things change. What I really dislike are bridges and people always thought I was nuts. Not so nuts now, am I?

Can you change the oil in your car?
Absolutely. I used to do it ALL the time. I was a poor college student, I did all the work on my cars, which entailed a great deal more than just changing oil. I've done more work on my car than my husband ever has!

Favorite flower?
As a gift from someone, roses. In my garden, Zebra Mallow (except it died since it's not really hardy here), and Bleeding Heart. I also like Lady's Mantle, but it only grows well at the cabin. I also like Lungworts, but they only grow well at the cabin too.

Favorite hangout?
I guess a bookstore, although I don't typically buy things, just browse

Middle name?

Most romantic sounding language?

Ever been overseas?
Yes. I've been to every continent except Antarctica. Love to travel and did a lot of it before we had kids. None since!

20 May 2008

Passive learners

This Memorial Day weekend ushers in another season of campfire discussions at our cabin. While I enjoy sitting around the fire and chatting, it never quite goes that way. Never has, never will.

Somehow the conversation always finds its way to politics. Unlike many people, I detest talking about politics. It's especially tiresome when the conversation never goes anywhere, nothing gets resolved. With hubby's family being on one end of the spectrum and us on the opposite, there isn't a middle ground. This was the same as it was over twenty years ago when we were first dating and it's the same today. I know the conversation is pointless, but for some reason, these folks want to rehash the same-'ol, same-'ol every weekend.

My husband listens to conservative talkshows, like Rush Limbaugh and CINO Sean Hannity. I would rather have a tooth extraction than listen to the bombast of Rush, even though I happen to agree with a good deal of what he says (as I mentioned, I don't listen to him so don't beat me up if the guy is advocating goofy things, I'm talking about agreeing on general conservative principles, but since I'm a Catholic, I diverge on some issues).

The campfire conversations go something like this.
"Oh, that Bush, he's so terrible."
"Why is he terrible?"
"Oh, I don't know, he's just terrible."
"But why?"
"Well, he's just after oil."
"How so?"
"He just is. And, making sure all his cronies get rich. I'm so tired of all these people getting rich."

Oh, and the latest...
"I'm voting for Hillary."
"Why is that?"
"I just think she'd do a better job than a man. Look at all the things that are wrong because we've had a man in charge all this time. A woman certainly couldn't do any worse."
"What is Hillary's platform?"
"I don't know, she just isn't a man."

20-plus years of this kind of stuff. I don't think I'd mind the conversation so much if everything wasn't so nebulous. It's all just sentiment they pick up from TV. Hillary and Obama blast Bush and the Republicans without really saying anything. There is nothing qualitative or quantitative to rebut, it's all just wordsmithing that's meant to sound like they've really said something. For 20 years, my MIL has been carrying on this conversation but has never really gotten to the meat and potatoes of why she disagrees with the conservatives. She just does. Period. Passive learning of things she's absorbed from watching snippets of politicos on the news. Superficial, unsubstantied.

Drilling in the ANWR is bad. Don't do it. But why? She couldn't tell you, but merely responds that it's bad. Bad, bad, bad. No matter the topic, her opinion is just the latest news bite from CNN.

If she really looked into politics, fairly and honestly, she would see that she is a huge conservative on many issues and is aligned so closely with Pat Buchanan that she would jump off a bridge if she found out. I've often contemplated printing a copy of Buchanan's column, cutting off the by-line and letting her read it. I don't want to open that Pandora's box since I don't know if she'd kill herself first or me.

Same goes for religion. Why does she believe what she does? It's all about feelings, just like so many songs of the 70s. If pressed, then the response is, "Well, you know so much about your religion that I don't want to argue about it." Huh? Isn't that like saying, "I'm ignorant about my beliefs, but don't rattle my cage, don't make me walk through things logically?"

My MIL has a favorable opinion about the Pope. When he was here, she watched the news coverage and she said she really liked his voice. Honestly, to me, that's one of the least attractive things about him, but she liked the Pope. I think a lot of it had to do with the surprisingly positive coverage the Pope enjoyed from the press. But, then she's hostile about the Church in general, because you know, that whole sex scandal stuff. I'm not diminishing the abuse, just noting that all her opinions are puppeting the pabulum she hears on TV.

