Thursday, December 27, 2007

"As long as I please Him then I'm pleased."

That is a direct quote from this Beliefnet article about Denzel Washington. The article is about how he sees his career in acting as his ministry and how his faith is a part of everything he does.

I have always liked him, from the first time I saw him way back in Carbon Copy. This just goes to show that when you please God, God blesses your work.

h/t to Mark Shea for the link.


Finding God in the Struggle

My Friend Deacon John has a new blog called Me and Poindexter where he plans to share his cancer journey.

If the rest of the posts are anything like the first one it will be a very spiritual place for those who are struggling with cancer or for anyone else who is trying to find God in the mess in their daily life.

I was talking to John last week about this very topic (as we sat at the Jazz Factory): how blessed we become when even in our darkest times we are given the grace to see the fingerprints of God, no matter how faint, in our life. God is there with us in the mess and struggle, we just have the eyes of faith to look closely to see.

I am going to add John's new blog to my blog roll and follow his journey, and continue to bombard heaven with my prayers.

I hope a few of you will join me.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Best Christmas Gift This Year




Monday, December 24, 2007

A Child Shall Lead Them Off On A Tangent

Yesterday our Associate Pastor had a wonderful homily for the Fourth Sunday of Advent that centered around Joseph's ambitions as a young man, and how they must have taken such a strange turn when Mary told him that she was "with child". Joseph probably wanted what all other men wanted, and yet his life took a turn that he could have never expected and he was led on a journey that he could have never anticipated when he took Mary as his betrothed.

He brought this sentiment forward to our time and said that perhaps a child would change our plans in ways we would never expect when we make them, but if we follow the new path interesting things might happen for us.

Just that morning we discovered that what we had hoped was a very bad cold that the angelbaby had been struggling with since the middle of last week was in fact strep throat, which has drastically changed our plans for the holidays because she can't be around anyone until we are sure she isn't contagious, so we had to split up for Mass on Sunday, and she and I had to stay home from the Mrangelmeg family Christmas dinner tonight.

She was really sad because this is one of the few times she gets to see her cousin (whom she has always called "tickle boy" with great affection since she could talk because he has chased her around and tickled her until she could barely breathe) and his wife. She even made him a gift in art class this year and won't get to see him open it.

She and I had a quiet dinner and then we were going to open our gifts from Grandma (mrangelmeg's mom,) but in my rush to get everything packed up for mrangelmeg to take to the party, I accidentally put her gift from Grandma in the bag with the other gifts (they had all been under our tree because I had wrapped them for mrangelmeg's mom.). So she even has to wait until they all get back from the party to open her present.

So she is off in the office surfing the net and I am back here writing this post. Everyone should be back in about two hours and then we are going to open our presents.

At least she is feeling well enough that she thinks the will be able to go to Mass in the morning. She is supposed to be altar Server. The Dr. said she had to be on antibiotics 24 hours to not be contagious and she will have been on them for about 36 by Mass time.

Hope everyone else is having a peaceful Christmas.


Merry Christmas

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.

Pre-Christmas Treat

Colts 38

Texans 15

Tony Dungy and his coaching staff keeps showing the country how to win games with a different starting line-up each and every week. It seems as though every week they introduce a player that Colts fans have never heard of before. Some of the rookies are getting playing time that other teams rookies would give just about anything for, not because they are that good, but because injuries to key players have caused holes in both the defensive and offensive lines that have to be filled by someone.

One more regular season game to go, and then it gets down to the stretch run of games that really matter, and that second ring.

Go Colts!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

It is So On!

So mrangelmeg and I went to Louisville last night to spend a wonderful Jazz Filled evening with friends of mine from Gradual School. We all met up at the Jazz Factory for an amazingly fun evening with Harry Pickens. Even mrangelmeg, who isn't much of a Jazz fan had fun, with this concert at which Harry wove great tunes into a creative story that involved Santa, Mrs. Claus, Rudolph, and Snoopy, The Grinch and the Girl from Ipanema. We laughed, we cried, it moved us all.

