Sunday, August 31, 2008

Well, Why Not Us . . .

Sarah Palin's Husband's response when he found out that their son would be born with Down's Syndrome. and her own response:

"We've both been very vocal about being pro-life," Palin said. "We understand that every innocent life has wonderful potential."

Read the rest of the article here.

My response is: This is one of the fundamental issues that matter in the world today, i.e that everyone has the right to life. If we can't trust you with that simple issue (mr obama, mr biden) how are we supposed to trust you to make the right decision on any other issue that we find important?


For all my Male Readers . . .

A bit of Fantasy, just for you.. Brought to you by our future Vice President:

Mrangelmeg would say that is hot in a Tina Fey sort of way.

Down boy, down!

Take that mr biden!


Thursday, August 28, 2008

I'm Off!

In a few minutes I will be leaving to drive to Chicago (by myself *gulp*) to spend a few days with Deacon John and his wife. Deacon John underwent his stem cell transplant on Friday. I talked with him for a few minutes yesterday and he sounds in good spirits but a bit tired out which is to be expected. The doctors informed him that the big push is to be expected in the next few days, so my timing is probably pretty good. I will see him today and he will still be okay but by tomorrow he will be going downhill fast.

Offer a few extra prayers for him today, and if you think of it say a prayer that I make it there in one piece. I have never ever driven to Chicago. I have twice rode in a car that drove to somewhere near Chicago but I have to drive right down into the belly of the beast so to speak to the University of Chicago Medical Center Hospital. Mapquest in hand and angels on my bumpers I believe I will make it there safely, but prayers would be greatly appreciated.

As to my medical concerns: my blood tests all came back normal, which is good. Still haven't heard about the ex-rays or the CAT scan, so am holding to my mother's advice that it is nothing until it is something and trying to not do things that make it hurt worse (if I only knew what those things were.)

I may not have access to the Internet until I get back on Sunday. So goodbye for now.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Who Has Time to Work?

I realized this afternoon when I was on my third trip out to taxi my college age children who don't yet feel comfortable enough to drive themselves (one is autistic the other has epilepsy, so they may never clear that hurdle) that I really don't have time for the part time job that mrangelmeg and I had discussed last spring.

We had talked about my getting a substitute teaching license, but in actual fact there isn't one day a week when I am free to sub an entire day because I have commitments each day. Taking the girls to their classes at the community college takes up from 1:45 to 5:30 (not all that time but I have to be available during those hours to taxi one or both of them during those hours) on Monday and Wednesday.

What I did today was drop them off, come back to the house, work on a few rows of knitting and realize it was time to go back and retrieve one of the girls to get her to the other campus for her next class. Then I came back to the house, read a few pages of the book I am reading for my internship and checked on the angelbaby when she came in from school and then it was time to get both the girls from two different campuses after their classes were done for the day. The same schedule will repeat on Wednesday.

I really don't even have time to run errands for fear that I will get caught all the way across town and not be able to get back in time to pick up the girls on time. I will have to see how creative I can get with the little bit of time I have to use before it is time to go back out for another run. I am encouraging one of them to at least try to get a license, but I don't want to push her into anything. I realize how scary it can be when you have a disability.

So, for the time being I am being a taxi-mom.


Monday, August 25, 2008

If the Third Time's the Charm What Would the Fourth Time Be?

So I decided I wanted to knit a blanket for my friend Deacon John; who had his stem cell transplant on Friday and will be in the hospital for the next few weeks, most of that time in isolation while his stem cells to their job and get to work doing whatever it is they do to put him in remission. I got this really great soft undyed cotton yarn from my favorite yarn shop and started what I thought was a really cool pattern only I couldn't keep it straight in my head and it looked really strange when I got through the first set of pattern stitches, so I frogged the whole thing out (you know ribbet ribbet) and started over.

Then I chose a new pattern and began again and this time I got really far. I got to the end of an entire skein of yarn but somehow it looked really lopsided, so I looked at the pattern more carefully and sure enough I was leaving out one really important stitch at the end of every odd numbered row. so I had to frog the entire piece again.

Attempt number three was going smoothly, or so I thought, until I got to the point where I needed to look at the pattern to see how to turn the edge for the side. It was then that I realized that instead of doing one row of knit and one row of purl, which was what I was doing , I should have been doing two of each, which would have made a pattern of raised ridges, and looked so much better than the stockinette pattern that I was getting. so here I go again frogging out all the stitches to begin for the fourth time!!!

But, now that I have about fifty rows done in the correct pattern, I am glad that I did take the time to do it right, it looks so much better, and I know that it will make a much better blanket. Each stitch has been prayed over so many times that the blanket has to be infused with prayers and love. I just hope I can finish it before I have to leave for Chicago on Thursday to visit with John and his wife. Oh well, if not I will work on it while I am there. This isn't a race, it is a gift, and the gift should be done right, not done quickly.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

BAck in the Saddle Again . . .

