Interesting. I’ve been following threads of information about the wearing of headcoverings (or not) for women in church for some time now. For my generation, headcoverings were never the norm, except possibly for old women who dressed oddly (to a young person’s eyes) anyway. But more and more I’m seeing literature that basically says it is immoral for women to go uncovered in church. I’m not one to appreciate being accused of immoral behavior, and I feel compelled to investigate further. That article does nothing to clear the waters. Are headcoverings simply a matter of fashion/custom? Or was this “change” just another bad reform of the 60s?

Personally, I’m wondering how old I have to be before I can wear a babushka. Bill seems to think I have to wait until he’s dead.

Updated to add this photo of a babushka. That’s the look I’m going for when I’m older. Classic style is never out of fashion.

Updated again to explain where I’m going with this. There was a time when Catholics, generally, would never use birth control. Although Church teaching has never wavered regarding its immorality, many Catholics today don’t think twice about using it.

If I were to attend a church where the custom was to wear a headcovering, I would have no problem wearing one. I’m just having difficulty figuring out if this is truly a local custom (when in Rome) thing, or if, like birth control, its use (or not) has been dictated by secular forces rather than theological ones.

Updated, once again to include the link to canon lawyer Edward J. Peters’ posting about this issue. Thank you, Denise, for bringing that to my attention.

I think I’ve come full circle on this. When attending certain churches, particularly outdoor Masses in vacation areas, the clothing is often very casual, even khaki shorts are “dressy,” and I tend to dress similarly. When attending other churches and most people wear their Sunday best every Sunday, I make an attempt to follow suit. In other words, I don’t have certain clothes that I wear on Sunday no matter what anyone else is doing, although I really would have difficulty wearing shorts to church unless it were a Mass at a camp or other truly rustic locale.

My current parish has very few women wearing headcoverings of any kind. Those who do are generally wearing flamboyant red hats. If every woman in the church wore a flamboyant red hat, I might be persuaded to wear a hat. But it wouldn’t be red. And it wouldn’t be flamboyant. If every woman in the church were wearing a black mantilla, I might wear a black mantilla. Or I might wear the very pretty blue Afghani headscarf Bill bought me instead. But I would cover my head.

I wholeheartedly agree with the premise of modesty and submission which seems to be tied to the custom. But if it is not an obligation to wear one, then I don’t feel the need to stand apart from other women in a church and make that public statement.

ER visit – what better way to spend the evening?

I’m not sure what part of “straighten up your room before we leave for Scouts” included grabbing his brother by the arm and swinging him into the mini-Green Bay Packer’s helmet clamped on his bed’s foot board, but that’s what Fritz did.

I heard the howling, and knew it wasn’t good, but I waited. Even as I spied out of the corner of my little eye the two boys approaching me, I just didn’t want to turn around. And then they stood next to me, and I looked and saw what appeared to be a victim from some slasher film standing there, but, no, that was my seven year old.

Calmly I had him sit, and turn his head so that the blood wouldn’t get on the carpeting, even though I saw it pooling in his ear. Calmly I got a towel and had him hold it to the wound while I retrieved wet paper towels to try to clean up some of his ear…and neck…and hands. Calmly I thought how good it was that Bill wasn’t here, since he really doesn’t handle the sight of our injured children screaming in pain and bleeding profusely with as much detachment as I feel is necessary to be effective. Billy calmed down pretty quickly himself. If Mom’s not too upset, it must not be that bad, right?

Finally, I took a gander at the injury, and for the first time ever, decided that a trip to the ER was really warranted. Normally, I prefer a wait and see attitude on most illnesses and injuries. Let’s just take a few minutes to see if the bleeding stops or the leg still hurts or the arm is still dangling at that awkward right angle. But this one, no, I knew right away it needed something.

I tried to call Bill at his office, but he was off doing important things and out of cell phone coverage. I left a message on his cell phone voice mail anyway. I found a neighbor to watch the other kids, and headed for the hospital.

Bill showed up just before the doctor’s diagnosis. I was thankful to be able to leave to pickup the other kids and get them off to bed. Bill got to hang around for the ugly part – the treatment: five shots of Novocaine, and 5 STAPLES.

This excitement is killing me.

Week 31 – Remain Calm

I have spent the last 72 hours staring at my computer, and I’m kinda sick of it. Between hotel websites, camping websites, tourism websites, Kansas law websites, DMV websites, Army regulation websites, websites with forms, websites with telephone numbers, unsecure websites, and highly secure websites that require passwords with at least 2 capital letters, 2 small letters, 2 numbers, and 2 punctuation marks, I think I’m going cross-eyed.

I have hotel reservations in two cities, but I’m not 100% sure that those dates are accurate. I have camping reservations for a state park in Missouri for mid-July, because after all this moving, we’ll need to unwind by exhausting our muscles going on long hikes, stumbling around in the dark with petrified children exploring caves, counting 1-2-3-4-5 children every 90 seconds swimming at a lake, slaving for every meal sitting around a cheery campfire, and getting a backache from sleeping on the ground enjoying the fresh air and the sounds of nature and the great outdoors.

I also have a very looooong to-do list with headings like “8 Weeks Before Moving” and “6 Weeks Before Moving” and “4 Weeks Before Moving” and since the movers likely come in approximately FIVE weeks, I’m trying hard not to look at those things not crossed off yet and panic.

Today we more or less begin Week 31 of a 32 week program. I should be elated to be finishing this early, especially since many subjects are done and some subjects, like history, are only fun stuff like reading books about Clara Barton and Robert E. Lee. But I’m looking at that to-do list, and I’m seriously considering eliminating things like the states and capitols flashcards because it’s only review now and two more weeks of that won’t really make a difference in long-term memory storage, right?

