Thursday, May 31, 2007

Stopping Unwanted Solicitations

1) Phone call solicitations:
"You have been approved to refinance your home," the recorded voice told me when I answered the phone. Umm, I don't have a home to refinance (well, a rented apartment can be every bit a "home", but it doesn't need financing by the tenant). And there wasn't any way we would be approved for refinancing at that particular moment in time, even if we had a mortgage to refinance. But there was no one to tell any of that to, only a rude, automated interruption to my busy day, occurring on a daily basis. So I did a search, filled out a form, and today I don't receive unsolicited phone calls.

Whatever solicitations you receive, you can eliminate most of them...all but the ones from charitable institutions. All you have to do is go to the website of the National Do Not Call Registry and you can submit your number by phone or online.

2) Unsolicited emails (spam):
No, I don't have as easy an answer to this one, but I ldid learn something new about this today! I always wondered why some bloggers have their email addressed listed as so-and-so at such-and-such dot com, with the "at" and the "dot" written out as words instead of putting in the @ and . symbols. I just learned that this is called masking and eliminates spammers from lifting your email address from your blog or website. The article by Gina Hughes at Yahoo Tech gives other spam-protection tips as well.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Speech about Columbine

Generally politics, news, and what's wrong in the world are not what you will find at this blog.

But this speech was more about the importance of student prayer and the need for the spiritual life in our world. Father John Molloy, S.D.B., at his new blog A Shepherd's Voice, provides us with the words of Darrell Scott to the House Judiciary Subcommittee. Mr. Scott is the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine shootings of 1999. You can read his inspiring speech here.

The Present

I was writing a letter this morning to put in the mail box to send to a friend of my youth (yes, I still use the U.S. Postal Service). After writing the following paragraph I decided to share it here at my blog also. Although the circumstances are different for each of us, and although some people naturally live in the present and perhaps even need to learn from the past and plan for the future (so different from me)...I hope there is someone who will read this and relate, and decide just for the moment to live for the moment. Of course, I don't mean "live for today" in the "eat, drink and be merry" way, without thought for our eternal goals; but "live for today" in a joyful and peaceful awareness of the presence of God.

So here's the paragraph:
I need to learn to live in the present. It’s so easy for me (though not always so pleasant for me or for those around me) to try to live in the past and the future. What was that old song? (There I go into the past…saying “that old song”). “Today while the blossoms still cling to the vine…” I knew even when I used to sing that song at church camp in junior high that I had trouble living in the present. But since living here in our little apartment I’m finding it easier to live in the moment. It’s kind of funny. Where we lived previously we had an acre and a half, in a country suburb, with mature, beautiful trees. It was like a big park (a big small town park or a very small country park). And yet, I rarely had time to go out outside and enjoy the beauty, and when I was outside, I was usually seeing all the things that needed fixing, and worrying about how much the house and its upkeep were costing us instead of enjoying the beauty. But now I sit at my computer – with the balcony door open if the temperature is comfortable as it is this morning – looking out over the parking lot, but also looking out at deciduous trees and evergreen trees, shrubs and grass; with birds chirping and singing and occasionally flying in and out of my trees, right outside my window.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Beautiful Tuesday

The sun is shining. The birds are talking. A mower is humming. The fresh air is "just right" with the balcony door open. I am thankful to God, and also to those who serve, and have served, to help us to keep our freedoms. Yesterday I didn't post about Memorial Day (or anything else), but we did offer our Rosary for those who have given their lives for us and for our country.

Yesterday for us was a very productive day, digging our way out of clutter and tunneling our way through memories, as we sorted through about seven big boxes of papers. I couldn't have done it without Ed. He pushed me by example, led by doing. I'm not the worst pack rat in the world but I'm one of the worst paper pack rats. I'm so thankful for the invention of the computer, where I don't have to save everything on paper (I tried when we got our first PC. I would print everything interesting that I found on the internet.)

The kids got a Memorial Day "picnic" out of our project, as we went to Subway to eat (there was no way we could eat at the table, and having just cleaned the carpets on Saturday, we weren't "into" eating dinner from the sofa, either).

