Friday, July 31, 2009

Why Is Apologizing Such a Big Deal??

Now I'm talking primarily about President Obama, but I must say that this question has come up in my life many times.

My birth family was very good at apologizing.  Course, we're all a bunch of hotheads so there were plenty of opportunities to practice. LOL  But we DID apologize.  It was an expectation.  If you blew up at somebody, or said something without thinking, or even accidentally hurt someone with your words, you apologized.  We were taught that apologizing was what decent people did.  It was the right thing to do.  I guess rather than criticizing others who were not taught so well, maybe I should focus more on being grateful that, usually, apologizing is something I do not find difficult.

OK,  that being said, why on Earth has Barak Obama not apologized for saying that Officer Crowley (of the "beer summit") had "acted stupidly?"  He has said he regrets having said that.  Well OF COURSE he regrets it.  He's been widely criticized for the remark. 

And, he even said he had miscalibrated his words.  Oh please, Mr. President.  Was this about calibration of words?  (interesting new use of the word calibrate, btw)

Without weighing in on whether or not racial profiling was involved, or whether or not his friend was wrong, he could so easily say the following:

"I want to apologize to Officer Crowley and all law enforcement officers.  My remark showed insensitivity to the dangers and challenges of the job.  I very much regret having said it and I am sorry."

Is it because people feel that an apology makes them vulnerable?  I guess, in a way, it does.  And for those growing up in certain homes an apology might indeed be unsafe.

But if President Obama made even an apology like the one I have suggested, I think he could only gain.  People respect an apology.  The willingness to admit one made a mistake (and not just a mistake of calibration, whatever that means) shows character.  It shows personal strength and leadership.  I think President Obama has been hurt by the whole episode and his response to it.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Five Things I am Grateful For...

Thanks to Judy for hosting A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings.  Here is my list....

1.  Of course I am most thankful for Jesus, the Eucharist, creation, my faith, my family, my life--- (the important ones)

2.  At the moment I am also feeling thankful for all the sales at the mall and the many good buys I found with my two youngest daughters this morning-- fun time.

3.  I am thankful for my son's gift of music and the amazing piano music I am hearing (not exactly in the background) right now.

4.  I am thankful for the incredibly beautiful weather of summer in Michigan and the vacation up North we will be leaving on soon.

5.  I am thankful for this Apple laptop that brings me so much joy blogging and not having to wait until the desktop is free!!

Beers at the White House

What is with the beer at the White House deal?

President Obama makes a foolish statement characterizing the behavior of a police officer as "stupid," before he has all the information about the incident.  Then, instead of apologizing for speaking so rashly and unfairly, he invites the two men to the White House for a beer.

Oh, that will solve everything, Mr. President.  Never mind that you're the President of the United States and ought to have more important things to concern yourself with.  

This is, in my opinion, a silly, foolish publicity stunt.  Sure, to many liberals it may make him look like the touchy-feely peacemaker he likes to present himself as.  But others can see how it takes the focus off of him and his foolish, impulsive statement.

I think it's almost an embarrassment.  It's a very unpresidential move, beneath the dignity of the office.

Why should the President have anything to do with a local law enforcement issue?  I have to admit that I kind of hope that Officer Crowley and Professor Gates get in an argument about what happened.  There is a right and a wrong way to behave in every situation.  If they both think the other was out of line they ought to go at it.  Then maybe President Obama will see that local issues really have nothing to do with him and that everything cannot be solved by sitting down and having a beer together.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

And here are the offspring!

Well past the first frost last winter, even after several snows, a lonely but hardy snapdragon survived, growing between the porch and the rock.  (pictured above) I loved it and posted about it a few times.

Here are its offspring!!!  I planted none of these.  They are the "babies" of the little snapdragon that wouldn't die.  I love it, love it, love it!

God is so good!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Coincidence? I don't know...

For a decade my mother was in a nursing home in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's Disease.

I remember the day we took her there.  My father was no longer able to care for her at home.  She had been falling.  She no longer recognized her home.  It was a very sad day.

I remember meeting the woman who would be her roommate.  She was a psychiatrist, a delightful woman who also had Alzheimer's.  Although she wasn't completely aware of where she was and why, she had a quick wit and was very friendly.  I'll call her Dr. Spencer.  (not her real name.)

Whenever I visited my mother I also talked to Dr. Spencer.  She always had a ready smile and frequently said things that were hilariously funny.  She died sometime before my mother, but my whole family remembers her well.  We all really liked her.