So, here I am on a Sunday afternoon, reading and taking notes for a class. Is it deja vu all over again or am I really studying for a new program so quickly after graduation? AM I NUTS?
At least the first chapter of this book is extremely familiar territory, as the early mystics are Clement, Origin, Antony, you know, the guys we learned about in Early Church History. The book even gives some equal time to Maryof Egypt, Macrina, and the Mary/Martha question of contemplation vs action, so women are equally present in the early history of Christian mysticism.
I think this will probably be a quick read, and am hoping that is so, because I hear that two of the other books that are due later in the semester are a bit harder to get through, so the quicker I finish this one the sooner I can move on to the next one.
Each book requires a five-page analysis of the relevance of the material to my journey of spiritual enlightenment. My plan is to write the papers as soon as I complete the book rather than waiting until they are due (the first one is due in mid September). I am still not familiar with the reflection process that they use, and want time to work with the reflection questions and get my thoughts in line and hopefully the class discussions that are supposed to coincide with each of the books will help to crystallize my reflection, maybe. The nicest thing is that this paper isn't going to be graded, it is really more for my benefit and growth, so the deeper I can get into the process of mining the benefits or struggles from the book the better it will be for me.
I had better get back to it. Hope your Sabbath is as peaceful.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Truth in Packaging

I had to have some tests at the Hospital today. Dr.'s are so nosey; always wanting to take a look around if they get the chance. Today I had the privilege of having a CAT scan with Barium and contrast.

So I had to have nothing by mouth beginning at midnight last night, and since I meet with my prayer group at a coffee shop filled with enticing smells that was a huge exercise in restraint in itself. Then I went to morning Mass and had to walk up to communion only to receive a blessing. That poor school teacher (it was a school mass) looked so puzzled by the sight of a grown woman with her hands folded across her chest that for a second she didn't quite know how to respond. Then she brushed my forehead with her palm and sent me on my way.

Then when I got to the hospital they offered me the barium drink which was miss labeled, because it clearly stated that it was pleasantly flavored and whoever wrote that on the packaging should be fired immediately. I think they might have been going for cream-sickle flavoring, what they actually achieved was more crap-sickle flavored. Better you should trust me on this than actually try it yourself to find out.

How does the medical industry allow this travesty of packaging to continue? I realize if they had to adhere to strict honesty in packaging no one in their right mind would ever take the stuff, but there has to be a limit.

Just once I would like to see some company fess up and say:

Lets face it, this stuff tastes like swill, but it will get the job done, so put on your big kid panties gulp it down and stop complaining.

Wouldn't that be refreshing?


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Love Story

On August 20, 1949 at St Anthony Catholic Church in Davenport Iowa, the lanky football star in the picture above married his college sweetheart and they embarked on their life together. They are my parents Mike and Tess Scheck on their wedding day 59 years ago.
They raised nine children and lived together for twenty-four years before cancer took dad's life at the age of 48. Mom had to soldier on alone after that because six of the children were still living at home and needed her to be strong for them.
I realized this year that mrangelmeg and I have been granted the gift of a longer marriage than my parents were given. I feel so blessed, because I owe so much to my parents. Without their example of total self-giving love I am not sure I would understand how to be a married woman.
I still remember their morning ritual of coffee together, when they would sit and discuss the minutia of their day. To an outsider it might have looked humdrum, but I could see the simple gestures that passed between them; his getting up to refill her cup, her hand resting lightly on his arm, the way they passed the morning paper sections back and forth between them; each was so infused with devotion.
Then she would follow him out to the hallway as he left for work; he walked because the school where he taught was only a few blocks away. They would linger over one last kiss at the door, her hand lost in the hair at the back of his neck. And then he would smile and leave for the day.
She told me once years after he died that she had trouble sleeping in the bed they shared without him beside her. This is something I can relate to completely because I struggle sleeping without mrangelmeg even when he is on travel for a few nights let alone weeks or months. I would shudder to think of having to imagine him never returning to the bed we have shared all these years.
I know my parents must have argued, but I can't remember ever hearing them have a huge screaming fight. If they ever got frustrated with each other they seemed to be able to work out their differences without taking it out on each other. Although my dad did have a habit of sweeping the front room with a broom whenever he needed to release pent up aggression. Whenever he was doing that, we knew to stay away until he calmed down (or went to confession, whichever came first).
Anyway, I wanted to honor my parents today. I went to visit mom yesterday. I lit a candle for Dad today. Happy anniversary mom and dad.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Resting in The Spirit is Better Done at Home . . .

than in the car!

I had a really hard time getting to sleep again last night, and then had to get up and drive to Indy this morning for a day of Orientation for the Spiritual Direction Internship program. (the sisters at the Monastery call us the SDI folks, and every time I heard that I laughed because it made me think Strategic Defense Initiative and that is SO not me).

