Wednesday, July 30

Why I Only Pray for PZ Myers

I'm sure you've already heard the horrible things that Professor Myers did to our Lord.  (Short version: He desecrated the Blessed Sacrament, posted pictures, bragged about it, and called us morons for being upset.  Long version: search online and get a barf bag.)  WARNING: EXTREMELY OFFENSIVE MATERIAL IS CONTAINED ON THAT BLOG, ESPECIALLY BY THE MANY COMMENTORS WHO ARE IN SUPPORT OF MYERS' ACTIONS.

My first thought, right after, "Oh, Jesus!  What did he DO to You?" was to pray for him.  A lot.  

No Catholic who loves the Lord and adores Him in the Blessed Sacrament would do anything but that.  Priests and other religious are calling for a day of fasting and penance in reparation.  This would be a good thing.  A VERY good thing.  Many people are saying that they will do so, and they are moved with Christian compassion to pray for this man's conversion and salvation.  Unkind words (no matter how readily they might pop into our heads and get pushed right back out again) are not said in general.  

But I have a particular reason that I'm not going to condemn Myers that is quite aside from Christian charity.  I know that in my past, I, too, have desecrated the Blessed Sacrament.  I've done so by receiving Him unworthily.  I was unaware that I was doing so, but it does not change the fact that I did it.  And, really, Christ is received unworthily all the time.  All it takes is the reception of the Blessed Sacrament - that which is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ - with a mortal sin on your soul.  

I cannot even count the number of times I offended God in this way in my life.  Mostly unaware that I was doing so, which lessens the sin, but I did it nonetheless.  And I am NOT proud of it.  I am ashamed.  It hurts my heart, it hurts my soul, to know that I offended Jesus this way.  That my sins were the cause of the lashings on His back.  My sins were the cause of the thorns in His precious head.  My sins caused Him to be crushed beneath the cross when He fell.  And that by receiving Communion in a state of sin, I compounded it.  It's as if I walked up as He lay on the ground beneath the weight of the cross and I spit on Him.

It disgusts me to think I did that.  

There came a time, though, that I realized that I was in serious sin.  That I wasn't supposed to be receiving Communion.  That I compounded my offenses by accepting a Gift that I wasn't worthy to accept.

Thank God - thank Him! - for the gift of the Sacrament of Penance!  

There is hope for Professor Myers.  There is hope for his conversion.  There is great hope that he will be humbled - by God, not by men, for we haven't the power to do that - and seek reconciliation with the Lord.  You see, it's not Catholics that he's offended by his heinous acts.  It's God Himself.  Christ, the Lord.  Creator of all, including Professor Myers.  

And Professor Myers, much as he likes to deny it, is a child of God.  And it is the Lord's desire that not one of us is lost.  Because Professor Myers was created for the very same reason you and I were created.

1. Who made us?

God made us.

In the beginning, God created heaven and earth. (Genesis 1:1)

2. Who is God?

God is the Supreme Being, infinitely perfect, who made all things and keeps them in existence.

In him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28)

3. Why did God make us?

God made us to show forth His goodness and to share with us His everlasting happiness in heaven.

Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love him. (I Corinthians 2:9)

