MamaT: February 2004 Archives

Academy Awards

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The smock did pretty well picking the awards over on Popcorn Critics-- I think she just missed one (the one her girl Renee Zelwegger won!). I was pretty much bored by the whole thing--I got alot of crocheting done.

I really watch for the clothes! There is, deep within my casually dressed soul, a lover of the glamour dress. There were a lot of them to like tonight! I thought most of the women were dressed in "old-time Hollywood glamour" style, and it was nice.

Well, except for that weird Uma Thurman. What is UP with her? And, of course, Diane Keaton. But then we expected that.

Best dress? Charlize Theron. Second best? Catherine Zeta Jones, who could make a potato sack look good. Worst that wasn't glaringly awful (like Uma's)? Jamie Lee Curtis. The color was just TOO bright. But that necklace! Yee haw!

It was great to see so many well dressed, well coifed girly girl looking women. Big change from years past. No messy hair, no "cutting edge" fake fashion. A successful night for the dressers and personal assistants.

And only a couple of mild political comments. I was happily surprised by that.

The wrong song won for best song--that award was given just to honor Annie Lennox, not for the song itself, otherwise one of the songs from Cold Mountain would have won. Probably should have been Scarlet River, but my favorite was My Ain True Love. And Allison Krause rules. I thought it was a stitch that the song from A Mighty Wind was nominated--and performed by the actors!

Wisdom my mama sent me....

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** "I'm going fishing."
Really means: "I'm going to stand by a stream with a stick in
my hand all day, while the fish swim by in complete safety."

** "It's a guy thing."
Really means: "There is no rational thought pattern connected
with it, and you have no chance at all of making it logical."

** "Can I help with dinner?"
Really means: "Why isn't it already on the table?"

** "Uh-huh." "Sure, honey." "Yes, dear."
Really means: Absolutely nothing. It's a conditioned response.

** "It would take too long to explain."
Really means: "I have no idea how it works."

** "We're going to be late."
Really means: "Now I have a legitimate excuse to drive like
a maniac."

** "Take a break, honey, you're working too hard."
Really means: "I can't hear the game over the vacuum cleaner."

** "That's interesting, dear."
Really means: "Are you still talking?"

** "Hey, I've got my reasons for what I'm doing."
Really means: "And I sure hope I think of some pretty soon."

** "I can't find it."
Really means: "It didn't fall into my outstretched hands, so
I'm completely clueless."

** "You know I could never love anyone else."
Really means: "I am used to the way you yell at me and realize
it could be worse."

** "You look terrific."
Really means: "Please don't try on one more outfit. I'm

** "I'm not lost. I know exactly where we are."
Really means: "No one will ever see us alive again."

Tee hee! With the most wonderful husband and gloriously lovely Zteen, I can really relate to the "I can't find it" one. It's gotten to the point where I tell them, "If I walk in and find it in less than one minute, I'll scream. Look hard before I come in to look."

Two words for Mr. Gibson:

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Book #6 of 2004

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Finished the second book of the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy, The Mistress of Husaby. Excellent, excellent, excellent. Liked it even better than the first book of the trilogy. Kristin is bidding hard for my all time best list.

The thing that so impresses me is the author's absolute insight and honesty into Kristin's heart and actions. She does not sugarcoat Kristin--she is clear about both her good traits and her bad. Kristin is a wise mistress at Husaby (her husband's estates), and she loves him. But she sees clearly how weak her husband is in maintaining his assets, how often he would rather be away and at sea, or at war.

Erlend loves Kristin, but he is unable to turn into what he is not--a man like her father. He is ever the boy-man, liked by others, but never taken seriously. He is unable to foresee, the way other men have, the consequences of his actions.

Kristin's father is a powerful figure in the book. Lavrans made a choice early in his life--the world over the church. Partly because he thought it was what his parents wanted, but also because he was drawn to the world as a young man. He has not always been sure about the choice he made.

Here are some of his words to Kristin about his life. They are speaking, and both know it is probably the last time they will be together before his actual dying:

But 'twas I myself that made choice of the world, and I have striven to think when the world went against me: Unmanful would it be to murmur at the lot I had chosen myself. For I have seen it more and more with each year I have lived--no worthier work can there be for a human soul that has found grace to conceive somewhat of God's loving-kindness, than to serve Him and watch and pray for those men whose sight is still darkened by the shadow of the things of this world. Yet must I needs say, my Kristin--hard would it be for me to give up for God's sake the life I have lived on my farms and lands, with cares for earthly things and with worldly cheer--with your mother by my side, and with you my children. Therefore must a man suffer in patience, when he has begotten offspring of his body, that it scorch his heart if he lose them or the world go badly with them. God, who gave them souls, owned them, and not I--


Friday Five, Mamas!

