January 2004 Archives

Intentional Communities


Here, via the Bruderhof, is an article on intentional communities:All Things in Common.

I hope to get a chance to make several comments on this later, but let me say I was impressed that it wasn't a whitewash job on how "easy" it is to form a community. I was also quite taken by the implication that the community is unlikely to be permanent or static--that it must grow and change and then, perhaps, die to form something new.

Oh, good one, Mr. Hiss!

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Cruising through the blogs on a Friday night (don't tell me I don't have an exciting life!) I came across this on Otto-da-Fe:

Moving in for the cheap shot...

"And yet that good Catholic schoolboy inside me is saying, 'You know, this life is not about being honored with golden statues.'"
—Michael Moore, on his need to vent at the Oscars (AP, 24 January, 2004).

First, that little Catholic schoolboy is right, Mr. Moore. Second, you shouldn't have eaten him.


Oh, TSO, I'm making a nomination for your best of the week roundup!

It made me laugh!

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I was looking at our website statistics for January (THANK YOU, ALL YOU VISITORS!), and I laughed out loud at some of the search strings that turned us up.

We had a bunch on Fr. Groeschel, which is good.

TWO for diet coke with lime.

AND ONE (but oh, what a big one for our egos!) for : SEXY MAMAS

Yeah, and I bet THEY were surprised when they got here! At least they didn't leave a disappointed comment in the comment boxes!

Friday Five, Mamas!

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You have just won one million dollars:

1. Who do you call first?

2. What is the first thing you buy for yourself?

3. What is the first thing you buy for someone else?

4. Do you give any away? If yes, to whom?

5. Do you invest any? If so, how?

I'll answer in the comments box with everyone else.

Happy Birthday!

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They were the Summas inspiration for a group blog, and we love them to pieces!

smockmomma the bag lady *UPDATED*

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Last week each family at my children's school was asked to donate a few items for a Hope Bags project. I'll admit I didn't read the fine print. I just sent in two pair of tube socks (requested for my son's grade) and several cans of flip-top veggies (for my daughter's grade). No biggie.
Today I got a grocery-size plastic bag (a prepared HOPE BAG) with this note:
"Sometimes when we see homeless along the road, we may agonize over giving them cash and sometimes, we just ignore them altogether. Most people would give a homeless person food if it were available in their cars. The Hope Bag is meant to be a simple answer to this dilemma...[by providing] a single serve, nonperishable meal...[a clean pair of socks]...a note of support, hope and prayer [written by students], and a map of local homeless shelters."

I have a really soft spot in my heart for people on the streets. I have always given money to people who asked, even when I was in college. There was only one time I didn't trust a kid, so I took him to eat at Mickey D's instead of handing him money. I could tell he was a street kid, but he was too jittery. He probably needed alcohol, but he looked hungry, too. He just ate his food and refused to answer any questions; but when he was finished he asked for a cigarette (I obliged) and he mumbled, rather sincerely I might add, "Thanks, Lady."

As you can imagine, I have had my fair share of people who think I'm crazy for passing cash -- "for booze 'n drugs" is one popular accusation. My response is always the same. My job is to give charitably. I'm not responsible for how they spend it. However, I think these HOPE BAGS are an incredible idea! Especially for those who are uncomfortable giving cash.

These are EASY to make. So feel free to make one or two...or five.

UPDATE: PROJECT HOPE BAGS is a nationwide interfaith outreach project initiated by the high school youth and adults at Christ the Good Shepherd Catholic Community in Spring, TEXAS. is it any wonder i love my faith and my state? does anyone know how to say yeeHAW in Latin?

A new blog!

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Go read...


SecretAgentMan's fisking of the Salon Magazine thumbs down review of The Passion.

oh, happy day

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Oh, dear!

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The McBaby is now pushing chairs around to climb up on stuff. She also pushes the bar stools around--to climb up to the sink.

My life is over...

And one more thing. Right now her big thing is to push something over to the sink and yell so that I will come in and she can wash dishes. Whatta you wanna bet that THAT will end as soon as she is really ABLE to wash the dishes?

She can also open the refrigerator door, so I am surprised at different times of the day by a baby carrying a pound of hamburger meat around. Or a stick of butter.

Shutting the door is another matter.

Isn't it always?

Good column by...

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Maggie Gallagher: Maggie Gallagher: Kids just want a two-parent family

The most telling paragraph for me?

Laura Kipnis, the new "Down-With-Love" girl on the Times op-ed page, snatched the chance to prove that millions of single mothers are marching away from marriage in ideological unity with herself. "The administration may think that low-income Americans need to be taught better communication and listening skills, but actually they're communicating just fine. Conservatives just don't like the message being communicated, which is this: We don't want to get married."

No, they don't want to get married, but they sure want to lobby for government help when that decision to be all alone doesn't work out.

