Sunday, December 25, 2005

How many people does it take to get Crab Ciopino from the pot it's cooked in to a serving bowl?

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Fuzzy n Atticus

Christinie, Derek and Jeff waiting for Christmas dinner...

Monday, December 19, 2005

Our Lady Speaks to Josyp Terelya about 3rd Saturday Fasting
This fast to take place every third Saturday of the month, beginning in December 2005.

TORONTO - Free Republic - December 12, 2005 - Josyp Terelya, a Catholic activist who spent much of his life behind bars in the Soviet Union because of his faith and evangelism, also experienced many extraordinary events—allegedly supernatural events—there.

He has since spoken at the white house and had audiences with Pope John Paul II on 36 occasions.

His mystic experiences gained him audiences with the Pope, and he was released from the Soviet Union with the help of President Ronald Reagan, the Queen of Holland, and the President of France.

On August 29, 2005 at 2:30 am, Our Blessed Mother spoke to him at his home in Toronto, Canada and gave him a very special message. While in deep prayer and fasting, and after praying the Sorrowful mysteries of the Holy Rosary, Mother Mary made herself known to him.

"As Our Lady began to speak to me," Terelya said, "I could feel great sorrow and despair. This was her message."

Mother Mary's August 29, 2005 Message to Josyp Terelya.

"Peace be with you, My child! I have come to bring another warning to My children. The warnings given before and many times, have gone unheeded by most souls. Have the natural disasters and illnesses that have come upon mankind not been enough for all to open their eyes as well as their souls? No, for the warnings are not taken seriously!

"However, many will experience the terrible fate that awaits many. In North America (USA and Canada especially) there will occur many earthquakes, hurricanes and sicknesses. In your beloved Toronto, there will be a sudden outbreak of virus that will cause great sickness and death, especially among the elderly and the very young. Soon panic and fear will grip the hearts of My poor children.

"Many will turn back to God, as they have in past times when tribulation had occurred, but many only for a short time. In the USA, even more disasters will take place. Great outbreak of sickness will overtake many areas. Like in Canada, extreme amounts of snow and rain will fall causing great flooding and destruction.

"Still many souls will not turn to God the Father in prayer and repentance. Do you not realize by now that through fasting, prayer, repentance and unity with one another, these tribulations can be avoided? How much longer can My Holy Son, Jesus, stay the hands of God, the Holy and Righteous Judge?

"Even through this trying time, precious children, safety, health and peace can be truly yours! Remember that mercy abounds from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, our Redeemer! Come to Our two hearts, and peace will be yours, even in the face of tribulations and sorrows.

"God, our Holy Father, desires all things good for His children. He sent the ultimate example through His Son, Jesus! Has He not blessed mankind over and over? Many are like unruly children who don't get their way. Please, please turn your hearts back to Jesus, the Merciful Lord, and great blessings and graces shall be poured without end upon you and your loved ones! Call upon Me as your Mother to intercede for you and I will place you at the holy feet of Jesus. Go to the Holy Mass much more often. Go there in great humility before God, and He will bless you.
"For all who will, a one day fast for peace and unity among mankind will turn Satan away from your door. This fast will take place every third Saturday of the month, beginning in December 2005. The Sorrowful mysteries along with the chaplet of divine mercy are to be prayed with great conviction. Seven Candles are to be lit upon an altar, four red and three whites (white in the center of the altar).

The four represent the Holy Blood and the three whites represent the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Great will be the grace and blessing that you will receive! On this day, I will make Myself known to all who heed this request. On this day of prayer and fasting many hearts will be healed, many physical healings will take place, and I will walk among you and bless you. You are very special to Me, even to the depths of My Immaculate Heart. I am not far from you, My precious ones, only as far as you pushed Me!! However, I am only a truly sincere prayer away from you! All who heed this message shall be blessed. Be at peace! Amen."

Our Lady of Grace
Rats. Well, the dreadies had to come out yesterday. I caught a cold. It was one of those colds that came with excessive skin sensitivity. You know the kind. Where even the bed sheets hurt. I ended up in a hot bath at midnight. My head covered in conditioner trying to loosen them up. In the end I used Neroli oil. It took 2 hours to comb them out. I'm sad. I miss them already. My scalp is still bruised though. Couldn't even wear a pony tail today...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. A big day for we Militia Immaculata folk. I went to mass at 6:30. Fr. Mark gave lead to some excellent devotions after mass. Such a lovely DAY!!

Love is in the hair!!

I love my locs. Thank you Knotty Boy! It's funny that doing something to make my hair less maintenance would inspire so much happiness. Vanity is a big time NO NO in the Bible. But is being happy with my simple "do" a vanity? It's no-fuss, wash-n-go. I'm so FREE! After almost a month I had to drag out the wax and tuck in new growth and strays that had popped out. I also had to "latch" down the new growth. Tighten up my little twists. But this is easy. I can do one or two while watching the tube.

Happy Happy Joy Joy.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The health nut reviews a current health craze. Mangosteen juice.

What is a mangosteen? It's a tangerine size fruit that grows primarily in Thailand. It promotes all round good health. It's reaching a frenzied level of popularity.

Sadly though, we American's don't take the time to read labels. Not all products are created equal. You've GOT to read the fine print. What's in it? How much of each nutrient?

I was at Molly Stone's last night picking up some groceries. There were two bottles of Mango-Xan brand mangosteen juice on the shelf in the vitamin section. I bought one.

$30.95 for 24 ounces.

I read the label on the bus ride home. It's reconstituted mangosteen. Which means it's got only 5 to 10 percent of the nutrients of the whole fruit. Happily though, it did contain a blend of the rind. A number of these mangosteen juices are only fruit and not rind. The rind has a great many nutrients in it. It touts itself as giving you 100% of your vitamin C intake but the C is added in the form of asorbic acid. No biggie. That's how you're getting the C in your orange juice these days as well...

