Monday, October 19, 2009

Still Swinging!!

Life has taken me to the mat, and I'm still swinging! This has been the year of no blogging. Or very little to say the least. My beautiful daughter did go to Interlochen, and she learned quite a lot. She is currently a seventeen year old performance arts major at a college down in Westchester County of NY, much too far from her mommy! My other children are all thriving and doing well in their respective school programs. My hubby was laid off in July, so the company could move their operations to Singapore, therefore I am working two jobs to try and keep our heads above water. End result, no time to blog. Homeschool, household management, two jobs.

Admittedly, my spirits have sagged, but then I look at some of my friends and realize I have my health, my children are happy and healthy, I have more blessings than crosses. It is not always so easy to remember that, I'm working on it.

God bless!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Need some prayers!

Well, I'm surprised to realize I haven't been blogging since March. We have had much happening in our lives and it just has not been conducive to blogging.

In one of my last posts I discussed my daughter, the oldest, being accepted at Interlochen for their Summer Performing Arts Camp in ballet. This is a big thrill for us, but also a big, no HUGE expense. We have been running fundraisers to get her there, it is the sort of opportunity that a kid who is accepted just ought not to miss. It could really launch her career because the ballet intensive should vastly improve her technique in a way she just could not improve locally without many more classes. I do not usually put up photos of myself or my children, but in this instance, I will make an exception. This is my oldest child, my daughter, at a dress rehearsal for her pointe solo this year. This picture was taken while she was dancing by a very talented tenth grade photographer from her dance team.

My oldest daughter is technically in eleventh grade this year, homeschooling, so college is on the horizon for her. But, when I asked her what she would like to do for her senior year, she said she would like to go to right into college. Being a homeschool student, she has the opportunity to take the GED exam and go this fall. She has been signed up to take the GED and hopefully we will be packing her off to Sarah Lawrence (her first choice school) this fall. She was late applying because we had not planned to go this route at all. She missed many deadlines, she had a list of schools that was very long. We ended up only being able to apply to three schools, one is the local community college. Please pray for her to do well on the exam, and for her to be able to attend Sarah Lawrence this fall.

In other news, my husband will be laid off from work in June. This was not a surprise, my husband has been seeking other employment for the last year and a half. We've not had any success. There are likely many reasons for this, not the least of which is my husband does not have a bachelor's degree. The good thing is with this layoff being due to his company sending the manufacturing process overseas, he will qualify for job retraining. The bad news is that this will force him into unemployment and us onto benefits and even then, we may struggle financially. This may have me going into the workforce as a full time employee; if he works he will lose all his benefits. We also have an opportunity to open a restaurant here in town, but in this economy that is a bit risky, so we are weighing our options, trying to figure out what is best for our family and our future.

With all of this, and more stress, I've been unable to eat! Food will not stay with me. I'm losing a lot of weight, which I needed to lose, but this is not a good way to go about losing it. If I cannot start keeping food down, I will need to go to the doctor.

All of my trials, though significant this year, are nothing compared to those of my friend and fellow blogger, Mary, who has been diagnosed with stage four cancer. Please pray for all of these intentions, and I will try to get back to some positive posting very soon.

God bless, you are all in my prayers.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I hope you all have a great day! I know I am supposed to be doing Tuesday's Tome Tracts, but I seem to be running behind lately. I have been sick or had sick children, and then my eldest daughter went to the first dance competition of the season, and I have projects I'm trying to complete. I hope to be back on track with the blog soon.

In other news, my dancer was accepted in the ballet program at Interlochen for the summer, we could not be more pleased and heartily congratulate her.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


If you, or your children, need to work on your enunciation, tongue twisters are a fun way to improve! When you start getting good, put a pencil between your front teeth and try again. If you master that, use marbles like Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. Also like Ms. Hepburn, I would caution you to be careful not to swallow. ;-)

Here is a great website...1st International Collection of Tongue Twisters, you have to choose what language, and there are over 400 in English!

I did this with my children, some had lazy speech patterns. This helped immensely. I also have a daughter who performs, and has aced auditions because she does not trip over her words when she speaks. She is a nearly flawless tongue twister, reigning champion in our home...she unseated me in that title!

Monday, March 9, 2009

New on the Blogroll

Roll Call - Click Image to Close

I have not done this in a while, now that Blogger has the 'Follow This Blog' feature, I follow all sorts of blogs without sharing what I've found. New on the blogroll:

Sonitus Sanctus: Free Catholic MP3 Links

Catholic iPod: Their banner quote is: "We are no longer able to hear God - There are too many frequencies filling our ears." ~Pope Benedict XVI

Both of these blogs offer good Catholic content to download. Enjoy

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Not So Proud


WASHINGTON — Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, an early Obama ally with a record of working across party lines, is emerging as the president’s top choice for secretary of health and human services, advisers said Wednesday. Read more here.

