Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Blogger Blackout

My computer went on the fritz in the most spectacular fashion the other night when I was trying to open ITunes. ITunes wouldn't open and was doing something really strange, so I tried to download a new version of ITunes from the Apple sight hoping that would repair the problem, but it didn't.

The next step was to totally remove the old ITunes and reload a brand new version and lose all of my old music, movies and podcast information stored there, which I was about to do when mrangelmeg told me I should just reboot my computer first to see if that would clear up the problem.

So I rebooted my computer.

Now my entire Windows XP program is scrambled and we can't even get my computer to run in safe mode, every time we start up my computer it runs through the XP start up screen , then we get two error messages telling us that there is an invalid picture or something like that and when we click OK the computer goes black. Not even a B.S.O.D.

So, I am without a computer until I can get back home and try to use my XP boot disk to reboot. If that doesn't work we are going to take it to our PC guru and have the hard drive copied and then send it off to Dell and see if they can figure out what went wrong. Lucky for me it is still under extended warranty.

Anyway, I am using mrangelmeg's computer today, but I won't have access to a computer for a while. When I get back home on Saturday I might be able to get a few minutes on my son's computer occasionally, but I will be waiting in line for that, so blogging will be light for the next week or so until we get my computer issues ironed out.

I can feel the withdrawal symptoms already.

Don't forget to join us in August for the month of prayer and reparations for sins against the Blessed Sacrament. Show extra love for what we love in reparation for those who just don't understand.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Kingdom of God is like . . .

right here, right now; and if you aren't living in the kingdom, what is your problem?

That was the message of the final homily at Corpus Christi, our adopted parish down here in paradise. Fr. Bob was trying to get everyone to understand that Jesus used all of those allusions to the kingdom in the gospels to make his followers understand that the kingdom of God was all around them and all they had to do was to choose to live in the kingdom.

Fast forward to here and now, and the message is still valid. The kingdom of God is still here, we are all still living in the kingdom. All we have to do is love one another as Christ loves us. So we must choose to do the right thing at all times. We must choose to live justly (Catholic social justice teachings; sound familiar? If not start reading up) We must choose to make right choices when it comes to our interactions with other people, especially those we say we love. Fr. Bob was especially hard on married people who break their vows.

It should be our choice to live rightly, in the kingdom, not live in sin choosing to live in the world of the evil one. It shouldn't be that difficult a choice.

Wow. I am still reeling at how forcefully he spoke about issues like abortion, and war and capital punishment, FROM THE PULPIT. I know my dear friend Suzanne would have wept with joy. I certainly teared up.

I sure will miss Fr. Bob, and I made a point of telling him so after Mass when we stopped by to say goodbye.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

More Family History

Here is a bit more about my uncle Marc the French Author

This is an essay written by my brother John after he stumbled across one of uncle Marc's books in a bookshop in Paris.

This is from John again, concerning a book uncle Marc wrote about the death of his beloved wife Else. (one of three books he wrote about their life together).

John has the upper hand in that he can read French. Maybe that is the language I should be studying. (One of my bucket list items is to become fluent in another language -not Klingon).
If I learned enough French I could read Uncle Marc's books if I ever got copies of them.

I also just found out that one of my cousins actually has a copy of my Pepe's (mom's dad's) memoirs. I remember reading bits and pieces of them years and years ago on a visit to my Uncle Chuck's, mom's brother. I would love to have a copy and am hoping that they get scanned into an electronic format so that everyone in the family can have a copy of them.

Family history is so very important. I think I feel that especially now that mom has lost the ability to pass on any memories at all. If you value your memories get them written down or tell the stories into some recording devise, don't let them die.

We are all products of our history, I know that I feel exactly the same way about my relationship with my devoted husband mrangelmeg as uncle Marc felt about his wife when I read these words:

". . ., of a language spoken only by the two of us, with references and things known only to us, of everything secretly binding two beings who understand one another before anything is spoken."

That is the language of a deep and abiding love. My Great Uncle had it for his wife, my husband and I share it.



August is Reparation Month

For this man's actions; a group of serious, very saddened Catholics have declared the entire month of August to be a month to do reparations for his act of desecration on the Blessed Sacrament.

His total disregard for our belief (not to mention the beliefs of his Catholic students) is so sad. The fact that he can only see his reality and has no concept that what he has done will cause great pain to anyone really bothers me. This man is molding the minds of the future generations of our leaders.

Well the damage has been done, and now we who love what he has desecrated can only band together and fast and pray in reparation for his actions. We will treat him as Christ would; with profound love. Who knows what great graces may come from our prayers? Why not join your prayers with ours.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Fun with Facebook

So my 30th High School Reunion was last weekend, only sadly because of our exile to paradise I had to miss it. Happily though because of Facebook in the last three days I have reconnected with at least ten of the guys and girls I went to high school with because of the friend of a friend process.