It contains a variety of reconstituted juices including pear, cherry, cranberry, pineapple, star fruit and blue berry - along with the mangosteen.

"Vemma" brand contains fructose - sugar. So the Vemma brand is essentially the junk food of mangosteen juices. Avoid any juice with sucrose, fructose, dextrose, glucose or any other kind of sugar added. Juice is sweet enough without added sugar. You've already lost the good fiber found in eating a whole fruit. So avoid additional JUNK. Vemma brand also contains green tea extract and aloe vera juice. Tons of folks swear by aloe juice but it can cause horrible bloating and dribbly doo doo...

Vemma is a 32 oz bottle for $30, but requires you to also buy the back up juice at $30. So you're spending $60 a month. I'm not paying $30 for a bottle of Kiwi/Strawberry juice when I can buy it at the market for half the cost and know that it's been flash pasteurized so it retains more goodies!

Xan-Go is made of a puree of the whole fruit rather than a reconstitution. Meaning it would have more nutrients. However, I find no list of ingredients on the site so I can't determine what's been added. Major bad in my book.

$32 for a 25 ounce bottle.

Thai Go brand touts itself as being higher in all the nutrient qualities of the mangosteen, and lists all the other fruit included in the beverage but doesn't give a list of ingredients or say how it is processed - it doesn't state that it's made from the whole fruit. The comparison page shows FRUIT but states Xango brand uses reconstituted fruit - whereas Xango's website states whole fruit.

So far though, the Thai Go gets my vote because it's whole fruit rather than reconstituted and contains several different kinds of grapes and grape skins. All sorts of good stuff in grapes. Buckthorn and blue berries too.

$35 for a 25 ounce bottle. Currently on sale at 2 for 50.

There are a few other brands. But those listed here are the most popular. I think all of these are part of pyramid marketing schemes.

In short - the juice I had last night was not very sweet. Not very flavorful. You have one ounce a day. Mango-Xan recommends one to three ounces. I sipped my ounce while I ate my suishi dinner last night. An hour later I needed another shot. I mean, I was fiending for the stuff. Clearly there was something in it that my body really liked and wanted.

I slept like a log and didn't have allergy issues this morning. Regardless of the biting cold this morning I didn't have the join pains I did yesterday when I walked into the office. Is it the mangosteen? I don't know. We'll see. If I have some over all good results I think I'll order a bottle of Thai Go in January.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Excellent Article!!!


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Little Derek gets his bottle at Thanksgiving dinner... Ok. Not his bottle. His dad's!!

Auntie works on the turkey. Poor poor turkey...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

So the word is out. The Vatican is saying NO Thanks to sexually active gay men applying to seminary. That seems a little unfair if you ask me. Word on the street is that seminary's are loaded with sexually active people. One of my favorite priests married a girl he met in seminary. They eventually realized their mistake and that they both were actually called by God. They parted ways. If the Vatican is going to demand homosexual men be celibate for three years before entering seminary then they'd better ask the same of the heterosexual men.

Truth be told, I think my beloved Holy See has mislabeled the issue. This isn't a gay issue. This is a people issue. Sadly, community agencies are loaded with cases of hetero men abusing children. Some lonely people will take what ever they can get.

Long gone are the days when one's parish priest was a part of one's family. When he appeared at the dinner table on a weekly basis. When families wrestled over who would get to host a holiday dinner complete with a real blessing by a real priest. Now our faith is passed along to a once a year Easter celebration. For some, it's a weekly Sunday visit. But rarely do people get involved in their faith community.

But the faith community is what Jesus was all about.

Our faith community involves supporting our religious. Priests and nuns too. So many nuns have given up the habit (sadly) that they aren't recognized for the holy people they are. So they're passed along as another teacher, another secretary. Not as a consecrated person who may not have a local family to spend a holiday with. It's up to us to look after "the least of my brothers (and sisters)" as Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25.

I cringe when I hear people say they've lost their faith over these abuses. If that's true, then we are guilty of what the Protestants have accused us of. Idol worship. If we've put our priests up on such a pedestal so as to make them some kind of god. They are just people. Like us. Loaded with flaws. Their battle is a lot more difficult than ours. As such, we must support them.

I also cringe when I hear people say celibacy is the reason for the priest shortage. Well, then how do they explain the same shortage in Protestant denominations where marriage is allowed? Again, truth be told, the shortage is due to the fact that America worships the mighty dollar, not the Mighty Lord. Over and over again I hear young people say they feel God's call but their parents want them to be a doctor/dentist/scientist - and make a lot of money.

It's too bad really. This country was founded out of love of God. People who fled oppression - looking for the ability to freely express their faith. And now, if the ACLU has it's way - faith will never be expressed in public.

From an article by Joseph Farah:

William Bradford, the leader of the Pilgrims, studied the Hebrew scriptures. The Pilgrims took them very seriously. The idea of giving thanks to God with a feast was inspired by that knowledge of the Bible. In a very real way, the Pilgrims saw themselves, too, as chosen people of God being led to a Promised Land.

At the table, they acknowledged "God's good providence" and "blessed the God of Heaven who brought us over the furious ocean." For "what could sustain us but the Spirit of God and His grace?" asked Bradford. He then quoted Moses, "Our fathers cried unto Him and He heard their voice and looked on their adversity" (Deuteronomy 26:7).

Here's what George Washington proclaimed Oct. 3, 1789:

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly implore His protection and favor; and whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the twenty-six of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that Great and Glorious Being, who is the Beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country, previous to their becoming a nation; for the single manifold mercies, and the favorable interposition's of His providence, in the courage and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish Constitutions of Government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the Great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private institutions, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discretely and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us) and to bless them with good governments, peace and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science, among them and us; and generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Later, in 1863, with the nation torn apart by the war between the states, Lincoln reinstituted the tradition for two years. Again, in 1941, with a global war threatening, Congress established the fourth Thursday of November as the day for Americans to thank God.

So - thank you God for my freedom, my family, my friends, my health, my good job, a roof over my head, food in the fridge, the ability to walk, to laugh and to love.

