Monday, December 24, 2012

Wrapped up in wrapping

I messed up guys. It's almost Christmas, and after four liturgical weeks of beautiful prophecies and readings and reflective prayers handed to me on an advent wreath, I'm still not ready. Like at all. 

 Family issues, some illness, and some real drama distracted me. Real drama. Second week of Advent was consumed by Nutcracker performance for one child and Alice in Wonderland for another... okay fine maybe I mentioned that already. Then there was the tragedy of Newtown to distract me from the norm. And just this weekend, the one I had nothing planned for, my girls were stand-ins for a local production of the Christmas Carol. (No, I'm not a pageant mom, thank you.) 

Anyway I'm excited and proud and overwhelmed and exhausted. And so not ready for Christmas. The house is a mess. I bought way too much. Stuff I need is still not delivered. The cards aren't sent(again). The gifts aren't wrapped. The Advent links didn't really happen. And now my girls remind me I promise to bake cookies. 

 I did manage to go to confession yesterday, but was adding to my list the whole way there: yelling at everyone to get out the door on time, annoyed at the guy who cut me in line. Who knew getting to Reconciliation was a near occasion of sin??

In all this I can't find baby Jesus.  No, literally. Looks like we'll be using the plastic, chubby, toy of the Divine Infant from our Little People Nativity. I know He will come anyway, and find a manger in this busy family's life. We love Him and need Him here, especially in our distractedness. I can't comprehend Easter this side of the grave but as a mom, Jesus as a baby is so wonderfully approachable. 

Welcome, dearest little Lord. Thank you for coming, for your light and peace. Send wise men to help me make final decision on gifts. Shepherds to guide my heart back to thoughts of you in my chaos. Your mother to show me how to hold You to my heart.  Veni veni, Emmanuel. - TLC 

Christ our King, come to our aid!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A reasonable hope

Prelude RANT: This is the third time I've written this post.  The phone app I put presumptious hope in ate the first draft.  My new, Black Friday purchased laptop sent the second into blog nirvana... and then I had to curl my daughter's hair before her Nutcracker recital--oh absolutely you can have pics! They're coming--and then the phone rang beside the sleeping baby, who had to be resettled...I am curious to see if this version finally goes to print.  After two maple cookies and a chocolate bar (followed by some eater's regret Kefir), I'm prepared to give this another whirl (crack knuckles, ow ow ow!  Remind me not to do that....)

Recently there was a heated debate (no pun intended) in Catholic circles over how numerous the population of hell actually was.  Fr. Barron, of Catholicism series fame, had raised the eyebrows and hackles of some by a certain video.  In case clicking seems too onerous at the moment, basically the popular priest stated that it was "a reasonable hope" to believe hell may not be the overcrowded damnation destination we've allowed ourselves to think.  After reading the exhaustive and exhausting commentary and watching the clip, I came down heavily on his side; I thought the position was beautifully explained and supported.  One of my favorite parts was when he quoted C.S. Lewis: "The door of hell is locked from the inside," implying that hell was very much a self-imposed exile, and the thought that Divine Love, refused, was what lit the eternal fire.

But not all my fellow Christians and Catholics agree, by any means.   It seems some hold it is most virtuous to assume that hell is positively packed with the perditious, and any hint at a sparsely settled Hades gets some feathers totally bent out of shape.  And with seemingly great ire, following the video are citations of the most foreboding passages of scripture regarded the road to damnation being wide and flocks of goats on God's left hand, to wondering how the Fatima vision of hell could not mean a sight of absolutely eternal damnation, and overall whining about how mortal sin and free will and the pursuit of grace could have any meaning if Our Lord was set on saving many more souls than we thought possible.  I closed my laptop (when I heard the smashing demise of the third ornament of the day at the hands of my toddler) with thoughts of how the older brother of the prodigal son was also envious, and with annoyance at how people with an exaggerated sense of human justice were attempting to limit the mercy of God.

Then some idiot walked into a Connecticut school not terribly far from my home, and killed an entire class of Kindergarteners yesterday.

Suddenly I found myself last night--along with a sibling--fantasizing on how many ways we would kill the murderer if he only were not so annoying as to be already self-deceased.  So much for my being above human justice. 

I am so glad I'm not the judge of anyone's soul.  I get too angry.  I react too quickly.  I cannot see the innermost working of people's minds, nor read their hearts, nor understand their motivations.  Especially when it comes to the mass murder of children.  I would have no mercy.  Yet, He who is both infinitely and perfectly just and merciful seems to want to be portrayed like this:

The only thing so far that makes it possible for me to come at all near to understanding a mercy so vast as to potentially save the soul of Adam Lanza is to look at how I understand and forgive my own children.  I gulp and try to perform the mental exercise I employ when I am furious at my adolescent daughters: I picture them as babies.  Innocent.  Vulnerable.  So gosh darn cute.  Learning how to love or to hate at the hands of those around them.  And I come a fraction closer to understanding how the Creator so deeply wants the eternal good of His most beloved creation: us.  And I can for a second stomach the vision of a greatly repentant lion in heaven with the innocent lambs he slaughtered.  And momentarily, I can consider the reasonable hope that hell is not crowded. 

For now, I mostly want to pray for those who are lost and the families who lost them: May all the souls of the victims of the Connecticut shootings rest in peace in the hands of their Creator, who loves them, who died for them, and who will deal with them with great Justice and great Mercy.  And may God embrace the bereaved families with the comfort He alone knows how to give. 

"As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him." Psalm 103:13

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lovely lady dressed in stars

12/12/12. Okay that's just plain fun. And yes, made even cooler by being the anniversary of an apparition in the Americas too.

I know many people whose relationship with Jesus' mom I wholeheartedly admire. And envy. Including those who have a devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Yet, when I look at pictures of that miraculous image, and even when I've studied the incredible details and symbolism of the tilma, with the cord indicating her Pregnancy and the reflection of Juan Diego in her eye, I still don't have an immediate connection with the image. I see someone depicted whom I know to be beautiful, but who appears to my modern eyes as.. well foreign and historic. Not the lovely native queen the humble man met on a hillside.

I probably felt most connection with Our Lady of Guadalupe when I was Our Lady of Guadalupe. In a homeschool drama club of course. About 25 year ago today (pause here to pass out in shock at my age, somewhat recover and continue typing in a daze) okay some time ago on this date I was dressed in something blue... Pretty sure it had nothing on a starry robe but still. And I was reciting those irresistibly comforting words: "Am I not here who am your mother? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?" (Meanwhile my younger female thespian--still a good friend of mine--was trying to look as impressed and Juan Diegoish as possible.)

