Wednesday, September 30

Have I Mentioned I Love My New Pastor?

After Mass tonight, Fr. K. wanted to be sure that I knew the Pro Life materials came in for Sunday's table. I assured him that I'd picked it up, and asked if he could get the poster back out of the USCCB folder to hang up in the narthex. He said yes, and I told him that I had actually planned to come by earlier (before Exposition) and pick it up, but I'd been so lazy since my last shift was this morning.

"When I finished that last hour of work, I was just not really in the mood to do a lot today," I explained.

He grinned. "Oh! Was today your last day!?"

I grinned right back at him. "Yep. All done."

"For good?"

"For good."

"Well! That needs a fist bump!" he said, and held out his fist for a bump.

After bumping fists, I said, "Really, that needs an exploding fist bump."

And he obliged.

And, yes, I was thrilled with his homily tying St. Jerome with today's Gospel, too, but the exploding fist bump was just icing on the cake.

Sunday, September 20

"What would we have done?"

You would have shown up at an ER, been taken in without question because of the meningitis, and had your daughter treated, insurance or no. That's what.

Who's using scare tactics??

Michelle Obama turns to health care overhaul - The Boston Globe: "
“Because I think about what on earth would we have done if we had not had insurance,’’ the first lady said. “What would have happened to that beautiful little girl if we hadn’t been able to get to a pediatrician who was able to get us to an emergency room? The consequences I can’t even imagine. She could have lost her hearing. She could have lost her life if we had had to wait because of insurance.’’"

Friday, September 18

Seven Quickies: V-A-C-A-TION! Edition

Don't forget to stop by Jennifer's wonderful blog for the rest of the Quick-Takers!


We're heading on vacation on Sunday. We were supposed to check in on Saturday, then discovered that we'd be late on Saturday instead of early afternoon because hubby - Deputy Grand Knight! - is helping to host the K of C State Council here. Then we found out that our bishop is saying Mass at our parish on Sunday, which pushes our check-in towards dinner time on Sunday. But...we're going here, and I'm really looking forward to it, even if the forecast calls for rain all week.


I'm excited about after vacation, too. I'll be coming back to three days of work left, and the hours I work will be limited, too. I have a doctor's appointment Tuesday morning, I plan on going to Mass that morning, too, and Little Girl's ballet class is Tuesday. As it is, I've already cut back on hours the last couple of weeks so we can get school back on track and I can focus more on my vocation. The girls are VERY excited, and so am I.

I made this countdown calendar for the girls. Obviously, this picture is from earlier in the week, but you get the idea. The bottom page is a full sheet that reads "Mommy's Last Day of Work!"

Think we're excited or something?


On my first day of "no work," we're sleeping in, staying in PJ's as long as possible, and taking the day off from school. If it's a nice day, we'll go to the park with a picnic lunch and play there. If it's yucky, we'll stay in and watch movies and TV shows and play games here. I also have requests to go to Barnes and Noble if it's rainy. We'll bake cookies or a cake, and the kids get to pick dinner. (Originally, I was going to make a special thank you dinner for Travel Man, but he will be ... well, travelling that day, so that'll have to wait.)

It'll be Mommy and the Girls' Day of FUN!


Yes, that was a reference to "Friends."


We're going to be reading "Hamlet" on vacation, as well as Inkheart and more Lemony Snickett. We had watched a slew of different "Romeo and Juliet" DVDs from Netflix, the best of which was the BBC production from 1977 (Alan Rickman was Tybalt!). It was absolutely fantastic, and I'd love to get my hands on the whole collection, especially since they did every one of Shakespeare's plays! The worst? The ballet production. I don't know if the choreography was supposed to be like that (it was done in the 1960's), but it was so incredibly lewd that we had to turn it off. Groping, necking, nearly-naked men in thongs and capes and NOTHING ELSE, breast and genital grabbing, obscene gestures (you know that flipping off with a fist and not your finger? yeah, that.), and that was all before Petrucio and Tybalt fought. It was nothing short of scandalous. So, if you are watching different versions of "Romeo and Juliet," beware the ballet production filmed in Paris.

This is a clip, which was innocuous, but I have to say it was very disappointing, especially since it was Little Girl who was so looking forward to seeing real dancers perform. We'll have to be more careful about what ballet we watch, which is a shame.


