Please use GoodSearch for your internet searches and select a charity (such as Dominican Sisters of Houston). Thank you.

2007 Yr in Review

Monday, December 31, 2007

Apparently this is a tradition at LAMLand. I'll post the questions here for your perusal. I might fill them in eventually.

1. What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before? For the first and probably the last time, we went to the holiday lighting on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX. It was friggin' cold standing out there with the crowd as we wait for the boats to parade by.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I can't remember whether I even made any resolutions. I don't plan to make resolutions for 2008.

3. Lose anyone this year? I suppose I did. I attended two funerals.

4. Where did you go that you haven't been before? Denver, Colorado

5. What date from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? none. nada. can't think of any dates. can't think of any event that may be seared into memory.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year? surviving the year

7. What was your biggest failure? I can't seem to consistently get to work by 8am.

8. Hardest decision I made: to "get up and go" each morning

9. Best decision I made: to "get up and go" each morning

10. Compared to this time last year, how did you think the year went? About the same, I suppose, except that this year I can take vacation time during the holidays. Last year I had just started on the job.

11. What do you wish you'd done more of? reading, bicycling

12. What do you wish you'd done less of? being so irritable

13. Did you fall in love in 2007? goodness, no

14. What was your favourite TV program? none

15. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? no

16. Mistake I won't make again next year: attend a Dominican event and not seek out my Dominican Liason to at least say "hello"

17. Personal change I am proudest of: Uh, I am not aware of any change. There's still plenty of room for improvement!

18. Who did you miss? hmm...not anyone, I don't think. There may have been moments where I miss some of the Sisters I've met and my pastor. Oh, yeah, I did miss my dog at times.

19. Who was the best new person you met?

20. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007:

21. Most difficult situation I resolved:

22. Strangest moment of the year:

23. Insight of the year: Silly of me to even consider "disappearing" until such time as I am ready to enter the Dominican community. If I am to discern at all, I need to discern WITH the community and not away from them. That was made very clear to me in a dream (just an ordinary dream) I had.

24. Top News Stories That Caught My Eye This Year: Daniel DiNardo = Cardinal! You da man, Dan. I love you and I look forward to your leadership.

25. New Year's Resolutions for 2008: same as always: don't make promises I can't keep (that includes not making resolutions)

Never having to say goodbye

Sunday, December 30, 2007

You never have to say "Good-bye" to Jesus.

bible in a year

Saturday, December 29, 2007

For those who are thinking about reading their bible in one year, that link there is a possible plan. It doesn't go straight through the bible as if it were a book that you can read front to back, cover to cover. Instead, it has Psalms or Proverbs included daily--you do not want to read those books straight through. Good Luck. and no, I never said I would attempt it.

Another, more sophisticated way to attempt it is to read "themes" -- where OT readings tie in with NT and yet still maintain continuity (unlike liturgical daily readings) ... not sure that exists, actually.

If any of you have a recommendation for a good audio bible (NRSV preferred), please let me know. And no, I don't want the "Faith Comes by Hearing" version.


Monday, December 24, 2007

M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S to all!

lesson learned

I learned something new: vegetable oil CAN go bad. And here is a suggestion for everyone else: when a dish (like cornbread dressing) does not come out right for Christmas dinner, don't turn to the cook and say, "Can we have [that dish] for New Year's?"

Our vegetable oil is very old. So old, in fact, that it no longer has its label on the bottle. I suspect that it's more than ten years old. All I used it for was to oil the pan. It made the cornbread yucky. I suspected that the final product would be yucky as well, but went ahead and added the finely diced bell peppers, celery, and onions to the mix and hoped for a miracle. I didn't have time to make another cornbread. Alas, no miracle on the cornbread dressing. Out to trash it goes.

Maybe I'll attempt it again for New Year's, but I have to get over this one first.

As for the oil, it will go to trash at the next trash pick up.

Else dinner was fine with ham, mustard greens, and sweet potato casserole.

We did go to a mass at my parish earlier. I was working it so I didn't take communion. Except for one hiccup, I think I did well and had fun. Oh thank you so much, Holy Spirit! I did get to see my pastor and we gave each other a big Christmas hug.

Now Gumby and I are off to the cathedral for midnight mass.

getting into Christmas a little

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Skip got moved to a better hospital room. See, I told you Guppy is a squeaky wheel.

Yesterday the morning was spent at a rehearsal for one of the Christmas eve masses. Then the afternoon was spent running from one store to another, looking for things to get for skip and things with which to decorate skip's hospital room. I got slippers, gripper-bottom socks, and cotton crew socks for skip.

For the decorations, I bought 4-ft Christmas tree with lights (finally found after checking three other stores), a wreath with Santa sitting in it and with a "Merry Christmas" sign across the top, small red ornaments for the small tree, and a foot switch to turn the tree lights on/off. It pretty much took all afternoon to get all the stuff. It's Guppy's ideas, but I did the running around.

We went to the hospital last night and put up the decorations and try the socks and stuff. The slippers will need to be returned. Else everything seems ok. So over all, things are well on that front.

Today after mass I went grocery shopping for items for Christmas dinner. Since I don't know how to keep mustard greens fresh, I worked on them the minute I got home. So I'm finished with cooking the greens. I've just finished putting up the lights outside (just the shrubs and around the door). I won't decorate inside. I need to bake some cornbread for the cornbread dressing next. I'm just taking a breather here.

it's been an odd week

Friday, December 21, 2007

To my handful of faithful readers, I hope that you have enjoyed the lack of posts on this blog as it means that you can skip right over it onto another blog. The holidays are so busy, it helps to not have to stop and read.

Guppy has been at the hospital looking after someone, henceforth referred to as "Skip." Guppy had taken Skip to the hospital Sunday night, stayed all night in a wing that had no heating on a night where the temperature outside dipped to freezing. The next morning Guppy was enjoying some friendly sparring with Skip. After lunch Guppy suggested that Skip get some rest so they settled down. Minutes later Skip mumbled something, reached for Guppy then passed out cold--as in gone, no vital signs. Guppy went banannas, yelled for help, ran for a doctor who was at the time on the phone. Guppy slammed the phone and dragged the doc. Long story short, Skip was rushed to ICU and was rescuscitated. I was at work but left after Guppy called for me to come. Skip is okay now.

Skip was moved out of ICU on Wednesday, and moved again today to another hospital for acute care. Anyhow, Guppy has spent many hours at the hospital with little sleep or poor sleep, and hardly any food, only what can be bought from the vending machine. I was there Monday night and Wednesday evening. Guppy is not home at the moment, but hopes to be home tonight. Guppy hates the hospital room for Skip, saying that our cats have better amenities. Skip has not had dinner since the transport folks came at the same time as dinner. This other hospital brought soup and crackers for Skip after Guppy informed them of the situation. In the meantime, the fire alarm has gone off and the hospital is in lockdown; the air has been turned off. Also, the admitting papers are not yet done. This is the stuff that happens when you're poor and old. But I suppose we ought to be grateful that hospital care is even accessible.

Oh, and yes, Guppy is definitely a squeaky wheel. Do not think that things go unsaid. The broken heating was worked on the next morning. The non-working TV in ICU waiting has been replaced. Guppy has visited the CEO of the hospital. The machine that they had to beat to make work will not be used on Skip. But this new hospital is a different story, it's another battle. They did the move late in the evening (right at dinner time) after saying that it would be mid-morn, and then again that it would be mid-afternoon. Getting to the hospital late, on a holiday weekend, who is there to handle complaints? Nobobdy. And it will be nobody for the next several days. And that's probably how they planned it.