As you can see from the picture, this project extends into today...around and after school time. But what you see is all that's left to sort, what's on the table plus two boxes. This is the most organized I've been since I was young and single and had all my papers in a little file box with a handle!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Pentecost Sunday

May you have a very blessed feast of the Holy Ghost descending upon the Apostles and the Church. May we all be strengthened, consoled and guided by the Holy Ghost throughout our lives.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Book Title Meme - Revisited

Received a call from my sister, who has watched Wheel of Fortune, unlike me. Apparently that's why she picked up that I had not done the title meme the way Nick had intended. She then went to his blog to see, and sent me this from Nick's comments: "Thanks to everyone who has participated so far. One thing this exercise has taught me is that I need to be more clear in my instructions. I should have said that the last word of the first title needs to be the same as the first word of the second title, as in The Last Don Quixote (The Last Don and Don Quixote), or Love2Learn's The Man Who Knew Too Much Ado about Nothing (The ManWho Knew Too Much and Much Ado about Nothing). Still, it's been fun so far and I've enjoyed reading everyone's titles."

So, here are some from titles my sister Chris:
The Return of the King Lear
The Incredible Journey to the Center of the Earth
The Swiss Family Robinson Crusoe
Big Red Badge of Courage
Treasure Island of the Blue Dolphins

Book Title Meme

I've been tagged by Jean at Catholic Fire for a Book Title Meme. This meme was created by Nick at Literary Compass. Here are the rules, as he explains it:

"Blend two book titles together by using the last word of one title and the first word of the second title. If you want, you can blend the authors' names too. Like this:
The Divine Comedy 0f Errors by Dante Shakespeare
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince of Tides by J.K Conroy
The Canterbury Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Geoffrey Blume
The Screwtape Letters to a Young Poet by C.S. Rilkeand of course,
The Last Don Quixote by Mario de Cervantes."

Here are my "titles". Now we can write books to go with these titles, right? So much fun!

Purple Sage Treasure
Island of the Seven Habits
Copperfield the Incredible
Grand Canyon Escape
Princess Robinson
Wild White Stallion
Prosperity of the King
Red Fables

Here are the legitimate titles from which I fabricated mine. These are all books that I have read and recommend (I hope I spelled all the authors' names corectly):

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey
Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss
Aesop's Fables by...Aesop, of course
Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Big Red by Jim Kjelgard
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorn
The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford
White Stallion of Lipizza by Marguerite Henry
The Complete Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton
Escape to Prosperity by Wes Beavis

I tag anyone who would like to do this meme. I just want to tell you that as I was reading this meme at various blogs, I thought: I hope no one will tag me with this one. But once I started doing it, I quickly changed my mind and started having fun with it. Thanks, Jean, for thinking of me.

What Book Are You?

I just saw this book quiz at Esther's blog and thought it would be fun to take. Now I'm not so sure! Anyone who knows me knows that I smile a lot and laugh a lot. On the other hand, hmm, well, those of you who know me well can judge for yourselves what you think about these quiz results. Those who don't, please take this with a grain of salt. (And don't believe whatever my friends and relatives may post in the comments. Ha, just kidding.) You can go take the quiz for yourself and see what you think of your results. I am laughing even as I share this with you (but with just a little fear that maybe it's all too true).

You're The Grapes of Wrath!

by John Steinbeck

You're mired in a deep depression that encompasses you and everyone
you know. You're trying to get out of the depression, but your idea of help is, in
itself, pretty sad. While some are convinced that this all has a deeper meaning, you're
really just dull and tedious. And utterly obsessed with dust. You really need to focus
on something other than dust. Your best moments center around turtles.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

I didn't know I was interested in turtles. But I just realized that I mentioned turtles in my post of a few days ago when I was talking about how to search a blog. And I seem to have a (happy) obsession with my slow car, which I call my putt-putt car but someone else calls a turtle. As for dust, I'm allergic to it.

Let's keep on laughing, and have fun with life however "dusty" it gets. Okay?

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Last Moments

I love it when someone says what I've always said - so much better than I could ever say it. Sister Janet, in giving meditations for the Mysteries of the Rosary, spoke today of those last peaceful moments between God and the soul. You can read what she says here.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

How to Navigate a Blog

Have you ever felt a bit overwhelmed when you visit a blog? I sometimes do (and I visit a lot of blogs. I have about forty blog feeds in my Bloglines account.).