Look, I'm not insensitive to the needs of single mothers. I keep the McBaby every day for a single mother. But there is a difference, to me, between a woman who makes a mistake, owns up to it, does the right thing by not aborting the baby, and works her way through the world. This is manifestly NOT what Ms. Kipnis is talking about.

The most infuriating thing to me is the advocacy of unwed motherhood by women who are either highly educated and employed (doctors, lawyers, NY Times op-ed writers) or highly fortunate and employed (movie stars and TV celebrities). Of course those women can raise children alone. They've got the bucks to make anytime all the time childcare materialize. (And even then, they are not providing the OPTIMUM milieu for a child--one that includes 2 parents! But that's another rant.)

But they have not one clue what a lower income working woman faces as a single mother. What they want is approval for their choices, whatever it costs anybody else.

Because you're a single mother you need good daycare? Make everybody else pay! It's your RIGHT!

Need for your employer to give you lots of time off because you're a single mother? Make it a law! It's your RIGHT!

Look, I'm not saying that some of those issues don't need to be discussed. We can discuss a living wage for ALL EMPLOYEES. We can discuss leave policies for ALL EMPLOYEES.

What frosts me is the assumption "I get to make my decisions. I get to do what I want. I get it my way. Well, until it doesn't work out somehow. Then ALL YOU GUYS get to make it right for me."

well, it was only a matter of time before i broke down and created my own quiz. it's an idea i've been toying with since i was first introduced to the quizzes so popular here at st. blogs, but i could never pinpoint a theme. until, that is, MamaT pointed out the latest ken and barbie couple as aragorn and arwen.
well, now i've finally created my own quiz. as you might have guessed, it begs the question which ken & barbie couple do you belong to?
pride being what it is, i really hope you don't think the quiz sucks. in fact, i hope that y'all enjoy it. but first, two things.
one: i will admit that i do own ken and barbie as Romeo and Juliet, but that's only because i am a fan of the bard. i enjoy looking at pictures of some of the more modest barbies and barbie scenarios (you know the ones they set up to entice consumers), but i wonder which red blooded american gal doesn't? and when i say pictures, i mean just that. i enjoy getting my barbie catalogue (which i hafta keep renewing because i never actually order anything) and i enjoy looking at the pretty pictures. but, i do not buy collectable barbies. my allusions about barbie in the box being anything like the barbie as seen on tv were shattered twenty years ago. 'sides, i don't really collect anything...'lessen you count dust.
two: having put so much effort into this quest, i hope that everyone who takes my quiz will post their results (either here or at their own site). i'm more curious than is probably healthy.
so without further ado, i introduce my first quiz by offering my results...

Ooo-la-la. Mysterious AND spooky. You are Ken &
Barbie as the original Goth couple, Gomez and
Morticia Addams!

Which Ken & Barbie Couple Do You Belong To?
brought to you by Quizilla

I am sick of looking like a slug. I am sick of everything in my closet. I am sick of never looking "put together." I'm tired of not looking "girly" (oh, ok, in my case, make it "womanly"). Like Elinor, over at Mommentary, I want some pretty shoes!

I need a uniform. I need a personal shopper. I need SOMETHING. I need someone to tell me what a middle aged mother of a teenager who is keeping house and chasing a toddler should wear that is both becoming and practical. One thing I know is that sweats and yoga pants ain't it.

Look, I know that Donna Reed used to clean house in a shirtwaist dress and pearls--and high heels to boot. Let's just admit up front that I'm no Donna Reed.

So, where does that leave me? I want to look, hmmmm, for lack of a better word, "nice". But how do you do that at home? Is there anywhere that comfort, nice looks and practicality coincide? Or is that just a fantasy?

The question for today is:

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Whenever I feel a little chilly....

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...instead of turning up the heat and sending more of my dollars to TXU, I've taken to coasting over to Chris' blog, Maine Catholic and Beyond (link to the right), and looking at his weather.

Yep, warms me right up! At the moment, he's at 12 degrees.

Mmmmhmmmm. I KNEW there was a reason I'm a Texas girl!

Thanks to the Curt Jester,

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I now know what kind of dysfunctional care bear I am.

Well, this should scare people off! (But a small correction. Mine should say I love MEN.)

Redneck Bear
Redneck Bear

Which Dysfunctional Care Bear Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

hey, mrs. vonhuben...

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Bluth Fight!

the reason i identify with this show is because it is my life. rather, it was smockmomma's life. unfortunately i almost feel sorry for poor lindsay funke only because i can, at times, identify with her.
shocking? yes, but true. you see, lucille bluth was and IS my mother to a tee. i only pray that mrs. vonhuben enjoys arrested development, not because she identifies, but because it's sooo dry.

lucille bluth: "i'll have the ... ike and tina tuna."
greasy spoon waitress: "plate 'er platter?"
lucille bluth: "i don't understand your question...and...i'm not going to respond to it."

oh, heavens. i love the show and yet it pains me. it repels me but sucks me in by its frightening familiarity...

Sure, why not?

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thanks, mrs. vonhuben, for the link! where do you read about all of these and what is a good charlotte?