Strangely enough, I had a lady, a Catholic psychologist, tell me that I should just let my husband and his family argue over politics. I should sit at the campfire with a glossy stare and a smile on my face, happy that everyone else is having a good time. Hmmmmm. I'm sorry, I thought the definition of insanity was to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome. They've been going down this road for over 20 years, slinging insults back and forth, always expecting that they'll convince the other side of their opinion, but I'm the one with the problem to tell them that politics isn't to be discussed around polite campfires?

Maybe if I put some rum in my Coke things would go better.

16 May 2008

Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy

Category: Politics

(Since we'll be gone for the weekend, I'm doing two questions just to keep you all on your toes.)

1. Which American political party called for immigration quotas against Roman Catholics?

2. Which American religious group was first to reject slavery?

Demerits for using Google or other search engines! However, educated, and even not-so-educated, guesses are welcome!

St. Alex says, place your answer(s) in the form of a question in the combox, say a Divine Mercy Chaplet (or at least an Our Father!) in preparation of the upcoming Feast of Corpus Christi, while you wait for the answer to be revealed.

Oh, and your prize for a correct answer(s) is the satisfaction of knowing you are a brainiac.


The news this morning is all agog about Obama calling a reporter, "Sweetie." They also showed tapes of him saying this frequently in the past. Maybe not the best habit to have, but definitely a stupid thing to do when you are running for President. For a cool customer, Obama sure knows how to step in it.

Personally, I don't have huge problem with men calling me sweetie or honey or snookums. It was more Obama's dismissiveness of the woman's question that was the rub. THAT would've been what irked me, not the name. I used to be the only woman in a group of men. One of only a few women in a huge department of men. If I would've taken offense at names like this, which were meant more as terms of endearment, I wouldn't have gained anyone's respect or support. Call me whatever name you want as long as it doesn't cloud the respect owed me as one of your coworkers. I think this is what some people have a problem with since they see it as disrespect.

Today everyone is hypersensitive, looking for how everyone else is out to dis them. However, there are some men of a different generation with different sensibilities. They still adhere to chivalry, hold doors for you, look out for you, even consider it their responsibility to protect you. God bless them.

My father was of this generation. He was charming and sweet. Definitely a "man's man," but he knew how to treat a lady. One day he went to Arby's. Yes, Arby's. When he got to the counter, he went to order his meal. He said to the girl behind the counter, in his carmel soft voice, "Honey, I would like a Number 5." Well, that didn't go over well with the nose-ringed and tattooed gal. She sniped back that, "No one calls me honey except my boyfriend."

To which my unflappable father replied, "Well, then, A**hole, I'd like a Number 5."

Yep, there are worse things than being called sweetie.

15 May 2008

Last to know

A tongue-in-cheek lament about being out of the loop

I don't know what it is, but I'm never in "the loop." The proverbial loop. Maybe there's a secret initiation that I missed or a blood test I failed, but I know less about what's going on in my own parish/family/neighborhood than just about any random person on the street.

A few years back, when the Father Altier saga was happening at my parish, I had to read Paul at Thoughts of a Regular Guy's blog to find out some of the dirt that was going on. His blog was the first blog I started to read with any regularity and is what kinda sorta got me started with my own blog. I then read some local blogs and figured if Terry could rant away on his blog, I could publicly whine away. The whole blogging thing is self-serving, but somewhat cathartic.

I do have a friend who is ascloseasthis with Father Altier, but I didn't want to ask her what was going on since her opinion would've been a bunch of vim and vinegar for the Archbishop. Sometimes, it is better not to know.

Anyway, I don't "get in close" with my parish priest, or the nuns or just about any body else in that capacity. My great-grandfather always told his nine girls (and one son, my grandfather) to stay away from priests. He probably had ulterior motives for that advice, but to his credit, none of his daughters ran off with Father Kinney. However, in that same fashion, the subsequent generations of my family didn't make it a practice to invite their priest over for dinner. Everything was strictly business.

At a parish function awhile back, a lady pointed out the sisters of the parish. She named a few of them, but couldn't recall all their names. She asked me who they were. I'm sorry, I have no clue. I know the parish used to have some Sisters of Notre Dame there, but that was decades ago. I couldn't tell you what order the sisters are from, how many there are in the parish and I sure couldn't tell you their names. I see them at Mass all the time, but that's the end of it. But, back to the story. Another lady, sitting on the other side of me heard this woman ask if I knew the names of the sisters and my pleading ignorance, so she filled me in on all of them. I even know Mother's shoe size now.