We do our Christmas cards together. This means that the cards are not done at all. It'd be a miracle if they get out by Christmas.

I know that Guppy wants me to get some PJ's for myself. I went to Target since they had some on sale, and also Kohl's since I still have a Kohl's card with some money on it. I have yet to find anything at Kohl's that I'd want to buy. I did see a PJ set I liked but the sizes start at "large." I did not see anything I wanted at Target. Flannel PJ's are nice, but here in Texas we have more Summer than Winter. So as is typical of my solo trips for clothes shopping, I came home with nothing. Really, I sleep just fine in t-shirt and shorts.

my 2008 Saints

I finally got around to picking up my Saints:

Sts Cosmas & Damian

Pray for pharmacists’ & physicians’ right to conscience

“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” [Mt 5, 10]
Thank you, Lucy.

moving bicycles

Sunday, December 16, 2007

There's a charity in town that gives away thousands of bicycles each year. Last week I headed to town to help them build the bicycles. However, when I got there, I never even got a chance to so much as touch a tool. Instead, they needed to have the hundres of bikes that are already built arranged properly--this is called "staging." The bikes had to be arranged to facilitate inspection/readjustments and truck loading. Well, so much for having some fun.

Anyhow, I was there to help so if that's what they needed, then ok. That's unfortunate that it was so inefficient. Had they set it up when they started, then the bikes would've been staged as they were built. Furthermore, the volunteers were scattered about in separate pockets ... so it turned out that the rows of bikes neatly arranged behind me just minutes before was eventually moved forward and rearranged. That's called "rework" meaning "time and effort was wasted." I was part of the arranging minutes before. The guy in charge was part of the moving the bikes forward. Well, it's all volunteer work.

no poison

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It rained pretty hard this morning. I decided not to go to mass. But on the other hand, the morning rain was good for what I wanted to do later: remove poison oak from among my shrubs.

I put on long pants, a long sleeve shirt, a shower cap, and two layers of latex gloves. I also treated my face with Tecnu before heading out to look at the shrubs. I dug around in the "flower bed" in which the shrubs grew, going from one end to the other. Thank God it wasn't super long; I think it's a row of 4-5 shrubs.

I didn't see anything that qualifies as poison ivy or posion oak. I did remove three regular oak seedlings; two by the roots. The third one had a surprising large root, approximately 1-inch in diameter though its growth above ground were small. It grew right up against the shrub trunk, so close in fact, that I wondered whether it may have grafted itself. I was unable to remove the root and resorted to cutting it about 2 inches below the ground.

I know nothing about maintaining a "flower bed." But I tried to disturb the idyllic existence of the weeds there. I dug into the ground and tried to turn over the top layer of dirt. I think farmers to that to their fields; for what reason, I don't know. I hope to kill off the weeds. I hope too that the shrubs are strong enough to not be affected.

So I guess it wasn't poison ivy or poison oak that got me. Maybe I'm allergic to the sap from the shrubs themselves. I do trim the shrubs (I did today), but I usually don't handle the cuttings. Anyhow, it doesn't really matter. I'm plenty happy that there is not poison ivy or oak growing in the yard.

don't you hate it when...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

arrrgh. The tool set that I purchased at a sale price of $10 at Radio Shack was seen at Wal-mart today for $5. The only difference, as far as I can tell, was that it didn't have the snazzy Radio Shack packaging (a card-paper box with color photo).

Patron Saints 2008

Seen at LAMLand: "The Pious Sodality of Church Ladies blog has offered to select patron saints for the coming year for all who request them"

Swing on by and join the fervor!

slow progress

Monday, December 10, 2007

Since last summer to now, I've paid over $10K towards my student loan. It has reduced the principal owed by approximately $8K. Sigh. I've many miles more to go. God willing, I'll step up the progress a bit more next year. Dear Jesus, thanks for the job, but I sure don't like my job and it's a struggle just about every day to keep it up. Grant me the grace, Lord, to be more appreciative.

Christmas cards

Sunday, December 09, 2007

OK, I didn't get to the poison oak. I was hardly at home at all yesterday. So the evil in my yard gets to live at least another week.

Guppy and I spent quite some time looking for Christmas cards. I suppose we're being picky again. We'd like for it to look good, of course. But primarily it has to say "Merry Christmas" and it'd be nice if it said "Happy New Year" too. The huge selection was mainly "Season's Greetings," "Happy Holidays," or something benign like "Let it snow!" or "chill."

Finally yesterday evening I was in a Christian store (read, "protestant"). I had never been there, had never even thought to look for one. It just so happens that they were a few doors down from a Hallmark that we scoured. Lo and behold, there were some candidate cards. As expected, the verses, when present were from KJV or some similar version. That's ok. I grabbed a design with three kings. Side note: the Bible never said there were "three" kings. There was also one box of some sort of collage that Guppy really liked. Unfortunately, there was only one box so I grabbed that one.

I never thought it'd be so difficult to find Christmas cards.

gift shop

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Shopping for Christmas giving? Don't forget the Hunger Site. There's a gift shop there too with unique items.

bobble head

Although I don't own any, I like bobble head figures. Preferably mini bobble heads. I don't like them too big. I came across this site that seems to be giving away free bobble heads (one per address, while supplies last). You can even choose a Jesus bobble head or Pope Benedict XVI bobble head. I opted for the Pope and eagerly await the goods.

There also exists a Pope Innocent III action figure (not necessarily on same site -- you'd have to do an internet search for it). It looks very well made.

much better

Day four since my encounter with poison oak and my welts are almost imperceptible. In fact, if you didn't know it, you'd think it's my normal color. Yesterday I awoke with a slightly swollen face. Who needs botox when you can just use poison ivy? Pink cheeks and full (puffy) lips overnight! Guppy said I looked as if I had a stroke. Naw, I don't think it was that bad.

Guys have it worse. You see, as you shower, that stuff flows downwards. And sometimes it touches the family jewels. And when those things itches, I imagine it's pure hell. I don't know guys, maybe coat those things with vaseline before you shower twice with Tecnu?

I was fortunate that it never developed into weeping sores. I attacked it with everything I had. Tecnu to wash it off (twice the first time, again the next day). Calagel to coat it and ease the itch. One capsule of Benedryl each night to limit the allergy reaction. Day three I scrubbed with St. Ives apricot exfoliating scrub. It makes sense that if that stuff locks onto skin cells, then try and get those skin cells off. I was much redder after scrubbing but it sure felt good to scratch the itch.

This weekend I plan to don some plastic and attempt to remove the offending plant. Maybe I can spray the shrubs with dish detergent afterwards to try and wash the stuff off.

poison stuff

Monday, December 03, 2007

Poison oak, poison ivy, or sumac, whatever the case, I seem to have been in contact with it. Saturday evening, after my shower, I went outside to take some clippings from our shrubs to have something green for our advent candle holder. Later that night, I started itching but didn't pay it too much attention. Before going to bed, I saw that I had welts. hmm. Was it reaction to detergent on my fresh clothes? Was it something I ate? Anyhow, I took a Benadryl, applied some Benadryl gel and headed off to bed.

Sunday morning the welts were still there, in fact, they seem to have spread. While brushing my teeth, I'm thinking, "maybe it's poison ivy." I have no experience with the stuff. I slathered on some Benadryl gel and ran off and did my usual Sunday things. Later at evening mass, I was just itching all over. Guppy said I better get something for poison ivy at the pharmacy.