You, my friend are a true individual. You most
likely hate trends and are creative. By seeing
things differently, people either admire you or
think you are a bit strange. I'm guessing you
are a lot like me. Perhaps a Good Charlotte
hater? I hope so. An inspiration to us all,
continue being you! (If you like GC, I'm sorry,
I am just expressing an opinion)

A Deeper Look Inside Yourself (with pics)
brought to you by Quizilla

Here's a link to....

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a GLOWING review of Michael O'Brien's Cry of Stone:Books & Culture's Book of the Week: A Rose Among Thorns

I have been eyeing it in our parish book shop--and it was mentioned by someone when I asked for book club suggestions. With all the good that's been said about it, I may have to buy it after next payday!

My current in progress book...


....for my book club is Original Sin by P.D. James.

I am enjoying it far more than I expected to, and am in awe of her ability to capture characters with a few deft strokes.

As I was reading last night, I came across a sentence that rang so true that it made me laugh. It also brought the character sharply into focus. The murder has occurred, and the investigators are starting the first round of interrogation. Inspector Dalgliesh is interviewing the cleaner, a Mrs. Demery:

Dalgliesh said: "Mr. Gerard Etienne took over as chairman and managing director fairly recently, didn't he? Was he well liked?"

[Mrs. Demery replies] "Well he wouldn't have been carried out of here in a body bag if he was a little ray of sunshine about the place. Someone didn't like him, that's for sure....."

I laughed out loud, startling CAS out of his book. I've got Mrs. Demery on the brain now. In just a few sentences, the author has captured a whole person. That sensible, opinionated, working class woman. Love it.

And here is a Salon interview with P.D. James, in case you're interested!

The nicest little bit of info? Her favorite authors are Jane Austen, Evelyn Waugh and Anthony Trollope.

Now, these guys are Tolkien geeks!


Who'da thunk it? The Our Father in Elvish.

Sindarin Poems by Ryszard Derdzinski

Thanks to a blog I just found through Steven at Flos Carmeli (HIS link at the right): Dr. Philip Blosser's Homepage.

New neighbor at St. Blog's

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Here's a link to our new neighbor at St. Blog's: Paul Rex's Rex Olandi, Rex Cledendi.

Hi Paul, and welcome. Sit a spell and have a chat!

TSO is back from his cruise

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Go here:Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor to read about it.

I'll tease you with one excerpt that made me snort Diet Coke up my nose:

The midnight buffet proves that people crave ritual. How else to explain it? You've eaten 17 meals in 5 days, gone thru 3 packs of Alka Seltzers and yet you line up for a midnight feeding? I don't get it. I can only assume that the very first or second cruise included an ice sculpture as an excuse to eat and every cruise since pays homage to this frozen calf with shrimp cocktail.

Bwaa haaa haaa haaa!

But it's not all meant to be funny--some is serious as well.

Go read it. I'm off to investigate cruise prices.

Be a hero, donate blood, save a life!

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January is National Volunteer Blood Donor Month. We had a blood drive at church today, run by our local blood bank.

I know some folks CAN'T give blood for medical reasons, my DH being one of them. Too many medications after the heart procedures this year! And there are many, many restrictions for folks who have lived in Europe for any extended period (mad cow disease and all that).

But if you can give blood, please do! It's not a good excuse to say you don't like needles. Or the procedure "creeps you out." Come on, folks, you're adults. Get down to your local center and give blood. If one of your children needs it after an accident, you will be down on your knees thanking God that there was someone else who was NOT creeped out or too afraid. Can't you do the same for someone else's child, or husband, or wife, or mother or father?

I got my t-shirt, juice and cookie this morning.

If you're "too afraid" or "don't like needles", I have these blunt words for you: Grow up. Get over it. Do the right thing.

Here's me!

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Today, I really wish I were this, so I could fly away!

Pegasus Banner
You're a pegasus. You're very calm and loving.
Something about you makes others want to get
close to you, whether or not you feel the same
way about them. You don't bond to others
easily, but when you do it's long-lasting. Your
alignment is *good*, but not so much that you
can't have fun.

What mythical beast are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thanks to Ellyn for the link.


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At this moment, what is your favorite...

1. ...song? theme song to The Love Boat

2. ...food? cinnamon toast

3. ...tv show? Life with Bonnie

4. ...scent? someone else's cigarette smoke (8 months monday, whoo-whoo!)

5. ...quote? "[he was] perhaps not the swiftest horse ever to cantor around life's great racetrack" (little Stevie King, From a Buick 8)

"...the war on abortion will never finally be won unless pro-life Protestants are willing to strike at the root of the problem – contraception. Unfortunately, for too long, contraception has been seen as an "over-the-top" Catholic issue. But few realize Protestants consistently spoke out against the practice until 1930, when the Anglican Church -- swayed by growing social pressure -- caved in and allowed it in certain circumstances. Thus, the Trojan horse entered the house of God."

