Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Even funnier if you realize that the accent he uses in Law and Order UK isn't his real posh upper-middle class British accent either.

Jamie Bamber is a really versatile actor.

BBC America Rocks.


Monday, June 27, 2011

The World-Wide Outrage No One Talks About

It is estimated that there are up to 160 million women missing world-wide.  This has been attributed to poor healthcare, nutrition and education in third world countries.  But this is only half of the story.  Second trimester abortion for gender selection has become the norm in countries like China where the ratio of men to women is becoming more and more out of balance with each generation since the practice began just after the one child per family rule went into effect.

Read a great opinion piece on the topic here.  

When will Women's Rights Organizations take up the fight to save these women from wholesale slaughter for the sake of male dominance?

Don't hold your breath.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Laude Sion

Today is the Feast of Corpus Christi,  no it isn't they day that we celebrate the city in Texas, but the Body and Blood of Christ our Savior.  What better way to do that than with this amazing Sequence written by Thomas Aquinas:

Laud O Zion

ZION, to Thy Savior sing,
to Thy Shepherd and Thy King!
Let the air with praises ring!
All thou canst, proclaim with mirth,
far higher is His worth
than the glory words may wing.

Read the rest here. (in Latin and English)

What does the Body and Blood of Christ mean in your life?


Friday, June 17, 2011

Tonight: Sharing Burdens Sharing Joys

Have you ever heard the saying that sharing your burdens cuts them in half and sharing your joys doubles them?  That is the way it has been between my sister and I.

We were both born in March, two years and one day apart so we shared a birthday celebration our entire lives.  Although I went to college and she didn't we both married guys from the same fraternity at the Engineering school in the town where we went to High School, even though she met her husband when she was still in High School and I didn't meet mine until I was nearly out of college.

When our children were growing up we shared the joys and hardships of raising our kids.  When our mom became ill it was together that my sister and I shared the burden of her long term care.  If not for having my sister to help me think through the decisions that had to be made I would probably have been in a lot worse shape.

Last year as my sister and her husband were dealing with the horrible accident that nearly took the life of their son and the ensuing lengthy rehabilitation, it just happened that my sister's and my birthday fell right in the middle of their ordeal.  Mrangelmeg and I took it upon ourselves to drive up to the rehab hospital with our oldest daughter so that she could stay with our nephew while we took my sister and brother-in-law away for a night of celebration and relaxation.  They rarely left the hospital to do things for themselves.

We took them to a wonderful dinner at my favorite steak place where, because it was my birthday, we got an amazing desert called Mile High Chocolate Pie.  It took all four of us to eat one piece.  It was the most wonderful evening and really helped them relieve some of the stress of their long ordeal.    

Our husbands' birthdays are in June,  four days (and one year) apart.  

This year, to repay us for the favor we did them,  they have invited us to join them for another dinner at the same steak house tonight, on my brother-in-law's birthday (to celebrate the men's birthdays).  I think as much as my brother-in-law wants to celebrate sharing the joy of being together again, he is really looking forward to that Mile-high-pie.

At least no one is going through a major trial this year,  but we will share the little sorrows and joys of parenting,  as there are always those.  And we will talk about the memories we have of growing up, and all the years we have known each other, and the upcoming retreat we are all attending at St. Meinrad (my Holy Hill Gradual School), because my brother-in-law has been on retreat there and wants us to join him.  (How funny is that?)

It should be a very enjoyable evening.  I am looking forward to the company, well, that and the pie.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer Memories

When I was very young I had a friend named Jeff.  He was a year ahead of me in school and wasn't afraid of anything in the entire world.  I was in awe of that, because I was afraid of just about everything.

Jeff was a daredevil.  We lived on a very steep hilly street, and Jeff's house was one block higher up the hill from mine.  Jeff would ride his Schwinn Racer bike so fast down the hill and go flying past our house like a blur.  I was too afraid to ride as fast as he did.  In the winters we would sled down the hills of the park across the street from our houses and Jeff could make his sled go so fast, careening around trees and flying off the end of the hill out into the middle of the street.   It is a wonder he didn't break his arms or legs each winter.

One winter,  Jeff got the insane idea that he and I should  pour water down the concrete embankment on the side of my front steps and let it ice over and then slide down the ice on our feet.  He convinced me that nothing bad could possibly happen to us, so we did just that.  We carried pitcher after pitcher of water out and poured it over the concrete, watching as it froze the snow into a sheet of ice.  When he judged that it was frozen enough he took an running start and jumped onto the ice and slid, with a bit of a wobble, all the way down to the bottom of the stairs.

I was terrified, but didn't want to look like a sissy, so I took a try,  it was the most amazing sensation I had ever felt; even better than sledding.  We both took another turn, and then another, which was probably wearing down the ice because on my next turn down the slope I lost my balance completely and fell face first onto the edge of one of the concrete stairs.  I cut my forehead just above my eyebrow, and there was blood everywhere on the crisp white snow.   Facial cuts bleed quite a bit,  apparently.  Jeff went running into my house to get my mom,  when they came back out he was in tears apologizing over and over because it had all been his idea.  My mom had to put a butterfly bandage over my cut eyebrow to stop the bleeding, and then ice over that to keep it from swelling but the cut wasn't really all that big.   To this day you can see the scar there above my eye from our little luge adventure.