Previous Posts:
What if you read on down the page and want to know what was written just before that last post at the bottom? With some blogs, there is something at the bottom to click on to get to previous posts. With this one, I'm sorry to say, there is not; and to be perfectly frank, I have not yet figured out how to add that...without a total revamp of the blog which would cost me many hours and too much risk of lost content. I'm not big on gambling...

So...if you ever want to know what came before the posts on the current page, here's what you can do:
Scroll down, skimming the sidebar for "Archives". In this case, it's the last list just above the pictures of "Random Books from my Library". Click on the current month and you can see all the posts from this month. In this way, you can be sure you don't miss any content. (Should you have so much time on your hands. )

Contact Blog Owner:
Now, what if you want to contact a blog owner? Been there, done that. Some are easy; some not so easy. First thing you can do is look for a profile. Where there is a profile, there is often (though not always) an email address. In my blog, if you look under Contact Me in the list of Labels (Alphabetical), you can find my email address.

If you can't find someone's email address, on most blogs you can leave a comment. I once needed to talk to someone whose email address I couldn't find anywhere, so I left her a comment giving her my email address and asking her to email me - and she did. (I have a friend who I know reads my blogs but doesn't have email. Could I leave her messages in my posts? Don't worry, _________, I'm just joking...and hope you all are doing well!).

You are researching turtles and you remember this blogger who wrote about turtles (not me). Or you want to see what someone looks like. Go to "Search" and type "turtles" or "pictures" and voila! you get everything on that topic. Yes, that search field at the top left isn't for the web, nor even for all the blogs in the blogosphere. It's for the very blog you are visiting. This is not available on all blogs, but it is on most blogs whose addresses have "" in them.

So, have fun. But, oh yes, there's the schoolwork and the housework and spending time with the family. I'm outta' here!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

We're Committed

I spent a whole bunch of precious money today ordering schoolbooks for next school year, so we are definitely committed to hunkering in for another high school term. Next fall is Robert's senior year and Peter begins high school. Twenty-two years of homeschooling elementary school (after five of teaching it in a small school before that) are coming to an end.

Am I ready for this? Oh, wait. I've been homeschooling high school for...umm, about thirteen years I think. So I think we can do this!

But best of all, the books available have gotten better and better over the years! I can't believe how fortunate we've been to have Dr. Jay Wile's Apologia Science series for the past six or seven years. These are great science textbooks from a scientist who is a Christian. (For us Catholic homeschoolers, it's nice to know that there is no anti-Catholic bias in these books.)

And now for math we have the awesome Teaching Textbooks. These come with accompanying CD Roms where the authors teach the lessons orally while the student looks at sample problems. Robert tried this program this year for Algebra 2 and is sold on it! I have just ordered their Geometry for him. We're also getting their Alebra 1 for our visually-impaired son Peter who is thrilled that he will be able to listen to the explanations of the lessons. With his computer enlargement software, he should be able to also see the problems that are being explained. I'll keep you posted on how this works out for him, come fall.

Rob will be exploring career aptitude next fall. To supplement my own lesson plans for this course, I ordered a CD of Maureen Wittmann's talk to the teens, "Career Exploration for Teens and Young Adults", from the Greater Milwaukee's Catholic Home Educators 2007 Conference.

For Peter, I have ordered a New Testament on cassette tapes from Ignatius, and This is the Faith on MP3 CD from TAN Books.

We're good to go!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Graduation from Eighth Grade

Peter graduates from eighth grade!
Our T.O.R.C.H. homeschool group had a ceremony at the park, complete with mortar-boards with caps, and color-coordinating t-shirts (a picture of St. Michael is on the back of the shirt). In the picture on the left, Dad is looking on in the background. On the right, Peter is happily examining the St. Michael statue that the chapter gave him.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Marian Meme

Esther of A Catholic Mom in Hawaii has tagged me for a Marian Meme. Thank you, Esther, for thinking of me. What a great subject that I'd love to share about.

Favorite Image of Our Lady:
Our Lady of Grace

Favorite Marian Feast:
The Immaculate Heart of Mary
August 22 on the Tridentine calendar
June 16 on the current calendar

Favorite Marian Hymn:
Ave Maria composed by Franz Schubert
Here is one example of it being sung. (You have to scroll down to the bottom to click on MP3.)

