Saturday, January 31, 2009

Becoming Oneself At Thirty-nine

Hi, some awesome friends and I are colllaborating at a blog Fellowship of the Traveling Pants.. Click on the llink to see Becoming Oneself At Thirty-nine. We are still keeping our regular blogs as well. Just so you know...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Interview With Myself : Part Two

Good news, everyone. I have been able to reach myself for comment, and have agreed to continue to talk to myself about former governor Blagojevich, heretofore in this blog to be referred to as Mr. Blagojevich.

HRM: Helen, before we begin, I must ask you, what are you wearing? Yesterday you wore that lovely individualized egg designed muu muu. Today you seem to be wearing a dark blue pantsuit. What gives? Don't I warrant getting gussied up for any more?
Helen: Of course you do, HRM. This is not a pantsuit. This is a velour jogging suit. Sweat pants and a sweat shirt, if you will. In velour. I do love velour!
HRM: But why? I don't plan on making you sweat. These questions are not that hard. And we certainly weren't going to go jogging in cyber space! I miss your original designs!
Helen: Yes, I am more comfortable in my designer muu muus, but mom's visiting nurse is going to visit today. Whenever she sees me in one of my designer originals, she always asks me if I am sick. I thought I would head her off by wearing something almost as comfortable, if not as creative.
HRM: I see. Well then, let us begin. You must be thrilled that Gov....I mean Mr. Blagojevich was impeached yesterday. You were urging his resignation since early December.
Helen: Thrilled is not the word I would choose. Relieved is more like it. I can't be thrilled. It pains me that this was even necessary.
HRM: Really? How so? Yesterday you said that you thought he was unfit from the beginning due to his pro choice position.
Helen: Yes, I did say that. I am not sure what Governor Quinn's position on abortion is, so it is a little early for me to feel camaraderie with him in that regard.
HRM: Still, you seem kind of sad for someone who just got rid of a lying, swearing, cheating...
Helen: Hold on there, please. He has not been convicted as a criminal yet.
HRM: But his impeachment...
Helen: Was merely about whether or not he was fit to govern, not his actual guilt. This is America, and he is innocent until proven guilty...
HRM: Wait! So you mean you agree with that nonsense he was saying on the View and everywhere else?
Helen: Not exactly. He was suggesting that his impeachment trial was unfair because it determines his guilt without allowing him to confront his accusers. I agree that in America, we have a right to confront our accusers before being labeled guilty. But hs impeachment wasn't about guilt or innocence. It was about fitness to govern. Some Senators may have stepped over the line and talked about guilt, but guilt wasn't the point. Fitness to govern was.
HRM: Huh? That was about as clear as the Chicago River on St. Patrick's Day! *****
Helen: Okay, let me put it another way. When those transcripts came out on December 8, his voice is heard saying lots of bleepable stuff, and more or less offering the Senate seat for a price.
HRM: We all know that!
Helen: Yes, we do. But still, he needs to be tried in a court of law in front of a jury, with an opportunity to defend himself by questioning his accusers and bringing forth witnesses who can at least cause reasonable doubt before he can be called a criminal. But this impeachment trial was not a criminal trial. It was a trial to determine whether he could still do his job, or if he should be fired.
HRM: But doesn't saying he should be fired equate with him being a criminal?
Helen: Not at all. If I was accused of selling narcotics to students on the playground at a school I taught at, the principal would be within her rights to suspend me pending trial.
HRM: So Blagojevich is suspended?
Helen: No, he is fired. I don't believe the Illinois constitution provides for suspending a governor, and just as people would have little confidence in me as a teacher if I was accused of selling drugs to my students, people feel little confidence in Mr. Blagjevich due to the accusations against him. A person needs to be respected at their job in order to be successful in it.
HRM: So then if Blagojevich is not found guilty, he will have been ousted through no fault of his own.
Helen: In a way yes. But then, if a Supreme Court justice becomes senile, he or she can be impeached because he or she can't so his or her job. No one finds the defendant guilty of senility, just unable to fulfill the requirements of the job. I believe that Mr. Blagojevich lost the trust of the legislature and the voters (really, you wonder why Judy Barr Topinka wasn't governor since you can't find a single person on the street who admits to voting for Blagojevich). How can he govern without the people's trust?
HRM: And this makes you sad?
Helen: Very.
HRM: Why?
Helen: Mr. Blagojevich is accused of some horrible things that is very sad if it is true. And, he did improve health care for the elderly and working poor. In Illinois, we have a system called Circuit Breaker that helped the elderly with a few things, especially paying for prescription drugs. This was a few years before Medicare Part D. Prescription Drugs are very expensive. It was hard for many elderly people to get the drugs they needed. The Circuit Breaker was a Godsend for many. Then there is the help that some families get to pay for the medical needs of their children. These are good things. While I don't agree with him that these good things should give him a free pass to do bad things, he really was not a bad Governor for a while. Or at least he didn't seem to be.
HRM: I heard a rumor that during the sales tax and public transportation issues, you actually felt the media was picking on him.
Helen: Yes, a bit. You see, in the six years he was governor, he never lived in the Governor's mansion in Springfield, but in his Chicago house. The media made a big deal about the cost of this during the public transportation discussions.
HRM: So you think he was right to not live in the Capitol?"
Helen: No. I think that was ridiculous. But, if the media had issues with it, they should have reported it before his reelection, since that was the case all through his first term. It seemed fishy to me that the media got a bee in their bonnets over it when they did. Of course, now that there are allegations of him trying to get journalists fired, it all makes sense.
HRM: One more question. Ryan wants to know why we park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
Helen: Because people love paradoxes. If we are not drawn to the paradoxes that is God, we create our own paradoxes. Which reminds me of Open Road Tolling, another Blagojevich contribution...
HRM: Thanks, but not now. It is now time for us to go yell at the View. Let's go!
Helen: Right behind you!

