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  • 36 Years of Cars ~ The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

    I’ve often thought that we should have had a brand new car, right off the assembly line by this time.

    But it’s been 36 years. I don’t think it’s happening, and as of right now, I couldn’t care less. It’s not a priority. At least our cars are presentable now.

    When my husband and I married 36 years ago, we had only one vehicle, a 1968 Pontiac LeMans with a bad paint job. My husband was working in a fiberglass factory back then, and learned to do body work. It has served him well throughout the years.

    The year after our marriage, the LeMans had been patched, sanded and primed. My husband was planning to have it painted as soon as he saved enough money, however, on a trip to the children’s shoe store to buy baby shoes for our 14 month-old daughter, a teenaged boy pulled out of a parking lot without looking, and we hit him broadside. The kid walked away from the accident, and luckily so did we. The LeMans was built in the old style–not cheap and flimsy, but bad and mean and heavy. It didn’t survive the wreck, but it saved us.

    Sigh. We received 700 bucks for the car from the other driver’s insurance. (We had only liability–we couldn’t afford full coverage, even if we wanted it on a 13 year old car.)

    Thus began our journey.

    With the insurance money, my husband bought an old Volks Wagon Beetle, which broke down continually. I remember being stranded two miles from home when the damn thing stalled on us and wouldn’t start. We still live in the same house, 4-5 miles from a traffic light in any direction, but back then there were less homes, less people, and no cell phones. The two of us took turns carrying the baby, who wasn’t exactly thrilled to be out at dusk with bugs flying around. She didn’t like bugs. She screamed at the sight of any bug, gnat, fly or spider. So, add crying and trudging up a steep hill to this fiasco. Finally we reached a house. The owners let us in to use the phone, and my father came to our rescue. Another time, after the VW was running again, my husband forgot to park it facing downhill. He got up to go to work after it had rained all night, drove up the driveway and came back 5 minutes later, soaking wet. The VW’s sunroof was faulty, and water seeped in when it was parked uphill. When my husband left our driveway and went down the hill, water sprayed over him from the roof.

    And that’s only one car. There are plenty of others. My absolute favorite way to be embarrassed was to be forced to ride in Tom’s International Scout, the one he painted himself. Ugh. It was the color of a Hershey bar, not my style at all. Or maybe the ugly brown truck was a Blazer. Or a Bronco. Who knows? All of the former occupied our driveway at some point during the past 36 years. I can’t even remember how long it was until we got a second car. I think my daughter was about 3 or 4. Meanwhile, my husband drove what I called junkers. It was pretty much all we could afford at the time. That’s how it was, until Tom got through school and began working as an electrician.

    We had at least 2 Internationals over the years. (Nothing against them- they’re fine, only they were usually covered with fiberglass or primer.) One of his trucks was sort of worn on the floor. I mean, you could see bits of the road flying beneath your feet while riding shotgun. Trucks and cars were driven and maintained by Tom until it was too costly to keep them. Then he would sell them as is, and find another old truck to get him back and forth to work. At the same time all of this was occurring, my husband also had a motorcycle of some kind. I believe it was a Yamaha. One night he wrecked it on a back road, and came home covered in scrapes and bruises. Other motorcycles came and went for awhile.

    On and on it went. Old cars were pretty much all we could afford at the time. After I finally got a vehicle, he always gave me the best car  and kept a truck for himself. He needed a truck for work, and to transport deer in the wintertime.

    After that, the vehicle situation got better. The cars were never new, but at least they were more reliable. After 36 years, there are way too many cars, trucks and junk vehicles to remember or list here. However, we survived. Our kids survived, too. They had a loving home and an intact family. So what if their parents drove 10 year old cars?

    Later, when our kids were a little older, my husband began buying dream cars. I don’t know the classifications. I don’t think they can be categorized as muscle cars, because of year, or the engine or whatever. We had a ’68 Mustang. Then, for some reason, Tom sold it, but afterward he bought another Mustang, a ’66. He rebuilt the engines and installed dual exhausts and headers on both Mustangs. The ’66 Mustang was looking good when Tom offered to allow our 17 year old son to drive it home after boy scouts. Unfortunately, there was an accident. It wasn’t my son’s fault, and thank God both he and my husband walked away from the wreck, but the Mustang… it was totaled.