So we stopped at a pharmacy. After some browsing, I opted for Calagel packaged with a sample of Tecnu. It turns out that the poisonous oil is potent and persistent and cannot be easily removed from the skin. Just a little of the plant residue is enough to cause a breakout. I hope I had not spread it to others from my hands at the sign of peace. Getting home, the clothes and the bedding went to wash, the greenery that I brought in yesterday went to trash, and I worked on scrubbing the stuff off of my whole body.

Further reading on the web today indicates that these lovely itchy welts are going to be a 2 to 3 week experience. Oh boy. The Tecnu is most effective within the first 8 hours of exposure; I didn't get it until more than 24 hours later. The best thing at first exposure is to wash, wash, wash. Well that didn't happen because I went out AFTER I had had my shower.

Day 3 and some of the welts have gone down. I had been relatively itch-free until this evening. Even after applying Calagel (after another shower with exfoliating scrub, dry off, apply Tecnu, rinse Tecnu off, dry off again). The gel dries on and then flakes off like lots of dandruff. The exfoliating scrub was supposed to go with spermicide (n??-9). From reading on the web, the spermicide might do the trick. I have no experience with spermicide and didn't see any at the grocery store that I wanted to buy. Oh well. I took another Benadryl. Let's see how things look in the morning.


Saturday, December 01, 2007

I've been stressed out this week with deadlines at work. I brought some work home and hope to find motivation and energy to do it for a Monday deadline. I dislike being micro-managed and it's more difficult being that I dislike my job. Ok, end of whining.

I was at a Dominican event last night. That was nice. I enjoyed seeing the OP's. I didn't linger afterwards because I was tired and ready to leave. So wonderful that we are all capable of being pleasant for a few minutes. I don't know if we all would be that pleasant the next hour. :)

The Dominican events continues this Saturday morn but I was not able to attend due to other obligations.

another trip

Monday, November 26, 2007

Another trip on the books: Rochester, NY in March for a friend's wedding.

Trips are nice. The bills are not. Am I enjoying my trips? Yes. Would I trade this life for religious life? In a heartbeat.

home again

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Home again. Guppy did all the driving. I had to change out a door lock for the person we were "visiting," so since I had to be at Home Depot on black Friday, I scanned the Home Depot deals. I like tools, I call them my toys. I grabbed a mini multitool for $1.99 and larger multitool (mainly a pair of pliers and adjustible wrench) set for $9.99. This, after having grabbed a $9.99 tool set (mostly screwdrivers) from Radio Shack prior to going out of town. I guess I'm a tool junkie.

Happy Thanksgiving

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving to all. May all be safe.

We will be out of town. Gumshoe will be driving. I'll go to work Monday and Tuesday. We'll drive out Wednesday. Hotel reservations have been made. I've picked a parish for Thanksgiving Day mass. We'll just pick up plates at Luby's. We'll be busy the next few days preparing for the trip.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I went to spiritual direction today. Except that my appointment is for tomorrow. But the SD generously took me in. Imagine her surprise when I called enroute to say that I would be late. So it turns out that I wasn't late, but rather a whole day early.

a surmise

The CDP's had a discernment meeting Monday. I sorta crashed it. It's not an official crash, since I was invited. But they and I know that I am not participating in the discerning. It's been a long time since I've visited with them and I took this as an opportunity to see them again. They're really cool folks. I owe them much. They launched my discernment, walking with me from the time my only vocabulary was "nun," and I was star-struck in the presence of "nuns," and religious life was pure mystery. So see, had they been "uncool," my whole discernment may have never taken off.

They gave me many "firsts." Unfortunately, they were also my first encounter with inclusive language and were receipients of my shock and vehement protest of the idea. Uh, I think I've mellowed some but it definitely is not for me.

Sitting there on Monday, it occurred to me for the first time why I didn't quite fit with their community. It seems to me that at this time, my sense of God is predominantly cognitive. For the CDP's, the experience of God is more affective (not sure that's the right word). Or should I say they "experience" God while I "think" God.

important White House stuff

presidental pets page

prayers requested

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Per alert from LAMLand, EWTN's Fr. Francis Mary is in need of prayers as he discerns his future after being "personally involved with helping a widow and her struggling family." Link to the story on American Papist.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

I had lots of sleep last night. That is kinda weird. But that's not all. I usually don't remember my dreams, but I guess if I get plenty of sleep then I do remember some. In one of the dreams, for whatever reason, we had a beagle in the house. I was playing with it and thinking, "This is great -- a beagle is not too hairy, not too small, just right for hugging. I better not tell Natty, she'd be jealous."
heh heh

Actually my last German Shepherd dog at 90+ pounds was also just right for hugging. He was one fine dog, though not fit for breeding. He had the temperament that I was accustomed to seeing in a GSD--humble and obedient.

The GSD I had before him was not so, this other one, at 60lbs was the smallest GSD I had ever had. He was quite handsome and his face was almost wolf-like with the lighter colored eyes. OK, so maybe he wasn't 100% GSD. That one would fight us tooth and nail. That is definitely NOT the temperament I was used to.


Friday, November 09, 2007

My week: go to work, after work go pick up dinner somewhere, go home, eat, then crash. And shower somewhere in there. Yeah, it means that Gumdrops has had to do more of the house upkeep.
I think I'm recovering. I probably scared the folks at the concert last Sunday as I had two bouts of rather intense, lengthy hacking coughing -- one before it started and one during the reflections given at vespers that preceded the concert. Fortunately, the remainder of the coughing was between the different pieces of music and not as dramatic. I'm sure some folks were thinking, "Oh great, I have to sit next to this coughing machine?"

Monday I attempted mass. Since it always start before I get there, I waited for the first reading to be finished before rushing to a seat. But as soon as I sat down, that hacking cough started. I had to leave, finishing the cough out in the hallway and decided not to return for the day.

Tuesday I went to the dentist. When they first laid me back, I had that hacking cough again. I reassured them that I didn't cough that much. But it was scary as hell to have the doc standing over me with that needle ... now what if the cough sneaks up on me while the needle is in me? Thanks be to God that no coughing ensued after that awful first one and they were able to work on me for almost two hours.

I've been coughing at night. But since I am a talented sleeper, it's on only very few occasions (less than 5 for sure) that it actually disturbed my sleep. It doesn't like me lying down? No problem, I'll sleep sitting up. And when I'm deep asleep, voila, I end up sleeping lying down. This evening, I seem to be relatively free of coughs.

Tomorrow evening we will be attending a Dominican talk. Perhaps all in attendance can be spared of my coughing.

I had managed to rinse off the car after mass on Sunday, and was totally exhausted afterwards. Looky there, it went five days before getting rained on tonight. (This is south Texas, where I put on a sweater when entering a building and I remove the sweater when going outside ... in November, no less. So "washing the car" in November does NOT involve an encounter with snow and ice.)

weekend so far

Saturday, November 03, 2007

I didn't go to work on Friday; went to the doctor instead. He didn't think it was anything infectious. He gave me prescriptions for drainage/congestion and also for some sort of analgesic. I don't think I'll get the stuff; I'll just take what we have here.

My four new tires arrived. Had I not checked the porch we never would have known that they were here. I'm supposed to check them for damage; I haven't gotten to it. We were heading off to the doctor's appointment when I saw them. I moved them to the garage was all. It took forever to get back home from the doctor's office downtown (rush hour traffic on a Friday evening).

