Saturday, January 31, 2009

Didn't make it to Holy Communion today...

I'm playing in a volleyball tournament tomorrow, so I won't be able to make it to mass. I went today at 4:30 pm, after Dominic's soccer game.

I didn't make it to Holy Communion though, for two reasons.

1. My kids were so disruptive, and sometimes I had to grab one while I was still holding on to another, to make them stay put or behave. I was certainly in no spiritual readiness to receive Jesus. I always hesitate in times like those though, because I don't know if, out of respect when I am just so darn mad, I should refrain from receiving Holy Communion, or if it is the devil attacking me at that precise moment when I am feeling out of sorts and need Holy Communion the most, and making me feel I should not go.

2. The choir did that unorthodox thing again, where they sing the whole first part of the Eucharistic Prayer except for the words of Jesus which they let the priest say. The Instruction Redemptionis Sacrementum has this to say, in Chapter Three :
[52.] The proclamation of the Eucharistic Prayer, which by its very nature is the climax of the whole celebration, is proper to the Priest by virtue of his Ordination. It is therefore an abuse to proffer it in such a way that some parts of the Eucharistic Prayer are recited by a Deacon, a lay minister, or by an individual member of the faithful, or by all members of the faithful together. The Eucharistic Prayer, then, is to be recited by the Priest alone in full.[131]

Oh, and it also mentions this:

53.] While the Priest proclaims the Eucharistic Prayer “there should be no other prayers or singing, and the organ or other musical instruments should be silent”,[132] except for the people’s acclamations that have been duly approved, as described below.

[54.] The people, however, are always involved actively and never merely passively: for they “silently join themselves with the Priest in faith, as well as in their interventions during the course of the Eucharistic Prayer as prescribed, namely in the responses in the Preface dialogue, the Sanctus, the acclamation after the consecration and the “Amen” after the final doxology, and in other acclamations approved by the Conference of Bishops with the recognitio of the Holy See”.[133]
Somehow, I don't think the people who prepare the celebrations of mass really care what is correct and what is incorrect, and probably don't care to find out why it is incorrect either... sigh... So basically, I went to a mass, that turned out to be a Liturgy of the Word, with some protestant "Last Supper" memorial celebration mixed in. In other words, at this point, the priest utters so little of the consecration part of the Eucharistic Prayer that it is debatable whether the host is actually a host. So I presume that I did not miss anything at all, since it is actually debatable that anyone attending that mass even received real Hosts at all.

You know, at least once a month or so, I really wonder why I still bother. When you add up all the negativity towards mass on the part of my husband, the energy and planning it takes to actually make it to mass without the support of said husband, the behaviour of my children at mass when they are there, (they are often the only ones, so they seem even louder in a quiet, echo-y place where noise travels so well) and to top it off, we don,t even get a real mass anyway. Why DO I bother? Really?

And yet, the one thing I fear most, is that my children will NOT have Jesus in their hearts, that they will reject God and his teachings, that they will lead lives far from grace and not know God as He wishes them to know him. That scares me more than anything else.

Saint John Bosco - Jan 31

This is my favourite saint - It is is feast day today. Jean-Alexandre is named for him. Dominic is named for Dominic Savio who went to the school for boys that John Bosco opened. I have always liked St John Bosco, and since working with Salesians in a home for street kids in Paraguay, I appreciate him even more. An amazing Saint!

This doesn't even begin to tell it... he's also one of the incorruptables.

