Monday, December 29, 2008
We have seen several of both. One of my favorites is the house in which strands of white lights are draped over the driveway, beginning at the top of the garage and streaming downwards to either side of the driveway. However, there are two that take the cake for us.
The first we saw last year as we were driving around. I'm not usually one for inflatables, but I am a big Peanuts fan and the sight of this inflatable just made me happy. It's an inflatable Snoopy on Sopwith Camel with rotating propeller (said just that way as quickly as possible.) Nathan also gets a big kick out of it. The house's owners also put out a little blinking runway for him. Unfortunately, every time we go to see him, we forget the camera and when we went around taking pictures today, he had already been taken down.
The second favorite house is one Nathan affectionately calls "Mr. Christmas." We didn't see this house until this year and his title didn't occur until we were looking at lights with Elizabeth and noted that for a few blocks on almost all sides of this house, there are very few lights. "Must be another rolling brownout from Mr. Christmas," Nathan commented. A nickname was born. It truly is a fantastic sight. Every time we pass it I want to laugh. Of course, the pictures don't really do it justice. He has cut outs of the Flintstones in the front yard...I'm still not sure what they have to do with Christmas.
There were also lights strung across the sides of the house.
It's impossible to see in these pictures, but there was a functioning Ferris wheel, as well as two miniature villages set up inside.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Every Christmas, Nathan feels the compunction to cover me in the bows we used on the packages. Observe. He was going for a "stegosaurus" feel this year.
The hat Nathan is wearing is actually a Christmas present from his sister to his father. Music was all around at Nathan's parents' house with Nathan playing the piano before he his sister got there, the CD player going while we opened presents, he and his sister playing the piano after we opened presents and Pam also taking a turn at the ivories.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I think that's why these days, if I'm not working on at least one book, I feel rather like a woman without a country. I feel lost and only partially there. This is why, a week before Christmas, with several books on my several lists, I went to the library. I had finished "Dragon Waiting" which I recommend if you're into alternate historical fiction and I couldn't get through "The Real History Behind the Knights of the Templar." I returned them both to the library and picked up "Reading Lolita in Tehran" something I had wanted to read for a while.
I don't know if I'll finish it before Christmas, but I couldn't bear to go a week without reading something.
Books on my Christmas lists:
The Tale of Despereaux--read it, loved it, have to have it
A Lion Among Men--Read the first two in the series, love them, have them
Peter Pan--One of my favorite books of all time
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
That is why, today, when Governor Blagojevich was arrested at his home, I spent the whole day feeling slightly giddy. Every time it came up I giggled. I also happen to be something of a news junkie so I spent an inordinate amount of time at work looking up news stories on the events of the morning.
The reason I have very little sympathy for this man, is because he seems to be spurred on, almost entirely, by his need to increase his own power and finances. Reportedly, the CEO of a children's hospital (probably either Hope or Children's Memorial) would not contribute $50,000 to his campaign and he threatened to pull the hospital's $8 million state funding.
I do feel bad for my lack of pity, but every time I hear about it I just get kind of giggly. I do feel bad for his wife and daughters, though.
Monday, December 8, 2008
The Immaculata Prayer, by St. Maxmilian Kolbe
O Immaculata, Queen of Heaven and earth, refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you. I, (name), a repentant sinner, cast myself at your feet, humbly imploring you to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to yourself as your possession and property. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases you.
If it pleases you, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of you: "She will crush your head," and "You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world." Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands for introducing and increasing your glory to the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For wherever you enter you obtain the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through your hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Allow me to praise you, O Sacred Virgin
Give me strength against your enemies
Sunday, December 7, 2008
One of the things that's great about my mother-in-law is her talent. She has an eye for crafts and decorations that I definitely don't. She planned the pew bows and made the table decorations for Nathan and my wedding and they were beautiful. Every year her Christmas tree is themed and every year she made one ornament for Nathan and one for his sister. She gave us the box with the ornaments and a record of what year it was, what the theme was, and what the ornament she made was. It's an incredible treasure.
She also made ornaments out of our wedding favors. We used the little gauze bags and put M&Ms and Hershey's Kisses in them with a little favor tag. She baked clay in the colors and shapes of M&Ms and made foil wrappers in the shape of Kisses as ornaments. I absolutely love them.