It is really great. One of our classmates lives in New Zealand, another is in Rome on holiday, and the rest of the ones I have caught up with all were lucky enough to actually go to the reunion. Unhappily for me, I didn't get to go this time around although I had a great time five years ago at my 25th.

Maybe five years from now I will make it to my 35th. Maybe due to facebook we will all stay connected.


Happy Accidents

So we have been reading Exiles on the Korrektiv Summer Reading Klub. The reading has been very stimulating and I have greatly enjoyed the book.
The discussion at Korrektiv turned to who should be cast, should the book ever be made into a movie. While Rufus from Korrektiv thought that the part of Gerard Manley Hopkins should be played by the fine American actor Casey Afleck, I thought that he might be better portrayed by a Brit, and suggested Sean Biggerstaff (if you haven't been living under a rock this last decade you have seen him as Oliver Wood in the first two Harry Potter movies at least).
I had seen him originally in a beautiful movie directed by Alan Rickman, and starring Emma Thompson and her mother Phyllidia Law called The Winter Guest. He was about 14, and stole every scene from the other kid.
What I found out from his IMDB sheet was that he had made an indy film in 2006 that was all the rage but because of Gradual School I didn't watch many indy movies that year. It went right under my radar. Anyway, I went over to the local Blockbuster here in paradise and thanks to our dear friends here who have a card I checked out Cashback and mrangelmeg and I watched it last night.
The basis of the story is that Ben, the main character breaks up with his girlfriend and it causes him to have insomnia. Since he can't sleep at night, he gets a job on the night shift of a grocery store where he learns to see the beauty of the world around him in his attempt to simply make it through his interminable eight hour shifts without going insane. In the process he meets another woman who helps him to see that there beauty and hope in every moment of your life, you simply have to be aware of them and take advantage of them.
So, thanks to being aware of even what might seem to be the most insignificant piece of information that came through my processor this week I had a very interesting evening watching a movie that I really enjoyed.
And I still think that Sean Biggerstaff would make a better Gerard Manley Hopkins than Casey Afleck.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Family of Writers

rather than a writer in the family.

My brother has a very well written piece on my uncle Marc Bernard, a celebrated French author. I can recommend this essay highly, especially because for a nice change my brother has refrained from the excessive use of profanity which he normally uses in his writing.

We are, in my generation of my family, a group of very skilled essayists. None yet with the acclaim that came to my uncle Marc, but we are all still young enough to achieve great things. Some of my children are going to surpass even my generation in the writing department I think when they get motivated to actually begin letting people read what they write.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Obamacon Fun

2) replace the words "the change": with whatever you want

3) sit back and enjoy.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Joan of Arcadia Update: Syndication Finally

Just in case you didn't buy the DVD's (like i did)

Sci Fi has added Joan of Arcadia to its Friday Night Line-up at 8/7 central. The show is so good it is worth watching, and you can watch with your kids and start discussions about God and life and friendships and family and, well the list goes on.



For What Purpose are you Living?

Yesterday's Message for the Paulist year was so insightful and meaty and gave me so much to meditate on for the day that I felt I wanted to share it with everyone:

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.~ St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 12:7

Many Christians, and really good Christians, as things go, consider that the whole of their religious duties are fulfilled in going regularly to Holy Mass, in approaching the sacrament of confession and in receiving Holy Communion, in fidelity to their daily prayers, and beyond these they seldom look. When they have accomplished these duties they think they will be perfect Christians. Now these Christians are like the one who when asked, why do you eat? And he answers, to support my life and gain strength. True, but what is your life for? To what purpose is your strength? Life and strength is not an end, but the means to an end.... So one might say to these Christians, [why] do you go to Holy Mass, make confession, receive holy communion, and say your daily prayers for? You ought to have an aim in all these holy exercises, and keep it steadfastly before your mind, and employ them as means to attain and secure it...

-Father Isaac Hecker, Servant of God, Founder of the Missionary Society
of St. Paul the Apostle (1819 - 1888)
angelmeg again:
It isn't enough to live right if you aren't working in some way to help build the Kingdom of God. Living right is only the means by which you gain the strength and purpose for the vocation and purpose in God's plan that you and only you can fill.

If you aren't thinking, praying and working toward that purpose with each devotion, at each mass, every day, then what are you doing? Your precious time here in this world is being wasted away.
Jesus is coming, Get busy!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Two Weeks till We Return Home

I just realized that we only have two more weeks until we return home. It will start to set in here in a minute that I have to pack all of this stuff up (including all of the stuff we have purchased since we got here) and then I will really start to panic.

I have promised beautiful autistic daughter that we will be spending lots of time in the next two weeks at the beach because she loves to go to the beach to make sand castles and look for shells. I think we are going to start going in the mornings instead of waiting until mrangelmeg leaves for work in the afternoons though.