READ this article. Thanks to Mr. Miller for the heads up!

i think it's called shameless promotion


Support This Site

.....and that she's not always funny or useful or whatever, but darn it, sometimes she can write a paragraph that brings you to a full stop in its "rightness". Here is a paragraph from one of her latest columns, writing about the Democratic candidates:

Finally, all the candidates are willing to sell out any of these other issues in service of the secret burning desire of all Democrats: abortion on demand. If they could just figure out a way to abort babies using solar power, that's all we'd ever hear about.

Smockmomma is a brave lady

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Ya'll might want to pray for Smockmomma and I around 10 or so this morning.

I am taking the McBaby over to her house to play with her youngest G. Smockmomma is a brave, BRAVE lady. Last time Smockmomma dropped in to see me, McBaby tried to KICK G3. She missed, fortunately, but the intent was there!!!!

McBaby is an only child, and when she is with us she shares the house with Zteen and the dogs, neither one of whom is a threat to her. And when we go over to SisterM's house, she is good around my niece and nephew. Well, PRETTY good. But they are a lot older than she is (they are 5 and 7). She loves her Z and J, and I don't THINK she's tried to kick them!

So, Smockmomma is allowing us to use her house and her kiddo as a teaching tool for the McBaby--a tool to learn YOU CAN'T KICK OTHER PEOPLE!

Oh, dear.

I do LOVE me some Bruderhof


Here is something from this morning's Bruderhof Daily Dig:

Identity Crisis
Johann Christoph Arnold

Our present-day culture rebels against God’s order. We refuse to acknowledge that men and women are different—and that their differences go far beyond biological make-up. And because of it, millions of young people are confused, insecure, and frustrated. We are in the grip of an enormous tragedy, a disaster that threatens the very foundations of our society.

Why should boys be ashamed to become men, and girls to become women? Shouldn’t they be taught to regard these as noble goals—as the purpose for which they were created?

Strangely, many people today seem to feel threatened by God’s order. But if we accepted it, and approached it with awe, rather than rebelled against it, perhaps our youth would not have such difficulties in coming to terms with their identities, and discovering God’s plan for their lives.

Wish I had written that......

This is something worth reading

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Terence Jeffrey: Zell Miller's March to Life

Before Texas turned so strongly Republican, it was this kind of Democrat that we had out in West Texas. What an oxymoron today--at least around here--conservative Democrat.

There are still a few of them wandering around, but they've pretty much been left behind by their party. There are still a few that appear in local/county/state races, but they are rarer than hen's teeth in national races.

It's too bad. It leaves a lot of older "yellow dog Democrats" round here with no one palatable to vote for.

prayers please


please continue to pray for father groeschel. it doesn't sound like he's doing all that well.

and while you're at it, please offer up any little annoyances for me -- i'm speaking tonight at seven. it's a talk i've given before, but this is in front of parents and i'm so nervous i feel like i hafta...y'know. anyway, thanks.

You hafta read it to believe it


Wheelchair DUI case fought
The accused woman ended up in a collision in front of her house. Besides being hurt, she feels embarrassment. Click here for the full story.

First finished book of 2004

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I finished my first book of 2004 today while I ate lunch and the McBaby snoozed.

Finished Muriel Spark's Loitering with Intent. We had read The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie in book club, and I liked her style. So, I picked this one out of the clearance bin at Half Price Books the other day.

Not a bad book. Very interesting insight (autobiographical, I assume) about what it's like to be a writer--how voices, situations, postures, phrases stick in your head to be used later.

A friend gave me the three Kristin Lavransdatter books on Sunday. I started the first one last night while CAS and Zteen were playing Madden football, and was immediately sucked in.

But I'm supposed to be reading P.D. James!!!

OK, do you think it would just be TOO nerdy to start keeping a list of what I read with notes on each book? Or is that taking Litermania just too far?

Hey It's On Sale

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Visit our Apologia groupie store A is for Apparel to save on seasonal items! You can't beat a sale, now kinya? AND get free coffee if you purchase the MANLY MUG! How kinya beat "free?"
As smockmomma says "You gotta spend to save!"

Enough Already

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It seems to me most of the people kvetching about CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN haven't even seen the movie. C'mon people! Adversaries take a four second scene out of five thousand, eight hundred-eighty seconds (it's a 98 minute movie) and run with their wild assumptions hanging out. This is the most PRO FAMILY movie to come down the pike in years, yet Catholics are choosing to boycott it because there's a brief mention of a vasectomy. By the way, when was the last time you saw a movie where someone didn't make a bad moral decision at some point in the movie? Did you walk out when that happened? Did you tell everyone you knew to avoid the movie? Did you write blogs to boycott it? I daresay no.