Part of the tears were because we were there with
Deacon John and his wife Claudette. John had his first round of Chemotherapy that day to battle Poindexter (the name he has given to the tumor on his sternum). Hence the title of this post. John and Claudette gave us all St. Peregrine medals which in Claudette's words "John did his Deacon thing over," by blessing for us, so that we can wear or carry them (as we choose). I put mine on right then and there, on the necklace that also has my Madonna and child pendant which I never take off. We are now in the anti-Poindexter forces -- prayer warriors against the growth on John's chest.

We were all offering him pledges of support last night, for anything he might need, any time, day or night. We are all in this to win this. As John said about his reason for naming it Poindexter, "If I can't beat a thing called Poindexter. . ." With our help, Poindexter doesn't have a chance. We are all looking out for him in our own way. One of our friends has a PhD and is doing all of the Internet research on therapies and new treatments and making sure that they understand exactly what the Dr. is telling them. One of our friends is offering to be personal assistant; shopping, cooking anything they might need.

I, being the person that I am, offered to be the comic relief. I gave John the complete
Ernest collection on DVD. Because I know the healing power of laughter. I also told him that whenever he needed something to laugh about all he had to do was call me, because heaven knows my life is pretty comical to just about everyone.

He will be losing his hair in the next few weeks. When I asked if Claudette could send me some he laughed and said only if it didn't become a first class relic. We both feel the same about saints relics (ick). I just love his hair and wanted a reminder about how beautiful it was. Maybe not. I think he will make a very striking bald man.

He promises that he will be starting a Chemo-related blog to go with his
Speakin' Deacon blog. I hope he does, because I know that his thoughts on the spirituality of this journey will help a whole lot of people -- those who have cancer or some other illness, and those who are just struggling to find God in the tangle of their every day lives.

I will keep you updated, if you all promise to keep praying for my friend as he continues his fight. As another of our friends said last night, it has nothing to do with statistics, I am just being selfish, I haven't known him near long enough to have something as stupid as Poindexter take him away from me. I will do everything within my power, which is ask everyone I know to pray for him, and storm heaven myself to prove to God that John is still very much needed down here.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bigger than a part time job

I was notified by the Principal of the Middle School that they had offered the position to a graduate of the IU Library Science Department. So I suppose I wasn't meant to be a part time Media Assistant next year.

I am a bit shocked that someone with a degree in Library Science would want a part time job. Is the market that saturated, or is this person a woman with children who really doesn't want to work full time-- who knows.

I know that, as nice as this little job might have seemed, God has grander plans for me and if I wait long enough they will be revealed to me.

On another note I was notified in an email yesterday that I probably won't find out till after Christmas what my grades will be on my finals. They were handed in to the registrar today (or was it yesterday-- this week anyway) but probably won't be processed and mailed out until the week between Christmas and the New Year.

The person who wrote the email said he was sure that I had passed, I would love to take his word for it, but I will be able to sleep a lot more peacefully when I have the paper in my hand that says I have actually passed and will be able to graduate in May. Then I will really feel done.

Until then, I will just sit and wait and pray and watch. God has something planned for me, I just wish he was a bit more forthcoming with the details.


Meme Christmas

I got this tag from Karen Hall at Some Have Hats. I'm hoping it will help me get in the spirit:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? We have a long standing tradition in the angelmeg household, one night a few days before Christmas mrangelmeg and I stay up late to wrap the presents, I do most of the wrapping and he reads the paper and gives me supportive comments from the sidelines. Actually in the last few years he has been much more help with the actual wrapping than in the past, That change may have occurred right about the same time as the three gifts per child rule. We wrap most everything for the family, sometimes for friends I use gift bags,

2. Real tree or artificial? Mrangelmeg is allergic to pine tree sap (or so he tells us) so we have always had an artificial tree. We have a really nice one that looks very real and is massive, so I don't mind really. I do miss the smell of a real tree sometimes, and no matter what they try to tell you, those candles don't really smell like real trees.