Happy Thanksgiving and God bless!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Now that's good coffee!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

God grant me humility!

Suddenly everyone needs to touch my head. When I was considering locs, a number of folks warned me about the bigotries of non-loc folk. So far, I've only encountered one negative comment. Someone suggested I'd done this only so that I'd never have to wash my hair again. Silly silly!! Generally, it's been very well received. But again, many thanks to Jeffrey Bradley with his warning that folks will just walk up and touch you. I'm beginning to wonder how pregnant women put up with complete strangers running up to hold their tummies! Really though. The reactions have been cute.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Two posts in one day. Can you believe it?

I went ahead and started my dreadlocks, or as some say "locs."

After all my research, I went with Raw Food Discussion List friend's suggestion of doing braids, then "latch-hooking" them into locks over the next few years.

My hair really loves my Knotty Boy bar shampoo. I used the Knotty Boy wax to smooth down the hair and get a good grip. I started out with a three part braid but ended up doing two strand twists. The two strand twists are easier to do, easier to catch short hairs in and as such look more neat. That being said, the bad part is, it's more difficult to "latch" the two strand twist without making a hole. Mind you, the hole is easy to cover with one or two more latches. But if it's in the back of your head, how do you know?

I had Friday off work. I spent the day cleaning and running in to the bathroom to do a few more braids. So it took all day. It would have been better if I'd waited until I had help to do the back but... Since they're braided, I can always take them out and re-do them. I've done that a few times already, to take larger braids and make them smaller twists.

All in all, the result is fantastic! I have the most wash and go hair I've ever had in my life. No product. A simple bar soap to wash with.

I use very little of my wax to keep them neat and to pull in loose hair. The shorties at my scalp are woven in with wax and a tiny crochet hook. I had the crochet hook already, but I had to go to the fabric store to buy a latch-hook. That's when I found the lovely sushi place I ate at. See photos below.

I love that I can wake up in the morning and have great hair. I love that I can wash it and run out of the house without dumping a ton of product in to tame the frizz.

I might post a photo. I took one. But I'm not much on photos of myself. Give me time...

Thanks must be given!!

Thanks to my boss for her support and understanding.

Thanks to
  • Knotty Boy
  • for great products!!

    Thanks to
  • Jeffery Bradley
  • for some sage advice (via his wonderful publications) on the ups and very big downs of dreadlocks. That is to say, human bigotry. People are so judgemental!!

    And a very special thanks to my raw food buddy
  • Cherie King
  • for her e-books on locs and support while I stumble along.

    God bless!!
    I had dinner with a two friends last Saturday. During the course of the evening one friend piped in that he felt the Catholic Church was responsible for overpopulation due to their policy on birth control.

    Now - why a person of no faith would want to get into a debate about doctrine with two people of deep faith is beyond me but...

    I replied that he just didn't understand the church's stance. He insisted he did. We went round and round. Clearly he was repeating a lot of anti-Catholic misinformation. But the part that really floored me was that he felt people of wealth had no need to help the less fortunate since they'd gotten themselves into that predicament in the first place. That all this was to be blamed on the church. I was really quite shocked at that.

    Starving people are not thinking about sex. They're wondering where their next meal will come from. How they will live to see tomorrow when disease is rampant. How they can send their kids to school with no shoes.

    Sadly, my friend didn't think any of this mattered. He only felt we needed to stop them from having children.

    In the end, he revealed that he was specifically speaking about India. How can the Catholic Church be responsible for overpopulation in a nation that is 80% Hindu and only 2% Christian. Granted the majority percentage of Christian denominations in that 2% is Catholic. But still. 1% vs 80%

    I knew my church was mighty but I had no idea we as 1% could over shadow a faith of 80%

    On the off chance that I was wrong, I spent some time yesterday researching overpopulation. Specifically in India. defines overpopulation :

    Overpopulation is a term that refers to a condition in which the density enlarges to a limit that provokes the environmental deterioration, a drop in the quality of life, or a population collapse.

    The government in India implemented a family planning program back in 1958. Their population increase has reduced by 47% according to

    In 1994 they implemented a new population program pushing birth control. Sadly, their main birth control is sterilization - Of women. 67% of women vs 9% of men. The problem with this is their poor conditions and the invasiveness of sterilizing women - as opposed to the ease and NONinvasiveness of sterilizing men - has caused the mortality rate among women in India to skyrocket.

    Still, India's way worked far better than China's, with the government enforcing a one child law and abortion at gunpoint.

    But - India's population problem is not the reason for poverty and starvation. Improper distribution of wealth is. A great number of India's people are simple farmers. They support themselves and live happily. A great many go into the big cities hoping for wealth or looking for a less severe life. Illiterate farmers can't find work and end up in slums. Millions moving into big cities like Bombay, Delhi, Madras and Bangladore - unable to support themselves.

    For one job in any of these cities 1000 people apply.

    This is what's causing the overpopulation. A large number of people in one area - unable to handle the growth. No jobs. Substandard housing.

    The sad part is - McDonalds has gone to India now. So we have a poor family living in a shack. Three starving to death and one obese.

    Lastly, I found this article by Dr. Brian Kopp
  • Contraceptive Imperialism and Third World Poverty

  • I think this is the sort of misinformation my friend has ingested. In the event you don't have time to read the article - here is a snippet:

    As the problem of “poverty” has been transmuted into the problem of “overpopulation” so have our consciences been mollified. We no longer feel so acutely our duty to make sacrifices in order to alleviate third world suffering with food, shelter, infrastructure, and the means to develop third world economies. We now can say, “It’s your fault. If you’d just stop making babies, you wouldn’t be living in poverty.”