John Bosco was born in Turin, Italy, on August 16, 1815. His parents were poor farmers. When John was two, his father died. John's mother struggled to keep the family together. As soon as he was old enough, John, too, worked as hard as he could to help his mother. He was intelligent and full of life. John started to think about becoming a priest. He didn't say anything to his mother because he knew they couldn't afford the seminary education. Besides, his mother needed help at home. So John waited and prayed and hoped. Finally, a holy priest, St. Joseph Cafasso, became aware of John's desire to be a priest. Father Cafasso helped him enter the seminary. John had to work his way through school. He learned to do all kinds of trades. He was a carpenter, a shoemaker, a cook, a pastry maker and a farmer. He did many other jobs as well. He could never have guessed how much this practical experience would help others later. John became a priest in 1841. As a priest, Don Bosco, which means Father Bosco, began his great ministry. He gathered together homeless boys and taught them trades. This way they would not have to steal or get into trouble. By 1850, there were 150 boys living at his home for boys. Don Bosco's mother was the housekeeper. At first, people did not understand what Don Bosco was trying to do. They were afraid that the boys would never really turn out well. But Don Bosco proved that they would. "Do you want to be Don Bosco's friend?" he would ask each new boy who came to him. "You do?" he would ask happily. "Then, you must help me save your soul," he would conclude. Every night he wanted his boys to say three Hail Mary's, so that the Blessed Mother would help them keep away from sin. He also recommended that they receive the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion often and with love. One of Don Bosco's boys became a saint, St. Dominic Savio. Don Bosco started his own religious order of priests and brothers. They were called the Salesians, after St. Francis de Sales. An order of Salesian sisters was started, too, with the help of St. Mary Mazzarello. Don Bosco died on January 31, 1888. The entire city of Turin lined the streets to pay him tribute. His funeral became a joyous proclamation of thanksgiving to God for the life of this wonderful man. A young parish priest who had once met Don Bosco later became Pope Pius XI. He had the joy of declaring Don Bosco a saint in 1934. "Education is something from the heart, and God alone is its master; we cannot succeed in anything unless God gives us the key to the hearts of these children."-St. John Bosco

Friday, January 30, 2009

More Poetry

From Gerard Manly Hopkins, that my grade eleven English teacher, Mr. Maclean, had me discover...

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–89). Poems. 1918.

Pied Beauty

GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.
I like his style. It's different. And the way he uses words or turns father into a verb...
The Windhover

To Christ our Lord

I CAUGHT this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.

Save the Beluga Whales...

I think I signed on to this Care2 newsletter because they had something to do with human rights somewhere... but since then I have been receiving e-mails like the following:

Hello Jeanne,

Last week, the U.S. state of Alaska announced its plans to challenge the federal decision to protect Cook Inlet beluga whales under America's Endangered Species Act in court. America's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service declared the whales, with a population of roughly 300, an endangered species in October 2008.Express your disappointment by signing the petition letter to Alaska's Governor, Sarah Palin >>

The state of Alaska is well known for its amazing wildlife and stunning natural beauty. But scientists have determined that if nothing is done, these magnificent whales that may have once numbered as many as 1,300 are headed toward extinction.

You may recall Governor Sarah Palin's now-famous words, "Drill, baby drill!" spoken during during her 2008 vice presidential bid under Republican John McCain. Now, Governor Palin needs to hear from us that endangered animal species should come before state-specific projects and shipping port expansions! >>

Thank you,
Robyn E. Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

P.S. Looking for a little more background on this issue? Read about it on one of our new cause channels.

I have nothing against beluga whales, but I am getting tired of all the "save the whales" and "save the dogs" and "save the whatevers". Maybe when we start caring about all those dying human babies, I might find it within me to care for dying whales again.

Robert Frost

I have always liked poetry, and just thought I would share some here:

The Road not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
two roads diverged in a wood,
and I -- I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Copyright © 1962, 1967, 1970 by Leslie Frost Ballantine.

Robert Frost on his own poetry:"One stanza of 'The Road Not Taken' was written while I was sitting on a sofa in the middle of England: Was found three or four years later, and I couldn't bear not to finish it. I wasn't thinking about myself there, but about a friend who had gone off to war, a person who, whichever road he went, would be sorry he didn't go the other. He was hard on himself that way." Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, 23 Aug. 1953.

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Saint of the Day - St Thomas Aquinas

You know, I've never read any of his writings. I know it's good stuff. But I've also heard it's pretty heavy stuff. Maybe I should try it anyway...