This morning (Saturday) we were at mass then went to the movies. We watched "American Gangster" and "Kingdom." It's Gumdrops birthday tomorrow and so this is how Gumdrops wanted to celebrate. Gumdrops loves movies. and beaches. Two movies and now it's evening. At least it's cheaper than going out of town. Geez, gas prices have been steadily climbing. There will be dinner out either tonight or tomorrow night--it's up to Gumdrops. We've a few obligations to take care of this weekend.

Tomorrow it's church and then a voice concert at the seminary (waaaaay across town).

I've a dental appointment to Tuesday and I'd like to keep it. I hope my health gets better. My voice has changed several times over the past several days. I can do stuff that doesn't take much energy (like sit up and watch a movie, or play websudoku :) ), but I won't be willing to do anything that requires some exertion. My airways are clear, but sometimes it seems difficult to breathe.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Contraception available in schools to minors!!?? What the bleep. The excuse is that "We know they're going to 'do it' anyways and this is for their protection." hmm. What if we say, "We know your spouse is going to cheat on you anyways, we'll just provide a nice discreet place for it to happen to prevent embarassment." It'd be the same thing, right?

Protection my ass. How about teaching that sex outside of marriage is immoral and irresponsible, that sex outside of marriage is not cool, that sex outside of marrige is not normal, that there are serious consequences to having sexual intercourse? How about keeping an eye on the kids and keeping them busy so that they won't have the opportunity to fall into the pitfall of having sex outside of marriage?


Since I was not feeling well, I did not go to work today. That's what sick leave is for. I suspect that my co-workers would not want me to give them whatever crud I have. I've taken Tylenol for the body ache and any fever; spritzed some of that awful, nasty sore throat liquid; and also took something that might stop whatever dripping is happening there in the back of my throat.

jury duty

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I had jury duty today. Amazingly enough, I was looking forward to this day, because it meant a day away from work. Pitiful.

The group of potential jurors I left with was approximately 62 folks. That means that most of us in the bunch are not going to be on jury, being that they only needed 12 jurors.

The judge seemed very thorough and fair. It didn't hurt at all that she is also attractive. She came down to talk to us towards the end. And that's when I saw that she had stillettos. Apparently this lady believes in fashion.

The prosecutor was a young looking fella, but he was well-spoken and I liked his presentation. The defending attorney was older and I didn't like his presentation; he seemed to be attempting to appeal to our sentimental side. Dude, just give me the facts. The prosecutor opened with "there are no technicalities." The defendant's attorney opened with "You must follow the law. The judge will give you the law and you must obey the law even if you don't like the outcome." Okay, so between the two of you, I'm getting the idea that this case hinges on a technicality.

Anyhow, I wasn't picked for jury. Which is just as well because I was feeling worse and worse as the day wore on. I got home around 3:30 and promptly headed off to bed. I slept for at least 4 hours straight, with plenty of tossing and turning.

half done

Sunday, October 28, 2007

My unusual home project can be divided into two logical units. As such, I've completed one. The second one (which gave me grief yesterday) is still yet to be done. I'll have to plug the hole and drill a new one. I did go buy the better fitting piece, but being that I'm rigging up stuff, there is some fit problems in the assembly. I will have to work on that before even drilling the hole for it.

Another project is to install new slides into one of our drawers. I haven't even gotten started on it, other than to buy the slides, which have the possibility of being too long but it was the shortest I could get in the store.

This morning Gumdrops and I were at the cathedral for the firefighter's mass. They had the red mass for lawyers maybe a month back and Gumdrops and I were there; no, we're not lawyers. The white mass for medical professionals was a few weeks back; we did not attend that one. Anyhow, the firefighter's mass was cool. They had bagpipes and guys in kilts. The street in front of the cathedral was closed off on the block and they had some of their trucks parked there for the blessings. The mass was assisted by firefighters as lectors, EM's, ushers and such. At the end, the firefighters honored the deceased of the past year. They brought a bell which they rang once after each name of the deceased was read. Too bad I didn't remember to bring my camera to take pictures of the firetrucks outside.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

tired. and grumpy. I've spent this beautiful day working an unusal home project per Gumdrops request. I've spent all afternoon and evening on this thing. I'm not finished but it's time to quit becuase I'm friggin tired and things are not working right; I'm starting to make mistakes. I've drilled a 3/4" hole in the wrong place, plus the stuff to be mounted in it doesn't fit. I did want to go wash my car, but no chance of that. tired. back hurts. there's more work to do. so no rest tomorrow. I'm pissed.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

whew! I just finished ironing 8 of my t-shirts and 1 dress shirt. Fortunately, the other dress shirts are "no iron." Last Saturday I walked for a charity event and garnered another T-shirt, size large. It was either going to be large or x-large--there were no other choices. I normally wear medium, and even then I wonder if I'm sporting a "tent" look. So I'm not sure what to do with my large T now that the event is over; but it is washed and ironed.

I'm feeling just a little unwell today. I napped after eating lunch; I had done so yesterday as well. As is typical for this area, great weather brings with it stuff in the air. I do believe we are the allergy capital. So I have some allergy symptoms and some sinus problems (headache). But the symptoms are relatively mild. I used to have far worse allergies and I've had headaches bad enough to nauseate me. I haven't had it that bad for quite some time.

Our parish picnic event was today. This year, Gumdrops and I didn't attend. I did one of my church volunteer gigs this morning in conjunction with mass and then left. My favorite pastor presided over that particular mass. He seemed in good spirits. His vestment needed a little adjusting prior to mass and I helped with that. It was cool that we were comfortable working with each other.
Tomorrow evening I meet with the group volunteering for some of the Dominican stuff. I've kinda dropped the ball on that so I'll have to see where to go from here.
I am ecstatic that Daniel DiNardo has been named Cardinal. I love that guy.
Work has picked up pace. I am now too busy to be bored.
Last week, Discount Tires Direct was running a sale so I was able to get my new tires for a good price. Plus I can get the exact size I need, meaning that I didn't have to buy slightly larger tires and that too brought the price down. They will be shipped to the house. I will need to figure out where to store them until I decide to replace my existing tires. The other problem is that I probably need new struts. Bad struts can cause premature wear on my tires.
I didn't really recount our adventures at the appliance store. We ended up with a fancier microhood and with a slightly higher price tag. But it was a good deal. Our salesperson was very personable, but she wasn't too savvy on the technical stuff. She wasn't very helpful, but was very accommodating. A wonderful personality always compensates for anything that may be lacking. I'd hang with a personable person any day.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

That which I had lost has been found. Thank you, God. Thank you, St. Anthony and all Saints. Thank you, all who prayed with me.

I will return it to its owner on Monday, being that I now have my own copy.

God works in mysterious ways. Just because I don't see the mountain moving doesn't mean that it isn't moving or that it isn't going to move.

pig of happiness

Friday, October 12, 2007

Found at the nun thing
I like so much I have to post it here. I want it for my office desk too.




Commuter Cars


Smart USA

Terrafugia, Inc.

Myers Motors

legal murder

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Over 1 million lives extinguished last year. When the Germans were trying to extinguish the Jewish people, they made a cognitive justification by saying that Jewish people were not persons. When Americans had slaves, they justified it by saying that the slaves were not persons. They didn't want to give up slavery because *gasp* how could they possibly have a thriving economy without slaves? Now we're doing abortions because, you know, that's not killing a person. Plus, if you can't afford to raise child, why, economics consideration is a legit reason go ahead and kill him/her off. Not too long ago, women were regarded as just a step above the furry four-legged animals. It's awful that this lack of respect for the dignity of persons continues today: just wave it off as "not a person."

The cause of abortions is a lack of faith. Lack of faith that God will provide.

