Thursday, December 25, 2008

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel has come to thee, O Israel!

Adeste fideles,
Laeti triumphantes;
Venite, venite in Bethlehem;
Natum videte,
Regem Angelorum:
Venite adoremus,
Venite adoremus,
Venite adoremus Dominum!

Cantet nunc hymnos
Chorus angelorum,
Cantet nunc aula caelestium:
Gloria, gloria,
In excelsis Deo!
Venite adoremus,
Venite adoremus,
Venite adoremus Dominum!

Ergo qui natus
Die hodierna,
Jesu tibi sit gloria;
Patris aeterni
Verbum caro factum!
Venite adoremus,
Venite adoremus,
Venite adoremus Dominum!

O Come All Ye Faithful
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

O Sing, choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation,
Sing all that hear in heaven God's holy word.
Give to our Father glory in the Highest;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

All Hail! Lord, we greet Thee,
Born this happy morning,
O Jesus! for evermore be Thy name adored.
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Our Christmas card photo

Here are the hooligans for our card photo. Since we are a very disorganized busy family, I didn't order the cards till Monday night and then had to pay $18 for shipping to guarantee that we get them before Christmas day! Don't tell Scott because the shipping cost almost as much as the cards. Good thing he doesn't read my blog.

How's your Advent?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The name on the mailbox read "Griswold..."

photo of a house in the next town by Scott Giglio

Well, no, not really. but it should have. Oy vey! I don't want their electric bill in January! They had crazy stuff like a Santa rocket ship, Santa train, even a booty-shaking Santa. No. you read that right. His booty moved side to side. It was sort of disturbing.

Even sort of funnier was that we first saw this house on Friday night when we all piled into the car to drive around and look at lights. When we went back tonight with the camera, they had actually ADDED lights!!!

In other news, we got our Christmas tree today. We get ours fresh cut at the tree farm in Long Valley, NJ. No, we don't cut it ourselves. A nice college boy does. On the way home, after much travelling about the land of Scott's youth, we stopped in Bedminster for a coffee. Here's photo I took of the sunset:

As I got out of the van to take the picture, Primo asked me why I always take so many pictures of the sky. I don't know. Here is Primo with Curly Sue in the evening light:

And here is Bub, avoiding the camera:

Poor kid's in the way back, no light on him, and then he told me to stop taking his picture. This is the only one I got. Plus I had to crop good ol' Primo out 'cause he's a camera hog.

Fun times! What did you do this weekend?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Oy vey

So, Scott got his drivers' license renewal form yesterday, which made me wonder when my license needs to be renewed (I do not recall ever getting my form in the mail). I looked and lo, it expired Sunday Nov. 30. Have I mentioned that my car failed inspection in August? And I haven't gotten it re-inspected yet? Have I mentioned that Curly Sue woke up from a 12 hour coma with a temperature and I am home with a yucchy cold resting and there goes my morning at the DMV? I am starting to feel that I might need to start walking everywhere until I get these things taken care of. What happens if you get pulled over in my situation and you're not ON YOUR WAY to the DMV? Arrested? fined? Pray the officer is a guy you know from the PAL who might cut you a break? All of the above?

On the bright side, I got to watch the Backyardigans. Austin, the purple kangaroo, is my favorite. Today he was a pirate (who runs a pirate camp) who taught Uniqua and Pablo how to be pirates. Tasha played a pirate ghost who wanted to tickle Austin and turn him into a ghost and Uniqua and Pablo had to save him.

More Day-quil? Yes, have some!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Prayers, please

Scott's dad was diagnosed with ocular melanoma a few years ago and eventually lost one eye to the cancer. He has had clean scans for about 2 years now, but today he went for another round of tests and they found more melanoma behind his other eye. He's going for radiation on Thursday, so prayers to Sts. Lucy and Peregrine would be greatly appreciated. Grazie.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

More curly Sue-isms

The rundown on the kids' Halloween costumes:

I a tiguh ROAR! an' Bubba a wed Powah Waynjuh and Primo Angadanga Dones.

What, you don't recognize the name of the most famous archaeologist in movie history?
Angadanga? We named the dog Angadanga!

Friday, November 28, 2008


We've hosted Thanksgiving almost every year since 2000 (we took '06 off since Scott's family was coming up from NC and his mom wanted to do the honors for her brother and fam. With a 3 month old at the time, I was most happy to pass the baton for a year.) I have to say that this was the least stressful Thanksgiving I have ever hosted. I even got to sit down and talk for a little while-even with not having an automatic dishwasher to help out! I was bummed out that no one stayed past six, though, especially since no one got to the house until 1:30. We ate around 2:30 and then it seemed like everyone just left. Which makes me wonder if my family nad I stay at other people's houses too long. Aimee, do we stay too long? You're the only one I know IRL whose house we may have overstayed at. Be honest.Tonight, we had Scott's friend D. over for supper. I made a ziti because we all have had enough turkey for now. D. works in Washington DC so we don't get to see him often, which is a shame 'cause he's a super guy. He got here at 4:30 and was gone by 7:30. Why do people only want to stay at my house for 4 hours? It's CLEAN (now). We're fun. At least we used to be fun. What's up?!

Also, I wanted to ask your prayers that God's will be done and made clear to us. Scott's applying for a new job and we just want to do God's will. Thanks!

Hope you all have a groovy weekend!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Now thank we all our God,
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom this world rejoices;
who from our mothers' arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us still in grace,
and guide us when perplexed;
and free us from all ills,
in this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given;
the Son, and him who reigns
with them in highest heaven;
the one eternal God,
whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.

Song by Martin Rinkart

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Just in time for Thanksgiving...

You Are Pumpkin Pie

You're the perfect combo of uniqueness and quality.

You're able to relate to many types of people with many different tastes.

But you're by no means generic or ordinary.

In fact, you're one of the most original people around.

Those who like you are looking for something (or someone) special.

You tend confuse people when they first meet you. But you're not as complicated as you seem.

Even though you have a lot of spice and flavor to you, you're never overpowering.

You are a calm and comforting force in people's lives.

I can't imagine where she heard that.

Scene: Mommy clapping her hands making a silly face.

CS: Stop doing dat!
M: Why?
CS: Be-cause doo is making me in-sane!

Mommy cackles, Curly Sue giggles, then turns quite serious.

CS: We is done laffin now.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fight FOCA

Here's a great post by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf about our changing times and what we as Catholics have to do to stand up for what we believe in. President-elect Obama has promised to make the Freedom of Choice Act law. If you don't know, FOCA would strike down any state laws restricting abortion. This website, Fight FOCA, has a petition online that you can sign, but all of us must contact our representatives and senators in Washington to tell them that we do not want this bill to become law.

It's a sad fact that most American support abortion rights, but the majority of Americans want some restrictions on this evil practice. FOCA will wipe away any restrictions, even ones that the Supreme Court has found constitutional, including parental notification laws.

I'm not a great pray-er. I have a load of excuses for why I don't pray the rosary. But I watched the video in Fr. Z's post and I have to do something. I mean, how am I supposed to stand before the LORD at my judgment and justify my inaction about this? I can't. So tonight, I commit to praying the rosary (with my family) daily to pray for the president-elect's conversion on FOCA. You have to, also. Let's get together on this one, people, millions of lives are at stake.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday: Laundry tips

This is my first Works for me Wednesday contribution. I haven't contributed anything before because I was never that excited about anything before. Now I am excited about my laundry. I know, I'm weird.