We had a wonderful time at a big street party in our town. They have it every year, and there's a food court at the Farmer's Market (which is also open that day), plus vendors all up and down Main Street and a car show at the far end of town. Here's a shot down the street from about the half-way point (which was near the top of a hill).

And here are a few car shots, in case you like that kind of thing. The '69 Camaro is something Travel Man dreams of, and if I had lots of money to buy a car with no practical use whatsoever, I'd buy a black Dodge Viper. So that picture was for me. :)


A few more pictures here, because I just laughed out loud at this windchime. The rest of the booth was filled with lovely woodworking - true craftsmanship - and so this stuck out in a big way!

In case you can't see it very well, between the beer bottles are a spark plug and a nut. Might have been a lug-nut, but I can't recall exactly. ;)

Have a great week!

Monday, September 14


Despite the doubt some people had about it, the president did condemn the murder of Pro Life activist James Pouillon.

Obama deplores anti-abortion figure's killing:

"President Barack Obama on Sunday condemned the killing of an anti-abortion activist in Michigan as activists and others gathered for vigil near the site where he was fatally shot."

Friday, September 11

Seven Quickies: Nearly Vacation Time Edition

Don't forget to go to Jen's and check out the other Quick Takers!

  1. I'm very excited that we'll be gearing up for vacation next week! We were supposed to go check in on Saturday, then discovered that Travel Man needs to stay in town through late afternoon for a Knights of Columbus function with the State Council. He's Deputy Grand Knight, you know! (I'm very proud of him!!) So we decided to just leave after that, eat dinner on the road, and check in late. Then we found out that our bishop will be saying Mass at our parish the next morning. So... we'll be leaving Sunday - right at lunch time - and checking in a day late. It'll be worth it to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with our shepherd!

  2. Speaking of the Knights, Travel Man is also making his Fourth Degree next month. (I nearly wrote "in October" before I realized that it's only a little more than a month away!) I'm very happy about that, too, but because I'm leaving my job, we will have to wait on the regalia. That means no princess hat for me just yet. But that's okay, because I'd rather quit my job than have a princess hat just yet. I *am* a little bummed that Travel Man can't get his sword just yet. And he did ask about the possibility of getting a Fourth Degree Light Saber instead, but that's a no-go. But I do get a fancy dress for the occasion!

  3. Yes, I know that's a little girl in the picture. I'm having a hard time tracking down a nice one - like that one - in my size. (I do have a small head, though...maybe I could wear the kids' one...)

  4. I am sorely tempted to get a refurbished iPod Touch. For $149, I can get an 8 GB one, then upgrade the software for something like $10. Then I could upgrade iTunes 9 without worrying that it would throw my first-generation, 1 GB iPod Nano into it's death throws. The poor thing is dying anyway, and I just can't quite justify the expense right now. But I want to. Oh, yes. I sure want to justify it and get that Touch in my hot little hands before vacation! Think of the fun apps and games we could use! Think of the videos we could play! Think of the extra MUSIC I could bring along! I could even check my email where there's WiFi because I've got MobileMe! See? See how perfect it would be to spend $160 on that pretty iPod? Right?

  5. I doubt that will actually make Travel Man change his mind. But it was worth a shot, right?

  6. I shouldn't really try to manipulate him, and honestly, I'm not trying to do that. If I want something, I just say so. And I have, and the answer has been, "Wait and see what happens after vacation." But in my head, I'm thinking, "But if I wait until then, how will I get to play with the iPod Touch ON vacation?!?!?"

    Sometimes I hate being a gazelle.

  7. Here's a picture for you today. :) It's from our anniversary party (sweet sixteen!)

Friday, September 4

Quick Takes: Canard sur des BĂ©quilles Edition

Hi, Quick-Takers! Welcome! (And thanks to Jen for hosting!)

  1. If you missed my big announcement, you can read more here. I do have a little follow-up to it. Go and read that first, if you haven't, then come back. It's okay, I'll wait.

    Since that decision was made, I've been under less stress and pressure, though my responsibilities haven't changed yet. The difference is that the girls and I have a date that is much closer than we anticipated. As a result of this, I've gone back to a much funnier version of me. I make jokes, I act silly, and even when work gets to me a bit, I think, "Eh...X days left!" and it rolls off me, like water off a duck. (Hey, that's two duck analogies!) I also feel less inclined to hide by the computer when I'm not working. It's been a win-win thing.