3. When do you put up the tree? We used to put it up for St. Nicholas day (Dec 6) when the kids were younger because we didn't have a fireplace in the old house but that has been ten years ago. This house has two fireplaces, so we no longer need a place to leave shoes, so we try to stick to the third Sunday in Advent rule. Who am I kidding, the last few years I have been too darn tired to do any decorating until that late in the season, and have loved the fact that the church offers the decoration dispensation for me to hide behind.

4. When do you take the tree down? . I like to keep the tree up until Epiphany (Jan 6th ) sometimes it stays up a bit longer due to inertia. I will happily say it has never been up so long that we have had to change the ornaments for hearts though.

5. Do you like eggnog? I really do, but since I am the only person in my entire family that does, it doesn't make sense for me to make it or buy it at Christmas time if I am the only person who is going to drink it. If we are out somewhere and it is available I usually get some.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? One year I got the complete Treasury of Winnie the Pooh in one volume. It was the most awesome gift I had ever received and I think was the first hard cover book I ever owned. I read it from cover to cover before winter break was over. I still think A. A, Milne is an amazing storyteller, and can to this day pick up a copy (not the same one, sadly) and get lost in the hundred acre wood with Christopher Robin and his friends.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. A few, my most prized set is an Italian one that my Father-in-law and his wife bought for me one Christmas and a dear friend's husband built a wooden stable for. I love it so much that it stays on the mantle in my formal living room all years round.

8. Hardest person to buy for? Middle daughter invariably asks for something that is impossible to find without an Internet search. It is usually something I have never heard of and would never be exposed to if I didn't have the distinct pleasure of having this amazing child in my life. One year it was books by James Lileks. One year it was a DVD of The Tales of Hoffman. She might be the hardest person to buy for, but her gifts are the topic of discussion for weeks after Christmas every year.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Our son, he is happy with anything, he doesn't make demands, and this year he even offered to pay for some of his gifts (he is disabled and needed to spend down to stay within his Medicaid limit in his bank account). What mom wouldn't want a child like that.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? When I was a senior in college my boss actually got me a package of underwear for Christmas. It wasn't sexy or anything it was big cotton granny panties. He said his wife picked them out, she told him that all college girls needed underwear. It was the most awkward I have ever been at a Christmas gathering in my life. Needless to say, the local homeless shelter was the recipient of a nice package of unopened women's underwear that year.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards?I used to mail Christmas cards to about 80 people, now I barely remember to email Christmas greetings to family. I did help my mother-in-law with her Christmas cards this year, does that count?

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? My cynical answer is Die Hard, but my actual answer is It's a Wonderful Life. but we do try to watch A Christmas Story at least once every Christmas. I even got mrangelmeg an ornament that looks like the leg lamp this year.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I am one of those annoying people who will be walking through a store in July and see something that would be a perfect gift for a friend for next Christmas and buy it right then and there. (She says ducking the rotten fruit cake). For the family though they have to have their gift list to me by St. Nicholas day because I like to be done shopping by the week before Christmas.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? There was this silly snowman stocking that we passed around to each other in college each year, but that was more recycled wrapping rather than presents because each year we put in a new present. Does that count?

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? It used to be the Knights of Columbus Strudel which is totally to die for, but since my allergies I can't even have a slice without feeling sick for the rest of the week, so I just look at it longingly now. I suppose my absolute favorite thing to eat is anything I don't have to cook or clean up after.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? I used to be a stickler for only white lights on my tree. The last few years we have had colored lights and I don't mind them so much anymore.

