Friday, June 30, 2006

Heading down the shore on a gorgeous Friday before a holiday weekend, what was I thinking?! I wasn't thinking ... earlier in the week when I made the appointment to have my husband's car repaired today.

I caught a bird's eye view of the congested southbound GSP from an overpass on route 18 in Eatontown and quickly realized the mistake I had made, too late as usual.

I had to decide ...

whether to take 34 south and u-turn at the intersection with 70 just north of Point Pleasant onto 35 north or risk taking 35 from 138 east near Belmar to my destination in Manasquan. Six of one, half a dozen of the other. The u-turn is before the drawbridge which is the usual bottleneck, not so much because it opens but because the speed limit slows down.

I opted for the second route since I didn't want to backtrack west to get to 34 and I wasn't sure whether I would get caught up in GSP traffic since 34 leads to the southbound GSP.

Sure, I caught some eastbound traffic along 138 going to Belmar and 35 north but it wasn't bad. 35 south was a little crumby especially since it was the noon hour and I had to get gas ... my husband left very little in his tank, typical for the end of the week, and all the stations seemed to be on the northbound side. So, getting back onto 35 south was a little hairy but I made use of a turning lane, something I don't like to do.

I left the car at Volvo, strapped the kids into my double stroller and walked down 35 to the light to cross. I chose to walk in the grass because drivers use the shoulder for a turning lane. When the light changed, I ran across the street. Then started back up 35 to the McDonald's which is actually directly across the street from Volvo. It was busy because of lunchtime and the Silton Swim Club kids were getting out of their morning session. I considered that program for Kenny last summer but it was impossible to get him in, and the drive would really be a killer every day, twice a day. I couldn't do that to my other kids.

As we ate, I glanced out the window and was surprised to see Jeff's car up in a garage. It came down rather quickly and was parked on the lot. I knew it was a small piece that they had to replace, so it seemed reasonable. Maybe a little quick. But my kids are slow eaters and, since they ate my food too, I was done and impatient long before they were. Actually, I can't eat McDonald's right now ... it grosses me out.

The walking route back to Volvo was the same, in reverse, and involved running across the state highway again. I ventured onto the shoulder at one point because the grass uphill was just too difficult and almost got clipped by a truck whose driver decided to pull out of the line of cars going straight and to turn right at the light, taking full advantage of the shoulder, all without using his signal. I made an open-palm gesture, like "Can't you see I'm walking here?!" but only his passenger saw me. One of my few problems with illegal immigrants is that they can't drive and yet are driving trucks all over the state.

And the sad news is that when the mechanic opened the parts box, he found the wrong part inside. So, no work was done. My suspicion is that they ordered the XC90 part instead of the V70 part because they are forever confusing my car with my husband's. It doesn't help that the vehicle registrations support such a misunderstanding. I mean, he's driving my old car (how many husbands can say that?! I married a feminist, what can I say?) but when he bought the new car he put it in his name.

And the worst part is that the desk guy who told me the bad news was out of the office and away in his car for a long holiday weekend before I even had my kids loaded into the car. A part of me wondered whether the holiday weekend had anything to do with this garage not wanting to do any work. And the other part of me wondered how this garage can have the highest level of customer satisfaction (or whatever they are ranked #1 in the state for) when my experience this week involved two trips down there for nothing.

As I was leaving at 1pm, the southbound traffic on 35 was awful, as was the eastbound traffic on 138. And cops everywhere writing tickets. End of the month blitz.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Flash my E-Z Pass.
Taking the car lanes. What the ...?
"Congestion ahead!"

"What the ...?" is an inside joke. Our 3-year-old picked up that expression from another boy in his preschool class. Actually, the full expression he learned is "What the hecka?" but we've managed to deprogram him a bit down to "What the ...?" and hopefully by the end of the summer, he'll forget it completely.

I'm assuming that the NJ TP is the only roadway with separate car and truck lanes and accepts E-Z Pass. Even if this assumption is correct, there are plans in the works for a highway in Virginia to separate its traffic using rumble strips, if I'm not mistaken. Doesn't seem particularly foolproof to me.

Of course, the "congestion ahead" refers to those helpful overhead screens which display road conditions. And I've learned along the way that "congestion" can be a tidy euphemism for any number of disasters and bottlenecks.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I guess there are pockets of this all over the country, but being from Rochester, NY, I'm more familiar with the goings-on in that diocese.

Woman claiming to be ordained faces excommunication -- CNS 6/28/06
"It's a mistake to overvalue the ordained priesthood -- although priests are very important, nonordained women have often influenced church history more than any male clergy"

"that women, as well as men, can and do image Jesus Christ."

Some women seeking ordination -- NCR 1/27/06
... delivered a large bouquet of roses to the bishops ... the roses are a symbol of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, whose feast day it was, who also felt called to priesthood

(I thought The Little Flower felt called to missions but maybe it was both.)

The dream of egalitarian priesthood is being lived within a Catholic, if not Roman, context at a parish in Rochester, N.Y., where the Revs. Mary Ramerman and Denise Donato along with Jim Callan, a former diocesan priest, serve a “full service” Catholic community.

Spiritus Christi was formed by parishioners who left Corpus Christi Parish in 1998 ... Spiritus Christi holds three weekend Masses plus daily Mass, enrolls 250 children in faith formation classes ...

Like most cities, Rochester is consolidating parishes, closing two out of three ... because they can't field the staff.

I wonder what sort of education and training these women have had. Seminary, perhaps?

Jeff's aunt who is Episcopalian shared a bit of her struggle to adjust to a female priest in her home parish. But her conclusion was that she did a fine job.

Years and years ago, I met a young woman on retreat who left the Catholic Church for the Methodist Church because she felt called to be a pastor.
Now who's too sexy for their Volvo?!

Papal car fleet adds new fully loaded Volvo sport utility vehicle - Catholic News Service, 6/28/06

I hope they repaired the recalled outer tie-rod before they turned it over to him.

As if this make & model weren't already ubiquitous enough; every devout Catholic in the state will want one.

If you search my blog for "volvo" or "car", you'll find my other posts about all the privileges of Volvo car ownership, most of which involve trips to the repair shop. The Holy Father would be spared such tedious, mind-numbing excursions, I'm sure.

tags technorati :
Tim's preschool teacher told us on the last day of class that she would not return next year. Even though we didn't think she was a candidate to teach Tim's pre-K class, we know he will miss seeing her in her old room on his way to his new room.

Who his teacher would be has been something of a mystery until recently.
The matter is complicated by the fact that his class is smaller than previous pre-K classes by 2/3, so only one pre-K teacher is needed instead of three. At least one of those teachers is not returning. The other teacher is moving to 4th grade. That left the third teacher. But we really didn't want her because she's too much like a junkyard dog, barking. The very epitome of a grade school teacher from Jersey.

All the while, Kenny's teacher made it clear that she would not be returning in the fall. The resignation / firing of the long-time principal is responsible for most of this faculty shake-up, including dwindling enrollment, so even teachers who may wish to return were deemed not needed. Again, in Kenny's old grade next year, the number of homerooms will drop from three to two, so one teacher was out no matter what.

