Sunday, August 31, 2008

First Sacrament

The priest handed me the baby, head wet with holy water, and my husband and I became compadres.

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cannabis Culture

Every time I visit downtown Santa Cruz, I think I’ve left the country.
The streets smell of marijuana the way Gilroy reeks of garlic.
I swear the town operates under European law.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Facing Fear Teeth On

Today, I went to the dentist alone.
The last time I did this I was living a state away from my family and needed my wisdom teeth pulled.
The dentist was a lovely woman, and I burst into tears as soon as she spoke to me.
She prescribed low-dose Valium for future appointments and suggested someone drive me.
That’s how irrational my fear is.
The words “root canal” have caused me panic for as long as I remember.
In fact, one of my earliest memories is being asked to stand next to my father’s cousin -- the dentist -- in a family photo.
It was Thanksgiving, I was about 5 years old, and I started to cry.
I’m sure to the adults in the crowd, including my parents, I appeared to be a tired child.
The truth is I was afraid my cousin would look into my mouth and declare all my teeth were about to fall out and drastic, painful measures would need to be taken immediately.
That fear has never completely left me.
But today I pretended to be a sane 31-year-old, and I drove myself to my cousin’s office, where three of his sons have joined his practice. They really are the best in the business.
My bravery was rewarded with a brand-new pink toothbrush and a report of no cavities.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Class In Session

I said my sister had one crier and three non-English speakers in her class.
Make that five screamers and nine English learners, meaning they speak a different language at home.
Oh, and one of the screamers is a flight risk.
He keeps his backpack on and looks for opportunities to leave school grounds.
Nicole will deliver reports of a first-year teacher from the trenches of a kindergarten classroom on her new blog.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

R-E-S-P-E-C-T (or lack thereof)

“There was good news for working women. The Census Bureau said that women who work full time now earn 78 percent of the paychecks of men who work fulltime, a significant gap but the smallest annual disparity ever recorded by the Census Bureau.
In California, the gender earnings gap was even smaller, with women earning about 84 percent what men do. California women who work fulltime rank sixth in annual earnings among the 50 states, while California men rank 16th.”
~ San Jose Mercury News article, August 26, 2008

I’m not going to pretend the underpayment of women is the worst injustice in the world, but in no universe should it be considered “good news.”
Really, does a woman make 78 cents for every $1 a man earns for no other reason than she has a vagina?
I would like to think the income gap is a result of women temporarily leaving the workforce to raise children. But I have trouble believing that’s it.
Somebody, please, enlighten me.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I'm too holy for my habit?

I hate to disagree with a priest, but I'm not sure our world needs
another beauty pageant even if the contestants are nuns.
On the other hand, our current role models -- the ones plastered on tabloid covers for forgetting to wear panties in public -- seem to lack a certain degree of common sense that a good nun could bring to the forefront.
In an Associated Press story (thank you Erin for the link), Fr. Antonio Rungi talks about the “Miss Sister 2008” competition he has organized to begin in September on his blog.
"We are not going to parade nuns in bathing suits,” Rungi said. “But being ugly is not a requirement for becoming a nun. External beauty is gift from God, and we mustn't hide it."

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Singles, Beware

“That guy wasn’t wearing a ring,” my husband said to me as we left the adoration chapel tonight.
“Oh, Love. I have you checking out men now, don’t I?” I replied.
Then I quickly made a list of our female friends who might be a good match for the mysterious churchgoing guy.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Summer’s Over

Tomorrow is my sister’s first official day as a teacher.
She met most of her students Friday and already knows she has at least one crier, one child who is prone to “accidents,” one set of twins, and three who don’t speak English.
And that’s not even half of the class.
She is teaching a special kindergarten program for younger students all under the age of 5.
One thing I’ve learned from her is everything in elementary school depends on having the proper procedure.
Tonight, she wrote up class instructions for going to the bathroom.
It involves step-by-step directions, including an important reminder to pull up, zip up and snap your pants.
This might seem obvious, but apparently last year kids were waddling out from the stalls and back into the classroom with their undies down around their ankles.

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

‘Henry Poole is Here’

I hate writing reviews. Always have.
So, I’m going to avoid writing a review right now by giving a recommendation instead:
If you are going to the movies, see “Henry Poole is Here.”
I hadn’t even heard of this film, which stars Luke Wilson, but I was so pleasantly surprised by it.
I’d love for you to see it, and tell me what you thought.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Question

Where does prejudice grow if not in the circles of like-minded people?

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ooh La La ...

The lingerie store’s welcome mat says, “Nice Underwear.”
“Thanks for noticing,” her panties reply.
Okay, the second part only happens in my imagination, but the first part is true.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

iPhone Mania Strikes Octogenarian

I’ve been anxious to show my grandfather my iPhone.
He’s 89 and likes to keep up on technology.
He owns a laptop and enjoys wandering the aisles at Fry’s Electronics to see what’s new.
Yesterday I finally had the chance to show him the phone, but his initial reaction seemed understated.
He didn’t express the astonishment I accepted.
I think it needed to sink in.
Tonight the first thing he said to me was, “I can’t get over the iPhone. I think about it a lot.”
He’s actually considering buying one.
I gently tried to talk him out of it, but he said, “A person’s never too old to entertain himself with this. Sometimes we watch the game shows on TV -- a waste of time. This is educational.”
He is especially keen on the news applications.
As we were waiting for the screen to refresh, I commented that it was taking a long time for the page to load.
“Well, it’s far away -- (it’s coming from the) New York Times,” he said patiently.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Waste Not, Want Not