    About 12 years ago Tom bought a 1969 Pontiac Firebird. He replaced the interior and had it painted, in addition to putting in a new carburetor. (The Firebird already had a high performance exhaust.) It was red, and beautiful… but he wasn’t really happy with it. He went back and forth for awhile about whether or not to keep it. Then, on September 11, 2006 my husband had his accident. He fell 15 feet at work and crushed his ankle. Twenty years of trudging through woods, hiking up steep hillsides & sitting in cold and icy tree stands waiting for deer and he hadn’t been hurt; it took a work related accident to do it. (The old fashioned reader board was condemned as unsafe the day after the fall. Too bad it took someone almost losing a leg for it to happen, but that’s water under the bridge.) My husband had a couple of surgeries and was forced to wear a cage on his leg for 8 months. Not fun. The leg is not really great to look at now, with scars and pits where the pins had poked through, however, he can walk. That’s all we care about.

    Sometime during his recovery, during which he drove his truck to work using his left leg while propping the caged and crippled right leg on the passenger seat (I think he ripped out the console of whatever truck it was) Tom decided he didn’t want the Firebird. I don’t remember if he was internet savvy or not back then, but somehow, he found a car he wanted, the 1974 Corvette Stingray pictured above. I think he found the car through a magazine, or an ad in the newspaper.

    At any rate, somehow the Firebird was gone and the Corvette took its place in our garage. Tom’s leg was still in the cage when he bought Corvette, but as soon as the cage came off, work began on the car. It was a slow process. There were other hobbies and pastimes, like hunting and guitar playing and music. The hunting tapered off a bit over the past couple of years due to arthritis in the bad leg and chronic migraines. There was also a death in the family, a wedding to pay for, and other reasons money and time weren’t available for the Corvette. Still he drove it at times.

    Here’s the best Corvette story. My daughter’s first child was born less than a year after her wedding. I, of course, loved to babysit my granddaughter. At that time my daughter lived in Exton, about 40 minutes from our place. I would go early in the morning, and my husband would drive up later to play with the baby until her dad came home from work.

    One day, a day when I was unwell because of anxiety issues, I was really tired by the time Tom showed up. Anyone could have seen it by looking at me. I was simply sick. I felt sick at my stomach and too tired to move, and Tom said we should go out and get a bite to eat, so I would feel better. I was driving a Subaru Outback Sport at the time. (The same car Tom runs back and forth to work now). He had driven to Exton in the Corvette.

    So we left my daughter’s and I followed the red Corvette across Rt. 100 to a shopping center with lots of eateries. I was so tired and feeling so unwell that I didn’t care where we ate. I just followed. It was summertime, and the Corvette’s T-top was open.

    Like I said, I was sick. After caring for a six month old all day I had no energy to spare. I didn’t have any make-up on that day, even though it was in the car; I simply didn’t care enough to apply it. I was wearing a jean skirt and a tee shirt with flip-flops. I think my hair was presentable, but otherwise, I wasn’t my best.

    My husband, on the other hand… well… he’s aged well. He’s still a fine looking man (IMO) and he was driving a fine looking car, even back before he installed the headers and side pipes and the new wheels. I was hoping some food would help me as I followed him into the parking lot. That’s when I noticed the girl, who also must have thought she was seeing something fine. It may have the man, or the car, or a combination, but whatever it was, she wasn’t hiding her admiration.

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    She was a pretty girl, no older than 30. She may have been younger. God help me, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Yes, I know my husband is still a good looking man, especially while wearing jeans, boots, a tee-shirt and sunglasses and driving a sports car, but for crying out loud.

    Girls… seriously. It’s not a good idea to get out of your car in a parking lot and glimpse a strange man coming toward you, and then stand there with a look of God knows what on your face, hoping he will pick you up. The man may be a bad man. He could be an ax murderer for all you know. It’s best to be introduced before making advances.

    But this girl must have been either stupid  or unafraid, because she wanted a ride. She was right next to the Corvette, and could have seen the wedding ring on my husband’s finger if she had looked. (Which she probably did).

    But again, she wanted a ride. I could tell by looking at her.  And I heard her through my open window as I pulled into the spot next to my husband. I’m sure she looked at me and shrugged, thinking I couldn’t possibly be attached to him, me with my pale sickly face, my ears ringing from listening to shrieks from a six-month-old with acid reflux, exhausted from walking the floor with her and pushing her around the neighborhood in her stroller to help her sleep, and quite possibly smelling of baby spit-up.

    So, this young girl didn’t pay me any mind as my husband got out of the Corvette. “Nice Stingray,” she cooed. Unfortunately for her, she was barking up the wrong tree. My husband doesn’t cheat. He never has, even when women made advances when I wasn’t around.

    And so, he didn’t pay her any mind. I believe he said a simple thank you before coming to my door as I dragged myself out from behind the wheel. Then he smiled, took me by the hand and spoke to me the way he always does when I’m down, or ill or not myself, and we went into a pizza place. Neither of us looked back.