The day was so full of meeting people (although one of the instructors for the program is Sr. Barb, whom I have had in classes before; once at St. Meinrad and twice in the Ecclesial Lay Ministry program that I got kicked out of when they sent me to Saint Meinrad. It was great to see her again, and nice to know that I will have someone in there that knows me a little, being all shy and stuff.)

I am so bad with names, and we were supposed to try to begin to sort out people's names so that we can begin to remember them. It will take me most of the first semester to get names to go correctly with the faces in class. No matter how hard I try I struggle with people's names.

We did a really fun exercise where we had to choose a picture that depicted for us what Spiritual Direction meant. I couldn't find one that I liked, so I chose two Thomas Kinkade pictures and talked about This aspect of Spiritual Direction and how if I had taken a piece from one of the pictures and put it in the other I would have had a lake in the middle of a house, and that would not be good.

I also found out about the assignments:

weekly 1 page reflection papers

four 2 page book reflections that describe how the reading of the book affected my understanding of spiritual direction and ministry (including my conflicts and affirmations)

five 1 page article reflections similar to the book reviews

Three 5 page synthesis papers that integrate the lectures, readings and discussions

It may seem like a lot of writing, but compared to a few of the classes I took in Gradual School, and considering there is no right or wrong answer on any of them, they are simply a way for me to synthesize what I am reading, hearing, learning along the way. This should be a breeze so long as I don't put it all off till the night before they are due.

I stopped off to see mom at the nursing home on the other side of Indy before driving home, and was so wiped out that I really struggled to make it home without falling asleep.

So, I think I will take a judicious "power nap" and rest a bit in the spirit before I dive into the first article I brought home to read since my books haven't been delivered from Amazon yet. I checked this morning and they should be here by Friday.

I am so glad that I made sure that dinner was a crock pot feast tonight.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Welcoming Home the Schoolboy(Man?)

Mrangelmeg began another of his Masters classes today. Unlike my program, his classes are a week long, and he gets out of work to take them. He is in Budgeting and Finance this week and again I say better him than me.

I don't know how much nightly homework this class will entail, but I do know that he is going to try to stick to his schedule of working out at the YMCA each night. I am going to try to make sure that he has a nutritious meal each night, even if that means I have to actually cook. (And you all know how much I love to cook).

Tomorrow I have to drive up to Indianapolis to attend the Orientation session for my internship program. I would laugh at mrangelmeg because he is going to be studying so hard, but it turns out that I will have at least five books and between 10 and 15 articles to read this semester, and who knows how many papers to write. While my work won't be quite as taxing as Gradual School was reflection papers do take some time and effort.

Oh well, I will have plenty of time to stop reading and writing after I have died (unless my purgatory is a very long time spent in a place like gradual school, which I could easily imagine as being a place to work off ones sins).

Tomorrow's dinner will be whatever I decide to throw in the crock pot before I take off in the morning.

Pray I have nice weather for the drive, and Mrangelmeg has an easy time with his budgets and finances the rest of the week.


The Lord Provides

It's been said that God first separated the salt water from the fresh, made dry land, planted a garden, made animals and fish... All before making a human. He made and provided what we'd need before we were born. These are best & more powerful when eaten raw. We're such slow learners...; God left us a great clue as to what foods help what part of our body!

A sliced Carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like the human eye.. And YES, science now shows carrots greatly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes.

Tomato has four chambers and is red. The heart has four chambers and is red. All of the research shows tomatoes are loaded with lycopine and are indeed pure heart and blood food.

Grapes hang in a cluster that has the shape of the heart. Each grape looks like a blood cell and all of the research today shows grapes are also profound heart and blood vitalizing food.A

Walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or folds on the nut are just like the neo-cortex. We now know walnuts help develop more than three (3) dozen neuron-transmitters for brain function.

Kidney beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and yes, they look exactly like the human kidneys.Cel ery, Bok Choy, Rhubarb and many more look just like bones. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are 23% sodium and these foods are 23% sodium. If you don't have enough sodium in your diet, the body pulls it from the bones, thus making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.

Avocados, Eggplant and Pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female - they look just like these organs. Today's research shows that when a woman eats one avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight, and prevents cervical cancers. And how profound is this? It takes exactly nine (9) months to grow an avocado from blossom to fruit. There are over 14,000 photolytic chemical constituents ofnutrition in each one of these foods (Modern science has only studied and named about 141 of them).

Figs, are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Figs increase the mobility of male sperm and increase the numbers of Sperm as well to overcome male sterility.

Sweet Potatoes look like the pancreas and actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics.

Olives assist the health and function of the ovaries. Oranges, Grapefruits, and other Citrus fruits look just like the mammary glands of the female and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts.

Onions look like the body's cells. Today's research shows onions help clear waste materials from all of the body cells. They even produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes. A working companion, Garlic, also helps eliminate waste materials and dangerous free radicals from the body.