Favorite Place of Pilgrimage:
The Grotto in Portland, Oregon
My childhood best friend and I frequented this beautiful place when we were about 18.

Favorite Devotion:
The Rosary

In my sidebar are two links for online Rosaries:Mission Rosary
Printable/Self-Pace Online Version of the Rosary

I tag Alicia, Nancy, and Maureen, if they have the time and would like to do this...and anyone else who is interested.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Marigold Lives

Here the marigold is in its new pot on the balcony, and the bud has blossomed! Son Paul told me on Mothers' Day that since he didn't have money to send me a gift, he prayed that I would receive one. Interesting that I received this plant from the Knights of Columbus and he belongs to the Knights where he lives, too. Could it be his prayer that has helped this plant to live?

If you'd like to see the progress of the little plant, you can see a picture of it when the little blossom on the left was a bud by clicking here to get to this previous post. If you don't know me and haven't been to my blog much, you can read about my gardening "talents" at this previous post. Basically, I've always pretty much had a "black thumb". But, behold the plant, which is truly a gift.

Friday, May 18, 2007


I don't know what's happened, on the last two posts, to the comments link. I've gone into settings and it looks like everything should be good to go.

If you see what I see (or don't see), which is no comments link, and you'd like to leave a comment, you can scroll to another post to leave your comment. I do see all comments that come in, because I have to approve them.

In the meantime, hopefully this will resolve itself...

Library Thing

How neat it was this morning to discover that my book, Chats with God's Little Ones, is being sold on Amazon. Of course, you can get it from Our Lady of Victory School, the publisher; but the idea that the book is also in the marketplace database at Amazon was exciting to me.

I discovered this when I was entering some of my favorite books into my account at Library Thing. When I first read about Library Thing on Maureen Wittmann's blog, I wondered what would be the purpose. Actually, I signed up and entered a few books, and then still wondered what would be the purpose, and kind of let it slide. But I've added a few more here, and a few more there. Just something fun to do in spare time. But this morning I realized one purpose it can serve for me.

When we moved in, I put books on the shelves in any order (meaning no order at all), just needing to get them out of boxes. I said, "I'll organize them later." Later hadn't come. And when I want a book, it's "search time". So this morning I realized that I've been cataloguing my favorite. So, why not put those same favorites onto a prime-space shelf? In doing this, I also moved off that shelf the old school books we no longer use. Now I can decide whether to save them, sell them, or give them away. But they don't have to take up my best shelf.

If you want to join Library Thing yourself, you can do it for free or for a fee. You can make your book list public or private. If you'd like to see what some of our treasured books are, you can visit my Library Thing page here.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

My Updated Avatar

Yahoo! Avatars

I browsed on over to the Yahoo Avatar page and guess what I found? A motorcycle! Oh, oh, this is so me! This is even the color of my Honda 90 that I had when I was 21 years old. It was my only means of transportation for awhile. I prayed to St. Francis for "approval" before I got it, since he was an expert at living in the spirit of poverty.

The only thing wrong with the Avatar is: no helmet. Just figure I'm only posing for the picture. I would not have ridden without a helmet! Not for a moment.

P.S. I don't recommend this type of city transportation for you or your kids. As a matter of fact, I kept this from my kids for decades because I didn't want them to grow up and ride. It was fun, really, really fun, but pretty darn dangerous, too.

Devotion to Christ

Last night I posted about this to the Catholic BVI Readers blog (BVI for Blind or Visually Impaired); but this morning it has occurred to me that I ought to share the information about these talks with everyone!

At the EWTN site, you can find an abundance of audio talks available. What I discovered yesterday, and got excited about, is a series of talks on Devotion to Christ given by Fr. Benedict Groeschel.

You can download these to your computer; and download RealPlayer for free, I believe, if you don't already have it. Just go here to check out these talks.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Reading Over My Head

This is what I've begun reading: The Philosophy of Tolkien by Peter J. Kreeft. Now, this is a bit odd for me to do as I never made my way all the way through The Lord of the Rings. But that's only because I don't like wars and battles. I did read enough to understand the world of Middle Earth, and to appreciate that Tolkien is a masterful storyteller.