    Another few years have passed,  and finally we  have a new car. Even if it’s technically an old car. A new hood, headers and side pipes, wheels and paint job. The interior still needs work, but that will come in time. For now, the car is new to us, and exactly the car we always wanted.


  • U.S. House Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood ~ An Answered Prayer

    The U.S. House of Representatives voted to defund Planned Parenthood on Friday. I’m rejoicing, since this is an answer to my prayers.

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    All pertinent information on the reason Planned Parenthood must be defunded, the legislation, and the vote itself, including a breakdown of votes along party lines can be found here.

     

    I understand that some Americans disagree, and believe Planned Parenthood should continue getting taxpayer funding. They will eventually lose the fight though, because a majority of Americans simply can’t stomach what goes on in the abortion business. People know that Planned Parenthood has committed crimes against humanity on par with those committed during the III Reich. Since we are, for the most part, decent human beings who abhor the death and destruction of innocent unborn babies and the sale of their body parts to labs for use in questionable experiments such as humanizing mice, Planned Parenthood will be defunded at some point. It may take awhile, but it will happen.  I hope the people who fight FOR Planned Parenthood’s continued funding  will heal after their ultimate loss. I will continue to pray for all involved in this darkness.

    Of course, Friday’s vote must pass the Senate, and then be signed into law by President Obama. This is unlikely occurrence; Obama will probably veto any such legislation that lands on his desk, even if the bill passes the Senate. Obama’s support of the Planned Parenthood death machine is common knowledge for people who keep up with such things, so I don’t expect that PP will be defunded during his Presidency. Still, this is a first step.

    And again, it’s an answer to my prayer.

    I’ve been praying for the unborn and respect for all human life every day for many years. I understand that God works in His own time, not ours, and so, we must continue to pray. However, I have a deep faith that my prayers will eventually be answered.

    Christ and His Mother

    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4: 13.

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    Please continue to pray for a deeper respect for all human life, from conception to natural death.

    Until recently, America always protected life. It was simply unthinkable for Americans to condone such brutality and disrespect of humanity, as evidenced by our role in defeating Hitler and liberating his death camps. We must go back to being a country known for compassion, a country that respects all human life.  Some American citizens and many elected to positions of supposed “leadership” have lost this. They are a shrinking minority. As news of the atrocities continues to trickle out, more and more Americans are turning away from Planned Parenthood and the culture of death. We will eventually overcome this loss and return to our former role as people of decency, generosity, bravery compassion, empathy, and love.

    Jesus Christ

    Thanks be to God, for answered prayers.


  • Grandkids and the Grandparents who are Exhausted by them.

    I’ve been helping take care of my grandkids.

    My daughter is recovering from surgery, so I’ve been helping take care of my grandchildren, a girl, age 3, and her brother, age 2. My daughter can’t lift her toddlers, so she needs someone with her 24/7. I’m happy to help, of course. However, I am tired. In fact, at times I am exhausted.

    These are the culprits, wearing the matching sweaters I knitted for them. When my Brother and Sisterdaughter and I are texting about her childrens’ latest escapades, we refer to them by the initials of their first names — G for my granddaughter and E for my grandson.

    Don’t be fooled because they are both standing still at the same time. This is a fluke. G and E are usually only still when they are sleeping. At other times they are running, shouting, fighting over toys, jumping on a backyard trampoline, arguing over which movie to watch, hugging each other, running some more, sliding and swinging, coloring, jumping, playing with toys, including the dreaded play-doh, and treating their dog like a horse or a fashion model. (Last week Luke was forced to wear a backpack, as G was beginning preschool and she wanted Luke to feel included. Luke didn’t feel included. He only felt annoyed, until G allowed the backpack to be removed).

    The following is true. Do not doubt me. I have found out for myself this past week, since E has been out of sorts, due to his mommy’s illness and his sister beginning school. Unexpected outbursts have occurred. They are usually over quickly, for which my ears are eternally grateful.

    First day of school.

    The first day of school is sometimes iffy. There is always a chance that the child will refuse to go to go to sleep the night before, refuse to get dressed, or refuse to eat breakfast, but none of these applied to G. She departed for school with her parents, who said she ran inside the building and didn’t look back. I stayed with E until his mother returned. E decided he wanted to watch Frozen. E likes Frozen. He knows all the characters by name. He sings along, which is too cute for words, but for a grown-up raised on only Jungle Book and 101 Dalmatians, how much is too much of the following?

    Please. Let it go.

    (G loved school. Her favorite part was playing on the playground).

    Whose turn is it to decide what to watch on TV?