    Instead of corn meal, we ship them condoms. Rather than artificial contraceptives, which can have life threatening complications, always seem to be paired with abortion, and frequently undermine third world societal structures, there is the Church’s alternative of Natural Family Planning. Safe, cheap, and effective, this method confers considerable power to couples to control their fertility for both achieving and, when couples have a serious reason to do so, preventing conception. It is time the misconception that Catholicism is synonymous with ineffective birth control and that her teachings against abortion and contraception are the major hurdle in eliminating poverty around the world be laid to rest.

    Now... Let me take a minute here to talk about the church's stance on birth control. Let's get real. If we believe God created the universe, plant, animal and man - then we really don't believe a little piece of synthetic material is going to stop HIM from giving you a child. No pill. There's even a story out there about a child who survived being aborted. Sadly, her twin brother did not.

    The church's stance is about respect. Deep meaningful respect. Respect for each other. One is never to have "meaningless sex" with one's partner. How would my friend have felt if I'd let fly with the fact that our Holy Father John Paul the Great wrote a book when he was still a cardinal. A book about marriage. A book that stated it's every Catholic husband's duty to make certain his wife is satisfied during their love making.

    Sex should be nurturing. These days sex is recreation. These days it's cool to be an "urban cougar" - that is an older woman who goes after younger men and uses them like exercise equipment.

    When speaking about this with a friend of mine who's wife is a nurse, he explained that in many third world countries women are little more than cattle. They aren't allowed to say no to their husbands. Even when they are provided with condoms the men see it as a slight against their masculinity and refuse to use them. Here, the church's stance on reverence for all life is of utmost importance.

    "The meaning of life is found in giving and receiving love, and in this light human sexuality and procreation reach their true and full significance... Respect for life requires that science and technology should always be at the service of man and his integral development. Society as a whole must respect, defend and promote the dignity of every human person, at every moment and in every condition of that person's life."

    —Pope John Paul II Evangelium Vitae, 81

    Monday, November 14, 2005

    Wowie! I finished Anne Rice's new book "Christ the Lord" this weekend. It was sold out in book stores near me, but my friend Nancy managed to find me a copy for my birthday.

    I've been a fan of Anne Rice since her first book, though I ran out of time to read them some time after Servant of the Bones. As a person who doesn't exactly see things the way others do, I found her world of the unseen a comfort. Anne Rice paints lush portraits in print. I really enjoy that about her books. When she writes about New Orleans, you find yourself standing IN New Orleans. See the sights, taste the food!

    Her newest venture - Christ the Lord - is very much the same. I was taken back to ancient Jerusalem. I experienced walking in the desert and bathing in the Jordan river. I experienced seeing the Great Temple through the eyes of a child. I gained an understanding of the Holy Family that I really must call a gift!

    Most fascinating of all - I experienced my favorite person, Jesus Christ, discovering himself. Well done! Well done!

    Saturday, November 12, 2005


    Ah the delightful Catepillar Roll.

    Yes, I found a new sushi place. Fantastic!!!

    Thursday, November 10, 2005

    I guess the moral of this story is - never EVER give Hollywood permission to recreate events in your life.

    What's the story? George Lutz is my friend. One of the best and most wonderful people I know. Who's George Lutz? One of the family members who lived through a violent paranormal event that would later become a best selling book and top grossing movie called The Amityville Horror.

    But wait - you say - I heard the family came forward and said it was all a hoax. Not true. They've never said that. They've stuck by their story these past 30 years. However, that doesn't stop nay sayers from spreading lies.

    Dimension Films teamed up with Michael Bay and his film company "Platinum Dunes" to remake the movie. They called it a remake but aside of the title and the name Lutz - their 2005 film had nothing to do with the original.

    The film itself was really bad. A patchwork of at least 12 different horror films stolen by the "writers" and director. Most notably "The Shining" - having the father character running around with an ax and the mother character as buck toothed as Shelly Duval. Even similar dialog and events - where she says "let's just pack up and go" and where she finds what he's been up to behind closed doors... Top it off with the fact that the film makers are so arrogant they don't even bother to hide that they've "borrowed" from other films. Watching and reading interviews with them, they talk about each film they pirated. Also, actor Ryan Reynolds said a great number of times that he just didn't care what repercussions his portrayal of a living person had. He was paid to do a job so he did it. Melissa George claims to have read Kathy Lutz's diaries. Didn't happen.

    The Lutzes are all people of great faith after what they went through. Mr. Lutz's three daughters are all youth ministers. How do you explain to teens and children that the movie portraying your father as an insane ax wielding maniac is not true? Especially when the film's entire PR campaign touted it as a True Story...

    There is no truth in that film. There is a LOT of truth to what that family went through.

    Sadly, the courts decided Hollywood's first amendment rights allowed them to portray the family any way they wanted to.
  • Defamation Suite
  • From Zenit - a Catholic news agency

    Pope Encourages "Apostolic Drive" of Secular Franciscans

    VATICAN CITY, NOV. 9, 2005 ( Benedict XVI greeted representatives of the Secular Franciscan Order at a general audience and encouraged them to witness to the Gospel in the world.

    These spiritual children of St. Francis are taking part in their general chapter in Assisi, through Saturday. The event has attracted members from 57 chapters, in 46 countries, as well as some 30 observers and relators.

    Before taking leave of the 25,000 pilgrims gathered today in St. Peter's Square, the Pope expressed the hope that the Secular Franciscan's general chapter "will be for all of you an opportunity of renewed apostolic drive when it comes to spreading the Gospel everywhere, following the example of St. Francis of Assisi."

    The Secular Franciscan Order comprises lay people who follow the Rule and Franciscan spirituality. Its origins go back to 1221.

    Today the order has 435,000 professed members, in 99 countries. ZE05110904

    Wednesday, November 09, 2005

    Here we have Art Takes a Ride. A project between our local public transit and the school system. All the art work is done by the kids. I wish I could have gotten a photo of each piece inside the bus. Sad that I did not.

    Very cool bus.

    My good friend Paul enjoys the kid's art. Or maybe it's the bus fumes...

    Close up of the right side of the bus.

