Thursday, October 29, 2009

John O'Quinn, RIP

Love him or hate him, this is a shock.

Wednesday's Quote from Mom

So mom arrived and so far, so good. We took her to church (gasp) last night for Family Night and she sat in on our class, which is sort of an Intro to Orthodox Christianity kind of thing. Class was held in the nave itself last night, as the discussion centered on church architecture and the meaning of icons. Mom did purse her lips until they disappeared, and kept them that way the entire time we were in there - a sure sign she doesn't like what she's hearing - but she didn't come right out and disapprove too much. The one thing she said that I loved was when we were walking around the church before class started and I was explaining to her the little I knew about iconography ("the ones with crosses are martyrs" and things like that):

Mom: "Well, while it's nice to have all these people known for being martyrs, I always think it's nicer when people die for their faith and no one knows who they are. It's just so much more humble of them to have died only for their faith and not so that people would worship them later on."

Me: "Honor. Venerate. Love. Not worship. But anyway - what were they supposed to do? Plan ahead to make sure they were martyred in a place where no one knew them? It's hardly their fault if others remembered them after they were dead. They weren't in control of whether people did that, you know - they were dead."

So if any of you out there might possibly become a saint someday, and you're out there in the mission field or whatever where people might possibly want to kill you for your faith - make sure you get martyred in a way that no one knows about, so mom can think of your nameless fate and know you were more humble than the saints whose names we do know. Got it? Good.

Southwest Airlines and Honor Flight

My mom was at her layover in Baltimore yesterday when one of these flights came in: Southwest Airlines works with a non-profit group called Honor Flight, which brings WWII veterans from across the country in to see the monuments honoring them. Just as the flight arrived a Southwest employee made the announcement that the group of 70+ was coming off a flight from St. Louis, and anyone who wanted to cheer them on was welcome. Southwest handed out flags, and people lined the gate area, cheering and waving flags as the veterans arrived.

You can watch a video of a similar event here. As Will Rogers said:

"We can't all be heroes. Some of us have to stand on the curb and clap as they go by."

This is Beautiful

A model with a normal body? What an idea!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My List was MUCH Shorter

Ann Althouse linked to this list of "30 Things Every Woman Should Have Before She Turns 30" and all I have to say is - my list was much shorter. Here's my "done at 30" list:

A husband
A baby
A house
An advanced degree
A job with a good company
A great nanny

I like my list a lot more - because I've never seen much need for a "signature drink".

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Countdown to Torment

We're counting down to my mother's 1/2 yearly visit right now; she arrives tomorrow. Usually when she descends upon us I stop blogging alltogether, but this time I have a plan: I'm going to keep a running list of my favorite things she says and post them at opportune moments. What will be opportune about the moments, you ask? Well, they will be when I can't stand it anymore and am about to pop with all the things I want to say to her but won't. And there will be moments on this visits, I assure you. There always are, but this time we're introducing her Baptist self to our Orthodox church; I can't wait until she walks into the sanctuary and sees Christ enthroned on the Theotokos's lap - the most dominant fresco in the church. That will be one of many, many things she will feel the need to comment on. Even in everyday conversation, she throws out some whoppers, so the entertainment level here should be quite high, I assure you.

Just so you know the quality of phrases we're dealing with, some of the all-time greatest things my mother has said to me are:

When I told her that after five years of courtship, Husband and I finally were planning a wedding: "Is there a history of demon possession in his family?"

After announcing I was pregnant with One: "[SOB] I'd always prayed God would close your womb!"

On the subject of parenting after my parent's divorce: "I'm so glad God allowed me to raise you as if I'd been widowed. It worked out so much easier for me that way." Yeah Mom: Dad and I feel the same way.

So welcome to more free therapy for me! Feel free to check out and come back next week if this sort of thing doesn't interest you. She leaves on Sunday afternoon, you know. But if you stick around, be prepared to have some fun - at her and my expense, of course.

Here's hoping I make it to the other side of another thrilling visit ...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Afternoon Quote

One: "Whenever a Mythbuster has that kind of smile on his face, it can't be good."

Sometimes I wish I'd let them watch Nickleodeon...

Oh bother.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dear Sir

Today, as I entered the freeway in the rain, you were in my blind spot. And despite the fact you must have noticed the frantic blinking of my turn signal, there you stayed. You sat and you sat, exactly 3/4 of the way down the length of my minivan, as the "get left - this lane ends" sign got closer and closer to the nose of said minivan. Finally, to avoid a fiery death, I desperately accelerated and made it into your lane at the very last second. No thanks to you, I might add. Now I have one, single thing to say to you:

GET A BRAIN! Check ebay, Craigslist - there must be a cheap but serviceable one out there somewhere that someone isn't using and wants to get rid of. Get this brain and have it installed before you take to the road again. If not to save people like me from a bone-crunching death, then to save yourself: people who drive as poorly as you do in Texas sometimes get shot by drivers less charitable than I.

Please, as a public service to others and for your own protection, listen to me.

Kindest regards,

The Grass Widow

Take What You Want and Pay for It

That's the rule, right? "There is no free lunch" is another way of putting it.