    This is always fun. G and E like to watch TV or movies other than Frozen, mostly early in the morning or right before bed. Most of the time they agree on a choice, but at times there are disputes. Sometimes there are screams that make Nonna and PopPop want to hide in the basement until a show is finally chosen. Thomas is usually a good choice, but sometimes G and E simply cannot agree. Then nobody watches nothin’.

    A trip to the playground.

    On Friday afternoon we took G and E to the playground. It’s a fun place, and that day it wasn’t too crowded. Since my daughter still gets tired and moves slowly, she put me in charge of E, and she, not wanting to be a helicopter parent, stayed in the background while keeping an eye on G. G always finds a friend at the playground. As I chased E around I noticed that G was playing with another little girl. A bossy little girl. Every once in awhile, the little girl would order G to do something, and G would saunter off in a seemingly nonchalant manner to get away from the bossiness. The bossy kid’s mom was sitting on a bench, engrossed in her phone, so she didn’t notice the bossiness or the running away.

    There were two baby girls at the park, younger than E, who is very chivalrous. He has somehow already learned the lesson of “ladies first.” At one point E was teetering on the edge of a plastic rock climbing hill, waiting for an 18 month old blonde girl to move away so he could slide down the slide. I was also patient, as I balanced on one toe, stretching up to make sure E didn’t tumble backward. A little later, after E decided to crawl beneath a slide where he was too tall to stand, he stood up and bumped his head. I had to crawl under to retrieve him. Since G was tired of being bossed and E was rubbing his head, we decided to go home.

    On the way home I discovered that my three year old granddaughter is a backseat driver. She knew the way home, and pointed out landmarks such as Turkey Hill, CVS and a bridge. At one point she asked: “Mommy, why you don’t stop? It was a stop sign. Why you didn’t stop?” My daughter replied that she did stop, and then she went again. Then G told us to turn here for home.

    G and E were a bit cranky after returning from the park. A tug of war over toys ensued. My daughter tires easily and needs to rest more than I do, so I’m always happy when my husband shows up to lend a hand. He finally arrived around 4:45, right before dinner, enabling me to sneak out the front door for a few minutes of peace and quiet.

    Fifteen minutes later I went back inside. PopPop entertained G and E until bedtime. (My son-in-law works late on Friday evenings). Then he went home, my daughter went to bed and I retired to the guest room with my kindle and a glass of wine. There was no point in me driving home. My son-in-law leaves for work at eight on Saturday mornings, so I spend the night. I fell asleep, and about five minutes later, (or so it seemed) I was awakened by little voices as they went down the hall to get breakfast with their dad. It was 7 am. I texted my daughter that I would be down soon. Then I snoozed until 7:30, got dressed and combed my hair, brushed my teeth and began another day.

    The trip to the park the day before had been too much for my daughter. She went back to bed after my son-in-law went to work, and I drank a few cups of coffee. Before I was fully awake, the kids decided they were still hungry. They wanted a snack, and decided on sweet pickle chips. I did not argue, even though it was only 8:30 am, and the thought of eating pickles made me queasy. I simply placed a plate of pickles on the table. G and E colored coloring books while snacking on the pickles, and I finished my coffee.

    Unfortunately it was raining that day. We were stuck the house. We played with hot wheels cars, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, a toy roller coaster, Cosy Coupe cars and a play kitchen. Then it was time for lunch and a nap.


    After a couple of hours of sleep, both kids were recharged. They were happy to see PopPop come back through the door.

    Mass with G.

    Since my daughter thought she could handle E alone for an hour, my husband and I took G to church. Unfortunately, the rain was worse. G didn’t mind; she got to wear her ladybug raincoat and shiny black boots. We arrived at the church right at Mass time. G sang along and played quietly with a Minnie Mouse for about ten minutes. Then she asked, for the first time, if we could go home. G was quiet, except for when the church was silent. Then others heard more questions about wanting to go home. The Mass progressed. G was being good. My husband showed her the words in the hymnal. Right before the collection was taken, G ventured out into the aisle, where she began to twirl and dance in her black rain boots. We were seated on the far right, so no one was bothered by G’s twirling except me. (I was afraid she would trip over her own feet in the boots).

    The twirling and dancing came to an end when a beautiful lady dressed in red, an usher, walked down the aisle toward us. She smiled at G and began twirling along. She said she liked that dance. G darted into the pew and sat facing front, and the lady in red walked on down the aisle.

    On the way home, G demonstrated her backseat driving skills to PopPop.

    Grandchildren

     

    E was happy to see us. The kids played with PopPop until their father came home around 7:00. Then it was time for us to go home, and leave the family alone for some downtime.