    Monday, November 07, 2005

    This is what I love about not driving. I bet most of the south bound cars missed this rainbow. It was so huge it took three photos to capture it all. I love my commute.

    Traffic on the way to lunch.
    Brittany (my niece) helped me make my first dreads this weekend. I have three. Rather like two and a half because I don't think the third one will hold. Brittany's too afraid of hurting me to make them very tight. I've been tightening them down at the roots on my own. The process itself is very fun. Locking down the roots can be problematic. I brought my fine toothed comb to work today to help with the process. I probably jumped the gun, in not getting the dark wax and not talking to my boss first. Whole Foods only had the light wax. They're a tad lumpy at the moment. Where I've got a good knot in some spots and no good knot in others. Wait and see.

    Friday, November 04, 2005

    To dread or not to dread. That is the question.

    My boss, God love her, got sick of messing with her hair. Trying to find the right way to straighten it and have a decent style. She's such a polished person I about came out of my shoes when she told me she used to wear a massive "fro."

    So she did a lot of homework, then went out and got sisterlocks.

  • SisterLocks

  • Sisterlocks are a thin version of dreads. It looks more or less like yarn hair.

    She looks great and there's no mess. No product. No harsh chemicals. Her hair has great movement and NO frizz! My favorite "side effect."

    I loved them and immediately began looking into getting dreads done. That was two years ago. Here I am again, looking at dreads. I hate my hair. One of the greatest aspects of being able to wear a habit some day is permanently covering my hair. It's curly and frizzy on the top, stick straight underneath. I spend hundreds of dollars on products that don't work. Curly hair is dry. So I buy moisturizing shampoos and conditioners which just cause FRIZZ! UGH!

    In my research I came across this article about dreads. Good stuff...

  • History of Dreads

  • With my aspirations to holiness, you can just imagine how good that sounded.

    I might dread it and just be done with it. If I can figure out how to post pictures I will.
    It has been less than 2 years since the Vatican gave its approval on wearing one's rosary around the neck. When I was a kid, it was considered a profane use of a holy item. Along came the pop star. U2's Bono and soccer favorite David Beckam began wearing rosaries around their necks. The kids who adore them followed suit.

    During The Year of the Rosary, the Vatican agreed that wearing a rosary around one's neck could create excellent opportunities for dialog on the faith. They even created a special brochure for teens to have with them and hand out as needed.

    Now we have a school that bans wearing rosaries around the neck because it MIGHT be construed as gang related.

  • Rosary Debate

  • From a Catholic news source we have a rather scary little article about actual twisting of one's faith by these kids.

  • Youth Gangs

  • To me, a rosary is a sign of one's faith. A reminder to "pray without ceasing" as the Bible advises us to do. Turn every thought, dream and wish to the Lord. Place it all in His hands.

    Rosaries have a special place in my faith formation. Our whole lives are faith formation. I feel very sad for folks who miss that. Anyway... The rosary is a time to contemplate the sacrifice Jesus made for us. God Himself, come to live the human condition. The rosary is my traveling prayer book. It goes everywhere with me. I favor wrapping it around my wrist over wearing it around my neck. I can pray at any time. Even just looking at it I am reminded of how I feel when I connect with God.

    That being the case, I think counseling and faith formation would help the situation. Tucking the rosary away isn't going to solve anything.

    Wednesday, November 02, 2005

    Jersey Girl.

    I just loved this film. I'm not a big Ben Affleck fan. Er... I'm not an Affleck fan at all. Probably the only person on the planet who cared very little for "Good Will Hunting."

    I rented this because I love Kevin Smith's movies. It wasn't what I was expecting. It wasn't Dogma. It wasn't Jay and Silent Bob. It wasn't the kind of slap stick comedy that has me laughing so hard I can skip my nightly sit ups for a week.

    This was touching and warm. A very courageous break out for Kevin Smith. One to watch over and over again.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2005

    Just as Christmas turns our thoughts to love and giving, Halloween - All Hallows Eve - turns our thoughts to the dead.

    A significant portion of horror writers, both book and film, are Catholic. If I recall correctly more than 3/4. I think it's our belief in the Communion of Saints - the dead with us always - that leads many of us into fascination with their physical appearance. For me, I've been seeing them since I was a kid.

    I recently visited Alcatraz. Not many folks know Alcatraz is a mispronunciation of it's true Spanish title "alcatraces." Alcatraces are a type of sea bird commonly called a boobie.
  • Los Alcatraces
  • I was closed up in the "haunted cell" in solitary, which is D Block. I had a very interesting experience. As soon as the door was closed and I was left in complete darkness and silence, a "movie" began to play in my head. There was no picture. Only feeling. I was the prisoner. Naked in the cell, he'd wedged himself into one corner and begun to go slowly mad. Rumor has it he hung himself. How could he do that if he was naked? No, there was no suicide. Yet, in another sense there was. He literally frightened himself to death. He scratched at the wall with his right hand continually. His heart beating faster and faster as he became more frightened. Until it just stopped. --end of movie.

    This poor man's soul is not trapped in that cell. He moved on long ago. But the memory of his passing is in the very fabric of the cell itself.

    The WB Network has a new series out called "Supernatural." Thus far, the series has dealt entirely with souls (people!) who've met with violent ends and somehow become empowered enough to wreak havoc in our physical world.

    Someone needs to have a long talk with the series writers about compassion, as well as the truth about all things non-physical. First off, lost souls - that is those who don't attain Heaven - need prayers. Second, they very rarely have the power to make much of a difference in the physical world. When they do, it's usually because they're either A) in the presense of a physical medium (think human battery) or B) demonic, using the form of a human. Now, item A, the human battery, has a limited charge. Pun intended. Hence poltergeist activity is usually sporatic. Energy comes and goes. Item B is your long term power. Prolonged and violent "hauntings." I put hauntings in quotes because prolonged demonic activity is properly called oppression.