I also have to figure out what to do with all of these books. I know we got them all here, but I am wondering if it wouldn't be smarter to just package them up in a box and fed-ex the back home rather than taking them back in the car. It sure would save space.

We have one more big deal thing we want to do while we are down here, but we plan on doing that on Monday because mrangelmeg has the day off. Then it is just back to beach and pool (I know, nice work if you can get it) for the duration.

I don't even want to think about packing yet, but I really should be at least thinking about it. Like Scarlett O'Hara, I'll think about it tomorrow.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

No Reason for this post . . .

I just wanted to post another picture of Fr. Georg, looking all handsome for the Lord.



Delaying Obedience is Disobedience . . .

even if it means the difference of just a few years until the end of a career as a professional athlete playing a game you love before you enter the seminary. Or so says Chase Hilgenbrinck, who had opted to retire from his professional soccer career with the New England Revolution to enter the Seminary in the fall.

You can read the entire story here.

What an inspiring message this young man's life is for all of us who are trying to do God's will. He must have had some amazing direction and help along the way.

You can bet his name will go on my list of seminarians that I pray for daily.


Have you ever . . .

felt like you were living the same day over and over . . .
only to realize that you had forgotten
to rip the page-a-day sheets off of your calendar
for about a week.
Or is that just my life?

Summer Reading Book Club is Getting Larger

So as is my yearly folly, I am joining the gentlemen at Korrektiv in their summer reading selection which this year happens to be Ron Hansen's new novel Exiles about Gerard Manley Hopkins return to his literary soul as a Jesuit scholastic (a pursuit he had abandoned he thought, in service to God) in response his reaction to a story he reads about five German nuns who die aboard a ship that sinks while they are en route to become missionaries in America.

Only, unlike other years, this year's summer reading group is a bit more than just the Korrektiv Usual Suspects. Inside Catholic has a very stimulating discussion going on about the nature of Catholic Fiction centered upon this particular book, because, you see Mr. Hansen happens to be Catholic, as does the material he is writing about in this book. Although Mr. Hansen has written other books that dealt with decidedly non Catholic subject matter.

If you are at all interested, and have a little extra time this month. I encourage you to pick up a copy of this book at your local library or bookstore and join us. I am really enjoying the book (okay I am on chapter two, so maybe I should reserve comment for a few more chapters. I love Gerard Manley Hopkins' poetry, and this has given me a little window into the soul searching path that took him to the place where he was able to write such beautiful work.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

That Waiting Discipline Will Get You Every Time

Our Oldest Daughter called this evening to let us know that she was in fact offered a job at the local deli where she interviewed a week ago. It just took the manager a little longer to get back with her than we thought it should have, but then we don't do things in God's time.

I tell you, patience is a discipline that I have such a difficult time with, and sadly I haven't taught lessons in it to my children because of my lack of practice. Our old pal that great theologian Tom Petty comes to mind at this point (The waiting is the hardest part).

I kept telling her to trust in God and in her abilities, but I knew that she was really struggling to believe that God had a plan when the weeks stretched into over a month and there was no job on the horizon.

God does things in His time, and His time is perfect. We don't know why she was meant to wait those long weeks, and fill out all those applications, but some day she may know why she needed the humility and patience of this long month, and why relying on the prayers of others was part of God's plan for her. I hope she comes to see it that way.

Orphan Sock Week

There is considerable cyber ink being generated this week on the fun topic of Orphan Socks. We all have them, the lone (or many more than one) mateless socks that we find in our sock drawer, hamper or dryer.

Growing up in a family of eleven people, my mom had an orphan sock hamper. It was the place where mateless socks went to languish until either they found their mate or she got so sick of seeing how many orphans one family could generate before she turned them into cleaning rags or worse just pitched them out.

We in the angelmeg household have an old apple crate (I think it might be a bushel sized one, but not having grown up on a farm I could be wrong on the proportion) that holds our orphans until they befall the same fate. Except I got wise on one issue. For mr angelmeg as well as Son and heir, I always purchase exactly the same brand of sock (son and heir gets the grey variety to keep them seperate) That way rather than having to match up pairs of socks I just have to match up brands. The two men have entirely fewer socks in the orphan bin than we women who tend to wear, shall I say, more colorful varieties of sock.

When we came down to Florida five weeks ago I requested that each person only pack a few pairs of socks so I didn't think I would have a problem with orphans, and yet, somehow that first week when I did the laundry I came up with one mateless sock.

Hmmmm, there are three plausible explainations for why this happened . . .

1) beautiful autistic daughter brought an extra sock in her suitcase, just in case . . . and believe me this is a definitely plausible option.