Mind you, even I don't think this movie is Oscar material, but the critics (those critical) of the film criticized it for being such a feel-good, pro-family holiday film. I think Rick Groen of The Globe and Mail best summed up the critics' derision of the movie when he wrote: "Yep, there's never a dull moment when you and the missus are a fertility clinic.” Even the New York Times reviewer, Stephen Holden, who calls the movie "a bubbling crockpot of farcical mush to warm the tummies of anyone who really and truly misses 'The Brady Bunch'," is upset because the family is too happy. Hellooo? He writes, "To surrender to a movie like this is to buy on some level its impossibly idealized portrait of family togetherness. Once its cozy glow wears off, a tiny part of you is likely to feel a pang that your family isn't as happy and secure as the Bakers." Sniffsniff. What's that? Smells like sour grapes to me.

Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I adore the actress Bonnie Hunt. She is a Catholic actress who does her level best to promote a pro-family stand in her work. Her own film Return to Me is strikingly Catholic. Regardless, lest any reader think I champion this film for Bonnie alone, please note that I am not the only Catholic who recommends CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN. Steven Greydanus (Roman Catholic father of four), of the Decent Films Guide, gives the movie an A- (the minus is for mild suggestive dialogue, fleeting gross out humor; brief mention of a vasectomy; very mild sensuality). He has this to say about the film:

Anyone with more than three kids can sympathize with the Bakers when they are judged “irresponsible” by a snooty neighbor. How refreshing that this movie (like in the original when the Planned Parenthood representative stops by) is on the side of the large family. In fact, though it is a rarity in films today, Cheaper by the Dozen consistently gives those with an anti-family agenda a poke in the eye, exposing them as self-righteous, self-absorbed, inconsiderate, and immature.

This film sheds a positive light on large family life; it emphasizes the importance of not only love, but sacrifice. It casts mothers who stay home in a positive light. It allows the parents to hold traditional values without seeming silly or radical. When was the last time you were able to say that about a live-action film from Hollywood?

I'd like to end with another quote from Mr. Greydanus who writes:

In the end, the parents make the choices that need to be made, and the film keeps its eyes fixed firmly on the message expressed by Tom [the dad]: “If I don’t raise my kids right, well, then nothing else I do will matter.” If ever there’s a message our culture needs more than that one, we don’t know what it is.

I want to read these books!

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Here is a review of a couple of books found on Christianity Today: Eating the Supper of the Lamb in a Cool Whip Society - Books & Culture

Both the books mentioned sound interesting. I am especially taken with the fact that Power Failure, though it talks about the technological cultural paradigm and the harm it may be causing, apparently does not shift into the "get you some land and some goats" solution mentality. (Not that I have anything AGAINST land and goats, you know, but it isn't practical for a huge number of us to do that, even if we wanted to. And I have never WANTED to.)


I saw an old man like a child,
His blue eyes bright, his white hair wild,
Who turned for ever, and might not stop,
Round and round like an urchin's top.

'Fool,' I cried, 'while you spin round,
'Others grow wise, are praised, are crowned.'
Ever the same round road he trod,
'This is better: I seek for God.'

'We see the whole world, left and right,
Yet at the blind back hides from sight
'The unseen Master that drives us forth
'To East and West, to South and North.

'Over my shoulder for eighty years
I have looked for the gleam of the sphere of spheres.'
'In all your turning, what have you found?'
'At least, I know why the world goes round.'

GK Chesterton

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

However, when I pick up the paper and see that the following groups and/or people are absolutely incensed by it:

Hillary Clinton
People for the American Way
Planned Parenthood

It makes me sure that it is a very good thing indeed.

Sometimes you don't have to know the issues, you just have to know your foes.

(And p.s. I'm not usually so uninformed about issues. Really!)

But why?

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Judge says daughter married to father must live separately

[Begin sarcastic rant here:]

But why??? They LOVE each other. They are COMMITTED to each other. They just want what other people are allowed to have--a monogamous, committed relationship. It's discrimination, that's what it is! It's not FAIR!

[End sarcastic rant]

And the old Mama walks away, shaking her head sadly.......

.....because my new oven is being installed RIGHT NOW!!!!!

Yee haw!

Now, I'm trying to decide what to bake!

More "Masters of Illusion"

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I adore the Pew Lady. I admire her moxie! Her new post is dead-on accurate.

Speaking of Movies...


Barbara Nicolosi reminds us, yet again, to pray for the nutbags, er poor souls in hollywood by providing a few quotes from stars re: Religion.
My personal fave is from Carrie Fisher: "I love the idea of God, but it's not stylistically in keeping with the way I function..."

US Bishops Top Ten movies list...

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.....can be found here U.S. Catholic Bishops - Movie Reviews

I've not seen even ONE of the movies on the list. How sad is that?

OK, I think Chirs over at....

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Maine Catholic and Beyond Has been cold too long.

Now he's posting about penguins.

But it IS funny!

Today's second great hymn


Oremus Hymnal: Immortal, invisible, God only wise

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
in light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
almighty, victorious, thy great Name we praise.

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might;
thy justice like mountains high soaring above
thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.