    "Supernatural" portrays two brothers who call themselves "hunters." They hunt what most people don't believe in. In the first episode we have one brother discharging his pistol into the "head" of a ghost. Yeah, it looks and sounds cool on screen. But what good does it do? It's the presense of a second person that sends the ghost off. Not the pistol. In the end, they get their ghost to her "home" where she is left in the hands of her own to children - whom she murdered in a fit of dispair. All three souls are left in torment. But the brothers pat themselves on the back and say job well done.


    Therein lies my problem with most "paranormal investigators" as well as WB's fictional "hunters." Who prays for the lost souls? Who discerns the demonic? No one. They want to go in - see fantastic phenomenon - then walk out patting themselves on the back for their cool recordings and photos. Some victims have suffered violent hauntings for years because they had no religious background and the paranormal investigators were so interested in documentation they would never recommend calling a priest to end the trauma.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2005

    Life without Murphy is getting easier to accept.

    The idea that my furry friend who had such a fear of hunger, in the end lost his appetite and wittled down to half his normal weight has me thinking.

    Hermits regularly perform acts of penance. Especially for others who cannot. Self-sacrifice.

    One of my favorite light hearted Catholic websites is Today they've got a great article on the reasons behind fasting. Not just in Christianity but in Judaism and Islam as well.

    Good reading:
  • Think Fast

  • One of those famous ancient philosophers said "Nothing sharpens the mind like hunger." Very true indeed. I think that's why fasting helps us reach the divine. It sharens are attention to a pin-point, enabling us to see that "narrow gate."

    Monday, October 17, 2005

    Canonical hermits make a vow of poverty. Items owned are kept to a minimum. If you own your hermitage, its administration is given to someone else. One of the things a hermit can own is a cat. Why? Cats are a lesson in non-ownership. You never own a cat. You become their servant.

    Murphy Patrick O’Brien, a cat I served for 12 fun-filled years, went to Heaven on Saturday. He fought an 8 month battle with kidney failure. In the end, a common cold got the better of him.

    13 years ago, my stupid boyfriend decided it was cruel to keep a cat in the house. He let my kitten Casey out the front door. Casey got hit by a car before I even knew he’d been let out.

    On St. Patrick’s Day of 1993, I headed off to the pound to donate all of Casey’s food and toys. I was determined not to go look in the cat room. I needed a break from cat servitude. I dumped the goods and ran for the door. A howl stopped me dead in my tracks. It was the barrel chested howl of a sasquatch. There could be no other explanation. The howl came again and curiosity got the better of me and I headed towards the sound.

    In the very front cage of the cat room there sat this big orange cat. Well. His head was big. The rest of him was emaciated. He had brilliant yellow-green eyes. His fangs reached far below his upper lip. He one paw shot through the cage bars and grabbed a hold of my sweatshirt with claws that would have made Freddie Kruger proud. He howled again. Not a howl of fear, a determined howl. A howl of “Get me out of here.” He was NOT going to let go of my sweatshirt. His tag was marked “stray.” Their best guess based on his teeth was 4 years old.

    I disobeyed SPCA policy and took the cat out of his cage. He let go as soon as the door was open. I picked him up and once again he put a death grip on my sweatshirt and immediately began bumping his forehead against my chin and rubbing all the way up to my ear. I’d been claimed. Cats have scent glands in their foreheads. When they rub their head on you, they’ve claimed you.

    I went straight to the counter and said – I’ll take this one. I got scolded for taking him out. But they had to remove him from me sweatshirt and all, so I think they understood. He was still intact and would have to have his plumbing modified before leaving. I never did get that sweatshirt back.

    His first moments in his new home were spent in the bathtub. He stunk badly. Years on the street I guess. I found two cigarette burns on him. I later determined, due to his abject fear of couches, that a cigarette had been used to teach him not to get on the couch.

    His first meal was gulped down with such speed it promptly came back up. I would spend the next few years teaching him to eat slowly. If ever given access to free amounts of food, he would eat til he barfed. Every time. He did bulk back up nicely. The average cat weighs 9 pounds. At one point he reached 18. I managed to keep him at a steady 16 until his final year.

    Murphy had a difficult time adjusting to life indoors I don't believe in letting cats outdoors. Too many things can go wrong. They're far safer inside. And far more healthy. That being the case, he was terror on legs. He never walked anywhere. He ran. He jumped. He cavorted. He regularly pounced on the dog. He knocked down plants. He attacked my shoelaces. He’d regularly sit at the door and make his infamous sasquatch howl – begging to be let outside. He did escape now and then. Hunger always brought him home. Landing in the bathtub afterwards did little to stop his escape attempts.

    He began talking to his reflection in the mirror. I thought he might be lonely. I’d always wanted a Maine Coon. There was one in the paper, a mackerel tabby kitten. I brought home a $350 kitten to keep my $24 pound kitty company. Murphy tormented the little guy. Threw him around like he was a basketball.

    Yoshi loved to be groomed. The Big Moo detested it. Grooming and nail clipping sent him into howls of abuse. He carried on like I was gutting him with a spoon. It took me several years to convince him the brush did not equal a death sentence and the nail clippers did not equal amputation of a limb.

    Here’s a hint, never use those guillotine style pet clippers. They pull the cat’s claw as they clip. A nice new pair of people style toe-nail clippers works much better. Cut the claw sideways.

    With Murphy’s propensity to eat too-much too-fast then barf and the hairballs harfed up as a result of his aversion to grooming, I adopted the habit of wearing flip-flops around the house to avoid something wet and icky covering the bottom of my bare feet. Yoshi, being Maine Coon was soon as big as his big brother. The two wrestled all night. This prompted me to begin sleeping in ear plugs. Their favorite game was chasing each other up and down the hall way – earning special nicknames from my brother. Thunder-Butt and Lead-Foot.

    Murphy was a scrapper and very street smart. I've always known if someone broke in the house, Murphy would attack and try to protect me. His capacity for destruction earned him the nick name Murpinator. But he never figured out doors. Cabinet doors especially. Yoshi was always smarter that Murphy. Many days I’d get home from work to the howling. Yoshi would open a cabinet door, wait for Murphy to go in, then close it. I’d have to let him out. He never figured out the pushing part.

