This is a Public Service Announcement

…from Margaret in Minnesota, who is more than happy to hack into Michelle’s blog and say the following:

Michelle is fine. Her family’s fine. Thanks be to God.

Her computer, however, is not fine. Her computer is decidedly unsympathetic to Michelle’s situation and has decided to take an indefinite break.

In other words, it’s broken.

Michelle will be back just as soon as she’s able. Meanwhile, you may pray for her and pray for Bill. Even better, you may send chocolate.

Send it in care of me, however. I will forward as much of it as I feel appropriate, given the inconsistent posting here at Rosetta Stone.

Yours on behalf of this blog and its AWOL blogger,

Let me know if you find any "crown-of-thorns" embellishments…

In our slightly blue-collar, suburban neighborhood where we own our house in New Jersey, I used to smile in amusement at the seemingly coordinated home decorations which changed seasonally.

On January 1st, the Christmas decorations came down, and up went various “wintery” things. Perhaps a flag with a snowman. Or snowflakes on the door and windows.

On February 1st (or the nearest weekend), these were traded for hearts and cupids.

Then came shamrocks and leprechauns, then Easter bunnies and eggs, then a generic “spring” look – flowers, mainly.

Sometime in May, before Memorial Day, a red, white and blue theme dominated. This would stay up throughout summer and come down right after Labor Day.

For the fall, there would be bales of hay and corn stalks, pumpkins and mums. Many people added cobwebs and ghosts and fake tombstones for Halloween, then replaced these with cartoon turkeys on the windows and a cornucopia flag for Thanksgiving.

And of course, right after Thanksgiving, the Christmas decorations went up.

I did not do this. In fact, I haughtily referred to it as kitsch.

I still do not do this. Not so much because I think it’s low-brow any more, as because I’m just not that organized. And really, monthly changes are just a bit over-the-top, don’t you think? Isn’t a pretty, season-less look classier?


Have you seen my blog lately? Classy? Season-less?

No. I’m finding background designing to be addictive. Can’t just change the header, nope, have to change the whole thing.

I am kitsch. Oy vey.

The 85% solution

I’m going to declare the blog now “good enough.” There’s a limit to how much time and energy I’m willing to put into a hobby.

I am rather proud of my header, so I would love it if you would do a little oohing and ahhing over that if you haven’t already. Or maybe that would just feed my ego and contribute to my moral decay, so you should remain silent. I’m not sure. Oh, I know: leave a love note and then say a prayer for my soul?

And for any of you techno-savvy types, here’s my list of what I’d like to do, and if you know how, just let me know:

  • I’d like it if the blue floral pattern going down the sides were wavy or twisted or some other effect to make it look more like scrunched fabric than a cut and paste flat picture.
  • I’d like the navigation bar and the main post body and the sidebar to be all on the same “sheet” so to speak, but with outlines around the different elements to distinguish them.
  • I’d like the navigation bar to be centered and to extend from the left side of the post entries to the right side of the sidebar.
  • I’d like to look like Claudia Schiffer and have a nice photo of me on the sidebar.
  • I’d like to have a little link on the sidebar which says “Buy My Book Here.” I’d happily write a book, too, if anyone has any suggests for a topic. I think it’s all been done already.

Feel free to offer any advice on how to do any of those things.

Also I’d like to hat tip Totus Tuus Family for pointing out The Cutest Blog on the Block which tutored me in all these endeavors.


Well, now.

If you read me through some feed reader, that’s fine. As you were.

If you click directly to my sight, it might look a bit…um, weird. Yeah. I’m not very good at this creative stuff. So, it’s a work in progress, and I really have to go tend to other things (which really means I’m extremely frustrated and hate leaving my blog looking like this, but I simply must walk away right now).

I’ll fix it. Eventually.

Or maybe I’ll just delete it and start over.

In the meantime, if you happen to really love to do these things, feel free to help a gal out. Email on sidebar.