Now look at what Thomas Peters has to say:

Kathleen "I'm-so-incredibly-pro-abortion-my-own-archbishop-came-out-and-told-me-to-quit-receiving-Communion" Sebelius.

Kathleen "I-took-almost-$40,000-in-political-funding-from-criminally-charged-late-term-abortion-provider-George-Tiller" Sebelius.

I'm not looking forward to the next nickname.
Definitely two peas in the pod. Here we have two influential Catholic women in American government, and look at how they use their influence. Today, I'm not so proud.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Proud to be a Papist!

I am always pleased to be a papist, but I am flushed with pride today as I read about the meeting between our "Catholic" Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi and Pope Benedict XVI.

It was gratifying to read how she was denied a photo op and instead received much needed instruction. I pray we will see some changes in her behavior.

One has to wonder what would motivate Nancy Pelosi to request a meeting, did she not realize she would have to answer for a few things?

Monday, February 16, 2009


I am now on Twitter, though I have no idea what I'm doing with it. Let me know if you are there too!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesday's Tome Tracts

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

After reading Comfort Food by the same author, I was interested in reading more of her work. The deal was clinched when I saw that she has two books about a knitting club. Knitting is one of those skills I've not yet mastered, though would love to do so. This knitting club is made up of a diverse group of New Yorkers, and not all of them have a love of knitting, but somehow find themselves involved in this club.

The store owner, Georgia, is a single mother, who started her shop as a way to support her daughter, Dakota, after being left by the baby's father. There is an interesting family dynamic which goes on because the mother is white, the father is black and the child is cafe-au-lait. The father resurfaces when the child is 12. The story of their family, though different, is very beautiful and moving.

There is a point in the book where Georgia is brought into a Catholic church and later where she has a heart-to-heart with a priest. As a Catholic, I'm always intrigued by the portrayal of the Church in novels. It strikes me that when lives come to crisis, often times in books and movies, we will find reference to the Catholic church, whether obvious or subtle, it is often there.

Amongst the club members, we find a feminist grad student who attends the club meetings as research for her thesis, her major is Women's Studies. She ends up learning more through this group than she ever intended. There is a socialite from Georgia's past who joins when she leaves her loveless marriage, a middle aged woman going through a career change, a designer, a single woman who is pregnant because she wanted a baby and not a relationship, an elderly woman who is a mother figure for Georgia, and a host of other characters round out the story.

The language in this story is occasionally more coarse than I prefer to read, but the story is well written, and the events brought me to tears. Interestingly, the only character who is at all similar to the stereotype of a knitter is Anita, the elderly widow, and it is a stretch to label her as such. There is a second book, called Knit Two, which follows up on the group, five years later. I have not read the second book.

UPDATE: My husband informs me, The Secret Life of Bees, previously discussed here, is going to be made into a movie. I cannot wait.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Internet Archive

LOOK at what I found!


Welcome to the Archive's audio and MP3 library. This library contains over two hundred thousand free digital recordings ranging from alternative news programming, to Grateful Dead concerts, to Old Time Radio shows, to book and poetry readings, to original music uploaded by our users. Many of these audios and MP3s are available for free download.

Click here to see what is available.

Obscure Music Friday

SONG: The Unicorn Song
ARTIST: The Irish Rovers
WHY I LIKE IT: This is a song from my youth, when I hung out in an Irish Pub called Mulligans. I used to knock back pints of Guinness and sing with my friends. Oh those were the days.

And Noah looked out through the driving rain,

Them unicorns were hiding, playing silly games.

Kicking and splashing while the rain was pourin',

Oh, them silly unicorns!

Me thinks I can name a few unicorns in the public eye these days.

h/t to digi, whose posting I not only stole, but today she even reminded me of this gem out of my past, from my pub days.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Catholic MP3

I know, my singing the praises of MP3 players is getting old, but LOOK HERE! This is awesome, Catholic MP3 audio downloads for free! Thank you to Paramedic Girl, where I found amongst her links.

The Mother of Teens

Mothering teenagers is a lot of fun, can be exasperating but is overall fun.

We have an awesome library where I live. It was recently renovated and expanded, and it is downright lovely inside. Now we are reaching out to the community trying to provide fun programs. Aside from speakers and workshops, we are trying to give the teens a place to go. My daughter has decided that she is going to promote different events to the teenagers in town, and her latest idea:

For all of you high school students who want to see Cupid burst into flames, come celebrate Black Valentine's Day on Friday the 13th of February at the XXXXX Library. Wearing PINK is strictly forbidden. Bring valentines to shred.