******For those of you that do not know the river is dyed green every year on St. Patrick's Day. Please don't blame the Irish. I doubt that they do such silliness there. I do believe that in Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is a holy day where they celebrate the coming of Christianity to their lovely island. Pip, if you would like to add anything, or fell that I have expressed myself poorly about St. Patrick's Day, please clarify in the comment section. There will be no hard feelings. I wouldn't want to misrepresent my faith.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Help! I Think The Governor Has Driven Me Crazy

*****Update He is now Mr. Blagojevich. Helen has agreed to be interviewed about her thoughts on this later. She is currently unavailable for comment.

Governor Blagojevich has decided to make final remarks in his impeachment hearings today. In honor of this....event, I have decided to interview an Illinoisan you all know and love: me.

Helen from Random Musings: Thank you for joining me in cyber space today, Helen.
Helen: I am glad to be here. I have often been described as "spacey", and feel right at home here.
HRM: Excellent. And may I say before we begin, that you look absolutely stunning? I think the powder blue muumuu with the egg yolk stain is definitely you.
Helen: Why thank you. It was either this, or the purple muumuu with the coffee stains.
HRM: Excellent choice! First question: when did you first realize that Rod Blagojevich was unfit to be governor of Illinois.
Helen: Wow! I like the way you get right to the point! I can't say that I ever thought Blagojevich was fit to be governor, but not because I doubted his integrity. You see, he ran as a pro-choice democrat. I haven't been able to vote for those since Clinton and the partial birth abortion issue. I could see how a person could be duped into thinking a fetus they couldn't see wasn't a baby, but not how they could be confused when the baby was half out of the womb. That seems to me to be willfull ignorance. I have not been able to vote for a pro choice candidate since. I know that makes me the dreaded one issue voter, but when that issue is not killing humans, it seems pretty significant to me. So you see, I thought he was unfit from the beginning, but not in the sense that most people do now.
HRM: Back up a moment. You say you did not doubt his integrity then. How does that correlate?
Helen: I didn't know his stand and partial birth abortion. I think a person can disagree with me on the issue of first term abortion and maintain integrity. They would be totally and unequivically wrong, but that does not strip them of integrity.
HRM: How did we get on the subject of abortion anyway? I wanted to talk about Blagojevich!
Helen: Well, if you had better interviewing skills, you would never have let me go on this tangent!
HRM: (Sighs deeply.)
Helen: You had better ask me another question, your friends think you've lost it already!
HRM: When did you begin believing his integrity was slipping?
Helen: Well, there have been pay to play rumors for a while, but I didn't heed them much. I grew up in Chicago. One hand washing the other is a way of life here. My daddy made me register to vote on my eighteenth birthday. Do you know why? Our precint captain was a big shot in the sanitation department. Daddy was afraid we wouldn't get our garbage collected until I registered, so he made me do it immediately (well, not at 2:00 am, the time I was born, but you know what I mean.) When you are used to that kind of system, you accept a lot of garbage...
HRM: You still didn't answer my question. When did you first notice that Blagojevich was special in his corruptiblity?
Helen: Let's see....oh yeah, I was pretty disgusted with him after the RTA situation. You see, he kept vetoing the IL legislature's attempt to help public transportation. Here in Chicago, that was causing some big problems.
HRM: Let me get this straight. You knew Blagojevich was corrupt when people had to wait longer for buses!
Helen: The problems CTA has is a little more complicated than that, but no. My problem with the man began when he made his signature contingent upon giving free rides to senior citizens..
Helen: Easy there. I am not against free rides for senior citizens. I think there are some excellent arguments for giving free rides to senior citizens. Really, the more seniors get out, the more they will spend. I think we more than make up for the free rides in their sales taxes paid on such excursions, not to mention that it helps out businesses. No, I am not against the free rides. I am against the way they came out of the blue without discussion. He never presented it for a vote. Had he done so, the legislature might have jumped up, cheered, and carried him out on their shoulders. But he didn't. He tried to turn himself into a hero. That is when I knew he was up to no good.
HRM: While this is all truly fascinating, I think I need to cut you short now. This is becoming a long read.
Helen: Very well. Thank you for having me.
HRM: Well, thank you for being here. Please join me again later to continue this captivating interview.
Helen: I would be delighted.
HRM: Now, you must tell me how to get that exact egg yolk design on a muu muu......

P.S. After checking out this Simpsons video, I have decided that I would be much better off making myself a hot cup of tea with a shot of Drambuie in it whenever I think I may be subjected to looking at Blagojevich's mug on t.v.

P.S.S. Are there any questions you would like to have HRM ask Helen in their next interview?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Then later, she said

I am feeling much better now. I am sorry for being so, so, so, ugh, today, and yesterday. I am doing better now. Tomorrow is my Wednesday off from the computer. I will miss you, but don't be concerned, I am not away to wallow. Tomorrow I will be hanging out with mom, watching movies ON DEMAND. I know. Positively wild. I hope the police don't come to my door to shut this party down! Especially since we will be listening to the Polka station at noon. You know how wild a polka can get...
I will also be praying for my blogger friends. Especially one from my home state who has been having issues she needs to deal with, and has still been a source of comfort to me while I have been wallowing in self pity (hey, I don't feel guilty for self pity. Hannah did the same in the Bible, and how many sons did she end up with? Hmm? Quiz question for tomorrow. But I do think I should have been a better friend and recognized her sadness better)
As proof to my better mood, I am posting a Weird Al Yankovic polka video. I can't guarantee how you will feel after watching him absolutely ruin some great 80's songs, but, Janet Jackson dancing super fast to Nasty Boys in polka form had me gulping for air. Even Madonna hopping around to Papa Don't Preach was mildly amusing. I hope it makes you laugh, too.
I'll be back Thursday.

Apparently I Have Become too Stubborn to Learn: Better Luck Next Week

Steph at Red Clay Diaries posted yesterday about how the blogger at the above link is sponsoring a "What I learned this week carnival". Cool. I always believed myself to be a person who is constantly learning. Well, guess what I learned this week? I am not who I believe myself to be. I got nothing. Nada. Zip. Gooseegg. Zilch. Zero. Nil. Diddly Squat. Squat. (Hey, does it count that I used a thesaurus to find synonymns for nothing. Because that would be sweet).
Maybe I can learn from this experience. I am learning that some things just cannot be forced. You'd think I'd have learned that already. I would love to be able to force God to give me a baby. Maybe force Him to heal my mom so she can walk. Now I'm trying to force an idea.
But, some things cannot be forced. I am letting it go now....