Quirks Meme

Julie, the famously Happy Catholic, has tagged me for a meme!  I'm pausing from mowing my behemoth front lawn for a moment (lest I have heart failure) and thought I'd give it a whirl.  I've done quirky memes before, but I thought I'd stretch and see if I can't come up with something new to say.  First, the rules:
  1. Link the person(s) who tagged you.
  2. Mention the rules on your blog.
  3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours.
  4. Tag 6 fellow bloggers by linking them.
  5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.
Okay, then.  Let's play.
  1. I am a horrible procrastinator.  (As if I actually needed to say that after mentioning that I'm in the middle of mowing the lawn!)  Part of this derives, I've discovered, from my need to do things just so, and feeling that I have to give myself LOTS of time to do it.  Part of it also derives from the fact that I'm basically lazy and kind of wish that a magic fairy would come and do my tasks for me.  When I was a girl, I envied Snow White for her woodland-friend-helpers.  "Why can't I get a bunch of cute bunnies and squirrels to help me clean my room?!?"
  2. I have this need to feel accepted and approved.  Since I'm already kind of shy (as in, I am very scared to talk to people I don't know well, especially when I have no one near me to help me feel brave), if I feel as though I'm being shunned for something I've said or done, I get very down.  Call it insecurity or vanity ("It has to be something about me, right?"), I tend to take everything - and I mean everything - personally.
  3. I am also, oddly enough, not very good at accepting compliments.  I've had to learn to do it right; that is, to say, "Thank you," and shut up.  No one likes to dole out a compliment and be told they are wrong.  
  4. I've already admitted to strange sleeping habits.  (We all know that the only way to protect yourself from monsters is to be under a blanket up to the neck and not to let any body part hang over the side where something can grab you!)  But I have also discovered, thanks to Soccer Dad, that I have a funny quirk.  When I roll over, it is ALWAYS in the same direction.  I couldn't tell you which, but it's always the same.  Even if it means a 3/4 turn to get to my side.  I wonder if I'd roll the opposite way in Australia.
  5. When reading online, I click and highlight like crazy.  Word, line, paragraph.  Word, line, paragraph.  Click and drag.  Read in the highlight.  Read out of the highlight.  Highlight the part I'm going to read next.  Click, click, click.  Word, paragraph...  Oops!  I missed the line.  Start over.  It makes my husband absolutely insane to watch me, and I am forbidden to touch the mouse if I make him read something on my monitor.  
  6. I have also admitted plenty of times that I can't stand bugs.  Anything with more than four legs is NOT my friend, and I don't care if a housekeeping spider eats other bugs it has to do so outside where all the bugs ought to live and stay away from me completely.  Have I ever mentioned that I also have a serious problem even touching a picture of a bug?  (All of this amounts to my family being stunned into momentary silence when I announced that I would do a unit on insects with the girls and look into an ant farm.)  But, yes, bug pictures are really icky.  I don't want to touch them.  Creepy ... *shudder*
Okay, that's all for me, folks.  I can't think of six people who haven't played, so I will tag anyone who is reading this who has ever had a pet spider (or a brother or sister who had one).  In addition, if you had a pet that had to eat live bugs, you can play, too.  (My niece, for example, has had an African Fat-Tailed Gecko that likes live crickets.  I love that girl so much that I actually BOUGHT 25 LIVE CRICKETS FOR HER AND TRANSPORTED THEM IN MY CAR.  I am certain that I got out of Purgatorial time on that day.)  So if you're a crazy bug-lover, here's your chance to gross me out.

Bring it on.

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Carnival Time: Humanae Vitae

I've been VERY bad about posting Carnival links lately (please see my sidebar for links to previous Catholic Carnivals), but this week's is tough to pass up.  Since it's being held so close to the anniversary of the great encyclical Humanae Vitae, we wind up with that as the general theme of the Catholic Carnival for this week.

Be sure to stop by the Carnival and visit lots of the posts listed!

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Tuesday, July 29

My Girls Love These

Great choreography! (If you click through to YouTube, you can also watch the second movie with commentary and watch a behind-the-scenes interview with the guys in this series.)

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Friday, July 25

Guest Post: Defending Humanae Vitae

Today is a very important anniversary: Humanae Vitae celebrates its fortieth anniversary. Forty years since Pope Paul VI gave the Church (and all the world) this great teaching document that reinforced ancient Christian teachings. For that anniversary, I wanted to say something profound and wonderful on the topic.

However, I am still working my way through it and am in no position to teach most of the world anything about it! What's a girl to do?

I'll tell you what! Bring in a guess blogger!

My friend Misty is a convert to the Catholic Faith and is an NFP instructor here in the Richmond Diocese. (Don't underestimate the difficulty of that job, by the way!) When I knew I'd never be ready to post anything intelligent on Humanae Vitae by this day, I called on her and asked if she'd ever written anything that I could share. (I didn't want her to do anything new, since she's already a little busy with three children to keep up with and is teaching at Vacation Bible School at my parish this week!) She sent this back, and it's perfect! (Of course!)

I now present to you: "Razing the Arguments for Dissent."


Razing the Arguments for Dissent

Having lived with contraception for nearly a decade and experienced first-hand the devastating effects it had on my health, self-esteem, and marriage, it was no struggle for me to accept the Catholic Church’s teaching against contraception when I converted seven years ago.

But having been an NFP instructor for four years, as well as the coordinator of the NFP ministry for my diocese for half of that, I’ve found that most Catholics have a major chip on their shoulder about these teachings. What was a selling point for me is a stumbling block for them.

Admittedly, I’m a young’un so I wasn’t around when the Humanae Vitae bomb went off in 1968. But I’ve studied that time period considerably, and in my quest to convince people that the Church is right about contraception, I’ve also studied the arguments given by the “professional dissenters” in response to Humanae Vitae.