Thomas lived in the thirteenth century. He was the son of a noble family of Italy. He was very intelligent, but he never boasted about it. He knew that his mind was a gift from God. Thomas was one of nine children. His parents hoped that he would become a Benedictine abbot some day. The family castle was in Rocca Secca, just north of Monte Cassino where the monks lived. Thomas was sent to the abbey for schooling when he was five. When he was eighteen, he went to Naples to finish his studies. There he met a new group of religious men called the Order of Preachers. Their founder, St. Dominic, was still living. Thomas knew he wanted to become a priest. He felt that he was called to join these men who would become known in popular language as "Dominicans." His parents were angry with him. When he was on his way to Paris to study, his brothers kidnapped him. They kept him a prisoner in one of their castles for over a year. During that time, they did all they could to make him change his mind. One of his sisters, too, came to persuade him to give up his vocation. But Thomas spoke so beautifully about the joy of serving God that she changed her mind. She decided to give her life to God as a nun. After fifteen months, Thomas was finally freed to follow his call. St. Thomas wrote so well about God that people all over the world have used his books for hundreds of years. His explanations about God and the faith came from Thomas' great love for God. He was effective because he wasn't trying to make an impression on anyone. He just wanted with all his heart to offer the gift of his life to Jesus and the Church. St. Thomas is one of the greatest Doctors of the Church. Around the end of 1273, Pope Gregory X asked Thomas to be part of an important Church meeting called the Council of Lyons. While traveling to the meeting, Thomas became ill. He had to stop at a monastery at Fossanova, Italy, where he died. It was March 7, 1274. He was only forty-nine. St. Thomas was declared a saint in 1323 by Pope Paul II; Pius V declared him a Doctor of the Church in 1567; Leo XIII declared him master of all scholastic doctors in 1879 and the universal patron of universities, colleges, and schools in 1880. May the message of St. Thomas "to seek the truth in charity" penetrate our heart and mind.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Canadian Indian Policy
'The lives of Indians are hugely governed by law, to a degree that would surely be unacceptable in the mainstream."

In that one line, perhaps, is captured the spirit of Gordon Gibson's remarkable new book A New Look at Canadian Indian Policy: Respect the Collective --Promote the Individual.

The weight of the Indian Act -- a piece of legislation more than a century old in its basic precepts -- bows the legs and strains the backs of natives on an almost daily basis. It governs everything from their relationship with Ottawa to their right to own property to the very definition of who is an Indian. (By some estimates, Gibson points out, there are as many as 750,000 Canadians -- in addition to the 750,000 who already have Indian legal status -- who would claim it if the law provided a more inclusive definition.)

Were your life and mine so defined and constrained by statute, we might long ago have rebelled against Ottawa and overthrown the government by force.

This is an interesting article by Lorne Gunter, and sounds like an interesting book by Gordon Gibson : A New Look at Canadian Indian Policy: Respect the Collective --Promote the Individual.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My rant on the The Abortion Law

... or rather, the lack of one. Oh and on arguing with people who must always be right, no matter what...

I got myself into some political discussion this morning. Not because I wanted to. I didn't. Political discussions with said person don,t always go over so well. He made a comment, more than one in fact, and eventually, instead of pretending I hear nothing I had to add my two-cents worth. It started off with Harper being compared to Bush. As in he wants to go to war. A quick reminder to the person that the LIBERAL governement sent the Canadian soldiers to Afghanistan in the first place.

So he made some comment about comments Harper has made about how Israel should be able to attack anyone they please.

Ummm, yeah... that is most likely the telephone game version of Harper saying "Israel should be able to defend itself" which is a common conservative view. One that I don't necessarily agree or disagree with. But I've been into that already.

We got on the subject of Obama (the saviour, whoohooo), and I had to mention that Obama, as perfect as he masy seem, IS in favour of partial-birth abortion, and I went on to describe what partial-birth abortion is: the sticking of a pair of scissors into the skull of an only partly delivered baby (body still inside mother, because otherwise it would be murder...), and the draining of the brain through a tube, in order to kill it. I told him BUSH made it illegal, and OBAMA wants to bring it back.

And he didn't believe me. He didn't believe that such a thing existed, let alone that Obama wanted to bring it back. In fact, it couldn't exist, said he, "because according to the law, you can't have an abortion after 4 months."

According to the law? BWAHHH HA HA HA!

What law?

In the States, as in Canada, there is no law limiting abortion. You can have an abortion until 9 months and noone can say a word.

He still didn't believe me. I insisted. He finally told me I was just getting it off those extremist sites of mine.

Oh how I love to be called an extremist.

"Oh, but I'm not calling YOU an extremist."