I have several laundry issues, besides having 2 boys and a husband, including stain removal and being allergic to a lot of different scented products. Here's what I have found:
  1. Borax is my friend. Boy, has adding just a little bit of this stuff to my laundry really helped me get stuff clean while using less detergent and bleach. And it's cheap!!! Baking soda worked well, but not as well as the Borax. Your grandma used Borax. You need to also.
  2. White vinegar is a good fabric softener. I learned this tip from Heloise. I put about a cup of vinegar in my washer while it fills and it softens my clothes well enough. And the vinegar smell washes out so you will not smell like a salad when you wear your clothes. It isn't going to get them Downy soft or do a lot to control static cling, but I have to tell you that the reason why your clothes get so soft is because the commercial fabric softener leaves a residue on your clothes. And you know you can't wash the kids' flame retardant clothes in the fabric softener anyway. And as if you needed another reason to try the vinegar instead of the fabric softeners is that a gallon of white vinegar is about $1.29. I don't even know how much a bottle of Downy is anymore, but I know it's way more than vinegar-even when you use a coupon. You can click here for more of Heloise's helpful hints to use vinegar and baking soda for stuff around the house.
  3. You must pretreat those stains before they get nasty and set in!!! Take a minute at the end of the day when you get those clothes off and pretreat before it goes in the hamper. I have found that using a bit of my favorite laundry deterent and rubbing it into the stain helps. Also, I love Shout for this, especially the one with the scrubby brush built in. I keep a bottle of Shout and a small trial size bottle of Tide in my bathroom for these pre-treating sessions. Remember not to leave the pre-treater on your clothes for too long. You should wash the clothes within 5-7 days of putting the pre-treater on or else you're going to have to invest in some brooches or pieces of flair to pin over the stains that won't come out.

You're not wearing enough flair, Jennifer.

For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, go to Rocks in My Dryer. And if anyone knows a good tip for getting Ovaltine out of clothes, please let me know! I can't find anything that works.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Look what I did!

I was reading one of Donna Boucher's guest posts on Pioneer Woman Photography one day and Miz Boo was talking about how in Photoshop you can take your photo and make it look like a painting. Well, we got Photoshop the other day and, well, see for yourself:

Here is my photo of the Empire State building at sunset:

(First, let me just say that prior to Sept. 11, 2001, all you would have seen from here is the twin towers. The ESB would have been hidden. )

I don't like this photo for a few reasons, one of which is that it is too blurry. That will teach me not to bring a tripod. But, if I turn it into an oil painting, it doesn't need to be tack sharp, does it?

You can tell the difference a little more if you click on it. Here comes a better example.

My photo of a lifeguard chair at sunset:

Same day, same blur. No tripod. I tried the oil painting effect on this one and I didn't like it so much. Scott suggested trying it as a watercolor and after some fiddling, I came up with this:

You sort of lose the sunset feel a bit, but I really like this one.

So, thanks Miz Boo, for teaching me something new and thanks to PW for her blog and having you guest post! Now I am off to use more time I don't have to spare to play with Pictures. Like owning Lightroom wasn't bad enough!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

You say it's your birthday...

well, it's my birthday too, yeah!

Today I turn 33. And I'm doing a lot of thinking about things. Where I'm supposed to be, stuff like that. But I just want to share this with you: I told my kids on Sunday that my birthday was going to be on Thursday. Bub was brushing his teeth, Scott was standing next to him in the bathroom. Bub says (He's fit to burst), "We have to get Mom a present, but I don't know what to get her!!!!!!" He asked me, "Mom, what do you want for your birthday?" I told him, "I want 15 Bubba kisses and 15 Primo kisses and 15 Curly Sue kisses." He started planting them on me right there as I was tucking him in on Sunday night. He stopped himself at 7, giggling, because it wasn't my birthday yet and he was already giving me my gift.

The three of them have been very excited about my birthday, even more than I have been. Bub was severely disappointed when he found out I wasn't having a birthday party. "But who's going to come over?" he asked. I think his thinking was, who else is going to give Mom presents?

But I think I already have the best gifts: Primo, Bub, and Curly Sue (oh yeah, and Scott, too ;) ).

I can't wait to collect those kisses!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Charlie Brown sez...

...shake it like a Polaroid picture!

Thanks Fr. Jim Chern on Facebook!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Yesterday and today, there's been a guy driving around our ward with a loudspeaker attached to the roof of his car spouting the virtues of the Dem. nominee for city council. This is very annoying. First, really, who does this anymore? (I feel like Austin Powers: "Honestly? A shoe? Who throws a shoe?") I can't understand what the guys is saying when I'm in my house. All it is is street noise. But this is what REALLY gets me:

The license plates on the truck are from Connecticut.

Did you hear?

It's election day! You can thank me later for reminding you. I thought you might have forgotten.

It's also the feast of St. Charles Borromeo. I think that's it's pretty apt that Election day happened to fall on his feast this year. The only way it could have been better is if we had Election day on the feast of St. Thomas More.

St. Charles Borromeo

Charles was the son of Count Gilbert Borromeo and Margaret Medici, sister of Pope Pius IV. He was born at the
family castle of Arona on Lake Maggiore, Italy on October 2. He received the clerical tonsure when he was twelve and was sent to the Benedictine abbey of SS. Gratian and Felinus at Arona for his education.

In 1559 his uncle was elected Pope Pius IV and the following year, named him his Secretary of State and created him a cardinal and administrator of the see of Milan. He served as Pius' legate on numerous diplomatic missions and in 1562, was instrumental in having Pius reconvene the Council of Trent, which had been suspended in 1552. Charles played a leading role in guiding and in fashioning the decrees of the third and last group of sessions. He refused the headship of the Borromeo family on the death of Count Frederick Borromeo, was ordained a priest in 1563, and was consecrated bishop of Milan the same year. Before being allowed to take possession of his see, he oversaw the catechism, missal, and breviary called for by the Council of Trent. When he finally did arrive at Trent (which had been without a resident bishop for eighty years) in 1556, he instituted radical reforms despite great opposition, with such effectiveness that it became a model see. He put into effect, measures to improve the morals and manners of the clergy and laity, raised the effectiveness of the diocesan operation, established seminaries for the education of the clergy, founded a Confraternity of Christian Doctrine for the religious instruction of children and encouraged the Jesuits in his see. He increased the systems to the poor and the needy, was most generous in his help to the English college at Douai, and during his bishopric held eleven diocesan synods and six provincial councils. He founded a society of secular priests, Oblates of St. Ambrose (now Oblates of St. Charles) in 1578, and was active in preaching, resisting the inroads of protestantism, and bringing back lapsed Catholics to the Church. He encountered opposition from many sources in his efforts to reform people and institutions.