Although Humanae Vitae covers a wide range of reproductive rights and responsibilities, we all know it got most people’s panties in a knot because it reaffirmed that contraception is a sin. To celebrate the encyclical’s 40th anniversary, I’d like to offer some brief rebuttals of the major arguments offered against Humanae Vitae and in defense of contraception.

The surprising part isn’t that people came up with reasons like these, but that these reasons were offered by educated people, some of them even laboring under the title of “theologian” or “bishop.” I’m willing to bet most of you can see the flaws in their logic almost immediately.

Drum roll please….

Top 7 Reasons We Can Use Contraception (and Don’t Have to Follow the Church)

1. The teaching about contraception is not doctrine, so Catholics can morally dissent from this teaching.

2. The teaching is doctrine, but things have changed and the teaching no longer applies so we should discard it.

3. Since most Catholics disagree with the teaching and won’t follow it, we need to change church teaching to accommodate those individuals.

4. Since most Catholics disagree with the teaching, it must not be true.

5. Yes, contraception is a sin, but it’s not a very serious sin.

6. Contraception is moral because living without it is too hard.

And my personal favorite:

7. Whether contraception is immoral or not is irrelevant; Catholics can make up their own minds about moral issues.

Let’s take a look at them one by one.

1. The teaching about contraception is not doctrine, so Catholics can morally dissent from this teaching.

Considering the firestorm over this encyclical, you’d think contraception had always been a hotly contested moral issue among Christians. Not so. All Paul VI did was confirm the traditional Christian teaching about contraception.

Contraception was explicitly condemned by early Church Fathers. And, the apostolic tradition’s condemnation was upheld by all key Protestant Reformers; Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John Wesley all strongly condemned contraception. This position was held by all Protestant denominations until 1930 when the Episcopal Church changed its mind about the issue.

Some believe the Pill was the first oral contraceptive, when in fact these agents have been around since several centuries before Christ. Back then, the primary way to prevent pregnancy was by ingesting certain plant extracts. As reported in Archeology magazine in April 1994, a weed called silphium was harvested so heavily for use as a contraceptive that it became extinct by the fourth century.

The Church has always and everywhere condemned contraception.

2. The teaching is doctrine, but things have changed and the doctrine no longer applies so we should discard it.

In 1975, Auxiliary Bishop of Mainz, Germany, Josef Reuss throws his full support behind a resolution that calls for decisions about birth control to be left up to a married couple. He claims that Humanae Vitae was never presented as an infallible teaching, and although the ban on contraception has been a constant teaching, the reasons for the teaching have changed.

Reuss is saying is that while the information contained in the encyclical has been held as true for Christians from the beginning, we don’t have to follow the directives because they were presented in a papal document instead of the Catechism. Huh?

Second, he asserts that something fundamental has changed about human sexuality to render God’s laws irrelevant in modern times, which is simply not true. As the minority opinion on the Pope’s commission stated so eloquently, the Church not only should not but cannot change its teaching regarding contraception because this is God's law, not ours.

3. Since most Catholics disagree with the teaching and will refuse to follow it, we should change the teaching to accommodate those individuals.

In October 1980, at the Synod of Bishops in Rome, Archbishop John Quinn of San Francisco calls for the Vatican to look into accommodating the large numbers of Catholics who disagree with the teaching and who use contraception.

So if Catholics personally disagree with a teaching and refuse to follow it, then the teaching itself must be flawed and changed to accommodate those individuals. Taken to its logical end, I guess this means that we’ll be doing away with several of the 10 Commandments since most people find nothing offensive about using the Lord’s name irreverently or skipping Mass from time to time.

4. Since most Catholics disagree with the teaching, it must not be true.

At a meeting of U.S. bishops in November 1990, Bishop Kenneth Untener reminds listeners that Catholicism contends that the Spirit acts through the entire people of God in developing doctrine and that when “people disagree with us, we cannot simply assume that it is mere opinion.”

Apparently, Untener is laboring under two profound misconceptions: 1) that he is bishop in the Episcopalian church, and 2) that the Catholic Church is a democracy and not a hierarchy. Catholic laity NEVER has been and never will be invited to give their two-cents in the formation of doctrine (which isn’t even what happened here, since Humanae Vitae was merely a confirmation of existing doctrine). And even if the laity were invited to help form doctrine, we already know what would happen—the same thing that has happened in some Protestant churches that have declared evils such as homosexuality and abortion not only morally neutral, but moral positives. What Untener is really suggesting is that the church be run by mob rule, with faith and morals decided by the majority, not by the Holy Spirit.