    He woke me up if I had bad dreams. The only time he ever wanted to sit in my lap was if I was crying about something. Usually some silly movie.

    At some point the Begging Stool was implemented. I have a small step I use to get things out of high cabinets. Murphy developed the habit of sitting on the Begging Stool while I cooked. Hoping for tidbits or pats on the head. He’d also sit on the toilet lid every morning and watch me get ready for work.

    The very fact that Murphy was an assertive cat – who might even be considered aggressive to some – had me worried when my favorite cousin announced she was having a baby. What would Murphy do with a baby? He certainly surprised me when I discovered that baby could pull his hair and drag him around by his tail and he LOVED it! Murphy had obviously been previously owned by a man. He loved the rough stuff and HATED all that girlie affection stuff.

    Once while babysitting her, I gave her a bath. She screamed in delight the ways kids sometimes do. Well, the Big Moo flew like a rocket down the hall and into the tub. I had a momentary flash of terror as I had time to envision him shredding her as he hit the water. But that didn’t happen. He sat down in the tub and began licking her face.

    My uncle Art, on the other side of the family, wouldn’t allow me to baby-sit. He’d claim I was just looking for fresh meat for my mountain lion.

    Life was fun. Constant entertainment. Who needed TV? Years passed. Seasons changed. People came into my life and went out again. But there was always Yoshi and Murphy. Being a typical Maine Coon, Yoshi grew for a great many years. Far longer than the average cat grows. He eventually outweighed his “big” brother by 12 pounds. Yet, as Murphy aged and grew weaker and thinner, Yoshi still always let him win fights.

    Then in April of this year Yoshi passed away. Murphy didn't handle it well. Being that Murphy tended to break things, and that he fought with Yoshi so much, I think he felt he broke Yoshi. He wouldn't let me near him for days after Yoshi passed. His appetite declined. He got lethargic. At first the vets told me Murphy was just grieving. This normally 16 pounder was now just under 9. It was natural they said. But a cat who fears hunger does not walk away from his food. I took Murphy to a new vet who diagnosed him with kidney failure. In the same breath this vet told me Murphy clearly had a tremendous will to live – with the way he’d fought 4 vet techs to get catheterized – and recommended I put Murphy to sleep.

    That simply wasn’t going to happen. As long as he was fighting, I’d fight with him. So they loaded me up with Ringers Solution which Murphy took via a needle twice a day for the rest of his life. Which wasn’t to be much longer.

    Chronic Renal Failure is actually pretty easy to handle, if you get Terumo Ultra Thin 20 gauge needles and always warm the fluids. Never microwave them. Just dump the bag in a bucket of hot water for a few minutes. Be sure to get puppy or kitty on a full spectrum B vitamin right away. They're a lot more likely to pass away from a heart attack or stroke due to potassium shortage. The potassium is flushed out of their bodies by the constant flow of water. Makes one think twice about that 8 glasses of water a day deal, huh? Murp-oh didn't like the gel potassium at all. I got him a liquid version from Whole Foods.

    I have to thank the wonderful folks at Persian and Himalayan Rescue for their kindness and patience with me. I fought with myself for weeks over the idea of getting a friend for Murphy. He was back to talking to himself in the mirror. I had begun looking at Persians because of their reputation for gentleness. Yoshi had spoiled Murphy. Always letting him win fights, Murphy really had no clue that he was smaller and much weaker than he’d been before. I was afraid that if I got another adult cat, Murphy would play too hard and hurt himself.

    I eventually adopted a 7 year old lilac and cream point Himmie. Her name is Sophie. While she looks like a little lady, she really is a wanna-be bad-kitty. What ever naughty things Murphy did, Sophie would do too. Unlike Yoshi, who always held back then ratted Murphy out. If Murphy broke a potted plant just to sleep in the dirt, Sophie slept in it with him. His health began to improve. The two of them enjoyed Feline Futures, a kitty raw food program. It’s a difficult thing for a vegetarian to prepare raw meat meals. But I knew Murphy was fighting for his life and couldn’t deny him. I also began giving him Azmira’s Kidney Biotic. I think that helped a lot.

    He never complained about the needles. As long as I wasn’t hugging him or trying to brush him, he’d put up with anything. Then about two weeks ago, his weight began slipping again. Murphy never was one for luxury. No $40 plush pet bed for him. He preferred a box. Any old box. There was a plant box by the front door that I kept finding him in. I think he just caught a cold. He began to produce copious amounts of snot. Back we went to the vet. While they found his lungs clear and no sign of infection, they put him on antibiotics anyway. The antibiotics totally killed his appetite. I took to force-feeding him chicken liver just to get something in his tummy.

    By Saturday the 15th, he wasn't aware of much any more. He was drowning, more or less. He wouldn't let Sophie or I near him any more. I bundled him up in a towel and we sat in the sun for some time on Saturday. He always loved the sun.

    He was pretty out of it. My upstairs neighbors have a toddler. His jumping, crying and bumping makes me nuts. But he was out walking with his Grandma and they stopped to say hello. With Murphy’s love of kids, he actually had a positive reaction to the little guy. It's the most conscious he'd been in two days. After the boy left, he tucked his head inside the blanket and began to cry. Murphy has never cried. I knew it was time.

    The vet had an open appointment. We took it. I knew it was the right thing to do. I couldn't sit back and watch him suffocate. The strange part is, putting Murphy to sleep goes against my beliefs. Only God has the power to give life and take life away. God took Yoshi. But I sent Murphy to God. And yet, I feel it's Yoshi that I murdered. It's so confusing.

    It was really difficult leaving him at the pet hospital. Even thought the vet said he was gone, I knew he was still in there. I had a tough time with that. I wondered if, because it wasn’t his time, what if he was trapped in there? Then I sort of sensed him leave. As if a door in the room opened then closed again. I stayed with his body for about 45 minutes or so. Then I went home to cry.