Now go eat what your body needs.

h/t to Kitchen Madonna for this wonderful information.


We've Got Way Too Much Stuff (With A Big Hat Tip to the Late Great George Carlin)

Since we really love our house and at 3900 square feet it should be more than sufficient room for a family of seven people, mrangelmeg and I made the judicious decision last night that it is time to get rid of some of our stuff. Because if we don't the only alternative according to George Carlin anyway is to buy a bigger house to put our stuff in, and we don't want to move.

So, my project for this week is to get rid of some of our stuff.

I did get a head start by going through my closet and deciding to let go of all of those cherished pieces of clothing that I have been hanging onto "just in case" I _________ (fill in the blank with responses like:

a) go back to work and need that polyester pantsuit,

b) lose fifteen pounds and can fit into those pants again,

c) gauzy peasant dresses ever come back in style or

d) forget and try to wear that third pair of black pumps that really pinch my toe but look so cute when I first put them on.

All of those things are bagged up and ready for Son-and-Heir to take to work with him this morning. (I think I mentioned before that he works at Goodwill, but I will add it here just in case you were wondering why he would take a bag of women's clothing to his job. I wouldn't want you to think he was a tranny in training or something.)

Today I will be going through piles of crap from Gradual School (you should see the bookshelves in the office, we have twice as many books as we have shelves in there and the bedroom bookshelves aren't much better) Surely I can let go of some of those books. I can say with perfect certainty that unless I have an aneurysm I will never intentionally open another Philosophy book as long as I live, and if I pick one up it will only be to smash a spider. (That is of course with the exception of the occasional Kierkegaard, so Rufus, you can stop holding your breath.)

And that doesn't even begin to describe the condition of the desks in that room. I haven't bothered trying to get things into the file cabinet for at least a year, so I have been stacking everything on one of the desks. This week I will go through the files and determine what we need to keep and what we can archive and what we can throw away. Then maybe, just maybe someone will actually be able to use that desk in there to do school work instead of being in fear that if they bumped up against it they would cause a clutter-lanche of epic proportions.

The goal is to cut the clutter by 40% with the pitch, donate, organize method, or suffer complete exaustion in the attempt. Wish me luck.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Looking Back Can Be Fun

I have been emailing a friend from elementary school (Hi Tim) lately and we have been exchanging little known facts about our neighborhood (like neither of us knew that our neighborhood had a name, but here it is a historic district even)

We have been passing back and forth memories about our grand old elementary school which is now all boarded up. You can see it in this video of the neighborhood if you are that interested. some of the happiest times of my life were at that school. I was reminding Tim about the Principal we had when we were in Kindergarten who made it possible for those of us who could already read to take reading with the First grade class without feeling like we were freaks because we were smart. In fact the one thing I remember about that school was that intellect and curiosity were encouraged. We had very few bad teachers.

Among the other friends I have encountered from that era is a family that I have a special place in my heart for because I was friends with the oldest daughter Laura, but whenever I spent time at their house I was always made welcome. The son Jeff, was one of those really brainy kids, a year behind us in school, but sometimes I thought miles ahead of me in intelect. If I were to be completely honest with myself I probably had a bit of a crush on him, but he was my friend''s younger brother after all and that meant he had cooties for sure. I definitely thought he was totally cute the year he had to wear a patch over his eye to cure his lazy eye. It gave his head a slight list to one side which made him seem all the more quizical and just added to his charm (or so my little girl brain thought).

Considering he grew up to be an engineer, (doesn't that sound familiar) and I know from his podcast that he has a wicked sense of humor, he actually grew up to be quite a bit like the guy I eventually married. How funny is that?

And then, the coincidences don't end there. Tim reminded me that he and Jeff were friends. They used to make radio DJ recordings into an old tape recorder together. I love the internet, because it reconnects people over years and lives and memories in such great ways.

Now I have these people back in my life. Which for right now, makes me very, very happy.


Anyway, I have really enjoyed the memories.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I'm Bluetoothed and I like it!

So the new rules here where we live are that you aren't supposed to use your cell phone in your car unless you have a hands-free aparatus to use with it. I didn't have anything like that with my phone, but I knew that my phone was Bluetooth capable, so when we came back from Florida I picked up a bluetooth head set for my cell phone.

I thought I would hate it. I thought it would be hard to use. I thought it would be a total nuisance item to add to my life. I was wrong.

I love this little thing. I have been using it for about a week and I can honestly say that I don't even notice that it is in my ear after a few minutes. I can even make voice recognition calls (if I remember how the number is listed in my contact list). but I haven't tried that yet.

I am so glad I got it. I just wanted you share that with you.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

That Serenity Thing Really Works!

The angelbaby came home from school very happy with her new teachers (all three of them because they are departmentalized so she has not just the one, for homeroom and English, but the other two for Social Studies and Math). She loves her classmates and has "bonded with six or seven girls in her class" (her words, how cute is that?)