He had a fascination with leprechauns, and for one entire summer he carried around a huge butterfly net determined that he was going to catch one in the woods of the park.  My brothers put a doll head in the knot hole of one the trees in the woods and teased him that they had seen one on their way home for lunch.  Jeff got all excited and took his net and ran off into the woods. I remember the look on his face,  he was so full of glee that day.  He was so close to his goal of having his own pet leprechaun.  We followed him up into the woods my brothers giggling  and giggling so hard .  He was so sad when he realized that they had tricked him.

We went to an Elementary School that had an open campus meaning we were allowed to walk home for lunch if we lived close enough to get there, eat lunch and get back in our forty-five minute lunch period.  Since both my mom and Jeff's mom were both better cooks than what we could get from the cafeteria,  we often walked home for lunch; Jeff would leave me at my house and walk the extra block to his house.  When it was time to go back to school Jeff would stop at my house and wait for me so that we could walk back together.  We had wonderful talks about so many things on these walks.  They were very special times.

I remember the last day of his sixth grade year when we were walking back to school and he said, "I am going to miss this next year", because he would be going to Junior High and I still had another year of elementary school/   I didn't say anything then, but I would miss them too.  I took my lunch a lot more often in sixth grade,  somehow going home for lunch had lost its charm.

Jeff had a paper route before I did, in fact it was because of Jeff probably that I got a paper route.  He got his because he wanted a new bike and a new fishing pole and his mom said they couldn't afford it,. so he went out and got himself a job as a paperboy to make enough money to pay for the things he wanted.

He loved to fish, and most of the spring, summer and fall he was never without his fishing pole and tackle box strapped to the back of his bike.  The Mississippi river was just a few miles from our house and he loved to ride down there on his own to fish, sometimes for the entire day.  I hated fishing,  this was one adventure we never shared.

You may wonder why I am suddenly reminiscing about my old friend?  It is because the summer that I was 12 years old Jeff died. On June 8, 1972 Jeff came home from his paper route, gave the money to his mom and went down to the river to watch the fishermen, something he did all of the time.    He was never seen again,  People in the community searched for nearly a week first finding his bike and then his badly decomposed body naked and strangled on June 15.

I miss him so much this year especially for some reason, maybe because there has been so much loss in my life.  Even my sister called to say she had dreamed about him just the other night.   Was Jeff too fearless for his own good?  Was he killed by a serial killer passing through the area?  We have always wondered.  My younger brother spent years trying to solve Jeff's case, which remained open until the mid 80's when the FBI declared it closed due to lack of new evidence.  

We had an idyllic childhood,  we had total freedom to roam wherever we wanted to, miles and miles away from home, until the summer Jeff disappeared, Then everything changed.  I don't know if we were scared, or our parents were scared, but we didn't get as far from home after that summer.

I have wonderful memories, and frightening dreams and a little scar over my eyebrow.  Jeff would be 52 years old this year.  I have always wondered what kind of man he would have become.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Come Holy Spirit Come

the earth was a formless wasteland, 
and darkness covered the abyss, 
while a mighty wind swept over the waters
Genesis 1:2

Today is Pentecost.  The day when we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles in the Upper Room and the birth of the Church in the world.  For me this day has an entirely different meaning as my faith matures.  

I have become a person of faith not because of God the Father or God the Son,  but because of God the Spirit.  I can relate to the vast wasteland living in darkness waiting for something to happen,  until the Spirit swept over me and moved me to a deeper understanding of myself and my relationship with God, the universe and everyone I encounter.  

Of course I have to admit here that I am moved by the Spirit within the structure of the Catholic Church,  it is where I find I can express my faith with complete authenticity.  I am fed by the Eucharist, and  refreshed by the Reconciliation,  and my marriage is a vocation lived out in sacramental holiness on a daily basis.  The more I learn about my church (as human and flawed as it can be at times)  the more I fall in love with the intimate connection it gives me to this Trinitarian, relational God who is One, yet Three, forever in motion in a Celestial dance and in whom I I move and breath and have my being.

The closer I move to this ineffable force that draws me deeper and deeper into a love relationship with my faith I am finding that as I am learning more and more Pneumatology (great big word that mean Spirit talk) The Spirit is the guiding force compelling me onward, or in the case of most spiritual journeys, inward.

The Spirit moves like a gentle breeze, or a mighty wind, and moves me where it wills.  As I learn to move with the Spirit the dance becomes easier.

So today is a day to remember the Spirit of God.

How does the Spirit move you?



An Evening of Animated Blues Well Spent

This past weekend was my semi-annual visit with my Gradual School family in our favorite little house down on the grounds of the Monastery/School of Theology where we spent so many years together studying theology, scripture and philosophy.  Now when we get together we usually don't have an agenda, but rather spend the time mostly eating, drinking, chatting or sitting in companionable silence as we each read our own books.  Sometimes we shop at the gift shop or Scholar Shop (the Theology School Book Store).

On this particular weekend we were surprised by our beloved professor Fr. Damien when he brought a movie with him and asked us all if we wanted to watch it instead of our normal round of conversation.  Of course, because we love him and trust his judgement implicitly, we said yes and put in the DVD.  Boy did we get more than we bargained for.

The movie was  Sita Sings the Blues   (see below).  It was the most amazing animated adventure.  It weaves a contemporary story of a young couple with the Indian Myth of Rama and Sita from the Ramayana (a well known tale to all young Indian children).  and in between the two is the music of Annette Hanshaw from the 1920's era.   I wish I could explain it better, but it is something you have to experience for yourself.

So, Netflix, or Amazon, or however you can, find a way to see this wonderful little movie.   You will not be disappointed and you will learn some wonderful Indian Folklore in a very inventive way.


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Catholic Summer Reading Program