He died at
Milan on the night of November 3-4, and was canonized in 1610. He was one of the towering figures of the Catholic Reformation, a patron of learning and the arts, and though he achieved a position of great power, he used it with humility, personal sanctity, and unselfishness to reform the Church, of the evils and abuses so prevalent among the clergy and the nobles of the times. His feast day is November 4th. I wish I weren't too lazy to take out all of those weird hyperlinks. I'll bet you do, too.

So, as you can see, St. Charles was an instrumental figure in the Counter-Reformation. He re-convened the Council of Trent and was a reformer. One order he tried to reform (and was eventually supressed) had 4 members that tried to assassinate him!

He led the Church in times of uncertainty and controversy. How excellent for us to have our election day fall on his feast day, when our country is going through a time of uncertainty and controversy! This is what my Magnificat says about him: "As both a civil and a canon lawyer, as well as a bishop, St. Charles understood the pastoral work of law-giving according to the model of Christ. His unflagging efforts to promote a Christian life and Church reform were prompted by a profoundly self-sacrificing love of Christ living in the Church."

Please pray that the people who are elected today also understand "the pastoral work of law-giving according to the model of Christ."

O, Blessed Mother! The United States is entrusted to you in your Immaculate Conception. Please intercede for us at the feet of your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. May His Will be done in our elections today. May we as a nation be able to go forth walking in His Light. Heavenly Father, please send the Holy Spirit upon all of us who are voting that we may be inspired to vote according to Your Will. Please send the Spirit upon those who are elected that they may do Your Will while they hold office. Keep our nation in Your Protection. Amen.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


My name is Amy.

And I don't like scrapbooking.

I don't understand scrapbooking. The time, the money. It's an art lost on me.

I would much prefer to put everything in a box and dig through it later when it has accumulated a protective coating of dust.

I'm the kind of person who likes her memories the way they evolve over the course of years. Please don't bother me with the facts of how it all went down. This is why we didn't get a video of our wedding. I don't want to know about what I didn't see. I don't want to know what Drunk Kristen would have said if there was a camera in her face. I want to look at the album the photographer put together for me and remember my wedding the way I want to remember it: that I was in love (and still am) and that I was so happy and that I didn't get to eat any of my wedding cake.

How about you? Anything that you feel sort of like you're supposed to like/do/get/be that just doesn't click for you? Or, is there anything that you're not supposed to like/do/get/be that you can't resist? Mine is the Wonder Pets. It's a show for kids, but I'll watch it even if there's no one else at home. :)

Monday, October 27, 2008


Curly Sue sits at the table, eating her 4th slice of cheese.

Me: You're going to turn into a piece of cheese.

CS: No, I'm going to turn into a piece of beer!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Romance, but a factual romance

On Thursday, I got a catalog for the J. Peterman Company. First thing I did was giggle because I immediately heard in my mind John O'Hurley say to Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "E-laine...". My wits collected, I remembered that my dad used to get this catalog shipped to him every once in a while. I loved looking at this catalog when I was a kid. Kandahar, Balmoral, Morocco-all places that sounded so exotic. Places I was unlikely ever to go. Places I might not be able to find on a map. And the clothes! It was like looking at the costumes from "Murder on the Orient Express."

I still do love looking at the clothes. I like how there are no photos of the garments but instead: designers' sketches. I love the little stories they put in before they describe the garment:
"Light Show. My hostess is the official harbinger of holiday cheer, takes her job seriously. Orchestrates every perfectly-popped cork, each precisely-dollopped caviar blini, every stargazer lily in the cascading rivers of pink pointsettias. And best of all is her personal light show. Overhead spots capture the glimmering gold in her silk blouse, the deep garnet of her velvet pants, bouncing the colors off frosty windowpanes and chandelier crystals and raised champagne flutes...she looks like she's been gift-wrapped by Printemps of Paris. Next, she'll predict an end to the Cuban cigar embargo and the return of French blue to the Hamptons for summer." (J. Peterman Owner's Manual No. 64 p. 20)

The catalog-no, sorry, Owners' Manual-is truly a work of art. It's nice on a gray day like today when the wind is swaying the trees and the rain has begun to drizzle down (too heavy for a London rain, it's going to downpour-there goes the yard work!) to curl up with it on the couch (better-a chaise) under a blanket (cotton will do if you don't have a cashmere one) with a cup of tea (Earl Gray, of course) and pretend for a few moments that you are that woman from East Hampton who throws catered affairs for charity, not Christmas parties, and who has people to make it all possible.

Enter the smallest one, nose drizzling like the rain outside, who curls up in my lap, rubs that drizzly nose on my cotton T-shirt, scoots herself under the blanket with me, and takes my J. Peterman catalog so she can look at the pictures. The boys run in, arguing, as usual, over who won't let who play with whatever toy they have chosen as the only worthwhile toy in the entire house(!). The husband enters, "Honey, do you know where I put the-oh. Here it is. Nevermind."

I may not be able to drink that Earl Gray before it gets cold or be permitted 5 minutes to myself in my living room, but those delightful people with whom the Lord, in all His goodness, has deigned to bless me are better than catered affairs and $330 outfits I would wear only once if I were that woman in East Hampton. This is the life I have chosen. This is how the Lord has blessed me. This is where I am right now. And it is very, very good.

Post title from the inside cover of the Owners' Manual.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Ok, so the phone has not been working since Monday at around 10 AM. All the phone jacks in the house are dead. Last night, Scott went out and tested the line at the box. Dead. So I call Verizon to get a tech out. And I don't to talk to a human. I get the computer that sounds like a person. And after I answer "her" questions, "she" agrees to set me up with an appointment. but, see, it's not really an appointment because that would require there be a set time. No. I have a...ready...wait for it...13 HOUR WINDOW in which a tech might appear at my house. And I have to be there in case he has to come inside. Never mind that the service has been down for nearly two days and I have to give a 1st penance parent meeting tomorrow and we have parent teacher conferences tomorrow night. I get to wait around my house from 8 AM-9PM for a guy not to do work on the inside of my house because the problem is outside of my house. AND Bubba has an ear infection so, knowing that I would be a prisoner in my home for most of the day, I sent Scott and the hooligans to the emergency care doctor's office (while I was at work) to wait for 2 hours so that Bub could get medicine because I wasn't going to be able to take him to the regular doctor tomorrow as we wait with bated breath for the man in the black and red shirt to arrive. Sometime.

And did I mention the dishwasher doesn't work?

How was your day?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Lost Mother of the Year. Again.

Picture it: This morning, our bathroom. Mommy trying to get ready for work. Curly Sue decides to brush her teeth. She gets hold of the big boys' Spongebob Flouride toothpaste, unscrews the cap, and starts sucking on the end.

Me: Don't do that. Too much toothpaste will make you sick. Put that down.

CS: (Pouts as if I had just kicked her puppy)

Me: Don't you be looking at me like that. You can't eat the toothpaste.

CS: (welling up) I sowwy, Mommy. (crying, trying to open the bathroom door) I go to my woom now.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Is it cheaper... have a repairman come fix my dishwasher or to buy a new one since this one is probably 20 years old. Please advise.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I knew it!!!!

Your result for The Presidential Capacity Test...

Presidential Success!

68% Values, 89% Charisma and 88% Judgment!

"In America, anyone can become president. That's one of the risks you take." -Adlai E. Stevenson

Congratulations! You encapsulate everything that a successful candidate should encapsulate.