She loves, loves, loves everything about being in the sixth grade! Except the fact that because I drove her to school this morning, and for some odd reason they chose this year to change the bus route that has picked up our kids for the ten years we have lived in this house she couldn't remember the number of the new bus she was supposed to ride home. Somehow she thought I should remember and called me on my cell phone when she knew that I was in orientation at the community college where the two older sisters (three actually but one is a returning student) are starting classes in two weeks. I told her she needed to go to the office, surely someone there knew which bus she was supposed to ride home, one would think.

She made it home safely, and has her bus number tattooed on her hand in red sharpie for the rest of the week, (just in case). I think I will let it stay there and have her wash it off on Saturday night so that she isn't wearing it on her hand for Mass on Sunday, but if it makes her feel safer for the rest of the week, what can it hurt?

I'm just glad that she is happy. Things are turning out pretty good for everyone around here, so far. God grant me . . .


The Sadness of the First Day

Today the angelbaby begins her first day of her last year in elementary school. She is both excited and sad. She doesn't get to have the teacher she wanted, and her best friend in the whole world (you know how those things are with twelve-year olds is in another class altogether. In fact, none of her friends are in her class, or so she said after we took a look at the class lists yesterday.

And to make things worse, there is the whole thing about not getting to have the teacher she really wanted. Who she got was a teacher that has been at the school, not one of the two new teachers they brought in to replace the two they transferred. She has somehow built up in her mind that she isn't going to like this teacher, and she doesn't even really know her.

So, on the way back from school yesterday I talked to her about expectations, and how our world usually lives up to what we expect of it. If we expect that we are going to have a great year; meet new friends, love our teacher, and in general enjoy school that usually happens. If we expect that we are going to hate school, hate our teacher and have no friends in class, that might happen too. I also taught her about what we can and cannot control and how to say The Serenity Prayer I wanted her to know that I wasn't about to go in and make them change her class just because she needed to be with her best friend. I think she needs to give this teacher a chance because I know this teacher, and I personally think this teacher might be a good fit.

This parenting stuff is never a picnic.

I will be praying a few of my own prayers today as I drop her off for her first day. How did my baby get to be in sixth grade? It seems like yesterday I was taking her to her first day of pre-school.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change . . .


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Road Closed! But It Isn't Always About You My Dear . . .

or so counsels my spiritual director.

On my way to my regular monthly appointment with Fr. Rick I encountered not one but two closed roads which caused me to be detoured way the heck out of my way and made me very late for my appointment. When I finally arrived at his office and we had settled in and said a prayer together I asked him to interpret for me the significance of not one by two roadblocks in my way today.

He then told me what I can't have known because I was enjoying the sun and surf in almost-paradise all summer: there was disastrous flooding in the area that displaced two thousand families from their homes and destroyed three bridges along State Road 46. So the closed road had absolutely nothing to do with my spiritual journey, because God wouldn't be that much of a bully to displace all those people just to send me a silly message. In essence Fr. Rick said "Get Real, it isn't always about you my dear." a message I need to be reminded from time to time.

I told him that it did offer me an opportunity to practice a discipline of patience (which I sadly lack and need the practice, ) so I did get some benefit from the detours. Grace comes even if the reason for the obstacle isn't meant for me. God can work like that.

I love spiritual direction and my spiritual director in particular because he has a way of making sure I don't take myself too seriously or take everything as a portent of something greater meant only for me (as if God's great big world does revolve around me and me alone). He also calls me on my faults, and helps me to try to root them out and keep them always in front of me, so that I can see them clearly.

The trip home was much less stressful, because I knew which way to go. That was nice.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Great Books

My Parish has a "Great Books" group that meets once a month to discuss works of Catholic prose, both fiction and non fiction, mostly non fiction, and the first year I thought the choices were a bit predictable: Theology for Dummies, Mere Christianity, Confession of St. Augustine.

I was, at the time completing my Masters and really didn't have the time or the energy to participate in such a group (or so I justified my lack of participation).

Then on my first Sunday back after my self-imposed exile in paradise what do I find on the list of books for this fall but Thanatos Syndrome by Walker Percy. What a great welcome home gift! I wasn't aware that my parish was aware of Percy, and thanks to my pals at Korrektiv I have been introduced to his writings and have read more than a few of his books, so I am actually looking forward to joining this discussion.

Maybe I will even stick around for some of the other books they choose this year if they are the caliber of this first one.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Fill the Bookshelf Meme

You are supposed to take the list and bold the books you have read and highlight the ones you would like to read. I got this from Kitchen Madonna.

This is an interesting list for the choices that are on it and for the books that were left off of it. Why, why why so darn much Jane Austen for instance and not a single book by Morris West? I am just asking? Anyway, these are my answers. If anyone wants to play they are welcome to grab a tag and play along.

