I know I should pray when I first wake up. The Good Sisters tried to pound that into our hearts and souls in grammar school. Instead, I checked the weather and the news headlines.
The weather is the only good news.
There was a line about Sr. Carol Keehan of the Catholic Health Association supporting the Senate version of the Healthcare bill. I had to search to find a complete article: Catholic Health Group Accepts Abortion Language in Reform Bill.
From the article: "She "has a major concern on life issues" about the bill, she said, and believes they will require monitoring should the bill become law. But she believes the concerns are adequately addressed by the mechanism to keep abortion coverage apart from the government-regulated health care markets."
For Sr. Keehan, the imperative to provide health care coverage is greater than protecting the lives of fetuses. She thinks this bill will do that--or at least start: "As I watched our president present his plan to pass the health reform legislation, it was clear this is an historic opportunity to make great improvements in the lives of so many Americans," Keehan said in her statement. "Is it perfect? No. Does it cover everyone? No. But is it a major first step? Yes."
Sr. Keehan now gives cover to all the wavering pro-life Democrat Representatives. "Look, a sister in the Catholic Church approves! The bill must be okay!"
I'm concerned and worried and feeling powerless--what can I, a single individual do? I can pray. It may be too late for a novena, but it's never too late for prayer and fasting. I will be praying that Congress listen closely to their consciences and follow God's Will in their voting. And I will pray that I can accept God's Will in my life as well.
"Not my will, but Thy Will be done."
Who knew that Faith would be challenged in such a way? Almost makes facing lions in the Colosseum in Rome seem easier. :)
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
I know I should pray when I first wake up. The Good Sisters tried to pound that into our hearts and souls in grammar school. Instead, I checked the weather and the news headlines.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Hubs is really, truly worried about the direction the U.S. is taking, especially the Health Care Bill.
"Is the President stupid?" he fumes. (About Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid, he has no doubt--they are stupid.) "How can you not be upset about this?"
"Faith," I answer. "I pray and I trust in God."
I'm not being flippant. I lived through the 1970's and saw The Silent Majority being shouted down--by many of the same people who are bringing us the health care bill. I heard the pundits proclaim the end of The American Dream, that the world would run out of food, potable water, fuel, and fauna. The world was becoming Trantor--a completely built up world where the citizens never saw the open sky or grass or trees.
And I noticed it didn't happen. Hubs and I were able to find jobs, buy our own house, raise our kids. Our grocery stores and warehouse stores a full of food--and not just the foods of my childhood, but foods from other countries: my children eat bread, naan, pitas, and tortillas and don't think it's unusual. (On the other hand, I remember when I had my first souvlaki. I was 19 and in Berkeley.)
Back in the 1970's, computers took up entire rooms and didn't have the processing power of the machine that sits on my lap. My smartphone has more memory than my first computer.
I don't know what God has in store for us. I'm not sure what lessons He wants us to learn. Maybe the lesson is that we should appreciate the gifts we have received, that freedom and responsibility go hand-in-hand. Or a very basic lesson: people tend to value what they have paid a price for, whether it be in actual dollars or suffering, or personal effort (Churchill's "blood, toil, sweat, and tears").
Sunday, March 07, 2010
Sara is only 20 and has Crohn's Disease. It's progressed to a stage where she has to have major surgery, removing most of her intestine. Please pray that surgery will go well and that Sara will be able to have a full and fulfilling life.
Yesterday, while DD#2 was looking for a birthday present for a friend, I perused the Recent Fiction shelves in my local Big Chain Bookstore. The novel I began skimming was definitely a "women's lit" novel: the protagonist is a single mom of teenaged daughter. Mom has an Important, Demanding, and Responsible career that puts her in the public spotlight--and, therefore, the public microscope--of her small town. Mom's friends are the mothers of her daughter's best friends.
Not only does Mom have a career, she is an entrepreneur and is building a business with the other moms. Their business is based on their hobby. It's not something simple, like scrapbooking or cooking or buying & selling on eBay. These women dye their own yarn. I'm not sure if they also shear the sheep, card the wool, and spin it--I was just skimming through the chapters.
Oh, and Mom is also an artist. When she can't sleep (which is always, apparently), she opens her sketchbook and grabs her pastels conveniently kept on an uncluttered table.