This is a high school event, anyone under 9th grade trying to sneak in will be served as a side dish.

LOL, who said teenagers were not fun?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday's Tome Tracts

I had promised Monday's Interesting Reads, but I decided Tuesday's Tome Tracts is a tantalizing title! Henceforth, tune in on Tuesdays for a brief synopsis of what books are playing on my MP3, sitting on my nightstand, or have somehow caught my attention.

Here are two of the titles I promised last week:

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd: This was an audio book I checked out of the library on CD to upload to my player, out of desperation for something to listen to on my double shift coming up at work. I am a per diem employee and can listen to the player as long as the job gets done! As you have likely surmised, it was not high on my list of books, however, every time I went to the library I was drawn to this title and rejected it. This time I checked it out, and I am awfully glad I did. This is the story of Lily, a 14 year old white girl, in the south, who was raised by an abusive father and a black housekeeper (Rosaleen) after the death of her mother when she was four years old. Eisenhower signed the civil rights act and Rosaleen decides to register to vote. Lily accompanies Rosaleen to town and there is a scuffle which lands the two ladies in jail, with Rosaleen beaten so badly she is sent to the hospital while in police custody. Lily is of course released to her father, after which she hatches a plan to spring Rosaleen and run away to safety. The story continues with Lily and Rosaleen seeking refuge in the home of three black women who own a beekeeping business and live in a house painted in a startling shade of pink. It is a beautiful story with the delightful surprise of Catholicism sprinkled in. You will not find the traditional celebration of Catholicism portrayed in The Secret Life of Bees but the way these beekeepers celebrate the Blessed Mother is beautiful and touching. I just loved this book.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer: Trying to keep up with all the book releases in the Young Adult section of our library is a task since I really do not prefer to read most current fiction. However, being the parent of two teenagers with more on the horizon, I need to keep up with the trends. My children love to read and when books come along that have the under 21 population in a frenzy, especially when there is an accompanying movie, I feel obligated to make my own parenting decisions rather than rely on the opinions of the masses. Therefore, I embarked upon the Twilight journey when unexpectedly called in to cover a shift for a co-worker who needed to attend a funeral.

This book left me with two impressions overall. First, I thought the book was terribly predictable, to the point of being boring, until very late in the story. Second, I understand why every teenie bopper in America is going beserk. Edward is every teen girl's fantasy boyfriend. I remember being a teenager and writing long missives in my diary that could rival many passages in Twilight. Thankfully they never saw the light of day. My young girl's heart would have melted to read this story, my middle-aged muscle mostly groaned at the predictability and the sappy sentimentality of Edward. Edward and Bella perfectly illustrate obsessive love and call it true love.

I will read the other books in this series because I want to see where Miss Meyers intends to go with this story marketed to today's youth. I approved the book for my sixteen year old because it is not your typical vampire story, Edward and his family of the undead believe that just because they are vampires does not mean they must be monsters. They do not hunt humans, they hunt animals. They move around to make sure they do not wipe out the wildlife of any particular area. For an intelligent teenager, who has had a moral upbringing and some common sense, this book presents only a few hour's entertainment. I am very much interested in my daughter's opinion, and will likely devote more time to this series of books after I've read them all, since this series is an undeniable part of today's teenage landscape. For a highly suggestible teen lacking in solid parental guidance and role models, this book romanticizes vampires and makes Bella long to be one herself. I foresee an upsurge in Goth dressing and behaviour as well as vampire cliques forming in high schools across America. I do hope to be proven wrong, that there are more well adjusted teens than I seem to think. I keep remembering the Rambo movies and their fallout among a small population of American teens.

Monday, January 26, 2009

She's Catholic? You've Got to be Kidding!

Warning: Cafeteria Catholic ahead!

From Drudge:

Sun Jan 25 2009 22:13:43 ET

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi boldly defended a move to add birth control funding to the new economic "stimulus" package, claiming "contraception will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government."

Pelosi, the mother of 5 children and 6 grandchildren, who once said, "Nothing in my life will ever, ever compare to being a mom," seemed to imply babies are somehow a burden on the treasury.

The revelation came during an exchange Sunday morning on ABC's THIS WEEK.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hundreds of millions of dollars to expand family planning services. How is that stimulus?

PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those - one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So no apologies for that?