Communication from the school was voluminous as the school year came to an end but has since dropped off to nothing. And in that final deluge of information came a notice of who Tim's teacher would be next year: Kenny's teacher from this year! What a switch and what a surprise. And while I don't think that she was adequate as Kenny's teacher -- she misspelled "satellite" in her correction of one of Kenny's handwritten papers and she allowed the boys to bully each other -- she will probably be perfect as Tim's teacher because the pre-K level material suits her better and his class is mostly girls. As the school's cheerleading coach, she favored the girls in Kenny's class this year, girls who were blond and fair like herself.

But Tim will give her hell, I know it. He gives everyone hell. The letter announced an opportunity to meet the teacher but that won't be necessary for us!

My concern about her from last year continues into this coming year: will she take a maternity leave before the end of the school year? She's very open about wanting to start a family and, while I want to support that, I wonder who the school would replace her with because their track record of temps and subs is far from satisfactory. They usually just combine two classes into one or have a floating aid supervise for the day.
Flooding in the East:
In upstate New York, state emergency officials said two people were dead after a "washout" Wednesday morning on a major highway.

In New York, hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes in the Binghamton area after the Susquehanna, Chenango and other rivers flooded.

Sections of three major highways in the region -- Route 17 and interstates 81 and 88 -- were closed Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The purple pill.

No, not Nexium.

PrimaCare One. The largest-sized pill allowed by law for oral human consumption. Like those 1,000 mg Vitamin C tablets ... and not much better tasting either.

Is it my age? I need to megadose Omega-3? Maybe. I just never remember these vitamins costing so much before. More than $1.50 / day, and the insurance covered less than 15%.

TBT, I don't pop them everyday. I forget or am too tired. I could probably alternate with regular OTC vitamins.
"How well do you like that car?" the lady in pink asked me, motioning to the SUV.

I had just finished changing a diaper on the tailgate and was about to put the baby into his car seat. I approached her to answer because I'm hard of hearing and don't like to yell in public.

"Something to consider is the cost of maintance," I warned her. "It's an expensive car to maintain." She hadn't thought of that but said she was in the market for a new car to accommodate her growing family.

"What other cars are you looking at?" I asked and she admitted that she hadn't looked at any yet. "Well, we looked at the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna. My husband really wanted me to get a minivan but I wanted an SUV." She said that her husband is also pushing a minivan but she cannot see herself driving a minivan. Her Pacifica was a company car.

I told her I preferred the seating configuration in the SUV, with three seats in the second row and two seats in the third row. Minivans usually have two seats in the second row and three seats in the third row so I would always need to keep at least one seat up in the third row no matter what. The big difference, and this is a problem in our narrow garage and in narrow parking spaces, is the real four-doors of the SUV, doors which can be quite heavy, verses the automatic sliding doors on a minivan. There's also the height factor, an SUV is taller and harder to climb into. The lady in pink liked the idea of the minivan's automatic sliding doors. I think that automatic anything is just another feature that can go wrong and require repair.

But the last thing I forgot to mention to her: she must be comfortable with everyone driving the same car. Because, well, I see about a dozen Jaguars a day, but after that, I see mostly shades of my car going around town. It gets tiresome after a while.
Two weeks ago the DVD player in the car stopped working. Yesterday I took the car into the dealership for repair.

Since buying the car 18 months ago, this is the fourth trip for repair on this particular accessory. Twice before, they replaced the system entirely. Since the behavior this time was similar to the previous times, I prepared for another complete replacement by removing the DVD disk from the unit lest they take that away too.

Parked in a numbered spot and walked in with the kids. Turned over keys, a set of valet keys - read Michele's warning - and waited for my loaner car to be brought around. In the meantime, the kids poured enough water from the cooler in the waiting area onto the floor to soak Chris's sandaled feet and start him shivering. I dumped all the napkins and paper towels I could find on the mess but still didn't make a dent. An employee thought the water cooler bottle was not fit properly. I explained my children's fascination with pouring water on floors, and he dashed into the men's room for the mop. So that's where they keep it! Why didn't I think of that?

We waited about 30 minutes until the service clerk came around and said, "Uh, ma'am, your loaner car has been out there for quite a while now. Did you know that?" Obviously not.

Placed the kids inside the loaner. Walked back to my car for the two car seats. Installed the car seats in the loaner. Locked the kids in their car seats. The younger one needed a change so I intended to drive back to my car and get other necessitites: diaper bag, stroller, paperwork for the doctor. Then, I noticed that my car was being taken into the shop so I put the loaner in reverse and got along side my car, popped the loaner's trunk and hopped out to grab the essentials.

Two service guys were watching the DVD player.

"Uh, ma'am, this DVD player works, did you know that?" Obviously not. "Well, we had to insert a DVD. Did you know that the player was empty?" I explained that I expected them to swap out the entire unit and didn't want any of my disks going along with it. Then he showed me the coup de grâce ... or is it pièce de résistance? Perhaps a little of both: the AV input had been changed. "Those kids," I muttered. Right, lady, right.

So, now I know anyway. It's just one button on the remote, the AV button, cycles through three different inputs, only one of which will display the playing DVD.

Glad I didn't actually leave the premises with the loaner car. Too bad I had gotten the car seats moved over. But putting them back into my car was no trouble. And feeling satisfied that I had gotten the DVD player working again even if it could have been repaired verbally over the telephone. Until my husband arrived home, opened a letter from Garden State Volvo (the car is registered in his name) and he asked me whether they did the recall work during my visit that day.

"What recall work?!" I demanded, peering over his shoulder. The word "tie rod" jumped off the page. "Oh, tie rod, that's not good," I said.

I called today about an appointment for the recall service. He said, "Oh, you were just in here yesterday. Let's see whether they did that work already." Come on, man, I know they didn't. And he couldn't get me an appointment until mid-July. "We're real busy right now, working on these tie rod replacements." Ya think?! I'm gonna call another area Volvo shop and see whether they can do it sooner.
Sorry, this blog is going to be about day camp for a while. And about adjusting to life without Kenny around for eight hours at a time.

The bus was 30 minutes earlier today than yesterday. What a surprise, especially since the driver told me last night that he would probably arrive at the same time again.

Kenny was still upstairs getting dressed when the bus counselor ... yes, he has appeared, AWOL yesterday, banged on our door.

"Door bell doesn't work?" he asked. No, it doesn't.

Kenny was fussing over his clothes, something he never does. He wanted to wear a favorite green shirt that he outgrew this year and I placed in storage in the basement a few weeks ago. I went down to dig it out and he called after me, "If you can't find it, Mom, then I won't wear it." His logic is air-tight. Ha, but I did find it, now what do you say, my little Descartes? He still didn't want to wear it.

And, like that, he was gone, walked down the driveway with the counselor.

Methinks the bus route changed overnight, explaining the bus's earlier arrival, its near-complete emptiness and its opposite direction down the street. But I would need my little Descartes to confirm my hypothesis.