Crack open the whiskey and break out the celebratory cigar. You are destined for success in the Presidential Campaign. You exude confidence and charisma. You exhibit true leadership abilities and demonstrate the ability to make snap judgement calls if the need arises. You are well-respected for your strong values and your steadfast stance on honesty and loyalty.

The USA needs a President like you. You are one of a select few deserving of the influence and recognition commanded by the Presidential title. Congrats!

Other possibilities:


Take The Presidential Capacity Test

H/T to Barb, please pray for her dad who may have cancer.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Clay is gay?

What? You're kidding! Next thing you'll be telling me is that the sky is blue or that rain falls down and not up.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bubba Birthday--In red 'cause it's his favorite color

He's five today. My snuggler, my buddy, my comic relief, my Red Power Ranger, my boy that's really MINE. He's 5.

Bubba Quote of the Day: My name shouldn't be Bubba Giglio. It should be Bubba GENIUS.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Here's my 9/11 post

I don't pretend that the horrible, horrible events on Sepember 11, 2001 weren't felt around our country in deeply personal ways, but I seriously doubt that people outside of the Metro NY area felt it the same way that New Yorkers did. The casualty impact was heaviest here. There was one woman from our city who was murdered that day. In the surrounding towns, there were 5, 6, 8 people (mostly fathers of young children) murdered that day: people who went to work and didn't come home.

I live about 15 miles from Lower Manhattan as the crow flies. I remember that day was supposed to be the day NYC elected a new mayor. It was Rudy's last term and it was a bitterly fought election to see who would succeed him. I was watching the news and they came on saying a plane had hit one of the twin towers. Then the second plane hit and I distinctly remember thinking (Because I am extremely naive), "Boy, someone at Newark Airport really messed up." Then I talked to my mom who enlightened me, "This is no accident." I spent the whole day just walking around in a daze. This doesn't happen in the US. Scott was thinking I should try to get out of town with our 9 month old Primo. Go further west in the state since there are oil refineries in our city. What if those guys hit them next?

September 12 dawned a beautiful day. Except for this haze. This haze that hung over our city was from the still smoldering rubble of the towers I used to be able to see against the sky from the Parkway overpass near our house. This haze had a smell that has burned itself into my nostrils: death. The death of thousands of innocents. Thousands of people who showed up on time for work that day and the hundreds of people who tried to save their bodies and their souls from the fire.

Please remember those who gave so much that day: those who died and those who were injured and those who are still walking around in a daze, all these years later. Please pray for those who are working so that we can once again say,"This doesn't happen in the US."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

No Child left behind

Read this today when I should have been making lunches and I thought that all of this education legislation that the candidates are talking about just totally misses the point.  They talk a good game about raising test scores and making American kids more competitive internationally.  But kids whose parents are actively involved in their educations do better than kids whose parents are not involved (by choice, circumstance, whatever).  Kids who have someone home with them when they get home from school do better than latchkey kids.  

You can't reasonably expect teachers to raise test scores all by themselves.  What is taught at school needs to be reinforced through homework and through the parents and teachers working together.  

So, what are McCain and Obama  going to do about making it possible for more parents to get involved??  What will they do to support the family so that more parents can be there for their kids instead of working 3 jobs to pay the bills?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Great Garden State, part 2

This is my exit. Woo hoo!

I have now lived here in NJ for 9 years. I have driven from one corner of the state to the other: Hudson to Cumberland, Sussex to Cape May. (That sounds like a line from "U can't touch this" by MC Hammer: "I've been around the state, from Sussex to Cape May. It's Hammer! MC Hammer! Yo Hammer! and the rest can go and play. U can't touch this!"--Did I get those words right?)

I have concluded that people from out of state who want to drive anywhere in this state ought really to take a special test giving them permission to drive here. I'm looking at you my Quebecois friend! Two weekends ago, we were driving down US 1 in Mercer County, near Princeton, (a multilane highway with traffic lights, if you've never been) this guy in a red sedan with Quebec license plates tried TWICE to make a left turn when there was no left turn permitted in the intersection. He almost got us killed. It's called a jughandle, Buddy. Surely they have those in Montreal. And if not, well, you shouldn't be driving here if you can't read "NO LEFT TURN" on a big sign hanging over the intersection . And we're not putting it in French for you. I know you learn English in Quebec, jerkface.

And drivers from Pennsylvania, can we talk? I love you. I am a native of PA. It's wonderful. You're just out of your league driving here. First you must realize that everyone on our limited access highways is going at least 10 mph over the speed limit. If you'd like to drive 65 in the 65 mph zone, that's fine. I'm cool like that. But for the love of everything holy, get out of the middle lane. I know your driver's ed teacher probably told you to keep the right lane clear so that others getting on can merge easily (mine did. His name was Mr. Bill. He wore ties with his golf shirts. I don't think he bathed regularly. I wish I were kidding.) Well, New Jerseyans are excellent mergers, so just get in the right lane where you belong. Thanks, hon.

And people from New York and Connecticut should really not be allowed to drive outside of their home states at all. Those people are crazy. If you're on the Turnpike and some guy weaves in between seven cars while doing 85 in a 65 zone, he's probably from NY or CT. Look at the plates if you can. They're the blue and white blur on the back of the speeding car.

I know it can be confusing to drive here. The streets aren't well marked. The signs for the Parkway and Turnpike are approximately 10 inches across, makaing them hard to see when you're trying to keep up with us. The traffic circles that are everywhere are also confusing. And jughandles can be weird, too. I get it. I know you're trying. This is all just further evidence that, for everyone's safety--especially yours, your home state's DMV should offer a "Jersey Driving Certification" for all of you who might like to come and enjoy the wonderful things NJ has to offer you (beaches, mountains, camping, skiing, tomatoes, corn, blueberries). And I'll concede that maybe those of us licensed to engage in combat drive in NJ ought to at least take ettiqette lessons in order to be permitted to drive outside of the NJ-NY-CT area.

Let's just be careful out there.

Do we know enough?

H/t to Catholic Pillow Fight

Also, check out this list of Obama lies. Now, please know that the website is inflammatory and not balanced at all. But, there is truth in this. they have the video tape and the newspaper articles to back it up. Some things can be attributed to not remembering well, but, well, the list is up to 106. You be the judge.

Friday, August 29, 2008

So, so happy!

I just love John McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska. She's really great. I watched her speech this afternoon and I am in love. Now I got to get me a yard sign!!! McCain-Palin'08!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Great Garden State

Some of you have been to my house. It's not big. It's just under 1000 square feet and the lot is 25' x 100'. Now, those of you who don't live in NJ, you'd better sit down. Those of you who do live in NJ, you know what I'm talking about.

We got our estimated property tax bill today. For next year, we owe $4500+.

And what does this money go to? I don't know for sure. I suppose it goes to the schools, but I've got to say that the schools in our city aren't in the top 10% in the state. The services here in town are good, but $4500 for my house?

Can you imagine what it's like in towns where the schools are better and the houses are more expensive?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

It's true.

Me: Hey, Primo, I had a very vivid dream about the Jonas Brothers last night.  Do you think that makes me weird?
P: Yeah.  Really, really weird. 

I am just going to take this opportunity to say that I don't know why I was dreaming about the Jonas Brothers.  I don't listen to their music.  My kids don't listen to them.  And Scott is a Led Zep kind of guy; he doesn't know who the Jonas Brothers are.  They were talking about them on the radio the other day.  Apparently, they have a 7 year old brother whose name is Frankie who is referred to as "The Bonus Jonas," which I find to be very funny.  

But in my dream the Jonas Brothers (not the bonus one) all had superpowers (flying, super strength) and they were falsely accused of a murder and imprisoned in a mall.  Then they escaped back to their hotel and....they just sat around eating and playing video games.  There was discussion about them going home, but they didn't want to get caught by the police.  Then Bubba started jumping on me and I had to wake up. Maybe I'll write a script for a Jonas Brothers movie based on my dream!  Or maybe I'll stop eating so close to bedtime. 

Monday, August 18, 2008

She understands

The Novena to St. Monica starts today. Her feast day is August 27, the day after her son, St. Augustine. Monica's life was hard. Her husband had a violent temper, her mother-in-law lived with her and constantly belittled her and her children wouldn't listen. Her son Augustine, became a heretic (he was a too smart for his own good), but he eventually came around.

St. Monica is a patron saint of wives and mothers, but she is also the one to ask for help when your family and friends have lapsed from the church. My original post about good St. Monica is here (also accessible from the sidebar). In the last two years, several people, mostly women with worries about their husbands and children, have stopped by this page and have left a comment asking for prayers. Please take a minute to go a read those comments. Please keep them in mind while you ask for the intercession of the woman whose tears were finally dried when he husband and son came to the Church. Maybe you are reading this today and you are so blessed not to have any particular person in mind to ask the intercession of St. Monica. Please remember the women who have posted here before and pray for their intentions.

Novena To Saint Monica

Exemplary Mother of the Great Augustine,
You perseveringly pursued your wayward son
Not with wild threats
But with prayerful cries to heaven.

Intercede for all mothers in our day
So that they may learn
To draw their children to God.

Teach them how to remain
Close to their children,
Even the prodigal sons and daughters
Who have sadly gone astray.

Dear St Monica, troubled wife and mother,
Many sorrows pierced your heart
During your lifetime.
Yet you never despaired or lost faith.
With confidence, persistence and profound faith,
You prayed daily for the conversion
Of your beloved husband, Patricius
And your beloved son, Augustine.

Grant me that same fortitude,
Patience and trust in the Lord.
Intercede for me, dear St. Monica,
That God may favorably hear my plea
For (mention your petition here)
And grant me the grace
To accept his will in all things,
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
In the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God forever and ever. Amen.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Today is the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, proclaimed a dogma of the Catholic Church by Pope Pius XII in 1950. But this belief was handed down to us from the Apostles. There are feasts celebrating Mary's Assumption from the 500s AD. You can read more about it here.

Today's Gospel reading is about the Visitation. Mary, having just said yes to God's plan for her to become the mother of his Son, goes to visit her kinswoman Elizabeth, who is six months pregnant with St. John the Baptist. When I would think about this event, I would always think, "Oh, how nice, Mary found out Elizabeth is having a baby and goes to visit her and help out a while. Isn't she great?" Then, I read something (I wish I could remember where) that said, Mary goes to see Elizabeth (yes, to help) but also because the angel's message and the full weight of what was to happen to her were maybe becoming really REAL all of a sudden and who else could identify with what had happened to Mary but another woman who was also miraculously pregnant? Elizabeth GETS it. Mary can talk to her. Elizabeth can give her guidance and comfort in a way that no other woman can. Mary's faith is never shaken. Her trust is unwavering. But what was happening to her was probably overwhelming.
She is a human being (born without original sin and all that comes with it, including this), but she answers yes to every command given to her by God. Yes, she will be the mother of his Son. Yes, she will take Him with Joseph to Egypt. Yes, she will travel with Him in his public ministry. Yes, she will endure seeing him suffer on the cross. Yes, she will accept all of us as her children, too ("Mother, behold your son...."). Yes, she will serve the Apostles (She was in the Upper Room at Pentecost). She doesn't question God's power, she accepts His will as her own. This is one of the many reasons why the Church holds Mary up to us.
God's will for us is perfect. He doesn't promise that if we do His will that it will be easy. Mary's life shows us that, too. But His plan for our lives is better than what we could try to dream for ourselves. All He asks of us, requires of us, is humble submission to him. Mary models that for us.
In the Assumption, we also see what God has ready for us when he restores His heavenly kingdom to the Earth at the end of time: our souls and our bodies will reunite and we will live as He intended us to live when He made us. How much we have to look forward to!
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


This post over at Creative Minority Report got me wondering. The Vatican is an independent city-state. I would imagine that it is eligible to field an Olympic team. Who would they get to compete? Can any baptized Catholic compete for the Vatican? I know that someone doesn't have to live in the country they compete for, since there are American competing for their parents' home countries. I just wonder about these things when I am folding laundry.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

A great ad. McCain '08!

Unless, of course, Jesus decides enough is enough and comes back before November (please?)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

That's a damn fine cherry pie!

I have stumbled upon a recipe for cherry pie which is the best cherry pie I have ever eaten. Scott loves this pie. It may be his favorite food. Cherries are in season now, so I thought I'd share.

What I think is fun about this pie is that is sort of smells like Dr. Pepper a little bit. Or maybe Frank's Black Cherry Wishniak soda.

Wow, Frank's soda. This makes me think about summer at my grandmother's house. We used to go to Grandmom's almost every Sunday in the summer. They had a pool. We'd swim. The grownups would drink gin slurpees and talk. Sometimes my grandfather would bust out his accordion or banjo and we'd all sing. Fun Times. My grandfather, dad, and brother are all named Frank. My grandparents always had Frank's sodas (and Coke. My grandmother lived on Pall Malls and Coke for a long time), but I think it's because it's just darned good soda, not because of the name. It's a Philly thing. I'm going down there this weekend and I'm gonna have to get me some of that soda.

Back to the pie. I'm going to confess that I use store bought pie crusts. I have never tried making my own. I am a wuss and I am too busy. So there.

Damn fine cherry pie

2 pie crusts, one in the pie plate, one for the top
4 cups of fresh cherries, pitted and halved
2 Tablespoons of flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into several pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine everything except the butter in a non-reactive bowl (glass or ceramic). Mix it up well. Pour into pie crust that's in the pie plate. Dot the pie with the pieces of butter. Cover with the other crust. Cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil (prevents burning). Bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil. Bake for another 15 minutes. let cool for 30 minutes before eating.

Can we talk about the cherries? Do yourself a favor and get a cherry pitter. I don't know if you know this, so lean in close and I'll whisper you a secret: cherry juice will give you purple fingers. It's true. If you use a pitter, you don't get the juice on your fingers and under your fingernails. And if that juice gets under your fingernails, your nails will look like you haven't washed your hands all week.

Now, let me say a few words about how I get fancy with this pie. I let the kids cut out shapes from the dough I will use for the top pie crust and then cover the cherries with the cutouts. You have to leave spaces in the crust so it will vent anyway, so why not? We have used stars and it looks really cute. You can also do that lattice work pattern if you want, weaving the strips of dough, or just cover it with the whole top crust and pinch the edges closed and cut a few slits in the top so your pie doesn't explode. I have also brushed the top of the pie with egg white and sprinkled it with sugar. When I made this pie the first time and I brought it to the table, Bubba exclaimed, "It's shiny!" So if you want a shiny pie, try the egg white and sugar thing. Or don't. It's your pie.

And 'cause I know you're dying to know about the gin slurpees, here's how you make them. They're great when it's stinkin' hot. Just make sure no one is going to be driving for a while. Trust me. These bad boys go right to your brain.

Gin slurpees

You need: a blender that is good at chopping up ice

Ice cubes
1 small can pink lemonade concentrate (frozen)
Gin (or vodka is good too)

Fill your blender pitcher about 3/4 way full of ice cubes.
Add thawed Pink lemonade concentrate (partially thawed is fine too, I guess, or even frozen. who cares? It's all getting mixed up anyway). Save the can. Start your blender. Now, fill that can with your gin or vodka. Add the spirits thru the hole in the top of your blender. Blend it till smooth. Serves 4. Garnish with mint and a lemon slice if you want to be fancy. We never bothered with that. The fruit gets in the way of getting your drunk on. ;)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Method in my madness

I read this post at Scrutinies (I hope you're doing well, Dorian!) and it made me think of what I like to clean with.

I use a lot of Method Products. They smell good and they are non-toxic, which is not to say you should drink them, even if they smell yummy.

The bathroom cleaners are eucalyptus mint scented which is nice because it makes the bathroom cleaning that much more tolerable. And I like that I can hand the spray bottle to my sons when they, um, miss in the bathroom and make them tend to the mess they made without worrying about them passing out from the fumes.

I don't know if other mommies have this issue, but I have found that ever since I had my first hooligan (and compounded by every subsequent birth), I cannot tolerate certain scents that I used to enjoy. (I have had to give away every one of my Yankee Candles and stop wearing perfumes. I have even had to make my mom stop wearing the colognes she likes since what she likes gives me a migraine headache. I kid you not.

This issue is not something I have made up. I have gone to the grocery store and become so incapacitated by the checker's cologne that I had to call my husband to tell him to meet me back at the house to bring in the frozen stuff so I could run right inside and get a shower, take 2 Advil, and ask him to throw my clothes in the wash since the guy's cologne was sticking to my clothes and person. I was rewarded that day with a doozy of a migraine.

The point of the last two paragraphs is that Method makes a whole line of products that are totally fragrance free! But even with my over-sensitive nose, I have enjoyed and used in good health the Ylang-ylang Shower spray, The eucalyptus mint bathroom cleaners, Assorted French lavender products, Lemon ginger floor cleaner, and these home scent products: candle and stick thing. I get all of these things at Target (except the stick thing which I got at Staples, of all places) and if you can't get them where you shop, you can order them online. I do highly recommend these products. They clean great and you don't have to worry about you or your little ones breathing it in.

Dear Method people, think you can hook me up with some coupons? Thanks!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Independence Day

On July 4, a delightful man I know from church (he taught CCD and helped with our Confirmation prep class), John Lyp, was liberated from lung cancer and went to his eternal reward.  

John is just an amazing person.  He loved the Lord so much: with all his heart, with all his mind, and with all his strength.  He has left behind his lovely wife of 40 years, Ellen, and his 7 children and 4 grandchildren.  I know his daughter, AnneMarie, because she also taught CCD with us.  All of his kids are really fantastic.  

John's death was really sudden.  I saw him last on May 18 right after the 12:00 Mass at church.  He seemed totally fine.  By Memorial Day weekend, his name was on the list of the sick members of the parish for us to pray for.  Last week, John went into hospice care.  Lung cancer killed him, but he never smoked a day in his life.  It moved very quickly.  

It is a privilege to know someone as great as John Lyp.  He loved telling people about Jesus.  He preached the Gospel in everything he did.  In addition to the work he did with the men's group at the parish he volunteered with Covenant House in Newark.  I never saw this man down.  

There were so many people who came to the wake that the parking lot was full.  There were probably 150-200 people at the funeral Mass: family, friends, fellow parishioners.  All whose lives are enriched by knowing John Lyp.  

The Church's teaching on the Communion of the Saints is very comforting at times like this because John isn't really gone.  He may be in purgatory (here for more), he might be in heaven already!  But he's still with us and he's praying for us.  He's doing even more for his family now than he could do while on earth.  The priest said in his homily at the funeral Mass: "For the many of us who are here on earth who sadly say, 'There he goes,' how many more are in heaven, excitedly saying, "Here he comes!'"

John, pray for us.  We'll pray for you.  

Hey, Jesus, here he comes.   

Sunday, July 06, 2008

And the award goes to:

As some of you may know, here at Casa Giglio we are all about the Baseball. We are very specifically All About the Yankees Baseball:

Scott: If I'm going to help you put the kids to bed, we should put them to bed soon 'cause the Yankees-Red Sox game starts at 8.

Curly Sue: Wanna watch Ankees too....

Scott: No, sweetie, it's bedtime. The game comes on after you're in bed.

Curly Sue (whining): Wanna watch Ankees Bee Ball toooooooo.........

I think Whinese is the new official language of our home. Anyway, back to baseball.

Since we are All About the Yankees Baseball, I get to watch many many games on TV for 6 months out of the year (We start with the exhibition games in Spring Training and go until the World Series is done, even if the Yankees are not playing Baseball.) and I have also been subjected to listened to many a game on the AM radio in the car. (Though I just have to say that the background noise and being confined in the car when we are sort of far from the signal causes me much MUCH irritation. And from what I understand, an AM signal travels quite far, especially on a clear night when you're driving back to NJ from Baltimore MD; making a quite uncomfortable car ride for me. Have I digressed again?) I have concluded that most of the announcers (with the exception of John Sterling and Susan Wohltman on the radio) are really quite annoying. Here is my list of Most Annoying Baseball Announcers:

The winner of Most Annoying Baseball Announcer Ever is Joe Buck. The sound of his voice makes me want to hurl bricks through my TV screen. He never seems to be impartial. He does not disguise his contempt for the Yanks. This may be strongly worded. I don't care. I have a headache from too much Baseball. The worst thing about Joe Buck is that he is THE FACE of Fox Sports. Dude covers freaking everything. Can't even watch the Super Bowl without having to put on the SAP and listen to the guys speaking Spanish. I don't even understand Spanish. Joe Buck annoys me THAT much--I would rather listen to commentary in a language I do not understand than listen to Joe Buck.

A strong second in the Most Annoying category is YES's own Michael Kay. You can't get away from this guy either. He's the face of the network! Can you PLEASE tell me why you're interviewing Snoop Dogg on Center Stage? Last time I checked, he's a rapper, not an athlete. OK, he coaches his kid's Pee wee Football team. That's great. Center Stage has Jumped the Shark. Another one that I'd rather listen to Spanish than him.