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No new Friday Five today, so I picked the one from this Friday LAST year. I like it! I'll answer in the comments boxes with you.

1. What is your favorite type of literature to read (magazine, newspaper, novels, nonfiction, poetry, etc.)?

2. What is your favorite novel?

3. Do you have a favorite poem? (Share it!)

4. What is one thing you've always wanted to read, or wish you had more time to read?

5. What are you currently reading?

Lovely verses to offset the sad ones below!


The Ballad of Reading Gaol
Oscar Wilde

…And thus we rust Life’s iron chain
Degraded and alone:
And some men curse, and some men weep,
And some men make no moan:
But God’s eternal Laws are kind
And break the heart of stone.

And every human heart that breaks,
In prison-cell or yard,
Is as that broken box that gave
Its treasure to the Lord,
And filled the unclean leper’s house
With the scent of costliest nard.

Ah! happy those whose hearts can break
And peace of pardon win!
How else may man make straight his plan
And cleanse his soul from Sin?
How else but through a broken heart
May Lord Christ enter in?

(Verses courtesy of today's Daily Dig from the Bruderhof.)

The Litany of Humility

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O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved...
From the desire of being extolled ...
From the desire of being honored ...
From the desire of being praised ...
From the desire of being preferred to others...
From the desire of being consulted ...
From the desire of being approved ...
From the fear of being humiliated ...
From the fear of being despised...
From the fear of suffering rebukes ...
From the fear of being calumniated ...
From the fear of being forgotten ...
From the fear of being ridiculed ...
From the fear of being wronged ...
From the fear of being suspected ...

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I ...
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may, increase and I may decrease ...
That others may be chosen and I set aside ...
That others may be praised and I unnoticed ...
That others may be preferred to me in everything...
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should...

One source for daily Lenten meditations


And so it begins.....



can be found here: Dennis Prager: Why young women are exposing themselves: Part two

One of the things he says that I found myself nodding my head at was:

It is doubtful that women have ever been as naive about men as are large numbers of contemporary educated women. I believe that my grandmother who never went to school understood men better than the average female college graduate today.

I believe that to be absolutely true.

I'm joining the new drinking game....


.....proposed over at Sancta Sanctis, so here's the answer to the Book Quiz for me:

You're Confessions!
by St. Augustine
You're a sinner, you're a saint, you do not feel ashamed. Well, you might feel a little ashamed of your past, but it did such a good job of teaching you what not to do. Now you've become a devout Christian and have spent more time ruminating on the world to come rather than worldly pleasures. Your realizations and ability to change will bring reverence upon you despite your hedonistic transgressions. Florida will honor you most in the end.
Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

Now I'm off to drink another diet coke!

I'm not generally into advertising,

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but there was a t-shirt on this site: - Your Site for Everything Catholic

that I would buy in a heartbeat if I were lucky enough to have a bunch of kids! On the front it says:

Before you even ask...

___Yes, they are all my children
___It is up to God to decide if we are 'finished'
___No, this is not some kind of daycare.
___Yes, I am Catholic.
___Yes, we do know where they come from.

One the back it has scripture quotations.


Just answer me this one question:

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Why was it JUST A MOVIE, GET OVER IT FOLKS, when it was The Last Temptation of Christ, but when it is The Passion of the Christ it is THE MOST DANGEROUS MOVIE EVER FILMED AND THE PROBABLE CAUSE OF THE SECOND HOLOCAUST.

The psychic disconnect is starting to gnaw at me and drive me crazy. When the subject is sex, or drugs or rock and roll, we who would take the media's effect on society seriously are told to just "don't watch it, no one is forcing you to go," or "lighten up" or "Oh, come on, it's just a movie. It can't change anything."

But with The Passion of the Christ--well, that's different. This one movie is so dangerous it must be damned loudly and often or God knows WHAT might happen.

I am sick, sick SICK to death of being looked down upon by some self-annointed elite who know better than I. "There, there, dear. Settle down. We know fools like you are prone to rage--see what we've been saying?"

It makes me angry. More than angry, actually. It makes me furious. But more than that it makes me sad. Sad for the world, sad for me.

Matthew 23:37-39

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Nothing like something like this....

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Darn those pesky Christian student groups! They are just gettin' too numerous to "manage." How DARE they!

We laughed ourselves silly.....