Monday, January 26, 2009

I Am Who?

Okay, some of this is true, but some I take exception to. I taught second grade. I dealt with lots of clingy kids and got along with them quite well. They usually had a need that I had to address to help them become more, the fact that I tried to help them feel more secure and independent does not prove that I value aloofness and independence. It only proves that I was a good teacher interested in preparing them for their future. Oh well, this is what the quiz I linked to from Steph at the Red Clay Diaries said about me.
***And I love parties and loud music! So there!

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are a Grace!


You are a Grace -- "I need to understand the world."

Graces have a need for knowledge and are introverted, curious, analytical, and insightful.

How to Get Along with Me

  • * Be independent, not clingy
  • (I actually don't see this in me)
  • * Speak in a straightforward and brief manner
  • (not in a conversation. But in a faculty meeting, yes. yessirree.)
  • * I need time alone to process my feelings and thoughts

  • * Remember that If I seem aloof, distant, or arrogant, it may be that I am feeling uncomfortable

  • * Make me feel welcome, but not too intensely, or I might doubt your sincerity

  • * If I become irritated when I have to repeat things, it may be because it was such an effort to get my thoughts out in the first place

  • * don't come on like a bulldozer

  • * Help me to avoid my pet peeves: big parties, other people's loud music, overdone emotions, and intrusions on my privacy
  • (I like parties. I am more Mary than Martha, so I'll sit at your feet and listen rather than hop up and get more appetizers, but I like parties. I like loud music. All kinds. I don't have a problem with people showing emotion. It does make me want to reach out and make it all better, but does not annoy me. And the reason I like people to call first before they come over is so that I can hide the clutter. It has nothing to do with privacy!)

What I Like About Being a Grace
* standing back and viewing life objectively
* coming to a thorough understanding; perceiving causes and effects
* my sense of integrity: doing what I think is right and not being influenced by social pressure
* not being caught up in material possessions and status
* being calm in a crisis (I am calm in a crisis. But after it is over, I shake and cry...)

What's Hard About Being a Grace

  • * being slow to put my knowledge and insights out in the world
  • (Hey, I'm blogging, aren't I?)
  • * feeling bad when I act defensive or like a know-it-all

  • * being pressured to be with people when I don't want to be
  • (I am not a loner!)
  • * watching others with better social skills, but less intelligence or technical skill, do better professionally
  • (okay, I have admitted to being socially unskilled before..)

Graces as Children Often

  • * spend a lot of time alone reading, making collections, and so on

  • * have a few special friends rather than many

  • * are very bright and curious and do well in school

  • * have independent minds and often question their parents and teachers

  • * watch events from a detached point of view, gathering information

  • * assume a poker face in order not to look afraid

  • * are sensitive; avoid interpersonal conflict

  • * feel intruded upon and controlled and/or ignored and neglected

Graces as Parents (I don't have kids, so who am I to argue)

  • * are often kind, perceptive, and devoted

  • * are sometimes authoritarian and demanding

  • * may expect more intellectual achievement than is developmentally appropriate

  • * may be intolerant of their children expressing strong emotions

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz
at HelloQuizzy

Friday, January 23, 2009

Oh Boy! I'm Dory!

Katdish, at "Hey Look, A Chicken", has done her post on correlating cartoon characters with her blogger friends. I'm Dory! Yayyyy!

I love you too, Katdish!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

More of One Giant Twitter Than a Post, Really

Yesterday was my first Wednesday fasting from the Internet. I would like to say that it worked great, I devoted oodles of hours to prayer, and am now on the right track not only internetwise, but in every aspect of my life. Thank you Wednesday Internet fast! It worked for me!
I would really like to say that, but as a Christian, I must tell the truth. Mostly, I did errands. Mom's doctor wasn't faxing the form to her pharmacist that she needed to continue getting her testing supplies for her diabetes, so I took a ride over to his office and staged a sit in until I got that form, then I carried it myself to the pharmacy. (I know, I shouldn't leave her alone, but I also shouldn't skip testing her sugar. She is okay for a couple of hours, so long as she has a phone, a snack, two bottles of water, a word find, a pen, the remote control, and everything in the house is unplugged but the refrigerator, everything is locked and the gas stove is checked at least three times) He came out of his office with the form before I was scheduled to sing "Kumbaya". Bummer. Without "Kumbaya", I looked absolutely ridiculous sitting on the waiting room floor Indian style holding a tambourine (okay, I didn't actually do that. That was plan B....) Honestly, I would have had to do this yesterday even if it had been Tuesday and I could have spent oodles of time on the internet.
I also spent a lot more time with mom when I got home, which was good. She was really happy with that. And I did homey little things, like vacuum and such.
Today I have tickets to see "Disney on Ice". My cousins and aunt also won tickets, so it'll be extra fun. If I get to meet Mickey, is there any message you want me to give to him? I am leaving at 5:00pm, so all messages must be left by 3:00pm for me to see it before getting ready and going to the show. And yes, I have a mommy sitter.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

In The Interests of Not Being Repetitively Redundant...

Two of my friends have already done inauguration posts today. Rather than redundantly repeat (tee hee hee) what they said, I would rather just link to their blogs. I am sorry if that is lazy, but if I am just going to write what they wrote, I may as well just admit it is their work and link it.

Katdish's Inauguration Post.

Sherri's Inauguration Post.

Steff at the Red Clay Diaries Inauguration Post.

I agree with them with everything, including the "I didn't vote for him, but..."
I would like to add that I will be praying that FOCA does not pass. I will be praying that God changes our President's heart and mind about FOCA.

