Friday, May 30, 2008

Thou Shalt Not Covet

"Covet" being a word which here means to wish for longingly rather than to feel blameworthy desire for (that which is another's).

Yesterday at Costco I discovered the Elizabeth Gaskell Collection. Oh, how I want it. I wrote earlier this month about how much I enjoyed Cranford. I have also seen the two other movies in the collection and loved both of them. Especially Wives and Daughters. I have wanted to own that movie since I first saw it many years ago, but it was always fairly expensive. At Costco, however, the entire collection of movies is a mere $26.99. On Amazon it is forty dollars more. Since it is not a need, and my birthday, anniversary, and Mother's Day have all passed, I can't justify buying it. Sigh. Maybe I will be lucky enough that the library will buy the set so I can check it out.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Five Things Meme

The Rules:

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.

2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.

3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they have been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.

4. Let the person who tagged you know when you have posted your answer.

What were you doing 5 years ago?

Enjoying life as a new college graduate and a new wife.

What are five things to do on your to do list for the day?

Since the day is almost over, that is a little hard. 1) Tidy up the kitchen, 2) Put away some things in the dining room, 3) Study Latin with my husband, 4) Brush my teeth, 5) Check on the children.

What are five snacks you enjoy?

1) Fruit, 2) A bowl of cereal, 3) Baby carrots, 4) Peanut butter toast, 5) Popcorn

What five things would you do if you were a billionaire?

1) Use my financial clout to hopefully clean up the problems at my alma mater, 2) Do the same for the university my husband is at now, 3) Buy Catholic churches that are being sold to prevent them from being turned into condos, 4) Give money to lots of fabulous religious orders, 5) Do something to help the poor in third world countries.

What are five of your bad habits?

(Why don't you just skip this one? You don't need to know this stuff!)

1) Leaving my shoes in the living room, 2) I have a sweet tooth, 3) Peeling back my fingernails instead of using clippers, 4) I have a hard time getting over first impressions if they are negative, 5) Not emptying the dishwasher right away.

What are five jobs you have had?

1) Assistant to the assistant to the head guy, 2) Peach receiving station manager, 3) Mother's helper, 4) Babysitter, 5) Assistant to the assistant of a different head guy.

What five people do you want to tag?

You, you, you, you and YOU! In other words, if you want to do it, then do it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

In Memoriam

In honor of Memorial Day, we visited the local veteran's cemetery this morning. Although most of the people who were buried there were veterans of Vietnam or earlier, there were some who died in Iraq. It was quite sobering to see the graves of men who were younger than I. It made me grateful for each day of life that God has given me.

I was happy to see that so many people came out to the cemetery today since it seems that fewer and fewer Americans care about things like honoring our country and the people who gave their lives for it. However, it was sad to see how few of the deceased had any flowers or other things in front of their graves. I hope that many of their families could come later in the day.

There was one woman in her twenties who was there at a grave when we arrived and still there when we left. She had put flowers, balloons (including one that said "Happy Birthday"), and a flag in front of it. For a long time she just sat there looking as though she were having a conversation with this person. It was extremely moving to see how much she cared for him. Even though I don't know her, my heart ached for her because of her loss.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Watching the Grass Grow

My husband and I had a disagreement yesterday after I called some bamboo "trees". He said he didn't know what bamboo was, but he was certain that bamboo stalks were not trees. After checking the good ol' Wikipedia, I was forced to concede defeat: Bamboo is considered to be grass.

With some further reading, we discovered that bamboo can grow up to one meter an hour. Wow. I think that I would like to watch that happen. Have you ever heard of someone who actually liked the idea of watching grass grow? Now you have.

It is interesting to note that bamboo flooring is becoming very popular as the eco-friendly alternative to hard wood floors. I bet you never thought people would want their house to have grass floors.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Five Years Ago Was a Monday Too

Today my husband and I celebrated our fifth anniversary. Both of us agree that our wedding was the happiest day of our lives. I don't look back on it with anything but fondness. I feel very fortunate because both my mother and grandmother cannot say the same of theirs.

