Monday, April 30, 2007

One Who Understands Vocations

As I was catching up on blog reading this morning I came across this amazing post about vocations by Deacon Dan Wright.

In my diocese I have been frustrated for years because the only time the children or teens hear about vocation at all it is in reference to the priesthood or religious life. It is as if to choose anything else would be a less holy choice for ones life.

When I worked for the church it frustrated me to no end that I couldn't even craft a general intercession that mentioned vocation to marriage or the single life even though it was statistically accurate that the majority of the teens at the Confirmation mass would fall into those two vocations. Any vocational intercession HAD to be only for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

For me it is a matter of discernment to which vocation I was called. Had I chosen to enter religious life knowing I had been called to the vocation of marriage because I thought that the religious life would lead me to a more holy life would have been wrong. God chose my vocation and the only way for me to enter into the fullness of whom I was created to be was to accept that vocational call and enter into marriage with my husband almost 24 years ago. My holiness comes from being wife, helpmate and mother.

I don't think we can pray for an increase in vocations, because God calls whomever He wills. I think the only valid prayer that we can pray, and the only way that I can pray for vocations is that every person will open their heart to God's loving vocational call wherever it leads them. When one is open to God's loving call and willing to follow that call wherever it leads, only then will one be able to become the truest self.

That is my prayer for my children. If God were to call any of my children into religious life I would be behind them 100%. And if God's vocational call is for my children to be married I will be there to help them be strong in that vocation as well. And if God asks my children to remain single as their vocation (which in the case of my two autistic children he might) I will be there to support them in that vocation, with its stresses and needs as well.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Doing My Bit to Spread the Word

Matthew Lickona at Godsbody has put out a challenge to spread the word and rally more people to join us, so that we can break the stereotype that Catholics Don't Read.

Join the Summer Reading Club
Korrektiv has chosen Walker Percy's insightful parody of the self help genre;

Lost in the Cosmos
as their selection for the summer reading club this year.
Having been turned on to Walker Percy by the very same bunch (aka Korrektiv) and having loved everything I read by Percy last fall, I heartily recommend this. I actually purchased a copy and have it in my hot little hands and am going to begin to read the introductory assignment this evening since mrangelmeg is off on a short overnight business trip. I have already listened to the Peter Kreeft Lecture (trying for some brownie points here.)

So, go to your nearest library and borrow a copy of this book, or better yet, go to your nearest bookstore and buy a copy so you can write in the margins like I do. (Or used book store if you need to save a few bucks. I bet you will find a copy. It was printed as a mass market paperback more than once over the years.
Join us. It will be fun, you will meet new Internet friends and expand your vocabulary and learn a little bit about yourself.

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

I have been having some very vivid dreams lately. I only wish I could remember them more clearly. Too bad they don't make Tivo for dreams.

What Your Dreams Mean...

Your dreams seem to show that you're a bit disturbed... but nothing serious.

You may have a problem you're trying to work out in your sleep.

Overall, you are very content in your life.

You have a very vivid imagination and a rich creative mind.

You secretly want to hide your dreams from your waking mind.

nightcap tip to Sr Susan RosePax

Saints Preserve Us, I've Been Tagged

The Ironic Catholic did the honors.

"Those tagged for this meme will list their four favorite saints, their one
favorite blessed, and one person they think should have been a saint." OK--here
we go!

NOTA: Asking me to choose only four favorite saints is a form of torture. I have found the saints to be my friends since early childhood. My spiritual director told me once that my reluctance to join the Secular Franciscans was that in choosing Francis I was in essence turning my back on all my other "friends of the bosom" in the communion of saints. He was probably pretty close to the truth; I never did join. I will do my best to choose four saints that have meant the most to me in a lifetime of loving all of the saints. Perhaps they are the saints that mean the most to me at this time, or linger around me when I am the most in need.

1) Margaret Mary Alacoque - She was a 17th Century nun who had a great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and through visions from Christ was instrumental in spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart. Her writings are amazingly personal and convicting.

I have written before about the fact that I thought the church had named a saint after me until I read about St Margaret Mary when I was 10 and my Godparents got me "Lives of the Saints for Young Readers" for my birthday. I was only sad until I finished reading about her because she was such a strong and awesome woman.

2) Philomena -- probably a virgin and martyr as nothing is known about her life. The only person to be elevated to sainthood based solely upon miraculous cures and intercessions that occurred centuries after her death. The modern Church has tried to expunge her from the Calendar due to lack of evidence of her life, but cannot expunge the hagiography and devotion that has grown up around her because of her powerful intercessory aide.