I think that's just the long, much more eloquent version of what I say to my baby every day when she wakes up crying from a nap: "Don't worry baby. Momma's here."

I can definitely connect with that, despite my attachment failure with the miraculous tilma, which while supernaturally mind-blowing lacks an immediate familiarity. That's one of the reasons I'm really glad about this.  As a mom I feel the need to connect with my heavenly mother. And no, of course, paintings of Our Lady engaged in the very human tasks of raising a baby in no way replace a miraculous image. But they do remind me if the miracle of motherhood, and the extraordinary ordinary that fills our days.

O beautiful Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us, your little ones. -TLC

PS I just found out my husband's nom de plume is a white fish. This comes as a bit of a shock. Here's praying for you, COD:

Lovely Lady dressed in stars,
Teach us how to pray.
If we from Venus, men from Mars,
All help you give we'll take.

Ah. Men.

(There I go glibbing again...)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Just when I thought I was perfect....

Husband: "Hey Kate! You're coming off glib."
Me, coaxing dancing babe into a diaper: "Glib?"
Hubby: "Yeah, glib. Like you have the best take on everything and stuff."

Now I hope that's not true. I truly don't want to come off as obnoxious. I love hearing differing opinions. So if I come off as annoying, do remember when I blog, I'm writing instead of sleeping, and so at times I really would edit more if I were conscious. Really, I would.

But yes, I have "a" take on things. Not (necessarily) the best one. I'm open to growing in wisdom and grace. I'm only 34.

No I'm not always right, a huge shock I'm sure. For instance, I just again drove past the Amazing (barf) store tonight. Turns out I led you astray... that cookie really is being a vixen. She was whipping off a brassiere made of starlight mints; I'd missed that before. No wonder the gingerbread man looked shocked.

My take (since you asked): objectively these pastries are behaving in a salacious manner rather unbefitting desserts. But in my undying optimism, I'm gonna assume that there is a preexisting condition which would push this whole flirtation towards more venial matter. My take? They're married.

"Hey Dan! Was that glib? Oh dear..."

I have also been informed by the domestic editor-in-chief that my posts are too long. This will be remedied shortly. -TLC

The Medicating Catholic

Big secret leak for the nurses station...: we can hear you. Yeah those curtains aren't actually sound proof, sorry.  As we patients convalesce in triage, we silently critique your lunch choices.  We commiserate with you, a little, when you relate how "she said psst psst but then SHE said psst psst..."  But we don't like it when we hear you swearing about how you just want to go home, and then burst in to check on us with a fake cotton candy smile.  Please.  We don't feel good; let's get real here.
Yeah, so, I ended up getting hydrated by IV, behind one such curtain, since my last post.  And yes I really, really am getting better now.  Been a tough few weeks health-wise for me, a very penitential Advent so far.  I do feel God is upholding me through it all though.  And my husband and kids have been picking up my slack; they just rock.  And I've been getting a lot of prayers while exploring the terrain of physical misery, and I am reminded that I can meet God here.  That He is fully capable of using these times of... well, suffering... for good, that I'm kind of in boot camp to become the person He sees me being: me at my best.  And most of the time, I do fully believe He knows what He's doing.

I was getting to worry that this blog was a misnomer... should have been "The Medicating Catholic" maybe.  :)  But no, I chose "Lactating" and I just realized I haven't explained that choice fully yet... 

Well it's quite simple.  I chose this name for the blog because I think we often take the wrong things seriously. War is serious. Death and life are serious. Love is serious. Milk and its production is not serious. Or sacred. But somehow--in the case of lactation--some have jumped from truth to absurdity.  For instance: marriage is sacred (yes);  marital love is sacred and private and to be revered (absolutely); we love in our physical body (uh huh); particular body parts are considered attractive (okayyy); breasts are about sex so we really shouldn't talk about anything to do with them (hold the phone!) I have actually heard this argument in Catholic circles, and I find this conclusion absurd, when the primary and most necessary function of that part of female anatomy is to nourish young. I feel such thinking it is a symptom of an oversexualized culture that can attempt to make anything sexy. (Example: M&M's.) 

And okay, I chose the name for this blog because I want to tweak some noses.  I am all done with Catholic arrogance, which unfortunately seems prevalent in the Catholic blogosphere.  It's not a virtue.  I strongly dislike the implication that we, because we are on "the Catholic team", can look down on those who are not, or freely judge those who seem to not know the rules of the game as us.  We can be profoundly grateful for our Faith and "pro Catholic team" knowing it's the best without thinking less of others. Really we can.  There's a problem when people are more worried about being right than about being holy.  And there are many non-Catholics closer to God than some Catholics who are "right." 

So I like to use humor to right the balance.  For instance:

Okay, sometimes it's right on the edge of what may be deemed appropriate.  But in this case, there is nothing objectively wrong with the phrase "shades of grey."  Yes, someone wrote a skanky book with that title (which no, I haven't read nor plan to read.)  But that doesn't mean we need to shy away from the phrase.  Or from other books by that title.  :)  As my Alma Mater would say: Instaurare Omnia in Christo.  Let's restore all things in Christ.

There's an "Amazing" (snort) Superstore we have the misfortune of having to drive by on certain routes home.  For years, when I had observant kids in the car it would be glance, groan, and "Hey look kids, a truck!  A bird!  Roadkill!" or anything to draw their attention away from the objectified, scantily clad picture of a human being in the front windows.  But recently, for reasons unknown, things have changed there.  The monthly advertisements have gotten much tamer.  For Halloween this year, there was a vampy but actually well-clothed pic of a woman in vampire costume being pursued by a zombie entitled, "Be the life of the party."  But this month... oh it's awesome.  :)  There's a shocked looking gingerbread man--yep, a cookie--looking at another cookie, a gingerbread woman I guess who had "overtanned" judging from her icing lines, sporting some vanilla caption like "Have a warm holiday."  Now that is silly enough to be actually funny. 

But yes, they are trying to SEXUALIZE COOKIES!  So fellow Christians, let's take back our books, and our colors in every shade, and our chocolate and cookies.  And by all means, let's take back our milk. - TLC

"All things are pure to the pure; but to the defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure." Titus 1:15

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Surrendering to Joy

When one is sick, the following pattern is typically pursued in some order: bed, bathroom, bed, TV, tea, toast, bathroom, bed. 

