Saturday, February 28, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday, Chloe!

I can't believe it's been a year since you were born, little one! :)
Happy Birthday!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Seven Quick Takes (vol 2)

I'm participating in the "Seven Quick Takes Friday" carnival over at Conversion Diary... So here goes! ;)


Yesterday, a team of workers put a big dent in dismantling one of the old water towers
here in town. It was visible from our house, but on our way to do something else, we
pulled over and watched them work for a little bit. They were cutting the sheets of metal apart with a welding-type tool (I don't know the name for it when it's used to cut apart instead of weld together). It was really cool! And I just so happened to have my 300 mm lens with me... :)


Speaking of dismantling old stuff around town, work is continuing on the demolition of the old brick building(s) by the CoOp. The "city skyline" is changing! ;)


The only friends for whom I've ever taken wedding pictures got married May 31, 2008.
My family has known both of their families since they were two years old... And they were in my sister's and brother's classes. So we go way back. ;) The happy news is that they had their first baby - a girl - this past Wednesday at 8:15 in the morning! My dad delivered her... and my parents were asked to be her godparents! The baby was baptized Rita Marie yesterday evening. She's a BEAUTIFUL baby!! (I don't know too many newborns who really "earn" that adjective just as soon as they enter the world, but it takes very little prejudice indeed to see the "pretty" in this little girl. :) There has been quite a variety of opinions expressed regarding who she resembles most... but I'm sure that will become more evident as she gets bigger. :) (She's almost 36 hours old in the picture.)


Speaking of babies, my niece and goddaughter will turn one tomorrow! But technically, she is 365 days old today. :) That's what happens when you're born before Leap Day in a Leap Year. :D (She missed being born on February 29 by just 20 hours!) At one year old, she's been walking unassisted for two months, has a couple of her own words she uses for various things, LOVES dogs and books, and has distinct likes and dislikes. She's pretty even-keeled personality-wise and a virtual clone of her daddy. I can't imagine life without her now, though I sure wish our families lived a little closer than the 8-hour drive that currently separates us!


Have you ever noticed that you don't really want something until you give it up? We're barely three days into Lent and already ice cream sounds sooo good. It's 27 degrees outside! A week ago, when it was warmer, I was offered ice cream and it didn't sound very good, so I turned it down. Last night, all I could think about was how good a bowl of ice cream sounded. Terrible! It's the Friday-meat phenomenon in a different form. ;)


The stock market is flirting with dipping below 7000 points and gold is playing with the idea of crossing the $1000/ounce mark.I think this recession depression is here to stay. Everyone has a different opinion. That's mine. We're heading for painful times. :( No one can say that we didn't have it coming, though. The tragic part about it is the crazy spending being done by our government, which will surely be the death blow to a once powerful economy.


Speaking of which, my sister introduced me to a unique YouTube channel a few weeks ago: Depression Cooking, recounted by 93-year-old Clara, complete with recipes and first-hand accounts of the (first) Great Depression. It's interesting to see with what simple things they were contented... and Clara is so sweet! She represents to me a quality of character that has become extremely rare. Definitely worth the watch...


....Don't miss the other entries for this week's "7 Quick Takes Friday"!

I hope your Lent is going well and encourage you if you have already "fallen off the horse" in some regard to get back on it. And if you haven't really started anything for Lent, it's not too late! :)

À plus tard!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

Today marks the beginning of Lent, the most penitential season of the year. Today's liturgy turns our thoughts toward death (and the beginning of eternal life). What state will our soul be in at the hour of our death? We've probably all heard the saying, "As you live, so shall you die." With this in mind, I'd like to quote chapter 23 of Book I in The Imitation of Christ:

How happy and prudent is he who strives to be such now in this life as he desires to be found at his death.
For it will give a man a great confidence of dying happily if he has a perfect contempt of the world, a fervent desire of advancing in virtue, a love for discipline, the spirit of penance, a ready obedience, self-denial, and patience in bearing all adversities for the love of God.