I liked the previous route because he was the last to board in the morning and the first to drop off in the afternoon. I liked the idea of him not being on the bus very long because last year some kids put a wet lollypop in his hair when he feel asleep on the ride home. The bus counselor was deaf or hard-of-hearing and towards the end of the season, didn't really keep the kids in line.

But Kenny doesn't mind driving around town a little and I am concerned about him getting a good seat in the morning, so an empty bus facilitates that.

Monday, June 26, 2006

First day of camp, a washout.

Last summer started this way, too. Kenny came home this afternoon and told me that camp wasn't really very much fun because they didn't do anything. $100 / day, ugh.

I drove by his camp on the way back from the doctor's office and also by another popular camp in town ... and the kids at THAT camp were out and about, playing and stuff, but Kenny's camp was deathly quiet ... everyone was inside.

Oh, well, it can only get better, right? Maybe his bus will even be on time tomorrow.

Things just don't seem to be how they ought to be. The bus is supposed to have a counselor ... I didn't see one. The bus was late, coming and going. I looked at this week's schedule of activities and I didn't see his old favorites: zipline, for instance. He was supposed to do bumper boats today but the rain prevented that.

As I said the other day, his "adult counselor" is probably barely 20. No offense, but show me a 20 year-old who can manage 14 boys for seven hours a day. The counselors are supposed to be school teachers out on summer vacation.

Well, next week I'll make my visit and see how things have settled down. Maybe he won't be going back there next year. Too bad because it really is the best camp around. So what does that say about the other day camps?
I came across the blog of a pastor in Canada; he commented on a post at Reformed Chicks Blabbing.

And while there isn't much on his blog that interests me, eh, in his sidebar he lists Henri Nouwen as among those who have influenced him.

The mere mention of Nouwen's name reminded me of how I became aware of him a few years ago. And I don't read many spiritual books. I can probably count on one hand the number of spiritual books that I've ... 'though I re-read my favorites constantly.

But, I've said before (at the end of the post) how my parents rarely took us anywhere except the state park at Hamlin on Lake Ontario. We never went to Niagara Falls or Letchworth Park and to the Finger Lakes only once. It wasn't until high school that I went to Canada ... when I became friends of teens who could drive.

And, so, of course, we never went down to visit the Abbey of the Genesee, the Trappist monastery where Nouwen spent a few months and chronicled his time in The Genesee Diary, 'though the place was only 30 miles away. Maybe living in NJ has altered my perception on driving distances. 30 miles is nothing.

In any event, for whatever reason, the Jesuit who ran the Newman Center on campus during my time there, Fr. John Zeitler, took a bunch of us down there one time. It was the first time that I had ever seen a church with smaller altars along both walls of the nave. I just remember the peace of the place. It was palpable.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Hang on and read this from evangelical Randall Balmer --
the chicanery, the bullying, and the flouting of the rule of law that emanates from the nation's capital these days make Richard Nixon look like a fraternity prankster.

The agenda of the Republican-religious-right coalition, moreover, is utterly disconsonant with the distinguished record of evangelical activists in the 19th century.

By way of Commonweal blog.
One from the Sunday paper. Yes, I read the Sunday paper this morning. It took about 20 minutes including interruptions from the kids jumping on me. "Mommy hill!" Don't ask. I had more time this morning because I attended church last night. Kenny's orientation at camp didn't take more than five minutes. Which just tells me that his counselor is inexperienced and doesn't know what to say to me.

My favorite newspaper topics of late have been land, property, stuff like that.

Meeting on future of Lucent campus

The real estate company has good intentions but I imagine that their patience with the townspeople will wear thin, they will fail to reach agreement quickly enough and eventually the agency will do its own thing with the land anyway. We call that "lip service".

Saturday, June 24, 2006


I don't like to think of myself as a fair-weather Christian.

I'm no Jean of Arc, either. But, I could have used an ark tonight because it was raining cats & dogs.

Logistics necessitated that I attend church this evening instead of tomorrow morning because of Kenny's orientation at camp. It had been raining for only an hour but the entire stretch of Sweetmans Lane between town and church was almost completely flooded.

I really didn't think that I was going to make it home.

A missionary was supposed to speak to us this evening but she arrived late. And, so, Father didn't have a homily prepared. Kinda funny. But he's never at a loss for words and managed to say a thing or two about the readings and about the work of the Medical Missionaries of Mary.

When Sister finally arrived, she addressed us after Communion and, thankfully kept her comments brief since the collection had already been taken up. She is a nurse and midwife and works in Ethiopia. Since the weather kept most people at home, I doubt she collected very much this evening. But, hopefully tomorrow morning will be better for her.
I've blogged briefly about cravings, the big one being homemade stuffing with gravy.

When the cravings first hit two weeks ago, I tried to cheat: I bought boxed stuffing and bottled gravy. The dried bread in the box was completely pulverized and unrecognizable as bread cubes. More like corn flakes!

Needless to say, it failed to satisfy.

So today, I bought a loaf of bread, ...

used my electric B&D kitchen knife to cube it, and dried the cubes on a cookie sheet for a few minutes in the oven. Meanwhile, I got the onions and celery cooking in hot, melted butter in the Calphalon dutch oven, added the mushrooms, seasonings, eggs and dried bread cubes.

I almost freaked because at first glance in the spice drawer, I didn't find enough poultry seasoning. Recently, we had grilled some Cornell chicken which put a dent in our supply of poultry seasoning. But, I found another bottle ... already open of course, no surprise ... and so I was able to put in the full, required dose.

My casserole dish could not accommodate everything from the dutch oven ... there was a small bit of stuffing left over. So, I was able to sample and it's all I can do to wait until dinner without dashing back into the kitchen and sneaking some more from the casserole in the fridge.

I got some screening numbers back yesterday from some blood work the day before. My odds improved significantly from the standard odds based on age alone.

I'm talking about the odds of genetic defects or whatever you want to call it.

Instead of 1:133 for Down's, the odds are 1:2641 and instead of 1:243 for chromosome 18, the odds are 1:4841. The first is 90% accurate and the second is 97% accurate. And the doctors performed a nuchal translucency (NT) ultrasound at the same time as the blood was drawn and said that everything looked ok.

These early tests are new to me. But there's always something new. The OB's office is located in the Med. Arts Building of CentraState Hos. in Freehold and her practice works with a team from Robert Wood Johnson (RWJUH) in New Brunswick which also has offices in the Med. Arts Building. So far, things have been very convenient but sometimes getting a close parking space at the hospital is difficult.

Alright, I give in ... I'm gonna swipe another spoonful of homemade stuffing.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Now why didn't I come up with this?!

Such an accurate quiz ... and fun, too!

My thanks to Lisa at From Where I Write.

You Are 44% New Jersey!

You've got a little Jersey in you. Not too bad, however you could have done a lot better. Based on this score, you may not actually be from New Jersey. You're missing out!

How New Jersey Are You?