5. Yes, contraception is a sin, but it’s not a very serious sin.

First, contraception has always been a grave sin. It’s true that some sins are more serious than others, but they mistakenly place contraception in the venial sin category when in fact it is a mortal sin.

But more basically, sin is sin. Jesus didn’t enumerate the sins that are “freebies.” The commandment doesn’t differentiate between serious lies and the “little white ones.” Some sins are more harmful than others, but they all come between us and God. Too many people act like they’re A-okay with God as long as they haven’t murdered someone this week.

6. Contraception is moral because living without it is too hard.

In a 1993 statement, German bishops say that the church “has to help those, especially women, who feel their living conditions do not allow for practice of [periodic abstinence].”

In Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI expressed empathy for individuals who must live out its principles, but since when are we excused from our moral obligations simply because upholding them will be difficult? Jesus didn’t say, “Pick up your cross daily and follow Me but throw it off if it gets too heavy.” By this logic, we should also support abortions for women who believe their situation does “not allow for the practice of parenthood.”

In 1968, Bishop James P. Shannon even went so far as to resign because of his opposition to Humanae Vitae. Shannon said: “in my pastoral experience I have found that this rigid teaching (Humanae Vitae) is simply impossible to observe by many faithful and generous spouses, and I cannot believe that God binds men to impossible standards.”

Personally, I find the assertion that periodic abstinence is an “impossible standard” a strange statement to be coming from a man who took a lifetime vow of celibacy. I also invite Bishop Shannon to introduce himself to the millions of people worldwide—myself and my husband included—who practice this “impossible standard” on a monthly basis.

And finally we come to my personal favorite reason why Catholics do not have to follow Humanae Vitae:

7. Whether the teaching is doctrine is irrelevant; Catholics can make up their own minds about moral issues.

Obviously, these folks mistakenly believe the church declares contraception a sin to oppress them, when in fact it does so to protect them. It’s like the government setting speed limits. We aren’t allowed to make up our own minds about speed limits. If we do we may get pulled over and ticketed for it. The purpose of speed limits isn’t to oppress us; it’s to protect us from injuries and death. Likewise, the Church wants to protect us from objectifying each other and succumbing to the sin of lust, which is what happens when you insist someone eliminate an essential part of themselves (their fertility) for your convenience and pleasure. The Church also wants us to know that it’s wrong to shut God—the very author of life and love—out of the most intimate and sacred event in our marriages, the very arena of life and love, if you will.

And hey, if you don’t need the Church to guide you on moral issues, why are you in it? For that matter, why would you be in any church? I have never figured out why a person would stay in a church that tells them half of what they’re doing is wrong.

The Gift of the Holy Spirit

The Catholic Church has had the same teachings about marriage and our obligation to be open to life since Pentecost. The Church is led by the Holy Spirit, the spirit of truth, and in his mercy God has not allowed us to corrupt its teachings. Which is why the Catholic Church always had and always will proclaim contraception an objective evil and call men and women to true marital chastity regardless of circumstance or cultural pressure. Sure, society thinks we’re nuts for eschewing contraception. Some even think the Church is evil and misogynistic. But so what? Plenty of “edu-ma-cated” folks back then thought Jesus was crazy, too.

God knows we need these truths, even if we don’t want them. As an atheist who was drawn to Christ but unsure of where his church was, I found the Catholic Church’s unwavering teachings about contraception a flashing neon sign pointing me in the right direction.

May God bless any of you who read this with the grace to stay faithful, as well as the courage to share the truth with those who have not surrendered their will to the gentle mastery of Christ.


Thanks, Misty! You're the best!

Now THAT'S Irony!

There are two well-known anniversaries today.

(I want my readers - all six of you - to know that I searched very hard for a picture for the first anniversary that wasn't an occasion of sin.)

Guess which one will have a post dedicated to it today?

Wednesday, July 23


While I was working last night, a gigantic thunderstorm of the severe variety passed over us.  And then, about 10:30, lightning struck something near my house.  

You know the game we played when we were younger where we'd see the flash, count until the boom, then multiply by three to see how far away?  Well this flash and boom were simultaneous.  

The customer on the phone heard it, too.  (I did manage to not blurt out that my house was almost hit by lightning, since officially I'm in a call center.)