On another note, tomorrow is Wednesday, so I will be away from my computer all day.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My answers (and thought processes) are as follows:

1)A Vow of Devotion
This is the title I would assign to Beth. Beth is a devoted wife, mother, and church member. Beth has been on a media fast this past week, and, to me anyay, she seems to be the one who spends the least amount of time at the computer. Her devotion to God and those He has given her to care for is inspirational.

2) As The World Churns
This title reminded me of how Annie and I started corresponding, and of course, the fact that we now share a cooking blog, Paprika is Good, But Not In Coffee (check it out in my sidebar). Seriously though, she juggles a lot of things, and does it well.

3) Revenge of the Wrought Iron Flamingos
My understanding is that flamingos are from Florida. Which of our blogger pals hale from Florida? Mare, of course. If I were those flamingos, and I had lost Mare to Africa for a year, and then was going to lose her to Evanston for a couple of years, I would be clamouring for revenge, too. Oh well. Come August, the Flamingos loss will be my gain (Evanston is near Chicago). Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah....

4) Shoes to Die For
I know you can't judge a book by its cover, but doesn't the woman on the cover look spunky? Which of do you think of when you think of spunk and shoes? I think of Sherri. GIVE ME AN S! GIVE ME AN H! GIVE ME AN E! GIVE ME AN R! GIVE ME ANOTHER R! GIVE ME AN I! WHAT DOES THAT SPELL? SHERRI! SHERRI! YAYYYYY!

5) Foul Play
Hey look, a chicken! Really. This title made me think of Hey Look, A Chicken! Okay, I know I said plot would not be included in this menagerie of mystery, but, even though the title is spelled "foul" there is actually a chicken in this story! So you have a chicken, you have the word play (and who is more fun and playful than Katdish? I mean come on! Which of us would keep typing Monkey.....rendevous like that?),so Katdish is an obvious choice. And my humour is nothing if not obvious....

6) Dying For Chocolate
Hello Steph at Red Clay Diaries! I would be, too. I hope your affliction heals. I really do. (Apparently she has become, ahem, allergic to chocolate (discreet enough?))

7) Raiders of the Lost Corset
That would be me. I am a large women, who hasn't worn a.........human sized rubberband in a long time. That is right. I have lost my......ahem....human sized rubberband. (Was that TMI?)

8) The Cat Who Moved A Mountain
Have you seen the size of Gabrielle's cat? Wow. I mean, if any cat could move a mountain.....Okay, more seriously, Gabrielle is a Christian who is looking to move mountains by her faith. She knows what I mean. If you don't, the name of her blog is I'm Free Now. She can tell you about it in her own words.

9) The Cat Who Talked Turkey
Or maybe tofurky! Hi Matt!. I'm a Christmas Ominivore! Matt did a great post about Christmas Vegans. And no, the point of it was not abstaining from animal products. (Sorry Katdish, I know you are disappointed, but the only underwear title I could find was Death by Pantyhose, and that seemed somehow inappropriate...)

10)Simple Genius
Ryan is a college freshman who is following Christ. I was once one, too (twenty-one years ago). Sometimes Christian college student (at a state university) felt like a paradox. The title Simple Genius reminded me of the opposites I had to work with and reconcile. I hope it is easier for you, Ryan. And if anyone from an organization with the initials UBF invites you to bible study......well, I hate discouraging people from bible studies, but if you google "University Bible Fellowship" you should be able to see that this is not.....helpful. I thought they would help me with my paradoxes, but...well, that is for a different an less fun post. I didn't want to end this post on a downer. Let's can we end this on a light hearted note....

Fun and Games for a Saturday

As inspiring as Katdish's cartoon posts matching her blogger friends with characters has been, I can't bring myself to directly steal her idea. I am a Christian. I don't steal from my friends. Just people I have never met (I'm kidding!). Still, it is hard not to be inspired to do a similar match up. If we were in High School, isn't that what we would do? And frankly, I haven't had this much fun with a group of new friends since I was in High School. Even then......(sniffle, sniffle, cue violin music now).

After my pro wrestling post on Monday, I was leaning toward matching you up with the pro wrestler who I think your personality would most resemble. Then I realized.....the women were really there to show off their bodies, and comparing women to men (whose character development in the WWE is way more fleshed out rather than flesh revealing) might not go over as well as I might hope.
So, what besides pro wrestlng just screams "HELEN! HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELEN! HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELEN!"? Musicals obviously! Upon an exhaustive search lasting five minutes, I came to the conclusion that there are not enough good musicals to go around. At least not with appropriate titles. Which of you wants to be The Student Prince ?

If I start going with Disney cartoons, I am invading Katdish's territory and committing borderline theft. I didn't notice any clauses in the ten commandments about borderline stealing (trust me, I checked.....well not really), so I figured time for plan C.
Helen loves to read mysteries. I have decided to match my dear new friends with the mystery title that I think suits them best. I am concentrating on title, not plot, or hero-heroine. This way, we all can play. Incidentally, I have read all of these books, so if you are interested in reading the plot, which has no bearing on my choice for you remember, contact me, and I will give you the gist of that particular series, if not that particular book (yes, I have read each of the books in the series these are from, if you include listening to audio books with mom during the day while I do chores as reading. Thank you Library!) so that you have some idea if you'd like to read it.

1)A Vow of Devotion

2) As The World Churns

3) Revenge of the Wrought Iron Flamingos

4) Shoes to Die For

5) Foul Play

6) Dying For Chocolate

7) Raiders of the Lost Corset

8) The Cat Who Moved A Mountain

9) The Cat Who Talked Turkey

10)Simple Genius

Answers to Choose from: Helen (yes, I am playing too), Mare,Matt at the Church of No People, Gabrielle, Katdish, Ryan, Annie, Beth, Steph at the Red Clay Diaries, Sherri

Please play my little game with me in my comment section.

My answers should show up tonight by 6:00 pm, or I don't know what I am doing at this computer (all commence may snorting)

Friday, January 16, 2009

What Is That First Commandment Again? Sometimes It Seems I Have Forgotten.....

I don't know if blogging etiquette rules prohibit me from doing this, but I want to share something I started on Beth's (That's Not Me Anymore) comment section. The reason I miss her is because she is on a media fast this week.