1.Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen -
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling - I believe I stopped at book four
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee favorite book of all time
6. The Bible – don't know if I have read every word yet, but I have read most of it more than a few times.
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte prefered Jane Eyre to this.
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman don't feel the need to read this junk
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens required in middle school
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott – ditto
12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy – high school english, boring
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare - not all of them but some of the plays
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier –\
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien – barelya made it through LOTR
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks –
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger -
19. The Time Traveller's Wife -
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot – loved the movie though
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell –
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald -
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams – my kids have all read it so maybe I should too
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh - awesome, must read
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky -
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck - possibly his best work
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll –
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis all except The Last Battle and The Magicians Nephew
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini on my must read list after seeing the movie
37. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres –
.38. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
39. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne Christmas gift when I was 8 read the whole thing by New Years Eve
40. Animal Farm - George Orwell
41. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown see #9
42. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
43. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving Have read a lot of Irving but not this one
44. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins -
45. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery -
46. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
47. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
48. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
49. Atonement - Ian McEwan – want to read this soon too
50. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
51. Dune - Frank Herbert
52. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons loved this movie too.
53. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
54. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
55. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
56. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
57. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
58. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon just read this
59. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
60. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
61. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
62. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
63. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
64. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
65. On The Road - Jack Kerouac - always wanted to, never got around to doing it
66. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
67. Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding
68. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
69. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
70. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
71. Dracula - Bram Stoker
72. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
73. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson\
74. Ulysses - James Joyce
\75. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
76. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
77. Germinal - Emile Zola
78. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
79. Possession - AS Byatt
80. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
81. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
82. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
83. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
84. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert the only book I read for a lit class in college, then I dropped the class
85. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
86. Charlotte's Web - EB White -
87. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom -
88. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle some of the stories but not the entire collection
89. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
90. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
91. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery -
92. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
93. Watership Down - Richard Adams
94. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
95. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute I liked this, but think On the Beach is his best book
96. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
97. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
98. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo - 9
9. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
100.The Outsiders by SE Hinton again for high school english.


No Need to Revisit Brideshead

So says Barbara Nicolosi (and I trust her judgement of any work for the screen). She says not only is is not worth the money, it is extremely anti-Catholic, where the source material was deeply in love with the Catholic church even with the faults and failings of its human members.

Having loved so much the book, I have watched with baited breath from the moment I heard they were going to mount this remake because I have always wondered for heaven sake why? In the face of perfection, (twice no less, once in Waugh's original print version and then again in the BBC Mini Series) why try to capture the magic again and in such a short length of screen time.

As I leared about the orgian mini series, the producers decided that the original six hour time frame was just nearly not enough time in which to tell Mr Waugh's story and do it justice, so the entire screenplay was reworked to come up with seven more hours to flesh out the story lines and characters. This new version purports to tell the entire story in a scant two hours or less?

If you watch, the dialoge in the mini series is taken almost verbatim from the book, in fact you can almost watch the mini-series with the book open in your lap and read the dialoge right along with the characters on screen the adaptation is so faithful.

So it brought me great pain to read this about the new screen play from Ms. Nicoloi's piece:

Another objection to the piece is how desperately clunky it is. Especially the dialogue. And this is particularly egregious because the dialogue in the source material by Waugh is so fabulously elegant. Why would you depart from it? As a screenwriter, I would consider the dialogue in Brideshead as an embarrassment of riches. Writer Davies refusal to use Waugh's words in scene after scene is also revealing of his ideological agenda. He can't use Waugh's dialogue, can he? Because he doesn't agree with what Waugh wants to say. So, in scene after scene he substitutes his own on the nose, agenda-driven hackiness, without the subtlety, magic and layeredness that makes Waugh's work so wonderful.

If you had this one on your movies to see list, don't bother. It doesn't do justice to the source material. If you really want to get a sense of what Wagh was trying to communicate, Watch the mini series.


Saturday, August 09, 2008

Redemption as a Movie Theme

I must have been in some kind of mood when I stopped by the local Red Box on the way home yesterday because I chose three movies to watch while I finished the reorganization of my closet and bedroom (I watched them on my computer DVD player).

Each one of the movies had an underlying theme of a life redeemed. Each movie was beautifully, masterfully made in a very different way and for a very different audience, and yet, each left me feeling ultimately hopeful.

I am sure that my loyal readers have all seen these movies before, and I have even blogged about one of them before, but just in case I am going to mention all three of them here.

The first one I watched was Atonement. This is the story of how one young girl's miss-perception can change the lives of those around her so irrevocably, and what she does to try to make up for it. The acting was superb and it was amazingly well directed. I was torn to shreds by the end of this film.

The Second film was the beautiful Bella. This film tells the story of how two people share one day, and in that day find a way to repair the damage that has been done in their lives. It is an extremely pro-life, pro-family movie. Again, I was crying by the end.