17. Favorite Christmas song?Religious: O Holy Night. Preferably by a male voice

Secular: Santa Baby (stick a sable under the tree) because it was so not about presents

18. Travel for Christmas or stay home? the closer to home the better, travel makes me jittery

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? Yes. even the ones that didn't make it into the song,

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Always an Angel. Though the kids do have a Drunken Santa who swings a lantern for the downstairs tree (he isn't meant to be drunken but he doesn't stay upright and when he swings the lantern he looks tipsy).

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? This was a major compromise in our household when we first got married, in my childhood home we opened presents right after Christmas eve dinner so we had plenty of time to play with them before Midnight mass. Then we came home from Mass had a quick meal and went to bed and slept in on Christmas day. In mrangelmeg's childhood they opened presents on Christmas morning then went to mass came home and ate a big breakfast or whatever. We almost came to blows about when was the proper time to open gifts. Now we usually open gifts on Christmas Morning regardless of when we go to Mass. But, this year we are going to change that, because the kids are old enough to put their collective feet down and tell mrangelmeg that since we have to go to Christmas morning Mass (angelbaby is serving and I am Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion ) they want to open presents on Christmas eve so that they can sleep in an extra few minutes on Christmas Morning before they have to get up to get ready for Mass.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? This post should explain that.

23. What I love most about Christmas? The Incarnation. God loved us so much that he came to be with us in a way that made it possible for us to reach out and come into physical contact with the Cloud of Unknowing. But God came not in majesty but in very humble circumstances. It is this living mystery wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger that makes every other annoying hassle of this season worth the effort.

If anyone else wants to take this tag, feel free. Leave a comment and I will read your post.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Holiday Pet Peeves

Christmas Vultures
those annoying people who stalk you in the parking lot so that they can have your space when you leave. It makes me want to throw my packages into my car and go back into the dang store just to make them mad.

Road Construction Right by the Mall
What engineering genius decided that it was the perfect time to limit the access road across from the mall to one lane during the busiest driving week of the entire stinking year? Oh wait a minute I think that genius might be my brother-in-law, sorry.

Super Needy Checkout People
You know the type, they get all the way to the check out, with fifteen people behind then and then decide that they have to reevaluate every decision they made on everything they think they want to buy, then they have to ask for different sizes, or want to use three credit cards in the transaction, so that a simple trip to the store ends up taking a freaking hour while the person in front of you talks to every manager on duty to get their order straight.

Politically Correct Greetings from Service People
When the person who is bagging my purchases wishes me Season's Greetings I just want to hurl. I suppose that is at least a little less offensive than Happy ChaunaChristmaKwanzaka!

Having said all that. I am happy to announce that: I am done Shopping this Christmas!!!!!

I have stood in my last line, dodged my last vulture and maneuvered around my last orange barrel. If anything else needs to be purchased between now and Christmas mrangelmeg will have to get it. I can't take anymore.

Time for my long winter nap. Or was that long winter nip?


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Interesting Interview Questions

List three adjectives your children would use to describe you?

Not sure if I answered that honestly, some of the adjectives my older kids might use would be unacceptable in a middle school environment. I actually said scattered, but then explained that for the last few months I had been working on my MA final.

What is title of the last book you read?

I had to ask did he mean the last one I had finished reading or the one I was carrying around in my car to read while standing in the inevitable "Christmas Crunch" lines or any one of the five or so that I have on my headboard that I am working my way through? I think I named them all.

Are you capable of multi-tasking in a high pressure situation?

After asking this question then realizing that she was talking to a mother of five children she answered it for herself in the affirmative. I added that it is a good idea to prioritize needs so that the really important tasks actually get done when they need to get done.

Add the most interesting interview question you ever encountered in the comments:


Little Blessings

Did I tell you that I applied for a job today? No? Must have slipped my mind. It is only a little part time job; 17.5 hours a week working as a media center assistant at a local Middle School. I volunteer at the Media Center at the angelbaby's elementary school on Mondays and the woman I work for there told me about it. She got a plea via email from the Woman at the Media Center at the Middle School for help finding the best candidate. Since I already know how to use the software, and pretty much know my way around a library she thought it would be perfect for me.