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......watching Best in Show tonight. We've decided to try to make Sunday night a family movie and popcorn night, and Zteen and I picked this one to start with.

This is a Christopher Guest movie--like This is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, and A Mighty Wind. Zteen and I had watched A Mighty Wind about a month ago, so he was excited when this was in the bag from Blockbusters. My husband was not so thrilled.

I'll never be able to watch the Westminster Dog Show the same way again! We just rolled. Fred Willard was genius as the goofy announcer. Parker Posey looked like she was going to go completely NUTS at any moment. Catherine O'Hara had the funniest bit of physical comedy in the whole movie. Great. Just great.

But our very favorite character was "Sheri Ann" played by Jennifer (?) Coolidge. She owns the standard poodle that has ostensibly won the Mayflower Dog Show for the past two years. She is a perfect send up of Anna Nicole Smith--married to a much, much older man.

In her first "interview", she is shown next to this ancient man (who never says a word). And she's going into the whole song and dance about how they are really "in love" even though their ages are so vastly different.

"We have a lot of interests in common. We both like soup. We both like snow peas. We could just not talk or talk forever, and still find things to not talk about."

I thought this was funnier by far than A Mighty Wind, but Zteen disagrees. I even liked it better than This is Spinal Tap.

If you like the mockumentary, Best in Show gets three paws up from our house.

Maybe next week we'll try Guffman.

And here's me! (Sorry, Jayson!)

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You are Linus!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

I woulda put it in the comments box, but I wanted the picture to show up!

Is it just me?

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Or do the new boxes of Girl Scout cookies look more and more like single serving boxes?

And a thumbs up on the new cookie this year--the Pinata. Though what it has to do with a papier mache form covered in brightly colored tissue paper I'll never understand.......

I'm late to this party,

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...but if you've not read this post by Dale over at Dyspeptic Mutterings go there and read his take on Fathers, Sons and the Faith of Our Fathers.

Have I told all of you lately how GREAT I think Dale Price is? If not, consider yourselves told.

2004's #5 book: finished

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Just finished book #5 of this year: Bed Number Ten by Sue Baier and Mary Zimmeth Schomaker. It is the story of a victim of Guillain-Barre syndrome. Sue Baier was the mother of two teenagers, and woke up one morning with a burning in her mouth and a slight tingling in her toes. Forty eight hours later, she was completely paralyzed, unable to move anything but her eyelids. She spent 4 1/2 months in ICU's bed number 10, and an additional 6 1/2 months in a step down room in the hospital.

I wouldn't say it was a great book for the casual reader, but if I were teaching nursing, I would make it required reading for my students. Mrs. Baier is thankful for all the lifesaving care she received, but is candid about the lack of caring and feeling she ran into as well. It's a pretty eye-opening look at what it's like to be a long term patient. And how absolutely horrifying it would be to be awake, aware and alert but unable to do one single thing for yourself.

KTC wanted to know....

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...and there has been other discussion of doodlebugs/ant lions in the comment boxes below. Here is a picture and scientific information on the Ant Lion
from the Clemson University Entomology Dept.

By the way, I think it would be an incredibly sexy and cool thing to be able to introduce myself to people at those nasty small talk parties as "Hello, I'm Terry. Yes, I'm an entomologist, dealing in doodlebugs." Hmmmm. Maybe no one would talk to me then.......

Only a teenaged boy....

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......would come up with the solution to this problem.

My son is working on the planning and write up for his Eagle Project (PRAY FOR US!). So far he has 22 pages of documentation, and he hasn't even DONE the project yet.

He has written it all, typed everything but the formulas in the Excel spreadsheets, and done FAR more documentation than I would find necessary.

BUT Zteen cannot spell. It's something we've worked on in a thousand different ways, all to very little effect. He's a big reader (recently finished Moby Dick, which he read "just for fun--so I can say I've read it")--which most people would assume would assure decent spelling skills. I am here to testify that being a voracious reader doesn't do diddly for spelling.

His father is a terrible speller, too, though slightly better than Zteen.

I am only encouraged by the fact that Flannery O'Conner was an absolutely HIDEOUS speller, and she turned out OK.

I was helping Zteen proof his write up (spell check only goes so far), and asked him, "What ARE you going to do when you go to college?"

His answer? "Well, when I get out of here, I'll just get a girlfriend. She can read my papers."

Oh well, at least he'll be checking out their spelling skills instead of other things.....

I am 74% Dixie, and proud of it!

