Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Olive Garden Dinner Celebration

Tonight we celebrated my husband's early retirement from one of the big three automakers after 21 years of service. He took an optional retirement package and is now looking for new employment.

We went to the Olive Garden.

Mike and I have a long standing joke about how wherever the worst table in the restaurant is that is where we will be sat. If there's a table next to the bathroom or the kitchen, it's ours. Well... my daughters Anne (21) and Mary (12) came in a separate car and arrived before the rest of the family and requested a table.

Anne has, shall we say, much more of a personal sense of style than either of her parents. The table we were given had to have been the VERY BEST table in the restaurant. It was a large corner table set diagonally in front of two full windows with a great view. Not only that, it was somewhat separated from the rest of the restaurant by dividers and had a trellised ceiling with grape vines intertwined and hanging from it. It was lovely. We said from now on Anne gets our tables. My youngest daughter in response to my enthusiasm for the table said, "Mom, they're not real grape vines!"

They looked real enough. We had a lovely dinner celebrating how hard Mike has worked for us. Now I ask for your prayers that, through the intercession of Saint Joseph, he will be led to whatever the next job is that the Lord wants him to do.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

More on Substitute Teaching

I think the funniest experience I have had substitute teaching was in a seventh grade classroom. I was tired. I was not in a good mood and I did not want to be messed with. I started the day by saying to the class. "I expect you to raise your hand before you speak. I expect you to ask permission before you get out of your seat. You need to do what I ask you to do and NOT do what I ask you not to do. Anyone who does not do these things will have their name given to Mr. Edwards (not his real name) as someone who did not cooperate while he was gone. Does everyone understand?" I expect you to treat me with the same respect you give to Mr. Edwards.

There was silence for a few seconds. Then a boy in the back of the room slowly raised his hand and perfectly deadpan asked, "Are you sure you don't want to be treated with more respect than Mr. Edwards?"

I burst out laughing, my cover completely blown, I admitted, "Maybe I do." Still, the day went pretty well after that. I think the class and I had an understanding. :)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Good as well as handsome

My 15 year old son went to have his hair cut today. The barber asked if he wanted it long, short, or medium. He said "medium," but received a cut he considered to be quite short. I considered it to be a very nice length and quite handsome.

This guy did not even complain. He didn't pout or make nasty comments about the barber. He just assumed an "oh-well" attitude and kept this great smile on his face.

This is a teen who is making his mother proud. (Thanks for putting up with my bragging:)

Lenten Meme

Jean from Catholic Fire has tagged me for this Lenten meme. Thank you, Jean.

What is your favorite Sorrowful Mystery?

Favorite....hmmm. Clearly as Jean said, the crucifixion has the most significance. I think I am most drawn to meditating on the Crowning with Thorns. The supreme irony of the King of kings and Lord of Lords submitting to being crowned with thorns and mocked has always struck me.

What is your favorite Station of the Cross?

I love Veronica wipes the face of Jesus. I am inspired by the tenderness of Veronica's action and the tenderness and immense love that Jesus returns to her by the miracle of the image on her veil.

.Do you fast during Lent?

Yes, of course, on the required days. We also try to avoid festive foods. I usually give up sweets, but this year but this year I am trying not to eat in between meals. I may also not eat breakfast and/or lunch on Fridays.

What is your Lenten Resolution(s)?

The above limitations on eating. I am also trying to exercise every day. I do not like to exercise. I am trying to do it as a matter of discipline.

Do you use Holy Water during Lent?

I do not use holy water any differently during Lent than I usually do. I generally only use holy water when I am in a situation in which I suspect spiritual warfare. Now that I think about it, it would be nice to have a font in the house. Perhaps I will get one this Lent.

How many times do you go to Mass during Lent?

I will go to Mass several times a week as I usually do.

I tag: Barb, Suzanne, Mary Poppins Not, Mimi, and Angie .

Friday, February 23, 2007

On Substitute Teaching....

Today one very sweetly innocent boy sincerely said, "Mrs. Bogdan, we like having you for a sub because you don't know all the rules so we get to do more stuff." Oh the joys of substitute teaching.... And this from a class I really like.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

It's been three years...

Today is the third anniversary of my mother's death. I can't believe I no longer have a living parent on Earth.