Since we didn't have a babysitter today, we couldn't go out alone together. Instead we did something which I think reflects the mission we undertook when we got married: to have a happy family and be good spouses and parents.

Since it was one hundred scorching degrees today, we took our dinner to an indoor park. After we ate, the children played on the slides and other kiddie oriented constructions there. It was so pleasant seeing and hearing them enjoy themselves. On the way home we stopped for ice cream. Of course Happy Boy and Reeda loved it, and my husband and I were able to have a nice conversation while they ate.

Reflecting on the evening, I don't think I would have enjoyed dinner at a fancy restaurant with just my husband more than I enjoyed this. That would have been nice, but I wouldn't treasure that memory the way I treasure the memories of my children's happiness playing at the park or eating ice cream.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mass. . . In a Heretical Church

Yesterday evening we went to Mass in a heretical church. Although people often loosely use that term to refer to liturgical abuses, this time there was no doubt about it. Mass was celebrated in a heretical church because it was celebrated in a Protestant church.

Let me explain. The high school seniors my husband teaches had their graduation service last night. The service included both the graduation ceremony and also a Mass which counted for one's Sunday obligation. Because their school is so small, the service (including the Mass) was held in a Protestant church next door to the school.*

The Mass itself was perfectly reverent and abuse free. Everyone even knelt for communion. However, one of the first things Happy Boy said when he came into the church was, "How come Jesus isn't on the cross?" I wasn't sure what to tell him that would be understandable to a three year old.

*Maybe the people who attend that church will get some graces from it and convert.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Prince Caspian

We were able to get someone watch the children this morning, so we took advantage of $4 Saturday morning movie tickets to see Prince Caspian. I hadn't been to a real movie theater with my husband since the first Chronicles movie.

When I went to see Bella I was angry at myself for not wearing my glasses, so I made sure that I wore them this time. That was a mistake. It has been a loooooong time since I have worn them (at least a year, and maybe two) and I was not used to them at all. The movie was slightly clearer, but I came home feeling nauseous because seeing clearly through the glasses and not as clearly out the sides gave me a feeling akin to seasickness.

As far as the movie itself goes, both my husband and I really enjoyed it. In my husband's words, "The first one follows the book more closely, but this one is a better movie." He does qualify that by saying that he didn't like the song or the kiss in the last scene, but everything else was great. I could only remember the first couple chapters, so I honestly don't know how well the events followed the book.

I loved how they embellished so many things to make them look beautiful and noble. The horn, for example, is a solid piece of horn or ivory, carved with an intricate design of a bear. The children wear colorful, multi-layered and textured clothing with details on all the metalwork that they wear. Even the evil army had amazing masks when they went into battle and the boat which the soldiers used at the beginning was ornately carved. No one ever pays attention to such detail-work nowadays so it makes that era seem much more grand.

Even though this is a PG movie, I recommend screening it if you have children who might be frightened by violence. It certainly wasn't like The Lord of the Rings, but it is more than children below a certain age should see. At the beginning of the movie there is also a scene of a woman screaming in childbirth (why do they always do that!?!) which may or may not disturb some people.

The bottom line is, unless you hate books being changed, you should see Prince Caspian. And if you do hate it when that happens, don't think of it as a movie based on a book. Think of it just as cinematic art, and then you probably like it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hooray! I'm my favorite character!

As Lucy Pevensie, you may be quite timid and shy, but your heart is in the right place! You make sure you tell the truth, even if it results in embarrassment.

Who are you?

