Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Call Your Aunts and Uncles....

Now! Stop reading the blogs for a few moments, and call your aunts and uncles. It is preferable to call the females aunt or auntie, and the males uncle. Call them, wish them a Merry Merry and a Happy Happy, tell them you are thinking about them, and tell them about every minor detail of your day, including the dog pooping on the rug and the cat puking on the sheets. Ask them how they are, and listen when they tell you about all their aches and pains. Praise them for their patience under the strain, even if you have to.......bend the truth as if it were made of the same material as Gumby. Tell them you think about them often, even if you have to redefine often. If you feel guilty because they ask why you haven't called in so long, tell them it is because of the dog pooping everywhere and the cat puking anywhere and you don't like to complain to them because of they are suffering with their own problems. They will assure you that they live to talk about dog poop and cat puke. Nothing fascinates them more than whatever you have to say.
Where is this coming from? If I have to hear my mom say one more time that nobody loves her (and yes, she makes it clear that she knows my husband and I do, but wants to know what did she ever do to make her nieces and nephews hurt or angry and not want to call...) I am going to turn purple and start twitching! Let me defend my cousins. They were here at her birthday party. They made an appropriate fuss over her. They gave her lovely gifts, brought a side dish, and sang "Happy Birthday" in harmony (actually some of us were off key rather than harmonious, but c'mon, that is what makes the song special). They sent lovely Christmas cards since then. I have exchanged emails with them where they tell me to send their best to their aunt (my mom). They are actually no worse than my husband and I with his aunts and uncles (my mom "reminds" me to call my aunt and uncle regularly). Their only fault as far as I can see is that they did not call and say "Merry Christmas". Actually, one of them did, and mom was thrilled when she called, but mom is focusing on the ones who didn't now.
So call that aunt and uncle. Or that elderly neighbor that you really should visit but don't have time because they never let you go home. Or......whomever it is you are reminded of as you are reading this. You may be able to make someone you love and who loves you very happy, and prevent another loved one from turning purple and developing a twitch. God bless you.
Thanks for letting me rant. I feel better now.

****Blagojevich update at 2:00. He dares to make an appointment. I have nothing against the man he appointed. I know of no scandals in his career. I just don't think Blagojevich should be making this decision considering what he has been caught saying on tape. Whether Blagojevich is guilty of a crime is up to lawmakers, but he has definitely done wrong. And such language! Does he kiss his family with that mouth? Yikes!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

My Christmas Presents : I Got More Than I Asked For

Gifts Received by me this Christmas
1. Jesus Christ. He forgives over and over. He is my Saviour.
2.. Remember when I said that I wanted to see Jesus glorified in the Trib this year. Well, not only was my letter printed, but at least two others, which I found very uplifting. And they had an article last Sunday that I linked earlier in the week.
3. My mom, husband, uncle, and I are healthy. True, mom is still disabled, but one can be healthy and disabled. I know it is hard to picture, but there have been weeks with infections, and stuff going on that, well, was not going on this Christmas. She even helped me wrap presents, and I mean she was a real help. Sometimes I have her "help" and it is actually more work for me to do so, but not this time. It was good. A real gift.
4. A new brother in Christ. Raving Theist has responded to me with a lovely email in which he states his love for Jesus. Angels in Heaven rejoice. I am joining the party and rejoicing with them.

Yes, I got tangilble gifts, too. Cousins gave us gift certificates for my husband and I to enjoy on our Saturdays out. My husband and I bought ourselves a new television the day after Thanksgiving to enjoy on our Weekdays in. Mom gave is cash to enjoy on our Saturdays out. Yes, I am going to enjoy these gifts. But my heart soars like a child's when I think of the four gifts I listed above.
You know, I grew up an only child. My sister died before I was ever born. I watched too much Brady Bunch as a little girl, and I used to pray for an older brother. I believed nothing was impossible for God. I wonder how old Raving Theist is. He could be an answer to a prayer prayed 34 years ago. It could happen, you know. All kidding aside, I am truly happy for him, and look for to reading him more. He is shown as Raving Theist on my blog roll. God bless you.
***Update Raving Theist emailed me, and said I could call him Greg, and that I should change his name on my blog roll to Big Bro. As you can see, I have. Gotta listen to my big brother ;-)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Atheists Do Convert Sometimes, So I've Heard

The day before Christmas Eve, Happy Catholic posted about the conversion of a blogger formerly calling himself The Raving Atheist, now calling himself The Raving Theist. He posted an essay proclaiming Jesus as his Lord and Saviour recently. Here is his profession of faith.
I hope with my whole heart that this is real. What better Christmas present than a new brother in Christ! Many commenters are doubting the sincerity of his conversion. Christians and atheists are both saying some hurtful things to him in his comment section.
I wasn't born stupid. I have some doubts in my head, but my heart says welcome a brother. Better to be proven stupid than mean. I left a comment on his blog, welcoming him to the Christian family. I added that while I am not familiar with his writing, I noticed Christians in the comment section saying he had always been charitable in his arguments. I added that it would be uncharitable to mock believers by pretending, but others are testifying that that would be out of character for him so I choose to believe him. I wished him well.
I don't think I can tell anyone else what to do at this point. A part of me says to ask everyone to go to his blog, and welcome him. Make him feel the love that some are withholding from him. Another part of me says that I shouldn't ask anyone else to risk being foolish.
So I ask nothing. I put this out there for you to read. Do as the Holy Spirit moves you. God bless you. God bless him. Oh boy....