This is the first ornament she made for Nathan in 1981. It was for her tree with soft ornaments and hung near his sister's ornament which had pink wings and a bow.
I love wrapping presents, so our tree already has a bunch under it, and Hecate is without her blanket.
After this picture was taken I realized I had put out the Christ Child a little too early and removed him from the manger. I would probably have the wise men elsewhere for the time being too, but we don't have that many kitten-proof places.
This last tradition has been in place ever since I was young and could help decorate the Christmas tree. My favorite color is blue, so my Baby's First Christmas ornament, which is quiet heavy, always hangs in a place on the tree with enough room for it, underneath a blue light. (Which you can't really tell in this picture).
Monday, December 1, 2008
Other things I was thankful for this weekend:
A holiday which celebrates both family and good food
Getting to spend four days with a large part of my family
All my friends, those I spoke with and those I didn't
Finding Hecate (twice--see next post)
Christmas season's arrival
The relative good health of most of my family
Our jobs and apartment
The fact that nearly all my Christmas shopping is finished and now I get to do the fun things, decorating, wrapping, and sending out cards
Monday, November 24, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
We have lived in Tinley Park since we got married and go home to DeKalb County quite frequently. We used to take back roads so we didn't have to deal with tolls and one of the roads skirts the community of Minooka. There is a kind of strange Citgo there that we used to stop at for gas and a driving break. We did so one fall afternoon and Nathan went in while I stayed in the car. He came back out with a white paper bag.
Me: What's in the bag?
N: Doughnuts. (He handed me the bag)
Me: How many are in there?
Me: You bought ten doughnuts?!
N: They were fifty cents. (Not individually, fifty cents all together)
Me: You bought ten doughnuts?!
N: They were fifty cents!
We went to a wedding of friends of his at a very upscale restaurant and hotel in Naperville. We sat down at dinner and each table had a basket of bread and a plate of butters which were in flower forms. We were sitting down and I was talking to someone sitting next to me when I turned to look at Nathan who had a flower-butter halfway to his mouth.
Me: Don't eat the butter, Dear.
N: (Looking sheepishly) I thought it was chocolate.
One evening it was 12:30 a.m. and I was actually about to fall asleep, in that little place between sleeping and not sleeping, when Nathan said, "Honey, when was the heyday of pirates?" We had not been talking about pirates, we had not been watching anything about pirates. Pirates came totally out of the blue. My response was "What?"
Monday, November 17, 2008
It took me about five minutes to find the power steering fluid and then as I was taking the cap off the reservoir in the car, it slipped out of my fingers and fell down into the engine compartment, getting stuck.
I have a very generous 45-minute lunch break, that at this point, was slipping away from me. I called into work and told them I would be back late, then, at Nathan's suggestion, went back into Target to buy something long and slender, with which to knock the cap out of the car onto the ground. I found camping forks.
It took quite a while because at first I just knocked the cap farther down so it was resting on the axle. Then a nice gentleman stopped and asked if he could help. After a few more minutes fighting with the cap, I finally knocked it onto the ground and he pushed my car back for me so I could get the cap.
An afternoon of phone calls followed, trying to figure out what to do about the car. In the end I drove it to our mechanic in DeKalb where my in-laws (whom I love) picked me up and drove me to Pecatonica (which is pronounced how it looks) where I borrowed my grandmother's car. I did not return home until 9:38.
I sincerely hope that when I make it to Heaven, there is no driving.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
The house we were going to buy needs a little too much work for it to be a feasible option for us right now. Apart from the roof and windows that we knew would need to be replaced if not this year, then in the next couple of years, the furnace needs to be replaced this year.
My little car, which I got free from a family member when I was a senior in college is not in very good shape and will also likely have to be replaced in the next few years. On top of the down payment, this is just a little too much money up front for us right now.
While this is a sad development, we both really wanted to live in that house, it also frees us up for another of our goals. We will probably be able to adopt sometime this year or next. I'm a little concerned that no one will want us because we will be living in an apartment or townhouse, but I'm still optomistic. Ideally we would still like to be living in DeKalb County near family, but right now we're just excited at the prospect of beginning the adoption process.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Waiting to call the doctor at noon I noticed something. If you've taken the day off work you are far more likely to watch something on TV you would never watch regularly. For example, I watched that horrible Tim Allen movie "Jungle 2 Jungle."