    What a week. We had a lot of fun, but I think the best part for me was witnessing my granddaughter kneel beside her bed, make the Sign of the Cross, and pray the Hail Mary all by herself.

    The week began again today. I go back tomorrow morning to become exhausted again. It will be fun. G and E are my world.

     

     


  • Labor Day Memories

    Labor Day was always a big deal for our family. Back when I was a teen and on until very recently, most of our family went to the beach for the entire week. The rest of the extended family joined us for a big reunion the Saturday before Labor Day.

    In those days my father was still with us. He and my mother hosted my Great Aunt Estella and her husband, Uncle John for the week. Aunt “Estelle” and Uncle John traveled from Jefferson, NC every year in their 1960 Plymouth Galaxy, always arriving on the Friday of the weekend before Labor Day weekend and then departing for home at 4 am on the Sunday before Labor Day Monday.

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    Amy, Baby Lori Ann (deceased) and me in 1970

    My mother and father, my Mom’s sister Aunt Betty and their brother Uncle Jim all had mobile homes in the same campground at that time. (We are still there). My sister and I and our cousins were lucky; we had my father at our disposal to tote us back and forth to the beach and boardwalk.

    What a wonderful man my father was.  I never knew any other man to work as hard. He was barely still, except for an hour or two in the evenings which he spent watching TV if there was something on that interested him. (He and my mother watched an hour of PBS every week. The show was called Washington Week in Review, and back then my father referred to the announcer (whoever he was) as “Mush-Mouth.” I never could understand why the man was called Mush-Mouth because I ran away to my room to get away from a boring news show before I heard him utter a word. Still, the name Mush-Mouth stuck. I’m pretty sure my parents watched Mush-Mouth for years.

    Dad liked variety shows. He watched Laugh-In, Hee-Haw, Sonny and Cher and Donny and Marie, along with  The Three Stooges if he could catch them. (When I was a little younger, right before my parents moved us from Toughkenamon to Landenberg, we lived next door to my PopPop. PopPop–retired and mostly deaf–watched The Three Stooges each afternoon at 3 in his old fashioned parlor. The TV was so loud that you could almost hear it from our house next door). If there were no variety shows to be found, my father would settle for a detective show, like Kojack. He couldn’t stand anything else on TV. Comedies were out; he couldn’t stand them & made fun of the characters, especially Fonzie. The Waltons was deemed a “cry-baby show.” Yes, I know my father sounds short tempered. He was. But still, he was a sucker if we asked him to do anything for us. In addition to carting us back and forth to the beach he would drive us to the roller skating rink and anywhere else we asked.

    After the TV was turned off for the night, Dad always went to the cupboard above the kitchen sink for a shot of Calvert or Four Roses, his favorite brands of whiskey. Then he went to bed, slept and got up the next morning ready for another day of work. After his day job was finished he worked on projects such as building an addition onto our home, and later a garage. He grew fruit and vegetables, and he and my mother canned tomatoes and homemade tomato sauce every summer. After I married my husband, Dad fixed up a little apartment for us. We’re still here–the apartment is now a house thanks to Dad.

    My father wasn’t a tall man, but he was still a big man, someone to look up to. My husband lost his father at age 18, the year before he and I were married, so my father became his father by default. Tom helped my dad build our house and later another garage. There were too many other major building projects to count.

    Dad also cleaned gutters, put on a new roof, cut his large yard and kept the lawnmower in good repair. He changed the oil in cars, trucks, lawnmowers, tractors and his rototiller. He always ran the mower over the fall leaves around my house and my sister’s, since we live on the edge of the woods. That way there were no leaves to rake.

    In addition to all of these jobs, my father helped clean our parish Church each week for many years. He usually vacuumed. He also burned the Palm each year for Ash Wednesday. He drove my nieces to preschool and picked them up, took each of his grandchildren to the bus stop every morning and met the bus each afternoon until they were old enough to wait alone.

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    I could go on and on. Dad loved his family and liked to work. He was a Jack of all Trades. That’s why Labor Day makes me think about him.

    My little granddaughter, pictured above, only met Dad once, right before he passed away. Tomorrow is her first day of school–Pre-K. I feel sorry for her and her little brother. They will grow up not knowing their Great Granddad, who would have done anything for them.

    But he’s in a better place now.

     

    I’ll mow your lawn, clean the leaves out your drain
    I’ll mend your roof to keep out the rain
    I’ll take the work that God provides
    I’m a Jack of all trades, honey, we’ll be alright

    I’ll hammer the nails, and I’ll set the stone
    I’ll harvest your crops when they’re ripe and grown
    I’ll pull that engine apart and patch her up ’til she’s running right
    I’m a Jack of all trades, we’ll be alright

    A hurricane blows, brings a hard rain
    When the blue sky breaks, feels like the world’s gonna change
    We’ll start caring for each other like Jesus said that we might
    I’m a Jack of all trades, we’ll be alright.