Her daughter is also smart and talented and an overachiever--and it's the daughter's fall from grace and how it impacts Mom that is the plot of the book.
The title of this book doesn't really matter--it's the females characters I am interested in. Mom is definitely a Superwoman and her friends aren't far behind. That they have enough time and energy to invest in a labor-intensive hobby and have outside full-time careers and be compassionate, caring mothers and wives (or lovers) amazes me. Their support system seems to be each other (Sisterhood Unite!).
Sadly, this isn't the only book that seems to feature impossibly talented, creative women in a tough situation who depend on Love to get them through. In The Time Traveler's Wife, the heroine is not just an artist--she makes her own paper. In The Secret Life of Bees, the middle sister is an accomplished cellist, the youngest is an amazing cook, and the oldest makes superlative honey and candles. The heroine in The Mermaid's Chair is also an artist: she makes shadow boxes and paints. I don't read a lot of "chick lit" or "women's lit," so there may be other examples I've missed (I don't remember if the mother in The Deep End of the Ocean was a Superwoman or not.)
Meanwhile, my friends and I stumble through life. We yell at our children to pick up their rooms, do their chores. We run into the store to buy milk and orange juice and bread. Our husbands alternately delight and frustrate us. Between our families and our paying jobs we don't have time to turn our hobbies into paying enterprises. We're lucky we have time for those hobbies.
I'm lucky if I have a horizontal surface that's not covered in the flotsam and jetsam of everyday life! (If you're looking for something, chances are it's on or under the dining table.)
Is the message these Superwoman sending any less detrimental than the message of the 1950's where every woman was supposed to excel at homemaking and child-rearing? Why can't we admit there are dust bunnies under our couches and dirty dishes in our sinks? That our jobs aren't always emotionally and spiritually fulfilling, that sometimes we don't want to be Mom or Wife--we just want to veg in front of the TV with a glass of wine? And we want to do that especially when our world is falling apart!
Friday, March 05, 2010
I've been receiving a lot of comments lately: "You look good!" "Look at your hair!"
It's been one year since I started chemotherapy for breast cancer. And my hair has come back: salt-and-pepper gray, thick, and wavy. The wavy part intrigues me as for most of my life my hair was straight. I'm wondering if the curls will stay once I get a haircut.
And I do need to get my hair cut. At least, styled.
But I have enough hair that I no longer wear a hat indoors, although I still do outside because it's cold. (I always have, so this is not new.)
"How are you feeling?" is the other question. That one is harder to answer.
Most of the time I feel pretty good. Unless I have a Herceptin treatment, I'm back at work full time. I'm back at the Y, doing aqua aerobics and aqua jogging three or four times a week. My Girl Scout troop is active--we've got booth sales scheduled the next two Saturdays for Girl Scout cookies. The next round for the Berkeley-Sakai Girl Scout Exchange is beginning. There's the Coolbrith Circle and the Rubber Stamping Group--and so far I've managed to get cards made for birthdays and anniversaries done on time.
And then I come home and collapse.
I don't want to think about grocery shopping. Or dinner. Staying up past 9:00 p.m. is unusual--but then, I'm up at 5:00 a.m. most days. (It's a shower schedule thing.)
The question lingers...is the cancer gone? My mammogram in December was clear. I am choosing to act as though there are no rogue cells floating around my body.
I feel very lucky. My cancer was caught early, I was treated immediately, the team has been competent, professional, and warm, and the side-effects were well-managed and transitory. My kids were old enough to be pretty independent and to help out. Hubs has excellent insurance and a great work schedule. My company has been equally accommodating, letting me work from home or with a reduced schedule.
So last weekend I was at a party and cut loose. There were some long-time acquaintances who had never seen that side of me. There were others who suspected there was a crude and rowdy nature carefully constrained behind the conservative suits and heels. Felt good to let her out, although I wasn't planning on it.
I am amazed at the outpouring of love and support I received, not only from family and friends, but from casual acquaintances, relative strangers. I'm part of a Divine Mercy list and we're praying for people all over the world. We call ourselves "prayer warriors" and we're effective--not always at changing the outcome, but at ensuring that those we pray for know the strength of God's love.
Thank you to those of you who have been following along and praying for (and with!) me. Your support has made a difference.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
It has occurred to me that I haven't reviewed a movie or a book in a long while.
Right now we're in the pre-Oscar movie drought. All the blockbuster and "important" films were released in December; now we have the studio backlog of films that will be forgotten by next year's Oscar season. Hubs and I have caught up with some films at home On Demand, and a couple of them were good.
As for reading, I'm about a third of the way through a biography of Bruno Bettelheim, which covered his early life, including his incarceration in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. He's divorced from his first wife, is establishing himself at the University of Chicago, and has married his second wife. There's an interesting discussion of what it meant to be a secular Jew in Austria during the 1920's & 1930's that I found interesting because, of course, it affected Dr. Bettelheim's outlook on life and, therefore, his philosophy and methodology. I'm also reading San Francisco Noir, a collection of short stories set in--where else?--San Francisco and the Bay Area. Kind of Dashiell Hammett with dames, booze, and guns stuff.
But, truly, I'm waiting for How to Train Your Dragon. I mean, dragons and Vikings and 11th Century geeks--how cool is that?
This one is for a colleague (Debbie Z.) at work who is undergoing numerous medical tests because her doctors and specialists can't figure out what is wrong. Kind of like an episode of House, except its happening for real.
Her spirits are holding up; she is able to work from home, which helps keep her from self-pity. Still, she is getting tired of it all and wants it to be Over. Please pray that she is able to maintain strength of spirit and that the doctors find out what's going on sooner rather than later.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Back when Cardinal Timothy Dolan was Archbishop of Milwaukee, he had a series on EWTN of weekly reflections for Advent and for Lent (there may be more--so far these are the only two I've seen). For Advent, he chose the Blessed Mother--okay, that one's obvious.
For Lent, he chose St. Peter.
My parish is sponsoring the series and last night was the first one. I've always been fond of St. Peter--as one of the participants pointed out, he's the most human of the Apostles, yet he's the one to whom Christ entrusted His Church.
Cardinal Dolan started with the story of Peter walking across the water to Christ. But Peter becomes distracted by the wind and the waves and sinks. Jesus rescues him and chides him for having so little faith.
The lesson for us is that we, too, are beckoned by Christ to come to Him. But we become distracted by the wind and the waves in our lives and lose our focus. Lent is our opportunity to identify those winds and those waves that distract us. And Lent is the time for us to focus on the sanctifying grace--the presence of the Trinity--that resides in our soul. Cardinal Dolan gave some great examples of prayer, not elaborate, but short sentences that his second grade teacher (Sr. Mary Bosco--great name!) taught him: dedicate your morning to God, offer any challenge during the day to Him, and apologize for offending Him at night.
Okay, Cardinal Dolan--and Sr. Mary Bosco--was much more eloquent.
The session, including small group discussion, was only an hour. I'm planning to attend all six in hopes that I can keep my focus.
Hi, my name is March Hare and I'm an Olympic junkie.
I never watch ice skating, ice dancing, ski jumping, speed skating, aerials, or bobsledding during the regular winter season. But put up five rings and a flame and I Am There.
While Al Michaels and Cris Collingsworth are not Jim McKay, I don't care. I'll listen to them anyway. I like hearing all the technical details about sports I know nothing about--what the judges are looking for, how the physics works, the strategies involved. I love the human interest stories: how the athletes got to the top of the mountain, the obstacles they overcame merely to compete on the ice, on the track, in the snow.
I enjoy cheering for my country. But I also enjoy watching the underdog win (Go Canada! Go Jamaica! Go Finland!), watching how, in a split-second, hopes for a gold can turn into a major wipeout.
Fie, however, on NBC, who decided to show the Olympics on tape delay on the West Coast. Vancouver is in the Pacific Time Zone, folks. And it's disconcerting to watch competition happening in the sunshine when it's dark outside here. Not to mention that I know the results of the events before watching the competition, thanks to the Internet.
No matter. I'm glued to my set, staying up way past my bedtime just so I can watch. Life will return to normal soon enough.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The post title is courtesy of DD#2 who asked, a couple of years ago now, if we were have cheese tortellini to celebrate Ash Wednesday. Apparently serving cheese tortellini on Ash Wednesday had become a tradition--without my being aware of it.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I had a MUGA test this morning followed by a Herceptin treatment, so I was going to be a good girl and work from home this afternoon.