Merry Christmas

When I was in fourth grade, this was my favorite Christmas carol. I tried to talk my fourth grade teacher into letting us sing this for the Christmas program, but I don't think she ever heard of it. I did go to a public school, but that wasn't a problem. Ms. Jarret was a Christian woman, who posted my Christmas composition on the bulletin board and gave me an excellent grade for it, even though it was a paraphrased version of the Christmas story. And we sang "Go Tell it On the Mountain" instead, so I was happy.
No, we sounded nothing like this, but Mahalia Jackson sings this song better than anyone.

No One Gives a Better Christmas Gift Than God.
Click on the link above to read a really beautiful article from last Sunday's paper.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

So, We Begin Christmas Eve...

One of my blogger friends described embedding youtube videos as something we do when we are too lazy to write our own post. I couldn't write anything better than this if I did try. And no message I could share with you would be as beautiful. God bless you.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Love is Never Trite

John 3:16 For God had such love for the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever has faith in him may not come to destruction but have eternal life.

We all know that verse, Christians and sports lovers everywhere. It is a great and often used verse. Sometimes when sayings and proverbs and quotes have been used very often, they are deemed to be trite. But not this verse, not ever. No matter who we are, we need to be reminded of God's love for us.
Years ago I used to go to a Catholic Charismatic prayer meeting. I formed close friendships with people in that group, and even though I am not particularly charismatic ( I'm talking about Charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit, not whether or not I am Princess Charming), I was made to feel welcome, beloved, and at home.
One day, a friend shared that she felt the Holy Spirit telling her to tell the woman across the street that God loves her. Frannie did not know the lady across the street, so she felt it would be awkward to ring the bell and say "God wanted me to tell you that He loves you!". All day she felt the urging of the Holy Spirit, and she ignored Him. Frannie is a good Christian woman, and felt terrible about ignoring the Holy Spirit. It gnawed at her all day and all night.
The next day, she saw the lady working in her garden. Frannie walked over and timidly told her "Um, I know we haven't really met, but I have felt like God wanted me to tell you that He loves you...." Frannie did not have to continue. The woman burst into tears. She told Frannie that her husband had died, her children lived far away, and that the day before she had cried all day, feeling that life was not worth living, because nobody loved her. The message of God's love brought peace to her heart. She had most likely heard "Smile, God loves you" before, or the bible verse above, or somewhere somehow heard this message. But she needed to hear it again. It made a difference to her then and there!
Frannie shared this story with us to urge us to listen to the Holy Spirit when He speaks, even if He tells us to speak the obvious. I am sharing her story here, not for that ( which may be a good message, but I wouldn't use Frannie's experience to do that. She is not the only one who has fought the Holy Spirit. The woman I see in the mirror has done that too), but because I think it shows that the message "God loves you!" needs to be said over and over and over. It is the best message I have ever received, or passed on.
My Letter to the Tribune is on their Website."

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Best "Holiday" Gift I Have Ever Gotten

A few weeks ago, the Chicago Tribune asked for readers to contribute essays on the best holiday gift they ever received that money could not buy. I shared with my blogger family that I had chosen to write an essay, which I had some doubt would be published. Unless yesterday's Tribune only contained a few of the chosen essays, mine was rejected. Hey, Jesus Christ Himself has been rejected by many. My essay is nothing compared to Him. While some people contributed excellent answers, there were none having to do with receiving Jesus Christ, or faith in God whatsoever. One person wrote freedom to worship, but, well....I wanted to see God Himself shared in print on the pages of the Chicago Tribune. My only regret is that I didn't post the information on my blog earlier, and request people to send an essay so I could see God glorified on the pages of a Chicago newspaper for Christmas, which is what I wanted more than anything. Perhaps Pip, Kathy, Elizabeth, Sherri, Cheri, Anne, or Beth could have moved their hearts. I didn't. Still, I would like to share with my blogger friends my effort. I know it's kind of like preaching to the choir. You could have written the same thing, but better. Still, I need to post this so that I don't harbor bitterness about wasting my time. It is amazing how I could write a post to share with friends in a few minutes, but to write an essay for strangers took a couple of days. One day to write, and another day to tune up. Here we go....