So, I’ve been feeling pathetically sorry for myself. I have had the comments closed for four weeks, but opened it for one post and got ONE comment (thank you, Regina, You da bomb). Nobody loves me, I moaned, but to myself, because it was just too ridiculous to verbalize.

And then I stopped by Sarah‘s blog, and she informed me that the Catholic Blog Awards are open for voting. So I went there and found I had been nominated for four categories.


Yes, that’s me swallowing the pride that lay at the root of my self-pity.

Thank you, to whichever kind souls think so highly of me as to nominate me for Best Individual, Best Written, Funniest, and Smartest Blog. The competition is tough (in fact, Sarah shares her two nominations with me), but I feel all warm and gooey inside just knowing that somebody (or somebodies) appreciates my blog.

So, go on now, and vote. It’s your Catholic blog reader’s right, duty and responsibility!

Nice Matters

The ever so sweet Rosemary has nominated ME for a Nice Matters Award. She obviously can’t hear the evil thoughts that frequently pop into my head!

When I read The Story of a Soul by St. Thérèse of Lisieux, I was really blown away by her “little way.” I could understand why this text propelled her cause to sainthood. I thought I was doing well by not voicing those less than polite opinions. And here is a woman who wouldn’t even nicely ask someone to please stop splashing her with water as they washed the laundry. She preferred to just happily offer it up. When I think of nice, I think of her, and I know I don’t rate anywhere near that!

“This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you’ve been awarded please pass on to seven others whom you feel are deserving of this award”.

I’m pretty sure I don’t read mean people’s blogs, so don’t be offended if I haven’t listed you here. I think you are all nice. And for those of you I have listed, I’m willing to bet you don’t feel you can compare with St. Thérèse! Here we go:

Kristen Laurence with Small Treasures

Margaret the Minnesota Mom

Esther, A Catholic Mom in Hawaii

Lillian at Smithflections

Michele, Queen of the Castle

Celeste on The Great Adventure

Melissa with Bountiful Blessings

Adultery of the blogging kind

Up until recently, my husband has been reading two, and only two blogs: mine and Eric Scheske’s. Eric is a beer-loving, non-politically correct father of seven who is usually pretty funny, so it’s easy see his appeal to my beer-loving, non-politically correct husband (and father of almost six) who enjoys being amused.

Due primarily to technical difficulties which will hopefully be rectified within hours, I haven’t been blogging a whole lot. I guess to fill that void, my husband has sought satisfaction elsewhere. Had he asked for recommendations, I could have pointed him to one of the myriad of guy-blogs, or political blogs, or blogs written by priests. There are plenty of interesting, innocuous, but testosterone-laden sites out there. Instead, he has sought solace with another woman. Oh, the infidelity!

I had actually shown him The Pioneer Woman Cooks blog (the Kitchen Madonna referred to it), and he drooled along with me at the recipes, especially the ones labeled “Man Pleasers.” Even if you don’t think you can cook, I don’t see how you can go wrong with the recipes she gives. The ingredients are basic, and usually not too many per recipe. She gives step by step instructions and includes photos for each and every step. It’s like having a cooking demonstration right in front of you, but you can pause and rewind as necessary. The only downside to her recipes is the health factor: unless you work a ranch full-time, I suggest you eat her cooking in moderation. I think I want to buy a ranch and work it just so I can eat like that every day.

I had no idea that Pioneer Woman had her Confessions, too. Sarah told me about that blog when I visited her. Even if she hadn’t, though, I see Pioneer Woman fever sweeping the mom blogs I generally read, and more than one person has admitted to lurking around her place. I checked out her site, and found it worth reading and made a mental note to add her to my bloglines. But due primarily to technical difficulties which will hopefully be rectified within hours, I haven’t been reading blogs much either. But Bill only reads three blogs now and one of them (mine) hasn’t been saying much recently, so he’s not only up-to-date on her latest posts, he’s actually gone through and read some of her archives. Did you read about how she met Marlboro Man? he asks me. I’ve got to tell you about calf nuts, he says. I don’t know whether to laugh or to be insanely jealous.