That was before DD#2 woke up sick this morning. Actually, she's been in her room, working on a project for the "Me & My Guy" Sweetheart Ball that our Girl Scout Association/Service Unit is holding this weekend. Still, I needed to help her find the pieces of the project, which meant I had to remember which pieces were in which tote bag. Fortunately, the bags are underneath the horizontal filing cabinet (also known as the dining room table).
DS#2 just came in. He and a friend were going to practice driving a stickshift, using the truck. However, the key is now stuck in the ignition. He asked if I knew where the WD-40 was. To our mutual surprise, we had some and it was where I suspected it would be.
I am currently sitting on the couch with a cup of tea, listening to classical music. My keyboard for my Tablet PC is on my lap, with the monitor/CPU carefully balanced on brackets on the keyboard. Two of the cats are helping me by laying across my arms while I try to type. One of them is nuzzling the crook of my elbow and kneading it, trying to nurse. Yet, it could be worse: one of the cats like sit on the back of the couch and chew my hair. Although my hair is growing in fairly quickly and thickly, I still would prefer it to remain on my head.
Well--I did check my voicemail and most of my e-mail messages. I flagged the issues to deal with tomorrow, when I'm in my own cat-and-child-free office.
Monday, February 08, 2010
Okay, apparently for the second half.
On Friday, I trained customers located in Baton Rouge who said between Mardi Gras and the Saints just being in the Super Bowl, the area was nuts. "Imagine if they win!" they said. "The nation won't see anything like the party that will happen!"
So to those in Louisiana: no, it's not a dream; yes, it is real; of course you drank too much; I imagine your boss will be calling in "sick," too.
(I'm sure glad training wasn't scheduled for today!)
Thursday, February 04, 2010
Or something like that. Unless you believe that everyone has a right to free-fettered sex with anyone, anytime, no matter what the cost.
Not only did Pam Tebow chose not to abort her son, Tim; Tim is a virgin and proud of it.
Well, well, well. Lucky for him he's an outstanding football player. (Remember the time in the not so distant past when athletes were encouraged to abstain from sexual activity before a game on the theory that sex depleted their energy?)
Bookworm finds Tim's virginity refreshing and hopes that her daughter dates someone with the same values. At 23 and 16, my daughters are of dating age--and I hope they bring home someone like Tim, too! :)
So Time comes out as a virgin and respecter (respector?) of women and The Washington Post reluctantly reports that "Abstinence programs might work" in preventing teen pregnancies. Hmmm.
But mental and physical health aside, there's another reason to encourage teens and young adults to abstain from non-marital sexual intercourse: practice.
We encourage our children to practice a lot of things with the advice that they'll need it when they're older. Kids shoot hoops for hours, do wind sprints, throw footballs and baseballs at targets, write reports, do problems. Why shouldn't we use the same argument for abstinence? I don't know of many marriages where a partner has been available sexually 24/7/365. Life intereferes: business travel, pregnancy (and post-partum), serious illness. Had some famous men practiced sexual abstinence as teens and young adults, their marriages might not have fallen apart so spectacularly and so publicly.
In fact, John McCain admitted--and accepted responsibility for--the breakup of his first marriage due to his acting like a randy 25-year-old out to score rather than a mature husband and father. (One of the many things I admire about Senator McCain, BTW.)
Abstinence not only prevents unwanted pregnancies and STDs, it also keeps your name out of the front page when you're famous. Perhaps that's a message that's more understandable!
First it was Lennart Nilsson with his beautiful intrauterine photographs documenting the development of the fetus into a baby in A Child Is Born.
Monti and Laureys said it is not clear whether such patients have the mental capacity to answer more important but complicated questions, such as whether they wish to go on living.
"I'm trying to figure out what is the best way to tackle this," Laureys said.
Both articles stress that the responsive patients suffered traumatic brain injury, rather than oxygen deprivation, which is what caused Terri Schiavo's brain injury.
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
I discovered her stories in the pages of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. My favorites were those of "The Company," a group of immortals sent back in the past charged with locating and hiding artifacts to be "discovered" in the future they could not return to.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
This request is for Jeanine and Jeff. Jeanine has just been diagnosed with Stage II invasive breast cancer. They have two boys, ages 4 and 18 months. Jeanine felt a lump but since she was nursing her youngest, she thought it was a plugged milk duct. However, she was suffering from back pain, so went to the doctor. A core biopsy revealed the cancer.