I hope you all have a fruitful Lent - doing a little, but doing it well. God bless!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Take Up Thy Cross and Follow Me

A quote from chapter 12 of Book II in The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis:

To many this seems a hard saying: "Deny thyself, take up thy cross, and follow Jesus." (Matthew 16:24) But it will be much harder to hear that last word: "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire." (Matthew 25:41)

In the cross is salvation; in the cross is life; in the cross is protection from thy enemies.
In the cross is infusion of heavenly sweetness; in the cross is strength of mind; in the cross is joy of spirit.
In the cross is the height of virtue; in the cross is the perfection of sanctity.
There is no health of soul nor hope of eternal life but in the cross.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Seven Quick Takes

(I saw this idea on Conversion Diary and decided to try to participate this week!)


I went to the chiropractor for the first time in my life on Wednesday. Spent over an hour there and learned a great deal. It was really interesting! I went in for a neck problem, but wound up spending half of my visit discussing and dealing with my tilted pelvis. I knew I was twisted that way ;), but that wasn't the reason for my visit. Apparently, though, something CAN be done about it and yes, it is just that important. Good to know.


My one and only niece (who doubles as my one and only goddaughter) will turn one a week from tomorrow! I can't believe we've had this wonderful little person in our family for a full year! It feels like only a year since her mommy and daddy got married. (But trust me, it's been longer than that! ;))


I worked all day today (unusual for me). The receptionist had laryngitis, so she went home at lunch. The doctor (my dad) was sick, too, so he stayed home all day to try to get some rest (after being up nearly all night). I believe this is considered very poor form - to have a third of the staff at a doctor's office out sick. LOL! (One of the job hazards, you know...)


I haven't tried it out yet, nor have I had the chance to read up on it completely, but Jennifer over at the Conversion Diary recently talked about how much she has benefited from staying away from processed foods and trying to eat fresh. I can well imagine how great that would be! I can't wait until the summer time, when more things are readily available in fresh form!!


Speaking of summer, we're going to try to have a garden this year... for the first time in twelve years! I'm really looking forward to it. And I'm a little nervous about it, since it's a pretty big undertaking and mostly new to me (now that I'm old enough to grasp what goes into it :)). But mostly, I'm excited about the prospect.


I realized only recently that my boyfriend and I met (one of the times that we met anyway :)) on the very day that his first (and so far, only) nephew was born! At least, that is my understanding of the matter. Just an interesting factoid. :)


I can't believe how long it's taken me to get these seven things together. So much for it being seven quick takes! ;) I've been interrupted numerous times and had lots of things require my attention more urgently than this, so now, 24 hours or more after beginning to draft this, I'm going to publish it... and come in JUST under the wire for Friday. :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Real Poverty in America

Kim, over at Life in a Shoe, mother of nine, has brought up an interesting topic...

If you thought your income was modest but sufficient, the truth is you could be teetering on the brink of poverty. Let's put an end to your blissful ignorance, because nobody should be forced to choose between gasoline and a gym membership. It's just un-American.

Be sure to read her whole post here.

Did you go read it and come back? Go ahead. I'll wait.

The first thought that came to my mind was how ironic it is that Americans will go into debt so as not to be "poor".
What greater poverty could there be?
Isn't poverty a fairly absolute term? Why should it be a measurement of how we compare to our neighbors? If one cannot afford to take their family to Disneyland every year, does that make them poor and the children deprived?

This all ties in with a conversation that I had with my mom yesterday. We were on a toll road and the vehicle pulling through beside us was a gorgeous, new SUV. I wondered to myself how anyone would be able to afford a vehicle like that (unless they had exceptional employment)... this mental query was quickly followed up by the realization that many people can't actually afford the lifestyle that they've bought into it.
A quick look at revealed that, "The average American with a credit file is responsible for $16,635 in debt, excluding mortages, according to Experian." Another statistic quoted on The Sensible Steward says this: "Looked at another way, consumer debt today equals 132% of the average household's annual disposable income."