  2. College football started yesterday, and I discovered something interesting. I missed football a lot (no, that wasn't what I discovered), and even though the NFL preseason has been going on, I just can't get into that. Preseason for the NFL involves a lot of "try this guy with that play, then try three other guys with the same play" and "let's play the entire bench to see how they do" and such. Ick. I don't want to watch them work through kinks. I want to see them play for something! I want a game where something is at stake - more than the fourth string QB's contract.

    Even though I missed Kirk Cutie yesterday, and the game was being played on that horrible Smurf Turf, I found myself REALLY enjoying the Oregon-Boise State game. As in, I started with the, "Wow! Did you see that play!!??" and "Get him! Get him!! Gethimgethimgethim!!!!" I didn't know I liked NCAA football that much.

  3. Switch gears here... Tomorrow is the feast day of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta - known to most people as Mother Teresa. She passed from this life on September 5, which is why we celebrate her on that day: she went to her eternal reward - one which we all should strive to attain. One of the things I find inspiring about Mother Teresa - something I didn't know until relatively recently - is that she suffered through a dark night of the soul for the last 40 years of her life. It's a scary thing when you pray and feel little to nothing in return, but if your faith is strong, you realize that God is there, but asking you to trust Him. I've gone through times of spiritual dryness, though they've been blessedly short by comparison. If you have EWTN, you can learn more about the Saint of the Gutters through their special programing this weekend.

  4. People are a bit freaked out by President Obama making a special speech to schoolkids. The companion materials are a bit un-nerving ("What do you think the president wants us to do? " and "Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us?" are two of the questions), but he's actually not the first president to address students in school. George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan both did, too, though I'm not certain what kinds of materials the Department of Education prepared for teachers to go over before and after the speech. My kids actually have to sit through his speeches sometimes, anyway, as part of our school day - we even watched the Inauguration live, too. I am still glad we homeschool, though, so that I can follow up on his speech with the kids. I wonder if it'll be broadcast live on the news or CSPAN or something. We might watch it anyway. And if the message is, indeed, "stay in school" and "work hard and study" then I don't see much problem with it. If he starts in on healthcare and such, then I'll have a problem. But, not everything the man does is evil. Really.

  5. School is moving along, albeit slowly. It's going to get easier, especially starting October 2, but at least we are somewhat on track right now. Big Girl has been working on some interesting projects of her choosing, which is one of the reasons I loved CHC. For some subjects, the assignment for the week is to "do one of the following projects," which allows for flexibility. The first week she had one of those, she chose to do a short report on Hawaii. Then she chose to memorize a quote of St. Francis'. She also wants to bake a cake, but I'm afraid it will have to wait a wee bit, though I think we can fit it in this weekend. (I'll have to take pictures and post them!) It's giving her some control over what she does while still ensuring she's learning something. I like it so much that I've about decided to change Little Girl over to CHC next year.

  6. Did I mention Little Girl wanting a mantilla? I started wearing one at the end of June. (I was nervous about it, since no one else at my parish wears one.) But she had shown some interest in mine when I started wearing it. (It looks kind of pretty, actually.) She started asking for one of her own after we were coming home from vacation in July. She'd just spent a whole week with my parents, and was sad about leaving, especially since we were doing so just after Mass on Sunday morning. My mom and dad couldn't come with us since they were serving as EMHC's at a later Mass, and we didn't have time to go back to the house after Mass if we were to get on the road at a decent hour.

    During Mass, Little Girl was moping quite a bit, and I know she's a sensitive little soul, so I leaned in as we sat down for the readings and whispered, "Are you okay, honey?"

    She started sniffling as tears welled up in her eyes and she mumbled, "I'm so sad to be going back already..." and then the dam kind of broke. She was exhausted from a busy week with little sleep, and this was more than she could handle. In an effort to make her feel a little better, I lifted up the side of my mantilla and placed it over her head, too, snuggling her into my side in the process. She told me later that it was that action that helped her to calm down and feel better. And that sealed it for her. She wanted her own mantilla. And I ordered one for her, which we are anxiously awaiting!

  7. Video time! (I love these!)

Thursday, September 3

I *Love* Salsa!

And that's why I'm so excited about Saturday mornings!

By the way, I actually searched for a good 20 minutes to find this video. Yes, I'm really that pathetic.