I love to occasionally read "over my head". It was something I learned as a young child. I would read my Bible, not worrying about all the many things I didn't quite understand, and just enjoy the wonders of those things that I did understand. This book, The Philosophy of Tolkien, is the kind where I can read a page or two and not totally understand what I'm reading, but then come upon a sentence or a paragraph that makes it all so worthwhile to be reading it.

I'm enjoying this book most as a writer. I suppose we each bring to a book what we already know. I don't know if I'll ever be a fiction writer, but I've always enjoyed reading about any kind of writing, so I'm somewhat familiar with some of what Mr. Kreeft says about literature, and some of his words brings an "aha!" sense.

If you like to read, I would like to encourage you to read "over your head" now and then. You might be pleasantly surprised at the jewels of thought you can marvel at.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Be Positive?

"Be positive" is an expression I used to hear a lot. There was a time when I read many of the books on the subject. Being positive sure beats being negative. But perhaps the expression is not all that it's cracked up to be. Why do I say that? Just had this thought yesterday: The word is not specific! Never mind that it may or may not take God and spirituality into account...Most people who talk about being positive do have God in their lives and do turn to him for help in being positive. But what exactly does it mean to "be positive"? It's hard to know.

Instead, how about identifying the specific "negatives" that are in our lives and applying the opposite? If we are fearful, perhaps we need to work and pray to "be trusting in God". We might look at how He has taken care of us so far, and at the goodness of His creation, as well as read the Gospels. If we are pessimistic...or scrupulous, we may need to "be hopeful". We may want to meditate on heaven, and particularly stay close to our loving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. If we are gloomy, we can pray for help to "be cheerful". And perhaps read about St. Phillip Neri who was sometimes called the "cheerful saint".

Whatever negative thought patterns are working in our lives, if we pray for guidance we can probably find the opposite thoughts or virtues and focus on those. This might not be an overnight project but a lifetime endeavor. But we can always try to "be patient" and persevere in our quest.

Monday, May 14, 2007

My Little Plant

After Mass on Mothers' Day, the Knights of Columbus were giving each mother a little plant. Along with it was a little pro-life message. I don't remember the exact wording, but it was something like, "Thank you for saying yes to life." I read that, and one of my boys said, "Yes. Thank you!!" Pretty neat coming from a teenage boy. Not that there was ever any doubt in my mind. I mean I hardly even think of it as having said yes. Though if I had to do it over again, I might think twice about it...and then I would say: yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!

And if you didn't notice, well, I'm a great one to point out things like this but, yep, those are Christmas poinsettias painted on the side of the mug that I put the flower in. But hey, so who says I can't have poinsettias in the spring? They were the right color for the flower.

Do you think my little plant will grow? I put it in partial sunlight (the only kind of sunlight I have). Any other advise? Someone in my family advised me that I might have to water it now and then. I laughed. Who wouldn't think of that? Hmm, we won't go there.

I suppose maybe I should get more soil for it and put it in a bigger pot...if it lives long enough to warrant that kind of royal treatment. For all you plant lovers, it really isn't that I don't care. It's just that I don't know. As a matter of fact, I don't even know what kind of flower it is! Sad, huh? But as my daughter said, I have raised six kids, so that's something!

Daughter Visiting Again

My daughter Mary is here for a few days! Since she works for an airline again now, she can come often. Isn't that wondeful? I think so!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mothers' Day!!!

Happy Mothers' Day!

This statue of Our Lady now resides in a protective upright wooden box on our balcony, where you see it in the picture. Previously, it spent 13 years gracing our yard in Northern Kentucky, which is why it has that "weathered look".

I happily adopted Mother Mary as my spiritual mother at the age of 18. Now she is the only mother that I have on earth. May my mother and my mother-in-law rest in peace. And may God bless the wonderful women who have been "like a mother" to me in any way in my life.

Whether you are a mother or not, I hope you have a beautiful day today!

Author's Names for their Initials

As promised, here are the full names for the authors who are usually known by their first initials and last name (along with one well-known example of the writing of each):

C.S. Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia)- Clive Staples Lewis
E.B. White ((Charlotte's Web) - Elwyn Brooks White
A.A. Milne (Winnie the Pooh) - Alan Alexander Milne
G.K. Chesterton (Fr. Brown Mysteries) - Gilbert Keith Chesteron
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter) - Joanne Kathleen Rowling
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Hobbit) - John Ronald Reuel Tolkien
H.G. Wells (The Time Machine) - Herbert George Wells
H.A. Rey (Curious George) - Hans Augusto Rey
L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables) - Lucy Maud Montgomery
A.J. Cronin (The Keys of the Kingdom) - Archibald Joseph Cronin

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Author's Initials - Author's Names

Do you know the names behind the initials? How many of these authors names do you know? Last night Ed was doing a crossword puzzle that required the names for the initials. We had fun with this, so thought you might too.