Not long after that, my entire system started freaking out, so I had to reset the whole thing; it took nearly 20 minutes to get everything back up and running (and I'd lost the call in the meantime).  So I checked on the girls and found them huddled in bed together.  About half an hour later they came downstairs to sleep in my bed.  (If not for the fact that Travel Man were on a mission, there wouldn't have been room!)

This morning, I found that a tree not even 50 yards from my house had been struck.  The top of it fell into our yard (it's actually in the neighbor's area of the woods) and lies less than 30 feet from the corner of our deck.  Pictures are forthcoming!

But it was a doozy, I tell ya'!  

Thank You, Lord, for keeping us safe last night and not allowing my home to be hit by lightning!

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Tuesday, July 22

Weekends with Will: Final Notes on the Play and Other Cultural Activities

Well, we did finish the play (more than a week ago!), and we're now more than halfway through the movie version (again, 1935 with Mickey Rooney as Puck). Even though the girls understood the play well, seeing it is really cementing the whole thing for them. Puck is so much funnier acted out than on paper (and he's pretty funny there, too)!

We're delaying our next Shakespeare play until we go to South Dakota, but have decided on The Taming of the Shrew. We're hoping that my mother in law and Soccer Dad's grandparents might want to join in the fun, too.

Now, what in between? None other than The Lord of the Rings. We've decided that, since I'm working through The Hobbit with Little Girl and Big Girl already read it, we'd watch the movie in parts, reading corresponding portions of the book as we go along. In the meantime, Soccer Dad is trying to get through a bit of Kreeft's book on the philosophy of Tolkien to perhaps give some extra insights. I'm re-reading LOTR and trying to pull out what I can of the Catholic nature of the story. (I'm only up to Gandalf disappearing after warning Frodo not to use the Ring if he can help it, since he's not certain of its powers.)

Also, for Big Girl (during ballet lessons and library story times), I'm reading Tom Sawyer. I read Huck Finn when I was in the seventh grade, but this is my first time through Tom's story. What a lark! I sometimes have a hard time not laughing! I'd forgotten what a wonderfully dry wit Twain had!

We tried to rent Hello, Dolly from the library, but it was the Barbra Streisand version, and I wound up not even trying to watch it before I had to return it. (Oh, golly! It was due yesterday, and there it is over there!) I'll search for the WALL-E version ASAP - the girls are in love with Gene Kelly anyway. Yeah, me, too. ;)

And that wraps up the general cultural updates. Aside from this (and my working still), we're doing a lot of swimming. The girls have developed fins and gills, or they will soon due to the amount of time spent in the water. Thank God for the pool! What a great choice we made by picking the house with a pool!

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Wednesday, July 16

One Word Meme

I have just been busy, busy, busy.  So I thought I'd waste time!  LOL!

Hat tip: Esther

1. Where is your cell phone? purse
2. Your significant other? Nathan
3. Your hair? graying
4. Your mother? cheerful
5. Your father? steadfast
6. Your favorite thing? reading
7. Your dream last night? blank
8. Your favorite drink? coffee
9. Your dream/goal? debt-free
10. The room you’re in? family
11. Your church? Catholic
12. Your fear? Hell
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? here
14. Where were you last night? working
15. What you’re not? outgoing
16. Muffins? chocolate!
17. One of your wish list items? MacBook
18. Where you grew up? NJ
19. The last thing you did? worked
20. What are you wearing? skirt
21. Your TV? Samsung
22. Your pets? fish
23. Your computer? Mac
24. Your life? wonderful
25. Your mood? teary
26. Missing someone? yes
27. Your car? Jeep
28. Something you’re not wearing? glasses
29. Favorite store? Target
30. Your summer? FAST!
31. Like(love) someone? Lots!
32. Your favorite color? blue
33. Last time you laughed? morning
34. Last time you cried? WALL-E
35. Who will re post this? Stacey

Tuesday, July 15

Telephone Manners

The people who answer the phone when you call are not the people who built and designed the iPhone. We did not set up prices, nor do we have anything to do with AT&T's pricing plans and your inability to upgrade your contract without a whopping fee. We cannot even sell the phone to you online. We are happy to answer your questions, even help you with accessories.

That said, please remember that we are human beings. We don't deserve to be yelled at, interrogated, or hung up on just because you don't like the answer we are giving you. The answer you get from any one of us should match the answer you'd get from anyone else. Just as we were not holding back a couple of iPhones back in May (waiting for you so we could sell them), we are also not keeping anything from you today.