HT: Danielle

Thursday, May 15, 2008

CVSing for $1.15

Here's the short story:

In three different transactions at CVS I was able to buy everything pictured above. The first transaction cost $1.08, the second was six cents and the third was only a penny. The total amount before savings was $68.02 plus tax. What I bought included:

3 bags of diapers
2 boxes of Kotex Lightdays
2 bags of Hershey Bliss
1 box of Hershey's Reese's cookies
1 package of peanut butter M &Ms
1 Intuition razor
1 box Tums
1 glucose meter

The long story:

I have been trying to learn the ropes of "CVSing" since January, but until last month I haven't done that well. I started out this week with $25 of Extra Care Bucks which were about to expire, so it was either use 'em or loose 'em. The first time I went to the store I was looking for something that I could use my $10 ECB for. The glucose meter was on sale for $10 and the Kotex were on sale two for $5, so I bought those. Between a Kotex coupon, a CVS coupon and the ECBs the total was $1.08 and I got $10 ECBs back. (Just fyi, the meter I will give to my diabetic brother-in-law.)

The next day I went back with a list of possible things to buy which were both on sale and that I had coupons for. I was trying to look for things that would generate ECBs so that I could roll over the ones that would expire. I also knew that diapers were on sale buy three, get the third free and I wanted to buy those.

In the first transaction that day, I bought the razor for 9.99 with a $4 off coupon, the Tums for 4.69 with a $1 off coupon, the two Hershey Bliss* with a BOGO coupon for 4.28 each, the Hershey Reese's cookies for $2, and when I realized that I needed something else about fifty cents I bought the M&M's for 0.79. I also used three different CVS coupons, and the 10 ECBs from the day before, which brought my total down to six cents. These purchases generated ECBs totaling 15.69, which I can use any time within the next month.

With my last purchase I bought three bags of diapers and with one of them free the total was 17.98. I used a three dollar off CVS coupon which brought me down to $14.98. I had Extra Care Bucks totaling 14.97, so I only had to pay one cent. Don't ask me why they didn't charge sales tax: I am completely baffled by that, but am not complaining. With this transaction I wasn't able to "roll" any ECBs, but that's fine since they were about to expire, and we need diapers anyway.

My husband pointed out that this actually cost me $4.15 because I had spent $3 on Sunday papers to get the coupons, but that is still a good deal. Besides they also have lots of other coupons for other things that I can get (or have already gotten) free or almost free.

*I usually don't buy junk food like cookies and candy, but they were generating ECBs and I am trying to potty train Happy Boy. I bribe him with something if he is able to go in the potty, but I needed a bribe and this is it. If I don't bribe him, he doesn't go.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day Highlights

My Mother's Day got off to a hectic start when I woke up and realized that Mass was going to start in 45 minutes. I was pleased when we got to church and our clock said that we still had a minute to spare. However, it much be late because when we went inside they were doing the Kyrie.

Afterwards my husband offered to take me out to breakfast, but I knew that it would be very crowded so I declined. I said, "What I really want for breakfast is a moist, gooey cinnamon roll." But since the only places that sell cinnamon rolls around here are grocery stores, and they only have dry boring ones, I said my second choice for breakfast would be fruit salad. No, that's not very balanced, but at least it isn't unhealthy. We went to the store to buy a variety of fruit and simultaneously lamented the absence of bakeries that sell good cinnamon rolls.

At some point during the day, Happy Boy came up to me and said, "Happy Mommy's Day, Mama." Needless to say, it melted my heart.

In the evening some friends stopped by with some cake to celebrate the day. It was a pleasant surprise for me, but an honor that they were thinking about me.

I then watched the second installment of Cranford, which I am really enjoying. As it ended, I sighed to my husband, " I love these type of movies," to which he replied, "I know you do." (He will occasionally watch literary romances, but most of the time he would prefer to do more manly things like read up on the newest Linux distro.) That movie was a good end to a peaceful and enjoyable day.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Do You Have Your Forever Stamps?

Just as a reminder, the price of stamps increases on Monday. If you are too cheap to want to spend a penny more to mail a letter then you better hurry and get some Forever stamps.