I only know that I was having a panic attack in a Cathedral very far from home when I was very much alone in a very large crowd of women, and I opened a book and inside I found a St. Philomena Holy Card. From the moment that I held that holy card I began to calm down. I was infused with a sense that I was meant to be where I was no matter how uncomfortable I felt. (I later heard in the homily at that same mass a message I needed to hear which I would have missed had I run screaming from the church, which was my first inclination.)

3) St. Ignatius of Loyola - Once a soldier, whose career was cut short by a devastating leg injury. While recuperating, with nothing but time and two books (the bible and lives of the saints) to while away the hours he had a conversion of heart and decided to dedicate his life to becoming a soldier for the Church. He had a strong commitment to education, and to discerning God's will for himself and then to helping others discern God's will for themselves.

His Spiritual Exercises are used today by vowed, religious and lay men and women alike.

When I was in my deepest despair in my spiritual life as an adult Catholic, and my prayer felt like straw falling on deaf ears I was introduced to Ignatius and his wonderful spiritual exercises. Through them I realized that if I could not see God it was I who had turned my face from Him, and He was faithfully seeking the deepest part of me if I only would open my heart to Him. Of all my companions on the journey, I think Ignatius and his Jesuit friends have come the closest to speaking to my deepest needs. which is why I use the Examen as my evening prayer, and take an Ignatian retreat every year.

4. St Maximilian Kolbe - Polish priest who had a devotion to the Blessed Mother. He used the mass media to reach many in an evangelization effort that was far reaching. He was a tireless missionary in Japan and India and worked for peace in an era of war and strife. He was frail because of tuberculosis, but that never stopped him from doing God's work. He was imprisoned in Auschwitz near the end of World War II . He continued to minister in his role as priest even in the camp. He offered his life for that of a Jewish man who was scheduled to die in retribution for an escape attempt. The camp guards tried to starve him to death but when after 14 days he was still alive, they injected him with poison.

The very first time mrangelmeg and I went anywhere together alone it was to Mass at a Franciscan parish on the day that St Max was canonized. Needless to say, this being one of their boys they had a ginormous party, which we attended since we were poor college kids who never passed up a chance to get a free meal. It also gave us the opportunity to spend most of that day together. Not a bad way to start a relationship in retrospect. We have always counted St. Max as the patron of our relationship. He is a very special friend to both of us and has showered us with intercessions and blessings over the years.

One Blessed:

Blessed Junipero Serra - a Franciscan who left the teaching of Philosophy to do missionary work among the settlers and natives in Mexico and California in the late 1700's. He was a tireless worker and did much good.

Okay, I admit it, I am choosing him because he left his post of Philosophy Teacher to do real work. No bias there.

One person who should be a saint:

Thomas a' Kempis - I mean really, this man single-handedly wrote what is arguably the most well read book on spirituality in the entire Catholic world and has never been out of print since its first printing. It is probably printed in every known language (I wouldn't doubt that someone is working on the Klingon version as I write this) and he isn't a saint!

The official Church story is that when they exhumed his body for his cause for sainthood they found scratch marks on the inside of the lid of his coffin, which meant that he had been, uhm prematurely interred. The church could not declare him a saint because she could not be sure that at the last moment of his "actual" death he didn't despair.

I think given the way he lived his prior life, God would give him a pass for whatever thoughts came into his head or words came out of his mouth in those final moments. If he didn't get one I don't have a chance.

This was lots of fun. I want to tag, Suzanne and Meg, and The Kitchen Madonna (between Aprons).


Lazy Sunday Random Ten

Here is a Lazy Sunday Random Ten from my IPod Playlist

1. Come on Eileen Dexy's Midnight Runers
2. Rocky Racoon The Beatles
3. Lonely Stranger Eric Clapton
4. Do You Dream of Me Michael W. Smith
5. Dust Mites Heywood Banks
6. Late Lament The Moody Blues
7. Love's in Need of Love Today Take 6
8. Dare to be Stupid Wierd Al Yankovic
9. If I Could Give You More Harry Connick Jr.
10. My Girl Aaron Neville

Eclectic? Uhm, yeah. I am sure that some psychologist could discern volumes about my psyche from this list. I will just say I knows what I likes, and my likes change unexpectedly.


Friday, April 27, 2007

What to Watch:

Wish My Satellite got this Chanel:

Holy Whapping Television Network

It offers better programs than anything on the rest of the 800 channels we already get.


Mental Pause Moment #5: MADD: and this has nothing to do with drunk driving

I have noticed that as I slip into menopause the hardest thing for me to face is the fact that I am constantly distracted. I have, what I have come to term:

Menopausal Attention Deficit Disorder

I used to be able to stay on task pretty well. I mean I wasn't ever the most organized person in the world, but I never got distracted in the "ooh shiny" kind of way that I do now.