Please be nice. We are trying our best to be nice to you. When you berate us for things that are not our fault, it makes it harder to be civil.

Thank you, and we now return you to our regularly scheduled program.

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Verizon Spam Detector: BAD DECISION!!

One of the biggest mistakes I've made is to turn on Verizon's Spam Detector on Little Girl's email address.  It has only served to inundate her account with vile p*rnogr*phic spam.  

I think I'll just delete the account completely and have the girls email to the family through my account.

Hint to any Verizon DSL users: the Spam Detector is so God-awful that it actually makes a problem with Spam where it might not exist otherwise.  The accounts we have NOT turned it on for are not bothered much at all by it, but the accounts we've used it for are getting all kinds of disgusting stuff.  And I complained about it, but no answer at all from their "support".  When I read about how the Spam Detector setting works, Verizon admits that when something is bounced, they tell the sender that it happened, just in case it wasn't supposed to be bounced.  Hello, isn't that MY job?  Result: Little Girl's email is not safe for her to open any more because of the p*rn that keeps on coming in.  I'm not talking Viagra ads, either, here.  I'm talking about Larry Flint-style emails.  Seriously.  And it's not like her email is all over the place, either.  

Monday, July 14

So Cute!

I especially love the one sister looking for the Yanks on the other sister's smock!  

As seen at CSVF Blog.


What do you suppose it means that my parish was struck by lightning last week?

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Evan Almighty Project: Done!

I love the deck!  We had friends over both Saturday and Sunday, and we're planning a BBQ for our anniversary in August. 

Hooray for Travel Man and his tools!

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Friday, July 11

Upgrade: Dot Mac to MobileMe

.Mac is updated, and I am in love with MobileMe already!  With .Mac, I couldn't ever seem to find my personal calendars from my Mac online.  With MobileMe, I click on the calendar icon and get my schedules that I have saved on iCal.  And I can access it from anywhere, as long as I can log in on a web browser.

Besides that, the photo and movie galleries are WAY better - very easy to use.

I'm in love with Apple.  And I don't say that out of bias; it's just that their products are so much easier to use!

Thursday, July 10


I went to make smoothies over the weekend and much to my chagrin discovered that my blender, now approaching something like ten years in age, gave up the ghost.  That's right - no blender.  And that means no smoothies, no shakes, no home-made mint chocolate java chip frappacinos.  

And for my anniversary, I'm really hoping for a mattress, so the blender - which I want to replace with a nice one that chops ice without any difficulty - is down on the list of items to purchase this month.  That is, unless someone wants to make it an anniversary present!  (Our fifteenth anniversary is August 14.  Fifteen whole years!)

And speaking of anniversaries, I'm contemplating seeing if Soccer Dad/Travel Man would mind if I converted our tenth anniversary presentation into an iMovie that I can post here.  Only thing is, the kids are in it, too, since our life really didn't begin until they came along.  That's going to take special permission, since I'm usually pretty careful about posting their beautiful faces around here.  

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Yes, It's Available Tomorrow

And most of my calls today have been about it:

Actually, it's really a cool gadget, and I'd love to get one. Now if only AT&T would build some towers around here so I could use it!  ;)

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Wednesday, July 9

Laughably Wrong

Soccer Dad and I watch CSI (original recipe only, please - Grissom is the reason we watch), and we were catching up on the shows we'd recorded during the regular season.  In one episode, there was a recurring theme in one case of "ground squirrels."  Seems that this neighborhood was infested with them, and two sets of neighbors bickered over how to best get rid of them (sound waves to drive them off versus arsenic, hold the old lace).  Throughout the show, they kept on imagining the situation (those who watch the show on a regular basis know what I mean).  They kept showing squirrels going in and out of holes in the ground - big holes, big enough for squirrels.  

Now, I am not a medical expert, so I can't tell you if the information they present medically on CSI is in any way accurate.  Please, if you are a doctor or nurse, comment and let me know how it measures up.  I have strong doubts now as to the accuracy of any medical facts presented on the show.  And it's all for one simple reason.

This is what the "ground squirrels" looked like on CSI:


This is what a ground squirrel actually is (which I know well, since my yard is infested with them):


Seriously, this is something so simple to discover, it makes it very hard to do anything but giggle throughout the show.  Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy ... 


Guess who finished the deck?

My hero, that's who!