Kind of like a good friend of mine who often tells me that she corresponds with either 300 or 800 people all over the world. Honky dory, good for you. If that's what floats your boat, more power to you. However, this mom is too busy making sure I have diapers and wipes with me at all times and that my kids aren't making a get-away under the pews to care if Mother Superior is in the building or not.

Our neighbors are on every imaginable committee at the nearby parish. They look at us a little more than askance because we don't belong to this parish even though it's within walking distance. We drive a few miles across town so I don't have to take Communion from a high school kid wearing shorts and a Green Bay Packers polo shirt. If it was a Vikings polo, that would be different. And, all the neighbors whose kids attend this parish are as thick as thieves -- then there is moi, who is not in the loop.

I'm not knocking in any way, shape, or form, helping out at your parish, it's just the folks who want you to know that they know Father or Sister so-and-so or that they are on the Liturgical Dance Committee, that make me roll my eyes.

But, as the sage Martha Stewart always says, it's a good thing not to get caught up in all this. Just like it's also good not to get caught in tax evasion or insider trading.

(FYI: I heard a concert of Brahms this morning and obviously, it put my brain to sleep.)

[Photo: Möbius strip]

11 May 2008


I was listening to Father Corapi last night on EWTN. He was talking about the difference between tolerance and permissiveness. This is a huge topic in my family, and probably in most.

One of the things I've learned from my aunt is to be more tolerant, more charitable and less judgmental. When I was younger, I confused her kind heartedness with being permissive, but then again, I was exposed to my father's family that disowned members for not marrying their own kind. I don't mean of another religion, I mean a Scottish Catholic marrying a German Catholic. Das ist verboten, at least it was strictly verboten several generations ago and the sentiment is still found blooming in various branches of the family.

My aunt never married and always found a way to ease burdens in the family, whether it was a crisis brought about by divorce, death, illness, or even financial hardships, she was there full of compassion and without judgment. That isn't to say she tolerated bad behavior, because in her own understated way, she always let those she helped know where she stood on the issue at hand. Tough love, but always leading with the love.

Now that I've had to deal with several of these situations and have followed my aunt's advice each time, even though it was so hard to bite my tongue and be the one to offer the olive branch -- sometimes repeatedly -- I see that this is why my mother's side of the family is so close and cohesive. On the other side, my father's family is splintered and quick to ostracize. I have nearly 30 cousins on this side and am probably the only one who has a good relationship with all my aunts and uncles. This is not to say I am necessarily close with all of them, but at least we aren't sending hate mail to each other.

Then we get to my husband's family. We disagree strongly on so many issues: abortion, birth control, living together, etc. To them, my position is intolerant, but hold on a second. Like Father Corapi said, he's for 100% tolerance. We are all God's children. That doesn't mean I'm going to tolerate immoral behavior...that's not being tolerant, that's being permissive. Big difference.

Like Father Corapi said, I don't want to stand before God and explain to Him why one of my children is in hell because of my permissiveness. I don't think I'm permissive, God help me, but I know I'm growing in tolerance. Tolerance abides all that is good, but permissiveness condones actions that are evil, immoral and against natural law.

There are those today who want to cloud a multitude of issues with claims that to disagree with them is to be intolerant. I'm not intolerant, just not permissive and there is a huge difference between the two.

10 May 2008

Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy

Category: Church firsts

The first Catholic diocese in the New World was established in which country?

Demerits for using Google or other search engines! However, educated, and even not-so-educated, guesses are welcome!

St. Alex says, place your answer in the form of a question in the combox, say a Hail Mary and then call your earthly mother and wish her a Happy Mother's Day while you wait for the answer to be revealed.

09 May 2008

May Crowning

Today we are heading to the Little Sisters of the Poor for the May Crowning. The First Communicants are all dressing up in their finery and the rest of the kids, like mine, get to bring a flower up to Our Lady. My hubby, mother-in-law and aunt-in-law are all going too. I wonder how this is going to go.

I've never done this before. I'm a public school kid and didn't even think they did this in Catholic school any more (this is with our homeschool group). I know when my mom was a kid, this was the penultimate event of the school year, especially since all my aunts/uncles got this honor (I forget what the boys got if they were top in their class). When I wrote the family history for St. Pat's 150 anniversary, I HAD to include this tidbit, since it held more weight than if you had achieved the presidency. Rightly so, I guess.