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How do YOU score? Yankee or Dixie quiz

I'm convinced the only reason my score isn't higher is that I married a YANKEE, and over 25 years, he's rubbed off on me!

Zteen took the test, and he is 87% Dixie. Hmmmmm. Those Yankee genes must be recessive.

Friday Five Mamas!

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I think this one is kind of lame, but here goes:

When was the last time you...

1. ...went to the doctor?

2. ...went to the dentist?

3. ...filled your gas tank?

4. enough sleep?

5. ...backed up your computer?

I'll post in the comment boxes with you!

M'Lynn has an absolutely great post today


on obedience. Go here to read it, it's a keeper: Scattershot Direct

Good News!


The Mighty Barrister is back, at least sort of.

Woo hoo!

Here's an interesting blog....


....... given the amount of news coming out of Korea these days: Katolik Shinja

It's a blog written by "A Catholic Convert Living and Working in Korea."

Thanks to Robert Diaz of Caritate Dei for the idea to play the St. Blog's game.

If you haven't played yet, just hit the random access part of the St. Blog's webring entry (the little ?) and see what comes up! If you find someone who is currently posting that you've not ever read, and you find them interesting, give them a little plug on your blog. We might meet some new friends that way!

Tom has a new son!

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Baby Andrew has arrived. Mom and kiddo in perfect shape. Check here for the update:GoodForm

An interesting article....

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Dennis Prager: Why young women are exposing themselves: Part one

Though I have no daughters, this is a question that is close to my heart, and SisterM and I have discussed it many times. What is up with all the rabidly provocative clothes that some young women (and even girls) are wearing? I think Mr. Prager has brought some good ideas to the table on this; ones I had never considered.

I am particularly drawn to the idea of the misunderstanding of equality. We've stepped beyond the bounds of "equal worth before God and the law" into the land of "we're all just the same, really, underneath superficial differences."

It has never made sense to me, as someone who came of age in the early seventies--the "I am Woman Hear Me Roar" phase--that women would want to hold power by making themselves the functional equivalent of men. "Nothin' special about US" seemed to become the mantra. And the male standard of behavior, certainly sexually but also in the workplace, etc., became the norm to strive for. But this very "norm" made many women uncomfortable and unhappy.

New studies of college women have shown that many of them still dream of that "getting married and having babies" future, while behaving in a way inconsistent with developing the kind of relationship that they profess to want on a long term basis. It is difficult to find the man of your dreams--the one who will be faithful to you and help you love and rear children--when you are busy going out to big parties, drinking more than you should, and "hooking up." The two just don't mesh very well. The kind of guy who is looking for "hook-ups" isn't going to turn into the faithful and loyal husband--not until some big time turning point in his life. If that EVER happens.

Women make a big deal about those men who are "commitment phobic." Is that really so surprising? We live in a society that encourages sexual freedom; why give up that freedom to stick with just one woman?

I also think Mr. Prager is spot-on with his take on the loss of femininity. I don't think that we've LOST it so much as perverted it to be all about breasts and bottoms, tummies and legs. Instead of covering it up, we've put it out there for everyone to see. After all, they'll be excited and entranced with us if the can SEE everything. Won't they, won't they, won't they?

Well, they might be excited, but they ain't gonna be interested forever. It's the rare man who wants a wife who shows everything all the time to everyone. It might be ok for a trophy date. But not for the mother of his CHILDREN for heaven's sake. And then women are surprised that men go on to the next thing.....

Look, I'm not dogging women. It's not just them that have fallen into the trap. But they are the ones who are paying the big price. Trying to be something that doesn't make them happy in the long run.

.....on Turner Classic Movies yesterday. They were showing Wuthering Heights, starring Merle Oberon as Kathy.

I had forgotten just how much I detest that book and the movie! I can't believe I got sucked into it AGAIN. What do I think? That the movie is somehow going to change? That Kathy will realize the worth of the good man she married? That Heathcliff will have gotten class and honor along with his big bucks and will spend his time doing good? That it won't end with Kathy dying in Heathcliff's arms, leaving the man who tried to save her and make her happy kneeling, crushed, by the side of the bed?

Oh, please. Throw some cold water in that Bronte girl's face. She needs to get a grip. If she lived today, she could be the queen of Harlequin romances. Or be on Dr. Phil trying to figure out why she keeps on picking the wrong men.

Bleccccch. Jane Austen is a breath of fresh air--sensible and bracing. ESPECIALLY when you compare ANYTHING she wrote to Wuthering Heights. You know, I think that book may be on my "Ten Worst" books list--and I think it's dangerous in the same way that soap operas are dangerous. They both promote the worst view of what love is. All feeling and no will.