In a parish with approximately 4,000 families, approximately 20 people showed up for a pro-life prayer service this evening. And I'd bet that approximately half of that 20 were the people on the pro-life committee. If your kid had a baseball game, you'd try to show up for moral support. So along the same lines, if your parish committees sponsor an event, it'd be nice to show up to provide moral support.

But on the bright side, there was some attendance tonight. May God be praised.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Over at Natty's blog, she is asking, "What are your platforms for preaching?" If you'd like, swing by there and drop a line or two.

Anyhow, it reminded of a recent incident at work. I'm having a rather poor attitude at work these days anyways and it's pretty easy to trigger my grumpiness. Someone suggested that I was reading a bad version of the Bible. Oh that got me riled up. I spit back that their copy must be bad just to point out that the charge that a Bible is a "bad copy" was, at that point in the conversation, without grounds. We left it hanging because I had to run off to a meeting. Fact is that what we were discussing (it 's in the book of Genesis) was in every major Bible that was looked up on the web. I don't know if the other person has conceded to that and I don't know what Bible the other person has.

I was surprised at the gall of calling my copy of the Bible "bad." Especially when we were discussing a part of the Pentateuch, which is pretty much common across Bible versions. I'm riled up now just thinking about it.

I must admit, that was lousy "preaching" on my part.

Thanks be to God!

Thanks be to God! I found available for purchase one copy of the item which I lost. I've just put in the order. It should arrive within the next 2 weeks. It's used but the seller says it's in very good condition.

I've been trying to contact the person who had trustingly loaned it out to me. Now I can explain what happened PLUS say that I am getting the replacement when we do hook up.

a bookshop

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Shopping for gifts? Try your religious organizations and see what goods they're offering. Here's a link to one, the Sinsinawa Dominican's bookshop .

Since Natty mentioned it...
I did not find mound cake, but looky, you can get very delicious looking bread from these same folks:

(the double "sin" in their name does give rise to some jokes)

love them Dominicans

Friday, October 05, 2007

I'm so proud of these folks, I'm just beside myself. This is a new web design and it's a huge improvement from the previous version.

in case it doesn't go to the right should be

range hood

Thursday, October 04, 2007

We're in the market for a range hood. Apparently it's a pretty important piece of kitchen equipment. I finally found an article with some recommendations:

I might go with the Maytag UXT5430A. I think Home Depot has them. It's a 2005 model, I think, which is not that old. We're actually fans of Kenmore, so we might look into some Kenmore models. I can find nothing on the recommended Kenmore 5234; maybe it's an old model that's been replaced. But I can't favor it if I know nothing about it, hence the lean towards Maytag.

update: We'll go with a Kenmore microwave venthood (microhood) instead.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Man, I'm just all over the place. No focus.

Sunday I did my volunteer gigs then attended the Dominican Sister's jubilee mass/celebration and reception. Our bishop presided. What a treat. I love that guy. Oh, yeah, I love the Dominicans too. This year I was properly dressed in a dressy dress with dress shoes. Those shoes were pure torture. They squish my toes and completely negate what little cushioning the ball of my feet had in the first place. Given the discomfort of my get-up, the standing room only crowd, high noise level, and also that Gumdrops wasn't feeling well (the main factor, actually), I didn't stay long at the reception. I didn't see my Dominican liason at any time and that was probably a social faux pas. I can't help but be forgiving, given my frequent need for other's forgiveness.

I'm not quite keeping up with my Dominican volunteer gig.

I'm thinking about looking for another job. I responded to two job ads yesterday, but didn't exactly do so with gusto: no cover letter and no polishing of the resume. My current job is killing me; I can't be productive and that's not good for my psyche.

The missing item is still missing.

I'm up for one of my church gigs this Sunday. I'm trying to prepare for it. Which reminds me, I have some stuff to read from my last visit with the spiritual director ... I should get on it.

My car needs new tires again. Discount Tires quoted over $800 for four new Michelins with the works. Yeah right. I said I'd have to think on that. I've asked around and it seems that all tires suck. I'll probably try some Yokohama Geolandars.

I'm thinking we should change out the breaker box on the house. We have some Stab-Lok breakers and there's a report on the web that says these breakers are prone to fail in the sense that they don't do what they are supposed to do. I don't see much evidence that refutes it, and I think it's worth the safety to change out the whole box. That's going to be a pretty penny.

Still fretting over my student loan. Even if it were possible to put the entire paycheck towards the loan, it still wouldn't be enough to pay it out. Not that it matters; that's definitely fantasy to not have to pay for anything else. But on the bright side, there has been progress. Next year I hope to up the monthly payments to $800. We'll see how it goes.

not quite right

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Friggin fraggin. The person taking care of the funeral program misspoke and told the layout person that the program was good as-is and did not need formatting. I did the photo collage and indeed that was ready to go, but the text was unformatted and the spacing needed adjusting. It was also missing the text that was to go down the edge of program on each page. So now we have several hundred rather primitive looking programs. Unbeknownst to Gumby and I, we were to be the ones to fold them. We just stumbled into the task. They don't fold straight down the middle; the folds are offset so that the edges are staggered. Someone else's initial attempts were horrendous. So I set it up approximately right. But we didn't have all the programs. Elsewhere someone has approximately a hundred and had already folded them all--straight down the middle no doubt. We brought the ones we folded home so that we could staple them--we have a long-reach stapler. As for the other hundred, we don't have them so they're not stapled. Sigh. Not your average funeral.

out of it

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Been kinda busy. Doing what, I can't remember.

I did a little something with the Dominican volunteer stuff last week and that took a little time. Not sure it is of any assistance to them, but I had fun while working on it.

There has been death in the "family." Not close to me, but I did have to spend a couple of late nights dealing with the funeral program. I didn't put it together, I only had to put it in the computer and then send it to the right folks to finish. The funeral is Saturday, so I guess the wake will be Friday night. The whole thing is not your normal death/family/funeral deal but I don't want to get into it. Oh, it was a natural death, if you're wondering.

I didn't go to work on Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday I was at work but I was either half-asleep or downright sleeping on the job. Wednesday night was Red Mass at the Cathedral then a dinner out with a friend. Today I was still struggling with sleepiness. At this moment, I am finally feeling kinda awake.

The thing I lost is still lost. Yes, I've implored St. Anthony, Jesus, Mary, and any Saint I could think of. "Jesus, Mary, I love you; save souls. And please restore to me the xx I lost." If I could be so distressed over this lost thing, then just imagine Jesus' "sorrow" over a lost soul! For the sake of Jesus, may all souls be saved!

My second of two church volunteer gigs has started back up. May my head be clear enough for me to juggle what little multi-tasking I have signed up to do.

backpack shield

Talk about sign of the times: you can now send your kid to school with a "bullet resistant" shield in their backpack. I think it's actually bullet-proof, but less chance of a lawsuit if you just say bullet resistant. Heck, I think it's a good idea. If you're a scout, you ought to have one of these handy, eh? I suppose it would be a bad image if they start carrying these things in college bookstores. I'd like to have one, though I'm not sure what I'd do with it.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Doo-doo, that is. I'm in doo-doo. I seem to have lost something that was not mine to lose. I've searched the logical places; the illogical ones don't register in my brain. I've been on the web for hours searching for a replacement. No luck. I have no talent for looking and finding things. I don't remember well, either. The frustration is ... @#$% frustrating!

a fitting lid

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I made an impulse buy and got a plain baseball cap the other day. It's my first. The "ONE SIZE" tag caught my eye as I was cutting through the section. "Oh yeah?" I thought. You see, I've not found a hat to fit me. They're usually too big. So I stopped and tried it. Too small. Hmm...this might work. I let the adjustment out a bit and after some fidgeting, it fits. Turns out it's a youth cap. Even then, the adjustment is toward "smaller" from what would be a neutral setting, resulting in just a slight pooching out of the back of the cap. And the dome was not too deep. I put it down but hovered a bit and picked it back up on the way back to the front of the store. I checked the adjacent display for a girl-specific version but no dice. That's ok. So now I have a cap to keep the sun out of my eyes (most of the time). It works best when the sun is high.