We used to mail a lot more things, so we would buy rolls of 100 at Costco for 25 cents less than the going rate. However, for some reason, we don't mail things as much anymore and we STILL have 37 cent stamps. The vending machine at the post office only has one cent stamps so pasting four one cent stamps on has gotten really annoying. I look forward to finally using them all up so I can start using the Forever stamps.

Monday, May 5, 2008

International Midwife Day

I found out that today is International Midwife Day. Although I recognize the need of obstetricians, I am a huge fan on midwives.

When I was pregnant with my first I went to a practice that had four midwives. The assumption was that over the course of one's pregnancy there would be a natural rotation so the patient could meet all of them at different prenatals. I had met three of them, but the schedule of the fourth, Angela, never matched up with when I could have my appointments. Finally at week 39 I was able to meet her. I instantly fell in love with her. When I came home I excitedly told my husband, "I hope Angela is the one who gets to deliver the baby."

The next night I went into labor. When I called the office to let them know, I found out that a different midwife was on call. I resigned myself to her with the consolation that at least it wasn't the one that I really didn't like. However, I got to the hospital at the same time as a shift change. Angela was coming on duty! God was so good. Later after my husband met the other midwives, he said that he understood how I felt and agreed that Angela was wonderful. Later she proved to be even more wonderful to both of us when a horrible crisis arose, helping us in any way she could.

So, in honor of Angela, I decided to write a post to acknowledge this day.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A Perfect Saturday

This is the first weekend in months where we didn't have anything that needed to be accomplished. After breakfast we decided to go for a walk. It was a gorgeous day and there aren't many more weeks of beautiful weather before it gets too hot to go walking in the middle of the day.

We went to the park and brought along Happy Boy's new tee-ball set. It was too windy to hit the ball off the tee, so he just hit it like a golf ball. Sometimes he even shared with Reeda! They would run back and forth between excitedly playing with the bat and ball and playing on the playground.

On the way back we passed a friend who recently got engaged. This friend explained how she and her affianced decided to invite a lot of people and have a casual reception rather than only a few and have a fancy one because they wanted as many people as possible to rejoice with them in their sacrament. I love talking with people who are recently engaged because they have so much joy and excitement about them.

For dinner I made a delicious soup and some cornbread to go with it. It was topped off with homemade strawberry ice cream. Reeda happily ate it all, which pleased me since I had to battle with Happy Boy over the soup.

Finally, we found a DVD from the library which Happy Boy lost last week. We had resigned ourselves to paying a fee to the library, but St. Anthony came through before we got around to it!

Hope you all had a pleasant day, and have a blessed (Ascension) Sunday!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Better Late than Never?

Or, why bother?

Today on the way to Mass we passed a man taking down his Christmas lights. On May first. On one hand, it is good that he is taking down seasonal decorations even if it is five months late, but on the other, since some folks leave their lights on their house year round people probably didn't think anything of them staying on the eaves. It's not like he turned the lights on, after all. BUT they were solid red, extra large bulbs, so his house will now look much better without them.

Ascension, St. Joseph, Our Lady and May Day All Rolled into One

Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God,
that we will believe Thine only-begotten Son our Redeemer
to have ascended this day into heaven,
may ourselves dwell in spirit amid heavenly things.

My husband expressed annoyance at the fact that his Catholic school doesn't have today off. I reminded him that it wasn't a Holy Day of Obligation here. When I was growing up, there were about six states in the West where it wasn't obligatory, but it was everywhere else. Now, I think it is only obligatory in certain states in the Northeast.

We don't have any plans to celebrate St. Joseph the Worker. We will celebrate May Day tomorrow at the First Friday Mass at my husband's school, which is also when we will kick-start the month of celebrating Mary. Today, however, we will go to Mass to commemorate Our Lord ascending 40 days after His resurrection. Then on Sunday we will go to Mass to commemorate Our Lord ascending 43 days after His resurrection. Heh.