By way of Singing in the Reign:

Rocco Palmo's suggestion that Stephen Colbert is a devout Catholic doesn't surprise me at all. In fact, I assumed as much, even though I have never watched him in action or heard him speak. After seeing a still or two, I can read it in his face.

Some quotes from Rocco Palmo's assessment:

"Some people in this church really hate Stephen Colbert right now. Why, you ask? Because he had the temerity to be candid before George Bush -- who, so we're told, is the real head of the US church ... Well, friends, some of you will be shocked to learn that Colbert is one of us. Really. (And that Bush isn't.)"

That last bit isn't news to me! Good grief.

Methodist Bishops Repent Iraq War "Complicity": Carder said. "At the heart of the Christian faith is the willingness to acknowledge mistakes."


From the commencement speech that Colbert gave to students at Knox College, also taken from Palmo's blog:

"Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying 'yes' begins things. Saying 'yes' is how things grow. Saying 'yes' leads to knowledge. 'Yes' is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say 'yes.'"

PS: oh, and I have great sympathy for Bart Ehrman. It doesn't take much to arrive at his same conclusions.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Thanks to Commonweal's blog for the low-down on a Newsweek article about a Beliefnet survey on who's going to hell.

You follow all that?

Here it is again, slower, with links:

  • Commonweal blog: "Who's Going to Hell?" with comments.
    Note Jean Raber's first comment.

  • Newsweek article "How Many of Us Are Going to Hell?" -- June 26, 2006

  • Results of online survey

  • More great Mac commercials.

    Wednesday, June 21, 2006

    Millstone farmer says price not right - Asbury Park Press, 6/18/06:
    the land is slated to become part of Perrineville Lake Park, which will encompass 550 acres surrounding the lake.

    In 1995, Millstone Township attempted to condemn the farm to use it for recreational ball fields and a municipal building addition. That plan died ... the county was also interested by that time.

    I don't care for eminent domain, at least as it is practiced in NJ.

    Read my "Shore to Seize" post.

    And I have mixed feelings about a county park in town. It will increase traffic considerably.

    But, if it's built, we'll probably make use of it.

    Otherwise, it's a waste of $4.5 million dollars ... or whatever the grand total turns out to be.

    tags technorati :
    While they were eating,
    he took bread, said the blessing,
    broke it, gave it to them, and said,
    "Take it; this is my body."

    Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them,
    and they all drank from it.
    He said to them,
    "This is my blood of the covenant,
    which will be shed for many.
    Mark 14:22-24

    The Corpus Christi sermon sought after the disciples' likely reaction to Jesus' startling words at the Last Supper.

    Since the Scripture from Mark doesn't provide us with their response, Father said that we are free to imagine. Put yourselves in the sandals of The Twelve at table and listen to Jesus as if for the first time.

    No, I'm not interested. It's the wrong approach, the wrong question to ask. It's an unprofitable use of the imagination and a "busy work" exercise.

    To ponder the disciples' reaction is besides the point, misses the point, is a worthless distraction.

    Because the inspired author of Mark had absolutely no interest in the reaction of The Twelve, if he could even fathom it so many years later. His perspective is our perspective: he grew up with this, this Eucharistic meal. He knows nothing else. He knows of no time without it. No "before". As do we, those of us who are blessed enough to have grown up in the church, know nothing else, nothing less, than the Real Presence.

    And that common knowledge is the emphasis on the Feast of Corpus Christi. That we share that faith from Mark's day to our own, in continuity. Not on some crazy speculation about the perspective of the first-time hearers, so short-lived. If you seek that curiosity, go to John 6:52.

    He is taller than a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup this year ... but the candy is still a favorite!

    More pictures at flickr.

    Tuesday, June 20, 2006

    "Do you recognize this woman?" the park security officer asked my 3 1/2 year old as he simultaneously shouted out, "Mommy!"

    Still, he didn't seem interested in leaving the sparse but happy confines of the Lost Children facility at Hershey Park. If she needed proof, I had pictures of him on my digital camera. He was probably recovered before we even reported him missing. We didn't think that our escape artist could disappear so quickly.

    The show at the aquatheater had just completed. I gathered the baby and, with Kenny, claimed the stroller from the designated area. Jeff took charge of Tim and we joined them on the high bridge. They had just finished feeding corn to the ducks in the river below. I pointed out to Kenny the difference between male and female mallards and was distracted by the Canada geese. Then Jeff said, "Where's Tim? He was right here. He's gone."

    Jeff and Kenny went ahead and I went back to where we had lunched and played skeetball. There were also kiddie rides, Convoy for instance, in the vicinity which Tim and I had ridden before lunch, in the rain. The crowd from the aquatheater was still breaking up and the area was somewhat busy. It was about 4pm and I knew that Tim was tired. Jeff and I were both concerned that he had found his way down to the river for a closer look at the ducks.

    I passed a security guard but hadn't reached that point yet -- the point where I was ready to report it. Minutes later, the impossibility of finding him on my own dawned on me and I asked a nearby staffer to call it in.

    A security guard met me almost instantly. When I saw Jeff doubling back to me empty handed, I gave the guard description and details on Tim. She said that she would look around briefly in the Minetown restaurant where we had eaten lunch, then call it in and get everyone looking for him.

    I switched directions with Jeff: he went to the restaurant and skeetball area and I went with Kenny and the baby past the bridge and into the area with the lady bugs ride and the swings. Tim had been very interested in riding the swings, I remember. And he had ridden on the lady bugs the night before.

    I returned to the bridge and connected with the security guard again who told me that Tim had been found and was waiting at the Lost Children building across from The Claw. She would double back and locate Jeff and tell him to meet us there.

    Jeff showed up almost immediately after we arrived. And Timmy was happy to climb into daddy's arms. In all, it lasted about 15 minutes, the searching and walking to recovery. The only thing that I was worried about was him curling up somewhere and falling asleep. As long as he was still walking around, I figured that someone would turn him in. I wasn't worried about anyone intentionally hurting him because it's a family place. It's just difficult these days to recognize when a child needs help. Speaking for myself, I'm not always sensitive to that because I have my own worries.

    Truth is, he got pretty far in a short amount of time. They said that he practically walked to the Lost Children building by himself. Not on purpose, I assure you. And they said that he refused to talk to anyone or to give his name. If that was intended to surprise me, it didn't. He's not shy but he's not talkative either.

    This morning I tried to ask him what happened, where he was going, why he walked off. He said that he had to catch up to me.

    So, in the crowd of people exiting the aquatheater, he thought that we had left. Jeff remembers another family standing next to us on the bridge feeding the ducks. Then they left. He thinks that Tim walked off with them.

    Saturday, June 17, 2006

    Made use of a new icon this morning. Not just new to me, but new as in only a few years old.

    "Mary, Star of Evangelization" was written by a Benedictine in Oregon and is used by that bankrupt archdiocese.

    The explanation of the icon says that the turquoise green outer garment represents the Holy Spirit and the rose inner garment represents God the Father. Both colors are inspired by Rublev's icon of the Trinity.