The third movie was The Kite Runner. This is the story of two boys growing up in Afghanistan; one who is totally devoted to the other. Without giving more away this story is a tale of family loyalty, love and redemption between the two as they reach maturity half a world away from each other. I cannot tell you how deeply this film affected me. I am still savoring the heartfelt messages of hope and love that were brought out in this story.

The storytelling in these films was masterful. I was transported to three very different cultures and three different times. And yet, each had a message of loss, hope,forgiveness and redemption.

If you are looking for a good movie, you can't go wrong with any of these. Unless you are looking for car chases or fart jokes. I am afraid you will have to look somewhere else to get your fill of those.


Those Who Don't Learn From History are Destined to Re-Run it . . .

This is extremely funny in a sick, sad world kind of way.

h/t to Ken Levine for the link.

Tragedy Has Struck (Stricken?)

The angelbaby found out the most devastating news of her short life today . . . her favorite teacher; the one she has waited twelve long years to get to have (her older siblings all had him, even son and heir had him the year she was born, so she has known him her whole life) has been transferred to another Elementary School effective this School Year! This isn't some idle rumor either, we got it right from his own mouth when we saw him at the Farmer's Market this morning.

She is practically in mourning. She has built up for her entire time at her school how great it will be to finally be in his class this year that she can't possibly imagine what it will be like to have to endure another teacher for the year. I have been telling her that she will still have all of her friends there, and she will still be in sixth grade and we all know that sixth graders rule the school. Nothing seems to help.

I am at a loss as to how to make this better for her. I know that Wednesday when she gets to school, no matter who her teacher is everything will work out, but somehow this has come as a real shock to her system.

I despise the fact that the only thing I can tell her is that life just isn't fair, and then you die. I have been trying to help her realize that perhaps she will be surprised and she will have a teacher that she likes even better than she would have if she had had Mr Love (I am not making that up, that really is his last name.)

So, this school year will have more surprises than I ever expected.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

Computer Update

The Computer Guys have my laptop back to me working good as new, and I am pleased as could be that I didn't have to send it off to Dell and be without it for a couple of weeks. It wasn't even all that expensive considering they replaced the hard drive. It is working like a charm and I didn't lose a speck of data that I can see even ITunes is running smoothly.

I have it up and running, and I have taken the precaution of getting a new wireless keyboard, because we found that part of the problem with the crashes I was having before were being caused by my old wireless keyboard. When I stopped using it I wasn't crashing five times a day. So, I have a new Keyboard and mouse and my laptop is up on a mesh inbox so that it gets enough cool air flowing through underneath it, and I am good to go.

It is really nice to be on the computer before midnight (when I was sharing with the kids the only time I could get on was when they were done and had gone to bed unless I threatened them, and you all know I am much to nice to threaten my kids.


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Feast of the Trasfiguration (Thought's from Fr. Bill's Homily)

Christ was Transfigured on the mountain, standing there shimmering like white gold with Moses and Elijah on either side of him and what was poor Peter on about? We should build tents for them.

It took the voice of God booming at him from the clouds for Peter to get back into the moment and just be.

How often is it that we are stuck fussing over past hurts or worrying over a future that hasn't even happened yet when we should be present to what God is doing in this present moment in our lives? That is the gift of the Transfiguration; whatever went before should be left in the past. Whatever might be encountered in the future is best left in God's more capable hands. At this moment, in this place where is God and what is it that God wants of us?


I'm In . . . Oh Dear!

My interview went even better than I could have expected. It was Spirit led and Spirit filled and we talked about a lot of topics; some personal, some professional. I laughed, I cried, and I must have said the right things because rather than follow the usual procedure of meeting together after my interview to determine if they thought I would fit into the program and then sending me a letter of acceptance or rejection, they offered me a spot in the program right there at the interview! I was so humbled by that, but also filled with joy, because now I know and can get on with planning my fall around the trips to Indianapolis.

So it is back into the classroom for me for another two years. Oh well, it isn't as if I ever thought I was at the end of my ability to learn new things, and I am really interested in learning about and becoming a Spiritual Director, so I am actually really excited about the thought of going back to class again.

I promised to leave it up to God, so I suppose that I have to assume that God has opened this door for a reason. I need to have the courage now to walk through the door and see where it leads.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Computer Update

So I took my laptop to some computer guys with a little shop just off downtown. They came highly recommended and I was really impressed when almost the first thing they said was "Data recovery is our specialty, so worst case we can recover all of your stored data if we decide you should ship it back to Dell and have them fix it under the warranty."

That was a huge relief, and why mrangelmeg suggested I take it someplace locally before shipping it back to Dell straight-away; Dell would most likely just scrub the system and reload all new software as the quickest way to 'fix' the problem whatever it is.

These guys are really impressive. They seem to really love what they do, and take great pride in personal service. They even gave me some suggestions about my wireless network in my house and told me to bring in the computer that mrangelmeg spilled tea on and they would see if they could get it up and running again so the girls could use it for school.