I don't know why, probably just because it was on and I was afraid of what else might be on.
It was as awful as I had always imagined.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Guy Fawkes was a 16th century Englishman who, along with Robert Catesby intended to blow up the English parliament in the Gunpowder Plot. Guy Fawkes Day is more commonly known as Bonfire Night when in commemoration of the plot's failure, bonfires and fireworks are lit in England. The phrase "Penny for the Guy" comes from the old tradition of children asking for money with which to purchase fireworks for the celebration.
So to all, Happy belated-Guy Fawkes Day.
Friday, November 7, 2008
The older I get the gladder I am they did things this way. I don't think tricking children into going to the doctor, or surprising them with it is very good for them. Plus, after each appointment or hospital stay I always got a treat, be it a meal out or a new book. That always made things go better!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
But I have been annoyed all day by a little (tiny little) feeling of enthusiasm at the back of my mind. I imagine it is because we are all ready for a breath of fresh air after President Bush. If you really want to change things, Mr. Obama, and you really want to be my president, let's see you really change things.
Change the culture of death in this country: don't encourage death related bills: no partial birth abortion (I would say repeal Roe vs. Wade, but I won't ask too much of you just yet), no "right to die," and no death penalty.
Make your changes with vigilant respect of this country's history and principles.
All in all, my first conclave was way more exciting and productive than the first presidential election I've ever voted in. And I didn't even have a say in the conclave.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
They also didn't have a great deal of money and already had my brother to take care of. It is mostly because of them, and because of the great lack of attention that I have witnessed towards congenital heart defects that I would like to start the Thumbellina Foundation. It is my idea of a non-profit agency that helps congenital cardiac defect patients and their parents at all ages and stages of their conditions.
It is named not for the Thumbellina story, but for a doll I have always had that I used to take to the hospital when I went. The only problem is, I have no idea how to start a non-profit and what to do once it is started. So for now it is just my idea...I have great hopes for it one day.
This is Anne, my middle sister, modeling it. It is half white and half green because those were the two colors I bought and I was not quite adventurous enough to knit stripes.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
But I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't make that mistake again. To that end, I have just finished reading "Milestones" by Pope Benedict XVI. As stern and aloof as he may seem in public, his memoirs were suprisingly warm and witty. They were interesting from a historical standpoint as an account of a child's life at the beginning of the Nazi regime in 1933, when young Joseph Ratzinger was 6 years old. He served a short term in the military and was put in a POW camp by the American liberators. After that his religious and seminary work began in earnest.
The theological sections of the work are a bit dense to wade through, but they also can be charming and surprising. If you want to know more about His Holiness, I recommend you read this book. The work of a life is often dictated in how a youth is spent
Friday, October 31, 2008
While it may look like Nathan dressed up as Nathan, he's really Indiana Jones...or a farmer. He decided to let everyone else pick which one he was.
I have wanted to dress as the Wicked Witch of the East for quite a while. I already had the outfit except for the socks and hat. The shirt is one of my favorites and the skirt is actually the lower half of my only good formal dress. After wearing it all day I remembered why I try not to for more than a couple hours, there is a layer of crenoline lining the bottom of the skirt, which makes it really itchy, and later really painful to sit on. I've had the shoes for a couple of months and everyone at work loved them with the socks.
Do you see two Hecates? Her little doppleganger was a present from Elizabeth, my youngest sister, and one of Hecate's biggest fans. It is roughly the same size as the real Hecate and I'm not sure how she feels about it. She knocks it over, but I don't know if she's playing or trying to destroy it.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
This is my favorite of the pictures I borrowed from my mother-in-law and scanned. That's his older sister standing at the bottom of the stairs.
I love this one too, he looks so cute in his little snow suit.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Apart from wishing both my grandfathers were still around, the only thing I would really keep the same is not having to deal with my own medical care. It loomed in front of me for so long and now all of the sudden it's here (really it's been here for a while, but while I lived at home mom still more or less took care of it.) And, I truly hate it.