But, before all that fun, I am going with my MIL and AIL to the Friends School Plant Sale at the State Fair Grandstand. If you haven't ever gone before, it is huge. Gigantic. Ginormous. We are leaving in a few minutes to get in line to get our wrist bands (at 9am) so we can get into the sale right as it opens at 11am. We race home from this event to get the kids spit polished for the Crowning.

Needless to say, I will be busy this weekend tearing out the garden on the west side of the house and replanting a brand spankin' new one. It used to be so shady on that side of the house (because our neighbors had a deck with a fence) that no grass grew. Then they remodeled and tore the monstrosity down and now the west side of the house is very sunny. Out go the zillion hostas and other shade plants (taking them to the cabin) and in go some happy sun plants. Funny, my husband said he hated the hostas, just hates hostas, until I said that I was going to rip 'em all out and then suddenly he came to their defense and said they weren't so bad.

I think he knows who will be doing all the plant removal. Wise man.

08 May 2008

Mid-life crisis

It's the beginning of the end

I'm beginning to get some grey hair. Well, that's not the exact truth. I'm far beyond beginning. Having kids, that's what did it to me. I'm glad I saved a cutting of my hair in it's glory days for my children before all this grey happened.

My aunts all have a cutting of my grandmother's hair. It's absolutely gorgeous, a deep auburn brown. I only ever remember my grandmother with grey hair all pulled up behind her head, but when I look in the envelope that holds her hair, it makes me remember how vibrant she was. Hopefully, the cutting I saved will bring back fond memories for my kids and they can remember me before I was all decrepit.

I used to be blond. Very blond, almost white. Then some weird genetics kicked in and I'm now dark brown with tones of red. Oh, and then there's the grey.

The mid-life crisis started two nights ago when we took the kids out for ice cream. As I was leaving the store with my daughter, a nice young gent held the door for us. I graciously thanked him and smiled my harried mom smile.

The next thing I know, the kid (yes, anyone of his generation is now a kid in my eyes!) is commenting on my sweat shirt. A University of St. Thomas sweat shirt. But, he doesn't ask me if I went there. No, no, no. He asks me if I have a kid going to St. Thomas. WHAT?!!! He thinks I'm old enough to have a kid in college? How old does he think I am?

Did I mention I also have wrinkles?

07 May 2008

Hump day mindless wanderings

Time to lighten things up with some of those quizzes. As long as I was reminiscing about living in Seattle ten years ago, this quiz is apropos.

You've Changed 44% in 10 Years

You've done a good job changing with the times, but deep down, you're still the same person.

You're clothes, job, and friends may have changed some - but it hasn't changed you.

I always thought I should've been born in the 50s, and would've been if my parents had gotten married instead of dated for TEN years.

You Belong in 1950

You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!

Sure enough, I changed a few of my answers and now I'm a child of the 80s, which is the generation I identify with most, at least some days :)

You Belong in 1987

Wild, over the top, and just a little bit cheesy. You're colorful at night - and successful during the day.

06 May 2008

Live without a net

I lived in Seattle for nearly ten years. I've been back in Minnesota for almost that long. Hard to believe so much time has got behind me. In fact, today is my 19th wedding anniversary. Although it does seem like I've been married awhile, it certainly doesn't seem like that long.

It was shortly after I moved back from Seattle that I started to actually see how there was an under current to my life. A plan not of my own doing. We hadn't anticipated remaining in Seattle for so long, but the engineering job market had cooled a little and because my husband didn't have a lot of experience in his field, we were lucky to have a good job and a roof over our heads, so we remained pat.

Moving away from my father and my large extended family was hard, but in retrospect, I needed the distance to just be me instead of a perpetual caretaker. I also needed some time to see my mother's family for the wonderful souls they are and not fault them for not living up to my expectations of how and what they should've done when my mother was sick for all those years. Although I was incredibly homesick for the first year and grieved at the loss of my mom, time and distance worked wonders.

Finally, after almost ten years, the opportunity to move back to MN arose. Hubby moved back to MN first and stayed with my father while I stayed in Seattle another nine months to complete a project at work and to get the house ready to sell. Upon moving back, I took a year off and spent time with my father and completed a huge genealogy project with my aunt. It was a very blessed time, but I didn't quite see God's hand in all of it at this point.

I had always been close to my father, but in the year I had off, we went to breakfast once a week and I saw him every day on the weekend. I talked to him every day on the phone, sometimes it was several calls a day, just to share things that had come up.