I may have a working laptop by the end of the week, or I may have to send it in to Dell to get warranty serviced, but either way I should be able to save all of my data. That in itself is something to be happy about.


Does a Racing Mind Count . . .

as aerobic exercise?

I was just wondering. I am so excited about my internship interview tomorrow that I can't get to sleep. If I have to stay up at least I should get some calorie burn for my troubles, don'tcha think?

I did tell you about my internship didn't I? No? How unusual.

I have been trying to discern what to do with my Masters Degree and so far the closest things that I feel to a "stirring of the Spirit" has come when I have thought and prayed about offering Spiritual Direction to college kids. So, to that end I searched the Internet for training programs in Spiritual Direction

I found a really great program at Boston College which would have been my first choice, it being a Jesuit Institution and all, but moving myself back into the realm of possibility, I realized that considering my state in life and my primary commitment to my husband and kids I needed to find an alternative a bit closer to home and more practical. So there happens to be a really well respected training program in Indianapolis at a (get this) Benedictine Abbey (why is God doing this to me, I ask you). So, before we left for Florida last spring I applied for one of the 25 slots for the cohort group that will begin this fall. I have the final part of the application process, the face-to-face interview with the Director of Spirituality tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.

I am really nervous. I know that by this point, the interview is probably a formality and after having read my personal spiritual autobiography, letters of recommendation from three people who know me (one being my personal spiritual director) and my goals and objectives for using the skills I will gain from this program they already have a pretty good idea of who I am. I could go in there tomorrow and really turn the Sr. off by coming off too arrogant, or too cocky, or too unsure.

I want to be honest about where I am right now in my spiritual walk and where I am going with my prayer life. I just wish I weren't so nervous. I don't think I was this nervous when I went for my Grad School interview.

Say a prayer for me. I have been praying to St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, two of my spiritual mentors, and resisting the urge to pray to St. Rita and St. Jude.

I know I will feel so much relief tomorrow afternoon on the drive home. Whatever Lord! That is my prayer. I know tomorrow will turn out the way God intends because I have left it in His capable hands. Now if I could just shut of my brain and get some sleep the drive tomorrow would be much nicer I am sure.


Monday, August 04, 2008

My Blogaversary: I'm Four Years Old (In Blog Years) . . .

and I still look pretty good for the wear and tear over the years. I wanted to take this occasion to thank some people:

I want to thank my two loyal readers (and you know who you are) without you I would feel so all alone out here in the blogosphere.

I have to thank Alexa for creating my header when she made over my blog a couple of years ago. I have since changed templates but have kept her amazing header.

I want to thank all my blogging friends that I have met in those four years from practically the four corners of this great nation (and some from "across the pond").

I want to thank mrangelmeg who has been an inspiration and fodder for more than one post. If truth be told he is much funnier than I am, so most of my best humor stuff is borrowed from him (we have community property laws in the Midwest, don't we?)

I especially want to thank anyone who sent me a meme or quiz link the entire time I was in Gradual School (which was a majority of the four years) because without those time wasters, uh I mean wonderful diversions I might have gone right out of my head.

Seriously, I think blogging has been great fun and I hope to continue. Here's to many more inane, silly and sublime postings in the future.


It Would Just Be Easier . . .

to go right back out of the house on another vacation somewhere than have to deal with all of the hassles of getting resettled at home. After all, I am already packed!

We got home to find our dear son who was taking care of the house neglected to tell us that the heat pump had been leaking water onto the floor of his bedroom (the heat pump is in his closet) for a week! Anyway, after an expensive visit from the HVAC guy we found out that the AC was on so low that the coils and drain hose had frozen and when the ice reached a warmer section of either it began to thaw, hence the carpet in his room is ruined.

We had to tear it out and clean up the concrete under it. Neeedless to say we won't be replacing it will wall to wall anytime soon. I helped him pick out some room-sized area rugs to cover the concrete so that next time (heaven forbid ) something like this happens we can move the rugs before they get tototaled.

Then we also have a fruit fly infestation because they didn't do a very good job of taking out garbage while we were away.

And I still have all of those silly jobs that I usually do over the summer that I never got around to doing this year because I was away (like cleaning out cabinets and stuff like that).

So, I was toying with the idea of chucking my still packed bag into the car and getting out of Dodge, but the angelbaby has to start school in a week, and I haven't seen my mom in nine weeks, and the two older girls have tons of testing and administrative chores to do before they can register for fall classes which start in three weeks, so as much as I would love to run away, I really can't.

But I may just sneak off for a night or two to see a friend when things calm down in a week or so; haven't seen them in even longer.

It is great to be home and sleep in my own bed for a change. I had about the best night of sleep I have had all summer last night, and then because someone needed a sub I got to be Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion at Mass, how cool is that?

No matter how much I complain, it really is nice to be home.

As soon as I get my computer fixed (taking it in tomorrow) I will post some more pictures of our trip.