I do need to get back into the work environment at some point, but I just have no idea what it is I want to do yet, and well, I just don't feel ready to go back to work full time. It would be especially difficult for me to work full time with mrangelmeg's travel schedule as packed as it looks like it will be this spring. This little job could be just what I need to get me back out there. I could earn a little money, get into a regular schedule every day, build in time to get to the gym right after work every day, which would be another good thing, and perhaps by spring I will have a few dollars in the bank and be back on the road to being in shape.

After my interview I drove up to my sisters' house to check on them and find some paperwork that my mom needs to have turned in at the nursing home. Blessedly, everything she needed to have was right there are their house. I had been waiting for one piece of information and I kept getting the wrong information, over and over again no matter how nicely I asked, but thanks be to God, there at my sisters' house was exactly the information I had been trying to get. Small miracles do happen, sometimes.

Then I went up and turned in the last of mom's paperwork so that she can be placed on Medicaid at the nursing home. That will be another worry off of my shoulders when that is taken care of, I can promise you that. Having to worry about how to pay these bills every month at the nursing home has given me many a sleepless night, especially when there is only one other sibling who is willing to help me with finances. I am just really lucky the mrangelmeg and I had some extra money put away for a rainy day, because in mom's case the last few months while we were trying to get everything straightened out where her finances were concerned, it was pretty much a monsoon. I just hope that some day I can repay mrangelmeg for his patience and forbearance when it comes to taking care of my family in this way.

So, by this Friday I will know if I have a new job that will start on January 7th, I should know if I have passed my finals (one would hope that they would have them graded in the same semester that they were taken), and on Friday evening mrangelmeg and I are going to drive to Louisville Jazz Factory to spend the evening with a bunch of my Gradual School friends for a little impromptu pre-Christmas celebration. It could be a very very happy day for me. Or it could be just a great day to spend with some really great friends who will help me drown my sorrows.

I am waiting in neurotic hope. As I told a dear friend just a few hours ago: the job is only a part- time job, I seriously won't be that torn up if I don't get it, it will be confirmation from God that my talents are needed in another direction and that I should keep looking for the opportunity to serve. I will on the other hand be quite torn to shreds if I don't get passing grades on my finals especially that last one that I wrote when I was so darn sick. I keep praying that my brilliance shone through the fever. We shall see.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

What a Disappointment

Mrangelmeg got through his course in Law and Public Affairs. He said he waited all week for the discussion about Monica Lewinski, but dang-it-all it never came up. Boy was he disappointed.

We are getting our first real snowfall here, and we are actually getting ready to decorate the house for Christmas, this being the third weekend of Advent. Rose Sunday is tomorrow and our decoration dispensation is over so we have to actually begin to get in the spirit.

So we are vacuuming and moving furniture and musical instruments and trying to figure out where to put the tree. Somehow the room that a few years ago had absolutely no furniture and could hold the massive artificial tree we purchased is now chock-full of furniture and musical instruments. How on earth did that happen. Oh wait a minute I forgot the first rule of home ownership "your house abhors a vacuum; any empty space will quickly be swallowed up with stuff. (credit George Carlin for that one).

Anyway, the goal is to have enough space cleared out by tomorrow to actually have room for the tree.

Stop laughing, it could happen.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Feast of St. Mike of Chicago (undeclared)

December 15 is the birthday of my father Mike; The handsome young man on the right in the picture above. It is also the day that the Mass of Christian Burial will be said for his baby brother Ed (the one standing next to him in the picture: the man and woman beside them are their parents). Dad and Ed and their brother Don lived in Chicago before and during the depression. Dad got a great High School education because he found he had a knack for the game of football and parlayed that into a scholarship to the exclusive Christian Brothers run de la Salle Academy. He convinced his brother Ed to follow him. Don took another path and joined the Merchant Marines as soon as he was legally able.