  • Crushed By Comedy

    Yesterday I saw the trailer for ABC Family’s (Disney), new sitcom, The Real O’Neals. (Please click link to watch. For added context, read the comments on You Tube.)

    Now, if you watched, you will know what I am about to discuss. So right off the bat, I’ll say this: If you’re reading this, and you’re one of those people who think “Christians & Catholics are way too sensitive. They’re always claiming they’re persecuted, when they’re the ones who are always persecuting other groups,” here’s a warning:  I’m going to write my thoughts here. If you typically laugh when religions are mocked, this probably isn’t the best place for you, unless you have a thick skin.

     

    I intend to write TO the people I’ve just described, you understand. I’m just trying to minimize any hurt I might inflict on the folks who might be offended at the following post. If you can’t take what you love to dish out, you might want to quit reading this. Go put your jammies on and get your mom to make you a cup of cocoa instead.

    I’ve given you fair warning.

    First, a few photos:  My Rosary was given to me as a birthday gift by my sister and her family about ten years ago.  It’s a big part of my life. At one point in my life I prayed it every single day without fail. These days I don’t always manage to say it every day. Last night, after  watching this sitcom trailer, I immediately turned to this prayer, though, for comfort.

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    My Rosary. I try to pray it everyday. Sometimes I miss a day.

     

    (My statue of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is in the dining room of my home. She is not, nor has she ever been perched above my toilet.)

     

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    My Statue of Mary, Mother Of Jesus.

     

     

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    Above  is the china cabinet in my dining room. The photo of the little girls in the white dress is me. It was taken on the day of my First Holy Communion.

    Inside the homes of my mother and sister are similar statues and photos, along with crucifixes, Bibles and Catholic reading material. So, In at least three families in America (probably more, but these are the homes that I frequent) the Virgin Mary is not placed in the room where people go to take a shit. Who knew?

    When my friends and I do charity work in our church, we never keep the money. (Just so ya know.) There are at least a few Catholics who actually collect money and other supplies for the needy, and then ……actually GIVE THE COLLECTION TO THOSE IT IS INTENDED FOR. Now I know this may be difficult for some people to believe. After all, ABC and Disney would NEVER lie! They made a sitcom out of the goodness of their hearts to inform non Catholics about the way Catholics conduct their affairs at home, at work, and at church.

    However, before you sit down to enjoy family time with your children while watching The Real O’Neal’s, you might want to say, (to yourself only, of course): “I seriously doubt it, because I get all my informashun about the fools who believe in Jeeezus from TV shows, but there may be a few Catholics who don’t act like the O’Neals. I mean, even a broken clock is right twice a day. Maybe they’re all not like that.”

    Now, please. I don’t mean that you faithful folks who learn everything you know about religious people from the boob tube should mention this to your children. Never, ever do that! They are getting their education on Catholicism in an entertaining and fun way. Best that they never consider that Christians might actually be decent people. That would be heretical. Don’t do it!

    You must sit with them in your living room, and laugh when the laugh track prompts you. That way, your kids can learn the truth without you having to say a word about what you know: That Catholics are all slimy hateful fools who know nothing about compassion or acceptance of others. You, as parents, are being given a gift by Disney. Don’t blow it! Even if you know of a Catholic here and there who acts in the exact opposite way than that of the O’Neals, do not tell your children. They need to know what’s what. Make sure you start them young. Progress, you know…

    Okay. Enough snark. Now I will admit my true feelings. Ever since I watched that trailer, I have felt beaten and crushed. Not physically, of course. Only mentally. I was terribly upset after watching it. I almost cried. I slept last night, only because I took a sleeping pill. In fact, I will admit that I am crying, right now. This is my blog. I pay a fee for my website and blog, and this is what I decided to write about.

    Following is the creator of this sitcom, Dan Savage, an anti-bullying advocate, speaking to a group of high schoolers. Please watch.

     

    The girl who walked out of the auditorium crying reminds me of me. I simply can’t help myself. It’s difficult to watch your entire life and what you believe be trashed in a hateful manner by someone claiming to be an expert on the damages bullying can do. Especially when the expert bullies others, wishing them to be stricken with cancer, and then admits that he, himself engaged in bullying.

    I refuse to sign a petition demanding The Real O’Neals show be cancelled, though. This is because I know that there’s another one lurking in the mind of some sadistic hater just waiting in the wings. This is going to get worse before it gets better, if it ever does.