My husband was wonderful to allow me this time to get reacquainted with my dad, but after a year, it was time to start looking for work. I hadn't been back to work at my new job more than a few weeks when I found out my father was terminally ill. Unlike with my mother, the prognosis was not good and he was only given a few months to live. Turned out he only had a few weeks. I took a leave from my job to move my dad in with us and care for him. He was only at our home a week before he passed away while holding my hand. I was so blessed to have had that time with him. So incredibly blessed.

It was at this point that I could see how all the dominoes had fallen into place. How God had some how wrenched me from my life in Seattle and brought me home to provide me with an uninterrupted year with my father. But, God had only just begun to grab me by the scruff of the neck. There was much more to come.

After nearly 15 years of marriage, we had a baby. And, then another one. Huge sweeping changes happened in my life and I was no longer steering the ship. Maybe some day I'll write more in detail about this chapter, but at least at this point, I had learned to just let go and hold on for the ride.

Now, it's happening again. Or continuing to happen. I had been a happy girl in Seattle. Good job, friends, no oppressive snow, in control of things which suited my Type A personality perfectly. I was in control. Now I'm so far outside my comfort zone I can't even tell you how chaotic the past five years have been. When we were going through the pre-marriage talks with Father Ince, I was very open and clear that I had no maternal feelings at all. I had no desire to have children. It's not that I wanted a career, since I had none at the time and I'm just not that ambitious! It was just that most friends I knew wanted to get married and have kids. They would've had the kids first if it hadn't been frowned upon. Not me. I just could never picture myself with kids. Ever, never. I wasn't going to use artificial contraception, but I just wasn't mom material. Open to life, just not ever expecting God would turn my heart and make me yearn for a baby. I actually sought out several priests for instruction on this because all Father Ince provided for advice was, "Have two (kids) and then decide if you want any." Not very helpful when I was agonizing over this dilemma.

Well, now I have two kids and I'm not sure where I'm heading. I can see some ground work being laid and will just go down the path where ever it leads. I don't have a road map or even any road signs, but off we go.

Prayer of St. Patrick
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, and in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

05 May 2008

War of the worlds

Hold on to your hats, I actually went to a movie this weekend! I cannot even remember the last time I saw a movie since I just can't sit still in a movie theatre for that long. It could be Type A personality disorder rearing it's ugly head or maybe I have attention deficit disorder...or maybe most movies are just boring. There, I said it.

I went with a couple other moms to see the movie Expelled, not like the rest of my countrymen who were tripping over themselves to see Iron Man. I'm so not cool. There was a prior chance to see the movie, I guess it was a free advanced screening, but it happened to be on Holy Thursday of all days. That didn't work. Finally got to see it over the weekend.

NB: I'm doing a movie review here, folks, my intention is NOT to debate this topic so take it outside to another blog. I will say this however. Most people reading my blog know that my background is in science, chemical engineering. I worked in a research capacity in this field. That being said, I am a Catholic, I believe God created the world. But, the idea of evolution does not jar my belief in God as He is the Uncaused Cause that brought everything about. Darwinism stops at the feet of God, but fails to look up and see the Creator.

The movie is Ben Stein's platform, in documentary format, to illuminate how some scientists are being silenced in academia for their beliefs in Intelligent Design (which is not equivalent to Creationism). Not even a belief in God or any type of God, mind you, but for the pure mention of the idea of Intelligent Design sans any notion of the Judea-Christian God or even any other known deity.

I found a review online (I had checked with scificatholic.com, but no review, what's da matter, eh?) Here are some snippets from Hot Air's review, that saved me a great deal of typing and I can comment ala Father Z style, emphasis and comments are mine.

The documentary features Ben Stein on a quest to understand the near-hysteria (a wee bit strong IMHO) caused by scientists who so much as broach the idea of intelligent design in papers or in research. It follows Stein as he interviews professors denied tenure, editors fired, and journalists shunned for touching the subject even at its most innocuous levels.

Rationally, we have to admit that some use ID as an excuse to teach the more literal form of Creationism that has been used to argue against evolution entirely, especially against teaching evolution in primary-school classrooms. That admission does not appear in Expelled, which is a glaring omission (the film was talking about ID, not Creationism and was dealing with academic freedom, so this issue would've been good to mention, but is the subject of another movie...and I do believe this point was made by the Darwinists as they dismissed ID out of hand as Creationism). It tends to take out of context the frustration some scientists have about ID, and its place in polarizing the debate over its use. Properly framed, ID accepts all of the science without accepting its transformation into its own belief system.