I miss you, Beth. I know you won't be reading this yet, but, well, when you do, you will know that I miss you.
Oh, and between you, and an SCL post this week, I realize that I need to do a media fast myself. I have been enjoying the Internet, and putting it before God and others lately.
I have decided no computers at all on Sunday or Wednesday unless my donkey falls into a well.

I go on to explain that sometimes my mom wants me to find out something for her, and what momma wants, momma gets (hey, that is why I am a stay at home daughter). Honor thy Father and thy Mother. And, the things mom usually wants me to find out are if school is closed for family and friends who are students and teachers, if there were any survivors in the crash because she only heard part of the news, when is so and so's wake because maybe she should send me or Bob, you know, stuff like that. Things that worry seventy plus year old women. Hopefully we won't have those issues on a Sunday or Wednesday, because truth be told, it would be so easy to fall into temptation and just check email, then just check.....

The thing is, I haven't been a very good stay at home daughter lately. Through nobody's fault but my own, I have become obsessed with the next post, the next comment on that post, the newest like minded blogger out there, my own post, etc until it seems that I am just fitting mom in between computer sessions. Ditto Bob. And as for God, in all honesty, I have dared to give Him even less than that.

So I must give up computer time on Sundays, as it is the Lord's Day. I can tell myself that on Sunday, I mainly post on the sermon, or the beauty of that particular Sunday, or something I find inspiring. Nice. But can I honestly say it couldn't wait until Monday.....No...I couldn't honestly say that. No one needed my _______Sunday of Advent posts.
If I did, why not mention it Saturday, and blog on it Monday. Because it obviously wasn't important enough to me to preplan, and then wait for. I have a post coming out tomorrow that is fun and silly that I have been planning for almost a week. I didn't post it today because, I agree with Katdish, that some things should wait for Beth, because it wouldn't be the same without her. So why didn't I plan and wait with those Sunday posts? Because they weren't as important to me. So it shouldn't have been as important to me to post those on a Sunday.

I made a suggestion on SCL that we choose a day to fast together, since I noticed many bloggers saying what I said. It seems one commenter (and perhaps many lurkers, for all I know), found that disturbing. I know someone else who thought it was a good idea (Hi Stacy!). Perhaps I did jump the gun. Not everyone has the same problem, so everyone fasting from the same thing is unnecessary.
However, if you have the same issues with the computer and blogging as I do, or similar ones, I invite you to join me. Obviously if you work with computers, you would use it to do your job, but not for entertainment. And again, maybe you don't have that issue at all, and it is like telling a vegan to give up meat on Fridays during Lent. " Like, huh?".
And, in all honesty, the more blogger friends who join me, the easier the fast will be on me (which, of course, isn't your responsibility, but it is the truth).
Don't worry about needing to get in touch with me to pray for you if an emergency arises. I will be thinking of you often on Wednesdays (and a few times on Sunday, too, truth be told), and I plan on praying for you and your families every time I do.

P.S. I have chosen Sunday for the obvious reason (as stated). But Sunday would be like giving God and my family the minimum. I don't want to stop at the minimum. I want to refocus so that when I return on the other five days of the week, I have a renewed heart as to what is important, and can better handle blogging and the internet in my life.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Joke: Brought to You by Brewster Rockitt: Space Guy

Brewster: I can't believe it! We lost to the insectoids, and now they are taking us away captive! I don't understand. How could we lose? We watched all those battle-training videos.
Pam:Actually, those were Tom and Jerry cartoons.
Brewster: That would explain our arsenal of frying pans and pies.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Remix: Why I Watch Wrestling On Television

I hate to admit it, but last night, I watched RAW on television. Yes, I am a pro-wrestling fan. I grew up watching Rick Martel, the Von Erich brothers, Jimmy "the Superfly" Snooka, Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat. I saw the tail end of Dick the Bruiser's career and that of his cousin Crusher when I was about six. Good times. I can tell the difference between a thrust kick and sweet chin music (okay, you caught me. There actually is no difference except that sweet chin music always lands on the chin. Go ahead and call it a superkick. The difference between a superkick and a thrustkick is that the superkick is always super). I can describe a half nelson in Haiku. I know when jumping from the top rope is a mistake, and when it will clinch the match. Why do I love watching wrestling? Is it male posing (no, that is irritating.) Is it the sportsmanship (no, gone are the days when the good guys came to each other's rescue when the bad guys ganged up on the good guy). Is it the match itself (no, the pros won't call it fake because there are real injuries and risks, but many will admit to predetermined outcomes). Is it respect for good over evil (no, the Undertaker is supposed to be a good guy and at the same time a borderline evil character. Yick!) So what draws me to this, this, this sport like event?

I am drawn to watching televised wrestling because I don't like talking to myself. I think most people are uncomfortable with it. I think that is why when people are alone in the house, they like to have the t.v. or radio on even if they are not paying attention to it. I can't do that because I talk back to the television. Actually, I yell at the television. I would never yell at mom or Bob, but I consider talking inanimate objects to be fair game. Seriously, after being married less than a month, my husband insisted on no more watching McLaughin Group. Now to get my weekly screaming and yelling out I have to watch Smackdown or RAW.

My husband doesn't care for professional wrestling either, but men seem to think it is more normal to yell at the television over sports than politics. I can't yell at other sports because I am not as knowledgeable about them. What can I yell at a baseball game? "Bad pitch, bad pitch" as if there was a dog named Pitch in the room that whizzed on the floor? How about "Shame on you for catching that fly ball! It is our turn to win!" Can you see how ridiculous I would look? But while watching wrestling, I can yell "Try a hammer lock!" or "Don't be stupid! If you jump off the top rope, he is going to move!" I have all sorts of gems like these in my repertoire.

I was brought up yelling at the t.v. all the time. In my home growing up, my parents wouldn't yell at each other, but Morton Kondracke was another matter altogether. So you can imagine what my neighbors would think of me, knowing that I am home all alone with my mom, if I was yelling "You B****!" at Joy Behar as she interrupts Elizabeth Hasselback, or "Don't be stupid!" at Elizabeth Hasselback when she says something completely irrevelant to what they are talking about (John McCain does not fit into every hot topic. Maybe not even every luke warm topic.) They would think I am abusing my poor, old wheelchair bound mom.