2) the washer down here decided it was hungry for a small white sock (I have heard many legends from my mother about washers being sockivores)


3) the mate to this particular sock decided that it wasn't seeing enough of the Gulf Coast, and went on a little walkabout of it's own. (It could happen, as Jerry Seinfeld used to say, if you ever see a sock by the side of the road . . . it is one that didn't make it)

My dilema now is; do I keep the sock until we go home in hopes that the mate turns up, or do I pack it in and throw this poor mateless darling out right now and spare myself the mysery, knowing full well that if I do that I will be sure to find the mate pining away in beautiful autistic daughter's sock drawer back home? It is a puzzlement.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Still Jobless After All These Weeks

Oldest daughter never got a call yesterday, so she is assuming that she didn't get the job and is back to filling out appications around town yet again today.

This is getting to be very discouraging for her. All I can tell her is to keep trying and keep praying and God will lead her to the job she is meant to have. I have also told her that we are all praying for her out here in cyberspace, so don't you guys let me down.

St. Anthony, St. Jude and St. Joseph pray for us,

St Therese, show us your little way.

Blesed Mother Mary, intercede with your Son for my daughter's needs.

My dear beloved Saviour, forget not your humble servant in her hour of need.


UKoK Turns 4 (In Blog Years)

Happy Blogaveresary to UkoK!!!!

You can read her wonderful post about how she came to be a Catholic, and why she keeps blogging Here!

She is an inspiration to me, as a cradle variety Catholic.

Happy Four Years, and may you stick around for many, many more. As I always say, blogging is a heckuva lot cheaper than therapy. And you get to meet the greatest people, even ones from "across the pond"!


Gradual School Flash Back . . Compliments of the Ironic Catholic

I hope she doesn't mind I am going to quote it here because I burst out laughing, sprayed my computer with coffee and scared my kids this morning:

The Ironic Catholic: Weather: An Apophatic Front Sweeps In Today:

"Periods of apophatic darkness including ways of negation over far northern Minnesota, should make a paradigm shift into northern Wisconsin, processing but not spirating well north of the metro area.
The hypostatic union may spark numerous parabolic metaphors from late Tuesday night into Friday, ripe for nighttime analogical imagination capable of localized cataphaticism.

Eschatological forecast: 1.5' of dogma by Friday, some interpretation over the millenia, when most apocalyptic language should pass to our south, over Iowa. Next age should be clear (but yet more windy) than the last."

If you intone the words in a southern drawl and add a knowing yesssss to the end of each paragraph, this could have come from the mouth of one of my professors at Gradual School as a way to confound the less aware students. Sadly, some of my fellow gradual school classmates would be nodding along in agreement while others were furiously scribbling notes. Still others would be fumbling with their theological dictionary under the table furiously looking up every other word trying to appear as though they were keeping up with the flow of his discourse. (I have to admit that my first class I was one of the ones withe the theological dictionary in my lap), but even I would have known that this was too much, I hope.

This is way too funny. I may send it to Fr. Denis. It will make his day. I can just hear him saying "Yesssssss" in his knowing way after he has read it, with that little smile on his angelic face.


Knitting Wool Socks in the Florida Sun

This is what I have accomplished in the last three weeks. The brown pair was my first pair of socks EVER! If you could get a closer look you can really tell that they are my first pair ever. They are totally cozy warm though and I love the way they feel.

The purple pair are a child size version of the same pattern that I made for the angelbaby. They are much nicer quality wool, and I did a much nicer job in the stitching. She loves them and even sleeps in them down here!

The blue pair is a variation on the same pattern I made for my beautiful autistic daughter. They are in a microfiber blend that she chose from Walmart (very inexpensive yarn, but one that she liked the feel of very much). Considering she will probably run a hole in the sole of one or the other of her socks in less than a month most likely the inexpense of her socks will be a good value. The next pair I make for her I am going to try a trick I read about where you use a smaller size needle on the sole of the sock to get a tighter gauge which is supposed to make the sock last longer. With all the pacing she does longer lasting socks will come in very handy.

Anyway, Now that I am done with these socks I am back working on my sweater, which is a daunting task because the yarn I chose, while very beautiful, is very difficult to work with, and I am still not sure I know what I am doing. I think I prefer socks, At least you see success a lot more quickly with them.

An interesting side note: The three Crane wives that are down here are all knitters. One is actually a lot better than the other two of us, and one hadn't knitted in years before she came down here but we all love it. In fact they have promised to teach me how to do cable stitch, something I have always wanted to learn. So I bought some cable needles and am looking forward to learning how to do that. I wll post more pictures when I have something else to show you.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Called Out by the Angelbaby

The angelbaby handed me the comics page from the Fort Walton Beach Sunday Times and said "Mom, I think you should read Pearls before Swine it reminds me of you."

Oh the heartache.

Where did she get that sarcastic sense of humor? Oh wait a minute I think that came from her dad and me, and we can't cry nature vs nurter here because either way we lose.

h/t to Ironic Catholic for the link to PbS online. We have come to love this strip and our hometown paper doesn't carry it.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Update on Job Search

Our Daughter called to tell us that her interview was awkward, but went pretty well. She really likes the laid back attitude of the non-corporate small business establishment and would fit in well there. The manager has to check her references and said he would call her on Monday.