Third: Tim McCarver. I understand he's a legend and a Baseball Pundit (if there is such a thing), but he is as annoying as those midges that wouldn't leave Joba alone in Cleveland last fall. There's a whole website dedicated to how much people dislike him! The SAP button is my best friend. But at least McCarver played baseball.

You know what the problem with TV people is? They talk too MUCH!!! Tonight, the game was on ESPN. The guys was taking about A-Rod's marriage splitting up and the possible Madonna connection and then he has the nerve to say, "But it's none of our business" !!!!!!! You're right, Annoying Announcer Man, it IS none of our business. So WHY did you bring it up???!!!

Open comment to announcer guys: Stop talking so much! I'd rather hear the crowd noise. The Spanish guys know when to shut up. The Spanish guys are not in love with the sounds of their own voices. I don't want to hear you talking like you know. 'Cause most of you have only stepped onto a field to interview players. Like Scott said tonight: it's not radio. You don't have to worry about dead air.

Gah!!! Idiots!

/end rant

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Did you hear that? You know, the big exhale? It's the sound of me relaxing because I have 2 months off from work. That's right. I'm not back at work till after Labor day, and on a reduced schedule to boot. My wonderful pastor and boss, Fr. Bob (hi Fr. Bob!), has allowed me to rejigger my contract so that I work 10 months a year and 25 hours a week. It's gonna be great for my home life.

So how did we celebrate the end of my last day of work before summer vacation last night? Well, I threw some hot dogs on the grill and then called the fire department because my grill caught on fire. It wasn't bad. Just the knobs melted and nothing blew up and the house didn't catch. Which is a good thing too cause we are having new siding put on and the guys are almost done! And absolutley no one was hurt. All the firemen had to do was get their fire extinguisher off the back of the truck.

If you don't own a fire extinguisher, please go out right now and purchase one. If I had one at home, I would never have had to call out the Linden FD. I mean it. Go right now. I'll be here when you get back. (....whistling....) Hey, glad you went and picked that up.

Turned out that a line that feeds from the tank to the burner sprung a leak. That's why the flame was under the grill, not in it. The fireman said it happens a lot. I'm not sure if it happens more often on grills you buy from Target on clearance for $25. Bargain shoppers beware.

So, what's on the agenda for this summer? A lot of cleaning and throwing things away. My house is a pigsty and we have too much stuff. By the time we get around to having Curly Sue's 2nd birthday party in the end of August, I don't want to be ashamed of my house anymore. And we're trying to get a trip to Hershey Park and at least one day at the beach in there too. Oh, and VBS back at the parish is in 2 weeks. And I'd like to go out and harass these good people. So, I'll be busy. But I'll mostly be busy cleaning.

So, what are you cooking up for yourselves this summer?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

thinking out loud

You know what story from the Gospels that's really speaking to me right now? It is the one where Jesus was 12 and he stayed behind in Jerusalem and Mary and Joseph had to go back and find him. Often, I think: "Boy, he's lucky that I wasn't his mother or he might not have gotten the chance to save us from sin 'cause I would have killed him."

But as my kids get on my nerves I think, what is the Lord trying to tell me about how I ought to handle myself and discipline my children when they are defiant, when they use their selective hearing, when they disobey, when they bite/kick/punch each other?

I mean, I just don't see Mary screaming at Him or anyone else for that matter. Then again, she was conceived without original sin. And I certainly was not.

I've been meaning to use some imaginative prayer to reflect on this, but I can't get quiet enough.
Maybe I ought to go to Adoration.
I am so grateful for when people tag me for memes. It's content that doesn't require too much thought on my part. So, Aimee, thanks for taging me for the ABCs of Me. Let's dive in.

A. Attached or Single? Attached. To Scott.
B. Best Friend? Scott, but my non-husband best friend is Aimee.
C. Cake or pie? hmmm... depends. If it's summer, I prefer pie, winter, I prefer cake.
D. Day of choice? Friday. It's pizza and family movie night.
E. Essential item? Chocolate.
F. Favorite color? Blue
G. Gummy bears or worms? gummy worms
H. Home town? Philly
I. Favorite indulgence? Chocolate covered anything
J. January or July? I'll take January since it's Primo's birthday. But I prefer May and October.
K. Kids? 3 on earth (2 boys, 1 girl), 3 in heaven. I'm up to going for more, but I really ought to lose weight before we try.
L. Life isn’t complete without? Jesus
M. Marriage date? 3/4/00
N. Number of brothers and sisters? Two brothers, one stepbrother. I am the oldest.
O. Oranges or Apples? oranges.
P. Phobias? nothing that would require therapy, but I have a thing about heights. Like driving on the George Washington Bridge or coming down out of the top of the Cape May lighthouse.
Q. Quotes? "Do or do not. There is no try." Yoda
R. Reasons to smile? kids, Scott, living parents and stepmom, waking up, but I am extraordinarily ungrateful, so I fail to appreciate them and don't smile as often as I ought.
S. Season of choice? Fall
T. Tag 5 people: if you want to, do it!
U. Unknown fact about me? I crashed my dad's car because people applauded me for belting out "I try to think about Elvis" at a traffic light. I thought I'd be all cool and speed away, but the 18 wheeler in front of me hadn't moved yet. I was never so glad that my stepmom answered the phone.
V. Vegetable? baby spinach
W. Worst habit? overeating and not exercising.
X. Xray or Ultrasound? Ultrasoundsnever had an x-ray
Y. Your favorite food? Have I mentioned that I like chocolate?
Z. Zodiac sign? Scorpio

whats up?

I am going to post Life is a Highway Part 2 after I write it down, but I wanted to update my reader about why I've been too busy to post.

1. Primo, our eldest was in baseball camp last week and someone's got to pick him up.
2. My mom was away last week visiting my grandmother so I had no one to mind the hooligans whilst I blogged.
3. I got to spend last Monday night alone in my house with my husband.
4. I have been spending some time on facebook. Why can't we be friends?
5. Drama continues with the new next-door neighbor
6. There is a lot of TV I have to watch.
7. Trying to toilet train Curly Sue who will be 2 in August.
8. Last week of school for Bubba.
9. Moving the furniture in the living room.
10. Getting work done at the office so I can take July and August off. See you in September... See you when the summer's through...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Life is a Highway, Part 1

In my line of work, I get to talk to lots of different people who are at different places in their faith journeys.  I get to talk to everyone from the "pray the Divine Office, attend daily Mass in the vernacular and Sundays in Latin" types, to the "I go to Mass on all the holidays: Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Easter, Mother's Day" types.  

But in general (except among the Latin Mass, Divine Office folks), I get to talk to a lot of people who sign their kids up for CCD so they can "get/make sacraments."  And I encounter an general misunderstanding (miseducation?  misremembering?) of what the sacraments are actually about.  So I've decided we're going to have Back to CCD night and we're going to talk about sacraments: what they are and why Jesus gave them to us.  This talk has been brewing in the back of my head for a few years now and it all just sort of came to me through the grace of God a few weeks ago.  What follows is generally how I'm going to approach this and this is where you come in. 