But when I release my week's pent up anger at the stars of WWE, I am being normal. That is why I watch wrestling on television: to remain normal. Yep. My Haikus about wrestling holds are absolutely, completely normal.

Half Nelson
Hand under the arm
free arm under the other
lock together wrists

The match posted at the bottom is brutal. Most of them are. Feel free not to watch it. I won't take it personally. ;-)

If We Are In Such Danger of Global Warming, Why Am I Chilled to the Bone?

This is going to be a very cold week in Chicago. And after I had been promised global warming. Dang.
Okay, truth be told, I am not really convinced either way about global warming. But when gas prices went up, I did start thinking about ways to save gas. But, if my husband took public transportation, he would need me to drive him to where he could pick it up, about halfway to his place of work. Not exactly a gas saving opportunity.
I always recycle. I don't believe in being wasteful. We are called to be good stewards of the earth, whether Global Warming is fact or a hoax. That means not treating our resources like a never ending supply of _______.
We will wait to get a new car until there is a well made, affordable, American hybrid to choose. Because I can't afford expensive and shoddy, and gas prices are going to continue to be volatile. I have nothing against people who choose foreign cars, but I have a cousin who works as a salesman for GM. When I buy a car, he looks out for me. Shouldn't I do the same when I choose a car?
With or without GW, pollution is unpleasant. Perhaps even unhealthy. Pollution emitted into air and water should be limited.
But let's face it. If I never drove again, or took another airplane, grew my own food, became a vegetarian, recycled everything, did absolutely everything right, I still wouldn't save the earth as much harm as is emitted by one burning oil well in the middle east. That doesn't mean I am claiming license to be irresponsible, but if I became a fanatic, I wouldn't change the world. If we all became fanatics, we still could find global warming is a natural phenomenon.
I think Global Warming (and evolution for that matter, but that is another can of worms), should be taught as a possible theory, alongside other theories. Maybe we should be careful, and hedge out bets by recycling, walking when possible, and finding other sources of energy. But we shouldn't treat GW as fact.
Okay, now believers in GW and disbelievers can commence hating me alike. Go ahead. You probably could use something to bring you together to the table. It might as well be "Helen at Random Musings is full of Scheiss "(which is German for shit).
All that, just to say it is colder than a politician's heart here in Chicago this week. I put away the muumuus, and am rockin' the velour sweats this week. In a Jessica Rabbit sort of way. At least that is my story as to why it is tight, rather than that I have gained a few pounds since last winter, and I am sticking to it. Enjoy the video.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

You Now Know More About Me Than My Neighbors

I have been tagged by Steph at the Red Clay Diaries. to share seven weird things about me. Limiting myself to seven will be difficult, but I will manage somehow. Sniff.
1. I actually do sing in the supermarket with the canned music they are playing.
Once, years ago, I gave up secular music for Lent. It was supermarket music that did me in. Is it really a sacrifice if it means my husband has to go shopping instead of me? Not quite the spirit of Lent. But I would go grocery shopping, and couldn't help enjoying the music. I worked it out by letting this be a reminder to me that while Christ's sacrifice was perfect, mine could never be that.
2. Sometimes I salsa dance (it's like mambo for people without rhythm) at the supermarket, just to freak out the people who are staring at me for singing.
3. Sometimes I listen to the Drive Time Polka Show.
Don't laugh. The other day, I won tickets from them for Disney on Ice. I had to name the three wise men. Can you? (Hint: No, it is not Mo, Larry, Curly, and sometimes Shemp or Joe. Those are the three wise guys, not wise men.)
And, it is thanks to the Polka Show on WPNA that I know that today is National Bubble Bath Day. Happy Bubble Bath Day. Enjoy!

4. I frequently embed cartoons and childish things into my blog posts.
5. I used to, ummmm, visit a cultish group called University Bible Fellowship. UBF for short. Go ahead, google them. Just know that my experiences weren't so bad, because I stayed on the fringe until I ran like h-e-double hockey stick. I'll probably do a post on it later, when I am totally over it. It has only been twenty-one years so the wounds are still a little fresh...
6. I have a very loud and shrill laugh. "HOW LOUD AND SHRILL IS IT?" Shhhh. I heard you asking all the way here through the computer. Be careful. You don't want to startle your family or coworkers. My laugh is so loud and shrill, that the first time my second graders would hear my laugh, they would scream from fright.....Then they would say "Do it again, Miss Helen! Pleeeeeease do it again!!" Yeah. It was the "Do it again" that tipped me off to how weird my laugh really is. The "please" was mere icing on that cake.
7. I am allergic to pine. And grass. And flowers. I used to like to do gardening, but since I also like not sniffling and having a sore throat, that has kind of fallen on by the wayside. Oh yeah, and the fact that it is winter time.

Now, I tag Beth at That's Not Me Anymore, Sherri at Matter of Fact, Gabby at Dear Gabby, Mare at Journey to be had, and Slycat 9.1. (she does not have a blog, but I can publish hers if she won't start one.) Hey Ryan, how about you? You want to join us?

Okay, weird thing number 8. You guys and gals deserve a bonus. This was fun. I always wanted to do this Meme, but was waiting to be invited.

Drop That Cuisinart!