Yeah. OK. WHATever. Hanging out with "extremists", believing the same thing as "extremists" referring to "extremist's" pages, that does not make me an extremist by association. You know what? Never mind... what I was just going to say was extremely rude. But I'm still thinking it.

Ok, so get this. Once I got the chance to go on the internet and look it up myself, I find abortion law in Canada on Wikipedia. And here is what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:

Abortion in Canada is not limited by the law. While some non-legal obstacles
exist, Canada is one of only a few nations with no legal restrictions on abortion. Regulations and accessibility varies between provinces.

Polls continue to show that a majority of Canadians believe abortion should remain
legal in some circumstances (see Opinion polls, below). Over 110,000 abortions are performed in Canada every year, that represents a ratio of about 30 abortions to every 100 live births, one of the highest rates among developed countries.[1]

Not only that, but I also came across a beautiful article written by non other than the lovely EXTREMIST feminist Joyce Arthur herself and Carolyn Egan, entitled "We Don’t Need a Law Against Abortion" In their own words:
As the only democratic country in the world with no legal restrictions against abortion, Canada serves as a valuable model for other countries.

I beg to differ. I hardly see what the point is in being able to kill your 9 month old fetus when it could obviously survive very well outside the womb and when people are going all the way to China just to be able to adopt. They also say "Let’s be clear — There is absolutely no justification for regulating abortion via criminal or civil law. That is no “radical feminist” proposition, but one based on evidence, common sense, and the widely-accepted belief that women deserve equality."

No of course not, neither radical, nor feminist.

You know what the problem with special interest groups is? The problem is they become so jealous of their perceived rights that any rights for any other group are viewed as an infringement on their own rights. We must never EVER give in to giving a fetus rights, because THAT would take away women's rights. Heck, men's rights are also becoming an issue thanks to feminism. Didn't anyone ever teach these people how to share?

But I digress. I printed out the Wikipedia and Joyce Arthur/Carolyn Egan articles, and I asked said person, "Is Wikipedia normally an extremist site?"


"Then listen to this..." And I read it to him.

Oh, but all of sudden, Wikipedia is no longer a suitable source because "Anyone can just go and write whatever in wikipedia."

Ok, so how about this article from Joyce Arthur herself, entitled, "We don't need an Abortion law."

"They don't need one."

The thing I love about the right-wing people (dare I say extremists?) is how they are so FRICKEN CONSISTENT. Here we go from "There is no way that partial-birth abortion can exist because according to the law you can't have an abortion after 4 months." to "They don't need an abortion law."

Yep. And I'm the extremist. I'm the one who doesn't know what she's talking about. I'm the one who just gobs in info from doubtful sources.

I suppose now, if we go back to Obama and parital-birth abortion he will now admit that partial-birth abortion is absolutely acceptable. Just because joyce Arthur said so.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I wonder...

1. Why is it that you can take a sleeping 3 year old out of his carseat, put him into the stroller, walk around with him, put him back into his carseat, and back into the stroller again, and back into the carseat, drive home, take him out, bring him in, take off his boots, all without him making a peep. But as soon as you try to lay him down in his bed, he wakes up and resists?

Perhaps the answer is to be had in the very sleepy but plaintive voice I heard this morning when I tried putting him to bed.

"You will leave me."

The child knows, darn it. As long as he is in a carseat or a stroller, I am nearby. Put him in bed, and I will go off to the next room and busy myself there. Even asleep he knows this.


2. Why does Barbie have hair so thick that if she were alive she wouldn't be able to put two hands around her ponytail, while I am stuck with hair so thin, my pinkie finger can easily wrap itself around the ponytail?

Life is NOT fair.


3. Why do winter coats always make me look like I have an enormous body but very skinny legs?

And, not completely related, but sort-of... why did a slightly above-average height woman like me have to have enormous feet? I'm only slightly tall... I'm sure a size 9 or 10 would have been just fine for my height. And it would have made my life so much easier. Aww, who needs toes anyway? We'll just cut them off.

Good News for Guantanamo from Amnesty Int.

Just got this in my e-mail:

Hours ago, President Obama signed executive orders to close Guantánamo Bay and end the use of torture. This is amazing news -- first that it happened at all, but secondly that it happened so quickly. This would never have happened without your hard work. You deserve enormous credit for today’s actions. Your tireless campaigning built pressure that couldn’t be ignored. Almost 150,000 of you signed the petition. Thousands visited last year’s Guantánamo Cell Tour. And several hundred of you met face to face with government officials just this past year. You should be of proud of your accomplishment today.

There are some important concerns however about the executive orders:

There is potentially a year-long review before detainees know their fate. This
timeline should be expedited whenever prudent and possible.
There is no commitment to accept any detainee into the U.S., something Amnesty International has called for. Without this, other countries may also be unwilling to take detainees.
The order does not commit to prosecutions either through federal courts or under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The order only starts a process to look at the feasibility of doing so.

This is good news. I'm glad that he does seem to be ready keep promises like these. I'm just worried about the other promises he has made, such as making FOCA law. I hope he won't be so quick to act on that one. In fact, I'd rather he just forget it altogether. But that's probably too much to hope for... Free detainees from Guantanamo, but let's make the slaughter of millions of innocent babies even more widespread and accessible.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Great speech. But what does it mean?

Lorne Gunter, National Post
Editorial Page, Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Well, at least Barack Obama doesn't have that goofy, Gomer Pyle grin on his face the way George W. Bush did every time he made an important speech.

Mr. Bush often had serious things to say and sometimes said them very well. His Sept. 20, 2001, address to Congress -- "you are with us or you are with the terrorists" -- is a case in point. (Umm, I beg to differ... I believe that was a bit extreme myself. I don't believe that it was so black or white. Jeanne) Still, Mr. Bush frequently had a tough time getting listeners to believe he was taking important subjects seriously because of his infuriating cat-that-swallowed-the-canary smirk.

By contrast, Mr. Obama can deliver a stem-winder with all the gravitas and pace it deserves ... perfectly punctuated ... by poignant ... pauses. So powerful are his oratorical skills, it's easy to imagine him prompting swells of patriotic pride in a fast food worker while simply ordering fries.

But did President Obama truly say anything in his inaugural address?

Barack Obama may yet prove to be the Democrats' Ronald Reagan, their Great Communicator. But for that to happen, there must be substance behind his words. He must have something to communicate. There must be solutions shrouded in the rhetoric.

"On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics." Did he mean the petty squabbles started by Democrats or just those that originate with Republicans? Did he mean the past eight years or the past 16?

Most liberals here and in the United States are so obsessed with the splinters in their opponents' eyes they never see the planks in their own. For Republicans, for instance, Bill Clinton was every bit as divisive a figure as George W. Bush.

But liberals never saw that. Certainly there were petty grievances and recriminations under Mr. Clinton as much as under Mr. Bush, at least within the United States. Does President Obama, then, mean his party must cease it partisan sniping and finger-pointing, or only the Republicans? How much of a unifier he will be depends on the answer.

Following a bright, airy opus (perfect for the crisp, clear day and evocative of the first great American composer, Aaron Copland), Mr. Obama equated the nuclear threat from Iran and elsewhere with "the spectre of a warming planet."

Really? That sounds a lot like something Al Gore might have said and he is hardly a unifying leader.

The financial crisis was largely the fault of "greed and irresponsibility on the part of some," but everyone failed "to make hard choices," even consumers. That places no blame on Bush-era policies or actors directly. But what about the more cryptic, "As for our common defence, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals?" Was that standard American exceptionalism, or a dig at Gitmo, waterboarding and the electronic surveillance of Mr. Bush's war on terror?

"For those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say ... you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you." Strong stuff that even hawkish Americans would support.

Mr. Obama was Kennedy-esque when he offered, "To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect." Know that you will be judged "on what you can build, not what you destroy."

But just what did he mean when he said, "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent ... we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist"? Unclench the fist waved at the West or unclench the fist grasped tight around your own people's throats?

Will Mr. Obama deal with dictators only if they cease to be tyrants, or even if they remain tyrants, but so long as they stop beaking at the U. S.?

As forcefully and eloquently as he speaks, it is often difficult to understand what Mr. Obama proposes from his words. He says things in such a way that each hearer may take from his addresses what the hearer wants.