After de La Salle, dad played College football at St Ambrose College in Davenport, IA for the great Moon Mullins. Again he convinced Ed to follow him to St. Ambrose to play football and get a good education. It was there that they met and married their respective wives. Two marriages that lasted a total of over 70 years and brought seventeen children into the world.

Uncle Ed told me more than once that Dad was his moral compass. Dad was strong and decisive, traits I wish I saw in myself a little more. I usually make the right decision, but it often takes me a little more thinking before I am sure.

I think it is an awesome God-incidence that My uncle Ed will be welcomed to the heavenly banquet (or the place of cleansing we call purgatory) on the date of His big brother's birthday. I am sure that His Moral Compass will be right there to guide his way.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Humility, Purgatory and Submission

I am working on pulling together the information that will be necessary to place my mother on Medicaid so that she can remain in the nursing home (which she cannot afford to pay for otherwise). I have been trying to gather all of this information for three months now and the meeting is this afternoon and I am still waiting for one more piece of information which they promise me will be in my mailbox today (yeah right with Christmas mail as reliable as it is).

I purposefully put off this meeting until I knew I had all of the "ducks in a row" so that I wouldn't have any trouble with the Medicaid decision-making people. Mom has no hidden assets, she has nothing to fall back on, for the last two months her children have been supplementing her stay in the nursing home and I have the canceled checks to prove it.

I just want to warn anyone else who has the honor of being granted power of attorney over a parent or sibling: make sure your register your POA with EVERY one of his/her banks/annuities/trusts etc immediately. Make sure that you don't wait to transfer any property out of said person's name. Make sure you safeguard everything they own, because if you don't it will all go away. Nursing home care is darned expensive and if you don't plan ahead for it it will wipe you out quicker than the blink of an eye.

I don't regret for a minute placing mom where I know she is safe and well taken care of, and where I know my sisters are now not having to pull their hair out trying to get mom to do the daily tasks that they couldn't get her to do for them. But I wish someone had given me a guidebook on how to be a POA back in 2005 when I signed on to be mom's. I would have done a bunch of things very differently had I known then what I know now.

The other hard thing is I am doing all of this for a woman who has no idea who I am and no care at all that I am working this hard to make sure that she is safe and healthy. She never shows one sign of recognition anymore when I visit her. I may as well be a stranger. It is no longer mom I visit but Mrs Alzheimer's.

I pray every night for forgiveness that on the hardest days I wish that this would end soon. Sometimes I wonder which of us is in purgatory? Please God let someone find a cure for this horrible disease before I ever have to suffer from it.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ed Scheck RIP

My Uncle Ed died last night. He was the youngest brother of my father, and his eight children and I and my eight siblings grew up as a very close extended family because my father made sure that we visited them often when I was young. After my father died and we moved farther away we lost touch with our cousins, but in many ways they were still a part of our lives.

I went up there just a little less than a month ago to help them bury their mother, Ed's wife Mary. He just didn't know how to live in this world without her. Now his children and grand children will have to gather again to mourn. I wish them peace, and healing and comfort in this time of grieving and loss.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Boring Compass and Out of Touch Bishops

Here is a review of The Golden Compass, by Peter Vere JCL co author with Sandra Meisel, of Pied Piper of Atheism: Phillip Pullman and Children's Fantasy" published by Ignatius Books.

Did you hear that the USCCB actually had a positive review of this movie posted on their website? They said it was an exciting adventure story. What kind of cave are they living in? Are they that out of touch?

Hint: the bad guys in the movie are called The Magisterium and wear Roman collars and work in a building that looks like St. Peter's Basilica.

The reviewer says that most moviegoers won't have a clue what the term Magisterium really means. What a slap in the face to the many faithful Catholics who do know what it means and are offended by its use in this movie.

Luckily, a Canon Lawyer was watching out for the rest of the church because the review got pulled, but not before the makers of the movie saw. Sadly, now one of the few positive reviews being touted in the commercials is from the USCCB!