But apparently someone forgot to tell the executives who took TARP money that the world worked that way - and now they are being presenting with the check.

Were these people really stupid enough to think that anything the government gave you was free? You pay with your money, you pay with your vote - but politicians always collect, one way or the other. Dealing with Uncle Vinnie might be easier, come to think of it.

So, how does it feel to be bought and paid for by Uncle Sam now, guys?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church

I absolutely love this blocky, modern church close to the house. I think you love it or hate it; I know quite a few people with the latter opinion about the building. My favorite thing is this statue outside. I've always wanted to capture it at night because of the shadow - and I finally have (thanks to Husband's patience, since he dropped me off in front and then waited for me around the corner):




One more - this is a cross on the side of the property; two flank a driveway and I liked the way this one looked up against the dark trees:

Morning Glow

We have a small stained glass window in the playroom, and it was casting this odd light into the TV room early this morning:


Pretty, no?

In case you were wondering (and of course you were!), I've pretty much killed off Wordless Days. I'll be posting a lot more photos over here, but I will still try to keep the descriptions to a minimum.

Enjoy.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dinner

You can never go wrong with Cajun food:


And it's always nice to catch a train and wave to the conductor:


And Again

Two: "Who's that playing football?"

One: "That's Arkansas. Their mascot is called the bristleback."

A Prepositional Problem

Me, just a few minutes ago: "Why don't y'all go upstairs and play alone for a while?"

Two: "Okay. I'm going to my room to play with myself."

Me: "Don't you mean 'by myself'?"

Two: "No! I'm going to my room to play with myself!"

Okaaaaay. He said it. I didn't.

Our New Community

We had the International Festival at the boys' school yesterday - the first one we've attended. The boys and I had a great time, although Husband was unfortunately trapped at work. This is the big school party of the fall, as the student body represents more than 40 birth countries. I was impressed with too many things to go into detail about all of them; what really hit me the most was the remarkable sense of comfortable community that surrounded the entire event. I haven't been able to spend much time on campus outside of afternoon pick-up, but I was at ease the entire time, and never had that sense of "everyone else knows everyone here and I don't know anyone." (Yes, some part of me hasn't left junior high, I am aware of that.)

I have a stack of photos to share with you, and some random word images as well - images of ...

two soccer games and one football game, all of which ran on their own for three hours with no adult supervision, sometimes combining into two games, expanding and contracting as kids came and went ...

herds of middle (and even high) schoolers, back at their alma mater and, instead of acting cool, chasing each other and acting much like they did as little kids ...

teachers everywhere, not just from our school but from our feeder middle and high schools, volunteering for everything in sight ...

parents tending tables and tables and tables, all of which groaned under the weight of gorgeous food from more than 30 countries, with the crowning glory being the actual, real-life sushi chef at the Japan table ...

three hours of children performing on the outdoor stage - music and dance and even taekwondo ....

two USA tables instead of one - one very red, white and blue and Texas-y, the other pure Louisiana. Because even though the commercials say that Texas is a whole other country, we all know that Louisiana is, too ...

And the pictures:


















And as you can see in the pictures, the weather was more than perfect - we couldn't have asked for a better time.

Quotes of the Day

Two, on his way to the Arboretum to "bat class": "Bats don't wear underwear, you know." This is important only because he was pretending to be a bat at the time.

One, on the aged dog Kirby who lives on our street: "He's pretty much just a walking fossil, isn't he?" This is a bit of trash talking, because in the past One has admitted to being jealous of Kirby, who has travelled to Rome. If I remember it correctly, "man, he's walked where the Caesers walked!" was the source of One's jealousy.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

German Shepherd Rescue Needs Help

I honestly don't know 100% about this - I haven't had time to call the shelter and verify everything, but this was sent to me via email by a neighbor and friend and I wanted to pass it on as quickly as possible. If you can help, please do!

************************************************************

A German Shepherd rescue group called Camp Wolfgang , in Garret, Texas is closing down because of family issues on 31 October. I don't have any additional details, other than they are closing their doors.

All the dogs are vetted, spayed/neutered, micro-chipped, well cared-for and many have had training.

They have nearly 200 dogs that must find a foster or be adopted before 31 October or they will have no choice but to euthanize them all. I am shocked by this and I hope you are too...

If you cannot help by fostering or adopting...YOU CAN STILL HELP!!!

Please forward this information to everyone you know....if we all forward this to everyone we know, chances are good that many of these dogs can be saved!

They do not need or want donations, they simply MUST place all of the dogs.

Adoption fees are $75..00, free to verifiable rescue groups.

Current dogs: (approximate)
120 German Shepherds
2 Akitas
1 Anatolian/Great Pyrenees
4 Purebred Rottweiler
1 Great Dane/Lab
1 Boxer/Mastiff
1 St. Bernard/Akita
1 WolfDog
45 Other mixed breeds

Time is of the essence!!

If you know anyone who can adopt, accept a dog into their rescue, or help in any way, contact Neisha Livengood, Kennel Master at Camp Wolfgang.

