Friday, August 31, 2007

I am tired. There are too many schedules coming at me, too many events, too many things to coordinate, too many things to remember.....I always feel a little overwhelmed in September.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I am so honored that Deb from UKOK's Place has nominated me for the Nice Matters Award.

“This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you’ve been awarded please pass on to seven others whom you feel are deserving of this award”.

I am so touched and humbled to be included in this list. I realize, happily, that I must be staying on my good behavior in this blog since people don't seem to know how not-very-nice I am capable of being:-)

So here are my nominations for the Nice Matters Award. These are bloggers I like, people I think I'd like to know in real life, and people I believe have a positive influence on the blogging world because of the values they hold.

1. Michelle at Rosetta Stone

2. Ruthann at Jabberwocky

3. Angie at Many Little Blessings

4. Denise at Catholic Matriarch in my Domestic Church

5. Mary Poppins Not at Crazy Acres

6. Lori at View from Our Porch Swing

7. Catholic Wife and Mother at Deo Gratias

Now, having received the Nice Matters Award, please pass along the honor to 7 others. And thanks for having such NICE blogs!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A birthday party

Today my daughter had seven friends over for a birthday party. Her birthday was actually several weeks ago but we didn't get around to the party until now.

Unlike other parties we've had over the years I did not plan this one in much detail at all. I didn't actually get the cake until this morning. I bought most of what we needed this morning too. Didn't write out the treasure hunt until shortly before the party. Didn't straighten up the house until the last half hour. Forgot to buy the drinks and had to send by son out to get some....

But it was all OK. The girls had fun and for ONCE I just accepted that I had done the best I could, that it would be all right, and that everything doesn't have to go completely smoothly for it to, in fact, go well. It was fine. I think my daughter was happy and her friends had a good time.

It's all about love, isn't it. It's not about the house or the details or the organization. It's about love.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Final performance of Grease!

Mary and John who did the musical direction..
Big brother Mike drove three hours to come see Jim sing and dance in the chorus and to hear John's musical direction

Here is Jim after the final performance of Grease. My brother (on Jim's left) drove an hour and a half to come see the show with his kids. It was good of him to come. These family ties are so important. They help us to hold each other up.

Friday, August 24, 2007


The other day was so humid my youngest girls decided it was perfect giant bubble making weather-- and it was. Here is the proof. You might have to click to enlarge the picture to get the full effect. I can't tell you how many pictures I took right as they popped:-)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

"Grease", clean-cut or sleazy?

A few summers ago my family saw a version of "Grease" in a theatre in northern Michigan that was really raunchy. I couldn't believe it. We took the whole family because we thought we all knew what "Grease" would be like. The show being put on by our local Catholic high school is very clean-cut. And yet, it's essentially the same story.

The summer version we saw was, of course, not the school version these kids are putting on. Still, the actual story is not very different. All I can say about the one we saw up North was that it was sleazed up as much as it could possibly be. Every vague innuendo was exaggerated. The whole show was dripping with oversexualization. They ruined it. We considered walking out. Afterwards, the kids themselves said they were surprised that we hadn't walked out.

I found myself wondering what on earth was the point of distorting such a nice little musical. We left with a bad taste in our mouths. It was just a yucky show-- and it didn't need to be. It was all the added raunchiness. I know it is said that sex sells. But this was so unattractive I can't imagine who would have thought it was improved by all the sleaze.

Anyway, the "Grease" being performed by Gabriel Richard High School is as nice as you would imagine in the pictures above. :-)

The first picture of the boys with the cokes includes our own Ruthann's Teddy on the right. And the boy dancing with the red tie on in the last picture is my Jim!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Ann Arbor's Father Gabriel Richard High School Dramalums are presenting "Grease." The show opens on Thursday, August 23 and runs until Sunday the 26th.

Today I saw the dress rehearsal and took pictures. It's a great family show and as usual, they do a fabulous job.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Won't publish?

The last post I tried to publish said there was a problem with my HTML code. This is a trial to see if it will publish anything....