OK.  Fast-forward to last week.  I was meeting a friend of mine (who is also my financial adviser) at Starbucks.  Because of a miscommunication I was late.  While waiting for me, my friend Shelley started talking to a woman sitting next to her.  Shortly after I arrived this woman got up to leave and came over to Shelley to say she had enjoyed their conversation.  Laughing, I said, "She's also a great investment advisor, if you ever need one."  

This woman looked a little interested but said she already had a good advisor who had served her mother very well.  She said her mother had had Alzheimer's Disease and that she had been a doctor.  For some odd reason, (I have no idea why) I asked if her mother's name was Spencer.  She looked very surprised and said, "Yes, she was a psychiatrist."  My jaw has now dropped.  I said, "And she lived at Peachwood Inn?"  The woman, eyes wide now, said, "YES!"

I said, "Oh my word!!!!!  She was my mother's roommate!!!!!

The three of us were looking at each other in disbelief.  The nursing home is 50 miles from this Starbucks.  The woman remembered my mother well and also my father who had visited my mother every day.  I was absolutely flabbergasted that this could happen-- that I could actually run into Dr. Spencer's daughter and that through a casual conversation we would identify each other.

Somehow I suspect that my mother (and maybe my father) had something to do with this.  The likelihood  of this happening is so remote that I have to believe it was not a simple conicidence.  I always thought that Dr. Spencer was someone my mother would like.  Could it be that they now know each other in heaven and thought it would be fun to arrange circumstances so that their daughters could meet?  Can you do things like that in heaven?  If you can, that would indeed be fun, don't you think?  It sounds like just the kind of thing my mother would like to do.  Or was there some other purpose?  We may never know.

We exchanged phone numbers and email addresses and plan to meet again for coffee next month-- to honor our mothers.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The ice packs are off!

Despite the look on this son's face, I did have permission to take both these pictures. 

This is how they looked earlier in the week..

Ice packs on both sides.  Pretty cool.  (no pun intended)  Gave them a lot of relief.

Didn't stop John from playing the piano though.

They're both almost back to normal now.  Thank you for the prayers.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sweet Mary....

Last Saturday we picked the girls up from "Pine Hills Girls' Camp."  I can't say enough about these camps for middle school boys and girls.  My kids have come back thoroughly renewed and built up in their faith, while also having had loads of fun.  They are administered by the Word of God Community in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  If you would like to be on the mailing list for these camps you can contact the Word of God office.

Well, at the closing ceremony of camp there are always a number of awards, many of them for different groups.  But there are three individual awards, one for a seventh grader, one for an eighth grader, and one for a ninth grader.

Guess who got the ninth grade Leadership Award.....Our Mary!!!!  (The actual award is a much cherished pillowcase decorated with fabric paint.  She is holding it in the above picture.)

We are so proud of her.  Mary is a young woman of faith whose kindness to others and personal responsibility have always pleased her teachers.  She does her homework, keeps track of her things, including her schedule, does her chores at home.  She's the child who sometimes just empties the dishwasher because she sees it needs to be done.  You know, she has it together.  She is a quiet leader, demonstrating by example.  I was so happy that the camp staff saw these qualities in Mary and recognized her for them.  She is our gem!!!

We're so proud of you, Mary, not only for this award but for all the ways you serve God, your family, and others!!!!  You rock!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Twenty-nine years!!!

Twenty-nine years agoo

On Sunday, Mike and I celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary.

Went out to dinner and had a very nice time.

What do I appreciate about my husband and the last 29 years?

I appreciate his openness to life and his willingness to bless our marriage with children.

I appreciate the many, many kindnesses he has shown me over the years.

I appreciate what a good father he is and his willingness to make the sacrifices to keep our kids in Catholic schools.

I appreciate how hard he works and how well he has provided for us all.

(And right now he's not feeling well, so my prayer is he will feel better soon:-)

Happy Anniversary, Mike, (if he should read this.....he rarely reads my blog-- teehee)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Michael!!!

Today is Mike's birthday!!!!  This is my oldest.  What a blessing he has been to our family.

He sets an outstanding example for his younger siblings.

I could go on and on about the joy he has brought to us all.  Suffice it to say that we couldn't be prouder of him.

Happy Birthday, Mike!!

Wisdom Teeth update

The guys are doing pretty well.  They're just starting to eat a little cottage cheese, milk shakes, some ice cream, smoothies.  Nothing much more solid than that.

Jim had a lot of trouble with nausea and vomiting from the drugs used for sedation.  We eventually had to have a prescription called in for him for an anti-nausea drug.  