It is up to speculation to consider how many of these individuals and households might not have any debt if they had stopped and thought. It seems to me that there is a deficit in this country in more than just monetary funds. There appears to be just as severe a shortage in both common sense and critical thinking. defines common sense as "sound practical judgment that is independent of specialized knowledge, training, or the like; normal native intelligence." It defines critical thinking as "the mental process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion."
We've all heard the saying, "Common sense isn't as common as it used to be." Unfortunately, that has caused more than a little harm (not reserved to monetary poverty alone); the consequences of which won't be pretty...

What is the best way to avoid this in the future then? My answer would be good, solid education. This is not limited to a child's formal education (although that is certainly a part of it), but includes the mindset their parents impart to them, the expectations they are to live up to (read: responsibility for their actions), and the ability to think for themselves. If more people were to think on their own and make decisions independent of pressure from advertisers, the media, and peers, maybe our country wouldn't be facing the (economic/political/social/religious) crisis that is staring it in the face.

Ultimately, I think that it boils down to just a couple of things:
- People (society) need God. They need morality and that Someone to whom they must answer for their actions and to whom they can turn for help.
- Parents need to raise the children that they bear. Broken homes, day care, excessive extra-curricular activities all contribute to children being left to "raise themselves."
Unless and until these poverties are amended, we will search in vain for the solution to the current crisis.

**Addendum... One of the gravest poverties in our country is that millions of children are being denied life, but that's opening an entirely new can of worms and I'm not going there today.**

Wordless Wednesday: It Wasn't Me!!


Check out the other entries at 5 Minutes for Mom! :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Corona Mariae

Yesterday afternoon, the Corona Mariae took place. Latin for "Mary's Crown," this is the name given to the annual basketball match(es) between St. Mary's Academy and La Salette Boys' Academy. This was the fourth year that it has been held... and, sadly, for my alma mater, the fourth year in which La Salette has won the cup. (For the record, although I am dating the coach for La Salette's junior varsity, I did root for St. Mary's. :))

Nonetheless, the games were extremely enjoyable to watch. Something about the unadulterated masculinity on the courts... not to mention in the stands! :) I know that St. Mary's got a lot of flack and (at least local) media coverage for not accepting a female referee at one of their basketball games a couple of years ago, but at the risk of being controversial myself, I agree with their position. There's something so inappropriate about a female being intimately involved in a contact sport. (I'm not dissing on soccer moms or female spectators. I'm speaking, rather, of cheerleaders and the like.) Anyway, that could be an entire post in itself and it's not my point here, so... moving on :) ...St. Mary's won the junior-varsity game 33 to 21. La Salette won the varsity match 44 to 35. The varsity game was surprisingly intense and, to my untrained-eyes at least, very well played. We were ahead at the end of the third quarter and it was only in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter that the La Salette Lions pulled ahead! Very exciting... and exhausting! It's amazing how exhausting it can be to sit on the bleachers and watch! LOL!

Afterwards, there was a banquet for the teams and then more games/other competitions followed. I'm hopeful that this went a long way to further the camaraderie between the two schools.
...So it was a fun day - and a happy St. Valentine's Day, since the games' falling on February 14 allowed me to spend just a little time with Mr. Borg while he was in town. :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy 21st Birthday, Rose!!

My little sister turns 21 today! :O Hope you have a very happy birthday, Rosie! Now you're completely "legal." ;) Have one for me, won't you?

These pictures are from Rose's 18th birthday, when she became "partially" legal. :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I Guess I Don't Talk American, But Rather Speak English

Most people who know me would probably guess that I like English a lot... not only the grammar aspect of it, but also composition. So, just for fun, I thought I'd take Hello Quizzy's "Commonly Confused Words Test" to see how I'd do. Honestly, I surprised myself! :) Heh. Wow.

Your result for The Commonly Confused Words Test...

English Genius

You scored 100% Beginner, 100% Intermediate, 100% Advanced, and 100% Expert!

You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!