The pear that is out of reach...

This afternoon my daughter Mary saw a beautiful, delectable pear way up in the tree, beyond her reach. She told me about it and I suggested she get the pole with the basket on it for picking fruit out of reach. She did, as you can see in this picture.

But as I too have often experienced, she found that up close it did not look nearly so perfect. (Although it wasn't bad for a pear tree that is never sprayed.) Still, I think there may be a life lesson here....

Sunday, August 19, 2007

First Child Launched

My oldest child has started his first real job and has moved into his first apartment. My first child has launched! He came home on Saturday to pick up more of his stuff and then had to leave again today because he has to work tomorrow.

Now it will always be this way. No long summer vacations, no month off at Christmas. He's in the adult world now and pulling his own weight, finding his own way. It's a strange kind of feeling for mom.

I am proud of him. I'm thrilled to have one child who is now a college graduate. But he is no longer a dependent. He's on his own. He's doing well. But we will all be missing him a lot. Fortunately, he's only a few hours away so we will still be able to see him often.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Paradox of Anxiety

OK. On a completely different note from what I usually write about.....I once suffered from an anxiety disorder. For those of you who have never suffered, and I do mean suffer, from anxiety, let me say that I am not talking about being stressed out from normal life circumstances. I am not talking about being temperamentally high strung. I'm talking about ANXIETY. If you've had it, you know it. I'm talking about walking through life feeling like a demon has you by the throat and you have to walk around pretending everything is normal... It's a living hell.

I learned that the only way to overcome anxiety, the only way to get better is to be willing to not get better. I know that sounds like it doesn't make any sense. In other words, you must accept that the feelings (which are both emotional AND physical) might never leave and choose to live to the fullest anyway. It is the lack of acceptance, the desire to escape the sensation, that fuels its continuation.

When I consciously, and as an act of will, chose to embrace the anxiety as a sacrificial offering to my God I started to get better. It still took some time. I had to consciously accept repeatedly. But there was an immediate lessening of symptoms that continued until I felt completely normal again.

I am still amazed by this. It is in being willing to have things never change that they will change. It is in losing our life that we gain it. Blessed be God.

Friday, August 17, 2007


There's nothing like "hanging out" on a hammock with cousins. The cool breeze all around you, the rolling into each other, the swaying.... The kids sure enjoyed it up North.

For an adult, a hammock allows you to regress, to relax and be rocked, to feel nurtured and comforted.

Can you tell I enjoyed my hammock this vacation?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Men's and Women's public restrooms

Why are men's and women's public restrooms the same size?

At the end of our day on Mackinac Island I went to the public ladies room before the ferry ride back, only to find it "closed for cleaning." I came back five minutes later to find it still closed. I said out loud, "still closed?" One poor woman sitting outside it on a bench said rather desperately, "You mean it's been closed a long time? I don't know if I can wait much longer."

Always sympathetic to a woman in that situation I said, "If there's no one in the men's room you could go in there and I could guard the door for you." She said, "yeah!" and went to the door of the men's room and hollered, "Is anybody in there?" Some man answered, "Yes."

So we sat and waited for either the custodian to finish in the women's room, or the gentleman to finish in the men's room. Several more women in need arrived and joined the line. Probably another five minutes passed. Finally I said. "Let's find out how much longer it's going to be before they're finished with the ladies room." I went to the door which was locked, knocked real loud and yelled, "Are you going to be much longer?'

Well, the poor gentleman on the other side thought I was talking to him!!!! He yelled back, "No, not much longer!" The whole line of ladies clapped their hands over their mouths and doubled over in the "loudest" silent laughter I've ever "heard." When he came out about half a minute later we all pretended not to notice. But when another man immediately went in before we could stop him one of the ladies said under her breath, "It better not be number two," which sent us all in to more silent laughter.

When he came out we all stormed the men's room leaving my son Jim, good sport that he is, to stop any more men from coming in.