The Bruderhof message today...

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.....had a quote from one of my favorite Catholics!

Second Love
Romano Guardini

Marriage is not only the fulfillment of the immediate love that brings a man and woman together; it is also the slow transfiguration of that love through the experiences of a common reality. Early love does not yet see this reality, for the pull of the heart and senses bewitches it. Only gradually does reality establish itself, when eyes have been opened to the shortcomings and failures revealed by everyday life. He who can accept the other then, as she really is, in spite of all disappointments, who can share the joys and plagues of daily life with her just as he has shared the great experience of early love, who can walk with her before God and with God’s strength, will achieve second love, the real mystery of marriage.

I love that--the second love, the real mystery of marriage.

Friday Five, Mamas!

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OK, this is not the Friday Five for today from the Friday Five site. On the Friday Five site it is about luck and charms and astrology. I don't wanna do that one. So I picked one from last year in February. I'll answer in the comment boxes with ya'll.

1. What did you have for breakfast this morning? If you didn't have breakfast, why not?

2. What's your favorite cereal?

3. How often do you eat out? Do you want that to change?

4. What do you plan on having for dinner tonight? Got a recipe for that?

5. What's your favorite restaurant? Why?

.....and thank you all for the lovely wishes, I'm going to post my personal fave psalm. It's the one that I read at the beginning and end of every holy hour I make. When you read it, pray a little prayer for me, and I'll consider it the best birthday ever!

Psalm 84

How lovely is thy dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yea, faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.

Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at thy altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in thy house,
ever singing thy praise!

Blessed are the men whose strength is in thee,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
the God of gods will be seen in Zion.

O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer,
give ear, O God of Jacob!
Behold our shield, O God;
look upon the face of thine annointed!

For a day in thy courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the house of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
he bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does the Lord withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
blessed is the man who trusts in thee!

Agree or disagree....

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...with this man, he is taking his life in his hands even titling this article this way!

Why Catholic Schools Don't Matter

A new neighbor!

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Summa Minutiae has moved into St. Blog's!

Hi! Glad to have you! Sit a spell, put your feet up. Want a glass of sweet tea?

(And I LOVE Dorothy Sayers!)

Three Wise Men might have been women, church rules
By Andrew Clennell
10 February 2004

The three Wise Men might not have been men at all and there might not have been three of them, the Church of England has ruled.

In a new short prayer book, the Church of England has decided to refer to them as "magi", because it says the Bible is "silent" on whether they were men or women.

Last night a spokesman for the Church confirmed the decision of the General Synod in preparing the prayer book, Common Worship. He said the Synod knew there were the three gifts for Jesus of gold, frankincense and myrrh but original scripture did not say whether these were from three or fewer visitors, or from men or women.

"There is a prayer called Epiphany where magi is left in in preference to wise men," the spokesman said.

"We had grown up with three wise men because in scripture translation, it had been an easy jump to take the three gifts to three bearers who must be men," the spokesman said.

A church report found: "The possibility that one or more of the magi were female cannot be excluded completely ... the visitors were not necessarily wise and not necessarily men."


Too many Agatha moments for me today already, and it's only 8:45. Time to go to the grocery store and do laundry, to keep from banging my head too hard against the wall.

WorldNetDaily: Painkillers for aborted babies?

But after I read the article I decided that maybe it was a very sneaky way for those Virginia legislators to bring to bear on the public how incredibly STUPID it is to maintain that it is OK to rip 12 week old fetuses apart.

I mean, it's pretty hard to maintain you're not doing something awful when you have to give painkillers to the one you're fixin' to kill. Isn't it? Isn't it?

Very sneaky. Very underhanded. I like it. Probably doesn't have a chance in h*** of passing.

The answer?

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Don't take their money! Money from the government always, always comes with strings attached.

Here's the article about the city of Portland, ME and Catholic Charities. Both sides are declaring victory, of course. I love how that happens.

Catholic Charities, city claim victory

Chris over at Maine Catholic and Beyond probably understands this case better than I do. But it seems to me that this is really just a temporary win, and that Catholic Charitites will be forced into more compromises as time goes on.

At some point, short of funding entities like Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army without taking any money from the state or federal governments, the time will come when they have to decide just how many of their principles they can compromise on.


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......has Commentary!

Elinor has installed comments on her blog! (The rhyme was just too good to pass up!)

Watched Lost in Translation....

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....starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johanson last night on DVD.