In the hours it’s taken me to write this post, the cable guy has come and gone, and I seem to have a tenuous connection to the internet. As long as I don’t have to share my husband’s laptop and type with it perched on my knees burning from the laptop’s vented air, I may be back in business. I just hope my content is up to snuff, or my husband may go back to reading only two blogs – and mine won’t be one of them!

This is THE Week

Back from our jaunt to PA and NJ to meet new friends, visit old friends, and see family. My kids really wanted to stop by SFO Mom’s house on the way back to play some more. Maybe next time.

The movers come to pack up our stuff on Wednesday and Thursday, and they’ll haul it away on Friday. We’re not ready, but at some point, they’ll get here and we’ll just stop what we’re doing and let them have at it. The important papers are in one spot, the main documents from the computer are saved to a CD, I’ve got plans for child care for the kids for those days, and most of the laundry is done. We’re ahead of the game considering previous moving disasters.

I checked Bloglines and quickly became overwhelmed, so I apologize now: anything my dear blogging friends pen in the next, oh, six weeks or so, will have to go unread. My own blogging will be sporatic at best. I’m sure you all understand.

Have a great month, everyone!

A brief note on commments

I do intend to turn the comments back on – I promise. But it will probably be Thursday, after I get settled at a cabin at Lake Tholocco. I’m haven’t yet caught up on blog reading, and I’m still doing the vacation/visiting loved ones thing, so comments would get very little attention, I’m afraid. Bill, though, has returned home and so my nights are now open for late night surfing. As always, there is email.

blogging and bloglines

If you give up commenting on blogs for Lent, and then you just turn what you would have said into a blog post, does that break your commitment? Nah, I didn’t think so either.

This is mostly for Denise at Ordinary Grace who wants to know how often one should blog. I think it depends on what your motivation is for blogging.

If you are trying to appeal to an audience, to generate regular readers, to provide some sort of service (source for news, source for spiritual comfort, source for amusement), then I would suggest daily posts as a minimum. If you consider blogs like Open Book and The Cafeteria is Closed, they post multiple times per day. Danielle Bean and Eric Scheske generally post once a day.

If you are writing primarily for you, then you should write as often as you feel like it.

I write, primarily, for me and for my family. Sometimes I post every day, even more than once. Sometimes, generally on the weekends, I post not at all. I’m trying to capture bits of this crazy life with these kids. There are things I want to remember about them, and about me, and about daily life, and I’m just not a big scrapbooker or photo journalist, and a written diary with a little lock and secret thoughts just isn’t what I care to do. I want my kids to remember or to learn what life was like when they were little – so when they’re adults and they claim to have been perfectly well behaved children who never gave their mother any grief and why is such-and-such niece or nephew such an awful brat, I can laugh at their sketchy memory and remind them (and myself) just how normal the child really is. And I want to share these glimpses of personality with family and friends who don’t live nearby and who see the kids infrequently.

Plus blogging cuts down on the amount of time I would otherwise spend talking to myself.

Denise also asks about tracking feeds. Someone else already clued her in to bloglines, which I began to use this Lent and absolutely love. I have it set to check for updates every six hours, so if I pop over to my computer to send an email or check the weather forecast, I’m not always tempted to click the link which screams “new updates!!” I really wish I had subscribed sooner.

The only downside to bloglines is that you don’t necessarily go to that person’s blog. Most blogs offer full feeds, so you can read the latest entry in it’s entirety from the bloglines page. There is a bit missing when you don’t experience first-hand the fonts, colors and layout that enhance a post or add depth to personality.

And if someone should happen to make a minor change to their sidebar, you might never notice it. Of course, even those reading a blog at it’s source might not notice such a change either…