There must have been 5 or 6 stalls in there!! --- For two guys to use while we all sat there in pain. They were all older restrooms. I understand designers are doing a better job now of recognizing that there is a need for a larger number of facilities for women than for men. I wonder if it's because there are finally enough female architects out there who understand. The men just don't get it!!! Here's the difference. It takes us longer to go!!!! OK? Is that so hard to understand?

Anyway, it made for a humorous story of camaradarie among women who didn't even know each other. The good news? We all made it, and had a comfortable ride back on the ferry. They were good sports. LOL

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Monday, August 13, 2007

My Vacation

We had a fun time in Alpena. The place we go to is so wonderful. It's isolated from the major roads. The cabins are all along this gravel kind-of service drive that loops around about a quarter mile circle. The kids can ride bikes endlessly and always within our sight. In the middle there's a playground. And that's not even the best part. There's a wonderful sandy beach on Long Lake, as well as a sand volleyball court, two different campfire circles, as well as a dock with rowboats and canoes to use. And nearly everyone there knows each other since the cabins are primarily rented though word of mouth. It's just a really safe, fun place.

The cousins who were there (not everyone could come) had a great time swimming, biking, and running around.
It was a nice, quiet, relaxing (for the most part) week.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

We're Back.

This hammock was a favorite resting spot for the whole family on our vacation to Lorien Resorts in Alpena. We had fabulous weather and a lot of fun all week. I will post more but I woke up this morning with an awful headache and I'm trying to pull myself together to get to a 5:00 Mass. Thank you for all your well wishes. Hope to read what's going on with you later tonight.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

I'm leaving today for Northern Michigan and I probably will not be able to post for the next week. My brother and my sister and their families will be there too. We will miss my Dad because in previous years he has always come too.
God bless your week. I'm sure I'll have a lot of reading to do when I get back.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

My sister is here!

My sister is here visiting from Saint Louis. On Saturday our families will go to Northern Michigan together for one week. We do this every summer. The kids love it-- A whole week to hang out with their cousins.

Tomorrow we'll meet with my brother to (hopefully) get a lot done on my father's house.

It's nice having her here. She's eight years younger than I am. We're having a lot of laughs.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Collapse of a Minneapolis Bridge-- no evidence of terrorism?

Lord, have mercy on all who have died and may your peace and your healing presence be upon the injured survivors and upon all the families involved.

Does anyone else find it odd that the Department of Homeland Security would be downplaying the possibility that this is an act of terrorism? Federal and local officials are saying there is no evidence that this is an act of terrorism. Well, I should think so. There probably isn't much evidence of any kind yet. In this day and age are we to believe that an engineering error or a construction error led to the collapse of an entire bridge? No inspections? No warning signs? ALL of the people involved in maintaining the safety of that bridge dropped the ball? I find that hard to believe.

I understand that there may be a desire to not give "credit" or attention to evil people who wish to do us harm. I understand the desire to not get people terrified (which is, of course, what the terrorist wish). But I do think there is still an issue of honesty here. Should they not be saying "We really don't know the cause of this terrible accident yet and therefore can't comment on it."? Wouldn't that show a greater measure of integrity and transparency?

There have been other incidents in recent years that I have thought the same about-- incidents with dubious explanations or no plausible explanations, about which we are told there is no evidence of terrorism. Sometimes I just wonder if we're really being told everything.


This week I have been doing a lot of work on my parents' estate. So many little items bring back so many memories. This is one of them. (If I've written about this before bear with me.)

In our neighborhood growing up in Fort Wayne, IN, my mother always had a neighborhood May Crowning at our house. It was very simple. We made a little crown out of flowers from the yard. We carried candles. We giggled. And all the moms came to watch. This is the statue we used to crown. It's little. Nothing special. But it means so much to me now to have it on the windowsill above my sink and to remember that my mother took the time to teach us about the queen of heaven.

I took it from the house with the candles that were still in it. They were all dusty-- perhaps from the last May Crowning. I can almost feel my mother smiling.