I would love to share with all of you the best holiday gift I have ever received. I received this gift as a child, and have cherished this gift for more than thirty years. This gift has given meaning to both my joys and my troubles. If this gift were to be lost or tarnished, I would be most desolate. The smallest child can use this gift. Actually, we could all learn from the smallest child how to best utilize this gift. I can share this gift with the whole world, as much of it as I possess, and never have less of it for myself. This gift is the gift of faith.
The holiday I celebrate is Christmas, so my faith is in Jesus Christ. It is His birthday I rejoice in. For me, He is the great gift this holiday season, and every holiday season, and each day in between every holiday. That God has given the gift of His own Son, in itself humbles me. I was not blessed with a child, but you could bet if I had been, I would not have wanted him to sacrifice his own material well being, his own comfort, his own life really, for the good of others. The Father God giving us His only begotten Son demonstrates the love He has for all mankind, the love we ought to try to give each other if we truly love Him. While we could never match His love, doing our best to love others for His sake is all the thanks we can offer for so perfect a gift.
I do believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I do believe that by emphasizing this belief more than the tangible aspects of Christmas, my parents gave me the greatest gift: belief in God. They took me to Mass, and nurtured my sense of wonder as I looked upon the crèche. They shared their belief in one greater than the highest official in the greatest of lands. No power on earth is greater than His. No love on earth is greater than His. It is His love that gives dignity to all people.
I know that there are other holidays celebrated this year by people who do not celebrate Christmas, or believe in it as I do. Hanukkah celebrates a great miracle done by the Creator to save His chosen people. Ramadan, which took place earlier this year, is a time of fasting and seeking God’s guidance. I must leave it to others to better explain these holidays, and suffice it to say that they too are about faith in God. I think the greatest gift to give others and oneself for the holidays is to remember the etymology of the word holiday. It comes from the words holy day. Sharing the holiness of our holy days is the greatest holiday gift any of us can offer anyone.
I wish all of you at the Chicago Tribune, and those of you who read it, a blessed and holy holiday.
The same goes for anyone reading this post, Pip, Cheri, blogger gal pals, Ryan, Matt, Pete (are you out there Pete?), Stacy, Gabrielle, anyone I missed, lurkers, etc. Have a blessed and Holy Christmas.

***Update: Apparently more essays were printed today. This was not among them. Maybe tomorrow;-) If not, I'm okay with that, as long as I see in print someone mention the gift of Christ-the very reason most of us have a holiday. I want to see Jesus Christ praised in the Chicago Tribune this year! Is that really so much to ask? I have nothing against the gift of peace, freedom, time, love, etc. It's just that Jesus encompasses all that, and more.

****Update My Letter to the Tribune is on their Website."

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Fourth Sunday of Advent

The following video explains what humanity waited for: the meeting of its most basic need, salvation.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Nativity Sets and Wonder and Awe

Yesterday, Katdish was having a blog surfing contest. Click on the title of this post if you wish to check out her blog. One of her categories was weirdest blog. I nominated the Cavalcade of Bad Nativity Sets.
Click here to go Cavalcade of Bad Natvity Sets
Now there are some really tacky Nativity Sets in this parade, though I actually liked most of them. Until recently, I never saw a creche I didn't like. You see, I have an aversion to creches which have animals representing the Holy Family, angels, wise men, etc. I especially dislike seeing the Holy Family represented as geese and a rubber duck. It is way too whimsical to be respectful. I don't mind whimsical nativities where you have children representing the Holy Family, angels, et. al. As a matter of fact, they touch me in a completely different way. Those help me remember that Christ said we must come to Him as little children. Those help me reflect on how I can do that. The fancier ones fill me with wonder and awe (yes, even most of them in the blog I nominated. If it weren't for the geese and the cat nativities, I would not have submitted it).
I have especially good memories of being a child on my way to and from school, passing a house that had beautiful light up nativity in front of their house. How I loved it! I remember walking up to the baby Jesus as a kindergartner, with my mom calling after me "Helen, I taught you better than to walk on the grass. You don't even know these people! They might be angry!". I remember a middle aged (probably thirty-nine like me) woman coming outside in her house dress, telling mom it was okay, not to worry about it, I have her permission to stay on the lawn as long as I like, and come as often as I like. That was so nice of her. Poor lady. I don't think she realized that I would take that as permission to come and kneel before the Christ child every day the nativity was up, every year through eighth grade. Actually, she never came outside when I was there again. But, God bless her, she never said "Stop it already. You are no longer small and cute when you do this! You are absolutely frightening!" I mean, think about it. I probably looked like I should be riding the short bus. And, while I could read and write well above my grade level, and could hold my own in math, I was rather slow socially. Obviously. And, of course, I thought it was every body else.
My poor mother. I was probably in Sixth Grade the day I came home half an hour late with my knees wet from the snow. It was the first day baby Jesus was up that year, and I had a lot to say. Mom was always a worrier, and mycoming home that late (very over protective) with pants wet from the knee down pushed her to the edge. She was yelling "Where were you? What on earth could you have been doing?" etc, I'm sure you all know the drill. And I look at her like she was.....well, acting strangely and say "Mom, didn't you know the Nativity on the next block was up today? Where else could I have been?" Of course, she tries to convince me that the permission given me was not for all eternity, but I said "Wouldn't they just say something already if they changed their minds?" Mom was exasperated with me, so I tried to keep my time with the nativity short from then on. On my way to school, I would wave to the Holy Family, then stop to talk to them for a moment on my way home. Yeah. I know. Short bus. I looked like a big dumb kid. But I didn't care. I wish I cared a little less now....
By the time I entered college, the family either moved, or didn't put the nativity out any more. Either way, by then I was too grown up by then to do childish things, and not grown up enough to do child like things.
I do still cherish these memories. Every time I see an outdoor Nativity, I reflect on how I can receive Him like a child now. I guess the answer is to just love Him without wondering how I am being perceived by others..
In case you were wondering, we do not put out an outdoor Nativity (my husband doesn't like them, and I have submitted to him on this matter), though I have Nativity suncatchers in my window displaying the story of that glorious day. I have not seen any children gazing in wonder, but if I do, I will be sure to tell them to get as close as they like, take as long as they like, and come as often as they like.
In interest of full disclosure, the set above is not the one I remember from my youth, but it is beautiful, isn't it? Click on the picture to see the rest of it. Oh, and it was not part of the calvacade I mentioned. And it didn't belong there.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My New Makeover (I Mean My Blog's, Not Me Personally!