When one is a sick mom, this pattern becomes something like the following:   

Bed. Bag of shredded cheese shaken over your head by child.  

“Mom, I want this!!” 

Arise in full knowledge that the bag will be opened by child should you insist on bed.  Fumble into kitchen, then turn and bolt for bathroom, three year-old with cheese in hot pursuit.  

“But Mommy, I want my bowl! I need a snack! That’s not the way!  Aww…”  

Stumble back to bed, while baby toddles in, hands raised.  You weakly drag her into your bed, where she plops down on your roiling stomach and starts pointing pointedly at your shirt.  

“No baby, not right now, Momma’s sick…”  

Over the crescendo of your baby’s wail, you hear loud giggles, and struggle upright to see preschooler dancing in glee over a carpet of cheese on the floor.  And that’s just the first twenty minutes of your sick day.

That’s what I’ve been doing here while I haven’t been writing.  Still haven’t recovered from whatever auto immune flare-up my Thanksgiving vacation set in motion.  Prayers are appreciated; I’m hanging in there.

At least well enough—by nightfall--to help with the homework of a 5th grader.  My daughter was deep into the most serious of classroom political campaigning last night: poster making.  I was trying to coax a dried super glue into affixing a little mirror under “LOOK” followed by “who’s voting for Annemarie for VP!” 

I realized she had the misfortune of misspelling “responsible” on her poster.  In permanent marker.  A hunt for wite-out followed.  A hunt for viable wite-out followed that.  When that failed, my husband took on the task of bringing the wite-out back to life with hot water, then alcohol.  After five applications of the regenerated substance, it almost worked. 

All the while, I was blasting Christmas music.  Yes, Christmas music.  No, not Advent music.  No, I am not a pagan.  Yes, I spent years resisting the overly early emergence of Christmas.  But this year, I am surrendering to joy.  Well, at least when they aren’t playing “Santa Baby” on the radio; that’s just painful.  Besides, I can sing it better. :)

No, I’m like you, really: I resent the rushing of the holidays.  How the culture hurries us along like children: yes, yes, you are enjoying Thanksgiving dinner but look over there!  Sales!  Shopping!  Wrap!  Decorate!  Send out the cards! 

And then on December 26th, just when we’ve actually started to celebrate, it’s over. Trees on the curb.  Music off the radio.  I mean, some hang on to the New Year and give the whole holiday a good week, but mostly I feel society looks up dully on the 26th and says, “What?  Christmas?  Oh we were over that at 10 AM yesterday.  So glad to get that tree out of my house.”

How sad!!  I mean really!!  Very sad.  Rushing towards a goal only to be bored when we reach it.  That’s one of the many reasons I’m a big fan of Advent.  I deeply appreciate the weeks of preparation, spiritually and externally, to celebrate the birth of Christ, God becoming man, the wonder of the Incarnation.  That's also why I really tried to put the brakes on Christmas until _Christmas_.  I cringed at the holly jollyness of the world around me.  And I insisted my family at least try to be liturgically appropriate.  Last year at this time, like the previous years, I was singing only Advent songs with the kids.  Mostly the twenty-two verses of “O Come Emmanuel.”  We did the Jesse tree.  We had Advent links with a little sacrifice /  act of kindness every day to be done.  We had purple decorations.  Didn’t get a tree till that pink candle week of Gaudete Sunday.  And yes, I'll continue most of these.  

But last year, I realized in the midst of my resisting the climate of frenzied celebration, that I was missing out.  No, not on just the commercialism that all spiritually minded folk try to do without during this holy season.  But on some perfectly acceptable joy.
I’ve been blessed back in the stone age of my single life to spend parts of this season in convents.  And I wanted that quiet reflection, that interior preparation for my family.  Finally realized this year that that—really--isn’t going to happen that way.  I can’t recreate that blissful bubble of cloister for an active family immersed in today’s society.  My kids have been steeped in pine and cinnamon scents since October, their peers are talking nonstop about the holy day (I mean holiday, which means holyday… jokes on you, PC society J)… Unless you go underground, red and green and Santa are inescapable here.  

So we won’t go from barren purple décor to sumptuous Christmas regalia overnight on the eve of the 24th, much as I wish that was the case in my desire for symbolism and living the liturgical life.  But, in the midst of doing acts of charity to prepare for baby Jesus, I’m coming to the realization that my kids and I can also be singing the songs of Christmas.  Okay maybe I’m a little slow, but this was a big realization for me.  Even though the world around us may not fully “get” it, with the huge inflatable snowmen and light up candy canes--they do know there is something to celebrate here.  Something way beyond ordinary, though the ordinary birth of an ordinary baby is wondrous enough.  But now there are whispers of the miraculous birth of a Savior, slipping into a stable, a quiet, steady Light in a dark world.  And while society may try to cover it with décor, and wrap it in Santa movies, and insist on calling it a holiday with holiday trees (again, lol), they are—however blindly and unconsciously—reaching out for the Divine.  Our Lord is there in the center of it all.  So we'll join in the celebration that surrounds us, because God is at its center, however swaddled the culture tries to have Him be. 

This year, I am surrendering to the joy that surrounds us.  Yes I will pray and reflect, but without insisting on perfection.  Christmas music is on my radio, and when it happens to actually be Christocentric, I blast the stuff.  We have the Advent wreath, and light a candle every week.  But we’ll get the tree a little earlier... like as soon as possible.  I want my babies to see the lights, and will talk to them of the Light.  And I’m hoping to continue a family tradition of mine this year: celebrating the feast of St. Nicholas.  Shoes out, fire in the hearth, cocoa and singing all the Christmas carols we know.  Okay, shoot that would be… tonight, so I’d better try to get ready.  I'm currently thinking dollar bills might be unimaginative, but for a distracted and forgetful mom, that's good in a pinch.  Happy Feast of St. Nick, the “real Santa,” to you all!  - TLC

"And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." John 1:5

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Turkey Withdrawal

Woo hoo!  I have signed school papers, fed a toddler, and fixed my daughter’s hair for school all before getting out of bed.  Hyperproductive day ahead no doubt, so I’m posting:

Hahaha!  I wrote that yesterday.  No wait, two days ago.  Left it in to have a good chuckle at myself.  Ah the hubris!  Oh well.  Almost a week later, I am still recovering from the twenty-hour round-trip Thanksgiving family van voyage down south and back again.  Honestly though, I have greatly missed you, my dear invisible—possibly imaginary—audience.  J  Thanks for checking in.  Do let me know if you have any Thanksgiving stories to share yourself; I don’t want to always do all the talking here. Or you could post a really nasty comment so I can make fun of you.  J  That would be diverting.  Meanwhile, I really need to redo this blog format; all I’ve learned how to do so far is change the background really, which I need to do soon for the advent of Advent… Hmm.