So if baseball were never invented, would there ever have been a baseball cap?

Come to think of it, when I was at the local bicycle shop ("LBS") years ago, the fellow said "wait a minute" and returned with a youth helmet which then actually fit my noggin. Hey, that's competence. So support your LBS.

day with the OP's

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Dominicans hosted a day of prayer today for us discerners; I was fortunate to be able to attend. I think we all had a great time. And I'm grateful that the Sisters gave of their time, effort, and resources to do that for us; I know they're very busy.

One of the discerners had visited Grand Rapids Dominicans. I asked her whether she knew Natty. After a little memory jogging, it was, "Oh, yeah, I know Natty!" She asked whether I knew Natty and I said only through her blog. Aint it cool?

And Natty, if you're reading this, I can't divulge her name but I can say that she takes lots of notes. She was writing, and writing and writing...

the family grows

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I was at the Cathedral today instead of my parish. 27 adults were received into the Catholic church. Hooray! I'd estimate that a little less than half were catechumens. Also as usual, the rector gave a great homily. Happy Sunday to all.


I just can't wait until they open the new cat scratcher!

obedience IS difficult

Friday, September 07, 2007

Obedience is difficult. When I last met with my Dominican liason, she had challenged me to spend 15 minutes daily to meditate on God, and to begin pronto. This was based on the fact that my spiritual director has repeatedly urged me to adopt such a habit. I balked at the challenge because I had failed so many times at this endeavour.

But because I love my Dominican liason and consider her a most wonderful gift from God, I resolved the next day to follow her prompting. I was no stellar performer at this, and at my next meeting with my spiritual director, we discussed the matter some. Then after that meeting, I pretty much fell off the wagon as obligations once again crowded my schedule. So busy was I that there were several nights when I had but a few hours of sleep. But things have now leveled off (for the moment) and I need to try and get back on the wagon.

Today is first Friday, and we have Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at my parish. I stopped by for my 15 minutes with the Lord. (Sorry, I can't do and hour yet.) In the incredibly long 15 minutes, my mind lollygagged hither tither. But it did occur to me that if my Lord had requested that spend 15 minutes with him daily, then I have in effect said to my Lord, "I can't." Now that ain't gonna cut it is it?

What do you do when you fall down? You get back up. And if you fall down again? You just get back up again. So here I go again.

Hopefully I'll have a better report when I meet with my spiritual director next week.


I know some wonderful people. The term "know" is used loosely here. I can't help but praise God, for He has made such wonderful creations as these, the wonderful people. The existence of just any ONE of these wonderful people is sufficient for me to declare that this world cannot be a bad place. This world is wonderful simply because you are in it.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

fun mail

Oy, mail from friends is always fun. I have received a surprise package from Natty! In her travels she has taken me with her by keeping me in mind. See what she has collected for me (sorry the photo isn't better).

The "...the story of the The Old Cathedral" booklet has a copyright date of 1949 (and an old smell to accompany it). The church bulletin bears the more recent date of June 24, 2007. The back cover of the booklet has a photo of the altar. It can be compared to the postcard to see how it has changed over time. Booklet, bulletin (and offering envelope), and post card are from St. Louis, Missouri. The brochures are from Illinois.

It will be some time before I get to really looking at these things.


photography knick knack

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

new vocabulary

KAP: kite aerial photography. A method for obtaining aerial photos by attaching a camera to a kite string and thereby rendering the camera airborne.

Picavet: A method/contraption for maintaining horizontal alignment relative to gravity, suspending four corners using one continuous cord threaded through two pivot points.

This is interesting how they use kites to take aerial photos. Other options include radio-controlled planes and helicopters, or helium balloons. None of these options are cheap for me if I am to render my relatively spanking new A630 camera airborne, which is not usually recommended due to the possiblity of crashing. Also, it's kinda heavy, requiring larger or more powerful "vehicles" which drives up the price.

intervalometer: the functionality which enables the camera to take shots at fixed time intervals

The KAP folks never mention "intervalometer." I bet they would love to have this function. This functionality seems hard to come by. Lucky me, I happen to have bought a camera for which there is a hack (CHDK hack) which provides this function!

Yes, I have tested the intervalometer function. It works! It will be fun to set it on a tripod and let it take pictures every so many minutes ... at the Dominican meeting next week. I will turn off all its sounds so that it does its business rather discreetly. Its little red focusing LED will still shine before each shot, else we can just forget its there.

Labor Day

Monday, September 03, 2007

May everyone have a great Labor Day. I know there are jobs that don't have holidays off. These include hospital, nursing home/home care, law enforcement, retail, and technical suppoort. I feel for you guys. My "summer job" didn't allow holidays off and I have since learned to really appreciate my paid holidays.

May we all have jobs that bring out the best in us and enable us to support ourselves, family, and church spiritually and financially.

I'm a green crayon

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Seen at Natty's blog.

You Are a Green Crayon

Your world is colored in harmonious, peaceful, natural colors.

While some may associate green with money, you are one of the least materialistic people around.

Comfort is important to you. You like to feel as relaxed as possible - and you try to make others feel at ease.

You're very happy with who you are, and it certainly shows!

Your color wheel opposite is red. Every time you feel grounded, a red person does their best to shake you.

And gee, looky there, Natty and I are complementary. Basically, I snooze while she kicks a**.

another personality thingy

Monday, August 27, 2007

Seen at LAMLand.

quiz here

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Click to view my Personality Profile page

"ISTJs are very loyal, faithful, and dependable. They place great importance on honesty and integrity. They are "good citizens" who can be depended on to do the right thing for their families and communities. While they generally take things very seriously, they also usually have an offbeat sense of humor and can be a lot of fun - especially at family or
work-related gatherings."
Portrait of an ISTJ (The Personality Page)

I don't know how accurate this is. It all depends on how accurate I was when answering. I don't remember whether I've gotten an ISTJ result before.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

These are the flowers that were centerpieces for the tables at the party, except at the head table, which had a huge arrangement of these rainbow roses. The other six tables had small vases with 3 or 4 of these roses. We wanted them short so that people can talk across the table. These here were just kinda consolidated so we could take them home.

We had a "fishbowl" vase and I then put as many of these as possible into the vase to get:

This was an extra bouquet; we bought more than we needed for the little centerpieces.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wow. Check out these shoes if you suffer from foot, leg, or back pain.

amateur calligraphy

Monday, August 20, 2007

There ya go. A simple place card.

cool, free software

Sunday, August 19, 2007

some free software:
A drawing program that looks to be pretty darn good: InkScape
I will be using it instead of what is probably the very first release MS Publisher. Since moving to the Vista OS, I can no longer make this archaic software work. I will probably eventually ditch all of my .pub files.

An image viewer: FastStone
I don't have any fully-featured photo editing software. This viewer will replace the IrfanView I was using. FastStone seems to have a more polished interface. The key feature I needed was to be able to rotate the image and resize without losing image data and this one has them, so I didn't lose those features when I replaced IrfanView.