Hucklebuck left a link on Katdish's blog for free wall paper. Easy breezy lemon squeezy. I already thanked him at his blog, but thought it appropriate to credit and thank him on mine. I don't want to be the leper that did not go back and say thanks. (Although I always did think maybe that they didn't turn back around because they were obeying Jesus and going straight to the priests first, but it that were the case, Jesus would have known that and not asked what about them, right?) Anyway, I wanted to say thanks and give credit and all. Done.

Images of Chicago Splendor

My city has some positive qualities. Just a few are pictured above. I still take pride in my city. Rod will never rob me of that.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Warning....Viewing This Post May Cause Irreparable Damage to Your Computer Screen

Me in all my muumuued glory....Now you know why I use the eighties rocker poster on my profile. I changed it to this picture. Sherri and Annie will just have to suffer with it for asking for it. (Yeah, not fair to Beth, Katdish, Mare, Pip, Cheri....don't worry, I'll switch it back eventually..

Why My Tree Is Fake

This song was inspired by Ryan B's post today. Click on the title of this post to check out his blog.

Owed to Allergies
(to be sung to the tune of jingle bells)

Allergies, Allergies
Pine trees make me sneeze
It’s not fun on Christmas day, when all you do is wheeze.

Allergies, allergies
Cause my throat to swell
Such a shame, since pine has a truly nice smell..

Dashing in the Chevy
To the apothecary
Hope I get there safe
It is starting to snow
Why did I buy the pine
I should’ve known it wouldn’t be fine
I can’t mow the lawn because I’m allergic to grass
Now I’m knocked flat on my…

Allergies, Allergies
Pine trees make me sneeze
It’s not fun on Christmas day, when all you do is wheeze.

Allergies, allergies
Cause my throat to swell
Such a shame, since pine has a truly nice smell..

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This House is Doing the Trepak

Okay, I am a copy cat. This is the same house that dances to "All I Want For Christmas is You" on SCL. It is just that the Russian Trepak has always been my favorite piece from The Nutcracker. As much as I love ice skating, Nutcracker on Ice is ruined for me because it is missing the Trepak. The Trepak rocks. Good night.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Take My Governor, Please

Last week David Letterman had for his top ten list the top ten messages left on Governor Blagojevich's answering machine. As a citizen of the corrupt, er, I mean great state of Illinois, I would like to respond.

10) For 10 grand can you make me Pope?" Praise God, he doesn't have that kind of authority, though I wouldn't put it past him to not only try to sell the papacy, but to try to sell the throne of God if he could get away with it. Maybe that was supposed to be next...."Uh, excuse me God, this seat is mine now...I bought it fair and square....since Jesus sits at your right hand, is he going with you or staying with me, cuz it would really be cool if this was a twofer..."

9) "Hello, is this the Blog-o-bloga-a-da-go-bl-vipivh residence?" Please. His name is pronounced as it is spelled, just make the j a consonant y sound. While I agree that we do not owe him, the courtesy to care, we should be considerate of people with slavonic last names and not just make fun of his name because it is so easy. There are plenty of other things about him we can make fun of---his hair, his Howdy Doody smile, his bleepin' limited vocabulary...

8) "Hi, it's O.J. Wanna be cellmates?" O.J. O.J. O.J. I really thought you'd have better taste in friends.

7) "Oh, I'm sorry, I think I have the wrong Blagojevich" Could be....

6) "Hi, it's Larry Craig -- did I hear something about a Senator's seat being available?" I've got two words for you, Larry. But this is a family blog, and you probably would.

5) "I'm calling about your Senate seat on Craigslist. Want to trade for a futon?" That depends. Is the futon bleepin' golden? Because he isn't going to bleepin' give the seat away for nothing...

4) "Hey, it's Cheney -- Damn even I think you're sleazy" Hello Mr. Cheney. Could you please take Governor Blagojevich hunting with you if he doesn't resign. It's okay, since it would be an accident....

3) "You really Blagojevich'd your political career" Again, Serbians in general deserve more respect than that. Rod doesn't, but he isn't the only Serbian American in this country. Every nationality has produced at least one bad apple. Except, of course, Utopian. There are no bad apples in Utopia.

2)"I'm guessing you didn't spend the bribe money on that haircut" His hair is the only thing I really liked about him!

1) "It's Sarah Palin. Thanks for replacing me as the country's most embarassing governor" Really. More embarassing than Spitzer. Give me a break. That was mean. I suppose that in retrospect, I am glad she will get more experience before she holds an office of National importance. But she was not an embarassment. Getting caught with hookers is embarassing (Spitzer). Selling licenses and causing deaths is even worse than embarassing (Ryan) . Trying to solicit bribes for a federal appointment is an embarassment (Blagojevich). Being underseasoned (Palin)--not so much!

Thanks for allowing me my tangent! Enjoy the video! (Warning: he tries to sell Patty....need I say more?)