I want you to know that I certainly planned on posting before this, but I ran into various obstacles the past few days, above and beyond the usual unpacking and catching up.  Often literal obstacles.  Like my three year old standing in front of me with the dreaded CandyLand game; her version is played by leaping from one treat to another, while her baby sister chews the color cards.  Ironically, this sugar-obsessed game was produced to me right after I told her she could not have her sister’s leftover birthday cake for breakfast.  Seriously Veggietales… Veggieland maybe?  Anyway.  I was a bit delayed as well by the realization that a hard-boiled egg (mercifully still shelled) was lost in my king-sized bed, a sensorial attempt to teach my toddler about ovoids.  Oh yes, and my eight year old turned… nine, completely without my permission.  This required the yearly pilgrimage to the penitence of Chuck E Cheese, where I greet the migraine with a determined smile, thinking I really REALLY need to enjoy this because they are only young once.  I almost convince myself to do this…

Other obstacles included me tangling with a cord and slamming into my beloved Shark steam mop, which I somehow managed to step on in the debacle and snap in half. I now know what my husband will be getting me for Christmas.  And while I’m on a requiem for appliances, I must have a moment of silence for my GPS, which faded away into silence before our trip south for the holiday, naturally.  I miss it greatly, and await the Cyber Monday-ordered replacement with mixed feelings.  Will this new tech relationship be as good as the first?  Remains to be seen.  I will keep an open mind, though my former GPS just knew me better, my contacts and frequent destinations, the place I call home… sniff!  

One last excuse I will mention is the health issues we’ve been having over here: my baby is entertaining some stomach issue that causes the need for diaper changes on the hour.  That and my RA—an old friend of mine—made itself known in an unique way this week by causing both of my hands to swell painfully; usually it goes for my left, but this time it showed no favoritism.  This current condition is not particularly conducive to typing.  I’m waiting for doctors to call back as I pound away here with about 65% accuracy…. Loving the backspace right now folks…

But back to our trip.  I used to love to travel.  Really.  Car, plane, boat, train.  My husband and I drove cross-country for our honeymoon for crying out loud.  (No, I don’t recommend this, but we did it.  If we got a do-over, we’d choose an all-inclusive resort at a tropical destination, which would greatly reduce the anxiety produced for a new couple driving in the dark around canyons in national parks, seeking a place to spend the night.  Fun stories though.)

I think my latest Thanksgiving trip has finally cured me of all wanderlust.  We hadn’t even made it out of the state when we found ourselves in the emergency room.  My poor coughing husband managed to badly pull/tear a muscle while driving, and during his x-ray they found out—oh, by the way—he had pneumonia.  Did that stop us?  Not us.  Armed with new prescriptions three hours later, I was driving at a nice clip between concrete barriers in a construction zone with my stiff, sore, sedated, and snoozing spouse by my side.  Screams from the back then alerted me to the fact that my three year old had successfully let herself out of her car seat and had minimal desires to return, despite the highly persuasive shouts of her older siblings, “Get back in there!!!  Aw man….Mommmm!!” 

The nearest Walmart produced a new [Pink!  It’s pink! Your FAVORITE color!] car seat for her.  And sometime around 3 AM, we made it to our destination: a cabin located—somewhat oddly—right beside the site of the Battle of Chancellorsville.  It did help me keep my complaints to a minimum recalling how much sacrifice once occurred in the area.  We spent some time in DC, which I’ve always loved… very grateful I was able to share that experience with my kids!

Though on further inspection, the Museum of Natural History is essentially a dead zoo.  Just saying.  Still, the city inspired patriotism even in my youngest it seems.

This was followed by Thanksgiving with extended family, which went okay… despite the fact that one of the family took suddenly ill, while another demonstrated more concern for the well-being of the deceased poultry than for anyone else present.  But it was Thanksgiving anyway, we said a heartfelt grace, and I got to hang out with my sisters-in-law, which for me is always a positive.  If I didn’t like them as people (which I do exceedingly) I could not help but like them for their penchant of playing mommy makeover with me.  They initiated me into Black Friday—both the late owl and early bird versions—and I have immerged, through their stunning generosity, with more clothes than I have bought in my lifetime to this point.  I buy about one article of clothing a year usually, and yes, I still wear stuff from college, but hey, I thought I was doing okay.  They did not agree.

So I’m back here, still tripping dazedly around piles of laundry to be folded.  I’m so very, very tired.  I hope you all had a good thanksgiving.  Will post again soon, but diaper duty is calling again. Ttys, TLC 

(Meditating on this one today: “In everything, give thanks.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pressed Down, Shaken Together, Running Over

My eldest lay face down while my baby attempted to bite her feet.  We were in a tiny appointment room next to the large waiting area, door left open because the mini company I had to bring could not be contained on the single exam table.  I balanced my ever-overflowing tote bag from my shoulder while trying to fill the forms on the clipboard pertaining to the general health and well-being of my prone offspring.  Curled up in a corner chair, my 8 year-old read a book, while the chiropractor busied himself with the computer prior to the adjustment. 

“Yep, a bit of scoliosis going on here, should be correctable with regular visits.  You see how she’s all tight here?  And here?” 

Baby was licking the mirror on the door now.  I tried to decide where my focus was supposed to be. 

It was then that I noticed the smell, and turned to see my just-recently three year-old 2/3rds potty-trained daughter standing stiff, straining, and flushed, very obviously “working on something.”  In the middle of a full waiting room. 

Oh no, it didn’t end there.  No, she decided to take her time with the procedure, as it was a rather overdue occurrence.  Part of me kinda admires the complete obliviousness young kids have to social norms when it comes the calls of nature… If only I had one iota of that serenity.  I deliberately shut off my ability to perceive if others were uncomfortable—since there was not a blasted thing I could do about it during this rather important exam—and switched into survival mode.  I hyperfocused on the doctor’s words, a tiny voice in my brain reassuring me, “He’s had kids, he gets it, he can handle this.” 