Follow Up: My Complaint to Ben & Jerry's

I used their online email form to submit the following complaint:

I was sorry to see that you decided to promote gay "marriage" by re-naming your Chubby Hubby ice cream "Hubby Hubby" and displaying a picture of two men in tuxedos. This kind of activity is not one I wish to assist with my money, nor do I wish to need to explain even the chosen graphics for your promotion. As a result, from this point on, I will not purchase any more Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

If I get any response*, I'll let you know. In the meantime, why not tell them what you think, too?

(*I did find it interesting that the "Complaint" link, when you click about "general concern" leads you to a page where they say they won't be responding to you. Very nice, very progressive.)

Related links:

I Will Never Buy Ben & Jerry's Again


Ben & Jerry's Changes 'Chubby Hubby' to 'Hubby Hubby' in Support of Gay Marriage

Tuesday, September 1

On Notice! (Or: A Duck on Crutches)

Many times, I've written about our family being on the Total Money Makeover plan. It's been a way of life for us, and though it was a big change, it was one that was quite necessary. Back in December of 2007, I was not particularly good about sharing our financial crunch with Travel Man, but I had to tell him we were in trouble. If we didn't sell our van and change something, we were going to go under. Believe it or not, I actually hid this from him for MONTHS. I was very depressed, and it was only my Catholic faith that kept me from being suicidal. Revealing that was pretty scary. It shouldn't have been, but it was.

Well, just after I revealed this and Travel Man and I knew we had to do something, God stepped in and prompted a friend of his to give him a book. "It's changed our life!" he gushed, and handed over Dave Ramsey's book. I was reluctant to read it, and more reluctant to sit down and write out our budget. We did it. I nearly threw up, I probably cried a bunch, but we developed a plan based on the Total Money Makeover (TMM). And we decided that I could contribute by working from home. Hence my job with Apple. I certified and started getting paid work at the end of April of 2008. God took care of us, because I first had to certify with an umbrella company in order to contact their clients. When I finished with that class, I was allowed to apply for a client, and Apple happened to come up just then. It was the best possible client I could have hoped for: one with good pay, a 20 hour/week minimum, and no
required weekends. Plus, though the class was more expensive, if I did well, I could keep the computer and get a refund for that part of my fees. I passed, I got my refund, and I plowed on.

Let me tell you what: without that, we would have been in some trouble. But with it, we managed to pay off a serious amount of money. I'm not getting into specifics here, but I didn't think that it would be possible to do that, along with car repairs, hospital bills, oral surgery bills, and water heater bills added in. Combine that with that emergency trip to Texas last May, and we're talking about some very serious stuff.

Our plan has been that I would continue to work until we paid off all our debt and put aside about 1/3 of our full emergency fund (3-6 months of expenses). But things have changed a little bit.

Work was stressing me out, school was slipping, and I was starting to shut down and do less and less in my vocation. Things came to a head recently, and I burst into tears and sobbed on and on about how awful I felt, how I wasn't doing well with work, how I wasn't doing enough for the girls as their mother, how their schoolwork was being put off more and more. And Travel Man hugged me and said exactly what I needed to hear, but didn't want to ask for.

"If it's that bad, quit. It's not worth the extra money to have you like this, to have you feel like you aren't taking care of the girls."

I actually argued against it a bit, especially since we hadn't paid off that last debt (though it's down to just slightly more than 1/3 of the original amount from last October), but he insisted.

We talked some more about it, looking over the budget. Quitting means slowing down that debt snowball. Quitting means slowing down for the fully-funded emergency fund. Quitting means no trip to Disney for our kids next year. Quitting means the rest of the debt will be Travel Man's responsibility to pay off.

But quitting also means no squeezing school between my shifts. Quitting means no ignoring the girls while I do extra studying for the latest specs on whatever Steve Jobs dreamed up last month. Quitting means no meetings online while the family watches a movie without me. Quitting means that Big Girl isn't lying compulsively so she gets more attention from me for something. And when I mentioned the burden of paying being solely his, my amazing husband replied with a reassuring smile, "Heavy is the head that wears the crown."

I looked over my contract, and realized that I needed to give 30 days of notice, or work to the end of my contract with my client, whichever comes last. And my contract was going to expire in about 36 days.


So I gave my notice towards the end of last week, and notified my performance facilitator this week.

And it's only 29 days until September 30, which is last day in my contract.

And so, I've put my job on notice. I'm officially a lame duck employee.

Pretty soon, I'll just be Mommy again.

And that's just what I've always wanted to be.

Who are your heros?


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