The granddaughter of Irish immigrants, my mother was a lot of fun. She loved to dance. She had a gift for hospitality and had many parties in her home. She was stylish and attractive. In high school she was voted best actress and second cutest in her class. You get the picture :)

But more than anything else, she was a mom. She had an unwavering devotion to her family and she adored her grandchildren. She only knew well the oldest three, all mine. My third, John the pianist used to play for her in her nursing home, but she never saw him in a recital. When she could still talk but was very confused she once said to me, "I just want to go home and be a mom." I knew just what she meant. She was always there for us. We always came first and we knew it. She was not perfect. (I only know of one mom who is.) But she was a very, very good mother. It's been three years and I still miss her very much.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

No profound insights tonight

Sure wish I could write some profound and thought-provoking reflection on the beginning of Lent as so many of my blogging friends have. Boy I sure learn a lot from all of you.

I am embarrassed to admit that what is most heavily on my mind is how very,
very hungry I am right now!!

God bless your Lent. Good night.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What does white signify?

Today I was a substitute teacher for a second grade classroom in a Catholic school.

In religious education we were talking about the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday. I showed them a large poster with the circular diagram of the liturgical calendar on it. We talked about the purple sections of Advent, the green of ordinary time, the purple of Lent, and so on. Then I showed them the white section of the Easter season.

I asked them, "Who knows what this white section is?" One little hand shot up and he eagerly asked, "Snow days????"

Monday, February 19, 2007

A Prayer For Those Growing Old

A Prayer For Those Growing Old
Lord, Thou knowest I am
growing older. Keep me from
becoming talkative and possessed
with the idea that I must
express myself on every subject.
Release me from the craving to
straighten out everyone's affairs.
Keep me from the recital of
endless detail. Give me wings to
get to the point.
Seal my lips when I am inclined
to tell of my aches and pains.
They are increasing with the years
and my love to speak of them
grows sweeter as time goes by.
Teach me the glorious lesson
that occasionally I may be wrong.
Make me thoughtful but not
nosey; helpful but not bossy.
With my vast store of wisdom
and experience it does seem a pity
not to use it all. But Thou
knowest, Lord, that I want a few
friends at the end.
I wish I could give credit to the author of this prayer. It is on the back of a laminated holy card with no author listed. It is a very good prayer for me. It makes me smile.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Another Music School

Yesterday I took my son John to Western Michigan University for another audition. Western is not as competitive as University of Michigan, but is still regarded as a very good music school.

John and I were both very favorably impressed. The faculty was very kind and personable. They seemed supportive and dedicated to teaching. Like Michigan, they will only accept maybe 14 new piano performance majors. And they also had five faculty evaluating John's audition. But unlike Michigan, they also interviewed him and gave him feedback and encouragement. They asked about his career goals and they told him they were impressed with his selections as well as his playing.

John left feeling that if Michigan does not accept him he has another very good alternative choice. He will either end up a little fish in a big pond (Michigan) or a big fish in a little pond. Either situation has its advantages May the Lord's will be done. I want to see him where the Lord wants him to be. Thank you for your prayers.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Lizzie on the cello

I forgot to mention that Lizzie did a very nice job at her cello recital. She's only been taking cello lessons since this past April and she is progressing nicely. (This is not her cello pictured. I just thought it was a cool looking picture. I had to tell Liz I don't recommend that she keep her cello leaning against a tree.:)

For years Liz, who is ten, has been asking for cello lessons. All the other kids have studied a musical instrument. I just couldn't imagine adding another weekly event to the calendar and still staying sane. Finally, I thought, I just have to do it. I don't want to find out when she's 14 that I never got around to it. So we started Suzuki cello lessons and it's been great. I'm still sane and she loves it. It was a good decision.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

SNOW DAY!!!!!!!

SNOW DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We had 6 inches of fluffy, powdery, gorgeous snow overnight and all the schools are closed!!!!!!!!!

Woohooooooo! You all know how I feel about snow days. I slept until 9:30.

Happy Saint Valentine's Day!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

My Brother

I went with my brother to the University of Michigan yesterday for an endoscopy on his esophagus. His esophagus, so they say, is failing. Although he had fasted for two days it was still full of food. Apparently a little goes down at a time because he is eating, but the esophagus is not pushing it into his stomach. It's very distended. Now he has to stay on clear liquid for a week and then they will try again. Clear liquids for a week! And then there's the anxiety about its future functioning. He has achalasia, a rare disease of the esophagus. Please keep him in your prayers.....Thanks so much.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Notre Dame Ballroom Dancers

First of all, thank you so much for your prayers for my son's audition. May the Lord's will be done. Still, I'm hoping for the Lord's will to be that he is admitted because University of Michigan is really the school he wants to go to. Now we wait for the letter. He had five judges watching him and he was videotaped as well. How unnerving. God's will be done.