“Oh.” (nervous chuckle) “If she could just not touch that table... she could get pinched.” 

Wrong focus.  Focus off doctor, off pooping preschooler, onto toddler near pinchy table.  I scooped her up to balance on my overflowing bag where she could slap my clipboard and chew the office pen that said, “Relax and rejuvenate in our care.”  My arm was on fire, my head was pounding as I drowned in the humiliation of being a disturber of the peace, a leader of an unruly hoard, a flawed human being who breeded little flawed human beings, the opposite of put-together, with faults for all to see.

It is hard to be a mom sometimes.  Unbelievably hard.  Especially when you have to bring your more-than-two children with you out in public because no one could watch them at home, or because you underestimated the challenge of the situation you were entering into.  Especially when they were constipated and somehow, SOMEHOW, the best laxative seems to be public places when you are down to the last baby wipe, which is invariably dry as bone.  (Why oh why oh why!)  Especially when it’s a situation where—oh, I remember!—you used to be like the people you and your kids are currently annoying.

“My kids would never act like that.”
“Why does she have her babies out with her here?  At this time of night?”
“Is that kool-aid in the bottle?!?”
“Why is her house such a mess?  I guess she’s just laid back about it…”
“Can’t she talk on the phone without talking to her kids, ever?”
Not that I was ever especially uncharitable.  I thought I was being reasonable.  I mean, the store is no place for kids after 9, right?  And kool-aid, c’mon!  But now—and I’m a pretty kind person, so I’m not sure why I had to have empathy drilled into me over and over---I’m at the other end, and I have the answer to all these mysterious questions: The babies are out with her because her husband’s sick, and she just realized—after an exhausting day—when she opened the fridge to get milk for the bottle that there’s none left.  Nor juice.  So okay it was Gatorade, it looks like kool-aid, not much better, but it almost kinda kept baby quiet while she shopped.  But then her tired toddler had a meltdown over the non-acquisition of a toy that started to play music while she ran the cart past Dancing Mickey Mouse Pants, so all eyes are on the mom stuffing the kool-aid bottle in the mouth of the screaming baby while she books it down the main aisle, eyes glazed, seeking the refuge of the car where the screams would be louder, but at least the humiliation would be gone.  She comes back to a mess which is usually a mess because cleaning with children at home can be like plowing the sea.  But oh, it’s not because she’s laid back about living in a mess; she cares, deeply, but by the time it's nine PM she could weep with exhaustion most nights.  And yes, if you are blessed with parenthood someday, your house, your car, your purse, and your kids, will absolutely, positively, be some version of that at some point, some day.  Not that it's not worth every bit of it to have those kids.  :)

I hope I’ve really reached the place where I can see the insecurity behind the rudeness of teens, the aches and pains behind the grumpiness of the elderly.  I’d like to think I’m beyond judging in my life.  Like about everything, not just “other moms” and their choices of how to educate their children, or discipline, or what they eat for dinner.  But also I hope I’ve stopped judging those of different political consider the individual and not just the ideology.  Those of different faiths, or those with no faith at all.  Those from different family backgrounds.  Those of different sexual orientations.   Those who appear rich, and those who appear poor.  If the daily humility motherhood brings does not cure me of thinking I am better than anyone, for any reason, nothing will cure it.  Because—just like how you can’t “get” being a mom till you’ve experienced the full affect of a thousand sleepless nights--I have no idea what they’ve been through as individuals, or any clear idea where they are now, or what their future holds.  I can in no way know for certain I would be better if I had been given the hand they had been dealt.  But I do know for certain, when I see anyone in a negative light of any kind because they are different from me; or I get to thinking myself or my “kind” are somehow superior; or I’m just annoyed because I can’t wrap my mind around how anyone could be “that” way--that there, but for the grace of God, go I.  Or from there, by the grace of God, I emerged.  And sometimes, there—by the grace of God—I will someday go.  Because sometimes we need to be broken to be remade.  And we all have so much yet to learn.  (Speaking of which... brb...Gotta go lecture my husband about the proper way (i.e. mine) to get these honyacks to bed while I blog...)

My daughter wasn’t finished after I changed her in the car after the doctor; she concluded the process in the middle of a restaurant.  And to anyone who was there or at the doctor’s, yes, I changed her as soon as I could.  She’s a size six, and I had apparently packed only size 3 diapers after all.  Besides, she was having such a wonderful time shaking grated cheese over her baby sister’s hair, who was laughing hysterically while I shot pictures with my I-Phone.  (Which reminds me: having an I-Phone does not mean I am rich, or that I am a poor and soaking up government money; it just means that my sister-in-law is generous.)  Can’t judge a book by its shoes and we need to walk in each other’s covers, right?  Something like that.  (Which reminds me: I just heard of a service being concluded by an earnest young priest who suffered from spoonerism; he had the misfortune to make it through to the very end when he commenced: “The ass is mended; go in peace.” Okay, admit you smiled… J)

To wrap this up: I hope you, dear readers, won’t judge me too harshly.  I am bound, at one time or another (if I haven't already) to tick somebody off or somehow offend their sensibilities.  It's inevitable, especially as I am starting out on this blog.  I was so afraid of offending anyone it took years to start this.  Finally, I had to realize that I can’t avoid offending someone at some point, but I could really mess up by not saying something I was supposed to say.  Stuck between scylla and charybdis, I figured I might as well have fun, and do what I love: writing for you. 

Thanks again for reading!  At some point soon I may have to disappear for a week, not because I lost interest (impossible) or the name of my blog (somewhat more possible), nor that I was trampled on Black Friday (hope not) as I attempt to acquire a laptop (don’t have one.)  It’s just that I will have less access to a computer (refer back to need for laptop), and will be out of state at my in-laws for Thanksgiving.  (Da da dum!)  Tune in next time to see if I remain thankful and non-judgmental while on family vacation and a holiday on the road.  If I can't post before, hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving where you can bask in God’s innumerable blessings. -TLC    

“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you shall be forgiven. Give, and it shall be given to you: good measure and pressed down and shaken together and running over shall they give into your bosom.” Lk. 6:37-38

(Side note: Yes, the Douay-Rheims translation states the word “bosom.”  I’m sorry, it’s just there.  Probably referring to the heart or the core of the person, or, as in Barnes' Notes on the Bible, “The word ‘bosom’ here has reference to a custom among Oriental nations of making the bosom or front part of their garments large, so that articles could be carried in them, answering the purpose of our pockets. Compare Exodus 4:6-7; Proverbs 6:27; Ruth 3:15.”  This reminds me of an upcoming post I’m doing about this blog’s name, which I tried to make unique enough so that I, at least, wouldn’t forget it.)