    Christ tells us to love and pray for our enemies:

     

     

    However, I hope He’ll for give me if I put it off until tomorrow. I already put it off until today, but I simply cannot bring myself to say a prayer for Dan Savage and the people who created this sitcom. I’ll try again tomorrow. Perhaps, at Mass this evening, I will look at the beautiful stained glass windows depicting the Saints, and find it in my heart to ask God to give me the words I should use to pray for Dan Savage.

    Again, I must admit that I’m ready to cry. I hope to feel better later.

    Since I’m one of those people who simply can’t learn the lesson progressives are teaching: (You, as a Catholic, are a hateful bigot. Your entire life is based on lies in an old book. You play with beads while chanting, like some throwback to medieval times. You follow an old man in Rome. You pray to a magical sky God who doesn’t exist. You are stupid. You are backward. You deserve to be ridiculed, mocked, hated and shunned. You deserve this. You deserve it, and you need to just accept it. Your feelings do not matter, because one thousand years ago, the crusades happened. You are a freak, your parents were freaks and your children are freaks. They will always be freaks. Your grandchildren, if they are lucky, will learn from we the tolerant and enlightened that you are a freak. They will laugh at you, too, behind their hands. It does not matter how hard you pray to your fake and hateful God. You are NOTHING. Nothing. You need to understand this. Learn your freaking lesson, now, or else).

    I guess I’m finished my rant. I will probably spend this day crying to Our Lord and His Mother. People may say, “Why would you allow others to make you feel as though you are a piece of shit? Why should they ruin your day?”

    I don’t know the answer. I only know that, today, that’s exactly how I feel. I have learned to deal with hurt of this kind over the years. I don’t know why this particular episode hurt me so much. I only know that it hurts.

     


  • Baltimore

    I was glued to the TV last night, watching another American city self destruct. I don’t know the answers, and I’m waiting for the results of the investigation of Freddy Gray’s death. To judge anyone except the people who are supposed to be leading Maryland at this point would be wrong, and unfair. IMO, the mayor and Governor were and are derelict in their duty, but it’s much too late to change the results.

    Larger issues are in play, anyway. Has anyone noticed a pattern? How many more American cities will be destroyed before things change?

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    The above quote is profound. America, at this point in time, has retreated from anything remotely resembling the word “war.” We have retreated from even admitting we have enemies. So… the war is over!

    Where the hell is the peace? Where? Is there peace in the Middle East? In Western Europe? In Eastern Europe? In South America? In Mexico? In the United States of America? Where is the peaceful state of mind? Where is the benevolent attitude, and the confidence that justice is being pursued? I look around, but I don’t see it. All I see is a number of ugly incidents which seem to be battles in some sort of war masquerading as “Peace.”

    Last night another American city was looted and burned. People’s homes, jobs and businesses were trashed. I think I may have written a blogpost on this same scenario during the Ferguson Riots. It seems to be getting closer to my neck of the woods. Right now I’m wondering which city will be next.

    The following song from Barry McGuire has been on my mind a lot lately. Click here to listen.

    “Eve Of Destruction”

    The eastern world it is exploding
    Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’
    You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’
    You don’t believe in war but whats that gun you’re totin’?
    And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin’

    But you tell me
    Over and over and over again my friend
    Ah, you don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction

    Don’t you understand what I’m tryin’ to say
    Can’t you feel the fears I’m feelin’ today?
    If the button is pushed, there’s no runnin’ away
    There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave
    Take a look around you boy, it’s bound to scare you boy

    And you tell me
    Over and over and over again my friend
    Ah, you don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction

    Yeah my blood’s so mad feels like coagulating
    I’m sitting here just contemplatin’
    I can’t twist the truth it knows no regulation
    Handful of senators don’t pass legislation
    And marches alone can’t bring integration
    When human respect is disintegratin’
    This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’

    And you tell me
    Over and over and over again my friend
    Ah, you don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction

    Think of all the hate there is in Red China
    Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama
    You may leave here for four days in space
    But when you return it’s the same old place
    The pounding of the drums, the pride and disgrace
    You can bury your dead but don’t leave a trace
    Hate your next door neighbor but don’t forget to say grace

    And tell me
    Over and over and over and over again my friend
    You don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction
    Mmm, no, no, you don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction

    This was written in the 1960s. It’s one of those anti-Vietnam hippie songs that blame “the man” for everything going wrong in the world. The people who protested the Vietnam conflict said they were going to change the world.

    Well, who’s in charge now? Them. The same people who dissed American values back then are the ones running America now. So why all the conflict? Why all the riots? What the hell happened?