Four Days Off, Four Days On

I took a four-day weekend to celebrate Little Girl's birthday (party on Friday the Fourth, actual birthday yesterday).  However, I'm still supposed to work, you know.  Here's what the rest of my week looks like:

  • 9:30 to 11:30: work
  • 1:30 to 2:30: work
  • 4:00 to 4:40: Little Girl gets her hair cut
  • 5:15 to 6:30: T-Ball practice for Big Girl
  • 7:00 to 8:00: Dance for Little Girl  [note: T-ball and dance are on opposite sides of town with a half-hour drive between them]
  • 9:30 to 11:30: work
  • 9:30 to 11:30: work
  • 1:30 to 2:30: work
  • 3:30 to 4:30: Story time at the library down the street
  • 5:00 to 6:00: seven-year portraits (and dance portraits) of Little Girl, again, across town
  • 9:30 to 11:30: work
  • 9:30 to 11:30: work
  • 2:00 to 4:00: movie at the library
  • 9:30 to 11:30: work (whew! light day!)
  • 9:30 to 11:30: work
  • 1:30 to 2:30: work
  • 5:45 to 7:15: T-Ball game for Big Girl
  • 9:30 to 11:30: work
Somewhere in there, I am supposed to be taking care of the kids by feeding them, etc., as well as the laundry.  I like the time off, but making up for it on the other days of the week while trying to keep weekends free for family time with Travel Man/Soccer Dad is really hard!  
Oh, did I mention that we're having a BBQ on Saturday?  Yeah.  That's exciting!
So if you wonder where I've gone, it's probably on the fast train to Crazy Town!  And in Crazy Town, I don't think there's much blogging allowed!  

Monday, July 7

Happy Birthday Little Girl!

Seven years ago today, you made your debut on the world's stage! Today, when I look at you, I realize that you are growing up into a big girl! When did that happen?

I love you, sweetie, and I thank God for you all the time.


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Thursday, July 3


We took the girls to see WALL-E the other day. Pixar does a fantastic job of creating good movies that happen to be child appropriate, as opposed to the typical "let's string together a bunch of fart jokes and some animals - voila, a children's movie" offering from other studios. I think that WALL-E is the pinnacle of Pixar know how.
The visual display is simply stunning - you quickly forget that these robots don't actually exist. In addition, there is no dialogue for the first 30 minutes - none, zip, zero. The story is so beautifully told that words would detract from the message. You know exactly what is going on and who everyone is without one word. Incredible!

If you haven't seen the movie and are planning to, please stop reading now - I'm about to go all Spoiler Alert on you...

Seriously, this is a Spoiler Alert...

Don't say I didn't warn you...

Okay, several themes from the movie:

Good Science Fiction. I love classic sci-fi (Heinlein, Asimov, Niven, Hubbard) stories that could be true and don't require total suspension of belief. WALL-E measures up. You see a world that could be ours in a few decades (full of trash in a runaway consumeristic society), a logical solution to the dilemna (ship everyone off the planet and let the robots clean it up), and absolutely believable outcomes (the effects of 700 years of space travel on human beings and the need to return to Earth when it can sustain life again).

Noah's Ark. EVE, the Apple Macish looking robot, plays the role of the dove looking for the olive branch. Her "directive" is to find sustainable life and bring it back to the starship so the crew can plan to return home.

Love. Hard to believe that a movie about robots would have such a strong romantic theme. WALL-E has been watching Hello Dolly for hundreds of years and when he meets EVE, he realizes that she is what he has been waiting for. To him, love is holding hands and he seeks that reassurance every step along the way. He devotes himself to her completely and risks his life to help her accomplish her "directive". He sacrifices himself so that she may succeed, and his sacrifice is repaid when she restores him to life. Soccer Mom was bawling like a baby at this point - tears of joy when WALL-E recognizes EVE again.

Change. WALL-E helps those around him change. Not for his sake, but for their own sake. Robots that have followed a lighted trail for hundreds of years learn that they could still be productive and contribute to society without blindly following others. People that he jolts out of the self absorbed world they live in realize that there is much more to life than the screen in front of their face (I wonder if the girls got this...). EVE risks her life to bring WALL-E back to life. WALL-E doesn't ask nor expect others to change - his attitude and perseverance make this happen.

If you only watch one movie this year, go for WALL-E!

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Wednesday, July 2


600 Starbucks closing??!!??

Scrappleface to the rescue!

