Desperation Dessert

When the crowds will riot without something sweet, but bedtime is in an hour, this was just right. And the yield of 24 mini-brownies meant no tempting leftovers for breakfast (that’s a good thing). If you have more than 6 kids and one hungry husband, you might want to double the recipe.

Change: one voter at a time

Yesterday a repairman came to fix an appliance. We talked, because I talk to everybody. He is a Muslim immigrant from Afghanistan, one of seven children, his mother is now dead, all his siblings live in the US. His wife runs a daycare (God bless her – that is something I would never do).

Since he’d been here for a long time, I asked him if he had voted. “Of course,” he exclaimed with all the enthusiasm of one who relishes that freedom so many Americans disregard. “For Obama,” he added.

I nodded neutrally, but he sensed I was not a big fan of our new President and wondered why.

“I just can’t vote for somebody who thinks it’s OK to kill unborn babies.” This is my stock line. It’s the truth, it’s succinct, it’s not politely evasive. I’m tired of being polite.

The man’s jaw dropped. “Obama thinks this is OK?”

“Well, yes,” I said. It hadn’t occurred to me that people just didn’t know all the issues. I remembered when I was a foreigner in a country where I struggled to understand the nightly news, where my conversational German failed me over lunches where politics were discussed. I doubt that I could possibly have resembled an educated voter, had I the opportunity to participate in elections.

“That’s against my religion,” he said. Of course it is. “Unborn…born…it doesn’t matter…it’s the same…to kill that life…” And he struggled, his vocabulary unable to wrap itself around such weighty concepts. I don’t think they include words like sacred in ESL classes.

Soon he was done, and he left. But I think he might start looking up new vocabulary words. And I think he might start paying attention to other news. And I think, maybe, in four years, he may vote for somebody else.

Photo Update

No ER trip, no stitches.

I was not prepared to leave the house when disaster struck yesterday. Pete was still in bed. The girls had not eaten breakfast. And I hadn’t had my second cup of coffee.
By the time we were ready to go, the cut on Mary’s head looked a little better. I went to a friend’s house (that was pre-planned anyway) and, with her approval, decided stitches probably wouldn’t be necessary.

I couldn’t get her to sit still for pictures. But here is her scabby mug.

The boys are lucky they didn’t aim their projectile any lower. OT law would be enforced: an eye for an eye.

ER Trips are never on my to-do list

Bleeding head wounds that may require stitches before my second cup of coffee make for an unpleasant morning.

Bleeding head wounds on the baby that may require stitches before my second cup of coffee make for a really unpleasant morning.

Bleeding head wounds on the baby caused by her goofing around older brothers that may require stitches before my second cup of coffee make for a really really really unpleasant morning.

The only thing keeping them alive is that she isn’t crying any more and the wound isn’t still gushing. And that Bill isn’t within a hundred miles.

Say what?

I could never be a TV commentator. First of all, if I said something really stupid, I would die of embarrassment. Secondly, if I were working with someone who said something really stupid, I would have a difficult time not being obnoxious and sarcastic.

We turned on the TV as various people were making their way to the steps of the Capitol. Laura Bush. Lynne Cheney.

As Jill Biden walked along, the commentator said:

“There is the future wife of the Vice President.”

I knew what she meant, of course, but Fritz sure was confused. It was a great lesson in making sure your modifiers are placed properly. Had I been there, I might have responded:

“So, are you saying that Dick Cheney is going to pull some David-Uriah scheme and snatch her for himself…..OR, are you saying that the Vice President-elect is not, in fact, really married yet?”

And then, as the President-elect appeared on the Jumbo-tron and the crowds went wild, the other commentator said:

“Unbelievable! {pause} But we expected nothing less.”

Me: “So, Jim, are you saying that you expected the unbelievable? How does one manage to do that?”

And lastly, before switching over to the national, and thankfully comment-free, coverage, the local commentator referred to the huge crowds being displayed on the screen from cameras on the Washington Monument, and said:

“Huge crowds…like I’ve never seen before…and never will again.”

Interesting prediction.

Me: “So, Jane, are you saying that a woman could never draw a crowd this size? Or an Hispanic? Or a Native American? Or even a white guy who got more than 52% of the popular vote? Are you saying that even President Barak Obama, if he is as wonderful as he makes himself out to be and does all these fantastic things for the country, shores up the economy, ends poverty, makes peace with the world, frees us from the tyranny of oil dependence, and gets every blessed citizen free and top-notch health care, even he could not manage to ever, ever draw a bigger crowd than he did today when half the country is grumbling into their coffees or doing the best they can to put on a happy face? OR, are you saying that you, personally, are quitting your job as a commentator and will never more look upon crowds and judge their size?”

And that’s when I would be fired from my job.

So, instead, I’ll just blog about other people’s silly statements, happy that I’m not the one at whom people are laughing.