P.S. The Blagojevich Video Bar is now open on my sidebar. It is an open bar, not a cash bar. I am ordinary folk you know. But, of course, if I were governor of IL, it would go to the highest bidder....

I May Decorate for Christmas Before December 26---Maybe

I am usually the first person to state that Christmas is about Jesus, and time with friends and family are a fringe benefit, not the point. But what a fringe benefit indeed!
Saturday I went to a Christmas party some friends from CCD were having at their house. I had a really good time. And I got to know the other teachers better. This is only my second year teaching CCD at this parish (13 years at another), and I don't reach out well in person, so these social get togethers are important for me.
Even better was yesterday! Two friends from college came over (with pie! Helen like pie!) and we laughed and talked about the old days, complained about Blagoyevich, discussed C.S. Lewis, and talked for hours. It was great to see them and talk with them! I still haven't decorated my house for Christmas, but these are true friends who long ago accepted my imperfections and idiosyncrasies. These are friends who have known the real me for many years, and like me anyway. Thank you, God, for giving me friends who love like you do...unconditionally.
I have been slowly preparing for Christmas, though. Last week I worked on Christmas cards. Before that I was working on Christmas shopping. This week I will wrap presents and over the weekend we will decorate. Everything will get done. I couldn't decorate perfectly if I took all the time in the world, so I may as well make it the last of my priorities instead of the first. Does that make sense? It does to me, but then, I am rather odd....

Mom and I have also been watching Christmas specials together on the Hallmark Channel, ABC Family, Lifetime, Disney, etc. (Yes Katdish, I have crossed over to the dark side and now watch lots of cable, but I am hoping it is because of the Christmas Specials, can you say "Falalalalifetime"?) Here is a clip showing the importance of decorating for Christmas.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy Guadete Sunday!

Guadete means rejoice! We rejoice because, hey, over half of our candles are now lit. We light a pink one to symbolize joy. About 14 years ago I was in a Church Choir that sang the above song, and I just loved it (Latin Rap, Sherri, posted just for you!). I actually don't remember the stanzas too well. I think we sang some of them in English, but kept the Chorus in Latin. I could be wrong. It has happened once or twice. God bless you!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I Am Crazy About Christmas Carols

I have stolen, er I mean creatively borrowed, this from Happy Catholic. If anyone is offended by this, please let me know, and I will throw myself at your cyberfeet and beg for forgiveness. My family and I resemble most of these, and we weren't offended, so I made some assumptions that others wouldn't be bothered. If you are, I do apologize.

Christmas Carols for the Disturbed
Schizophrenia --- Do You Hear What I Hear?

Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Kings Disoriented Are

Dementia --- I Think I'll be Home for Christmas

Narcissistic --- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

Manic --- Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and ...

Paranoid --- Santa Claus is Coming to Town to Get Me!

Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire

Personality Disorder --- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why

Attention Deficit Disorder --- Silent night, Holy ... oooh look at the Froggy ... can I have a chocolate ... why is France so far away?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder --- Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells ...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Check Out Stacey From Louisville Immediately

Click on the title of this post to see why. C'mon, please!

Today is the Feastday of Our Lady of Guadalupe

While Our Lady of Guadalupe is especially celebrated in Mexico, she is also the patroness of the Americas. If you wish to know more about her, please click on the title of this post.
I know I mentioned I used to teach in a Polish Church. Did I also mention that the neighborhood was hispanic? We tried to celebrate this feast day at my school reverently, though traditionally was rather impossible since none of the teachers or staff were hispanic. I did learn to love Our Lady of Guadalupe, though. If I ever get a lawn statue of Our Lady, it will be of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Giving In

I have finally done it. After years of being pestered by people to get it, I have finally allowed it into my home. It isn't so bad. It doesn't have to be a minion of Stan's right? I am talking about cable, of course.
For years, people would say "Why don't you have cable? There really isn't anything good on network television! How can you stand it?". I answer "My husband and I have only been married for _____(12 now) years! Why we are still practically newlyweds! We just don't have time to watch television! (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). " Then, while they were busy vurping in their mouths, I would change the subject to something more suitable, like covering your bible with comics in order to draw comment from unbelievers and then speak of the joy of the Lord to them. Nothing like talking about s*x and religion in the same breath to make people comfortable (that is what they get for questioning my taste in television! All who oppose me, feel my wrath!)
Mom was better at it. "Bob would love the History Channel....". "That's okay mom, he knows how to read."
"You would love having access to more mysteries and they even have religious shows..." "That's okay mom, you taught me how to read."
Finally, last week, after years of subtlety, she came up with the ultimate reason. "Helen, I want cable. Honor thy Father and thy Mother!" Two days ago, the cable man installed cable. What mamma wants, mamma gets (she is a disabled elderly woman who does not get out of the house. How could I argue against more channels if she wants it?).
My stubborn streak kind of regrets giving in to the vurpers. And I feel kind of guilty spending money on such a luxury when others have so little. But then, mom and I have enjoyed the Hallmark Channel together for the last couple of days. (yes, I am a sentimental slob. I am not proud of it, but it is who I am!) And Bob and I have watched some of the music stations.
Any suggestions out there for how to make the vurpers uncomfortable again? (Sorry Sherri. I hope Mr. and Mrs. Sherri's Parents still let us play together. We can blame Katdish ;-)....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Seriously Shocked!