(Further side note: Okay, so I’m just stalling because the kids are rowdy and it’s quiet within a five square foot radius at the moment.  Fine, I’ll go, good night! ;)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Headaches and Pretty Princesses

“I’m feeling rather loopy,” I mentioned to my husband last night, while shaking a bag of pretzels and doing a little dance in Aisle 6 of the supermarket.  We had had our first babysitting in weeks, and the date night at the steakhouse—as always—ended up as a shopping trip; it is honestly a complete blast to shop as a couple if you are used to having to cart kids every time.
Well, if he didn’t believe me then, he knew I was “off” when I laughed almost to tears while I pointed out to him, “Do you REALIZE… (giggle) that when you take out the S’s, the store is ‘Top and Hop’?!?  ROFL…” 
“Okay.  You don’t do drugs, so I’m going with a sinus infection again.  Do you have any symptoms?” 
“No, not really, I’m just a bit dizzy.  And tired.  And I have a little cold.  Only cough a little.  Slight headache.  I’m fine.”
Yeah right.  Hate when he’s right.  I really did have the hubris to think I wouldn’t get his cold.  Or my baby’s, who regularly sneezes in my face and laughs at the sound. 
The morning after, I am here holding my pounding forehead with one hand.  I had boiled water for tea, but wandered off and forgot to put the tea in; it’s waiting to be boiled again.  I made eggs, but lost the energy to eat them. I got distracted by half an episode of “Chopped.”  And then I fast-forwarded through the news I recorded from last night, to the part where the weatherman held up the picture of himself with a certain third-grade class.  “MOM, that’s ME!  Right there on TV!  See?”  Jumping with delight, she hammered at the screen with her finger at a tiny face in the crowd.  “Oh, that’s awesome sweetie!” I exclaimed at the appropriate time.  
I think that’s going to be the most active part of my day.  I’m now listening to my 8 year old and 3 year old attempting to play “Pretty Pretty Princess” behind my chair.  It’s not going well. 

8-“Okay, you rolled a three, so you need to put back your bracelet.” 
3-“Oh NO!  Not my pwetty bwacelet!”
8-(With a painful attempt at patience) “Don’t worry sweetie; you’ll get it back.”
3-“But I want THAT ONE!!  WAAAA!”
8-“Roll the die… Move your pawn to four.”
3- “NOOOO!” 
8- “Oh look!  You get to take ANY piece of jewelry!”
3- “Oh WOW!  HooWAY!” (Struggles up from floor to do a happy stomping dance.)
Attempts to have them change the game have been unsuccessful.  (“But I WANT the CWOWN!  I LOVE the CWOWN!”)  I jump every time the volume goes up as I’m hoping my 1 year old keeps napping. 
It is inadvisable to blog on a “topic” today--as you see all I can manage is to give "play-by-play" of oh-so-fascinating domestic events--so frankly I’m just going to see if I have any leftover antibiotics in the back of my pantry.  Or maybe they're in the fridge.  Okay fine, I’ll call the doctor instead.  Or boil some hot peppers and inhale that, hear that can work.  No, not the neti-pot.  Got any great tea?  Groann….
“YOU WON THE GAME!  HOORAY!”  Oh bliss.  Oh God bless eight-year olds. 
Oh no, wait.  They are dumping out the costume box to celebrate with a princess parade.
“Nope, I’m sorry, I’m wearing this one.”

It’s loud.  I’m sick.  Stay well.  Pray for me.  Soccer games are taking up the telly, but the bed looks lonely.  Hmm.  Sure they won’t miss me, right?  Zzz… - TLC

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and never forget all he hath done for thee.  Who forgiveth all thy iniquities: who healeth all thy diseases. Who redeemeth thy life from the pit, who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies.” Ps. 103 2-4

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sufficient to the day

Yesterday morning when I awoke, I was certain of four things:

  1. I had just dreamt I was drinking white wine out of an Aveeno baby shampoo bottle.
  2. I was actually coming down with a cold; my throat felt like sandpaper.
  3. My three-year old was scheduled for dental surgery in 40 minutes.
  4. I had overslept.
But I did not yet know, with absolutely certainty, who the president was going to be for the next four years.

I did what any of you would have done under the circumstances.  I burst out of bed, calling on my sleepy progeny for help, wakened my poor husband (who had similarly overslept) to have him dress my unsuspecting preschooler, and jumped into the shower.  Chatty daughter in tow, I flew into the mini-van, raced carefully to the hospital, and convinced my daughter she liked the new blue pj’s and would soon recover her princess shirt. Carrying my sternly pouting child into op, myself dressed in white and a blue pancake cap, I held her chubby, bewildered, suddenly masked face on the operation table and looked into her eyes with what I hoped was a reassuring way.  “It’s okay.  Mommy’s here.  I love you.”  I stroked her cheeks while she succumbed to the anesthesia; one long muffled scream, one quiet sob, a couple whispered “Mommy?” then her eyes rolled back and she was out.   Dazed, I wandered to the chapel, barely remembering to rip off my white paper jumpsuit before doing so.  After half an hour, I tried to get a bagel at the café, realized they were cash only, located the lobby, located ATM hidden in lobby, returned for bagel and decided my baby might like a banana, a fruit cup, and some pudding too when she woke up, bought them all, realized the cashier had no bags, balanced all small items in my hands, and found post-op waiting room.  Then I called my mother.

“Mom, she’s fine.  Who’s the president?  Oh.  Yeah, I was afraid that might be true about OH.  Oh my.  Oh well…” 

I was then treated to my mother’s ever calm and rational view of stressful situations: how she was going to go underground when authorities came to euthanize her when she turned 70, and she had a sewer cover picked out for this eventuality.  She told me the secret signal I would have to have when I visited her there.  How we as a nation got what we deserved.  How she was still quite upset with me for consenting to general anesthesia for my daughter’s four cavities.  How I really should have extracted the problem teeth myself using string and a rolling pin. 