    The scroll in her hand says "she rose and went to the hill country" (Luke 1:39), indicating an evangelizing spirit. Her dress is high-waisted in imitation of Guadalupe where she appeared as with child. So, the Trinity is represented in the icon.

    I was taken with the traditional four Greek letters, MP θY, and John Boucher's explanation didn't seem to account for all of the letters. True, I have never had much success deciphering the lettering on icons, even when it spells the saint's name in full down the side! So, I shouldn't think that I know anything.

    But the four letters, MP θY, I thought, stood for a word apiece so I came up with this mistaken interpretation:

    M -- μητηρ ("mother")
    P -- Παναγία ("all-holy") <--- wrong!
    θ -- θεος ("God")
    Y -- υιος ("son")

    but, obviously, this is wrong. I mistook the rho for a pi. Silly.

    Instead, the letters ΜΡ ΘΥ are short for ΜΗΤΗΡ ΘΕΟΥ ( μητηρ θεου ), Mother of God, just as John said. Each pair of letters stands for a single word, initial letter and final letter together. (Wiki article: panagia)

    So, at least I know it now even if I had to figure it out the hard way!

    Friday, June 16, 2006

    Chris at "Calling Rome Home" is reporting U.S. bishops approve new Mass translation via AP.

    Here's the fuller AP story.

    I believe the story but can't find it via Catholic News Service.
    Thomas Reese ... said the new Mass would "cause chaos and real problems and the people who are going to be at the brunt end of it are the poor priests in the parishes."

    A proposal to change the words of the Nicene Creed from "one in being" to "consubstantial," which is closer to the Latin, failed.

    I suppose CNS will get a story out soon, maybe after the conference wraps up tomorrow.

    tags technorati :
    Conference: Priest facing east at Mass won't ensure focus on Jesus

    Having the priest face east ... is not a magic way to ensure that both the priest and the congregation focus on Jesus

    I haven't any thoughts on this ... I'm just so stunned that facing east is even on the table for discussion, like some liturgical panacea.
    More news of Holmdel: Saying good-bye to site of historic inventions

    The vaunted Bell Labs, whose scientists invented the laser and developed fiber optic and satellite communications, touch-tone dialing and cell phones, modems and microwaves, was housed in the glass building, set far off the road ...

    The structure will have to be demolished.

    Tuesday, June 13, 2006

    Tonight's IM ... for once, no innuendo but some vulgarity:

    Teresa S. says: (9:28:08 PM)

    Teresa S. says: (9:28:12 PM)
    so, it's egg salad

    Jake the Snake says: (9:28:24 PM)
    i stepped on the ping pong ball

    Jake the Snake says: (9:28:35 PM)
    the last marine he ate the bean

    Jake the Snake says: (9:28:56 PM)
    so, i will be closing up and leaving shortly

    Jake the Snake says: (9:29:12 PM)
    to arrive in quiet perrineville hampton hollow at 10:30 pm.

    Jake the Snake says: (9:29:24 PM)
    i will be shot, and tired, and hungry, and poor

    Teresa S. says: (9:29:34 PM)
    want a pot pie?

    Jake the Snake says: (9:29:45 PM)
    i would love it

    Jake the Snake says: (9:30:04 PM)
    will you cook it for me, since they take almost an hour i think

    Teresa S. says: (9:30:10 PM)

    Jake the Snake says: (9:31:10 PM)
    ok, see you in a bit

    Jake the Snake says: (9:31:14 PM)
    a toot a lure

    Teresa S. says: (9:31:26 PM)

    Monday, June 12, 2006

    Passed the West Monmouth Baptist Church near the Freehold Raceway Mall yesterday on our way to a birthday party in Old Bridge.

    Kenny made the point again of telling me that he wants to visit that church some Sunday morning. I consented and just need to remember sometime, at the appropriate time.

    He claims to remember our last visit ... at least two years ago. Of course, he is interested in the downstairs nursery. "Underground", he calls it.

    In fact, I've been there twice. The church has always intrigued me, beckoned almost, tucked away between the Mall and Battle of Monmouth Battleground.

    The parking lot is reasonably full on a Sunday, late into the early afternoon. When I met someone at a Bible study who attended that church, I invited myself one morning to see what the appeal was. I mean, she raved about the service. Said it wasn't like going to church at all. I guess she meant by that, that the service wasn't boring. And her pastor was funny, witty and really explained the Scriptures, she said.

    So, I brought my blue "leather" NIV with the silver-edged pages and my name in script along the bottom. Maybe if this weren't the NE, I would have brought a KJV. But, to be honest, I didn't own one at the time (hard to believe) and I had no idea how popular the KJV still is in some circles. I guess that's why I didn't own one. Turns out that the NIV was the right choice for this Baptist church.

    I suppose the humongous black speakers on stage should have clued me in about how loud the worship music was going to be. But they didn't. I think the associate pastor played electric guitar. And, yes, there was a drum kit on stage as well. Fortunately, the kids were in the nursery because their eardrums would have ruptured. And I was sitting in the back.

    I was surprised at how little Scripture we looked at. Just three or four verses from John's Gospel. Nothing else, at all. Some of the music was based on Scripture. I mean, we sang from a standard Baptist hymnal, American Baptist, I think. I wrote down the ISBN because I was going to buy one ... I liked the songs so much. But I never did because I would have had to buy a box of 20 or something.

    The second visit, I don't remember things being much different. I think the pastor had changed in the meantime. But the people were just as friendly as before. I actually went with the purpose of getting information about their mid-week service. But I haven't the guts to go. More than anything, I'm afraid that my husband would find out.
    A friend's father called on Saturday morning about getting the kids together. It's hard for me not to suspect that he's just trying to unload his kid on us. They both seem too wrapped up in themselves to be parents. But I refused to go for the obvious and suggested Dorbrook near Colts Neck.

    He agreed but warned me that, despite the bright, shining sun, the wind made the air chilly. Well, we'd just dress for it.

    We talked about her summer courses at a community college, undergraduate mathematics. She aspires to be a high school teacher. I think that she attends one of my alma maters, Monmouth U. in Long Branch, during the regular semesters. Her goal was to teach at our school so she'd save on her son's tuition.

    Instead, he's going to public school in the fall. They are very upfront about their financial situation. Most people are around here; I can't understand that. It makes me uncomfortable to discuss something so private. And, the bottom line is the bottom line for them with the private school. They can't foot it anymore. They'd rather have a nanny and vacation in PR than educate their son. Everyone has their own priorities, apparently.

    He's probably not a lefty, but a mother can dream.
    With Kenny, it was lo mein. With Timmy, it was cheeseburgers on the grill. With Chris, it was hotdogs with lots of dijon mustard.

    This time around, it's homemade stuffing with gravy. Isn't it too early for cravings?
    Truth be told, my front passenger seat is usually littered with papers and wrappers and plastic bags. The seat also sports an organizer bulging with CDs and sunglasses, a cell phone and some essential cosmetics: eye shadow, lipstick, mascara. Stuff I should use more often but don't.