Congress to Halt Closing of Unprofitable Starbucks

By Scott Ott on pelosi

(2008-07-02) — Democrats in Congress today plan to introduce a bill to halt the recently-announced closing of some600 Starbucks coffee stores, noting that the displacement of 12,000 Starbucks baristas would overwhelm government aid offices not prepared to handle so many clients for whom English is a second language.

Baristas, those who serve Starbucks beverages, speak a peculiar dialect that combines pseudo-Italian and American slang with inflections borrowed from ancient hemp-smoking cultures.

“These people can’t just walk out of Starbucks and get a job at a grocery store or a factory,” said House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-CA. “They would need ESL classes and cultural training to learn how to relate to ordinary Americans and function in society.”

Rep. Pelosi’s bill would subsidize the 600 money-losing Starbucks locations by giving away millions of taxpayer dollars in so-called ‘Venti Vouchers’ to residents of these hard-hit neighborhoods. If the effort fails to revive the flagging stores, Rep. Pelosi said Democrats would “seriously consider nationalizing the coffee industry to ensure the free flow of java at fair prices.”

“This is just another one of our heroic Democrat efforts to protect Americans from the impact of the Bush economic policies,” said Rep. Pelosi. “Under this president, America has become a cold and desolate place where corporations cut unprofitable activities to focus on increasing the bottom line, and returning value to shareholders. When Democrats retake the White House next year, we will reverse that trend.”

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Tuesday, July 1

Homeschooling Tip: iTunes U

iTunes U has had podcasts of college courses in the past, but is now featuring curricula for K-12, too:
For more than a year now, Apple's iTunes U has served as a repository of educational multimedia content and resources. While these materials have always been accessible to K-12 educators, the focus of the content has been primarily on post-secondary education. But through a new initiative launched by several state education agencies, along with the State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA), K-12 now has its own home within iTunes U.

The initiative, which launched July 1, brings the creation of a K-12 destination to iTunes U, with a broad range of content from a number of state and district agencies--including Arizona, Florida, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Utah--as well as museums and other education-oriented institutions. As of the launch today, there are 11 sub-portals within the iTunes U K-12 destination.

The idea of the initiative, according to SETDA, is not only to bring state and district resources to K-12 educators within their own states, but to provide nationwide and global access to educational content, curricula, learning materials, news, best practices, and other resources.

"This comprehensive collection of quality digital content offers teachers and students a single location to access resources on topics from Florida history to the Navajo language to nano technologies," said Mary Ann Wolf, executive director of SETDA, in a statement released Tuesday at the NECC 2008 conference in Texas, where the initiative was unveiled. "Teachers can now access these resources in real-time to support teaching and learning. The new K-12 resources on iTunes U address the critical need to engage students through technology-based resources in the core curriculum areas."

For more information, hit that link above this snippet of the article.  For a free download of iTunes, head to the Apple Website.  (Warning: iTunes works best with a high-speed connection to the internet!)  There are tons of free podcasts (including video podcasts) that can be viewed right on your computer.  And you can even set up an iTunes account with an iTunes gift card (scroll down for instructions) so that you won't have to provide a credit card number (thereby preventing downloading that would wind up charging your credit card 99 cents at a time).

Strange Dreams...

Soccer Dad and I have a ton of material on our DVR, which we didn't have time to watch together during the regular season because he dons the supersuit so often. So this summer, we've caught up some in between sports and activities with the girls. Recently, we decided to finally get into "The Sarah Conner Chronicles." The show is really neat, and the plots are pretty cool. I try hard to overlook the fact that the actress who plays Sarah has the acting ability of a piece of cardboard. Or that the girl terminator seems to lose emotional display abilities as the series goes on. The story is still really cool, so we stick with it.

But I have decided that working and then sitting straight down to the show produces strange dreams. The other night, I dreamt that I was selling Macs in a store, and they were all becoming sentient. And they weren't going to be nice like Wall-E (who is a Mac, you know). I could tell, somehow, that they were going to kill us all sometime in the future.

Very, very strange.

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"Mommy, Why Do You Stop the Story..."

Sunday afternoon, as we were getting ready to continue with Weekends with Will, Little Girl asked me, "Mommy, why do you stop the story in the middle and talk about what it means?"

"Well," I answered, "I just want to be sure that you and Big Girl understand the story because the language can be hard to understand. Why?"

"I don't want you to do that any more, please. I can understand it pretty good without you explaining."

"Oh. Will you let us know if you don't understand something?"

"Oh, yes."

Who knew that she was getting so much without my help?

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