Photo noise grain remover: NeatImage
I didn't even know this sort of sofware existed. I'm also considering NoiseWare, but have not taken it for a test drive.

Finally a hack for some cameras: CHDK
It seems safe since it makes no permanent changes. I haven't yet figured out how to use it, but have managed to "install" it and set to autoload. I wanted some RAW pictures and my first tinkerings produced no such thing. I'll revisit after I recover from the party activities next weekend.

So I've much learning to do.


Kinda difficult to see God in the ordinary. I can "see" God's handiwork easily enough in extarordinary [good] things. But it's difficult to see God in ordinary things. And yet I know God is in everything because [logically] He is everywhere.

having everything

It seems to me that if I have faith, then I have everything. I can't remember the thought process that led me to that conclusion and doubt you'd want to hear it. Much better if you come to the same conclusion yourself.

Faith is a gift. Just like we can't give ourselves life, we can't give ourselves faith. However it is up to us what we do with it, whether to nurture it or not.

not rich enough

At this moment, I am not rich enough to enter religious life. I have been poor for too long. There have been too many years of making my one income work for two people. There were too many years of paying for private health insurance so that the other person can get much needed medical care. There were too many years of trying to give our dogs a fighting chance against cancer, almost losing the house in the process. It was the draining of retirement funds that saved the house. We were too poor to go live in an apartment -- the monthly mortgage payments are less than any but the smallest of efficiency apartments. At this moment, I am not rich enough to pay off my loan that sat collecting interest while we struggled to stay afloat. But I am working on it.

gulley washer

Thursday, August 16, 2007

We had a gulley washer. At mid-morning, the sky was covered with dark clouds; it was so dark it could've been night. Around noon it was lighter, and we could see the rain. The rain was coming down heavy, but in small fine drops; it was so dense that it was like seeing through a fog. And as usual, parts of the city flooded. For my part, I was fortunate that I sit in front of a window (and was indoors!) and could watch all this.

tired (again)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Tired. It's been busy. We've this party that we're still working towards. At least we won't have to go out of town to transport this one particular person, though we would've preferred the person's attendance. I was tasked to print up the menu; that was easy enough. I was also tasked to make the place cards. That will take more effort since it's been requested that it be done by hand in calligraphy. I have them cut and folded (I probably should have waited on the folding part). At some other time I will pencil in the guides then attempt the calligraphy; in the meantime I need to drop the effort because I still have to do some house cleaning and need time for that.

Yesterday I've been acting as photographer, taking portrait shots of the guest of honor for the party. I'm no pro but this will have to do. I then spent hours working with the photo of choice and have at least a dozen prints that are "toss outs" before I got what I wanted. Part of it was learning to use the software. In one sitting, I've used MS Paint (came with WinVista), Canon ZoomBrowser (came with the camera), IrfanView (free software download), and ArcSoft PhotoImpression (came with the color printer) in an attempt to get what I wanted. No PhotoShop here. In the end, it took the combination of MSPaint (for adding length to the picture without stretching or cropping it), PhotoImpression (to blur certain areas), and ZoomBrowser (to print). Somehow PhotoImpression just wouldn't let me print right. I forgot which one I used to add back some red to the photo (some qualities were lost when I used MSPaint).

I've not completed the presentation slides and I also still have the party favors to work on.

We're also setting up a will for this other person. Thank God we've found a good lawyer through a referral from someone at church. We also had to go the courthouse for a copy of the person's property deed. We did the lawyer and courthouse in one day; I had to take off from work to accomplish that. I will have to take off again for the return trip to the lawyer to finalize (and pay). Wills are cheaper than trusts up front, but will require going to probate court later and will incur additional costs then. If you don't have alot of assets, then wills are ok. Else, a living trust is a much better way to go.

Tomorrow evening I will visit the Dominicans to participate as a volunteer for their anniversary celebration planning. Tuesday evening I will meet with my spiritual director. Wednesday evening we will attend mass for the feast day of Assumption. At least these will be cool, fun things.

At work, I've these loads of documents to read. And they're all very boring reading. It's exceedingly difficult for me and I'm making absolutely lousy progress. On some of these documents, I have to read with a critical eye and submit [intelligent] comments. On others, I'm supposed to digest and bring back to the team what's relevant. Oh, and I'm also writing my own document, meaning that I have to review my own document too. And yes, all these things have deadlines. My brain is tired; and so is my butt.

I have missed blogland and fellow bloggers. Anyhow, I have to go clean the house now ... there is a weekly deadline for that too.

somebody hire this guy, please

Friday, August 10, 2007

Somebody please hire this guy. Chinese farmer grows robots.

He has no formal education, yet he cranks out numerous robots made from parts recovered from scrap electronics.

Catholic Nuns Today website

Thursday, August 09, 2007

New website !!!!

Catholic Nuns Today

Worth a look! :)

favorite magazines

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

When I was growing up, we had the following magazines in the house:

National Geographic, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, (& Highlights when we were little).

There were others, but the above are the ones I whole-heartedly endorse for all young minds. They're still good magazines, it's just that I'm not doing much reading these days.

We weren't a Christian household. My first encounter with the "bible" was a children's bible, left behind by previous residents. They also left behind a small, older dog; we got along pretty well. I was in middle school at the time. Since it was a children's bible with "cartoons," I was a little confused about whether the story was real or just another fiction book. And prior to getting a real bible from RCIA, I had always been confused about the chronology of the events. Jesus, Moses, Jacob, Samson, Adam and Eve ... they all existed at the same time for me.

Thank God that's all been cleared for me now. :)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

So here is the little tyke. Indeed I couldn't wait to take it for a spin. Considering that both of my feet can be planted flat on the ground even when I'm "sitting" on the bike, I figured that I can use my feet for braking if necessary. It is a bit cramped in the cockpit and my legs complained a little at having to pedal at such odd angles. Also, since it's a relatively short wheel base, it was a bit twitchy. I also have the option to stand and pedal.

It is a small frame, but it's all steel ... meaning it's heavy. I fancied repainting it white with black Dominican logos: on the downtube, shield near the head tube and "St. Dominic" along the length, then on the horizontal bar, the Dominican dog with a red flame. This bike has plenty of surface to allow that. Else it'd be solid white, with black front forks and seat post. But on second thought, if it really is chrome on the bike, then I don't want to mess with that.

projects galore

I've a variety of "projects" I'm juggling at this moment. We've a party to plan for and it's taking much time. Invitations went out a few weeks back, some decorations have been purchased, and I'm working on the presentation slides (it will just run in loops). The presentation is two-fold for me: text and photos. I finished some picture-taking today but will need to spend time tweaking the pictures. Next weekend I also need to do some picture-taking. Else I've over a hundred slides already and am only about halfway through. I also have the task of "personalizing" the party favors. The bulk of the work for the party is being handled by Gumby.

More interesting and fun for me is a recent acquisition. Well, ok, an impulse buy. I've purchased a used 20" boy's bike for $20. It will be my "throw around and have handy" bike. My other bike, although entry-level, cost me several hundred dollars and I guard it zealously. My new acquisition needs some tweaking when I get the chance. Friday night I did fix its rear flat and made adjustments to the angle placements of the levers and bar ends and re-aligned the handle bar. I need to read up on how to adjust the brakes and shifting stuff. But already with the levers and bar ends readjusted, it's looking so handsome and ready for action. I'm just itching to ride it. (But not until I get all the adjustments done.)