    But I ought to leave that seat free for Elijah, whenever he may come along.

    I mean, it's difficult to convince walkers to accept a lift from me with that clutter hogging their seat.

    But the lady today admitted she couldn't see too well. That's probably why she hardly hesitated to climb in. Her poor eyesight made it dangerous for her friends to drop her off in the middle of a congested intersection.

    The car stopped in the travel lanes just after clearing the intersection. There is no shoulder but plenty of parking spaces in the nearby lot. Some motorists started going around and other started honking. I was directly behind and could have gone around. But I thought I would stay in case they needed help. Eventually, the woman stepped out, looking disoriented. I thought she might need help finding her car but instead she said she was going to the Verizon store to exchange a bad cell phone.

    We were kitty corner from the Verizon store and she intended to walk, back through the busy intersection. Nah, I told her to get in, as I tossed most of the uncomfortable pieces -- remote control, cell phone, book -- to the back seat. She still had to sit with her back against my carseat organizer and contend with a full box of Cheez-its on the floor in front of her.

    I did a U-turn right in the middle of that intersection, to a chorus of honking horns. It took me a minute to get her over to the front of the Verizon building and she was grateful. She told me that she needs to walk back to the Wegmans to shop and to meet up with her friends again to take her home. I was tempted to wait for her to finish her business at the Verizon store then drive her over there for safety's sake but I figured she would decline, so I didn't offer.

    'round here, 'though, ya never know when you're gonna get a rider. And I ought to keep my front seat clear.

    Sunday, June 11, 2006

    I mentioned before that the neighbor girl would receive confirmation this year. That took place last Tuesday but I wasn't able to attend.

    On the Sunday before the ceremony, that is, on Pentecost Sunday, I saw her and her entire family at the 11 o'clock Mass. I hardly ever see them at Mass. I mean, that's just how it is. So, I recognized them immediately. There was a practice session for confirmation following Mass, so I think they attended for that reason.

    Now, the girl's father is Jewish. And the Gospel reading for Pentecost is the upper room experience from John, 20:19-23 with that bothersome phrase "for fear of the Jews." A phrase that Father did not read. He glossed right over it.

    Ordinarily I'm not one for editing the Gospel proclamation on the fly but in this case, I was quite pleased that he left that phrase out. I think it reflects in-house fighting. I think John's Gospel has Samaritan influences. However, this detail is subtle and most people can't get past the face value of the text.

    In other words, I don't think that my neighbor would have understood the expression "for fear of the Jews" in any way other than antagonistically, so it's just as well that Father left it off.

    Saturday, June 10, 2006

    Started a study of 1 Samuel and spent a few hours doing a week's worth of homework. Had to read chapters 1-3. Good chapters. Restored my faith in the Old Testament as a "good word".

    Frustrated that the textual parallel between Hannah's song (1 Sam. 2:1-10 and Mary's canticle (the Magnificat, Luke 1:46-55) was mentioned only in passing. Just because Mary wasn't barren? The homework had us read the birth announcement of John the Baptist but not the birth announcement of Jesus. The two stories are practically indistinguishable, except for the barrenness, as I said. Just an anti-Mary bias in this Protestant study guide? I should be used to it by now.

    An interesting thing to ponder on 1 Sam. 3:18. The question was whether Eli could have done anything to affect the deity's intention to judge his household, especially since it was revealed beforehand.

    I thought of Abraham (Genesis 18:16-33): God reveals to Abraham that he intends to destroy Sodom & Gomorrah, and Abraham convinces God to agree to rescue the righteous people out first.

    The note in my Jewish Study Bible on this Genesis story was tasty:
    Notice that Abraham's demand is not that the guilty be punished and the innocent spared, but rather that the LORD forgive [the entire city] for the sake of the innocent ... who are in it. The point is made more explicit in v. 26. The underlying theology maintains that the righteous effect deliverance for the entire community.
    Thrilling! But then, read more:
    Other biblical texts such as Ezek. 14:12-23; ch 18, however, insist upon individual responsibility and retribution.
    I understand that this is an aspect of theology that develops through the OT, and in a crude way, Christianity makes the same development at the Reformation, but rather than seeing the later form as supplanting the earlier, both perspectives ought to be upheld because both are biblical.

    Returning, then, to the question of whether Eli could have done anything to change God's plan on the surface it would seem "yes". So, why didn't he? Why did he accept it as the best thing? (As Mary accepts Gabriel's message, "fiat")

    Two possibilities come to mind ... I am open to other suggestions from my readers ... Eli was not familiar enough with God's character to know that his prayers could influence events. In short, Eli didn't know God very well.

    Secondly, Eli was not a prophet like Abraham (Genesis 20:7). Eli was a priest. Prophets seem to be the ones who intercede with God through prayer for the people (Genesis 20:17). Priests must use sacrifice for intercession, and God said that no sacrifice would atone for the sin of Eli's household (1 Sam. 3:14), a curiously absolute statement in light of the New Testament.

    But, what I also don't get, is why didn't Samuel intercede for Eli? He obviously loved Eli like a father. And he was a budding prophet, judge (deliverer) and priest. He didn't seem to know God very well either, since he didn't recognize His calling (1 Sam. 3:7). Dark days, indeed.
    As in years past, the buzz this last week of school is who is returning in the fall.

    The upper grades have few female students. My suspicion is that, even in this day and age, parents are reluctant to spend dollars to educate their girls.

    My friend, who has only one daughter, finds that suggestion deplorable. But, guess what? Her husband wants to move their daughter to a less expensive school for the upcoming year. It comes down to cost.

    I hate to think of what they will be giving up in sending their daughter to another school, in this case, St. Rose in Freehold. Recess is held in the school parking lot!
    Friday afternoon was "Family Fun Day" at the kids' school. Class parents treated the kids to a take-out or prepared lunch.

    Kenny's class enjoyed hot dogs, homemade mac & cheese and popcorn. The hosting parents have their own little hot dog stand on wheels, complete with umbrella. Cute. And I didn't know that boiled hot dogs could taste so good.

    Tim's class had McDonald's. After lunch, we spent the afternoon outside.

    Inflatables were set up on the school playground. The usual stuff: obstacle course, bounce house. Some had water: a water slide and a rain forest. Kenny wore his swimsuit but Tim refused to. There was a trackless train in the front playground. There was cotton candy, too. It was a nice way to spend the afternoon.

    Friday, June 09, 2006

    On the drive over to school this morning, I got caught up behind another mother from our neighborhood. In other words, she slowed me down but, in a good way, because the slower speed enabled me to see the box turtle in the middle of the road and to stop for it.

    I told the boys who were watching TV (Ice Age) to look out the car windows, look at the real world around them, look at the box turtle in the road. The mother in the car ahead of me stopped also and backed up towards us to see if we needed any help.

    The angle was too sharp for them to see the turtle, so I told them to get out of the car if they wanted to see it.