Let me give you an example of what at simple task is like for me. Say I decide to do a quick tidy up of the bedroom, should take no more than 1o minutes tops. I start by turning on the computer so that I can turn on some music, because I always work better with music on. Then while ITunes is loading I just spend a few minutes checking email, just in case I got a response from a friend that I emailed last night about something. Twenty minutes later I get back to starting the music and begin to pick up the things that are cluttering the floor, one of which happens to be a shirt I wore just the other day, that has a rip in it. I figure that I had better fix the rip or I will never remember that it is there and then while it is going through the washer it will get bigger and ruin my favorite top, so I get out my sewing kit and fix the hole, another 15 minutes. Then while I am putting the sewing kit back I notice that the towels on the shelf of the linen closet are all messed up, so I organize them because the next time someone takes a towel they will all fall and no one will bother to pick them up. Another 20 minutes wasted. By this time I have forgotten what I was doing in the first place and it is two hours later.

Don't give me strategies to get more organized, I have tried every system on the planet. Lately I have just learned to live with this. I get done whatever gets done and am happy with the result.

If you want to hear a funny story, you aught to hear about the time I ended up doing the laundry topless because I decided that I might as well throw in the shirt I had on while I was doing a tan load. I could just run up to the bedroom for another shirt, I was all alone in the house at the time, or so I thought . . . my poor son. I was scared half to death, but he may be scarred for life.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Okay Jude and Rita . . .

Now that you have walked me through the wonderful world of Medicare Part D prescription drug benefits, complete with donut hole gap coverage and stages one two and three . . .

(I have been trying to set up my mother's prescriptions through an online pharmacy only to find out that to do so would bankrupt her in the short term until her donut hole coverage kicks in or some such foolishness.)

Do you think you would mind helping to find my house keys and bonus cards that were on the keyring I brought back from the mechanic on Tuesday after my near death experience. I tried to get Tony to find them, but he seems to be otherwise occupied finding lost golf balls and other such nonsense.

I really need those keys. How can I go to the library without my card which is on my keyring. Not to mention my Kroger card, my YMCA card (yeah right like I am gonna miss that now that ballroom dancing is over) my CVS card. All of the important cards I use every day are on that keyring. So if you get a free minute from helping other poor lost souls in the Medicare Part D minefield I could really use a shove in the right direction.


Shall Wii Play A Game?

Okay, I am not a big fan of vidio game platforms, but I have to admit that when my son set up his new Wii platform yesterday and I watched the kids playing games on it I became an instant fan.

The angelbaby played a game that was all about cooking (you know how much I love to cook). This kind of cooking might even interest me. After all there is only a virtual mess to clean up.

The sports that come with the Wii are quite fun as well. Bowling and golf have a very lifelike feel to them, moreso than any other interactive game I have ever played anyway.

So, I might even be pursuaded to put down my book or move away from my computer screen long enough to have a family game night on this new toy.

Would you like to join us?


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Nothing Funny Here: On Being Tireless, but not in a good way. . .

or tragic either though, thank God!

I had the most harrowing experience of my not-so-young life today. When I was driving to visit my mother I thought it sounded as though my tire was flat so I got out and looked at it, but there was no problem with my tire. So, I got back in and drove the rest of the way to mom's house and drove around the city where she lives without thinking about it again.

On the drive home though the sound returned, only this time it sounded more like transmission trouble. I called mrangelmeg on my cell phone and told him about the noise, and he and I discussed the situation and decided since the car seemed to be drivable I should attempt to drive it back to our mechanic at home.

When I was about a block from the mechanic's place, on a very busy street, someone motioned to me to roll down my window and told me that my tire was in bad shape, so I pulled off into a church parking lot. After calling mrangelmeg we decided that rather than try to drive it the last block, he would call a tow truck to come and get me and tow the car to our mechanic's shop.

When the wrecker got there and I explained the situation to the operator he took a look at the tire and said that for sure it was a problem with the tire. He pulled off the lug cap and three of the lugs (stem and all) fell off onto the pavement) another came off in his hand leaving only one holding the tire onto the car. At this point I was about to pass out.

He asked if I had had any tire work done recently and I said that yes I had had the tire repaired in January. He said that he wasn't sure but he thought that the tire had been put on the car improperly. To think I have been driving it since January and all that time it had been working its way breaking the lug stems right off the tire one at a time.

I must have some really great guardian angel coverage today. I didn't just have one guardian angel, I had the multitude of heavenly host looking out for me on the drive home. That last lug could have snapped at any time and I would have been tireless.

Thanks to my heavenly protectors, and the great wrecker driver, and the people who work at our mechanic's shop. I am home safe and sound. They are going to see what happened to the tire, fix it and then we will decide if we need to go after the place that did the tire work back in January. Right now all I can think about is how blessed I am. Miracles do happen.