I am pretty sure it made the national news. The View interrupted hot topics yesterday to mention it. I was shocked, which was in itself shocking. My daddy told me that a politician has to sell his soul just to get on the ballot, so I should not be surprised by corrupt politicians. The words are synonymous. I always thought that while my dad's views were tainted growing up in communist Hungary, Chicago politics could also be the haven of Stan (check out Ryan's blog from yesterday's comments to find out who Stan is and how he got that name. It is a hoot!) .
The Governor of my state, the state of Illinois, Rod Blagoyevich, was arrested yesterday for trying to sell the Senate seat. My jaw still hurts from when it hit the floor. You see, the wheeling and dealing of state business for campaign contributions doesn't surprise me. Former Governor George Ryan's crime did not shock me, though it broke my heart that it cost the Willis children their lives. That is the Chicago way (minus children dying, hopefully), and Blogoyevich got his start in Chicago.
But trying sell the Senate seat for personal gain? I have no words. Trying sell it for political gain would be a new low in my opinion, since it is a Federal crime, but for personal gain just makes me feel violated as a citizen of IL and of the United States of America.
I know that in the U.S., a person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. I am working on that in my head and heart. In the meantime, my head keeps telling me that the feds have taped conversations of him doing this. I am totally sickened. I must go bact to Matter of Fact (Sherri's site) and see if there are any more jokes in her comment section. She is requesting jokes to make her feel better during her cold. Kathy left a doozy. Then I will clean house, which is what all of us voters in Illinois, especially Chicago, should be doing when it comes to politics. God bless you. Send Sherri a joke.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Getting to Know You......

I saw this on Happy Catholic. I thought it would be fun for us cyberfriends to cut and paste it to get to know each other. You can post it on your own blog, in my comment section, or if you don't have time for any of it, just comment "Wow, what a coincidence! I have _____________, too!"

How to play: BOLD anything you have done (after you cut and paste, of course ;-)).

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii(Honeymoon)
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland (DisneyWorld)
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo(8th grade play "The Sound of Music". I was the mother superior, so I go to sing Climb Every Mountain.
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (only if you count crochet)
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables(my parents did anyway. I helped!)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset(Both on honeymoon in Hawaii. Now every year my husband and I take a picnic breakfast and watch the sun rise over Lake Michigan every Memorial Day. It is a little chilly, but we have our love to keep us warm....)
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors(I was four years old when I visited Hungary)
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (we are not rich by cultural standards, but if we look around we see we do have so much)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelos David
41. Sung karaoke(At a family Christmas party many years ago.)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight(Hawaiian honeymoon)
46. Been transported in an ambulance(I was a substitute teacher on a field trip with gas fumes from the bus causing all of us to go to the hospital.)
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter(Hawaiian Honeymoon)
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy(Dolls)
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job(not enough enrollment, so I was technically "rifted")
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible (over the course of years, not all at once)(The Illustrated Chidren's Picture Bible counts, right?)
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox(I was in High School)
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous(Santa Claus. I was just a little girl. You know, he is just as nice in person as they say he is!)
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Monday, December 8, 2008

Today is the Feastday of the Immaculate Conception

Today is a big feast day for Catholics in the United States. The Immaculate Conception is the patron saint of the United States (Our Lady of Guadalupe is patron saint of the Americas). Everyone in my cyber community has been very kind and respectful about my Catholic beliefs. I thought perhaps the non-Catholics might be curious about what I believe about the Immaculate Conception. I hope you no one finds the tone of the video offensive. I know we won't see eye to eye on certain matters of faith, yet I thought you might be curious about what I see. If not, feel free to skip the video. No hard feelings. I really don't expect anyone to change their minds based on a YouTube video, so please don't think I am trying to convince you of anything contrary to your belief. I just thought you might want to know where a friend is coming from on this matter.
I am scheduling this post to appear on my blog at 7 pm while I am at Church. I probably won't check comments until after 10:00 pm, so please don't think I am hiding. :-) God bless you.

Look, Reindeer! No, It's Snow Darling!

Happy Catholic posted this on her blog in September. I hope she doesn't mind me sharing it now.

A long time ago, in Russia, there was a famous weather man named Rudolf.

He's always had a 100% accuracy rate for his forecasts of the Russian weather conditions. His people loved him and respected him for his faultless foresight. He was particularly good at predicting rain. One night, despite clear skies, he made the prediction on the 6:00pm news broadcast that a violent storm was approaching. It would flood the town in which he and his wife lived. He warned the people to take proper precautions and prepare for the worst.

After he arrived home later that evening, his wife met him at the door and started arguing with him that his weather prediction was the most ridiculous thing she had ever heard. This time, she said, he had made a terrible mistake. There wasn't a cloud anywhere within 10 miles of the village. As a matter of fact, that day had been the most beautiful day that the town had ever had and it was quite obvious to everyone that it simply wasn't going to rain.

He told her she was to be quiet and listen to him. If he said it was going to rain, IT WAS GOING TO RAIN. He had all of his Russian heritage behind him and he knew what he was talking about. She argued that although he came from a proud heritage, IT STILL WASN'T GOING TO RAIN.