    As another car approached from behind, another parent from the neighborhood, I realized that the turtle would not make it across on his own fast enough. So, I motioned to that oncoming car to slow down and he did and I picked up the turtle and moved him to the side of the road. Then I let the car go by.

    And when Mary saw that I had cleared the turtle, she continued on her way to school as well.

    I brought my kids across the street and let them pick up the turtle. Tim was not really interested but he did hold it. They were careful not to drop it. We waited until he came out of his shell again and eventually he stuck his head out and looked around. Kenny wanted to keep him, of course, but he was a big turtle. A man in a car stopped and talked to us about the turtle, saying that he breeds them because they are endangered -- always getting run over in the road -- and he lets them go by the lake. Interesting.

    Kenny wanted to hold the turtle again and move him closer to the woods by the side of the road. So, I let him do that. Then we walked back to our car. Yeah, we were 15 minutes late for school. So what. How often do you find a live turtle in the road?

    Thursday, June 08, 2006

    Invited bowling after school, bumper ball. Arrived, got their shoes, know their sizes because we just bought summer sneakers and sandals. Our group had gathered a bunch of 6-pound balls already at the lane. There were five bowlers, two were mine, for two games.

    My boys were more interested in the video games along the back wall than in bowling. I went through $9 in quarters for them.

    Towards the end, the younger one grew worn out and his older brother took over his turn. For him, Brother bowled a strike and a spare, so that the younger one ended up with the highest score. Not that he cared.

    I tried to work on the older one's form. My sensibilities were offended at how he hurled the ball down and, if not for the bumpers, every toss would have been a gutter ball. He's got power but every hit against the bumpers reduces that power. However, I wasn't successful at even getting his fingers right. He has already developed an approach in only three trips to the bowling alley and after one particularly violent throw resulted in a strike, another mother undermined my constructive criticism by telling him not to change what's working so well! "Yeah but, Marion, it would have ended up in the gutter." Tut, tut.

    I've always enjoyed bowling, 'though I'm not any good and haven't any form. A good game would break 100. I can count on both hands the number of times I've actually bowled. My father bowled every Friday. Afterwards, he would bring home his own dinner: a submarine sandwich of ham & Swiss cheese with oil. During Lent, he would just have cheese. We kids always scrounged bites from him. Jeff's mother is a bowler, and bowled a 300 game not too long ago.

    Wednesday, June 07, 2006

    From last summer at Seven Presidents in Long Branch.

    They got wiped out and separated.

    I was scared.
    Everyone is talking about this: Melky Robs Manny

    and this: Bird beaned at Buffalo Bisons baseball game

    I could only find that second story in a Cleveland paper, not in a Buffalo paper.
    Yonkers Seminary Vandalized After 6-6-06

    Drawing upon his experience as a high school teacher and knowing that teens cannot spell, the monsignor's suspicion that an adult committed this act of vandalism because "reign" was spelled correctly was amusing considering that his experience is probably at Catholic high schools which supposedly do a better job teaching.

    Tuesday, June 06, 2006

    Four years ago, I completed the Belief-O-Matic quiz at beliefnet and I've been meaning to post the results.

    When someone mentioned the Christian's right to bear arms in a comment on another blog, I was reminded of my pacifism. It's not a strong trait, so I need to be reminded of it from time to time.

    The results do not match what I would expect. I can say that Billy Wyler's Friendly Persuasion is a favorite movie of mine and, 'round here in western NJ/eastern PA, I'm sure I could find a meeting house!

    1. Orthodox Quaker (100%)
    2. Eastern Orthodox (96%)
    3. Roman Catholic (96%)
    4. Seventh Day Adventist (90%)
    5. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (83%)
    6. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (66%)
    7. Hinduism (60%)
    8. Liberal Quakers (56%)
    9. Bahá'í Faith (53%)
    10. Orthodox Judaism (52%)
    11. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (50%)

    12. Sikhism (48%)
    13. Islam (47%)
    14. Jehovah's Witness (47%)
    15. Unitarian Universalism (45%)
    16. Jainism (44%)
    17. Theravada Buddhism (41%)
    18. Mahayana Buddhism (40%)
    19. Reform Judaism (33%)
    20. Neo-Pagan (32%)
    21. New Age (27%)
    22. Taoism (23%)
    23. Secular Humanism (21%)
    24. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (19%)
    25. Scientology (18%)
    26. Nontheist (14%)
    27. New Thought (13%)
    The flurry of doctors' appointments has started. I hate it already.

    Yesterday, a meeting with a genetic counselor from Robert Wood Johnson at the Medical Arts Building of CentraState Hospital in Freehold. She drew a family tree based on my answers to her questions. Lots of data points: six kids in Jeff's immediate family and five kids in mine. And most of them have kids, too. No birth defects.

    There's a new blood test, well, two years old, that's more accurate than the quad / AFP test and is performed earlier, 11 - 14 wks. instead of 16-20 wks.. I felt with my last pregnancy that the clock was always ticking, throughout the 40 weeks. But, in that case, an early ultrasound falsely showed an anomaly which made matters much more hectic.

    But, the push is to run these tests earlier and earlier for those who want to terminate. 20 weeks seems to be the magic number for the doctors.

    So, I'll go the screening route with this new, earlier test and see if my odds improve. Just from my age, the odds are 1 in 100. Last time, my AFP came back 1 in 600. Something like that would be nice again for peace of mind.
    While Kenny and I were working on his book report last night, Jeff attended a curriculum meeting at school for Kenny's First Grade class next year. When the principal left the school last month, Jeff was very concerned about bringing our kids back in the fall. He didn't like how "corporate" was handling matters, especially the curriculum questions from the parents.

    But, he came away very reassured about the coming school year, at least as far as Kenny is concerned. The two first grade teachers each have years of experience at this school. They do much more reading and writing than in kindergarten. There will be two first grade homerooms, the school promised last night, even if there are four students in each class. One mother has twins and doesn't want them in the same class. So, her issue was addressed to her satisfaction.

    In fact, the assistant principal says that she receives new student applications just about every day. I don't think attracting new students is as impressive as retaining students. And this school has a high rate of student turnover, probably about half of which is due to dissatisfaction with the school. I'll tell you, if we had anywhere else to go, we probably would have also. But, there's nowhere else to go. And I'll talk about public school.

    The situation is our town's public school is half-day kindergarten. This year, now, Kenny is finishing up his third year of full-day, full-week school. He's reading and writing and taking weekly spelling and reading comp. tests. Imagine him in the public school first grade program with children coming off a half-day kindergarten program. They can't read, they can't write. It would not be a good fit to stick him in there.
    A book report was assigned to Kenny last week, due today. My perfectionist's procrastination threatened to hold us eternally on the verge of getting started.

    First, a topic. He wanted Titanic, a story he knows. Last year, he toured the exhibit at the Franklin Institute with his father. He bought a toy version of the ship there. The Cameron movie is too intense for him. But we have one book on the subject, level 3 reading. He cannot read that book himself, so we visited the bookstore on Sat. morning after a level 1 version. They didn't have it. We looked at level 2 and he couldn't read it either.