    I was ok for about 5 hours. Then I totally freaked out. I wanted so badly to take it back. I totally lost it. Sophie was terrified and went to hide under the bed. She didn’t come out until after I’d gone to sleep.

    I began feeling better after mass yesterday. I had a vision of Jesus. Not the way I normally see Jesus, but Jesus the King, in a crown and purple robe. He walked up to me, and took out my heart. He replaced it with a bigger heart - the odd part being that this heart is blue. I felt peaceful.

    The house got so quiet after Yoshi passed. Now it's a tomb. Murphy never walked anywhere. He ran. He trotted. He made a lot of noise. He got up on tables when he knew he shouldn't and knocked things down just to make sure I knew he'd been bad.

    Yoshi was utterly dependent on me. Murphy was the opposite. If I walked out the front door and never came back, Murphy would have been ok. Even if he had to chew the lids off canned food, he'd survive.

    It's a whole different kind of love, you know? He didn't need me. But he liked having me around.
    I sure liked having him around. God bless you Big Moo.

    Monday, October 10, 2005


    My friend Mario and his dad took me to see a Croatian folk dance troop this weekend. It was fantastic. The colors, the music, the dance - it really was a feast for the eyes and the heart.

    The troop is called Zagreb Folk Dance Ensemble. They even have a CD you can buy on

    Friday, October 07, 2005

    Christian Vegetarians Unite!!

    Not long ago my brother "informed" me that Catholics don't pray for animals. HUH?? was my reply. On what planet? Saints like Francis of Assisi and Martin de Porres viewed animals as our brothers and sisters in Christ. Created by the Divine, just as we were. Sadly, it's pretty common to find Christians out there who are deeply in need of formation.

    Here's a lovely article from Go Veg about Pope John Paul II,

    Pope John Paul II Taught Love for Animals

    As Catholics around the world mourn the passing of His Holiness John Paul II, non-Catholic animal lovers remember his dream about animals.

    Pope John Paul II taught love for animals more than any other pope in recent memory.

    In 1990, His Holiness proclaimed that "the animals possess a soul and men must love and feel solidarity with our smaller brethren." He went on to say that all animals are "fruit of the creative action of the Holy Spirit and merit respect" and that they are "as near to God as men are." Animal lovers everywhere were overjoyed!

    The Holy Father reminded people that all living beings, including animals, came into being because of the "breath" of God. Animals possess the divine spark of life--the living quality that is the soul--and they are not inferior beings, as factory farmers, fur farmers, and others who exploit animals for profit would have us believe.

    After he became Pope John Paul II, His Holiness went to Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis, and spoke of the saint's love for animals. He declared, "We, too, are called to a similar attitude."

    PETA is grateful that His Holiness spoke out so beautifully for animals and their souls, and we hope that his successor will also speak out for them with the same love and compassion. Catholics can honor his teachings by incorporating compassion for animals more fully into their own lives.

    Holy Scripture tells us that God created the world to be vegetarian.

    Genesis, Chapter 1 Verse 29-30, from the Jerusalem Bible - the official bible of the Holy See

    God also said, "Look, to you I give all the seed-bearing plants everywhere on the surface of the earth, and all the trees with seed-bearing fruit; this will be your food. And to all the wild animals, all the birds of heaven and all the living creatures that creep along the ground, I give all the foliage of the plants as their food." And so it was.

    Most modern translations have "interpreted" this text for us rather than leaving us to gleen our own understanding. They would have us believe that plant and animal was intended for our food. In truth we only began this struggle between man and beast after man's fall from grace. We are intended tol return to this happy vegetarian existance.

    Isaiah, Chapter 11, Verse 6

    The wolf shall dwell with the lamb and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fattened calf together and a little child shall lead them.
    Happy Feast Day!

    A very happy and blessed Feast of the Holy Rosary to you! Today is a great day to lift your heart and soul in prayer! YIPEE! Do something kind today. For some random individual. A smile, a kind word, buy a cup of coffee and a sandwhich for a homeless person. Raid your closet and donate clothes. You'll feel better for the purge.

    Thursday, October 06, 2005

    Welcome to the first day of my blog.

    I don't know how well I'll do with this thing. The idea is fun. But I am so easily distracted. I read a headline and have to run off to pray.

    So what's a Secular Franciscan? you ask...

    St. Francis of Assisi founded the Order of the Friars Minor, meaning Lesser Brothers from Matthew 25:40. The second order, later called Poor Clares, was that of the nuns. The third order, that of the laity, the Brothers and Sisters of Penance. The Brothers and Sisters of Penance would later be called the Secular Franciscan Order. SFO for short. The Secular Franciscans are the only third order that is a true order.

    And what's this hermit business?

    Back in 1982 or 83 some time, Pope John Paul II reinstituted the orders of consecrated laity. The order of virgins, hermits and widow(er)s consecrated to God under their respective diocese. In my case archdiocese. Hermits, sometimes called anchorites (anchoress for women), are consecrated under Canon 603. After a time (years!) of discernment and formation, perpetual vows of chastity, poverty and obedience are taken. Of the three types of consecrated laity, hermits are considered religious. Hermits can be given a religious name and a habit. The white habit of the hermit, pending permission of the diocese.

    Doesn't a hermit live in the woods? What are you doing online?

    Back in the day, the Requiem Mass was said for a consecrated hermit or anchorite. That was the end of their life as they knew it. Hermits would sometimes wander off into the woods or the desert. An anchorite remained with the church. Both spent the bulk of their day in prayer and solitude. Great penances were done for the salvation of souls.

    This day, mass is still said for the consecration. But just regular mass. Each hermit to be consecrated writes their own Rule of Life, to be approved by their bishop. In my case archbishop. Rules are custom fitted for one's life as a hermit. My calling is to be a hermit in the heart of the city.

    My greatest penance is putting up with my brother: