Friday, April 30

Seven Quick Takes: Over-the-Hill Edition

Thank you, Jen, for hosting!

1. Yesterday was my birthday. I turned 40. No, I don't think I'm over the hill, but my cousin (who just turned 25 earlier this month) asked if I was. Ha. Ha. Actually, I'm happy to be 40. I was excited about my birthday all month! This was a nice change from when I turned 30 and I was suddenly depressed/upset. Could NOT figure that out, and it hit me suddenly. Strange, eh?

2. Little Girl's dance studio just released their May schedule. Recital is at the end of May, and she has ballet THREE times a week from now until the end of the month. One week, there are FOUR rehearsals, one of which is at the same time as a potential soccer game for Big Girl. Any busy mothers know how to bilocate? I think that would be an awesome skill to have. Or are we not allowed to do that for reasons such as this? What do you think the rules are for bilocation?

3. Travel Man (who doesn't travel much lately) and I are having a date night for my birthday. Tomorrow, we are hiring a babysitter and going to dinner and a movie. We're going to see Date Night! Hooray! I have to say that when we saw the trailer for this movie, we both about died laughing. We've been waiting for it to come out for months, and I was worried that it wouldn't be in any theaters in our small town this far after release. But it's there, and we'll be heading over to see it tomorrow.

4. Another awesome birthday present for me is that Lowe's just opened a store in our town. It's only 4 miles from my house. This is a huge improvement over the 20-30 minute drive to get to Lowe's or Home Depot in the neighboring town. Yes, I know that there's a True Value and an 86 Lumber and a carpet/flooring shop and another half dozen small businesses between here and the next town. And I still want to buy my plants from the nursery we started going to last year. (They sit IN the parking lot where the Lowe's has just been built. They were there first and are confident they'll be able to hang on.) However, I don't want to go to 18 different stores and pay higher prices for the same thing when I can go to Lowe's and buy my toilet and sink and all the plumbing stuff we need as well as the towel racks, etc. for the half-bath. (See? I already have a project in mind. I've actually been waiting for Lowe's to open to replace the toilet in our half-bath this Spring.) Anyway, to celebrate my excitement, here's a wonderful video that encapsulates how happy I am.

5. I've been on Weight Watchers again (with Travel Man), and I've lost 13 pounds so far. (Sunday is my weigh-in day, so we'll see if that number goes up!) Here's one measure of success. I have a pair of denim capris - they're stretchy, so they even have some forgiveness built in - that I could not get up past my thighs last Fall. Yesterday, I wore them all day, and they were comfy. It was SO exciting to be able to get back into them. I think the biggest thing helping me is that Travel Man is on the program, too, so I'm not tempted to snack just because he is. Peer pressure is a powerful thing, people.

6. Speaking of Weight Watchers, I made the mistake of trying to start a conversation on their community boards wherein I asked other homeschooling mothers how they do it "alone." Now, grammatically, putting quotes around that word means it is not intended to be taken literally. However, people do not understand this rule any more, since quotation marks are not used mainly as a reinforcement such as underlining used to be used. (This is a pet peeve of mine, you know.) So, I got two kinds of comments to my opening post. A: Hostile-to-homeschooling comments who were insulted that I simply asked that it not turn into a pro- vs. anti-homeschooling thread (I'd seen another thread get hijacked that way), and 2: "Why do you think you are 'alone'?" comments that focused on my using homeschooling as an excuse for not going to meetings. (Let me tell you, when hubby travels and/or we have soccer and ballet a combined total of 5-6 times a week, no meeting seems to fit my schedule.) It was actually quite depressing. I even started out saying that my tip for others is that hubby and I weigh in together and help motivate others. Only one comment was constructive: Someone said that perhaps I didn't realize that people who go to "real world meetings" also got free access to the online tools, so maybe I didn't know that people online were also going to meetings. (Oh, even my use of that phrase - real world meetings - was deemed offensive by one commenter. But she felt it was okay to call my older daughter a brat, as in "all kids are brats.") Frankly, I couldn't even figure out why they even bothered to click through when the title of the thread was "Homeschooling Moms - Doing it 'Alone'". Reading how quickly it devolved into a bashing thread with no helpful advice really put me in a foul mood. So I think I'll just avoid the "Community Message Boards" at the WW site from now on. They don't seem particularly helpful.

7. I know I've already put up 2 videos, but I'll add one more. Actually, I'll give you three. First, the Old Spice ad that premiered during the Super Bowl. We LOVE this commercial! My girls will sometimes randomly say, "I'm on a horse," to demonstrate how awesome they are at whatever it is they're doing at the moment.

Now, here's the "making of" explanation. It's nearly 20 minutes, but it's pretty neat.

And, finally, here's the short that is mentioned near the end of the above video:

One last thing. Under the last video, on YouTube's site, Old Spice has this caption:

Don't smell like sunsets and baby powder. Smell like jet fighters and punching.
I think each one has a different silly comment like that. I love this whole ad campaign!

Did I say "one more?" I guess I meant three.

Have a blessed weekend!

Wednesday, April 21

Wordless Wednesday: Golden-Dusted Azalea

You can see the full-size version of this (where you're able to see the pollen on the petals, pistils, and stamen) in my macro photostream, here.

Friday, April 16

Happy 83rd Birthday, Holy Father!

This video is from last year, but we can still pray for the Holy Father. By the way, don't forget to pray the novena for our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. The Knights of Columbus have the prayer here, and a printable PDF (six to a sheet) here. Even if you haven't prayed so far, it's never too late to say a prayer for the Vicar of Christ!