Now, no cheating. See how many you know without looking them up. I will give you the answers, but not today!

C.S. Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia)
E.B. White (Charlotte's Web)
A.A. Milne ((Winnie the Pooh)
G.K. Chesterton (Father Brown Mysteries)
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter books)
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Hobbit)
H.G. Wells (The Time Machine)
H.A. Rey (Curious George)
L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables)
A.J. Cronin (The Keys of the Kingdom)

Now, if you would like to know the answers, you can click here.

Upadates on Heather


I'm providing the button again, in case you'd like to go read about how Heather is doing. The two latest posts are from her mother and from Heather herself. It's good to see her typing again! Let's continue including her in our prayers.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

My "Dream" Car

Well, my real, real, dream, dream car is probably a BMW Roadster...or maybe a Corvette, or how about a 2001 Thunderbird?

But the dream car that I'm looking for right now, at this moment, is a '96-'99 Subaru Legacy Wagon, All Wheel Drive. I'm willing to pay around $3,000 for it, and I don't want there to be anything major or costly that needs repairing. I'm not picky or anything. Am I? (smile). After all, I am open about whether or not it's an Outback, whether it's a 5 speed or automatic transmission, and even...(my first question about any car), what color it is.

So...if you live in the Baltimore area and know of just such a car, please get in touch with me (but please don't be offended that we will want to get it checked by a mechanic so we know what we're going to be dealing with).

If not don't live in Baltimore or don't know of such a car, please get in touch with St. Francis and ask him to ask Our Lord if I might have this...unless, of course, He has something else in mind!

My Old Car

That frame around the side-view mirror is duct tape. Do you think my putt-putt car has officially reached the status of a "beater" now?

"Oldways" Food Pyramid

When we're stressed, what can be more comforting than food? After all, we often put the two words together into a phrase, "comfort food". Only it's not comforting (or comfortable) to be overweight.

Speaking of comfort, I came across a resolution that I had written before the beginning of the year: "To be able to tie my shoes without pain." At the time, I thought it was a clever way to resolve to lose weight. Only I found a better way to get to my shoes than by leaning straight over. I DID find a way to tie those shoes without pain...while continuing to gain weight. In my defense, I kind of got hit with another major stress in January when Paul lost vision. I don't drink; I don't smoke; I don't...oh, aren't these excuses for overeating g-o-o-d?

A few years back I lost 25 pounds on the South Beach Diet. I didn't gain it back until I got super-stressed when Peter lost vision, and then I gained it back very slowly. So that diet can work. My best long-term benefit from having been on that diet is knowing that I really can lose 25 pounds! I just don't think that particular diet is the right route for me this time. For one thing, it's not the thriftiest way to eat. For another, I think it has a little too much emphasis on protein for my current leanings.

We've been trying to use more of a Mediterranean type diet for awhile now. Read "diet" as in "nutrition plan" rather than as in "weight loss plan". Where the weight control aspect comes in, I believe, is portion size -- and cutting out the cheating. What I need to change is the snacks. I've been using this type of diet for meals...but "cheating" crazily for snacks.

Does this mean our meals are composed of Greek foods? Nope. Actually, a Mediterranean diet shares the same basic food principles with a traditional Latin diet and an Asian diet. There is a website called Oldways, the Food Issues Think Tank, which shows the "Eatwise Pyramid"; they share information on how the typical food pyramid for each of these ethnicities is similar.

Whether you want to lose weight or not, you might enjoy checking out these food pyramids. They leave room for lots of variety, are good for the whole family, and are economical, too. What more could we ask for?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Baseball in Baltimore

Would you like to know why I didn't blog yesterday? I wanted to let the flowers live at the top of my page! Really. I would go look at the page, and then I just couldn't write anything and bring the top post down out of first place.