    Looking through the level 1 subjects, he picked Rockets and Spaceships. He read it that evening, sort of. I wasn't very impressed with his reading, actually. Jeff says that he reads very well. So does his teacher. But he doesn't read for me. He'd much rather that I read to him. He's got no desire to "show off" to me, I guess.

    Anyway, Sunday was busy with a BBQ which I should blog about a little. Then, after swimming last night, we settled down to complete the paperwork side of his book report.

    On the first page, he had to supply the book's title, author and illustrator. He had to draw a picture of his favorite part on the first page, in a way, making a new cover for the book.

    On the second sheet, he had to tell what happened first in the book. What happened in the middle and what happened at the end. Well, the first part was easy: the rocket blasts off from earth. The middle part involved landing on the moon and doing experiments. The end of the book looked forward to the day when visiting and even living in space becomes more commonplace. His favorite part showed geosynchronous satellites orbiting the earth.

    We talked about two things: that the satellites won't collide with each other because they are "parked" in a particular location above the earth and follow that point around as the earth rotates. And we talked about radio waves having different frequencies so the signals don't interfere with each other. He tried to explain the first bit to his teacher this morning but she can't even spell "satellite" (I have the proof!), so I don't think she understood him. When I was explaining to him the part about wave frequencies, I compared them to waves on the ocean and I showed different "frequencies" incorrectly, actually, but altering amplitude instead of the cycles per second. I just thought it was easier for him to see the difference ... and it was easier for me to draw it. Oh, well, his seventh grade teacher will set him straight. "Yeah, but my mom said ..."

    Not to mention that he had his regular load of homework on Monday evening, too. A page each of spelling, vocabulary and math problems. But we got it all done. Now, is tonight's homework done? Even started? Nope.

    This morning, he showed his teacher his book and she said that she would like to hear him read it. So, he walked around the room as she got her work ready for the day, reading from the book. And, he read much better to her than he does to me.

    Sunday, June 04, 2006

    Field Day -- 2006
    Good luck, big brother

    I didn't get any pictures of the field events but Kenny sunk the man in the water tank on his first pitch.
    The letters stand for "What Would Jesus Do?" We are assured that doing the same thing is the goal of real Christians.

    But can we really aspire to do what Jesus did?

    Would it be wise ... to call national religious leaders "whitewashed tombs, pleasant enough to outer appearance, but inside full of dead bones and every rottenness" (Mt. 23.27)?

    Should [we] imitate Jesus when he says, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but never will my words pass away" (Mk 13.31)?

    None of those who want to imitate Jesus should proclaim that "I am the light of the world" (Jn 8.12) or that "I am the path" to the Father (Jn 14.6).

    These are just a few samples of the way Jesus acts in the gospel. They were acts meant to show that he is not just like us, that he has higher rights and powers, that he has an authority as arbitrary as God's in the Book of Job.

    He is a divine mystery walking among men. The only way we can directly imitate him is to act as if we were gods ourselves -- yet that is the very thing he forbids. He tells us to act as the last, not the first, as the least, not the greatest.

    And this accords with the common sense of mankind. Christians cannot really be "Christlike." As Chesterton said, "A great man knows he is not God, and the greater he is the better he knows it." The thing that we have to realize is that Christ, whoever or whatever he was, was certainly not a Christian.

    Garry Wills What Jesus Meant, pps. xv - xvii, 2006.
    Eternal Father,
    reaching from end to end of the universe,
    and ordering all things with your mighty arm:
    for you, time is the unfolding of truth that already is,
    the unveiling of beauty that is yet to be.

    Your Son has saved us in history
    by rising from the dead,
    so that transcending time he might free us from death.
    May his presence among us
    lead to the vision of unlimited truth
    and unfold the beauty of your love.

    We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

    Alternative Opening Prayer, Seventh Sunday of Easter

    Friday, June 02, 2006

    This sums it up: Buffalo Curse Lives On

    'though I think that Carolina played very well in the final minutes.

    Jeff suggested that whoever wins the Eastern Conference would win the Stanley Cup because the team from the Western Conference is weak. So, there was some reason to hope.

    But, the games I watch, they lose. It's hard not to be superstitious about it. My father was always that way about the Bills. And Jeff is that way about the Yankees sometimes. And the Bills.

    Now, last night, I was flipping through the TiVo cable guide to find the game on TV and Jeff was at the downstairs computer checking the score online.

    He shouted out to me, "It's tied, 2-2, in the third!" just as I clicked to the proper channel. They were showing the replay of Brind'Amour's score to break the tie!

    Then I finished up making dinner in the kitchen and returned to the couch with my full plate in time to see the final goal with less than a minute to go. Fortunately I didn't lose my appetite. Hard-core Buffalo fan here -- I've seen it all.

    Hey, ya know, we're gonna win that Cup. We're gonna win that Stanley Cup. Me and my Buffalo Sabres.

    Thursday, June 01, 2006

    With the administrative and academic shakeup at my sons' school during the past month, about 2/3rds of my five-year-old's kindergarten class is heading elsewhere for first grade this fall.

    For about only 1/3 of those students, it was their parents' plan before all of these changes went down. So, another 1/3 have been alienated enough to switch schools this late in the application process, when most acceptance letters and commitments are made by February at the latest. All the recruitment the school has achieved in the past two to three years has been undone in the past month. I'm not sure how the school can face that reality without some genuine concern.

    There's talk of a single first grade class. I mean, a single "homeroom", if you will.

    At first blush, moving my boys to another private school would be a considerable effort.

    Princeton schools are 45 minutes away and practically out of our price range, $15,000 / year and up.

    One woman is sending her daughter to Ranney in Tinton Falls, 45 minutes away in the other direction, towards the shore. Tuition there is $22,000 / year. I had to ask her, since the cost is about triple what we are paying, how she could swing that. Since she is divorced (and remarried), her ex-husband puts up half. Her gifted daughter is worth it, she contends.

    The price is prohibitive, in my opinion, but the commute is more so. I mean, sure, I don't want to go into debt in order to finance my sons' elementary school education. It's tempting, especially since I think my older boy is "gifted" as well (what mother doesn't?).

    But, at some point, I simply must decline to join the rat race and refuse to keep up with the Joneses. I'm troubled by the thought that broken homes are contributing to a family's "ability to pay" more for things, including private education. With two or three or four working parents chipping in, how can families with one working parent compete? Like so many things, we are priced right out.

    I take comfort from the realization, as I'm poring over toy catalogues from FAO Schwartz and the like which present outdoor playhouses for little girls or gas-powered toy sports cars for boys, each running several thousand dollars, that even though it may seem as if only millionaires can afford such playthings, millionaires got that way from being prudent purchasers.

    Or, perhaps they won the lottery! My husband is a gambling man; he plays for us, all the while investing in Halliburton. Two things I have scruples about.

    Well, anyway, the pragmatist in me likes to believe that millionaires result from financial conservatism. You millionaires who read this blog, let me know if I'm right.