As I waited with the two verbose Italian men who were grumpily anticipating their wives’ recovery from colonoscopies, I had time to reflect on the four things I knew now.

  1. We had not just elected a new deity.  (I took some unsuccessful pains to convince a couple individuals of this fact prior to the elections).  God was the same yesterday, as He was today, as He would be till 2016… yep, 2016, and infinitely beyond that. 
  2. God was not alarmed.  Nor surprised.  Nor despairing.  Nor panicked. 
  3. Many of my friends were going to be alarmed, surprised, despairing, and panicky.
  4. God, as the ultimate Weatherman, had a hand in the election results.  For instance, people’s perception of Obama’s help during Sandy caused the incumbent’s ratings to rise… 
I also had a strong sense that we are going to get through this, by God’s grace, one day at a time.  Not counting one horrible possible outcome at a time.  Not figuring out how we are going to manage socialized health care and limited religious freedom, then taking those two probable problems in one smooth instantaneous mental leap to the worst case scenarios (which we humans are so adept at imagining): widespread martyrdom of Christians and religious leaders, mandatory euthanasia, the enforced gay marriage of every adult, the prohibition of chocolate…. That we should not head for the sewer covers yet.  That today certainly had enough dental trouble of its own.

Thomas More is my all-time favorite saint.  I love that he was a husband and father, an educated lawyer, a writer, and a man of wit and wits.  And no, the play A Man for All Seasons didn’t hurt my favoritism either.  As a government official, he was at the front lines when Henry VIII started the protestant ball rolling.  Faced with a king (not a term president, a lifelong monarch) going increasingly mental with wives and power, he did not immediately count himself doomed, though his doom was likely and in the end inevitable.  Rather, he tried to find a way to operate as a man of conscience despite the cultural climate.  In the end, as a leading statesmen of scrupulous morals, it did cost him his life.  But he was level-headed and sane in the crisis, as he successfully protected his family and tried to find a way to avert disaster.  He didn’t panic, but many conservatives are, with much less cause than More. (Click here for more info on More.) Historically, Obama is unlikely to be the worst thing that ever happened ever.  We are still very blessed, very fortunate, to be Americans… hopefully we can extract the baby from the bathwater here…

While waiting beside my daughter’s cot with instructions not to wake her, I inspected her IV, oxygen mask, and steadily beeping monitor, blotchy face, and fresh ether smell, silently cursing all fruit snack companies that made chewy sweet things my daughter adored.  Sighing, I took her hand, reading the ever-helpful post op instruction sheets.  I was not to force food on her in the next 24 hours.  I was to start her with a liquid diet.  She would be dizzy, so crowded bouncy houses were contraindicated for the afternoon.  Caillou, however, was strongly indicated.  (Groan.)  Fevers, convulsions, and comas were bad, and should be noted immediately as such.  Feeling the weight of such new wisdom, I activated my smartphone Facebook capacity to read the feedback.  

Frequent word occurrences included the following: prison, horrible, Obama horrible, election horrible, end of freedom, firing squad, end of healthcare, usherance in of the new Hedonistic States of America (okay there was only one occurrence of that one.)  Several other posts beginning with, “I’m taking a break from Facebook because I can’t stand everyone talking about how bad everything is” followed by a detailed description of how bad everything was.  Close second most-frequent post to this was “I’m taking a break from Facebook because I can’t stand so many people celebrating; I don’t know how you can judge me when you just elected the antichrist.” Quite a few “May God help us all” or similar deck-of-Titanic sentiments.  And least most popular post was, “Hey, I just fried homemade corned beef hash” and a truly alarming picture to go with it.  (General note: photos of what you just cooked rarely communicate—at all—that these dishes are actually appetizing.  Pots of soup, stuffing, yeah… it don’t look good, really.  Please desist.) 

Meanwhile, group hug everyone!  Group hug… squeeze!  There.  God has guided his people through far stormier seas. 

“Mommy… my princess shirt…”  My daughter groggily came to, lurched forward in a daze, and shakily started to rip every lead from her body.  I hailed the nurse, who rushed in to distract my daughter with a cherry Popsicle.  I resisted a sudden urge to ask how a red-dye-40-frozen-corn-syrup-stick was truly going to help her recover.  Instead I chose to focus on her comfort.  Cold.  Wet.  Sweet.  I helped her into her princess shirt, watching sticky drops fall unnoticed onto it from her melting pop as she gazed blearily at Toy Story 5 ½.

Maybe it feels like God just handed our increasingly ill country a red-dye-40-corn-syrup President.  Or at least allowed us to grab it ourselves as a nation.  But I’m seeking to remember that our Father loves everyone in this nation.  That God loves Obama, who is not beyond hope of salvation.  Neither is this country.  That God works all things for the good of those who love Him, and many Americans still do.  That sometimes maybe it’s better to drug up the patient and perform messy surgery than to rip the offending tooth out directly.  That if anyone can bring good out of this mess, it is our Divine Physician.

My little one is snoozing now.  Okay duh, it’s 2 in the morning… I’ll be editing this much later I’m sure.  (As before mentioned, it’s sleep or write sometimes.)  My kid ate like a horse today.  She played whenever Caillou did not amuse, but fortunately only fell off of one chair and ran into one wall.  She’s going to be okay.  But her beautiful face, inside her huge smile, is some serious bling.  In my hesitation to make the right treatment decision, two of her poor lower molars were too far gone for regular fillings.  Instead, two stainless steel crowns peep out from between her white pearly teeth. Oh my friends, I cringe as I can hear the gasps of my fellow moms now.  Particularly my mother-in-law.  “What HAPPENED?!?  Oh, poor baby!”  And my girl, blissfully unaware and proud of every part of her small body, will reply, “Oh I not a baby.  I a BIG giwl!”  And she will scamper off while I will have to launch into my personal discovery of the evil of allowing gummy fruit snacks.  The crowns aren’t pretty, but they’re healthy. 

Maybe Obama’s affects will prove the same, in the long run.  I hold on to hope. Meanwhile, this ain’t the Douay-Rheims, but I this translation speaks directly to my fears today.  I will hold onto hope.  –TLC

“Do not be over-anxious, therefore, about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own cares. Enough for each day are its own troubles.” Mt. 6:34

P.S.  I’m still going to celebrate my birthday.  So if you don’t like the upcoming Inauguration Day, join my party in spirit.  I’ll be dining on kid-made cake and opening school-craft gifts and generally being grateful for life.  Then and till then, oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Crooked lines

Well then.  (Sigh. Stretch.)  God can still write straight with crooked lines.  Chin up. :)

"We put our hope in the LORD. He is our help and our shield." Psalm 33:20

Monday, November 5, 2012

Don't ruin my birthday

I have more to lose than most if the elections do not turn out well tomorrow. My birthday is on Inauguration Day.  And I have had far too many birthdays ruined with poor election results.  So I trust my readers are all going to do their part at the polls tomorrow.

