October 31, 2012

The photo, from the front page of today's Wall Street Journal, shows a statue of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal standing amidst the rubble left by hurricane Sandy. The second image provides an even better perspective of the situation. The photo was taken in the Breezy Point neighborhood of Queens, NY, where a massive fire destroyed 100 homes during the peak of the hurricane.

(I received these photos in a forwarded email, don't know who the photographer is.)

I don't think I can add any words to this!

October 7, 2012

Kid stuff

I recently took Brendan, 10, Benjamin, 7, and Molly, 4, to see a movie. On the way home, Benjamin, who is like an irrepressible noisy jumping bean, was making all kinds of crazy sounds in the back seat. Finally I lost patience and exclaimed, "Benjamin, stop that! I can't drive with you making all those silly noises back there!"

Not in the least impressed, he quickly and carelessly shot back, "Mom can."

"Maybe she can," I retorted, "but I can't."

Completely unperturbed (and unrepentant), he informed me, "That's because you don't have any real kids of your own."

(As opposed to.... some fake kids of my own?!)

A minute later he was doing it again.

"Benj, stop it!" I yelled. "Be quiet!"

He sighed. "That's why I'm gonna esplode."


A year ago I told the kids I would take each of them out alone if they liked. The boys were excited about this, but Molly said she didn't want to go anywhere without her brothers.

Realizing recently that I had never followed through on this, I brought it up again. Now the boys aren't interested. They want to stay home and play computer games. However, Molly was excited about the idea and said she would like to go out to eat with me--even if her brothers don't come.

"Where would you like to go, Molly?" I asked.

I was expecting her to say Wendy's or Chick Fil-A. But the most unexpected reply was, "Red Lobster."

I was speechless. But when I found my voice, I said, "Red Lobster! Why?"

"Because they have fish," she stated simply.

I was still pondering this when she added, "I was just kidding. I want to go to the Irish Rover."

By way of explanation, her mama tells me that Molly loves fish 'n chips. And, in fact, they do have out-of this-world fried fish at the Rover.

You really just never know what to expect from small people! I didn't even know she liked fish. What a discriminating four-year-old!

October 3, 2012

Getting to Know Me

I once saw a blog post by my friend "Christine" in which she revealed 10 surprising things about herself. (I don't have her email address, so I hope her sister, "Aunt P.," will let Christine know about my blog.) I enjoyed that blog post so much that I resolved to write one like it if I ever had a blog (although hers was so interesting, I don't think I can possibly come close to such an interesting list as hers was). Well, now I do have a blog. So let's see....

1. I lived in Italy for 2 1/2 years, and still understand Italian, and speak it too, to some extent.

2. I still sleep in a twin bed, even though everyone says, "You HAVE to get a bigger bed. You'd be so much more comfortable." Well, but that costs money. And I can't tell the difference. I have no trouble sleeping at all. LOL But I did have trouble finding a bedspread that didn't have Dora or Hello Kitty on it!

3. I would like to travel to Denmark someday for a special reason. I would also love to travel to England to meet my friend H. and see where my ancestors were from, and to visit the grave of Caryll Houselander. I would also love to see the two small towns in Slovakia from which my maternal grandparents came. And I'd like to go back to Italy to visit. Maybe even for a few months or a year. But not to stay.

4. I used to wear skirts 100% of the time. I wouldn't even take jobs where I thought there was a chance I'd have to wear pants. I still wear skirts most of the time, but not always.

5. I would like to fly in a hot air balloon sometime.

6. I have a thriving social life in spite of being single. In fact, it's too much for me to keep track of sometimes. I often double-book myself by mistake. I actually recharge by being alone--for a limited amount of time, not too long. (It wasn't for nothing that in college they asked me to be the school's activities director! I always know what's going on that's interesting to do and go to!)