So we will need to see what legislation and executive action Mr. Obama proposes. Only then will we be able to decide whether he is a true uniter or just a clever sophist.

I didn't even bother to watch the inauguration or listen to the speech or even read it in the news afterwards... and yeah... what IS Obama all about? Frankly, he scares me more than Bush. Bush was obvious. Bush had good points and bad points, and his bad points were obvious, but I could handle that. I still wish he hadn't gone to war on Iraq, I think that getting rid of Saddam Hussein could have been done perhaps in a different way than Americans bombing in and taking control. They could have found a way to support the Iraquis people and let them take the lead instead of having to be in charge, and no, of course oil had nothing to do with it... but whatever. Saddam Hussein is gone. And I prefer the evil I know and can do something about to the evil I don't know... What IS Obama going to do? I think a few people are in for a surprise. In an ideal world, it would be me, in for a surprise, and Obama turns out to be the great president all these people think he is going to be, but I'm pretty sceptical about that... I fear for the lives of millions of innocent babies and other weaker/defenseless members of society... and I fear for the family as we know it today.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A memorable week-end

It all started with an e-mail from my sister Rose Anne, saying that she wanted to visit a friend in Montreal on the week-end of the 17, and asking if she could come stay with us. Now there is nothing suspicious about Rose Anne coming to stay with us, although I was pleasantly surprised that she was coming back so soon after the last time. (Christmas) So I thought nothing of it, not even after Marc told me we couldn't switch ice-fishing to that weekend because he already had something. He wouldn't tell me what. Okay, fine, whatever.

It was when I got another e-mail from Rose Anne, telling me she'd call as soon as she knew what time she would be arriving, that something suddenly clicked in my brain. She's coming on the very same weekend that Marc had something planned that he wouldn't tell me about? That was the first time I thought maybe, whatever it was, included me too.

I went to get some gin a few days before Rose Anne was to arrive, and called Marc asking if he wanted anything from the liquor store. He said, "I suppose you're going to get yourself a big bottle of gin?" I laughed and said both Rose Anne and I enjoyed gin and tonic. So he said no he didn't want anything, and we hung up. But he called two minutes later to tell me to buy Rose Anne a bottle as well, and put it in a gift bag.

My husband is buying gifts for my sister? Things just get more and more suspicious. I figure now, my sister is probably coming to babysit? Or something... Marc is not giving her gifts for no reason... it has to be to thank her for something. But what?

Then, on Thursday, the phone rings, one of the kids answers and takes it downstairs to Marc. Then they mention it was Uncle Cecil on the phone. There is nothing suspicious about Cecil calling the house, and he often does talk to Marc, but he rarely talks to Marc without talking to me as well. Which made me think he might be involved as well. Unless he was calling to talk about repairs to the house or something. But then he called the house Saturday morning and talked to Rose Anne too, and probably would not have talked to me had I not made a comment about how members of my family were calling the house and not talking to me anymore.

Then Rose Anne starts going through my clothes, to see if there was something nice that the shawl she gave me would go with. I thought that was weird too, because Rose Anne does not often bother herself with my clothes. Finally, at some point, when I was sewing stuff for her, she told me I should get dressed, do my hair and makeup, because apparently Marc and I were supposed to go out to dinner with Jane and Cecil. She wanted me to wear an evening dress with her shawl. I balked at that.

I knew something was up. So I was not surprised at the idea of doing my hair or putting makeup on, but if we were going out to dinner, at noon, I did NOT want to be wearing an evening dress and end up way over dressed. I know of no place or occasion where you can wear an evening dress at noon.

So I showered, did my hair, put on makeup, but kept the same clothes. I waited for Marc to get dressed or something. I mentioned to Rose Anne that I knew they were up to something, that I didn't know what it was, but I knew they were up to something, and I guess she told Marc, because he suddenly started making comments about starting work on the pergola (in the dead of winter, while it is snowing outside). Or maybe cleaning up the shop downstairs all afternoon. Nice try Marc, but I know you well enough to know that I will never find you working outside, on a pergola, in the dead of winter.