The ballroom dancers. The guys stayed at my house overnight and the girls at my friend Mary's. These young men were as gracious and polite as you can imagine. Some slept on the floor, some on couches. And they were all grateful just for a place to sleep. I made them coffee in the morning, put out some cereal, baked a simple egg casserole, and put out a plate of donuts with milk and juice. You would have thought it was an elegant brunch buffet from their reaction. They were personable, friendly, and kind. I have to say this has repeatedly been my experience with Notre Dame students. The only explanation I can think of for ND students being so consistently nice, great, young people is that the grace of Our Lady is upon that school. I think she may choose who goes there.

There was my ironing board set up in the kitchen as they put finishing touches on the shirts they would wear to dance in. I offered to iron for them but they said they could do it.

And these guys can dance. They've obviously worked really hard learning steps and they can dance like men's men, if you know what I mean. They were clearly humble guys who worked hard and wanted to do a good job with and for their partner. I was impressed. Most made it to the semi-finals or farther. (My own son and his partner made it to the finals :) What a pleasure to see them dance. They were especially good at swing and jive.

Made me feel like dancing! Hope to post a picture of Mike and Rebecca soon.

Friday, February 09, 2007

I'm soooo tired.

Well, he said the audition "went pretty well." Thank you for the prayers. I found out they only accept about ten undergraduate paino majors!!! Yikes. I was afraid to ask how many applicants. Well, we'll see. I pray he gets in, if it's the Lord's will.

Now I'm waiting for the arrival of 7 members of the Notre Dame ballroom dance club who are staying at our house tonight (along with my son.) They are in a dance competition tomorrow.
So Ballroom dancing tomorrow. Cello recital on Sunday.....

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Magic Fingers

My son John has taken piano lessons for the past 13 years. At the age of three he started begging to take lessons. He started at four since even Suzuki teachers don't start kids on piano before four. His ability, his progress, his talent has just been remarkable since that time.

Tomorrow he will audition at the U of M school of music for admission to the piano performance program. Please pray that he will be able to play his very best, that God will be glorified and that, if it is His will, John will be admitted. If he graduates from U of M he will be the fourth generation in my family to do so. It was a dream of my father's that one of his grandchildren would graduate from his alma mater. And John has been a wolverine fan almost as long as he has played piano. Michigan has a very competitive music school. John is very talented but so are all the applicants to this school.

I wish I knew how to download music onto my blog so you could hear him. He lives and breathes the piano. May the Lord's will be accomplished tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Our Governor Needs Prayers

This is our governor, Jennifer Granholm. She is beautiful, articulate, intelligent, and very dangerous to the unborn. Last night in her state of the state address she said she wanted to eliminate obstacles to embryonic stem cell research in Michigan. Jennifer Granholm is a practicing Catholic!!!!!! Please pray for her conversion and against her political career.

Monday, February 05, 2007

A Brrrrrrrr Day, not a snow day

Today my children's school was closed because of dangerously low temperatures, not snow!! And guess what? They have already closed for tomorrow too!!!! I love it.

What a gift it was this morning to stay in bed when I was all set to get up and get moving (but not at all having the energy or motivation.)

It is sooooooo cold. I like living in Michigan and I like the change of seasons. And I like the drama of a good blizzard and the awesome beauty of snow drifts and making snowmen, ice skating, etc. But this is TOO cold.

Humans were not made for this kind of frigid temperature. (How's that for an obvious statement. Well, yeah. That's why we have furnaces and down jackets and that's why we have an occasional school closing because of the temperature.)

I hear someone in the post office comment on what a shame it was that the schools were closed. I said I thought it was great. I guess the joy of school closings is something stay-at-home moms can only appreciate

It's like a day off that came out of nowhere. A gift from God just dropped on you at the last minute. I can taste tomorrow's leisurely coffee already. (Perhaps my next post should be on the topic of sloth. LOL)

Stay Warm!!!!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Homemaking Meme

Esther has tagged me so here goes:

Aprons- Y/N- I love aprons but I don't always wear one. My favorite is a Japanese one that I've had for over twenty years. It's a kind of orangy pattern and gathered very full at the waist so the coverage is very good. I think it's pretty and very functional.

Baking-- Favorite thing to bake: Dutch apple pie. My sister-in-law gave me the best dutch apple pie recipe in the world, several decades ago. I like to bake it because I like to eat it. (as does my husband and several of my children.)