Update: I got my car back from our mechanic and he agrees that under the circumstances he can't figure out how I could have driven the car. He says with the lug nuts out so far on the stud there is no way that I should have been able to keep control of the car at any speed. He said that he had never seen anything like that before. Luckily there was no damage to the tire at all, and everything has been replaced and they double and triple checked the tightness of the lug nuts, not just on that tire, but on all the other tires, just to be sure. That is why we always use that mechanic.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Saying Yes All Over Again

At times over the past nearly 24 years of married life I have asked mrangelmeg if he would be willing to renew our vows; on special anniversaries and when we were vacationing where they had those quaint wedding chapels in the mountains. Each time I asked he has always said "Why bother, they worked the first time." or "No need to fix what isn't broken." or some other quip equally dripping with romance.

We have actually participated in one renewal of vows ceremony at our church. I have the picture to prove it. It is one of my favorite pictures of us because it happened to be one of those winters when I had cajoled mrangelmeg into growing a beard and in the picture he has a beard and I don't look half bad myself. The picture was taken by a friend of ours who was playing "wedding photographer" for the evening's festivities that night at church. Each couple that participated in the Mass got a nice dinner and a photograph to commemorate the evening.

It has been many years since that time, and I had decided that it was easier not to ask anymore than to keep getting turned down. While mrangelmeg sees no reason to renew the vows we made all those years ago, I see nothing wrong with a refresher.

I suppose I look at it more as I do the renewal of promises that the Priests make at the Chrism Mass. Their Ordination made an indelible and irreversible mark on them, yet each year they stand before the altar of God and reaffirm the promises they made at that ordination. It isn't that the first promises didn't take, it is just that it doesn't hurt to make a public show of reminding ourselves about what is important.

I think it is really important that it be in a Mass as well. Marriage is a vocation. As one of my favorite Bishops says in his vocations prayer it is the source of all other vocations. When the Church begins to recognize and uphold the vocation of marriage and call for the strengthening of the vocation of marriage with the same vigor that it has been the vocation of the priesthood and religious life I think the vocations crisis in this country will vanish.

I will get off my soapbox now and get back to my point. Saturday evening mrangelmeg surprised me by registering us for a Marriage renewal service at our parish. He had mentioned it once before, but I thought he was joking because of his previous statements. I was pleasantly surprised that we attended, and we had a wonderful time.

The nicest thing of all though was looking into his eyes and telling him that I would still take him as my husband from this day forward, for better and for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer, forsaking all others until death us do part. As I said those words I could see that 21 year old young man standing in the front of the church with me all those years ago. Little did we know then what those words would mean. If we can get through what we have been through to this point I think the safe money is on us.

But it was really nice hearing him say the words over again, because I know I don't much look like that young girl anymore. Heck I don't even feel like her anymore.

If you get a chance to renew your vows, take it. If you just get a chance to say to your spouse "I would marry you all over again today." do it. Don't miss an opportunity to say I love you in words and deeds.


Mental Pause Moment #4 Gravity is Not My Friend! With a Nod to Kurt Vonnegut RIP

In one of my favorite Kurt Vonnegut books there has been an alteration in the earth's gravitational pull. Some days gravity is too strong and everyone must crawl around on the ground due to the excessive force holding them too tightly. Other days people almost float above the ground.

On the light gravity days the male main character notes other physiologically interesting and not altogether unpleasing aspects of the affect of the less than normal gravitational pull especially on his nether-regions.

What you might ask, does this have to do with my latest mental pause moment realization. Well, my dears I have found that as a woman grows older even the normal pull of earth's gravity is very unkind to her.

Everything on a woman's body begins to shift downward. It takes great effort, and some interesting feats of undergarment construction to keep her anatomical parts where they were intended to be and happily stayed, unfettered, in her younger years. You will find very few Peri-menopausal or early menopausal women who are willing to stand naked in front of a full length mirror because to do so will cause her to break down into tears or laughter. If she is capable of laughter at the sight of her entire anatomy shifting toward the center of the earth she is much better off.

For me it is harder to look in the mirror at night after I have brushed my teeth and see my face sagging. It reminds me a bit of those Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark after they dared to open the Ark of the Covenant. Only I don't think it is fair that I don't even get to look upon the face of God before my skin begins to slowly melt off of my face. Granted my melting skin will take much longer to actually separate from my bone structure than those poor Nazis, but darn it I still don't see the justice.

So, as in all the other things about Mental Pause, I just have to come to this realization. Either I learn to live with these changes, or I can take the drastic measures like some celebrities who have had so much plastic surgery that whenever they wink their toes curl. No thanks, that isn't for me either.

I will admit to using a night firming cream. I only wish I could use this stuff on other parts of my body, sadly you aren't supposed to take baths in the stuff.

And so I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Mr Vonnegut:

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion.