To all life thou givest, to both great and small;
in all life thou livest, the true life of all;
we blossom and flourish, like leaves on the tree,
then wither and perish; but nought changeth thee.

Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight;
all laud we would render: O help us to see
'tis only the splendor of light hideth thee.

It gives me great joy to know that even though I will wither and perish, my God is unchanging.

What a great day for music!

One of today's great hymns

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Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.

At His feet the six wingèd seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia
Alleluia, Lord Most High!

This is one of two songs that are most intertwined with my entrance into the Church, the other one being Alleluia, Sing to Jesus. Today I was lucky enough to be able to kneel at the altar rail and receive the body and blood of Chirst while this was being sung.

Folks, it doesn't get any closer to Heaven than that for me. And this song is also Zteen's favorite.

Today's Sunday Thought


over at our dear Mr. Luse's Apologia is a MUST READ excerpt from a keynote speech by Malcolm Muggeridge.

The part about grandchildren made the Old Mama tear up.

I've been reading Mrs. Dashwood's advice on how to handle insults from family. Her post of Jan 15th offers Elinor's Strategies for Dealing with Relatives. As usual, she offers excellent advice, but I wonder when (if ever) it is appropriate to defend your choices. Mrs. Dashwood?

Of course, when my hubby and I got up enough nerve to tell our families (both sides umpteenth generation Pentecostal/Assemblies of God) that we were becoming Catholic, both sides came a hair away from divorcing and disowning us. And while the smockmomma may be prone to exaggeration, please believe there is none here. For years we tried to explain, but it usually ended in frustration or tears.

The ninth anniversary of our Confirmation will take place this Easter. What we have finally learned is that (to use a good ol' Assemblies phrase) lifestyle evangelization is the best ecumenism. My beloved grandmother, Nonny, always taught me, "You are your neighbor's Bible. You must live your life as if you are the only Bible your neighbor will ever read." It finally dawned on me that I am also my family's Catechism. For years we tried to debunk the myriad anti-Catholic myths (we ourselves had grown up with) for our families by arguing with them. Eventually, we realized that the best way to debunk the myths was to live our lives as faithfully as possible to God and His Church and let our families see for themselves what a load of hooey they'd been fed by anti-Catholic propaganda. For the most part, they've come to respect, if not accept, our Catholicism.

That is not to say that we don't defend our choices when we feel compelled; but after almost nine years, our families realize that, spiritually speaking, we're doing pretty well. As far as they are concerned, our and our children's relationships with Jesus are practically Protestant. High praise that! At any rate, they feel freer to simply ask questions (rather than accuse) if they don't understand something. Their mere curiosity is much easier to handle...and answer.

The exhibit "Painted Prayers"--58 different Books of Hours. Some were hand written, some were printed with woodblocks then hand colored. All were beautiful.

One of the books took NINE YEARS to write and draw. Think of the dedication.

The most touching one was a book done for a child. It started out with an alphabet, followed by the Pater Noster. And the narrator on the audio tour really brought it home--"And the pages have obviously been turned hundreds of times by little fingers. Look how dirty the vellum is."


The exhibit will be in St. Louis later this year, and at the Getty in Los Angeles in 2005. If it is close to you, GO SEE IT. It is not a large exhibit, but it is a very lovely one!

If you can't go see it, access the website above, and look at it online.

Earliest Memory?

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So asks Bec over at Pencil in Your Hand.
Actually, my earliest memory is of being locked in a closet. Which explains why I'm so frickin claustrophobic. My first happy memory is of my father, smelling of Old Spice, carrying me to bed when I was pretending to be asleep.

Civic Duty or Civic Doodie?

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smock's hubby served on jury duty this week. our fair system paid him $6 total for his time and trouble (which included missing an entire day of work), charged him $8.50 for parking, $3 for coffee, and then had the nerve to ask him to wave his $6 pay and donate it back to the county. he spent most of the afternoon in hot, muggy, cramped quarters with loud, obnoxious and malodorous strangers, the worst of whom was the woman who spent the better part of an hour making the rest of them laugh (smock's hubby being the blessed exception -- he was busy hiding behind a book) while she impersonated a deaf person talking. loudly. i tell ya, it's getting more and more difficult to fight my misanthropic tendencies. it really is.

My first reaction?

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Thumbs up to the new Diet Coke with Lime.

I had one this morning during an awful meeting.

I hate the other Diet Coke with.... flavors. I love Diet Coke at Sonic with added vanilla or cherry, but the canned ones are just weird tasting. And I think Diet Coke with Lemon tastes like furniture polish smells.

But my first tasting of the new lime flavor: pretty good.

I'll have to try it again and see if it holds up.

It does look weird to have a diet coke with a green cap, though.

Now, this quote was a slap upside the head!


And something that I need to reflect upon. The quote came courtesy of the Bruderhof Daily Dig:

How can you expect to keep your powers of hearing when you never want to listen? That God should have time for you, you seem to take as much for granted as that you cannot have time for Him.