Wanted to like it more than I actually did. It is a great study on being lonely amidst millions of folks when you're in a alien culture. And on the complexities of marriage, both early and late.

Refreshing that the two stars were friends--didn't sleep together. That's a rarity in today's movies.

But still.......

Micki will probably like it more than I. I am still the philistine that expects there to be something happening in the movies. Otherwise I'd just read the book.

Fourth book of 2004 finished!

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Last night I stayed up FAR too late finishing The Bridal Wreath, the first book in the Kirstin Lavransdatter saga. Excellent, excellent, excellent.

The part that really resonated with me was the effect that sin had not just on Kristin and her intended, Erlen, but on the whole family. Kristin remains so determined in her sin, so willing to bear it onward--right up until her very wedding day. Then she is confronted with visions of those who were also hurt and involved, and those who had lived the same sort of sin before her. And she cannot be happy, even though she is winning all she sought. She knows that the sin will taint the future relationship, just a surely as it has tainted the relationship of Erlend's aunt and her husband.

...she knelt under the heavy bridal crown, and felt the dull, crushing weight within her--the burden of sin that she bore. She had played and wantoned with her sin, had measured it as in a childish game.

The book ends so sadly--and at the wedding that Kristin had so set her heart upon that she was willing to give up everything for it. It doesn't bring her happiness, it doesn't bring her joy, and she is having to reappraise already her new husband.

Oh, my. On to the next book in the trilogy. I can't wait.

.....information. It always makes me laugh!

Today's favorite? "middle names that go with Tess".


Let's see: d'Urbervilles, maybe?

It's a hard name--girls' names of one syllable are difficult to make flow with middle names. Maybe they should go with Tess as a middle name!

Third book of 2004 finished!


But I don't think it counts as a whole book--it was WAY too short!

Anyway, yesterday afternoon I finished My Staggerford Journal by Jon Hassler.

I was quite taken by his description of the day he finished Staggerford, his first novel:

April 3 Completed Staggerford. This is the final copy--the third draft. At nine-fifteen this morning, I put page 475 in a box with the rest of the pages, and a great wind came up. Nature was shaken to the very roots of her teeth by the completion of my novel. My bird feeder swung crazily and spilled out all its sunflower seeds. The nameplate on the front door lost one of its screws. A large limb came crashing down from a neighbor's elm. It was an auspicious occasion. The most satisfying thing I've done since playing high school football. It called for a celebration. Accordingly, therefore, I got in my car and drove out to the Holiday Inn and ordered two eggs, toast, and hash brown potatoes. And I ate them.

Now, this is probably why I like this man so much. He is nerdier than me! Even I would have known that for a celebration like that you have to eat BACON with your eggs, toast and hash browns!

Friday Five Mamas!

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1. What's the most daring thing you've ever done?

2. What one thing would you like to try that your mother/friend/significant other would never approve of?

3. On a scale of 1-10, what's your risk factor? (1=never take risks, 10=it's a lifestyle)

4. What's the best thing that's ever happened to you as a result of being bold/risky?

5. ... and what's the worst?

I'll answer in the comment boxes with ya'll. (But it may be awhile later--I've got to Altar Guild the Friday morning mass!)

You can vote now!

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For the St. Blog's 1st annual awards. Go here.

Thank you to whoever nominated the Summa Mamas in the best group blog category! (I figure there must only BE 5 group blogs--how else to explain us being in the company of the Mommies, Catholic Light, The Shrine of the Holy Whapping, and Envoy? Go figure!)

I've already voted--and no, I didn't vote for US!

You know how it goes...

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You've got your "To Read" stack all nicely organized (or sorta stacked up) on your bedside table. You've sworn to yourself that you are really, truly going to read those books (in that order) this time. Really. I promise.


Sounds like a junky talking to me.

Anyway, I had everything all organized when SisterM came over and brought me a present: My Staggerford Journal by Jon Hassler. Somehow it jumped to the top of my "To Read" pile.

For those of you who have not read any Jon Hassler, I say: Get thee to Half Price Books and get you some Jon Hassler. Staggerford is his first novel. My personal favorite is The Love Hunter. We read him in my book club a couple of years ago, based on an article in Crisis magazine.

Jon Hassler is the only author I've ever written a fan letter to. AND I got a reply! (OK, so it would be hard to write Jane Austen or Charles Dickens a fan letter, but you get my drift.)

Anyway, the book SisterM gave me is excerpts from the journal he kept while he was writing his first novel. It has interesting insights into the process of writing--how the story changed, how the characters asserted themselves, how the plot couldn't have been different. An interesting look into the mind of a writer.