Our workhorse desktop PC, nicknamed Hermes, froze up several weeks ago. I called our local neighborhood geek (who I know through--what else?--Girl Scouts, thanks to his mom, his sisters, and his wife), who worked very hard to repair it and save all the pictures and files.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
In 2003, Thomas Sowell wrote an essay, Two Earthquakes and Their Results Under Different Social Systems. Dr. Sowell compared the results of two earthquakes of similar intensity in California (6.5) and in Iran (6.6). The death toll in California was minimal; the death toll in Iran was in the tens of thousands.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
For the repose of the soul of Mr. K., the father of my BFF, and for the solace of his family. Unlike some of the others who have passed, Mr. K. lived a long and full life. I spent a lot of time during my junior high and high school years at the K's house and he was always gracious and funny in a way much different than my father--which gave me the important insight that not all men were like my dad. :)
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
An interesting discussion is going on between two of my favorite bloggers: The Anchoress and Bookworm Room. Book noted earlier how she came to change her views on abortion and how we, as a nation and a society, need to have an honest discussion about abortion.
Friday, January 08, 2010
At the end of last night's game between Alabama and Texas, the on-field commentator interviewed Colt McCoy, quarterback for Texas. McCoy had been injured early in the game and was unable to play. The injury could also affect his chances with the NFL.
The other night, DS#2 made dinner. I had pulled boneless, skinless chicken thigh fillets out of the freezer and he made a rub of taco seasoning and red pepper, sprinkled shredded cheese on top, popped the pan in the oven and then... realized he had no idea of how long to bake them.
Thursday, January 07, 2010
The Anchoress is talking about Vocations over at her blog. She has a poll up with some interesting questions.
I must say I'm getting tired writing these, especially since these souls are not those who have lived their "threescore years and ten." Not even close.
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Bookworm has an article about San Francisco and, unfortunately, some of her comments are too true. But the clip from the 1940's is fun: San Francisco as it once was.
As much as I think Google may be the next hi-tech "Evil Empire" (a la Microsoft and formerly AOL), I am really impressed with their browser, Google Chrome. It loads faster than Firefox, at least on my laptop, and that is important as I am often logging in on the fly. (DD#2 and I have to leave in about fifteen minutes.) Chrome is pretty easy to use as well.
Monday, January 04, 2010
Okay, I didn't exactly wish for all this drama, but God, having a sense of humor, decided to test my equilibrium today.
Sunday, January 03, 2010
We spent considerable time watching movies this past holiday season, either in the theater or at home. I don't have time to write individual critiques and some might find it interesting to learn what my family watches.
Julie & Julia: DD#2 and I came home and later that night ordered this movie from the Comcast On Demand menu. The movie is based on the experiences of Julie Powell (Amy Adams), a mid-level government employee dealing with the aftermath of 9/11, and Julia Child (an amazing Meryl Streep), the wife of a diplomat assigned to Paris who finds herself at loose ends. Their stories intersect when Julie decides she is going to write a blog as she cooks her way through all the recipes in Julia Child's, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. As Julie blogs, the movie cuts to Julia Child's life in France (and beyond). After taking classes in hat making and bridge, Paul Child (Stanley Tucci) asks Julia what she likes to do. She replies, "I like food. I like to eat!" Her first day at the famed Cordon Bleu was less than successful. The class, Julia carefully explains, is too basic. She wants the more difficult class. That class, she is told, is for professional cooks, is all men, and is very expensive. No problem to Julia, who finds herself in the class, but behind in some very basic skills. Undeterred, Julia practices and perseveres.
Friday, January 01, 2010
One thing I have learned this year is to lower my sights, to scale back on my expectations of myself. I was able to finish the stationery sets my family has come to depend on receiving, but I didn't decorate the envelopes to coordinate. Sis#2 noticed in a kind of off-handed "Huh, the envelopes aren't stamped" way.
We have a lot to celebrate, Hubs & I, about 2009. DS#2 graduated from high school; DD#1 was accepted to UC San Diego, then rejected, then wrote (with considerable help from her friend) a letter explaining why she should be readmitted--and she was; DS#1 is being challenged by his senior project and learning about life choices; and DD#2 is learning some hard lessons that will benefit her later. So I wanted to celebrate the end of the year in style, perhaps by the 1940's era dinner dance on board the U.S.S. Hornet, or a gathering with friends.