Seriously, I would pay my mother or almost anyone else for that matter, pretend to be me and call all the doctors' offices and make appointments and deal with the insurance companies.
This is the hardest part about my medical care right now. Technically, pulmonary atresia with tricuspid stenosis is a children's condition, which means I have to see a pediatric cardiologist. It is very hard to do this because when I call to get referals to see the ped cardiologist I have to do this every time,
"When is your birthday?"
"But, he's a pediatric cardiologist...and you're 24 years old."
"I realize that, but, if you look at my records...blah...blah...blah."
What is worse is when I go to the children's hospital where I have to see my cardiologist and I have to explain to the security guards...yes, security guards...why I'm there and what I will be doing. I end up feeling so persecuted.
Monday, October 27, 2008
She she and Nathan and I slowly climbed the stairs and pulled a lot of the boxes down and we all, including his dad, sat on the couch and went through old photographs all afternoon. I finally saw his very first pictures...like, when he was brand new, and the really little baby pictures. I also found my absolute favorite from the last time we had gone through them, so I'll put one or two out here later.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Anyway, usually that extends to food, however, even we get tired of the same things the same ways eventually. To that end, I have adapted my favorite meal. Please to enjoy.
3/4 bag egg noodles
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can tuna
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 cup mozzarella cheese
2 cups mushrooms, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Set oven 350 degrees. Boil noodles until tender and in the meantime mix soup, tuna, and mayo. Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat, add mushrooms and garlic. Sautee mushrooms. Add half mushrooms to mayonnaise mixture. Add noodles and mix well. Top with remaining mushrooms and mozzarella. Bake until cheese golden brown and bubbly.
Usually it doesn't have the mushrooms and is topped with crumbled potato chips.
On an entirely unrelated note: I made scones from scratch last night, one batch plain and the second batch I stole a friend's suggestion of adding craisins and sprinkling with sugar. I don't usually bake, so the fact that these went over well at work was really cool.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
I am in a "mixed" marriage, Nathan is Methodist and we did not discourage everyone from not praying at our wedding, in fact, we had Nathan's minister there and he gave the final prayer and blessing.
As my friend pointed out, the Catholic and Lutheran services are very similar and she knew all the prayers already, and I can't imagine that the Church would discourage people (any people) from praying.
If someone knows more about this than me and can enlighten me I would appreciate it.
She entered the Visitation Convent at Paray in 1671. Our Lord began appearing to her and asked her to establish devotion to His Sacred Heart. Because of this, she was treated as a visionary (not in a good way) by her own community and only her obedience, humility, and charity, and the grace of God were able to persuade her detractors. She died October 17, 1690.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque’s Consecration to the Sacred Heart
I give myself and consecrate to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, my person and my life, my actions, pains, and sufferings, so that I may be unwilling to make use of any part of my being other than to honor, love and glorify the Sacred Heart. This is my unchanging purpose, namely, to be all His, and to do all things for the love of Him, at the same time renouncing with all my heart whatever is displeasing to Him. I therefore take You, O Sacred heart, to be the only object of my love, the guardian of my life, my assurance of salvation, the remedy of my weakness and inconstancy, the atonement for all the faults of my life and my sure refuge at the hour of death.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Monday--Macaroni or spaghetti*
Wednesday--Fish and veg
Saturday--Leftovers or dine out
Tuesday--Hamburgers and hotdogs
Saturday--Leftovers or dine out
Tuesday--Chicken and side
Thursday--Porkchops and side
Saturday--Left overs or dine out
*Mondays have to be easy because I have meetings every other Monday night, plus who wants to cook something complicated on a Monday?
**Nathan insisted on having a fruit day every week, it has come to mean, "We have fruit, eat it if you want. I'm not cooking tonight."
Most of the items are pretty general, which allows me to learn to cook different kinds of fish or chicken or sandwiches. Also, the "anything" on Sunday gives me leeway to make whatever I feel like.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
But then some days, Nathan surprises me. Today was a grocery shopping day. Nathan hates shopping and a few weeks ago, after getting tired of saying "What do you want for dinner?" and hearing "Whatever," and then making macaroni, I came up with a menu. Actually, it wasn't my idea, I stole it from my good friend Bonnie.