What do I mean by that? In this, the film does an excellent job of demonstrating atheism as a belief system. Atheism as represented by Richard Dawkins and others in this film gets exposed as exactly the kind of belief system they claim to despise (exactly -- they truly do despise a belief in any God). They can’t prove God exists — and they can’t prove God doesn’t exist. They make the common fallacy of arguing that absence of evidence amounts to evidence of absence.

But in a way, this is all secondary to the real issue of the film: academic intolerance. The debate over ID vs Darwinism sets the table for a truly disturbing look at academia. Science should be about the free debate and research of ideas and hypotheses for duplicable results and provable theorems. However, as the examples Stein and the film provide amply show, the Darwinist academic establishment will brook no dissent from the orthodoxy — and scientists have to be shown with hidden faces to speak to the issue for the film (the entire argument of God and evolution aside, the intolerance in this arena is staggering).

Amusingly, Stein asks people how the first cell came to be. None of the scientists could give him a straight answer. Dawkins himself admits he doesn’t know and that no one else does, either — but postulates that aliens could have brought life to this planet, and then postulates that another alien civilization could have brought life to that planet, and so on. He then concedes that one entity could have been the original source … but insists that entity could not possibly have been God. For this he gives absolutely no evidence at all, relegating it as a belief system somewhat akin to Scientology.

All of this is extremely effective, as are the many allusions made to the Berlin Wall during the film (OK, here's where I thought it got a little tiresome. Stein is Jewish and understandably we can see his concerns, but the Nazi stuff was a bit overplayed. They did tie this in with eugenics, but only made topical mention of Margaret Sanger and her direct influence of the Nazi "eugenics" machine.) The theme runs throughout, and it explicitly refers to the defensive academic establishment as having built a wall that tramples on freedom of thought and discourse. Less effective is the heavy references to the Nazis in the movie. Although emotionally affecting for some obvious reasons, the fact is that while the Nazis were mostly Darwinists (along with a lot of other things), the vast majority of Darwinists aren’t Nazis. Certainly the eugenicists in Nazi Germany were mightily influenced by Darwinism, but America had its own eugenicists, which the film points out (albeit briefly).

Overall, though, the film presents a powerful argument not for intelligent design as much as for the freedom of scientific inquiry. If scientists get punished for challenging orthodoxy, we will not expand our learning but ossify it in concrete. Expelled: The Movie is entertaining, maddening, funny, and provocative, and well worth your time.

* Complete Hot air review with dozens of comments debating this topic...if you're so inclined

03 May 2008

Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy

Category: Fashion

What was unusual about the tunic that Jesus wore during His Passion? (No, it wasn't tie-dyed)

St. Alex says, place your answer in the form of a question in the combox and say a Memorare until the solution is revealed. Or, better yet, work on the novena Vincenzo has on his blog.

02 May 2008

Kneeler conventional wisdom

Haven't had much chance to think lately with all that's been going on except for some scattered thoughts -- just like the Conventional Wisdom Watch column in Newsweek.

The Holy Father's Visit
Thumbs up
Press seemed to skip much of the expected negative reporting. Re-energized many American Catholics. Viva la Papa!! Now, come to the Midwest.

Al Franken
Thumbs down
Thin-skinned Harvard grad can't even figure out how to pay incomes taxes in 17 states and we're supposed to elect him as our senator. Minnesotans can't figure Al out.

Thumbs up
All over Europe, but Americans slow to warm to them. Why aren't the greenies jumping on this fuel and time saving idea?

Bridge problems and closings
Thumbs down
Knee-jerk reaction to condition of other bridges in light of 35W bridge collapse deserves a big slap on the hand. If these bridges are a crisis now, they certainly were a problem before. Deal with it, boys.

Thumbs down
Minnesota really is becoming a two-season state...road construction and snow plowing. Think spring.

City of Minneapolis
Thumbs down
What are they thinking putting the squeeze on Sharing and Caring Hands? Don't bite the hand that feeds.

Thumbs up
Father John Bauer's Thanksgiving Mass was beautiful. These new priests are amazing. Our seminary rocks.

American Idol
Thumbs down
Seriously, do we really care? Rigged, pre-planned, staged or whatever, I think I'd rather have a lobotomy.