Neither guys have needed the pain meds, accept for  a little Motrin.

Still using the ice packs.

Jim, in an act of heroism (:-), actually went over to the swim meet and swam a 50 yard freestyle for the team in order to qualify for championships.  Then he came right home and went back to bed.  I think the coach really appreciated it.

Hope they'll continue to improve without complications.....  thanks for prayers!

Friday, July 17, 2009


I'm sitting in the waiting room of the oral surgeon's office.  

Love it that they offer wi-fi to people in the waiting room.  Isn't that thoughtful?  I can blog while my boys are getting their teeth out.  I think only one or two of the eight have broken through.  YUK.  But this surgeon is good.  He had my daughter's three wisdom teeth out in 20 minutes.  I'm not kidding.  That includes the Novocaine, two shots per tooth-- twenty minutes total.  She came walking out like nothing happened.  I said, "Aren't they going to be able to do it?"  She said, "No, Mom, I'm done."

When Jim first was getting his orthodontic work done he needed three baby teeth pulled.  I went back with him, talked to the doc, then went back to the waiting room.  The nurse said, "He'll be done in about 5 minutes."  I thought yeah, right.  In FIVE MINUTES she came back and told me he was done.  Five minutes, including the Novocaine!!!  He wasn't crying. (He was in grade school at the time.)  He said the shots hurt a little.  That was all.

This time the guys are getting some sedation.  Hoping that goes Ok (Praying!)

Eight Wisdom Teeth out Today!

Today my 17 yo and my 19 yo are both having their wisdom teeth out in back-to-back appointments.  We're leaving in about 20 minutes.

Would appreciate prayers (even after the fact) that everything would go smoothly, that their recovery would be quick and without complications.  (Jim is hoping to swim one event in a swim meet TOMORROW because that would qualify him to swim for the team in championships-- which is MONDAY!)  May he not overdo it!!!

Thank you!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More on ironing....

Loved the comments on yesterday's post on ironing.....

What about linen?  Now I know linen REALLY wrinkles.  My sister does not even iron linen.  She says she just thinks of it as a fabric that is supposed to have a wrinkled look.  OK.  And if you do have a nicely ironed linen dress as soon as you sit down it's wrinkled again, right?  Kind of conspicuously wrinkled because some of it is still nicely ironed right?  Maybe my sister has a point?

My adult daughter Anne read yesterday's post and said, "I love ironing."  Then she paused for a minuted and said, "Although I did buy myself an iron last February and haven't used it yet."  LOL  Maybe she likes the IDEA of ironing.

I do like the idea of nicely ironed clothes.  I just don't like the idea enough to make it more important than the other things I do, I guess.  (We always spend our time on what we truly think is most important, don't we?)  I try not to wear wrinkled clothes to Sunday Mass or important appointments.  Every day?  Nah.  I rarely iron every day clothes.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ironing-- I love my sister!

Pictured below is my sister and my daughter.  My sister is on the left.

I don't iron much.  Really, I only iron dress clothes that are badly wrinkled.

Lately I've wondered if maybe my standards are a little too low.  I have a friend who irons everything, even t-shirts.

I asked my sister while she was here if she thought a particular shirt of mine was too wrinkled.  She said, "No.....but I don't iron anything."

"Nothing?  Not anything, ever?"  I asked.

"Nothing,"  she said.  "In fact when my kids were little when they were shown a picture of an iron they didn't know what it was."

 I wore the slightly wrinkled shirt.

I love my sister.  

Monday, July 13, 2009

One Amazing Camp!!!

For a number of years my boys have attended a simply amazing camp for boys.  I think the three of them, if you count their years individually, have spent maybe 17 years there.  It's a camp for middle school boys.  But the boys all love it so much that they go back for years afterward serving as "service team members," junior counselors, senior counselors, etc.  The counselors are not paid.  In fact they pay a small fee to be one.  There are so many guys who want to go back to work they always have MORE than enough staff. 

It's an ecumenical Christian camp.  It's a tough, action oriented, masculine, guy-kind-of-camp, if you know what I mean.  But the best part is the spiritual side.  These young middle schoolers learn that there are cool, young, strong men who pray hard, who love God with all their heart, and are not at all ashamed to say so.  There are daily prayer times and a major group prayer meeting.

Jim, with some fellow counselors.
This year my two nephews came for the first time and had Jim for their counselor.

Typically, these young men come home renewed in their faith.  Some of them develop a relationship with Jesus for the first time.