Since she gave her two previous managers that really liked her and will give her very good references things look very good. She is coming out of a very dark time in her life thanks to the prayers and love of friends like you all.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Pro-Life Primer (Digest Version)

This is the best condensed linked source of Pro Life writings that I have ever seen.

I don't think I would add anything to this list.

If you want to live a Pro Life existence, you should start here.

h/t to Gashwin for the link.

Neighborhood Memories

I grew up in Rock Island Illinois. My father was a middle school English teacher, and later a guidance counselor after receiving his Masters Degree. My parents purchased this house in an established neighborhood on 22nd street only seven or eight blocks from the bustling downtown district when I was about 18 months old. (My brother took this picture of the house we lived in when he went back for a visit a few years ago.) It looks much like it did when I grew up in it, except there was a chimney back then that is no longer there, and the house was ringed with bushes as well I remember my cousin fell out of a first floor window once and landed smack into the bushes and didn't even get a scratch. (Knowing my brother and my cousin it may have been more of a bet than an accident.)

I lived in this house until I moved from Rock Island in 1975. I loved this house. We had a big family of eleven people, and except for the fact that this house only had one bathroom for all those people, I never felt like this house was too small. We played many games in the full basement (in fact don't tell my mom, but we used to ride our bikes around and around through the rooms during the winter when it was too cold to ride outside.)

One of my favorite places in the house was the attic. Actually it became a favorite place out of necessity; my older brother used to trick me into going up there and then shut the door on me. The door was so big that I couldn't get it open from the attic side, so I would be stuck in the attic until someone noticed that I was up there. I found that my dad had stored old books up there, and I would pick out a book and snuggle up by one of the windows that faced 22nd street (the ones up under the eaves in the picture) and read until someone came looking for me, or it got so hot that I just couldn't stand it and had to bang on the door till someone opened it.

We lived in a great neighborhood in which to grow up. Most of the houses were single family dwellings with a few duplexes and apartment complexes interspersed among them. Everyone knew everyone else and we all took care of each other. Kids were respectful of adult authority because most of the adults were your parent's friends (who were your friend's parents by extension) and had the deputized authority to punish you for any infraction of the rules. In fact some neighbor's parents were more strict than ours so we knew to be on better behaviour when playing in their yard.

The city was laid out with paved access alleys between the streets. When not needed for garbage pickup or parents to stow their cars in their garages, these alleys were the domain of the neighborhood kids. We played very intricate games of kick the can or capture the flag that lasted all afternoon. Sometimes we even had bike and go-cart races down our alley because we were lucky enough to live on a hill. The boys in our neighborhood made some of the most amazing go carts out of the refuse they confiscated from the trash before the city trucks made the weekly rounds.

There was a huge estate of property that The Hauberg family had deeded to the city as a park that still sits directly cater-cornered across the street from our house. This was our domain. It was everything from fairy wonderland for the girls to viet Kong jungle for the boys all summer long. It had some of the most amazing rope swings that my older brothers and their friends constructed across gullies that I was too terrified to use, but loved to watch other kids swing across.

My brothers played war games all over these woods. In fact my younger brother broke his arm in one of their elaborate "training exercises" that my parents never did find out all of the details about because good soldiers never tell.
In the winter, the hills coming down from the back of the estate were the greatest sledding hills one could ever imagine. Some were even dubbed suicide runs, only to be used by the more daring of our brothers. All of us were known to sled down the long hill from the gatehouse down to 23rd street, knowing just when to strategically fall off our sleds so that we didn't shoot out into the street.

We had free reign of the entire neighborhood, so long as we came when my parents called us home. Every family had a different method to call kids home. One family up the avenue had a cowbell. One family just had a loud holler. My parents used a coaches whistle; two short blasts and one long blasts was the signal that it was time to come in for dinner or at the end of the evening. It was funny, we could tell the difference between mom's whistle and dad's, and we knew that if dad whistled it meant get home right now, while mom's meant better wind things up within ten minutes.

It may have been a simpler time then. The public school (Lincoln Elementary; sadly now just an empty shell) was six blocks straight down 22nd street and we all walked to school from Kindergarten on. The Public Library was three blocks beyond the school and I remember walking there from almost the time I was old enough to go to school, often by myself. In fact we kids walked downtown by ourselves or in groups during the summer to see movies at the Capri (they had 25 cent matinees on Saturday of kid movies; can you just imagine?) and the Fort theater before it became an adult theater. Or we would walk to the Drug store for a soda at the soda fountain.

We often walked down 12th avenue about seven or eight blocks to 15th street where there was a little corner store that sold penny candy. I can still remember walking home with our little bags of wax lips, candy dots and red hots.