Last night we went to an Orioles baseball game. The company Ed works for got the tickets. "Our" team won! On the way home, we were thrilling about the fact that we were finally at a game where the home team won. I said laughingly, "We just needed to get the right home." Guess that means I'm starting to adopt Baltimore.

Now I just need to get a book/find some natives to help me learn the history of the fascinating architecture in this historic city, such as the clock tower, seen from the baseball stadium, with the top that looks like a castle turret.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Colors of Spring

Aren't they beautiful? I didn't even have to plant or tend them. Anyone who knows me well knows that had I planted them...well, let's just say I so totally enjoy looking at the work of other artists! (In this case, that of God and the apartment landscapers.) I used to say that the only thing I grow is kids. This morning I was thinking, "Kids and words." Now, I know there are people who do a terrific job of growing kids and words and plants! But I have to grow where I've, planted. So I just thank God for the beauty He bestows all around us. Isn't Spring a beautiful time!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

A Veritable Catholic Art Gallery

Walk through the beauty of an art gallery, as you sit in the comfort of your home and view Micki's pictures of the old-fashioned holy cards in her lifelong collection.

Visit her blog here.

Uplift your heart not only with the beautiful pictures, but also with the quotation or prayer that she posts each day with each picture.

Thank you, Micki, for sharing with us!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Update on Heather

The other night the post about Heather's brain surgery said that the tumor was the length of a dollar bill. However, she seemed to be doing well.

Yesterday's post at Heather's blog, a post written by her friend Laura, says that she was up walking. She was smiling. She wasn't talking yet but nodded or shook her head and knew who was there and understood what they were saying. "She’s not really talking. It’s all there in her mind, she’s just having some trouble getting it from there to her mouth."

Laura asked for some prayer specifics:
"That she get some good rest.
That her speech comes back quickly
That she stays relatively pain free"

You can read what Heather's husband Mark asks us to pray for, and keep updated, by going to Heather's blog.

Today there was a post from Heather:
"I am still standing"

Praise God in His wonderful works!

Please Pray for Gabriel

Please pray for a little boy named Gabriel, who was just diagnosed with leukemia, and has a long road ahead. He is the son of Tom Sullivan, the resident technology administrator and layout and cover design artist for Canticle magazine.

Heidi Saxton, editor of Canticle magazine, tells the story at her blog. She also gives the address of the family, in case we would like to send cards to Gabriel and to his brothers, one of whom is being confirmed and the other making his First Holy Communion.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Caveat about a Book Mentioned Earlier

Earlier today I shared the books I'm currently reading. There is something I want to add: Writing from Personal Experience is not a book I would recommend for your high school writers!

It's a library book that I am in the process of reading, so even as I was posting today, I hadn't seen some of the content that I read later this evening. Personally, for someone of my middle-age years, I don't see it as a problem; it's in much better taste -in my opinion - than some books I've found on the subject of writing (some of which I put down unread, even at my age).

However, in this current book, there are things mentioned, regarding "lifestyles" and such, that I would not necessarily want to infer to young people as acceptable writing - or reading - topics.

Book Meme

I love those bloggers who say so much in so few words. Too bad I'm not one of them. As I prepare to share with you what I've been currently reading, it is with trepidation. How am I going to do this briefly? Gulp. Deep breath. Here goes...

Yesterday, Esther of A Catholic Mom in Hawaii "tagged me for a meme" (I think that's the proper way to say that). I get the joy of sharing with you the books I'm reading.

Writing from Personal Experience, by Nancy Davidoff Kelton, is my current read that I picked up at the library the other day. I love that I can read it in snippets, picking any chapter. She even gives permission for the reader to do this. I love that she has sentences that I ooh and ahh over. Like this, "One does not notice the words. They are there to create a world and evoke the reader's response." Or this, "...not only reveal something to the readers about who you are and what you think and feel, but who they are as well."

Note regarding the above book: (Added later on.) As I have now read more of this book since posting this, I must add that I don't recommend this for your young people. Please remember that it's a library book that I hadn't finished reading yet. I have more to say about it in my subsequent post.