And ALL of them have a fabulous time being guys of faith.

Above picture was taken on the final day as we were picking up my nephews.
What a week.  Took this photo on the way home.  Two exhausted campers and one exhausted counselor.
If you'd like to know more about this camp, please email me.  I didn't want to post too many identifying details online.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Doing laundry.  Lots of it.  The girls are going to an awesome Christian camp on Sunday.

Picking up Jim and two nephews at the Boys Camp tomorrow.  First taking the girls to an hour of their swim meet...

Taking Liz to a dive meet today at 4:00(which we forgot about).  Also forgot to take her to the practice yesterday.

Took Mary to a friend's house.

Have to get to Target to buy little shampoo bottles for taking to camp.

My sister will be back today from visiting our brother in Lansing.  Not sure what time.

Mailed a book for Jim.  (He's selling books online to make a little extra money.)

Really need to get in a prayer time.

Need to plan dinner and get some more produce.

Really need that prayer time.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Local Produce-- Really Local Produce!

My oldest has been talking to me about buying local produce.  It supports the local economy, fosters community.  It's know, all the good reasons.  So I've been meaning to go to our local farmers' market to take advantage of all this good stuff.  

I love to garden and I love fresh produce, especially right out of the garden.   But I am a mediocre gardener.  I usually plant a few tomato plants and maybe a couple other vegetables.  The rest are flowers.

For years I have admired a garden I pass on my way out of our neighborhood.  It's most of the yard, lots of vegetables and some flowers too.  It's obvious that this gardener spends a LOT of time on his garden.  It's organized, tidy, free of weeds, planted early and throughout the summer.   Imagine my delight while walking by it the other day to see a small sign saying to leave your name and number in the box if you'd like to buy some of his organic produce.

Woohoo!!!!  Would I ever!  I went over there yesterday and bought some really delicious produce.  I'll be by next week too, for sure!

Then I called my son and told him I had bought some produce that is even more local than the Farmers' Market.  It's right in my neighborhood.  He picked it off the plant while I was there!!

Loved it.  What a blessing.  

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Remember that Snap Dragon?

Here it was, well into the winter season.  This snapdragon just kept hanging on.  I loved it.  I don't know how many frosts it survived.  It even survived snowfalls.

I had originally posted about this snapdragon because I had not planted it.  It had reseeded from another garden location from the year before.  It was actually growing from a little tiny space between the porch and a rock.  It was literally between a rock and a hard place.

I wondered if it would come back this Spring.  I kept looking at its old space and saw nothing.  Then I realized there were several little plants that looked suspiciously like snapdragons growing around where last year's durable little plant had been.

Sure enough.  It reseeded into 4 or 5 or 6 little adorable, hardy snapdragons.  Woohoo!!!  I love it!!  And I love that I actually recognized the foliage and didn't pull it out thinking it was a weed.  

God's creation is so amazing!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

St. Augustine, Florida--loved it.

These are some of our pictures from St. Augustine, Florida.  It was such a beautiful old city.  I really enjoyed it.

Below are pictures of the "oldest house."  Dating back to the early 1700s, this house was really interesting.

Jim going back in time.  teehee.

And Liz took a turn too going back in time.
Some of the architecture was so beautiful.
Sunset in the old city....

It was a lovely place.  I'm glad we were able to stop there.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Home at Last!!!

After twenty some hours on the road we are finally at home and does it ever feel wonderful.

I was reading "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" nearly all the way home.  Keep in mind that the entire novel had taken place in Brooklyn.  When I finally looked up to see the Ann Arbor exit--- OUR EXIT!!! I was reading the following lines in the book

"If there was that same dream feeling about Michigan, then Francie would know that she was the one dreaming.

Ann Arbor!

The University of Michigan was there."

It was so oddly coincidental.  Right as I'm rejoicing that I'm almost home my hometown is mentioned in the book.

So good to be home.

BTW, I have enjoyed "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn."

Final Stretch

Tonight is the last night on the road.

Stopped in North Carolina for the night and also saw the movie "Public Enemies."  My son Mike was a dancing extra in the movie and we were hoping maybe we could see him.  Twice we all leaned forward for a second whispering, "Is that him?"  Couldn't be sure.  Most of the shots of the dancers were blurred.  Maybe when the DVD comes out and we can stop it we'll know for sure.

It will be nice to be home tomorrow night.  We will probably be on the road some 12 hours tomorrow.  

Then.  Maybe I'll get caught up on my blogging.