Our Church, St Mary's, was two blocks further on than Lincoln, much of our family life was centered on the Parish community. It was a small parish. By the time I was old enough to attend school the parish school was about to close, so I never attended it. The nuns moved out of the convent shortly after they closed the school. The Parish Priest, Fr George Schroeder remained the backbone of the parish through my entire life in Rock Island. I went to CCD on Wednesday evenings, and to make it convenient for all the parish families, Fr. provided a bus that drove around the city to pick up the kids and deliver them to the church so parents didn't have bring the kids themselves. Our Parish Picnic and Winter festivals were well attended by families in the parish.

I loved my childhood. There were many things that happened that have left me with bittersweet memories, like the death of my close friend Jeff Ramsey when I was 12, and the death from cancer of my father just a year later, but I have many more happy memories of living in Rock Island, and I don't think I ever had better friends than the ones I had in elementary school and middle school.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

O*N*E -L*E*S*S Living Woman Thanks to Gardasil

I never liked this "wonderful new drug" that Merck pharmaceuticals has been touting for the past few years as the be all and end all for the protection of all women. And trying to get states to mandate that all girls as young as age 9 should be vaccinated with it for "their own protection". There were just way too many factors that didn't add up.

Like the fact that it only protected against three (count them 3) kinds of cervical cancer when there are many more kinds that a person can come in contact with.

Like the fact that there were precious few studies done on the long term effects to developing bodies when the drug was pushed through the FDA.

Like why so much money was being poured into the slick marketing campaign that was made to make you feel like you were doing a disservice to your daughters if you didn't get them vaccinated (rather than teaching them that there is a proper place for sexual activity, and the only 100% effective method of prevention of exposure to these pathogens is abstinence.

So, when stories like this one come to light I have to feel slightly vindicated, and a little bit sickened. Ten women dead in less than a year from this wonder drug? Where is the public outrage? Why aren't there huge bands of feminists storming Merck demanding that the drug be taken off the market? Who dropped the ball here and why?

What is even more frightening almost than the deaths are the list of other complications:

I am quoting here:

In this year there have been 140 reported "serious" complications, 27 of which were categorized as "life-threatening," as well as ten spontaneous abortions and six cases of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a very rare (1 in 100,000 in a healthy population) immune response to foreign antigens such as infectious agents or vaccines, that paralyzes the afflicted person.

and this:

"The long-term consequences of Gardasil are not known. The manufacturer admits this and agrees it does not know its effect on young girls' cancer risk, on their immunity system, on their reproductive system, or its genetic effects. In due course, we will know this, possibly in twenty or thirty years from now when these young girls, the innocent subjects of the Gardasil experiment have become grown women and then report the consequences of their having taken the medication in their childhood on medical advice."

and this:

"What we have here is proof that there is scientific evidence that has been published in the past 15 years that states that HPV infection does not bear a direct relationship to the forming of cervical cancer. It also tells us that HPV, if allowed to will be taken care of by our own body's natural processes. . ."most infections are short-lived and not associated with cervical cancer."

A company was allowed to use fear to sell a faulty product to an unsuspecting group of people who will forever be left with the disastrous consequences of a decision that they thought was going to protect them. Shame belongs somewhere.

I am so glad I didn't bow to conventional wisdom and considerable public peer pressure and have any one of my four precious daughters subjected to this killer vaccine. They are all safe, at least until the next "wonder drug" is discovered.

As parents we need to be vigilant, and think carefully when it comes to slick marketing and promises that sound just a bit too good to be true. We know the truth and the truth will keep us alive apparently.


Prayers Appreciated

Our oldest daughter has been out of work for over a month now and really trying to find another job but not having much luck. She has a very promising interview this coming Thursday for a job at a sandwich shop downtown, which would be pretty convenient for her and might work out well for her course schedule in the fall.

Please if you get a chance in the next few days say a special prayer that she be taken seriously in this interview and that she be offered this job if it is God's will for her. She is getting very discouraged by all of the rejection, and she really needs to start earning some money again.

We would really appreciate any prayer support you all can offer.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Friends are Awesome!!!

A week ago I told the front desk that the coffee maker in our suite was no longer functioning correctly. They said they would bring another one up here as soon as possible. I have gone a whole week without being able to make coffee in the mornings.

For a few days I went down to the little Starbucks stand in the lobby for a shot of the good stuff, but the girl who works there doesn't quite understand how to pull an Americano. The last time I asked for a triple shot Americano and ended up with three shots of espresso in a cup, no hot water at all. Now I loves me some espresso, but I also loves me the inside lining of my stomach. I took the cup back to our suite and watered it down and got three cups of coffee out of it.

Anyway, yesterday the wife of one of the other guys who is down here working with mrangelmeg met the angelbaby in the hallway and the angelbaby was telling her about our coffeemaker woes. This lovely woman said that neither she nor her devoted spouse were coffee drinkers, and if we wanted she would gladly loan us the coffee maker in her room until the management came to their senses and brought us a working coffee maker. The angelbaby accepted (I think she was tired of living with a coffee-less mama) and brought the machine down to our suite.