An interesting aside: He doesn't keep a traditional journal. He keeps copies of the letters he has written to a college friend of his, with whom he has maintained a 40 year correspondence. He says that he was capable of a shade more "vitality and wit" when he was writing to a friend than when he was just writing to himself. And I thought, isn't that kinda what we're all doing with these blogs? Those that are at least semi-personal? It's easier to make myself write for the Mamas, than it is for me to write on a blank piece of paper that no one but me will see. Anyway, I felt myself to be in good company.

There is one thing I DO know...

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.....I DO go great with french fries!

Thanks to Ellyn for the link. (Her link is to the right!)

You are: KETCHUP! A good loyal friend with a
sense of humor.

---What fast food condiment are you?---
brought to you by Quizilla

Second book of 2004 finished!

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I finished my second book of 2004--Original Sin by P.D. James. I liked it very much--the clues were there all along--nothing pulled out of a hat at the end, but the conclusion just beyond what I had grasped. I like it like that! I can't stand it when I have figured out what has happened on page 150 and have to slog through the next 200 pages for the wrap up. Fortunately (unfortunately?) that doesn't happen too often for me. I like to just ride along on the wave of the story, and I only figure it out if it is blindingly obvious.

Last night I read the first 6 chapters of Pride and Prejudice for the Mommies' read along. I forgot how much I LOVE Mr. Bennet.

I'm about 1/2 way through the first book of the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy--The Bridal Wreath.

Going along with my general nerdiness, and stealing blatantly from The Literarium, I am in the process of starting a new 'blog--simply to make notes on the books that I am reading and have stacked up ready to read. That way, those of you who read the Mamas won't have to slog through long, boring thoughts about what I've read.

I'll let you know when it's ready--just in case you wanted to visit.

.....on weight!

But not really.

I think there is one thing that I must make clear to you about my thinking: I manifestly do NOT equate fat with sinfulness. First, "fat" alone is a judgement call. In our society, any woman who does not look like a lollipop with clothes on is considered "fat" by the women's magazines. There is little tolerance for difference from that norm. So I'm not talking about comparing people to some magazine's idea of beauty.

Second, even if a person is objectively "fat", there are a myriad number of ways that you can get there. There are lots and lots of women who have totally WRECKED their metabolisms with yo yo dieting--wrecked to the point that they would have to eat an inhumane smallness of calories to reach anywhere close to a "normal" weight. Those women can truly eat a "normal" amount of food, and still be overweight. In that sense, TSO is wrong--the body's calculation of calories in/calories out can be skewed to a desperately wrong level. Those women are really caught in a bind--I DO know what it's like to eat in a restaurant and think that every single person is judging what you eat. "Look at that fat girl. Why is she eating that ice cream?"

And I DO think it is weird that we live in a culture that will NOT JUDGE anyone for anything, except for being fat.

But what I also know is that for me there IS a moral component in my struggle against my weight. I am overweight because I have indulged my appetites in unacceptable ways. We are expected to control our appetites--for drink, smoke, sex, whatever. I don't think we get a pass on food. I just don't.

And the G.K. Chesterton argument doesn't wash. Just because he is one of the greatest writers and thinkers of all time and we all love him to pieces and bits DOESN'T, therefore, mean that he might not have had a poor relationship with food! Who knows? I don't. Being wonderful, even being a saint, doesn't mean we have to think that EVERY SINGLE thing about his life was 100% perfect and as he would have it (or God would have it). And I know, personally, of NO ONE who has picked up a book of Chesterton and said, "Well, I don't think I'll read it, it was written by a fat guy." I've never heard his thoughts dismissed in that way.

Look, I don't think that we're called to all be the same size or the same body type. But I do think I (repeat I, I, I, I, I, I, I) have to be careful insure that I'm not giving myself a pass with regard to food and eating. That it is put in its proper place, time and amount. Gluttony has been (continues to be?) my "pet sin." And I am not prideful enough to think that I am the only person in the world for whom that is true. I have sat through too many OA and WW meetings to believe that. I'm just like tons of other people.

It's NOT the FAT that's the issue. It's the indulgence.

So, it's weird. Yes, we can make fun of fat people--the last socially acceptable boorish behavior, in Elinor's words. But at the same time, you can see just from this little blog, that jokes are the ONLY way we can talk about fat. Joking about it can get your head handed to you on a plate. But so can trying to have a reasonable discussion of it. It's fraught with emotion. Some of that is externally generated--from society and its condemnations. But for years MY heat in the discussion was generated from a pricking of conscience that I didn't want to feel. I'm am trying to get straight with MY conscience in this deal. And I am finding much to not like in myself regarding this struggle.