Actually, the next three days are so jam-packed with a combination of social activities and medical appointments, that I’m just not thinking straight. Perhaps by Thursday, I’ll be back to my usual hard-line about doing every single thing on the syllabus by golly.

Now off to plan my morning and see what I might accomplish before this afternoon’s running around.

Nothing New Under the Sun (except for giant monsters that attack Japanese cities)

Bill and I were discussing music and how Song X is the exact same song as Song Y, just change the names.

For example, Faith Hill’s Mississippi Girl is basically Jenny From the Block.

I said it was like movies, and you could pretty much trace all plots back to Shakespeare. He covered everything.

Fritz wanted to know who Shakespeare was, and I said he was a poet and playwright from a long time ago (“The 1600’s”, interjected Bill – he lived from 1564 to 1616, good job, hubby). I said that he wrote a lot of plays and that many movies today had stories that were like the stories he wrote.

“Oh, so he wrote, like, Godzilla?”

No. You got me there, kiddo.

A word to the wise

If you plan to wear a wrap dress to church, and it is likely that you will be juggling a small child on your hip throughout most of your time there, then I highly recommend you double knot the ties. Perhaps you might consider safety pins as well.

If the ties should happen to come undone (failure to heed my advice or simply an extremely active child), I highly recommend that you put the small child down before attempting to re-fasten the ties. If you don’t, you will very nearly drop the child and this, although thrilling to many small children, will cause the woman sitting behind you to audibly gasp. And you will be embarrassed, not just because your dress is coming undone, but because there was an obvious witness to the whole comedy.

Trust me.

Travel info bleg

I’m trying to plan our journey westward in the first week of July. We’ll need to spend a few nights somewhere between here and Kansas. It looks like St. Louis would be a good place to hole up for a few days. Anybody ever done anything there besides see The Arch? I’m looking for a hotel that has suites, too – most places don’t like it when you sleep 7 people in a room, and I can’t put the kids in a separate room yet.

Suggestions? Ideas?

Cry me a river

I just don’t get it. All those suicide bombers in Israel? Muslim. Terrorist attacks in Spain, London? Done by Muslims. Terrorists attacks on U.S. property abroad and at home over the last 20 – 30 years? Generally done by Muslims (notable exceptions to include Eric Rudolph, Ted Kaczynski, Tim McVeigh and others). The recently foiled plan to infiltrate Fort Dix, New Jersey and cause death and destruction? Muslims.

But so what? Why on earth would intelligent, rational human beings throughout the world feel that followers of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) needed to be watched a bit more closely than, say, the Amish? Islamophobia – it’s kind of like fearing rat poison. It’s pretty harmless in a sealed container on a high shelf behind a locked door. But it’s not something you keep lying around on kitchen countertops.

I’ll start fearing Catholics when they start promising eternal rewards to those who kill innocent civilians. I’ll fear the Jews when synagogues start preaching hate. And I’ll start fearing evangelicals, JWs and Mormons when they stop trying to convert me and instead try to annihilate me.

OK, I can squeeze that party in after dinner – is 15 minutes good enough?

For birthdays, the kids get to pick dinner and dessert. As long as the request is reasonable, I will accommodate it. Billy asked for, and got, pancakes for his birthday dinner. Cake seems to be the traditional choice, but perhaps as they get older they might consider pie or cobbler or hot fudge sundaes.

Fritz asked for Church’s chicken. I suppose I could be offended that he wants fast food fried chicken instead of my own homemade version. But I don’t actually fry my chicken – I bake it in the oven. And I’ll be the first to admit that deep fried chicken is really really yummy. Childhood obesity does not generally occur in children who visit fast food joints an average of once a month, even if those 12 annual visits tend to be concentrated around family vacations, cross-country moves and birthdays.

And since it’s not only a ball game night, but also a Scout Pack Meeting night, I’ve got to squeeze dinner and birthday cake and presents all in by 530 pm. To have no dinner clean up to worry about saves me one more headache on a busy night.

And this is why I felt okay about cutting Fritz’s Dairy Queen ice cream cake a night early. We’ll sing again, and even light candles on the leftovers if he wants, but I won’t feel badly about following up the serving of the cake with an urging to hurry up!

I do feel badly that my husband wasn’t around when we cut the cake. He’s rarely home before 7 pm and didn’t expect tonight to be any different. But when I told him we cut the cake, he told me he would be able to come home early tonight and was disappointed we had already done that. Have you given him his presents yet? he asked. No, I said. But I was planning to, I thought. I think it’s a bit cruel to give a kid a gift right before bedtime or right before he has to walk out the door for a game. Fortunately, Nana and Grandpa’s gift arrived via FedEx earlier, and he had plenty of Legos to assemble today. I don’t think he’ll mind too much about having to wait until tomorrow to dig into the set we got him.

And now, it’s time for me to wipe down kitchen counters and crack the whip on house-straightening. Hurry up! We’ve got to go go go!

Happy Birthday, Frederick Joseph!

Today, you are 9. Sometimes I think it is amazing that you have been a part of my life for so long. But other times, I feel as though I’ve known you forever. As my first-born, you have changed me the most, first, by making me a mother, secondly, by forcing me to always think of someone else’s needs before considering my own, and continually, by growing and changing: just as I think I have finally gotten a handle on raising an eight-year-old, you go and turn nine!

You are old enough to light the candles on your birthday cake all by yourself, and you have no idea how terrifying this is to me.

Happy birthday, big guy. May the next nine years be as wonderful as these first nine years.