Happy Federal Holiday

“What’s tomorrow, Mom?” Fritz asked me yesterday.

“Martin Luther King Junior Day.”

“Oh, so that means nobody has school!”

You have school.”

“But it’s a federal holiday!” he complained.

“Your dad has to work, so you have school.” Life is unfair.

Yesterday, Bill drove to a remote location to help man a backup-to-the-backup operation center in the event that catastrophe strikes the DC metro area on Tuesday. Terrorists could bomb the area, but have no fear, the National Guard stands ready and waiting. At least he’s not one of the thousands of Guardsmen who will be standing on street corners politely pointing out the line for the few Porta-Potties.

I had really wanted to take the older kids to the Inauguration. Bill went four years ago, and this was my turn, by golly. But over the last few months, as the restrictions became public and as the predictions for the crowd size grew, my interest quickly became tepid. Even if Bill did not have to work, the clincher would have been the kids’ piano teacher, a young, black woman, saying she was going to stay home and watch it on TV. Well, if she thought the best place to view history-in-the-making was from the warm comfort of her own living room, who was I to drag three kids through freezing temperatures, snow flurries, and crowded streets?

So, even though the area schools are closed today and tomorrow (and, for some reason, next Monday and Tuesday as well), my students will be complaining hard at work. And, through the magic of television, we will take a field trip tomorrow to the Nation’s Capitol to see the world’s finest example of freedom and democracy: the peaceful installation of a new American President.

Why do I even bother to read these stupid articles?

FOXSexpert: The 6 Most Common Sex Myths

What about that headline sounded appealing to me? I should have known there would be something stupid in there.

Myth: You Can’t Get Pregnant if You Aren’t Ovulating

She’s not ovulating so she can’t get pregnant — Not!

Fact: While pregnancy is likeliest to occur during the six days leading up to, and including, ovulation, a female can get pregnant at any point in her menstrual cycle. This includes the week of her period.

Even if couples want to take a chance and avoid unprotected sex around day 14 of her menstrual cycle (when she is most fertile), the fact that many women have irregular cycles makes this a dicey decision. Even women who have regular menstrual cycles may not ovulate on the same day each month.

Let me set the record straight: with the exception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, it takes one sperm (from the man) combining with one egg (from the woman) to make a baby. When an egg is released, we call that ovulation. No ovulation = no egg = no baby. Got it?

Try this:

Myth: Predicting ovulation is easy.
Fact: Uh, no. I have a few children to prove it.

Myth: Counting days and assuming ovulation occurs at the same time every cycle will tell you when to avoid intercourse.
Fact: No. NFP is much more sophisticated than that.

Myth: Avoiding intercourse for a “few days” around expected ovulation will prevent pregnancy.
Fact: More like a week. Or two.

Myth: A woman can’t get pregnant while menstruating.
Fact: During the first few days of a normal menstrual cycle, this is generally true. The problem is that stress can trigger bleeding, as can hormonal changes and other factors. Ovulation may still occur at these other times.

Moral factors aside, NFP is the healthiest way to avoid pregnancy. But, get the facts, take a class, and read this book.

Myth: Catholics have big families is because they are ignorant.
Fact: Catholics have big families because they are blessed.

Stiff Competition

The world is full of people with the freedom to drop everything and move to Australia for 6 months.

I was one of the many people who helped crash the one server set up to handle the gazillion hits this job application received.

My research shows so far that Australia permits homeschooling, that there is a ferry to the mainland where I could find a Catholic Church, and that I could take the kids along. I have to pay their way, but the $100,000 salary (for 6 months of non-labor) should cover that cost fairly quickly.

The job starts July 1st, and since I expect Bill to be gone during those 6 months, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

Downsides: I would miss autumn. I think I’ll recover though (while lying on the beach). Also, the interview process includes some activities that sound vaguely Survivor-esque (lame, oh lame). And, most unfortunately, the interviews begin on May 3rd, and my daughter’s First Holy Communion is on May 2nd. That really throws a kink in the works, but Bill assures me that we would simply delay her FHC until I returned and that all my family who are planning on traveling from Alaska and Florida and Pennsylvania would happily change their itineraries at the last minute to accommodate my job prospects.

(I suspect he doesn’t think I’ll get that far. I don’t know why he would think that. They’re looking for people who like adventure. There are so many young, beautiful fools willing to eat bugs on national TV or perform other ridiculous acts in the name of entertainment that I think that sort of behavior is passé. How many people any more are bold enough to travel around the world with a half dozen little kids? You want to see knuckle-whitening tension? Keep track of a handful of non-swimmers at the pool or beach. Are any of these hard-bodied twenty-somethings capable of getting through an hour-long trip to the grocery store without losing a child or losing their mind? You want entertainment and adventure, come see how I live!)

Deadlines are February 22nd. I have to submit a 60 second video. I’ll let you know if they post it for viewing. Wish me luck.