Anyway, yesterday I was talking about having to go shopping today and Nathan mentioned that he was going with me. And he did!
Points for the husband.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
My first project, which I'm calling a table runner, is a bit rough, but I actually am surprised by how nice it looks. Nathan and I went to Hobby Lobby today because I was looking for new needles and yarn. I was surprised at what an active interest he took in yarn selection. He picked out the Bamboo Spun yarn I bought for a scarf that will probably be for him in the end.
The hope is that eventually I will be good enough at it to make a hat or a blanket for the baby when we finally finish the adoption process. If anyone has cool and easy-ish patterns I could try, please let me know.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Anyway, that was a very long explanation to come to this point. They were both sitting on the couch today and my husband busted into spontaneous rhyming.
We has two cats on the couch
We has two cats, one's a grouch
We has two cats, one's a slouch
We has two cats on the couch.
For the grouch part, Hecate isn't much of a people cat. And I don't know where he got the slouch part from, Hyperion is very active.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
So we were discussing it and Nathan asked me what I wanted to be doing in the next two to three years and I seriously thought about it. I came up with two things.
1. I am writing a book. I know that sounds cliche since it seems that everyone these days is writing or thinking of writing a book, but I am. Actually, it's mostly written, I'm just working on edits and showing it to my writer's group. So, sometime in the next two to three years I would like to have this book in the hands of either a publisher or an agency and have started on my second book.
2. Nathan and I are going to adopt. We were going to do it this year, like I said before, but at the moment it's being put on the back burner. So, my second goal is that sometime in the next two to three years I would like us to have at least started the adoption process.
There they are, my short-term, long-term goals. They're not much, but I'm excited about them.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Or at least, it used to. The thing is, my dad is an expert at finding his way and navigating a map. He also absolutely loves Austin MINI Coopers. I went to college three and a half hours from home and on my first time driving back, I didn't recognize where I was and started to panic.
As I was driving along freaking out and beginning to dial the phone, an electric blue MINI Cooper drove by and I thought of my dad and realized everything was going to be okay. I calmed down and started recognizing the landscape around me.
Now, like today, everytime I see a Mini, I think of my dad and suddenly feel better about whatever it is that is bothering me or stressing me out.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Unfortunately this makes me very nervous and gives me, if not quite road rage, at least road anxiety. It started to get bad a few months ago and I decided I needed to figure out a way to calm down and be a more courteous driver.
Everytime something happens that makes me nervous or upset, I say three Hail Marys. One for the person who caused my anxiety, that they reach their destination safely. One for me, that I get where I am going safely and one that everyone else on the road gets where they need to be.
I found it has cut down on my anxiety and fear a lot and helped me to understand others dislike the driving experience as much as I.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
We wouldn't have the leave the cats for the weekend. (We aren't cat people, we just have them because Nathan doesn't believe in inside dogs.)
I could see my parents and in-laws (whom I love) more two days every couple of weeks.
We don't have many friends in where we live and most of Nathan's good high school friends are still in this area.
And there is a much greater chance of randomly running into friends we haven't seen in ages at home.
We could attend the Saturday morning ritual of eating breakfast at the town restaurant more often.
And of course, it would be nice to have a house of our own.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
I am a misplaced small-town girl from a moderate family of big families. My husband grew up on a farm and we have been living in an urban setting for the past two years and hating almost every minute of it. So that's where the jumping comes from.
We're working on buying a house back at home. Well, really we're looking at buying part of a house. It belongs to Nathan (my husband)'s parents and aunt and uncle. His aunt and uncle want to sell their part to us and I've been in it a couple of times and loved it.
I've always believed that when you have a major decision to make you think about it, pray about it, ask your patron saint for intercession, and then get to a point where you look at all the possible consequences and all the possible positives of it and just jump one way or the other. Nathan and I decided it was time for us to jump.
This is the only time in my life I have looked back after I jumped. See, we were planning on starting the adoption process this year and if we are approved for the loan on the house we won't be able to afford adoption this year. I'm not sure how I feel about this. It seems logical to get a house first and then children, but I keep looking over my shoulder.