Here’s where I’m going to attempt my first links… bloggers more experienced than I have given more reflection on this issue than I have had time and mental space for, so I am here going to link two rather opposite Catholic perspectives for your consideration, in case you haven’t seen them yet:

I appreciate the humor of Zmirak in general, and had the opportunity to work for him at one time.  But I can see the dissenters point of view as well, since I have several close friends and some relatives who are Ron Paul supporters; I have heard those arguments for almost a year now. (And I also have friends and relatives who are Obamaphiles, naturally.)

My own two cents, for what it’s worth between doing the dishes and sorting the laundry over here, is that I am going to place my one vote—the only weapon I have other than prayer right now--where it can best fight the worst evil, as best as I can detect that evil.  I will hope another election will have less dramatic issues at stake and Catholics can once again more freely consider third party candidates without raising hackles and ruffling feathers amongst our own kind. 

Please join me in prayer for these elections, and may indeed the best man win, or the better man, or at the very least, the least evil one.  And my birthday can be celebrated in peace.  –TLC

Most Holy Trinity, we put the United States of
America into the hands of Mary Immaculate in
order that she may present the country to you.
Through her we wish to thank you for the great
resources of this land and for the freedom which
has been its heritage. Through the intercession
of Mary, have mercy on the Catholic Church in
America. Grant us peace. Have mercy on our
President and on all the officers of our government.
Grant us a fruitful economy born of justice and
charity. Have mercy on capital and industry and
labor. Protect the family life of the nation. Guard
the precious gift of many religious vocations.
Through the intercession of our Mother, have
mercy on the sick, the poor, the tempted, sinners—
on all who are in need.

Mary, Immaculate Virgin, Our Mother, Patroness
of our Land, we praise you and honor you and
give ourselves to you. Protect us from all harm. 
Pray for us, that acting always according to your
will and the Will of your Divine Son, we may live
and die pleasing to God. Amen.

Dear Mother, please grant the conversion of our country
and a very happy outcome to the elections.
We fly to your patronage,
O holy Mother of God;
Despise not our prayers in our necessities,
But ever deliver us from all dangers,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.

Imprimatur, Patrick Cardinal O’Boyle, Archbishop of Washington, 1959,
for public consecration of the United States to the Immaculate Heart of
Mary;  renewed by U.S. Bishops, November 11, 2006

“And he said to them: You are they who justify yourselves before men, but God knoweth your hearts; for that which is high to men, is an abomination before God.” Luke 16:15

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Falling Back

“What time is it really?  Did you change this clock yet?  Oh.  I’d already changed it.  It changed automatically?  No, my cell phone’s not charged. Okay seriously, what’s the time…”

Discombobulating fall-back in fall day.  The sun’s in the wrong place in the sky, which I find oddly vexing.  Must unsettle the Native American in me.  I’m trying to adjust bedtimes and naptimes and fretting over children who woke too early.  And darn it, I’m not totally over summer yet.  Also I seem to have a tendency towards that “seasonal blues” thing if I don’t get enough sun, must be my inner reptile or something…

We’re all cranky today, despite this extra hour.  I hope you are having a better day, using this “extra hour” for sleep or productivity or just plain leisure.  If you’re not enjoying it, well—if I do say so myself—you’re in good company. J

The good news of today: I finally found out how to post a photo, so here’s my youngest with pumpkins.  Okay, yes, it’s her back; I just haven’t figured out how anonymous I want to be while I’m writing all my private reflections on a public forum.  As you may have seen from my set-up, I haven’t fully figured out how to do this blog thing.  Yet!  Links?  Photos?  Oh there’re a-comin’ my friends, they’re a-comin’.  Dear invisible audience: Just you Wait.  (And yes, this is meant to be said like Eliza Doolittle.)  -TLC

“But darkness shall not be dark to thee, and night shall be light as day.”  Psalm 139:12

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Lady Antebellum

Shuttling around in our mini van this morning, desperately trying to avoid yet another round of kiddie CD music, I surfed the lite stations…

“It's a quarter after one, I'm all alone and I need you now…”

Second oldest: “Mom, is that like baby’s song to you?”  (Man, that girl listens intently when she wants to!)

Absolutely kiddo.  That sounds like the best application of the song, I mean really.  “I just need you…. WAAAAAA!”

The following is the likely exchange that would occur if an adult attempted such a conversation with me:

“Huhello?  What?  Yeah, you betcha it’s a quarter after one, so this better be good.  You’re a little drunk?  Uh okayyy… that’s promising… You need me now?  Dude, I need sleep now.  You need sleep now, and then Motrin and confession in the morning.  Get real.  Buddy, you said you wouldn’t call… You lost all control and dialed my number?  Ya know, it takes a certain amount of control to dial a number.  I mean, I can see losing all control and eating tons of ice cream,  I can see losing all control and… dialing a number?  No. No, don’t try to dodge responsibility on this bizarre behavior.  You don’t know how you can do without… what?  The senses you have taken leave of?  ME?  Man, you shoulda thought about that before you scattered my picture perfect memories ALL OVER THE FLOOR!!!   Yeah, stop watching the door; I ain’t doing the sweeping, no.  Yeah.  Yeah, you’re crossing my mind right now, and it’s not pleasant.  Good night.  I am SO getting caller ID… (click.)”

But a baby crying in a crib… now the song makes sense. J

I would like to follow this reflection on Antebellum with Scripture’s first reference to milk—yes, apropos of nothing but addressing baby’s needs at night, thank you.  It’s found in Genesis 18:8: “He [Abraham] took also butter and milk, and the calf which he had boiled, and set before them: but he stood by them under the tree.”  Interestingly (to me) this first reference (I think) of milk in the Bible involves the meal Abraham served to the angelic visitors who foretold the birth of Isaac, even though Sarah was old and laughed at the idea. 

It is also biblical basis for my most successful cooking method: boiling.  Apparently the Irish cook like Abraham.  Cool. -TLC