This morning I have coffee!!! (cue music) I am so happy I could cry.

Friends are great.


This is why I keep praying

I continue to pray outside the local abortion clinic in my town because of stories like this one.

When the liberals who say they are working to make abortion unnecessary do what they say; I will stop supporting the local Pregnancy Care Center and Maternity Home and Project Rachel, which gives support to women who find themselves in a pregnancy that wasn't planned.

Until then I will continue to work and pray. As I have done.

If you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

One of our candidates for President doesn't understand that the fundamental right to life is the most important right. If he can't get that one right how can I trust him to get any other decision right? This is one Catholic who won't be swayed by his slick rhetoric.


Monday, July 07, 2008

A Blast from my Past

My brother sent me an email he received from the mother of one of my childhood friends in response to an essay he posted on his blog about the death of one of our neighbors when we were young. Anyway my friend found the article when she was googling for someone with a similar name and she sent the link to her mom. Her mom wrote to my brother and he forwarded the email to the family.

It was such a blast from the past for me. I distinctly remember spending the night at this family's home because the daughter and I were good friends in elementary school. I remember her younger brother and sister and her parents. I remember the most amazing Halloween party they had at their house one year complete with a room where you had to walk through blindfolded and touch things like brains (cold spaghetti noodles ) and eyeballs (peeled grapes); I was so terrified and would have never been brave enough to do it if it hadn't been for the reassuring voice of my friend's mom who held my hand the entire time and made sure I wasn't too scared.

Their dad was an English teacher at the high school that my older siblings attended. I know at least one of my sisters had him and possibly my brother as well. I know that my sister had him for Films/Communications and thought he was just the greatest teacher of his era (this was the early 70's so I suppose he was probably very cutting edge for that time). She was really transformed by the way he taught his class.

I think, but I may be wrong, that he had been one of my dad's first class of students when he was a new teacher in the school corporation. Dad would have thought it was great that he had stayed in the area to raise his own family and teach because he was so dedicated to education.

I loved their house almost as much as I loved my own. I still dream about their house, and can probably remember every room as if it has only been months since the last time I was there and not nearly 35 years.

It was great to be able to reconnect with them, and because the mother added the daughter's email address I was able to send an email to her as well.

But that's not all:

Their son now lives in Dallas and has a Podcast that his mom mentioned in her email. Being nearly addicted to podcasts, of course I had to check it out. It is called This and That with Jeff and Gretchen and is funny and topical and, well addictive. I listened to two episodes today and plan to listen to a few tomorrow and the next day and then I will be caught up and be waiting anxiously for the bi-weekly download of the next episode.

Jeff, when I knew him was a brainy, funny, gawky elementary school kid who was already too tall for his age. According to what I have figured out from the few podcasts I have listened to so far he is 6'4" and an engineer, so he has totally grown into his full potential as the kind of man I admire (just look at the one I married).

Am I at that age when looking back brings me comfort? Reconnecting with this family has sure given me something to smile about.


Sunday, July 06, 2008

Nobody's Perfect

You Are Mostly Virtuous

You are a good person, or at least as good as you can be.

You try to do the right thing, and you have ended up with many virtues.

While you are virtuous, you aren't a saint.

There's definitely a bit of devilishness deep in your heart!

Where You Are Virtuous

You have the virtue of Justice. You treat other people fairly, even when you don't feel like it.

You have the virtue of Humility. You don't boast or brag.

You have the virtue of Moderation. You don't do anything at excess, and you avoid extremes

Where You Are Not Virtuous

You lack the virtue of Chastity. You aren't guarded when it comes to intimacy.

You lack the virtue of Order. Many aspects of your life are chaotic and a total mess.

You lack the virtue of Silence. You talk too much, and your words aren't as valuable as they could be.

h/t to Ironic Catholic for the link.


No Ordinary Message for This Ordinary Time Priest

We have been atteneding Corpus Christi Parish since we have been here in Destin FL. The parish Priest is a great holy priest named Fr. Bob Morris. I have had the pleasure of having a long lunch conversation with him during VBS week and I know that he really loves this parish in a very special way.

His homilies are something very special because of that love. He doesn't pull any punches. He tells people exactly the way things are. He says if you show up late for Mass or leave early then you don't have a clue what it means to be a Catholic and you may as well not bother coming to Mass at all.

Today his message was really amazing. It was all about defining for yourself what kind of committment you have to being a Christian to the world and how that informs how you attend and participate at liturgy.

Using himself as an example he said "I don't attend Mass because I am the priest and I am supposed to; I go to Mass because I want to involve myself in an intimate relationship with God."