I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ballroom Dancing Denouement

Tomorrow is our last Ballroom dancing class for this Spring at the YMCA. To say that Mrangelmeg and I have enjoyed these classes would be such an understatement of how we have come to feel about our weekly trips to the dance studio.

It has enhanced so much of our relationship besides our confidence on the dance floor that it has been worth all of the hard work and embarrassment that we went through to get where we are at this point. Not to mention the sore feet and aching muscles. (That rhumba can kick the ol' fanny).

One thing that I have personally gained over the course of the training we have received, although I know I have a long way to go, and mrangelmeg will surely back me up on this, is my appreciation for how much I have to surrender to his lead, not only in dance, but in many other aspects of our relationship. If I listen more carefully to what he is trying to communicate to me I will be on much stronger footing.

When I am in doubt in a dance move I have been instructed by our teacher to close my eyes and trust that mrangelmeg knows what he is doing and will lead me where I am supposed to go. I have been trying to do that more often in other areas of my life as well. He sees my level of energy more clearly than I do and he is able to guage what I am capable of taking on much better than I am.

My Spiritual Director reminded me just this week that I have to work on my male authority figure issues, and I might as well let mrangelmeg be the one healthy authority figure relationship I allow myself to surreneder to in all things without question or debate or tantrums. I asked if I could at least pout, and he said that was negotiable.

Dancing has taught me that there can be only one lead. When I try to lead I throw off the balance of our steps, or mess up our timing. I am working on surrendering my need to be in control, and I think mrangelmeg has seen great improvement not just in our dancing but in other areas of our relationship as well.

I will miss our class at the YMCA, but I recently found out that our city Parks and Rec department has a summer Intermediate Ballroom class on Friday nights in June and July. If I tell him I need to work on my submission to his lead, do you think mrangelmeg will sign up for more dancing?


Old Friends in Old Places

Today when I went to pray at the Abortion Clinic I ran into an old friend that I hadn't seen in a while. She told me that she had been down at my Gradual School just the other day having an interview for possible admittance to the Lay Degree program which I attend.

I am very excited for her. I know that she will love it as much as I do. In fact it turns out if they do accept her (I am praying that they do.) we will be taking the same class this summer, so my last class at St. Meinrad will be her first class.

I was giving her the skinny on the professors and the student community, and how things work.

In a way it made me a bit sad to think that I am almost finished with my program.

When I got home I received an email from a friend who is actually finished and will be graduating in May. I will be going down for Graduation because a lot of my friends will be graduating this year. I will complete my final in the fall and my graduation ceremony will be next May.

The nice thing about Gradual School is that even after I graduate I will still be a part of that community. I can join them for celebrations and visit occasionally and keep up by email with what is going on there.

Sigh, thank goodness. As much as Gradual School has been a struggle I have truly loved every moment of it.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Wow Exilleration Sets In . . . The Birth of a Story

I just finished writing and editing a story that I am going to submit to Suggested Readings which is the journal of writings by students and faculty of my Gradual School .

This story has had an amazing birthing process. It actually started life as an assignment for one of my professors. We were asked to write on any Johanine topic we wished. (kind of broad directions there don't you think ?)

I started thinking about all of the stories in John that I love (because you see, John happens to be my favorite Gospel). Then I began to wonder, What if . . .

Boy oh boy, when a writer starts thinking what if, amazing things begin to happen.

In this case my mind connected two very unrelated stories in John with a common character maybe. I started writing and came up with a plausible plot devise, and about three thousand words later I got very scared, because this particular professor has a very strict word limit on his papers. Strict in that if you go over the limit he will simply stop reading your paper before the twenty-five-hundrend and first word and grade you on what he has read.

Being not nearly finished telling the story the way it needed to be told, I abandoned it as a project for that particular class and started from scratch on another subject and wrote an entirely new paper for this professor (for which I got an A I might add.)

But, the characters, and this story just wouldn't let go and I kept going back to it and working on it from time to time. Eventually I got it into a pretty much complete narrative form, and asked a writer friend to be my editor and help me to whip it into shape.

She was merciless, as all good editors need to be. What emerged from her edits was a beautiful, touching story of one boy's encounter with the Christ; part biblical truth part midrash (imagination -- what if?). I am going to submit it to the St Meinrad Journal, and then after that who knows, maybe try to get it published somewhere else.

When it is in print I will let you all know so you can read it. Wish me luck.


What Kind of World Do You Want?

This month is Autism Awareness Month.

If you follow this link and watch this amazing video of autistic children and their families set to a Five for Fighting song money will be donated to Autism Speaks.

Do if for a better world

History starts Now!

h/t to Ashley Potter, doing good works even on bedrest.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Another Good Day

I came to visit mom today. This has been a good day. I thought I should take a few moments to count my blessings before I go to sleep.