Finally, Marc gets a call on his cell phone at about 1:30. Since Rose Anne said Cecil and Jane were taking me out to dinner at 12:00, I was beginning to wonder what all the contradictions were about. Marc suddenly started berating me about making plans for dinner with Cecil and Jane and not telling him, and now they were waiting for us and we were late, and... then he told me to go get dressed.

Go get dressed? But how? Rose Anne says evening gown, Marc won't tell me, because I should know where we are going since I'm the one who made plans and didn't tell him and I should know what to wear... so he finally tells me to call Cecil. Which I do and he tells me that Jane is just wearing dress pants and a nice shirt. Which relieves me, because I didn't really want to wear the evening dress. Not unless there was an actual occasion for it.

I haven't eaten lunch, because of course, we are going out for lunch, right? We drive into Montreal, to Jane's sister's appartment, where they are staying, pick up Jane and Cecil, and head off to some Italian restaurant called Davinci's which is supposed to be downtown Montreal. I thought Jane was supposed to be wearing dress pants, so I figured she changed her mind, because she was wearing jeans. Cecil was in cords and Marc was in dress pants, so I just shrugged to myself.

Cecil and Marc were now talking about taking highway 15. Now I happen to know that Highway 15 does NOT go towards downtown Montreal, but rather goes straight north from the 40 (which we were on) towards St-Jérome. I pointed that out to them, at which Marc started making comments about how I should know where we were going since I planned all this with Cecil and never told him...

Marc takes the 15 north and we drive. And drive, and drive, and then he asks me when we should turn? I tell him if he doesn't know, and I get to tell him, he can take the highway to the airport and take me to Cuba.

He wasn't so keen on that, but still, we did turn off to take highway 50 which passes by Mirabel airport. Needless to say, we did not turn off there, but rather kept driving. By this time, I was starting to get rather hungry and wondering when we were going to actually eat, because I hadn't eaten yet. I realized that I had a granola bar in my handbag, so I ate that, but it didn't help all that much. We drove for over an hour before Cecil finally said we were about 23 kilometres away from where we were going.

We finally pulled up in front of a Bed and Breakfast, or auberge in French, and I thought, "Finally, we are going to eat."

It was a nice looking house, and since my aunt used to have a bed and breakfast with a dining room in it, (which eventually became dining rooms only after the bedrooms were converted to extra dining rooms when her business took off and she was doing better out in the country, on a Monday night than upscale restaurants in Saint John NB), I figured this must be the same thing.

I followed Cecil and Jane inside, and there was a man there to meet us. Cecil talked with him a few minutes and then he suddenly asked us if we are going to bring our luggage in.

WHAT?! I don't HAVE any luggage! We're staying here?! Now I understood why Jane wasn't wearing dresspants. But what about my stuff? I brought nothing for overnight. Luckily I always carry a bit of makeup in my purse, but I have nothing for my hair, not even a comb or brush! I sincerely hoped at that point, that Marc had packed a bag for me.

Apparently Rose Anne had thrown a few things together, although she hadn't thought about hair either, nor a change of clothes. (I'd have thrown in a pair of jeans to wear home).

Anyhow, we stayed in the rooms, (let Jane rest a bit, she's 7 months pregnant) and watched a bit of TV in the meantime. (By this time, I was so hungry my stomache was numb and so I was comfortably not feeling hunger pains anymore.)

Cecil and Jane changed into dressier clothes, and we drove from the Petit Château (our Bed and Breakfast) to Fairmont Le Château Montebello, where we were going to have dinner (as in supper).

We ordered beer and some nachos in a pub downstairs, since we were only going to eat at 6:30. We walked around a bit, looked in some of the souvenir shops and finally went back down for supper.

Jane and I stopped beforehand in the bathroom, where we discovered that we actually had made it to Davinci's because it was written Davinci all over the bathroom accessories...

We had a $50 bottle of wine, (which, when shared comes to $25 per couple, oof!) and a four course meal. I had caribou terrine and candied onions as an entrée and cream of aspargus with apple pieces for soup, then Lac Brome duck leg, and finally coffee and desert from the desert bar, which had a very nice selection of pecan pie and sugar pie and mousses and other things. I wasn't very hungry anymore at that point, so I didn't indulge myself too much, but Marc had a sore stomache afterwords.