UST Law School Dean
Thumbs up
Gives Planned Parenthood volunteer the smack-down. Who'da thunk the law school had some semblance of orthodoxy. Pleasant surprise.

MN third in drunk driving, WI first
Thumbs down
I do think I'm related to these people. Lock 'em up the first time. Throw away the key.

Changing of the guard
Thumbs up
Archbishop Flynn retiring with a list of pros and cons. Thank you, Archbishop, for leading your sheep even though I didn't agree with you at times. Welcome, Archbishop Nienstedt, you've got some work to do.

It's not homeschooling

Spent some time with my husband's aunt this morning. Why the subject of homeschooling came up, I don't know, but there it was. I got the preamble of, "I understand homeschooling and why some parents do it, BUT...."

Hubby's aunt used to work in a school, specifically in the alternative ed program where many of the kids are discipline problems or don't function well in the confines of a typical school setting. So, we know her perspective on things.

She was telling me about a mom whose son was failing even in the alternative ed program and she pulled him out of school to "homeschool" him.


For the next five minutes I heard the horrors of what this mother was doing..."I KNOW she is doing his homework for him." Well, folks, this IS NOT HOMESCHOOLING. Pulling a kid out of school for discipline issues or whatever garden variety bad behavior situation they may be in and letting the kid lounge around the house under the GUISE of homeschooling is not homeschooling and totally denigrates what serious homeschooling families do every day. They are not the same any more than getting your diploma out of a Cracker Jack box is similar to a university degree.

Homeschooling in this case is just a smoke-screen for a much larger issue, which many times is a dysfunctional family situation. My husband's cousin pulled their two delinquent daughters out of school (rather than having them kicked out) and said they would "homeschool" the girls. Yep, mom and dad both worked full-time while the teenagers were left at home alone all day. Bet they did an enormous amount of studying.

But, what do I hear about when the topic of homeschooling comes up? Nothing about the homeschooled kids who are academically kicking butt, instead it's the same snarky litany of abuses that some how gets grouped in with the people who are really doing an outstanding job of teaching their kids. Not just teaching academics, but morals, manners, social mores, discipline, virtues, you name it.

I just kept repeating to hubby's aunt that what these people were doing is not homeschooling. It's not homeschooling. If these people think they are "getting away" with something by bucking the system, the only thing they are really managing to do is academically short-change their own children. As Dr. Ray says, it's a tough world out there and what lessons these kids don't learn as adolescents will be dispassionately, and even harshly, taught to them by future employers, or law enforcement, or judges, or even criminals that have less of a sense of right or wrong than they do.

01 May 2008


Sorry I've been scarce lately. I've just been so busy that I can't get it all done...or even think of blogging. We were going to go to the cabin this weekend, but decided not to. Just too much going on. Next weekend should be better.

April has just been so busy, with the last three weeks with at least two appointments/events/activities every day. This week, I thought it would be a little less hectic until a kindly homeschool mom shared that there was going to be a huge garage sale for kids stuff this weekend where you could consign clothes. I got the e-mail late Monday and I was off like a Tasmanian devil trying to gather all the junk in my basement, sort all the stuff, enter all my items into their online inventory system, make labels as per strict sale instructions (white card stock ONLY!!), pin said labels on every item, sort every item by size, and make super darn sure there were no stains, rips, tears or missing pieces. I'm consigning nearly 200 items, so it is a LOT of work.

This is kid stuff we are talking about, the only time it is in perfect condition is before you bring it home. Sooooo, a lot of the stuff got sorted back into a bin to donate to my favorite place that doesn't care if I have a microscopic spot on a pair of pants or if they aren't a brand name.

Now my house is a complete disaster with all this stuff laying out in neat piles with the tags expertly attached. I have to haul the stuff to the Washington County Fair Grounds tomorrow and drop it off. This is the first time I've done this, so we'll see how it goes. I think some of my stuff will be rejected because it's not strictly spring/summer. Oh well, I'll save it for the next sale...if this one doesn't kill me first.

At least it was the last day of bible study for the season. I don't know if I could've handled another week. 28 weeks is just too long...it's practically two semesters worth of class.

If I just make it through tomorrow things should be better...until next Friday when there is the Friend's Plant Sale AND the May Crowning at the Little Sisters of the Poor. Not to mention that my aunt's neighbor is having her annual garage sale which I always attend and I even sell some of my items at. How did I ever get so busy?