They argued back and forth for hours , so much that they went to bed mad at each other.

During the night, sure enough one of the worst rainstorms hit the village the likes of which they had never seen. That morning when Rudolf and his wife arose, they looked out the window and saw all the water that had fallen that night.

"See," said Rudolf, "I told you it was going to rain." His wife admitted: "Once again your prediction came true. But I want to know, just how were you so accurate, Rudolf?" To which he replied, "You see, Rudolf the Red knows rain dear!"

Saturday, December 6, 2008

At Least I Wasn't Sleeping

My husband and I went to Sunday Mass this evening instead of waiting for tomorrow. We had no special reason, though Bob did take the opportunity to go to Confession. By the time Mass was over, I thought maybe I needed to go, too. But Father T said it was okay, nothing for me to feel bad about. Please let me explain...
Today the readings at Mass reminded me of the play Godspell (if you are wondering why, go ahead and click the Mass readings for Sunday on my sidebar). The parish I belonged to about 7 years ago put the musical on during lent, and my husband and I went to see it. I thought it was very well done. The only thing I disliked about the play is that it ends at the Crucifixion. I think stories about Jesus's life need to at least get as far as the Resurrection ( the Ascension and Pentecost would be even better). I feel the same way about Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ. If you depict the Crucifixion, you must depict the Resurrection.
But anyway, I have already digressed. If you've seen Godspell, you know that Jesus and His disciples are depicted as a bunch of hippies. It made sense in its day. Today a modern depiction would probably depict them a whole lot differently. I am not an artist, so I won't suggest how. Well, when I was listening to the readings, I was thinking about the musical and how they were depicted as hippies and such. Then, when the priest, my pastor, is giving his homily (that's Catholic for sermon), he mentioned that John the Baptist looked like a hippie, but people were drawn to him because he was speaking a powerful truth. I burst out laughing. Yes, the high pitched laugh in the front of the Church was me. I thought it was ironic that I was thinking of a hippie musical showing the life of Christ, and then the priest compares John the Baptist to a hippie. I was the only one laughing. I quickly covered my mouth. I was mortified.
God bless my pastor. I told him it was me laughing, and why. He said that's okay, and was really nice about it. He said the laugh was really nothing to apologize for.
No, this is not the performance I went to see, but it is the song I was thinking of.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy St. Nicholas Day

St. Nicholas Day is December 6. As you can see, he is not wearing a red suit and a white beard. Historically, he was a bishop. He was very generous. I am hoping that my sidebar Saint of the Day is featuring him today, because his story is worth telling. His feastday is big in Europe. My dad used to make me polish my shoes real well before leaving them in the window for St. Nick. When I taught second grade, I would alway get to school really early on December 6 (St. Nicholas Day), put treats on my students' desks, write a note on the board about how since they were so good, they were my first stop and I got there really early. I would tell them to be nice to their teacher :-) because I remember her from when she was a little girl, and that, come to think of it, she has been very good this year, too :-). Then I would go downstairs, to the parking lot, back to my car, and drive away. I would come back just when the kids were supposed to go in, so that we would go up together, I would unlock the door, and they would find...oh it was so much fun! I had as much fun watching the children's joy as they had finding their treats. I love St. Nicholas! God bless you!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Lovely Description of Advent

Hi all! Remember when I mentioned that a cyberfriend has a lovely description of advent he will be posting on his blog, and that I'd provide a link when he did. Well, click on the title of this post, and you'll see his.
I really need to work on seeing the positive in the way Christmas is being celebrated, and not just curmudgeonly complain about commercialization, secularization and the like.
God bless you.

The Greatest "Holiday" Gift

Don't worry, I'm not going off about "Holiday" vs. "Christmas" again. The Chicago Tribune is asking for essays about the greatest holiday gift that money couldn't buy we have ever received. I noticed it in the Editorial section yesterday. I debated with myself about whether I should write an essay, or not bother because it would never see print. You can guess my answer, can't you. My answer of course is the gift of faith in Jesus my parents gave me by celebrating this time of year as a holy time, and not just red and green holiday. I asked my husband's advice about whether I should do it, or if I was wasting my time. He told me to go for it, so I spent about an hour this morning writing my essay (how is it that I can write about these things on my blog as fast as I can type, but have to pause after every sentence when sending something to the Chicago Tribune?) I will post it on my blog later, whether it gets printed or not. Somehow I doubt it will be. If this was forty years ago, the very concept would be written by a professional columnist (not just maybe the Religion editor, which encompasses everything from Christianity to Hinduism to Eastern Mysticism with shamanism and voodoo thrown in for good measure). Now we will be lucky if a "man on the street" or "voice of the people" essay makes it to print if it is about G-o-d. Still, maybe it can bless the people who have to sift and sort all that email. It would be worth it even then, wouldn't it? Maybe I am wronging the Trib, and they are expecting and looking forward to these answers, and my time is only wasted because more eloquent people than me submitted the same response. Either way, I will link the essays for you in my blog if they are on the internet site.
I haven't sent it yet. It is due tomorrow, but email is wonderful, isn't it. I want to let the piece rest, and see if I could express anything in a better way (I am sure it could be expressed better, just not if I can, you know).