1) mom remembered my name, when I came in the door she called me Maggie right away, I don't know if she was prompted by Tina, but even if she was she used my name a few more times today and it felt really good that she remembered my name.

2) we took a walk around her neighborhood. It was nice to get back outside again. She really likes to go out for short walks and I like to get her outside, but the weather has been so nasty the last few times that we haven't been able to do this. We had some wonderful conversation while we were on our walk too. I know she won't remember our conversation, but it was nice while it lasted.

3) she has had her sense of humor again, something that has been lacking over the last few months. I wonder if this is due to the new Alzheimer's medicine the Dr has her on. I hope she can keep it for a while.

4) she was fascinated by my IPod. She watched most of a video on it before she got bored. It was really fun watching her have fun with the technology.

5) We went out for Chinese food that tasted really good.

6) She let me help her with the self care activities that she has usually only wanted my sister to help her with. I like the fact that she is allowing me to help with these things since I am going to come and stay with her this summer. I need to get in the mode of doing for her.

So, Praise God for His many blessings.


A Long Way Around

This video shows either an amazing feet of engineering and skill or thousands of dollars of college tuition down the tubes. You be the judge:

In case you can't recognize it, that is the first level of the 8 Bit video game Donkey Kong, created out of 6400 Post-it Notes.
The hat tip for this goes to a celebrity blog

Wil Wheaton (of Star Trek the Next Generation and Stand by Me fame)

His blog is amazingly engaging and filled with insight about his love for his family and his embracing his geekiness.


Mental Pause Moment #3: Hormones, drought or deluge

WARNING: This post deals with content of a very female nature. So men, you have been warned. I will not be offended if you choose to skip this one. I would love some input from my women friends though.

It appears as though as I maneuver through this land of preparation for mental pause I have come across an affliction that appears to affect every woman: for days you will have absolutely no interest whatsoever, and then with no warning you will be flooded with gushes of for lack of a better term for it uhm . . . hormonal energy.

It is absolutely bewildering to me. One week the most romantic environment in the world will evoke nothing more than a yawn from me. It's not that I don't want to be romantic, it's just that I have to really be forcefully reminded that I used to enjoy it.

Then the just as suddenly a few days later all that has to happen to get the old engine revving is for mrangelmeg to brush up against me as he passes me on his way down the hallway. It is as if I am set on slow burn or something.

It would help if this had anything at all to do with my cycle, but sadly I have tried to chart these "storms" and they don't come on any regular basis. I can go for months without it and then have weeks where I can't think of anything else.

I am sure in the times when I am feeling more "expressive" mrangelmeg has no complaints. I worry sometimes about the other times when it must get frustrating for him.

I am also very sure that mrangelmeg would be just as happy if there were some way to channel some of my excess energy into other areas, like maybe cleaning the house, or organizing my bedroom office and closet (two things I have been planning to do since I have been off classes these last two semesters but haven't yet gotten around to).

I am just praying that this too is one of those things that has "come to pass" and not come to stay. I will be fine so long as eventually this will all work itself out to some comfortable level of normality again. If anyone has encouraging words of wisdom for me I would appreciate them.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

This is very interesting, and Quite Revealing

You’re St. Melito of Sardis!

You have a great love of history and liturgy. You’re attached to the traditions of the ancients, yet you recognize that the old world — great as it was — is passing away. You are loyal to the customs of your family, though you do not hesitate to call family members to account for their sins.

Find out which Church Father you are at The Way of the Fathers!

h/t to Ironic Catholic for the link


Friday, April 13, 2007

Hidden Gem of a Movie

I just got finished watching a great movie called Mozart and the Whale. I highly recommend it.

My daughter works with a young man who loaned her this DVD that I just finished watching. It is one of the most touching movies I have seen this year, especially as I have two high functioning autistic children.

Actually they are young adults; our son is 22 and learning to make his way in the world. He has a job and drives a car (a truck his grandfather gave him). He interacts with people much more easily on-line than he does in person, but this movie gives me hope that some day there may be a woman out there that will be able to see him for the wonderful person that he is.

Our daughter is 18 and will graduate from High School this year. She is creative in many ways. She has an amazingly inventive thought process which leads to beautiful essays, everyone says so. She made such an impact on her freshman special education teacher that now that teacher has a new baby daughter with the very same name as our daughter, how cool is that?
Our daughter will probably be able to go on to college in a structured and supportive environment, and we have found such a program, but we have decided that she needs a year off to get ready, so next year she will be staying home, working part time somewhere and learning how to balance a checkbook and manage the transit system and live in the world a bit. Besides that, the College with the best support for autistic young adults is five hours away from here, I need a year before I am ready to have her move that far away. I don't want to suffer from separation anxiety.