If you want to waste your time, go see this movie.

If you want to see a good movie, I still recommend



Saturday, December 08, 2007

Immaculate Conception Meme

Really this should be called 8 Random facts meme but since this is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception we get to give it a tonier name. Wooo us.

I got tagged by The Ironic Catholic

Rules: Each tagged person must post 8 random facts or habits about themselves on their blog. At the end of the post, choose 8 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment telling them that they are tagged and to read your blog. Have fun!

1. I used to sing in an a capella Women's Jazz octet called Always in Treble

2. I really hate Brussel Sprouts, even the smell turns my stomach

3. mrangelmeg and I get along pretty well when it comes to most things but out biggest disagreement has to do with this man. I really don't like him at all. Mrangelmeg is such a fan of the team he is more forgiving.

4. I have a 6 degrees of separation type connection to Pat Conroy, the author. His Uncle, Fr. Jim Conroy was a college pal of my dad (they were both Chicago boys) and spent many a Saturday afternoon on our couch drinking beer and watching football when I was a child.

5. A few years ago someone actually Googled me, and contacted me to find out if she could get permission to use an article I had written for the Internet in her parish bulletin . How cool is that?

6. We still celebrate St. Nicholas day on December 6th, complete with candy and little presents in our shoes . In fact 25 years ago that is how I received my engagement ring; I had left a pair of shoes at mrangelmeg's parent's house over Thanksgiving break and had to return to school but he had an extra week off because his quarter was over. He returned to town on St. Nicholas day and brought my shoes to my apartment. He said that St. Nicholas had left something in my shoe, it was my engagement ring in its box. (isn't that romantic?)

7. I have become obsessed with Brain Age. I play every day. I wish I could say that my Brain was 20 years old but at least it isn't 20 years older than my real age anymore.

8. I bruise easily, in the summer it isn't as noticeable because I usually have a bit of color, in the winter I just look clumsy with tons of bruises on pasty white skin.

I am going to tag:
Kitchen Madonna when she has the time
Paul at God Spede
Penni at Martha Martha
Confessions of a Hot Carmel Sundae
Karen at Some Have Hats
Mark at And I Let Myself be Duped
Are We There Yet (one of my new Catholic Mom Friends)


Prayers Requested

One of my dearest friends Deacon John from The Speakin' Deacon just found out that he has a malignant tumor in his chest. He is asking for prayers from everyone who has the time to offer a prayer for him so I promised to pass along his intention.

John is taking this news in stride. This is a snippet from the email I received today:

To say I'm not scared would be stupid, and a lie. But I'm not down, and certainly not out. We had a vacation planned for next week, and WE ARE GOING. I gave a homily the other day (one I didn't write down) based on the story of Daniel in the lion's den. My point was that it isn't about outcomes, it's about trust. Guess I'll have listen to myself. Keep praying. . .

this I can do for my friend. I am asking all of you to add John to your Advent prayer intentions, and learn from his wisdom. Trust is what it is all about. I trust that God is holding John in the palm of His hand in this and that John will be led to the Oncologist who will make sure that he gets the best of care.

I trust that John will be with us for a long, long time, because the thought of a world that doesn't include my friend John is a world that I cannot comprehend.


Friday, December 07, 2007

Did I Ever Tell You the One . . .

I think I have written before about how much I am inspired by the homilies that my Pastor gives for daily Mass. Not that his Sunday Homilies aren't inspiring as well, but in this day and age when some priest forgo daily mass homilies all together Fr. Bill will encapsulate in just three or four sentences a great deal of wisdom that will stay with me throughout the day.

Often it will be exactly what I need to hear and will help in ways that I would have never imagined. Take for instance this Wednesday's morning mass. The gospel was the feeding of the four thousand from the gospel of
Matthew Chapter 15. Fr. Bill's reflection was that the miracle Jesus performed was to take what the disciples had readily at hand and use it to make something miraculous happen. Perhaps when we are next feeling hopeless we should take what we have readily on hand and begin to use it to take care of the problem and then Jesus can use that to make something miraculous happen.