We called my mom (who knew all about it of course) on my cell phone, while we were eating, to tell her we were checking out rooms for thier retirement (yeah right). She said "I TOLD them to tell you it was overnight." But then Cecil said "But was the surprise worth it?"

And to be honest, even though I'd have liked to be able to pack, yes, the surprise was worth it.

After dinner, we played scrabble around one of the lounge tables in the huge entrance of the château, at which Cecil and Jane cheated to win, so we will have to have a re-match.

We had breakfast the next morning at the bed and breakfast, then drove home again. Marc still insisting that he had known nothing, and honestly, I could have told him ahead of time that we had plans with Cecil and Jane, and poor Rose Anne; I tell her to come on over, and then I leave her alone with the kids, and one extra on top of it...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cardinal Discounts "Tension" Over Gaza Comment

Affirms That War Zone Is Contrary to Human Dignity
ROME, JAN. 9, 2009 (

Cardinal Renato Martino says his comment Wednesday that compared the Gaza Strip to a "big concentration camp" cannot be interpreted as anti-Israeli, after certain Jewish leaders protested the reference.

Some media reports said the cardinal, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and his comparison could have compromised Benedict XVI's trip to the Holy Land planned for May. Commentators agree, however, that that trip is perhaps already on shaky ground, considering the continuing bloodshed in the area.

But Cardinal Martino told the Italian daily "La Repubblica," which first reported the comparison, that the situation in the Gaza Strip is indeed "horrible," and "contrary to human dignity."He said to journalist Marco Politi, "I say that the conditions people are living in there should be looked at: surrounded by a wall that is difficult to cross, in conditions contrary to human dignity. What is happening during these days is horrible. But when I speak, may people take into account the whole of what I say.

"The cardinal affirmed that both sides are "guilty" and that it is "necessary to separate them, like two fighting siblings are separated," and make them "sit down to negotiate." (I absolutely, totally, agree with this. - Jeanne)

"Hamas missiles are not confetti," he continued. "I condemn them. Israel certainly has the right to defend itself and Hamas should take that into account. But what can be said when so many children are killed, when U.N. schools are bombed, while possessing the technology that allows one to make out an ant on the ground?"

"If Israel wants to live in peace, it needs to make peace with the rest," Cardinal Martino contended. On the other hand, "Hamas does not represent all the Palestinians. I do not defend Hamas: If they want a house, if they want a Palestinian state, they should understand that the path they've begun is wrong."

Sunday, January 11, 2009


First, I received these lovely flowers from my bestest neighbour. Well, technically, they were for the whole family, but whatever... Then I got a card, thanking me for things I've done for him, with a check for a lot more than whatever it cost me to do it, and him insisting I use it to treat myself.

My mother-in-law gave us money, as she does every year, and as usual, we divide it up among the children and us. I get part of this, and I usually use it to treat myself, versus putting it into the account for paying bills as I used to do.

My sister gave me not one but three gifts this year at Christmas...

I'm feeling more than a little spoiled.

I am so infinitely grateful for friends and family. First of all, I absolutely adore my mother-in-law. We get along really well, and she has never been anything but supportive, never saying we have too many kids or making comments about how we bring them up ar anything, unlike other mother-in-laws from hell that I have heard of.

My bestest neighbour, my sister, and a couple of internet buddies from the US, I can talk to and tell just about anything. I really appreciate this. Where would I be without my family and friends? In the bottom of some pit of depression perhaps? I love my friends. Thank you all.

Enjoying the COLDER winter

According to this interesting (albeit sometimes confusing) article:, we are now at the end of an interglaciation period of an ice age. The period when the ice cover recedes. Any time between now and the next 800-1000 years, we should be entering the next ice age, and glaciation period. And when this happens, the temperatures will drop rapidly within a few years only.

That, to me, is more scary than the whole global warming conspiracy. I would much rather live on a warm planet than an extremely cold one.

This also refutes the whole idea of global warming, as this whole warming up and cooling down and warming up again as already happened, a number of times, in fairly recent history... if the global warming "experts" cared to look at the evidence...

I, for one, am enjoying this year's COLDER winter, having more days to skate on the pond, not having to jump on right away before it melts.... I was getting tired of mild winters.