Another book I've been grazing recently is an old one that my husband's great aunt gave us many years ago when she found out that I'm distantly related to Abraham Lincoln. It's called The Inner Life of Abraham Lincoln, Six Months at the White House, by F. B. Carpenter. The copyright is 1866! (But it's not worth anything in a monetary way, which is good, so I won't be tempted to sell.) Mr. Carpenter lived at the White House while painting a portrait of the cabinet gathered to sign the Emancipation Proclamation. It's neat to see what someone has to way who was living right there, right then. And I'm re-inspired by his admiration of the president.

Besides the Bible, my book companion recently has been The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White. If you are interested, you can read my review of this book here. This book is a gem full of gems. I am hoping that if I read a little here and a little there, it will rub off on me, especially White's ability to be concise. Keep your fingers crossed.

Speaking of companions, the other book I keep by my bed and keep re-visiting is The Catholic Homeschool Companion, edited by Maureen Wittmann and Rachel Mackson. It's a compendium of inspiring viewpoints and experiences, as well as a great resource. And I just discovered while writing this that Maureen is offering the book at a discounted price right now as part of a 4-H fund-raising effort! You can read my reviews here and here.
Catholic Homeschool Companion is Now Being Sold for $5 Off
To buy the book at the current discount price, you can go here.

I was happy to see the other day, at someone else's blog, that I'm not the only one who reads as many as four books at a time. I don't know if I have A.D.D. or if it's just a symptom of being a writer.

Now I'm supposed to tag some other people. Although I didn't see any number regarding books (I'll bet some people are focused and read ONE book at a time!), somewhere I saw the number five for people, so I guess that's how many I'm supposed to "tag". There are people whose blogs I recommend whom I won't tag because I think they're already just about in over their heads with stuff to deadlines, house-hunting, fund-raising, you name it. Or in one case, what she mostly DOES is review books, so this seems superfluous. So...that made it easier to narrow it down to five. Here are my picks:

Holly of A Woman Seeking Grace
Lissa of Here in the Bonny Glen
Alice of Cottage Blessings
Alexandra of Happy Hearts at Home
Maria of Tater Tots and Ladybug Love

Thursday, May 03, 2007

What is a Meme?

What is a "meme"? I've been seeing this word floating around on blogs recently and wondering what it means. I've also heard of "being tagged". Okay, so today I was tagged with a meme. (Did I say that right?) Thank you, Esther, for thinking of me!

By the way, for those readers who are not any more blog savvy than I am, the Merriam-Webster online dictionary says a "meme" is "an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture".

So...I have been tagged for a book meme, which means, evidently, that I get the joy of sharing with you the books I've been currently reading. And then I tag a few other people. Sounds a little like the concept of a chain; but since we have the blogs already (and we're always going to post something), it doesn't produce extra mail for the post office or any bother like that. It's more like we're all getting together over coffee to share.

Now that we know what a meme is, I need to get dinner, but I'll be back either later this evening or tomorrow to share some books. Y'all come back now, okay?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Praying for Heather


Thursday morning is the day for the brain surgery. To read updates on Heather, you can click on the button.

The button was provided by 5 Minutes For Mom

Old Time Radio Programs

Have you heard your grandparents reminisce about old radio programs? I'm not talking about music or call-in talk shows. I'm talking about pre-television drama. You can walk down that memory lane, show your children how people used to be entertained. You can enjoy comedy or adventure. You can listen to "My Favorite Husband", starring Lucille Ball, or to Abbot and Costello, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Ozzie and Harriet, and others at Old Time Radio website.

HT: Danielle Daily

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Pray for Heather

A few weeks ago I posted about Heather, who was helping with the Homeschool Blog Awards Contest. In the midst of that happy contest, everyone was shocked to hear that doctors discovered a brain tumor.

On Thursday Heather will be having brain surgery. Her faith, family and friends are holding her up. Reading her blog, you can see that she is truly an inspiration. I hope that you will take a few minutes to go read her blog post for today.

We can add our voices in prayer for Heather and her family. A friend of hers is even gathering names of those who will pray for her during specific time slots on Thursday and in the coming days.

Please keep Heather in your prayers in whatever way you are inspired to do so, and whatever you are able to do, whether it's to go to her friend's site and commit to a specific time or whether it's just to hold her up in prayer for a moment as you read this.

Dear Jesus, please continue to bless Heather with peace. Grant her healing, if it be Your will, and guide the doctors in their work, that You may be her Divine Physician in this surgery. Please bless and keep her family in your peace and loving care. Amen.