---Dag Hammarskjold

Certainly something to think about in my "I'm so busy" moments.

Friday Five, Mamas

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Here are this week's five (which I think are kinda silly) but we'll do 'em anyway.

I'll answer in the comments boxes with you!

1. What does it say in the signature line of your emails?

2. Did you have a senior quote in your high school yearbook? What was it? If you haven't graduated yet, what would you like your quote to be?

3. If you had vanity plates on your car, what would they read? If you already have them, what do they say?

4. Have you received any gifts with messages engraved upon them? What did the inscription say?

5. What would you like your epitaph to be?


For most, there is no crueler day of the calendar year than that of Valentine's Day. While a tiny fraction of the population can look forward to a holiday of wine and roses, poetry and song- the vast majority of us can anticipate a day of nausea and grimacing, trauma and grief. A day in which minutes seem like hours, and hours like days, as we reflect sorrowfully on yesteryear's romantic indignities, today's loneliness, and the unknowable but certain heartbreak that will be visited upon us repeatedly in the years to come.

When cruelty and holidays collide, the weak-willed find solace in self-pity and comfort foods. And like some twisted and opportunistic confectioner who preys upon the most emotionally vulnerable, Despair Inc. is proud to announce that yet again, we have combined the two into a radical offering:

BitterSweets(tm) - The Valentine's Candy for the Rest of Us.

Tweaked the template colors AGAIN

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We had gotten a few complaints that there was not enough contrast in the colors I had used on the sidebar.

Keeping with our retro theme, I decided to clean it up a little, and use pink (both shades), black and white only. I do think it looks neater. Don't you?

And an aside to Peony (who has been a LOT of help in this transition--standing ovation to her from me!)--I HAD to use just a little pink type! But I kept it at a minimum!

Now, except for adding a few things to our sidebar--our "Who we Are" and links to our webstore I think I'm about done with this FOR NOW.

Book club last night....

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.....ran long, and mostly because we were laughing and talking, not discussing books. But finally we did get around to setting the list for the next 11 months.

First some words of explanation. We read a VERY SERIOUS list of books over the last two years, and we decided that we are ready for somewhat of a break from the heaviness. Not that what we read wasn't GOOD, mind you, but it was all tough on the heart and brains.

So, we decided to mix in some not so heavy reading this year. In effect, to vacation a bit.

I have to go through and put this in some sort of order--mixing them up appropriately. But here's what my book club will be reading in 2004:

1. Original Sin by P.D. James. In the 4 years of our book club's existence we've never read a mystery. So, here's one.

2. Moo by Jane Smiley. I'm afraid this may be too similar to Russo's Straight Man, which many of the members have read (though not specifically for the club), but we'll see.

3. On Rue Tatin: Living and Cooking in a French Town by Susan Herrmann Loomis. One of our members owns a small house in France. We want to see how true to life the book is. And, of course, we'll probably make some of the recipes and bring them to the meeting to EAT!

4. Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Recommended by someone on the blog. One member of club has read it and smiled and smiled when we mentioned it.

5. The Human Stain by Phillip Roth. I'm a little unsure of this one. It may be too "out there" for some of our members. I'll mark it with a rating so at least they'll be aware of what they're getting into.

6. A Dog's Life by Peter Mayle. Sort of like A Year in Provence, but from his dog's viewpoint. Do you think we're wishing we could go to France?

7. The British Museum is Falling Down by David Lodge. Who can resist a book with the Church's position on contraception at its heart?

8. Queen Lucia by E. F. Benson. To be followed by watching a video or two of the PBS adaptation.

9. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. The only SF we've read was Perelandra, which isn't quite the same. I love the whole Ender series, so this was my suggestion.

10. Black Robe by Brian Moore. We're tired of priest books, but we did decide to add this one, since it was discussed in Crisis magazine. We'll shift it to the end of the year, though so we'll have a nice long break from what one member calls the "Priest and Nun Books" we've read so much of.

11. Welding with Children by Tim Gatreaux. A book of short stories by a Louisiana writer. We've read a lot of Southern regional fiction, but nothing by him.

Books that didn't make the book club list, but are on my personal reading list for the next 12 months:

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
The Mystic Masseur by V. S. Naipaul
Brain Storm by Richard Dooling
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith


The difference....

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.....between being 18 months old and 47 years old is this:

If you are 18 months old, washing dishes by hand is fun, because there are bubbles to play with. If you are 47, it is a pain, because you stayed out too late last night, you are sleepy and your back hurts.

If you are 18 months old, scrubbing the tub is fun because there's WATER! EVERYWHERE! MAKING BIG SPLASHES! If you are 47, it is a pain, because you can't get the gunk off your ancient tub and even after you finish it still looks kinda grubby.

If you are 18 months old, dusting if fun because you get to use a blue furry thing with lots of static electricity in it. It twirls cool, too, flinging the sopped up dust EVERYWHERE! If you are 47, dusting just makes you sneeze.