I'v other projects but they're not on my mind at the moment. Managing the computer also takes much time. I do look forward to my first planning meeting for the Dominican volunteer stuff in another week. At work, I remain uninspired and am probably a bore at minimum and a pain in the rear for my co-workers. One of my tasks for Monday is to go apologize for my behavior on Friday. Then I need to figure out a way to motivate myself to do some work.

cleaning my !@# off

Sunday, July 29, 2007

owww. tired. I rinsed off the outside of both cars this evening. I finally tackled my in-dash radio/cassette player. I had traded cars with my brother some years back for several months. Part of his routine includes taking the young nieces to school and our elderly parents shopping. Apparently our nieces were allowed to snack in the car. I also know that my brother and father drink coffee, often in the car. When I got the car back, it was so filthy I immediately got to work on cleaning the car. I threw all the rugs into a big "tank" with Tide detergent water. One of the rugs had a huge coffee spill spot on it (fortunately, it came out). I wiped the inside non-porous parts with a solution of Mr. Clean. However, for some reason, I didn't get to the radio panel. The cigarette lighter socket had some sort of residue, as did the radio panel above it.

Some time back I discovered that I could easily remove the plastic panel with the cigarette lighter socket. So this evening I did that and took it inside to clean at the sink. Afterwards I went back out to attempt the radio panel. But just wiping it was insufficient; it would be better to remove the radio panel to get the stuff out of the crevices. At this point the screws for the radio were exposed, so I dismounted the radio so that could get at the plastic tabs that retained the faceplate. The faceplate came off ok. But it was more than just the faceplate, it had circuit board too. So I took that inside. It was torturous to remove the circuit board but I finally managed. So now I have the plastic bezel and loose buttons and was able to take those to the sink. After cleaning I shook them dry and also blow dried them with a hair dryer.

By this time it's dark outside. I have a flashlight in the glove compartment so I made use of it. The faceplate went back in ok. The radio went back in ok, except I couldn't find one of the four screws. After some unsuccessful searching, I asked St. Anthony for help and found the missing screw shortly thereafter. The cigarette lighter panel went back in ok. I'll wait until the next day to check the radio, giving it overnight to dry off anywhere that might not have dried off.

Then I came in and cleaned off one of the room air filtering machines. The filter needed replacing and the pre-filter needed cleaning. The machine itself required that the dust be wiped off. Then I took my shower. I was tired.

After the shower I sat for a while, comtemplating dinner. Then Gumby mentioned that the cleaner cartridge in the toilet probably needed replacing--the water was running clear instead of blue. Well, that's easy enough, replacing the cartridge. Except that when I went to replace the cartridge, the old one in there was still very blue. Maybe there's a kink in the feed tube. So I moved it, flushed then monitored the water. It ran blue then clear. Then I did the stupid thing. I untwisted the cartridge to have a look. Dark blue water sprayed everywhere, mostly on me.

So now I have to clean up the mess. Did I say I was tired? I had to rinse the rug, wipe the floor, wipe the walls and wipe the toilet. Then I turned to cleaning myself. "No way in hell," I said, "am I going to take another shower." I worked on my t-shirt and I think I got the blue out. I washed my face and that went well. Then I washed my arms then my feet and lower legs ... in the sink. If any got on my hair, I didn't know it and can't see it and I'm just now thinking about it as I type. If it's there, it's staying for now.

Yes, I did have some dinner. It was rubbery from having been microwaved, but I ate it.

It's crazy stuff such as this that takes up my time and results in my absence from blogworld.

another one from LAMLand

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Also At LAMLand is a link to a story about a fella's adventures in his attempts to meet Pope JPII.

Since I have dial-up, I will have to bypass the video adventure.

DaVinci in the news again

Thanks to T.O. at LAMLand ...

Mirror image of the "Last Supper" superimposed on it reveals other characters.


gift given (finally)

Friday, July 27, 2007

The crucifix gift was finally given to the recipient this past Sunday. The recipient had been out of town on past weekends, plus Yoda wanted to be present at the giving, making the coordination impossible. This past Sunday, the recipient was in town; I gave up on Yoda. The gift was for an occasion many months previous and I was tired of the delay. But it was well worth the wait and the gift really is good at any time.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

A few weeks back I purchased a Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1600 TV tuner card from Circuit City. This week they had it on sale for $20 less. I took my receipt back along with the advertisement and said that it was my understanding that they would honor the sale price so long as it was within 30 days of purchase. *Poof* By magic my $20 +tax was refunded. Kudos, Circuit City! By the way, they had some good sales this week.

finally met

I had dinner with my Dominican liason this evening. It was very nice. So I finally communicated what I wanted to communicate weeks ago when I asked for a meeting. It probably took all of ten seconds.
With no solicitation on my part, I was given a "book" to read. I look forward to it. I was also challenged to meet my spiritual director's recommendation: spend quiet time in prayer daily. Specifically, the challenge is 15 minutes daily. Not sure I'm accepting the challenge at this time.

well ok, more details...
My liason had been out of town, arriving back only the night before. So the morning of the meeting we hooked up via telephone. My liason suggested meeting me halfway. However, having traveled to the Dominican place to meet with the volunteer rep just last week I knew the traffic pattern. It would be horrible for her to drive in my direction, but no problem for me to drive there.

So I had selected a restaurant near them. She was concerned that it wasn't conducive to a private conversation. I knew that not to be true but because she seemed less than enthused, I started scanning the reviews. A recent review left me a bit concerned about the food. Plus it would be cool to find a place that's new for both of us. I then found another place very nearby. It had a reputation of being rather quaint, a good spot for a date, and a slow pace that allowed you to linger. OK, hold your horses, I wasn't dating; it translated for me that it was a good place for private conversations.

I had a dental appointment that same evening. By rare occurence, the dental office was running late. By the time they finished with me, it was time to run straight off to my meeting. I got to the Dominican place just a few minutes early and picked up my liason. (This is when I was loaned the unsolicited book.)

We got to the restaurant in less than ten minutes, just shortly after six. We were escorted to a back room; and at the time, we were the only two in the room. This place is small; the room had maybe 3 or 4 tables total. A guitarist came in a few minutes later, settled into a back corner and provided the music. As luck would have it, neither one of us were very hungry. I then suggested that we split an entree and my liason agreed. It came with only a small side salad and we split that as well. That is just too cool when you can split a dinner.

Conversation was light and easy. I was filled in on a few of the other people who were considering the order and some of the upcoming related activities. We talked a bit about the volunteering thing, a bit about my journey to the Catholic church, reminisced on my first encounter with this Dominican community and also on some of my past discernment experiences. She asked if I thought there were other obstacles and honestly, the only one I can see right now is my finances. I told her of my intention to finish out the finances within 5 years, provided there are no hiccups along the way. We talked about a variety of stuff, none heavy.

We finished off with her having a cup of coffee and I, a flan cake ... long after the entree was finished. The food was good. By that time, the room had filled with people. She didn't take me up on my offer to split the bill. She did agree to let me take care of the tip. I had to ask her how much to leave because I didn't know the total figure. She finished her second coffee before we left; and I got her back before her bed time. In all, I would guess that we met for two hours.

It seems to me that good things always happen after I meet with the Dominicans. On this occasion, on the drive back I saw a faint rainbow among the dark gray clouds. (Yeah, it had rained just about every day that week). Last week on the way back from meeting with the volunteer rep, I stopped to get dinner for both Yoda and I. Lo and behold, I had exactly the amount of money for dinner, minus the pennies. Two factors: (1) dinner cost more than I expected and (2) I had less money than I thought. What I thought was a $20 bill was only a $10. So after pulling out all that I had, minus the pennies, it was the exact amount I needed.