I need criticism of this approach from any of you who read this.  If you're lapsed from Catholicism, I want to hear from you.  If you're practicing, I want to hear from you.  If you're a priest or religious, I want to hear from you.  If you're looking to "get sacraments," I want to hear from you.  I am interested in challenging ideas people have of the Seven Sacraments.  I know from 5 years of experience, I am going to tick some people off with this talk, but in my line of work, I am always ticking people off.  As long as I'm not ticking Jesus off, I can live with it.  We're both going to be OK.  

And let's remember, this is a parent meeting, not Mass.  Let's start.  

Thanks for coming to Back to CCD Night.  I'm glad so many of you were able to come.  

Tonight we're going to discuss the seven sacraments, what they are and why Jesus gave them to us.  Let's start off with thinking about the following scenario: Let's say that you and your family are going to go on an RV trip around North America.  Gas is 99 cents a gallon (remember those days?)  and the plan is for you to go all over the USA and maybe hit Canada and Mexico while you're driving around.  In your small groups, come up with a list of the sorts of things you would load into the RV so that you had what you needed for the trip.  I'll give you just a few minutes then I'll ask your small groups to choose a person to report back what your group came up with.  

[Now at this point, I would expect answers like: food, change of clothes, soap, first aid kit, sunscreen, money, radio, dvd player, passport, maps (since you'll be going outside of the USA), tool kit, etc.  I'm going to have a backpack or suitcase with props in it on the table next to me that will correspond with some of the answers I'd expect.]

Those are really great answers.  I think you're well-equipped for your journey.  

Let's talk about this journey around North America in a slightly different sense.  Many of you have heard of the concept of faith being a journey.  You're probably not in the same place in your relationship with God that you were when you were four.  And you might not be in the same place 10 years from now that you are today.  Your relationship with God changes as you change.  As you come to rely on Him more, or less, things change.  Most of us don't have the same simple faith that we had as small children.  That's why Jesus reminds us that we need to have the simple faith that children have.  

In my work with families, I have met many people who register their kids for Religious Ed classes so that the kids can "get Sacraments."  I am SO glad that those families are in our program.  There are lots of baptized kids running around today that are not going to RE classes.  If you are sitting here and if your kids are in our classrooms tonight, this matters to you.  And I am glad you're here.  And I know God is glad you're here too.  

When we think about sacraments in terms of something you "get," it sounds a lot to me like they are stamps in our spiritual passports.  And I guess they can be in a sense.  The day of your Baptism or the baptism of your children is a HUGE deal.  Confirmation is a HUGE deal.  First Holy Communion is a HUGE deal.  But I think we're missing something if we think about the sacraments in only the terms of "things to do before I die."  

We need to think about the sacraments not just as stamps in our passports, but in terms of the essential items we pack in the RV so our journey through life into the afterlife goes as smoothly as possible.  

So, you're packing clothes, right?  [pull out a white T-shirt that says "Catholic" on it] Your nice, clean clothes can symbolize Baptism. In Baptism, you are marked for Christ, you are given a share of God's life in the form of the sacramental grace that wipes away Original Sin (the stain on the souls of all human beings-except Mary and Jesus- that is a result of Adam and Eve's first sin) and makes us members of the Church.  

And you're going to need to eat, right?  So you're packing food [pull out loaf of bread] and something to drink [pull out water, juice]? Maybe a little something to make the camping even more pleasant? [pull out a bottle of wine]  The Eucharist, or communion, is something that Jesus gave us to sustain us, to keep us going on Earth so we can get to him in Heaven.  Let's read from the Bible about what Jesus said about this bread that He has given us: [have a volunteer read aloud from John 6, The Bread of Life Discourse].  You're not going to eat only once during your month long trip, right?  You're not going to pack only enough food for one meal, are you?  You won't have enough energy to drive or to enjoy your family or your surroundings, right?  If you're like me, you get downright unpleasant to be around when you're hungry.  The Eucharist is what feeds us spiritually.  The sacramental grace we get from the Eucharist, Jesus' Body and Blood, no longer just bread and wine, is what makes being with the other people in your life even better because it brings you intimately close to God.  You eat His Flesh and Drink His Blood.  It doesn't get more intimate than that.  

But you won't eat with dirty hands.  Of course you wash up before you eat.   So you need your soap [pull out soap labeled Reconciliation].  

Later: Getting cleaned up, and when some healing needs to take place...

Too gimmicky?  On track so far? Reserving judgment until it's all here? Say it in the combox.  

Hello, it's me

I know.  I've been away awhile.  Allow me to update you.  In no particular order:

1. Bubba got himself a shiner on Monday night from tripping over a fan on the floor of his room and landing on the corner of his brother's open dresser drawer.  It's pretty.  I'll have to post a picture. 

2. Today, Bubba graduated from Pre-k.   He's officially a kindergartener now.  Primo finished 1st grade on Thursday.  Now the praying about the 2nd grade teacher begins.  

3. My confessor and sometime spiritual director was transferred to another parish and the farewell Mass and reception was last Sunday the 8th.  I chaired the committee for the party which caused some stress on my marriage.  Seems Scott likes it when I'm home.  He's fussy like that. 

4.  I had Jury Duty starting last Tuesday the 3rd.  I got picked for the case on Wednesday.  We returned the verdict on Friday afternoon.  It was a very pleasant experience.  I'm not even kidding.  I made a new friend.  (Hi, K.!)

5. My stepbrother, B. graduated from High School last Thursday the 5th.  His party was the day we handed down our verdict. 

6. After many visits to many doctors (including a horrible allergist right here in Linden.  Email me if you want to know whom to avoid. ) and dealing with symptoms that seemed like Congestive Heart Failure and an anaphalactic latex allergy, my mom went to an awesome internist and he figured out she has a...wait for it...B-12 deficiency that is exacerbating all of her MS symptoms.  Why her neurologist didn't figure this out is really sort of beyond me.  

7. I made it safely out the other side of Sacrament of Initiation Season (ie: the month of May) and I have learned the value of asking others for help.  

8. I anticipate a change in my work schedule that will make life better for all who reside in my home.  Full report when the contract is signed. 

9.  Our awesome next door neighbors, Hector and Diana, here on Diana's work visa, had to return to Colombia because her visa ran out and she couldn't find a new job.  After a lot of nonsense on behalf of the buyer's attorney that gave them 24 hours notice on the date of the closing (I am NOT kidding), they sold the house to a woman who so far has asked us to put out $3500 in cosmetic improvements to the exterior of our duplex (For those of you who don't know what a duplex is, we own one side of the building and she owns the other side.  We share a wall and if one is going to say, reside the house or reface the steps it probably ought to be done jointly so it doesn't look like Frankenstein house.).  This of course would not bother me if a. we had the money for it (we are going to do the siding since she "know[s] a guy"and b. I were confident she knew our last name (I don't know hers.) and c. She were not so gall darned freaking pushy about it.  So not only have good friends moved about 2000 miles away, they have been replaced by someone I don't like yet, but I hope that I will be able to like after she finally freaking decides to move in.  This probably deserves a post of its own.   

OK I think that's everything.  Back next week with some work related stuff I'd like you guys to help me with.  

What have you been up to?

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Paging Grace Slick...

Me: They built this city on Rock and Roll?  Who built it?  And why Rock and Roll for a foundation?  Who builds a city on Rock and Roll? 
Scott:  The Rock would be good, but the roll, not so much.