Care to try your hand at it? Take The Commonly Confused Words Test at HelloQuizzy

Just be sure to come back and let us know how you did!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Happy Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes! I went to Mass this morning and among my other intentions, I prayed for all my blog readers. So if you are here reading this, I offered Mass for you and your intentions this morning. :)

Mom and I were fortunate enough to visit Lourdes this past August, 150 years after Our Lady appeared to St. Bernadette. I had seen pictures of Lourdes, heard about what it was like, and had my own expectations... but somehow, seeing the place of the apparitions for myself was more moving than I had anticipated it would be.
The 150th anniversary (coupled with THE vacation month in Europe) meant that there was a lot of hoopla throughout the entire town of Lourdes and crowds of people at the Grotto. Nonetheless, standing before the statue of Our Lady in the rock and surrounded by people who were devout believers and others who were simply curious, I felt an almost palpable calm, a tangible peace. It was as though Our Lady was reiterating, "I am your Mother. You have nothing to fear. Come to me." I did not get that impression anywhere else... In fact, on occasion, it was quite the opposite. What they have done to St. Bernadette's former parish church and the place where she received her First Holy Communion is revolting. Yet, no matter the time of day, regardless of the crowds of pilgrims and tourists, in rain or in sunshine, every visit that we made to the Grotto (4 times in all, if I remember rightly) was marked by the same sense of the sacred.
And my impression of Lourdes was changed forever.

Wordless Wednesday: Looking forward to Spring

The weather's been beautiful lately, but it's not supposed to last... I can't wait 'til Spring/Summer is here for real!
June 30, 2008

For more Wordless Wednesday entries, be sure to stop by today's edition at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Monday, February 09, 2009

I'm a ... what??

So I went and took the personality test about which "Borg" blogged. (haha! That's kind of catchy. ;))
This is certainly not the first time I've done a personality questionnaire, but it's always interesting to see how the results come out. I've posted them below. If you want to try it yourself, you can find the test here.

You perceive the world with particular attention to humanity. You focus on what's in front of you (the foreground) and how that is affected by the details of life. You are also particularly drawn towards the shapes around you. Because of the value you place on humanity, you tend to seek out other people and get energized by being around others. You like to deal directly with whatever comes your way without dealing with speculating possibilities or outcomes you can't control. You are highly focused on specific goals or tasks and find meaning in life by pursuing those goals. You prefer a structured environment within which to live and you like things to be predictable.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Not sure I agree with all of that, with regard to myself... but by and large, it seems accurate! (Those of you who know me in real life, what do you think?)

Here's a table to show how the different possibilities compare:
It might be fun, actually, to try to pick out which one you think you are before taking the test. ;)

If you do it for yourself and care to share your results, be sure to leave them (or the link to a post about them) in the comments!

Taking of the Cassock

A week ago today, on the Feast of the Purification, my brother took the cassock in Winona, MN. It was a splendid day (thankfully mild for the area - it made it up to 28 degrees that afternoon) and a beautiful ceremony. I just wanted to share a few... *ahem* ... a lot of pictures.

Please keep my bubba in your prayers!! Thank you!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Global Warming??

Tonight's forecast: Darkness and weather after 10 PM. Tomorrow, there's a 100% chance of daylight and continuing weather. ;)

Yesterday and the day before, we had lovely, beautiful weather! We lifted the windows and propped open the doors. The fresh air was... just that! a breath of fresh air! :) The sunshine was invigorating and the warmth revivifying. It never fails to amaze me the effect that weather - good or bad - can have on one's morale! I felt more motivated yesterday than I have since Christmas.
Come to find out, we set a new record high. 71 degrees! No wonder it didn't feel like February 7!
I seized the mood and set about making cinnamon rolls for this morning's breakfast.
While those were rising, I whipped up several dozen chocolate chip cookies.

And while those baked, I snatched the chance to go sit outside and soak up a few rays. The light was sooo pretty, albeit the grass is still brown.
Later, as I was browsing through some old blog posts, I came across three previous ones related to weather... All of them talked about unseasonably warm weather. I have not, in four years, written a single post about unseasonably cold weather. Maybe there's something to that global warming after all?!? :P