One peak into my grandparents’ freezer is an eye-opening experience in frugality.
The shelves are packed with plastic bags of frozen bread and containers of frozen stock.
“When grandpa boils broccoli, he saves the water,” my brother explains. “It’s vegetable broth. He’s ingenious.”
And don’t think he wasted any money on fancy Tupperware.
The plastic containers are recycled tapioca pudding and peanut butter jars.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Identity crisis

Our guest room likes to masquerade as a storage locker.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

This week’s to-do list:

“Do all the good you can.
By all the means you can.
In all the ways you can.
At all the times you can.
To all the people you can.
As long as ever you can.”
~ John Wesley

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Inspiration by Land and by Sea

Four years ago, Romanian runner Constantina Tomescu-Dita finished 20th in the women’s marathon at the Athens Games.
She suffered heat exhaustion and had to walk a mile before completing the race.
In Beijing, the 38-year-old mother became the oldest woman marathoner to win the gold, crossing the finish line in 2 hours 26 minutes 44 seconds.
Then there’s Dara Torres.
The 41-year-old American swimmer won back-to-back silver medals in the 50m swim and 4x100m medley relay.
She lost gold in the 50m race by a mere .01 of a second to 24-year-old Britta Steffan of Germany.
When an NBC reporter asked what she would tell her 2-year-old daughter about her 2008 Olympic wins, she said, “I guess I’ll tell her don’t put an age limit on your dreams.”

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Three posts that made me happy today:
1. Far Sighted’s delightful multi-media photo essay,
"Jesus would be, like, thrilled."
2. Queen Bee’s borrowed wisdom from St. Francis of Assisi.
3. Pink Hollyhock’s mom's advice on how to deal with the devil.

Happy Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Don’t be fooled by the sweetness of a child.
If a 10-month-old bites you, you’ll see the teeth marks for hours.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Children’s physicians on one side.
Ethicists from Georgetown and Boston universities on the other.
In the middle?
A controversial procedure for the transplant of newborns’ hearts.
The Washington Post’s front page article raises questions about life and death worth considering.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I made a rare visit to the Good Ol’ Boys Club.
Or at least it felt that way.
These men weren't old, but some of their attitudes seemed ancient.
After a few minutes, I was looking for the exit.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

“What did you say the other day about eating brownies while watching the Olympics?” I asked.
“That it shouldn’t be done,” my husband replied.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
~ Matthew 14: 26-27

The disciples saw Christ -- the Messiah they had been waiting for -- walk on water.
Instead of excitement and joy, their reaction was fear and hesitation.
They thought they were seeing a ghost.
Sometimes I think I’m seeing ghosts, usually in the form of my ambitions and dreams.
What my heart desires can seem impossible, and when what I want begins to take shape, I can mistake it for an illusion.
But what if these figments of my imagination are really Christ walking toward me?
I know exactly what he would say, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Latest family memo posted on the kitchen wall at my parents’ house:

August 4, 2008

NEW HOUSEHOLD RULES

Found this online, a suggestion for better housekeeping,

I have noticed, lately, sloppy bed making throughout the households controlled by our family.

This will be the new bed making procedure henceforth.

Any questions, ask your mother.

Dad

Handy Hints #1

Make your beds look neater by simply putting a thread in the center top of your sheets, blankets, and bedspreads. When you make the bed, line up the stitches with the center of the headboard. You will get perfect results every time.

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Friday, August 8, 2008

I’m on deadline.
This is evident by the fact that my house is suddenly cleaner than usual.
As soon as I have a looming, monster task to complete, my first thought is, I can’t concentrate when everything is such a disorganized mess.
I have no trouble concentrating the rest of the time.
I have no trouble letting housework dangle at the bottom of my to-do list the rest of the time.
But give me something pressing and time sensitive, and I’ll start scrubbing down countertops and putting away laundry.

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Gluten free. Wheat free. Soy free.
Lactose free. Sulfite free. Trans fat free.
Oh, my sweet Jennies Macaroon,
how I wish you were calorie free, 310 per cookie.
That’s okay. I’ll eat you anyway.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I was nostalgic today for the stress ball I had in college.
I got it for free at a campus health fair.
I think the nursing students made it.
Double-lined purple latex balloons filled with flour.
I know it was flour because I squeezed that poor little stress ball to death.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I can’t help it. When I hear the sound of pen to paper, I want to know what’s being written.

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Monday, August 4, 2008

“Kidneys?” I asked, confused by the license plate, “KYNDNES.”
“Kindness,” my husband corrected.

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Three moments made possible by the iPhone:
I watched my husband and my dad duel with their iPhone light sabers.
“This is a very dorky moment,” my sister declared.

My dad proudly showed my brother one of the many useless sound effects on his iPhone.
“What’s it for?” my brother asked.
“To irritate your mother,” my dad replied.

In the car, my dad put to use an iPhone application that works as a speedometer.
He then shouted out the miles per hour as my brother drove.
“Forty-two. Forty-one. Forty-two. Forty. Forty-one.”
Just when my sister pointed out how annoying this was, my dad exclaimed, “This is the best money I’ve spent in 10 years!”

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

“Who are they?” my sister inquired of the older men dressed in tuxedos and wearing capes, chapeaux with ostrich feathers, white gloves and ceremonial swords.
“Those are the Knights of Columbus,” my brother answered. “They’re a secret society.”
“They’re not so secret,” my sister replied. “I see them.”

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Friday, August 1, 2008

Something fabulous has happened, and watching it unfold has been awe inspiring.
Two of my favorite women, the kind of women who make “smart” a sexy adjective, have created a news cafĂ© featuring independent journalism in the North State.
You don’t have to live in Redding to enjoy Food for Thought.
Food, music, recreation … artists of every kind.
See for yourself.
You’ll even find book reviews from our dear Ms. Calder!
What more could you ask for?

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