I would like to share another favorite Christmas Carol of mine. I love how this carol tells the whole Gospel story, and not just what a cute baby Jesus was (not that there is anything wrong with that...). This is my favorite Irish carol. I am not Irish, but would like to say hi to my cyberfriend Pip, who is Irish. I'm sorry I couldn't find an Irish artist on youtube to post.

Sherri, I am posting the lyrics because I am sure you will request them ;-)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hypocrisy and the Christmas Curmudgeon

All my talking and posting about advent, and guess who went to a Christmas party yesterday already? Moi! Friends invited me to to ICF Christmas party, where we ate, talked, and played Christmas Charades. I had a great time. I think I got along well with everyone, since I am being encouraged to pretend to be Italian, and join (actually they only require 51% of their membership to be Italian, and not their members to be 51% Italian, so I can be a Hungarian Pole if I want to, which of course, I do). The decorations were simple, candle centerpieces surrounded with ornaments, and that's it. We sang Christmas songs afterward. After we sang Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer, I suggested to the priest that we have gag misselettes made up with this song in it, and freak everyone out at Mass when the cantor says "Will everyone please turn to hymn 314 and join us in singing Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer." Then we could watch everyone, including the cantor, freak out, and those of us at the party would be the only ones in on the joke. My pastor has a good sense of humour, so he laughed instead of asking me to leave, or giving me a penance or something.
I agree with Beth that now is a perfect time to share songs that are meaningful to us this time of year. So, as the unofficial Galpal Blogger Christmas Curmudgeon, I will share with you my theme song now.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

As Requested by Sherri, The Lyrics to My Favorite German Carol

Kling, Glöckchen
Ring, Little Bell

Text: Carl Enslin (1819-1875)
Melodie: Benedikt Widmann (1820-1910)


Kling, Glöckchen, klingelingeling!
Kling, Glöckchen, kling!
Laßt mich ein, ihr Kinder!
Ist so kalt der Winter!
Öffnet mir die Türen!
Laßt mich nicht erfrieren!
Kling, Glöckchen, klingelingeling!
Kling, Glöckchen, kling!

Kling, Glöckchen, klingelingeling!
Kling, Glöckchen, kling!
Mädchen, hört, und Bübchen,
Macht mir auf das Stübchen!
Bring euch viele Gaben,
Sollt euch dran erlaben!
Kling, Glöckchen, klingelingeling!
Kling, Glöckchen, kling!

Kling, Glöckchen, klingelingeling!
Kling, Glöckchen, kling!
Hell erglühn die Kerzen,
Öffnet mir die Herzen,
Will drin wohnen fröhlich,
Frommes Kind, wie selig!
Kling, Glöckchen, klingelingeling!
Kling, Glöckchen, kling!


Ring, little bell, ringalingaling!
Ring, little bell, ring!
Let me in, you kids!
So cold is the winter!
Open the doors for me!
Don't let me freeze!
Ring, little bell, ringalingaling!
Ring, little bell, ring!

Ring, little bell, ringalingaling!
Ring, little bell, ring!
Girls, listen, and boys,
Open up the room for me!
I bring you many gifts,
You should enjoy them!
Ring, little bell, ringalingaling!
Ring, little bell, ring!

Ring, little bell, ringalingaling!
Ring, little bell, ring!
Brightly glow the candles,
Open your hearts to me,
I want to live there happily,
Devout child, how blessed!
Ring, little bell, ringalingaling!
Ring, little bell, ring!

I know, from our cultural standpoint, the lyrics sound a little creepy at first, but we are supposed to be imagining the
Christchild asking for entrance into our hearts (okay, so bibically He knocks instead of ringing the bell, it is still a sweet picture) and not imagining stranger danger asking a latchkey kid to open the door. It is all in the perspective.
And, I don't mean to be petty, but it is pronounced "Danke Sheyrn".

Monday, December 1, 2008

Poll Results : When Should Christmas Music Be Played?

Well, the votes have been in for a while, and I am sure it is no surprise to those who know me that I took my time blogging about it. Six people believe that Christmas music should begin the day after Thanksgiving, one person believes that it should be played all year round, and one person suggests that after December 8 (Feast day of The Immaculate Conception, I'll be glad to answer any questions for non Catholics if you want) would be appropriate. Pip also suggests that there are ways to see advent and Christ's coming in presents wrapped under the tree and other less religious symbols if we try. He mentioned that he may blog on that later, and when he does, I'll provide a link if he gives me permission to (I am sure he will. He seems like a nice guy :-) ..
I suppose I have been playing Christmas Curmudgeon about Christmas music during advent because I used to teach second grade. Let me explain. Christmas program. Practice for more than two weeks. Singing and dancing. Principal changes dance steps three days before program (I still hyperventilate when I think about it, can you hear me?). She then spends two days yelling at kids for not listening and me for not practicing with them enough. Tension headache. Unable to listen to any Christmas music except what is necessary until Christmas day, or I hyperventilate. Can't listen to music from each individual Christmas program for at least three years without hyperventilating. Can't speak about it in complete sentences still. Ah, memories.

Speaking of memories, I took four years of German in High School (Good Counsel, an all girl Catholic High School) Frau Hildegarde Germaine taught us this song and many others. This was and is my favorite German Christmas Carol (I know, Stille Nacht or Ihr Kommet Kleiner Kinder should be because of their religious nature, but they're not).