Okay, which of you bloggers knew that Veggie Tales did a polka? You should have told me! Helen likes polkas. Helen likes cartoons. Put them together, and what do you get? Happy Helen! I hope you all enjoy this more than yesterday's car crash video.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

DWH: Driving While Helen: Just Don't

Once, many years ago, mom and Bob were in the hospital at the same time for about a week. This was when I was still a teacher. I spent very little time at home. I visited them every day. I went grocery shopping when visiting hours were over (I went to the hospital right after school) and was so tired, I fell asleep at the wheel. I woke up on the route home, but I had no idea where I was, I just kept driving until I recognized something. I got home. The next day, I went home after school, took a nap, and called them on the phone. The rest of the time they were in the hospital, I took turns visiting them, and called the other (even from the firsts hospital room), and made sure I got rest and took care of myself.
When you have a scare like that in traffic, you need to make a change in your driving habits. It doesn't matter if it was DUI, forgetting your glasses, texting, cell phone using, yelling at ______, eating a sandwhich, drinking a cola, or driving while exhausted. Now, if I am overtired, I just don't drive. I know you moms out there are thinking that would be impossible, but keep in mind, I am talking falling asleep at the wheel tired. You don't want to do that to or with your kids. I know you don't.
God was looking out for me that day. In a way, He was looking out for Bob and Momma, too, because I don't know what they would do without me? Seriously. Could you imagine what would happen to a family without a talented blogger in it? Who wants to even think it?! Recognize His hand in keeping you safe, and thank Him by learning something!
This post is dedicated to a commenter on Sherri's blog, Matter of Fact, who calls herself Menice to Society.
Here is a youtube videeo for an incentive for all of us to drive safely. I wouldn't want to see any of these happen to my cyber friends and blog readers. Or anyone else, come to think of it.


When my grandmother learned something new, she would sometimes say "I see, said the blind man." As much as I adored my grandma, this particular saying of hers annoyed the living daylights out of me. I strained my eyes, trying not to roll them when she'd say this. But right now, I get it. I have no words to describe my thoughts better than "I see, said the blind man."
I know that it has been a well kept secret, but I have been reading Francis Chan's book, Crazy Love. I know, you all weren't sure about it, since I've only blogged and twittered about it a few zillion times, but I am. And, as much as I have always prided myself on my super duper reading capabilities, I am still in the first couple of pages of Chapter 1.
"What is that woman's problem" you may be asking yourself. "She seems intelligent enough. I mean, she is no Thomas Aquinas, but then, who is? Is it a comprehension issue?" And I suppose the answer to that is both yes and no. You see, I have understood what I have read, but I have found myself resistant to it, thereby having a difficult time moving on. What am I so resistant to, you wonder. I do believe that God loves me. I also believe that he is far grander than I can comprehend. So what is my problem? Isn't that what those few pages are saying?
Well, yes they are. However, he suggests in these first few pages that praying with words is hubris. We should not be approaching the King of the Universe with our own words, but ready to listen to Him. That is where my heart closed. Jesus told me to call God Father. He used the word Abba, which, for us, would be like daddy. Well, I can tell my daddy/Daddy anything. Sure, I need to respect him/Him always, but there is no reason I can't pour my heart out to him/Him. He holds a deep affection for me, so I felt that these sentences were nonsense.
What changed? At my "Sunday School" teacher meeting, we were discussing how to teach the students, and yes, even some of their parents, reverence for God in prayer. I found myself using some of the exact analogies (though not the don't talk in prayer one) that I read in Mr. Chan's book. That is when the dots connected. He is talking about remembering who God is, and approaching Him with reverence. He is saying to get back to that point where we recognize the awesomeness of God. I am sure we are then going to go back to talking to Him, like the Lord's Prayer coaches us too. (No I haven't read that far yet, so I don't know for sure.)
So, I am starting to "see" what Mr. Chan is saying. The question at the meeting kind of opened my eyes, though not entirely. I still want to see where I get back to be God's daughter. "For to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become Children of God."
An awesome God. Yes, I know lots of Christian bloggers post this song, but it is too true to ever be trite. I am posting it now.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy Epiphany

After today, I won't be saying "Merry Christmas" again until December. Today officially ends the Christmas season. Sigh. Time for me to stop the revelry, and practice being salt and light. I'd rather just stay here in the celebration mode, but that is not what Jesus asks of us, is it? Joy in the Lord is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and I am not asked to give that up. Just to express my joy and gratitude about other things than His birth. During Lent I can express gratitude for His sacrifice. During Easter I can express joy in His Resurrection. There is still much to celebrate this year...
Meanwhile, I am still reading the first Chapter of Crazy Love. This is not just a book to read, but a book to work with. Sigh. And I thought 186 pages sounded like a piece of cake. No wonder Jon Acuff is only having us discuss (comment on, whatever) the first two chapters on January 14.

****Update: Deacon is doing well after surgery, but he is feeling pain. I hope he heals well.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Helen's Word for the Year: Harmony

I was at Sherri's site, Matter of Fact, and I cllicked on Tip Junkie. She was having tips for Tuesday a day early, and asked us to sum up what we want for the year in one word. My word is harmony. Harmony in the New Year. I want to be in harmony with everyone I come across in person, and on the web. I want to recognize the gifts of those around me, have my gifts recognized, and be able to pull them together to make things a little better than they had been. Harmony: more of a hope than a goal.

Click on the title of this post to see Tip Junkie's post.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy Sunday

Today we celebrated the feast of the Epiphany. Yeah, two days too early. Burns me up a bit. Christmas officially ends on January 6. Why end it early just to celebrate on a Sunday? Christmas is too good to end two days too early! I refuse to end it! Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! MERRY CHRISTMAS!
On a more somber note, will my friends please pray for Deacon Ken? He is a Deacon (hence the name Deacon Ken) at my parish, and he is currently in the hospital. Pneumonia and congestive heart failure. He has been in for about a week, but I first found out today at Mass. He is no longer in ICU, but please pray for him anyway. He is elderly, and had difficulty walking even before his hospitalization. When someone in his condition is laid up in the hospital for awhile, it is really hard for them to get back on their feet. Please pray for his full recovery. Thank you very much.