7. I'm glad I live alone. See #6 above. Fourth sentence.

8. I love snow and get very excited every time I begin to see flakes in the air. I count down the days till there might be some snow. When summer is coming on, it depresses me. When winter is coming on, I start feeling alive again. I probably wouldn't like it if the winters were long and cold and hard where I lived, but where I do live, they aren't at all satisfactory in my view. Maybe 3 good snows and that's it. And when it does snow, it all melts in a day or two.

9. I passionately love Winnie the Pooh stories. They make me laugh out loud. (I got the idea for #7 above from one of these stories.) Piglet is my favorite character because he is timid but unbearably cute and so loving.

10. I am still a Canadian citizen.

Wait, I'm up to 10 already? I'm not done.

I hate nail polish. I have never had any on my toes.

I don't have pierced ears.

I think the best way to show someone you love them is to spend time with them.

Some or most of the best friendships I have started with letter-writing and only meeting in person years later. And most of my friendships had to be (and still have to be) maintained long-distance.

One thing that I think would make me the happiest would be to have all my friends together in one place for one day. I think you would all enjoy each other tremendously, and I would love to just sit and watch you all interact. It would be delightful. (I really enjoy bringing together people who enjoy each other's company.)

Tomorrow you can all meet, at least in one respect if not in another (plagiarizing from St. Thomas Aquinas). Stay tuned!

I would love to read something surprising about you, from you, in the comments!

October 2, 2012

Happy Feast of the Guardian Angels! 

The guardian angel print I grew up with

(To my own angel, first of all)

The choir I sing with is at Guardian Angels Parish in Louisville. A few months ago one of the choir members introduced us to this lovely old hymn. I just found out it was written by Fr. Faber. I also want to attach my favorite image of the guardian angel, but help! Lynn is asleep now! (She deserves it after hours and hours of setting up this blog for me yesterday... and something else exciting which I will soon unveil... stay tuned.)

Anyway, here is the hymn, and a link in case you want to hear it:

Dear Angel, ever at my side,
How loving thou must be
To leave thy home in Heav'n to guide
A little child like me.

Thy beautiful and shining face
I see not, though so near;
The sweetness of thy soft, low voice
Too deaf am I to hear.

But when dear spirit, I kneel down,
Both morn and night to pray,
Something there is within my heart
Which tells me thou art there.


October 1, 2012

The Value of Friends in My Life

Hello, friend, whoever you are! Welcome to my new baby blog. Lynn is kind enough to have set this up for me, and this is my very first post. I wanted to start on the first of some month, and voila, what is today? The first of October. Pull up a chair in my virtual coffee shop, and let's get back in touch!

My new blog
I don't know exactly what I plan to share on here, or how often I'll write. Probably I'll just post when something interesting happens in my life, something that might interest you. I used to be such a letter writer as a teenager. I still have boxes of the letters I used to get back, particularly from some who are still close friends after all these many years. But I am no longer such a good letter writer.

A couple of years ago I tried Facebook, but I found myself too distracted by it all the time, so eventually I gave that up.

I also prefer to keep my sharings to just a small group of friends, so perhaps this blog will be a way I can keep you better up to date on my comings and goings. I look forward to sharing with you how I am "turning over a new leaf."

Turning over a new leaf
How am I doing it? I think on the outside my life looks rather boring, but behind the scenes, there is always something intense and interesting going on. This year, with the help of some very kind friends, I am making some changes to improve my life--things like exercise, figuring out what I enjoy, taking dance lessons, taking drawing lessons (starting next week--I'm so excited), and investing in some earrings.

But not this leaf :)
But there is one thing I never want to change. As one of my favorite quotes goes:

I count myself in nothing else so happy as in a soul remembering my good friends. (Shakespeare)

This is my very favorite quote about friendship, a new one which I discovered sometime this past year:
Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused.  (African saying)

So, friend, whoever you are who read this... if you are reading this, most likely it's because, in some way or other, at some time or other, that is what you have been to me. Thank you. And thanks for coming and reading. Come back soon. I hope you'll enjoy my blog.