Neisha Livengood
windigo1966@yahoo.com
phone: 214-755-1627

CampWolfgang
6234 FM 879
Ennis, Texas 75119
www.campwolfgang.org

Thanks to everyone for anything you may be able to do to help these dogs.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Life on Hold

I had an interesting conversation with an old friend last week - really about all sorts of things, most of them parent-related (since we're both, you know, parents and all). The one thing that lingered in my mind afterwards was something he said that I never responded to, and I spent last night cooking dinner and responding to myself on this point. As Husband reminded me, I couldn't very well call this person now to tell them "I have something negative to say about something you said" - although that is just what I would do were it not for the extra tact gene God sent me in the person of Husband (I was in the bathroom in Heaven as a baby when they handed out tact, apparently, whereas he got second helpings). Anyway, here is the part of the conversation that sparked so much noodling on my part, and what I would have said had I been paying attention at the time.

What my friend said, when we were talking about faith and parenthood and the intersection of the two, was that he felt that his own spiritual growth was on hold at this point in his life, and the important thing as a parent was to make sure the kids were in right place (church, school, home) where their own growth could flourish. Hmmm. Wow that bothered me when I got down to thinking about it!

I am all for putting "personal goals" on hold during these wild years of parenting small children. I don't need to take up tennis, learn to sew, or train for a half-marathon right now; I have enough on my plate, and I'm not shoving anything to do with the boys off to make room for anything extra for me. Except in one particular area: my journey towards God. I have to have that right now. I need to focus on it far more than I need to exercise more, drink more water, sleep more, or any of the other things I'm missing out on. I need to have every bit of prayer time I can grab, every page I can read, every liturgy I can sit through and soak up from my toes to my head. That is where I want my strength to come from right now - not from my burgeoning interest in yoga, or tennis, or needlepoint.

The second, and almost-as-important reason I was upset by what he said was this: we are raising Christian adults. Not Christian children, meant to be trapped forever in Noah's Ark stories and Cherub Choir and Youth Group. They need to know what it is to be an adult with a strong faith -- what it sounds like (sometimes a cry, sometimes a shout of joy), what it looks like (spending more time on your knees then you ever thought possible), what it smells like (incense and salty tears) -- all of that and more. If I don't let the boys see all those things I'm keeping from them the most important part of their education. And while I fail in a lot of things as a parent, that's one thing I don't want to mess up.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Random Goings-On

Nothing much here but a few pictures of life at home.

Sunday: a picture of Two helping to cook Sunday dinner; doesn't he look spiffy?!

My aunt made that apron for my dad as a Christmas present upteen-million years ago. I wore it as a child, and now the boys have stolen it from me.

Tonight: the boys and I finished our first-ever game of Scrabble together:


Night, y'all.

A Foodie in Mourning

Sob.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Books We're Reading

I’ve been doing a lot of lazy re-reading of things like Miss Marple mysteries (yes, I am aware that is nothing to brag about) but the boys are up to their usual stuff when it comes to books. Some favorites:

The Swallows and Amazons series – thanks to Melissa Wiley for this recommendation. One loves the first book, and is excited to know there are 11 more for him to devour. I am less excited about the fact they are imports on Amazon, but since he reads almost everything two or three times maybe that will justify the cost.

The Hornblower Series (or Saga, or whatever it’s called) – One has read the Midshipman book and has already asked for the Lieutenant – the next chronologically.

Danger in the Desert: True Adventures of a Dinosaur Hunter – a Sterling Point biography of paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews.

For history One has lots of books on the Civil War – so far he’s liked Fields of Fury best.

Huck Finn, a One read-alone while Husband reads Life on the Mississippi to him aloud.

Two’s latest read-aloud is The Wind on the Moon, a very silly book which I am sort of gritting my teeth through, but that the boys absolutely love.

there is no me without you – an amazing story of a woman struggling to stay afloat in a sea of orphans in Ethiopia. This one, obviously, is mine, sandwiched between Miss Marples. I love it, but I’m taking it in small doses.

Waiting on Time

I've been sitting here this morning catching up on blog reading that I haven't had time to do in the past weeks when I read this wonderful post by JMom about God and Time. Here are some of her wise words:

"I cannot help but think of Lazarus' sisters frustrated that Jesus didn't arrive in time-- or Jairus, heartbroken that Jesus made it to his home after his daughter was already dead. He is the God of Eternity. He invented time. He is not constrained by it, not does He ever lose track of it."

Oh, this was something I needed to hear! I'm in the midst of praying for something I want so badly, but that frequently seems like it won't happen at all, or, at least, won't happen right this minute, which is when I want it. I need to remember, and remember and remember that God's timing is perfect, and He sees all time as one - not as a straight line as we do, but together as a whole picture. If I keep this image in my head, I know that in God's time, the thing I pray for so desperately has already been worked out, and then my prayer of longing can turn instead to rejoicing. While I know that it may not work out (may not have worked out?) as I imagine, I do know for certain that God has not forgotten, and that He always hears.

Thanks, JMom.