'Tis true, 'tis true!


The first sentence of Pride and Prejudice:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

Don't forget that the folks doing a group read of Pride and Prejudice are starting this week. For information, take yourself over to the Two Sleepy Mommies, where the questions will be posted and discussion will occur.

With an opening like that, how can you not be drawn in? is an essay by Frederica Matthewes-Green on gluttony: To Hell on a Cream Puff

Worth a read, and it brings up some points I'll write about later.

Unfortunately, I must pay bills for our family and for Fran (the older lady I help watch over), grocery shop (ironic, huh?), and get some important stuff in the mail.

After I posted the musing, I almost deleted it. But I'm glad I didn't. I think it's something I have to think all the way through. Thank you for your comments on the last post. I'll talk about some of those points also.

Go over and see Peony's post on the subject at Two Sleepy Mommies (link to the right) as well.

As much as anyone here, I understand the pain of being overweight. I live it every day. HOWEVER, I do not have a disease that makes me that way. I do not have a glandular, hormonal, metabolic or any other physical problem that MAKES me be the way I am.

I do not suffer from any psychological "disease" that I can blame my problem on. I have a very good friend who is anorexic and fights the battle to stay alive. There are psychological problems that lead to overweight the same way that her psychological state has lead her to be so thin you can practically see through her. But those people are, in my opinion, few and far between.

I think we live in a culture that has taught us that if we are not perfect, it is because we have some condition, some syndrome, some disease that makes us that way. We are damaged goods, unable to control or help ourselves. It is a pernicious thought process--because it takes responsibility away from us, and makes us unable to confront our weaknesses.

We live in a culture of abundance and of leisure. We have the ability to eat past health, satiety and common sense every single day of our lives. At the same time, we live in a culture that has the utmost in technological advances, making our lives so much simpler physically than our great-grandmothers' days that it is almost unbelievable. What my great-grandmother did to do up her laundry burned thousands of calories! When I did my laundry today, I sat on my behind, reading and noshing on pretzels, while a machine did all the work! Is it any wonder that I carry around extra weight?????

If my favorite foods are not fruits and veggies, but are Doritos and Twinkies, and I indulge those preferences, does that get me off the hook for my weight? Of course, it does NOT. If I choose to eat when I am lonely, or sad, or bored, or happy, or glad, or, or, or, or.....does that make me "sick" enough that it's not my fault? Nope, I don't think so.

Every single one of these extra pounds I carry around with me I have EARNED. I have eaten the m&m's, the doritos, the Krispey Kremes, or whatever. I have eaten when it was "time to eat" even when I wasn't hungry--as if the food was never gonna be here later! I have sat on my you know what and read or crocheted instead of getting some exercise. But every single one of those things was MY CHOICE.

Look, there are people who live terrible lives because of their obesity--shut up in a house weighing 450 pounds, unable to walk to the mailbox, with blood pressure and diabetes shortening their lives with every breath they take. I have a lot of sympathy for them--they've got the real problems.

Me, and, I suspect, Michael Moore? We're just brats who don't want to do what's hard--take control of our appetites the way we are supposed to.

Me? I want to be able to eat all I want, when I want, and never gain an ounce. I don't want to schlep off the pounds at Weight Watchers 1 or 2 pounds a week for a solid YEAR to get down to a healthy weight. It's too hard. It's too long. It's too, too, too.....something.

But it ain't the way it works. Why should I be exempt from struggle in a difficult place in my life? Don't I expect people with same sex attraction to rein in their urges and remain chaste? Why don't I expect MYSELF to rein in my appetites and retrain my tastebuds? If I expect a heroin addict to get clean with something that is mind-bogglingly addictive, shouldn't I get clean with sugar? If I expect an alcoholic to get sober, shouldn't I expect myself to get sober with regard to food?

And finally, there is the last weight issue that I am only just now coming to grips with. That's the sinful nature of my problem. I only want to think that the "g" word only applies to someone else. Gluttony? Me? One of the Seven Deadly Sins? Me? Yeah, baby. It's an ugly word for an ugly problem. And I am only now coming to see that I'm not fighting "weight issues" or "health problems." I'm called to fight up close and personal with an ugly habit that I've given over too large a place in my life to.



About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by MamaT in February 2004.

MamaT: January 2004 is the previous archive.

MamaT: March 2004 is the next archive.

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