That struck me on Wednesday as being such an inspiring piece of wisdom. If we have the resources to begin to do something about a problem we shouldn't wait for some huge miracle to complete the process, but we should do what we can with what we have to begin and in the process Jesus will take our efforts and bless them, and in the process miracles will happen.

I really needed to hear that this week. I feel so stressed out this holiday season. I am trying to do what I can to manage the stress of the season, take care of mom's needs in the nursing home and her financial needs, (with help from only one sibling) and get her squared away for a future for which she didn't really prepare, and try not to freak out as I wait in neurotic hope for some word about my finals grades from gradual school. Along the way I am trying to really keep the cost of "Santa's Workshop" to a minimum this year as we have had some very unexpected expenses recently (not the least has been more than $800 keeping my car safe and running).

So, I am doing what I can, with what I have available to make a bright cheery Christmas, for my family. And I am going to try to even find the time to send out some Christmas Cards this year; something I haven't done in a while. I am hoping that making other folks Christmas a little brighter will help me to remember that it is the spirit of the holiday not the trappings that are important.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Gift of Presence

Today I spent the afternoon helping mrangelmeg's mom with her Christmas Cards. I took my laptop and printer to her house and we made swift work of addressing her Christmas Cards by printing all of her addresses on labels which I put on the envelopes along with return labels and stamps. All she has to do over the next few days is sign each card and place it in the envelope and put them out for the mailman.

She was so happy. She told me that last year her little list of names (I think it added up to about 24 all together) took her nearly until Christmas Eve because she could only do about five a day writing them all out longhand.

What is even better is I saved the list for next year so all we have to do is make any changes and we are good to go.

The best part of all was we got to spend a really nice afternoon together. I sure wish I could spend that much quality time with my own mother. She doesn't even know who I am anymore and when I do go to visit she can only stand to have me around for about 45 minutes to an hour before she wants me to leave.

So, if you know of an elderly person in your family (or neighborhood, or church) who might be in the same predicament as my mother-in-law, why not offer to help out in the way I did. It was so much fun.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Week 11

Colts 28

Jags 25

Peyton Manning threw 4 touchdown passes and proved again that if there is a way to get a win with any combination of players on the field, he will find it. That flick, pass to Luke Lawton for a TD in the second half was one of the nicest plays I have seen in a long time.

This was a big win for the Colts. It gives them a Division lead and a great position for the play-off run. Now as their injured players come back healthy for the end of season games they will be a real force to be reckoned with.

Count on that.


Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Freedom to Celebrate

December Fifth is fast Approaching. Some of you might not know it but this is the day that we celebrate:

Repeal Day

A day that should live in infamy in the hearts of all right thinking Americans. On this day make plans to take your pals (who are over the legal drinking age of course) out to your favorite Public House and buy them the drink of their choice because it is your constitutional right to do so.

h/t to Shrine of the Holy Whapping for the link.


Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Little Hope for Christmas

What better way to spend this Advent than by reading and meditating on a new Papal Encyclical:

Saved by Hope
I am a great proponent of the average pew-sitting Catholic reading these amazing documents. In fact the first one I ever read was Fides et Ratio in 1999, long before I ever thought I would work for the church or get a Gradual Degree in theology. I just decided one day that if the pope wrote this encyclical for "the faithful" that included little old me. So, I printed out a copy and worked my way through it.
Since then I have made it a point to read each new one as soon as I can when they are published. When I was working for the parish I wrote an article encouraging everyone in the parish to read Deus Caritas Est.
So. I am sorry Judith Viorst, but Murdering Mr. Monti will have to wait, because I am going to be reading this for the next few days. Then perhaps I will savor what I have read until Christmas. That seems to me to be a much more spiritual use of my time than finding out how and why your protagonist chose to murder anyone, especially this time of year.