He encouraged all of us to attend and particiapate at liturgy for the same reason and with the same zeal. We should sing the songs and responses, and pray the prayers to involve ourselves in an intimate relationship with God who loves us deeply and is drawing us to him in such an intimate way that He is calling us to be fed on His own body and blood broken and poured out for us.

He then told us that we must become like Christ in our own homes for those we love and for those around us. Although Christ is truly present in the tablernacle, Fr. Bob wanted to be able to come to every parishioner's home and be able to visit Christ there as well. It was his challenge to us to live as Christ in the world.

Wow, what a message for this Pauline year. I was so impressed with his message that I actually took out a pen and wrote down the quote so I wouldn't forget it. I think from now on until we go home I may start bringing a little notebook to Mass with me so that I can take notes. His wisdom is worth writing down.

We are so blessed to have been led here for our time in Destin. The people here are so lucky to have him as their Pastor.


Love Changes Everything

We went to see Wall-e yesterday. It was probably one of my favorite Pixar movies so far. I loved the attention to detail, and the character given to each of the little bots. The girls all liked it as well. Mrangelmeg was a bit disturbed by the political message (I will leave it to you to figure that one out because it slipped right by me but after he mentioned it I realized that it could be perceived that way as well.)

If you click on the widget above you can go to the official wall-e site and play around a bit. (one thing disney does well, is tie in marketing).

It was a fun afternoon and the message I got was that Love changes everything and when people realized what was really real they were transformed.

I'm off to plant some pizza seeds with the angelbaby.


Friday, July 04, 2008

One Thing I Really Don't Miss

Do you know what I have noticed, and the fact of which was reinforced tonight as we were out in the night air watching the fireworks (from three directions no less -- how cool is that). ?

There are very few bugs down here.

We were a bit concerned that the doors to the patio don't have screens on them, but no flying insects are around to fly in when you leave them open, so no worries.

It took some getting used to not having to worry about chiggers or mosquitoes or gnats, but there just aren't many around.

Woo Hoo!

I guess that means that when I get back home in August I will be bedeviled by them all the more because I haven't built up a healthy tolerance for them.



Thursday, July 03, 2008

What I Don't Know About Arthritis . . . Can Ruin My Nights

I have had a few miserable nights lately due to arthritis pain. I wake up in the middle of the night with really horrible pain in my joints, especially my hands and feet. Last night it was worst in my fingers. It hurts to the point that I can't get back to sleep.

It makes me wonder if I'm doing something wrong in the evenings, or there isn't something I could be doing to make my nights better. So I did some Internet research today and found this site. It describes some over the counter remedies I can try to help with the pain I am experiencing in the night (from something as simple as a hot bath before bed to using something like Biofreeze on my painful hands in the middle of the night. I have used it after exercise but never thought to try it for pain in the night.

Another thing I found in another article was that taking red pepper capsules or ginger root capsules might be helpful, but I want to talk to my Dr. before I try either of those without talking to someone who has tried either of them.

Another suggestion was acupuncture, but I haven't got a clue where to find an acupuncturist in Destin, so I think I will table that for a while as well.

So, maybe I will take a nice hot bath before I go to bed tonight, and keep my tube of Biofreeze on the nightstand. If I wake up in the middle of the night with hands that hurt like blazes I will try spreading some Biofreeze on them. What can it hurt?

Maybe I will even get back to sleep a little easier.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Reveal

A couple of weeks ago I made the disasterous decision to get my hair all cut off. While I really still don't like my hair this short, it is beginning to grow (both in length and on me as the saying goes).

So much so that yesterday while we were at the beach I let the angelbaby take a picture of me and I am willing to let you all see my new short hair. Those of you who have known me for a while will think "heck that is pretty much the way she wore her hair for almost ten years, but you have to remember that it has had nearly three weeks to grow since that horrid day it was cut and it is still way shorter than I have ever actually worn it.

At least when I get back home to Indiana in August it should be back to what I looked like before I started to grow it out last year. . .

Anyway, without further ado, here goes . . .

There, that wasn't too painful. And I didn't even cry myself to sleep last night.


We are in the Midst of the Paulist Year

Today's Paulist Message provided by Paulist Ministries

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. - St. Paul, Philippians 4:8

All ties that are not divine must be severed. I would be free, and stand only in eternal relations with others, and with all things around me. What must go at death, why not now?
- Father Isaac Hecker, founder of the Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle (1819 - 1888)

If you would like to sign up for the email version of the daily message click here.


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Lucky Catch

The angelbaby met some really nice kids at the beach today who were catching tiny hermit crabs left and right. She tried to catch one herself but had no luck. They even loaned her a mask and snorkel.

Then a while later they came over and offered her one of the ones that they caught. So now we have a tiny new pet.

She has dubbed the tiny hermit crab Pashmina (she is sure that it is a female crab and I have no clue how to tell if it is male or female.)

We probably will only keep it around for a while and then let it back into the gulf before we go home, but she sure is having fun just watching it right now.