So, if you can find this movie at your local video store or library I highly recommend it. It is the closest approximation to the world of High Functioning Autism that I have ever seen. You may realize after you see this movie that you know someone who is high functioning autistic.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Not One of His Best Paying Gigs

What . . . would occur, hypothetically, if one of the world's great violinists had performed incognito before a traveling rush-hour audience of 1,000-odd people?
"Let's assume," Slatkin said, "that he is not recognized and just taken for granted as a street musician . . . Still, I don't think that if he's really good, he's going to go unnoticed. He'd get a larger audience in Europe . . . but, okay, out of 1,000 people, my guess is there might be 35 or 40 who will recognize the quality for what it is. Maybe 75 to 100 will stop and spend some time listening."
So, a crowd would gather?
"Oh, yes."
And how much will he make?
"About $150."
Thanks, Maestro. As it happens, this is not hypothetical. It really happened.
"How'd I do?"
We'll tell you in a minute.
"Well, who was the musician?"
Joshua Bell.

From a Washington Post Article

You read that right folks. Joshua Bell, the 39 year old Violin Virtuoso who recently won the Avery Fisher Prize, donned jeans and a sweatshirt and went into the Washington Subway last January and played his violin for the rush hour crowd.

He made the whopping sum of 32 dollars and change.

Before agreeing to the "experiment" Bell had only one stipulation and I quote from the article here to show his utter humility:

Bell had only one condition for participating. The event had been described to him as a test of whether, in an incongruous context, ordinary people would recognize genius. His condition: "I'm not comfortable if you call this genius." "Genius" is an overused word, he said: It can be applied to some of the composers whose work he plays, but not to him. His skills are largely interpretive, he said, and to imply otherwise would be unseemly and inaccurate.

He did mention that the hardest thing was the fact that when he finished each piece, no one noticed. There was no applause or recognition at all except for one woman who recognized him just at the end of his final piece.

We are huge fans of Joshua Bell in this house. His mastery of the instrument is amazing, and his range of music is so broad. He is just as comfortable playing Rachmaninoff as he is playing Irving Berlin. The Red Violin was such a beautiful movie because of his music. And if you haven't yet heard his West Side Story Suite you are in for a real treat.

I kid you not, my children will be watching very carefully all summer, just in case Joshua decides to do an impromptu concert on one of our street corners here in his hometown. We will stop, and offer him more than change.


Warning: Mark your Calendar Now Do Not Disturb Angelmeg on These Dates and Times

Colts 2007 schedule

• Sept. 6, New Orleans, 8:30 p.m. (NBC)

• Sept. 16, at Tennessee, 1 p.m.
• Sept. 23, at Houston, 1 p.m.
• Sept. 30, Denver, 4:15 p.m.
• Oct. 7, Tampa Bay, 4:05 p.m.
• Oct. 14, Bye
• Oct. 22, at Jacksonville, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
• Oct. 28, at Carolina, 1 p.m
• Nov. 4, New England, 4:15 p.m.
• Nov. 11, at San Diego, 8:15 p.m. (NBC)
• Nov. 18*, Kansas City, 1 p.m.
• Nov. 22, at Atlanta, 8:15 p.m. (NFL Network)
• Dec. 2*, Jacksonville, 1 p.m.
• Dec. 9*, at Baltimore, 8:15 p.m. (NBC)
• Dec. 16*, at Oakland, 4:05 p.m.
• Dec. 23*, Houston, 1 p.m.
• Dec. 30*, Tennessee, 1 p.m.

* Subject to time change.

And Then for the Playoffs, and of course the Superbowl

Go Colts


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Prayers Please

My older sister called today. She has been having back problems similar to the ones I had a few years ago. My foot would go numb and a shooting pain would go down my leg from my lower back. She is very scared, but was reassured that I had survived this problem with physical therapy and no surgery.

She is doing physical therapy right now and is improving but was hoping to see more improvement more quickly. I told her about what I had done and things to avoid and I think she felt better. I also told her I would pray for her. So I am sending up some prayers to St. Lawrence (Patron Saint of lumbago sufferers, close enough to back problems for me, )

So Larry, get to work helping my sister to feel at peace as she heals.

If all of my two loyal readers wouldn't mind adding Ann to your prayers too that would be awesome. She is a nominal Catholic with a very devout daughter, and I think if our prayers help it will really strengthen her faith.


I Knew There Was A Reason!

I have never liked to do housework. Thanks to a wonderful post by my new internet pal Kitchen Madonna, I may have found out one of the reasons why.

I don't have the proper attire.

I am almost certain that when I get one of those awesome tiaras to wear while I am doing the laundry or running the vacuum I will be much better at housework.

Hey, stop laughing. It could happen!


The Road to Holiness

I have been struggling a bit lately with someone.

I know, you are all amazed that I, angelmeg struggle with relationships.