If you prefer, here's a video of the Supreme Chaplain guiding us through the novena prayers:

Wednesday, April 14

Made of Awesome eBay Link

I swear, you need to click through. Don't drink while reading, though.

The Graph is Made of Awesome

From GraphJam:

funny graphs and charts

Wordless Wednesday: Dandy-Lion King in My Garden

I went out and took some pictures of the blooming flowers in my garden yesterday. Pioneer Woman ran a photo contest with macros as the theme, so I decided to enter a couple of shots. Here's one of my favorites, though it's not the one I entered. Click on through to see the others, if that's your kind of thing.

More here, on my Flickr account.

Tuesday, April 13

Friday, April 9

I Know What's Up With This

Crescat just doesn't read FailBlog, that's all.


... is just a direct result of this:

And this is under Made of Awesome just for Travel Man.

Monday, April 5

Holy Week: Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper

Holy Week was really awesome for me. I was going through Lent, reading my three books each day, but not feeling particularly ... um, holy? No, not right. Closer to God? Probably a bit closer there. But I pushed on. Got back to praying the Rosary more often, but still not back to my every-day mode. (I'll continue to work on that.)

But then Holy Week came - or, more specifically, the Triduum.

Our family always attends the Triduum. Easter Vigil is my favorite Mass of the entire year, and I think it could only be improved if we had a wedding at the Mass, as well. But this year, the entire Triduum really moved me and made the somewhat drier time of Lent worth it.

First, Holy Thursday came. In the past at our parish, the foot washing wasn't done properly. Everyone could have their feet washed, everyone could volunteer to wash feet, and Father did not do much of it. I did not participate, at first because I was unprepared (I'd never seen that done before), and then later because I realized it wasn't proper to do it this way. However, this year, Father K. had the various ministries in our parish chose two people (either two in the ministry or a husband and wife) to have their feet washed; Travel Man and I were asked by the Justice and Peace ministry. We discussed, we thought, and then we accepted.

Yes, I know ... vir means MEN, but we both did it anyway. Deal.

Anyway, it was going to be a bit of a penance for me. I hate feet. Hate 'em. Don't like touching them, don't like having mine touched. I once got a manicure and pedicure as a birthday present from my sister, and I traded the pedicure for a second manicure. So even the idea of having water poured over my foot and having it dried off was a bit ... weird. But what happened to me during Mass on Thursday was much more than that.

When we got up and went to our chairs for the washing, Travel Man was one of the men in charge of placing the chairs on the lowest step going to the altar. Because he'd also be taking them away, he sat in one of the first places to be washed so that he'd be able to get up quickly and put chairs away. And because we sit on the opposite side of the church where Father K. started, I sat in the last chair.

At this point, I want to let you know (in case you've never been to Holy Thursday Mass - and it's something I highly recommend, even if you're not Catholic) what the Gospel reading is for Holy Thursday. It's the same in all three Liturgical Cycles.


Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come

to pass from this world to the Father.

He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.

The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over.

So, during supper,

fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power

and that he had come from God and was returning to God,

he rose from supper and took off his outer garments.

He took a towel and tied it around his waist.

Then he poured water into a basin

and began to wash the disciples’ feet

and dry them with the towel around his waist.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,

“Master, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus answered and said to him,

“What I am doing, you do not understand now,

but you will understand later.”

Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered him,

“Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”

Simon Peter said to him,

“Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”

Jesus said to him,

“Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed,

for he is clean all over;

so you are clean, but not all.”

For he knew who would betray him;

for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

So when he had washed their feet

and put his garments back on and reclined at table again,

he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?

You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.

If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,

you ought to wash one another’s feet.

I have given you a model to follow,

so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

I love Saint Peter. He is my favorite saint because he spoke before he thought so often, and his love for Our Lord is so evident. When he met Jesus, he wasn't so sure who this Guy was, but once he got a glimpse, he went whole-heartedly with Him. He never looked back, even when he was being impetuous.

So there I sat, waiting for Father to come to me. He and the deacon moved together, with the altar servers following behind, handing him towels and taking the wet ones away. Because the church is curved slightly, I couldn't see Father until he was about halfway down the line of people. Then I noticed something.

He was not just kneeling before each person, but staying that way, crawling on his knees to each person to wash their feet.

The sight took my breath away. I looked at Father, whom I love and respect, and thought, "That's not right! He shouldn't be crawling to us like that! He shouldn't be doing this! We should be honoring him!"

And I got it. For the first time, I really got Saint Peter's reaction. I'd always known in my head that Peter thought it was inappropriate that the Lord should wash his feet, but it hadn't really internalized for me. I didn't know it in my heart the way I know it now. I looked down at Father as he approached my chair and thought, "No! This isn't right!" I worked hard to choke back my tears at that point. When he got to the person two chairs down from me, I noticed something else: as he finished drying her foot, he looked up into her eyes, smiled, and then moved on.

This was almost too much to bear. Now I was really fighting the tears. I asked Saint Peter to pray for me, so I could keep from crying. I did not want to cry up there.

When it was my turn, I noticed more. First, Father had made sure the water was warm. It was comfortable. Then, it wasn't just a matter of a little water being poured on my foot and wiped off. He acted as though I had dirt on my feet and he washed it. I think that if I had been wearing sandals and was grimy, my foot would have been clean at that point.

Humbling. Moving.

Never did I think it would be like that. I'm glad I said yes, because I learned something very important about Christ and Saint Peter and the apostles in that moment. And I was able to internalize another Gospel story in an entirely new way.

Saint Peter, pray for us!
Who are your heros?


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