    IMO, they happened. The peace is always just out of reach, like one of those merry-go-round rings I could never reach as a child. Talking heads speak of justice and peace, but a few hours later we see destruction and flames. It’s no wonder ordinary people feel that we’re on the Eve Of Destruction.

    However, there is a wild card. Click here to see what one mom did to combat the absence of peace America is caught up in. She’s mother of the year as far as I’m concerned.

    As for Baltimore, at this point in time, we who have no power can only pray for the innocent victims, and pray that such a thing doesn’t erupt in another American city before the time comes to walk into the voting booth again.

    I’ve only visited Baltimore once or twice. I thought the Inner Harbor was a lovely place. It’s awful that the people who live in Baltimore are afraid and mourning their town. It’s another tragedy in this “peaceful” world.

    In honor of Baltimore, click here for  another piece of poetry in music.

    My City Of Ruins

    There’s a blood red circle
    on the cold dark ground
    and the rain is falling down
    The church doors blown open
    I can hear the organ’s song
    But the congregation’s gone

    My city of ruins
    My city of ruins

    Now the sweet veils of mercy
    drift through the evening trees
    Young men on the corner
    like scattered leaves
    The boarded up windows
    The hustlers and thieves
    While my brother’s down on his knees

    My city of ruins
    My city of ruins

    Come on rise up!
    Come on rise up!

    Now there’s tears on the pillow
    darling where we slept
    and you took my heart when you left
    without your sweet kiss
    my soul is lost, my friend
    Now tell me how do I begin again?

    My city’s in ruins
    My city’s in ruins

    Now with these hands
    I pray Lord
    with these hands
    for the strength Lord
    with these hands
    for the faith Lord
    with these hands
    I pray Lord
    with these hands
    for the strength Lord
    with these hands
    for the faith Lord
    with these hands

    Come on rise up!
    Come on rise up!

    Come on rise up….
    Bruce Springsteen
    Prayers for Baltimore, America and Peace in the World.

  • Favorite Movies for Valentine’s Day

    I love to watch certain movies at different times of year. I have favorite Christmas movies, (Home Alone, Die Hard) and a favorite July 4th movie (Jaws).

    There are so many great movies with themes of real love. Here are my favorites, in no particular order:

    Last Of The Mohicans. The whole movie is great, (though very violent in order to portray the French and Indian War realistically). The following scene between Hawkeye and Cora is my favorite.

     

     

     

    Cold Mountain. This is a truly a love story. The following scene, in which Inman decides to return to Ada is one of the best in the movie. Key phrase: “Come back to me.” (The movie soundtrack is also terrific).

     

     

     

    Braveheart. Love of Country, love of freedom, and true love of a wife are the main themes. One of the best scenes portrays the secret wedding of William Wallace and Murron.

     

    The Notebook. A love story of a couple that grows old together. My favorite scene.

     

    The Passion Of The Christ. While this movie isn’t exactly  Valentine’s fare, it is the ultimate story of love. I actually can’t watch this movie anymore. It’s too upsetting to watch the One who loves us more than we can possibly imagine be tortured for our salvation. But I really love this scene, which shows the love of Christ for His Mother, (who also loves us more than we can imagine).

     

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    Happy Valentines Day.

     

     


  • We Are Never Alone

    Due to the ignorance and hurtful actions of some people, many of us may feel alone at times. We’re not. God is always there.

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    Pictured above is a mosaic image of Christ, on the ceiling of  the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington DC, (known as America’s Catholic Church). I was able to see the shrine in all its magnificence several times, and I feel blessed to have received the Eucharist there.  Though the shrine is filled with beauty, including endless smaller shrines, chapels, statues and mosaics, this large image of Christ is my favorite.He doesn’t look like the gentle lamb here, does he? Here He looks fierce, and ready to come to the aid of His followers.

    Unfortunately, the past few weeks have been a struggle for my friends and myself, due to the unkind actions and slanderous words of some of the people in our community, (and yes, even some fellow parishioners). Today I went to Mass feeling alone. It was difficult to listen to the prayers of general intercession, asking civic leaders to perform their duties fairly, when some of people who hold those positions leave the pews on Sunday and turn around and backstab their neighbors unfairly on Monday. It’s a bit of a drag to enter a church when you know some of the people sitting in it probably wish you would just go away.

    But, God wants my friends and me, and not everyone agrees with the bullies. I discovered this for myself after Mass this morning, when I spoke to a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile. She gave me encouragement. God and His followers love their neighbors every day of the week, not only while sitting in the church on Sunday.  This knowledge is comforting.

    I’ll write more on the debacle that prompted this post in the coming weeks.