Clothesline- Y/N No. I use the dryer and towel racks in my bathroom for things that can't go in the dryer. I have thought that I would like a clothesline in the summer though.

Donuts-- Have you ever made them? Unfortunately yes. For a number of years my family helped make hundreds of donuts as part of a fundraiser for my children's high school. Most families cleaned the U of M stadium after home football games and a few of us got up at like 4:00am to make the donuts for the families to eat when they were done. The frying in the fat was so disgusting you almost (note I said almost) couldn't eat them. I would feel sick for the rest of the day.

One homemaking thing you do every day-- Well, dishes, of course. Usually I do at least one load of laundry too. Pick up things my kids have left on the floor-- like wet towels grrrr.

Freezer-- Do you have a separate deep freeze? We used to but it broke and I very much miss it. We will either buy another or get a second refrigerator.

Garbage Disposal-- Y/N? Yes

Handbook-- What is your favorite homemaking resource? My dear friend Jeanne who is the best Italian cook in the world, also the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook and a folder in which I have stuffed my favorite recipes.

Ironing--Love it or hate it? I don't hate it but I rarely do it. It just doesn't seem like a priority item.

Junk drawer--Y/N? Where is it? Yes, in the kitchen. One official junk drawer and two that are about half junk. :)

Kitchen: Design and decorating? We recently wallpapered one wall in a blue floral pattern with a coordinated border around the work area. I love the border. It has deep blues and looks like a shelf with various pitchers and post on it.

Love: What is your favorite part of homemaking? Cooking for my family, folding laundry if there is a good program on the radio, and most of all, of course, caring for my children.

Mop Y/N rarely. I do a lot of spot cleaning, though.

Nylons-- Wash by hand or in the washing machine? in a lingerie bag (a mesh bag) in the washer.

Oven-- Do you use the window or t open the door to check? I open the door.

Pizza-- What do you put on yours? My family likes it plain so we usually get plain. I like ham, bacon, black olives-- almost anything different, but my family won't go for it.

Quiet-- What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment? Blog, pray, read, pay bills

Recipe Card Box Y/N? No. Favorite recipes are stuffed in a folder. I finally recopied my mother's recipe for stuffed mushrooms when I saw that the envelope I had written it on was postmarked twenty years ago. (I'm not kidding.)

Style of house-- cape cod (two large dormers in the front, full 2 story in the back. Smallish living room, family room and eating area but 5 bedrooms upstairs and 2 1/2 baths total-- works for us.

Tablecloths and napkins? not usually. (Well, paper napkins, yes)

Under the kitchen sink-- organized or toxic wasteland? Neither-- it's stuffed with paper and plastic bags, maybe a pitcher for watering plants, not much else

Vacuum-- how many times per week? Per week?? Once a week if I'm lucky. Usually it's one of the kids' Saturday jobs. Do some of you really vacuum more than once a week? (Now I'm starting to feel guilty.)

Wash-- How many loads of laundry do you do in a week? Probably at least twelve.

X's-- Do you keep a daily list of things to do and cross them off? I list a few very important things that I must not forget. I don't make a complete list because when I used to do that it was too depressing at the end of the day to see how few checks there were.

Yard-- Who does what? My husband cuts the grass. I do all the gardening. When the dog poop gets picked up I'm the one to do it. Bringing out lawn furniture, hammock etc. is all done by my husband.

Zzz's--What is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed? If I'm not too tired and I think of it, I shine the sink ala Flylady. I also check to make sure the doors are locked and I turn out lights.

OK I tag:



Amy Caroline

Mary Poppins Not


And anyone else who feels inclined to do it. :)

Bitter Cold!!!!

It is so cold here. It's heading toward highs of single digits. BRRRRRR...Even for those of us who are used to northern winters this is really cold. Dangerously cold. For-heaven's-sakes-don't-underdress cold! Have young people always had this attitude that they're not cold in a sweatshirt no matter how cold it is, or is this a recent rebelliousness thing? Hats! Gloves! Warmest coat and not negotiable! That's the kind of weather we're having. Hopefully every air-born virus will be knocked dead! (Every cloud has a silver lining. LOL)

Friday, February 02, 2007

Saint Blaise

Tomorrow is the memorial of Saint Blaise. Since Saint Blaise is invoked for all kinds of throat trouble I ask for his intercession for my brother who has a disease of the esophagus.

Saint Blaise, please intercede for my brother that his esophagus might be healed. And I thank you for this and all the healings and miracles that have occurred through your intercession.