So, guess who had a better time this morning? McBaby or me?

considering my newfound affinity for shakespearean cursing, i think it only fair that i make sure to point you to a more educational resource for things shakespearean. you will find such a place at opensourceshakespeare, where you can look up shakespeare stuff until the toad-spotted pigeon-suckers come home.
oh! and an added bonus: the site is the brainchild of the very sexy and talented mr. eric johnson -- who like smock's hubby served in a gulf war, as a Marine no less, and not only understands but also appreciates mr. bill. mymymy, all that and Catholic, too? how incredibly fortunate the fair mrs. johnson!

Look, look, look!

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I got Smockmommas coolmoe (as she would say!) banner to work right on the first try this morning!

Woo hoo!

I think our site is looking quite retro-girly with it's pinks and grays and cool banner!

New Update on Father Groeschel


A webletter from Glenn Sudano, C.F.R.

Fair Enough

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My life is rated PG-13.
What is your life rated?

Thanks to Mr. "PG" Riddle over at Flos Carmeli.


I actually got the swell new logo that Smockmomma sent me for our blog to publish! But when I did that, it screwed up all the links and comments! Go figure.

And I will, but tomorrow. Or, since I have book club tomorrow night, maybe Thursday. Unless the McBaby takes a good nap!

I cannot believe this!

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I am jinxed. I am hexed. Someone is trying to drive me crazy.

Ya'll already know about my plumbing debacle before Christmas.

Last week, I didn't tell you that my 43 year old oven broke, and the repairman who came out to fix it told me, "Lady, it's time to break down and get another oven. We'll have to SEARCH for the parts for this. It'll take forever. It'll cost more than it's worth. Time to call Sears or whoever and buy a new oven."

Well, it's not what we WANTED to do, but CAS and I decided it really WAS the only logical thing to do. So, we ordered a new oven (on sale and with a rebate) from Sears. Bottom of the line gas--$500. PLUS we'll have to have some cabinet work done to accomodate the new oven. Because OF COURSE there is no oven made today that will exactly fit into my 43 year old cabinet opening.

I've made peace with the oven, though we're on the third "expected" delivery date tomorrow.


Doing my housewifely duties and loading the dishwasher and setting it to run after supper, I kissed my husband good bye so he could go to K of C tonight. I returned to the kitchen to a POOL of water--coming from underneath my dishwasher.

So, I call CAS and tell him to ask a plumber friend what to look for when he comes home.

The news? If it is simply that one of the lines has gotten unhooked, or if it has split or broken in some way, THAT is worth fixing.

If it's not the lines? Per our sweet plumber? Dishwashers are cheaper to buy than to repair if its a valve or something like that.

Do you hear that banging sound? It's me hitting my head against the wall.

Putit to a vote

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Names Revisited...

We are now at 33 weeks and having a terrible time deciding on what exactly to call this wee wittle immortal soul. If you give a darn, could ya please vote fer one? I'm not exactly certain this is a democratic vote and then again, I'm not certain it's not. We are at a stand still. If anything strikes you as "Yes! It shall be _____!" or "Good gravy girl, what are you two crazy kids thinkin'" DH and I are open to either personal opinion or divine inspiration. Although, not necessarily in that order.





The "Pals" list is smaller because I have been racking up gal names for about 14 years. My cat, who finally bailed ship, was a girl. Unfortunately her name was Sophie as well.

Perhaps Sexy Mamas?

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i dig the new crib. it's totally coolmoe, MamaT. i feel so sexy, don't you?

Woo hoo!

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I got the links transferred over! If you find yours doesn't work, let me know. It is probably some stupid /-thingie that I've missed somewhere!

You KNEW this was coming, didn't you?

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Here is a link to an article in the Las Vegas Sun about a suit being filed in Utah about a polygamy case, based on the striking down of the Lawrence statue here in Texas.

Here's a key paragraph:

Lawyers representing other polygamists have recently cited the Supreme Court ruling. Last month, the attorney for Tom Green, a convicted bigamist and child rapist, argued his client's convictions should be thrown out in light of the case. The appeal of Rodney Holm - who was convicted of bigamy and unlawful sexual conduct with an underage girl - also cites the Texas case.

I've said all along, if marriage is simply a contract, or a social construct, then if gender isn't key, then number cannot possibly be key.

Next? Age of consent......it's already waiting in the wings.

Hi everyone!

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This is Terry, the old Mama, waving and welcoming you to the all new and improved Summa Mamas on Stblogs.org! We're so glad you followed us over!

Please remember to update your bookmarks and links. We don't want to lose a single one of you.

Don'tcha think this is about the girliest first blog template you've ever seen? Who knows how it'll turn out after this, but we decided that we didn't want to LOOK serious, even if sometimes we write serious!

Come on in, sit down a spell. Here, have a cup of tea and a scone. Or would you rather have an oreo and milk? Or a Jack Daniels and some peanuts?

We aim to please.



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This page is an archive of entries from January 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2004 is the next archive.

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