There is someone in my life, a friend actually who happens to have a very strong personality. She can be downright overwhelming at times. She has a tendency to want to control every situation.

For instance when we go out to lunch, she will tell me what to order. Knowing that I have food issues because of my many allergies, I at first saw this as a kindness on her part. Often the last few times this has happened though I have seen this as an intrusion.

In other areas of my personal life though I have found that her "helpful suggestions" are almost commands that I do things in a way that she wants me to, even to the point of trying to strongly dissuade me from applying for a certain job for which she thought I was not suited.

I still value her friendship in many ways, but I struggle with where her intrusions into my personal life should end. To that end I have found myself talking to other friends about her in a not so charitable way. This I find to be very uncomfortable.

I began to pray about this situation over the weekend, and today's scripture passage from the Office of Readings spoke to my heart about this situation. I wanted to share it with you all.

By obedience to the truth you have purified yourselves for a
genuine love of your brothers, therefore, love one another constantly from the
heart. . . .

So strip away everything vicious, everything deceitful;
pretenses, jealousies, and disparaging remarks of any kind. Be eager
for milk s newborn babies -- pure milk of the spirit to make you grow unto
salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Come to him a living stone, rejected by men but approved nonetheless,
and precious in God's eyes. You too are living stones, built as an edifice
of spirit, into a holy priesthood, offering
spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus

1Peter1:22 . . . 2:1-5

I have never been a big one for the Litany of Humility, but I do see that getting angry at this woman's constant need to control everything is a very destructive response on my part. I need to let this all go. I need to let go of the hurt I feel and do what God wants in each situation keeping in mind that as helpful as my friend is trying to be, I am fairly certain she isn't God.

The road to holiness will be filled with a lot of opportunities to allow myself to let go of small hurts, received because of "helpful suggestions" from well meaning friends. Today's reading reinforced for me that I can do that and remain friends with her.


Monday, April 09, 2007

It's A Season Silly, Not Just a Sunday

I keep reminding my kids that Easter is a Season of the church year and not just a Sunday. Especially because our beloved and lately retired pastor used to breath a sigh of relief at the end of Easter Sunday Mass that Easter was Finally Over. Sheesh, where did that man go to Seminary I ask you?

Easter is a season, filled with celebrations and singing in the angelmeg household. I walk around singing Alleluia. Mostly because I haven't been able to use that word since before Ash Wednesday, but I sing it so often that the kids think I am a little off ( well even more off than usual.)

In honor of my Polish Nephew, and because the Knights are having a feast, we will be celebrating Dyngus Day this year. What is Dyngus day you ask? It is a day of merriment after the long fast of lent and the solemn celebration of Easter. It is often filled with pranks, and water. We refrain from that at the dinner of course, but my kids have already asked about stocking up on the American alternative, Silly String.
The other reason I like to celebrate Dyngus day is that it means another meal I neither have to cook or clean up after, which works for me! I only wish mrangelmeg weren't away on travel this week so that he could celebrate with us as he is the Knight in the family. Oh well our son is also a Knight and he will be our stand in "man of the house" tonight.
So, Happy Dyngus day to one and all and I hope you all celebrate the Season of Easter.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

I'm Somebody Now

apparently I have made some people really upset.

Click here to for the result.

H/t to Korrektiv for the way cool link.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Takin' It To the Cross

Each year we have the blessing of the Triduum; three holy days that lead to our resurrection in Christ. We have the opportunity to leave everything we dislike about ourselves, all of our faults and failings at the foot of the cross so that Christ will take them upon Himself and die with them thus removing them forever from us. Then when Christ rises again on Easter a new creation we too can be a new creation, having left all of our faults with Christ on the Cross.

This type of living takes a great deal of faith in the abundant grace of a loving God who can make all things new, even sinful selfish things like us.

Are you willing to live in that promise and offer up all the crud and sludge of your life so that you can be created anew. This Holy Thursday when you see the reenactment of the washing of the feet, remember that Christ humbled himself to prepare the way for us. This Good Friday when you move forward to kiss the feet of the cross, in that moment leave all the refuse of your life there in that kiss. Offer all of the things you wish Christ to remove from your life as you reverence the Love that died for you.

And then on Easter morning we can all be new creations.

With God all things are possible.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Warning: Set Down Your Coffee Cup Before Reading This!!!

Thanks to a link from Theocoid I was redirected to one of my old favorite bloggers whom I hadn't read in a very long while sad to say.

Anonymous Teacher Person used to be one of the blogs that I read quite a bit but then she took a break and I got out of the habit of looking back to see if she had reemerged.

Well she has and I bring you this wonderful post on

Easter Reading Selections at her Local Barnes and Noble

I laughed so hard at the last line I just about had a fit.

Sad but true.

Welcome Back ATP I will be reading you regularly now.