Friday, January 2, 2009

SCL Book Club Pick

Apparently, SCL is going to have an on-line book discussion in January. Click here to find out about SCL Book Club. The title of the book is Crazy Love, and the author is Franscis Chan. I usually don't read something just because others are, but c'mon, this is SCL, and I can use some extra points. Click here to see what I am talking about. Actually, I think it will be fun to have something in common to discuss with some of my blogger friends. The best thing about books is sharing them. Anyway....
I took my uncle to Borders today so he could look into getting a DVD of Boris Gudinoff (if it is gudinoff for him, it should be gudinoff for us), and while I was there, I looked for a copy of Crazy Love. It was all the way on a shelf so high, I had to ask for help to get it. Still, they did better than Barnes and Noble. They were out of it on Saturday, and offered to order it for me. I said no thanks.
I tried checking it out of the library first, but our entire system (not my library, the whole library system for my region) had two copies. I won't be prepared to be part of the discussion if I wait. See, I try to take books out of the library instead of buying them if I can. Since I don't hold a paying job, a book a week (at least) really adds up. So anyway, a nice young man brought the book down for me without his even having to climb a ladder, or a shelf or something. He just plucked it down like a tomato off of a plant. Okay, he didn't have to bend down, but he barely had to reach.
I have since read the dedication, preface, introduction, and the questions at the end. Actually, I read the questions at the end first. I am glad I did, because the introduction didn't really do much for me. The introduction contains the premise that the Church in America is lukewarm. I don't think I agree with that. There are individuals in my parish who are lukewarm, and their are individuals who are on fire for the Lord. Sometimes I am the lukewarm one, and one of my on fire brothers or sisters encourages me. Sometimes it is the other way around. But saying the Church in America is lukewarm is overgeneralizing, I think. However, the interview in the back seems to be done with someone I can learn from, so I am going to give the book a chance.

*****Update one of mom's nephews called. Maybe if the other one calls over the weekend, I can get rid of this twitch. Click here to see what I am talking about now.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

From Sherri's Blog to Mine

My friend Sherri left these questions about 2008 on her blog today. It is all about new things tried in 2008. The name of her site is "Matter of Fact", and she is on my blogroll. You can go check her out from there.

1.Food?-I am always trying new recipes. Can you sing "Chicken Pot Pie"

2.Visited a new place(town, restaurant, country, neighborhood,church etc.)?
No. I don't re
3.Met a new friend(s)? MANY of my blogger gal pals. (Just like Sherri). This is my second year teaching CCD at my new parish, and I have begun making friends with my fellow teachers.

4. Learned a new word? Mostly playing with word verifications (wv for short) with my blogger pals.

5. Started a new hobby? Blogging.

6. Started a new job?No. My job will be taking care of my mom for a long time to come. What is new there though is that she has hired someone to take care of her on Saturdays, so I have a day I can do other things. Mom is so sweet and thoughtful.

7. Got a new hairdo? Not yet. A couple of years ago, a former student died of cancer. Since then I grow my hair long enough to cut and donate to "Locks of Love" in her memory. I can't afford to give scholarships in her name or anything, but I can afford to grow my hair long enough and then cut it short enough to donate to a child who lost his or her hair due to cancer. Anyways, 2009 will bring a new hairdo. Not a resolution, just a fact.

8.Redecorated a room? No, I am not into decorating the way a good wife should be. Luckily, my husband likes my blog. ;-)

9. Bought a new/different vehicle? No. Bob's car and mine are fine, with a little maintenance of course.

10.Got a makeover? I don't really like make up. I did buy myself an electric tweezer for my face though. Good times....good times.....
11.Read a new book? I read a lot. This year I have been actually trying to read less, and get audio books that mom and I can enjoy together.

12. Learned a new skill? Is blogging a skill?

13. Moved to a different home? No. I did that a few years ago. We really are happy here.

14.Moved to a different town? No. But my Church is in a different town from mine. ;-)
15. Joined a group, committee, club or church? I started hanging out with the Italian Catholic Federation. This year I decided to join. There are three reasons a good Hungarian can join an Italian federation. 1) Italians make good wine. 2) We have the same colors on our flag. 3) The wine is a good enough reason to count as two reasons.
16.Stood up for an issue?Yeah. I am very opinionated. Especially about pro-life issues. And when I think someone is being treated unfairly. And when the sun shines in the day and sets at night ;-)
17.\ Fixed something that was broken? I don't think so
18. Got married, engaged, gave birth? No, I am keeping Bob. He will not be lucky enough to be rid of me until I am buried at Maryhill Cemetary.
19.Listened to a sermon, type of music or saw a movie or read a book/ magazine that was out of your "regular" type?- Yes. I went to see Mamma Mia! In spite of the bad reviews, and the fact that I had prejudged the mother for being unsure of three men as her daughter's father. By the end of the movie, I saw how she could be in such a predicament, even if I couldn't approve of it. I cried for her and her daughter. And I laughed at the silliness of people dropping what they are doing to follow her singing and dancing. How come they never do that for me at the supermarket?

20. Invented anything? Not yet.

*****Update Please, please, please call your aunt! Please call her now, I don't care how late it is!.

My New Year's Resolutions

Today we Catholics celebrate the solemnity of Mary. So we go to Mass either on December 31st evening in anticipation of the day, or on January 1st itself. That is why I was at Mass yesterday, and at Mass, my pastor's homily encouraged us to make three types of New Years resolutions. My pastor is a wise man, so I am going to follow his suggestions.

Suggestion #1 Read the Bible for at least 15 minutes every day. Definitely a good resolution. I do include reading the Bible during my prayers, but expanding that time is a good idea. He made no suggestion as to whether that should have me reading the whole Bible within a year, or only get me to Exodus. The point is making the time to read and absorb, not how much I read. I resolve to read the Bible these 15 minutes.

Suggestion #2 Do something to better my own health. I was actually thinking along these lines myself. I resolve to dance (for exercise) every day. That should improve both my mental and physical health. This was going to be my only resolution, but Father Ted has shown me that this would be too self absorbed. I need to include God (#1) and others (3#) in my resolutions. My life should not just be all about me.

Suggestion #3 Do something charitable for others. My friends know that I am often writing about how 30% (and climbing) more people in my county are requesting help from food banks than were last year. Due to the poor economy, donations are going down. I have tried to be diligent about donating food and money during the holidays. I resolve to give food and/or money monthly for my parish's food drive. Just because "the holidays" end, their nutrition needs don't.