PELOSI: No apologies. No. we have to deal with the consequences of the downturn in our economy.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Happy Hearts at Home

I would just like to remind my readers about a lovely blog with everything from frugal living tips to homeschool helpers, to feast day reminders, to craft suggestions. I love this blog and although Alexandra always has great posts, it seems her last few are especially good, so do stop in and check out this week's postings on Happy Hearts at Home.

Canadian Bus Campaign Run By Atheists

This is just funny. (h/t to ProWomanProLife) I wonder if they considered Pascal's Wager?

Quick summary:
Probably no God? Which side of probably would you want to fall on?

Stupid Atheists.

Obscure Music Friday

SONG: The Garden
WHY I LIKE IT: I like songs with interesting beats and sounds, the pacing of this one is so much fun. My 7 year old loves this song and runs around the house singing and dancing to it. We were introduced to this song by my-daughter-the-dancer (of course!) who will be dancing a modern number to it. Since I could find no video of this song, I put up a photograph of the singer, however, once we have a video of my daughter's dance team, maybe I will put that up instead :-) This is actually one of my favorite songs at the moment. I have all of my daughter's competition songs on my MP3 player so I can recognize the songs at competition, so I would expect to continue seeing her dance numbers show up on the blog on Fridays.

h/t to Digi

A Java Nut

Why oh why does coffee not taste right to me? Now I'm tired and when I try to drink coffee to perk up, it is not setting right, sometimes making me feel less than stellar. This is a very sad realization for a java nut. I would try decaf, but it seems to me coffee sans caffeine is pointless, why bother?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Deo Gratias

H/T to Trinity Acres:


Hmmm...Who Chose This?

You cannot tell me she will not regret this accessory choice forever! Her hand clad in olive green is reminiscent of the Incredible Hulk or the Green Arrow. It just looks odd having that green glove under the Lincoln bible. Classic black, pure white, or just her bare hand would have looked far prettier and less revolting in all the photos marking this day in history.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Interesting Reads

Philips GoGear Flash audio video player 8GB* SA6186/37

I mentioned in an earlier post that I received an MP3 player for Christmas. It has taken over my life! I have been having so much fun downloading books to listen to. I am an avid reader and regret the loss of recreational reading time that results from homeschooling and caring for a houseful of children. My MP3 player has solved my problem! I listen to books in the car, while shopping, while waiting endless hours for various children during their activities, and my personal favorite, I listen while doing my needle projects, crocheting or needlepoint, etc. I can even 'read' when my eyes are just too tired to look at a book.

Since Christmas I've listened to hours and hours of books. Here is a list of what I've been reading and some comments about each.

Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs: This is the story of Gus, a 50 year old widow, who's been a widow since her children were small. She was the picture of a domestic goddess, creating wonderful menus and keeping house with style when her husband died in a car wreck, thrusting her into the role of breadwinner and sole provider for her family. She used her talents and opened a sandwich/pastry shop where she was discovered by a local producer who set her up on a local cable television show, "Cooking with Gusto" where she reigned as queen of the cooking shows before the Food Network was a household name. Now, right around her 50th birthday, Gus is faced with some television programming changes, concern for her daughters who are in their early twenties, and a romantic interest which frightens her, as she has refused all suitors since the death of her husband.

Ride Down Mt. Morgan by Arthur Miller: This was an enjoyable performance recorded before an audience with multiple actors providing the voices of the characters. It was hilarious, but a bit bawdier than what I usually choose. The story is of a man who has two wives, one in the city and one in the country. He has children with both. His first wife (of over twenty years) is a home maker who fusses over him, they love each other and life is very predictable. His second wife (of about 7 years) is a more fun loving person, a risk taker and a career woman. The two women could not be more different. One winter night, there is an ice storm. He is supposed to be leaving the second wife, with whom he lives up on Mt. Morgan, to go home to his first wife in the city. He has a terrible car wreck and he lands in the hospital where the two wives meet, friends visit him, and his nurse comments through out the play.

Adam Bede by George Eliot: This is a very sad story, which ends well but tears at the heartstrings throughout. Adam is in love with a young girl named Hettie who does not return his feelings. She is in love with a local scoundrel who leaves her with child. Hettie agrees to marry Adam, but just before the wedding leaves to find Arthur, the father of her baby. Without spoiling the story, there is a very sad murder and its consequences explained to and experienced by the reader, and the story ends on an uplifting note. You will experience a range of emotions in this well written story.

A Room With a View by EM Forster: A favorite of mine. I actually received this video as a Christmas gift this year. The story is of a young girl who finds herself engaged to a man, Cecil, who is a good connection for her family; she may have been able to find some happiness with him but for George, a young man she met while traveling with her meddling cousin, Charlotte. This is a well written love triangle that makes your heart skip a beat or two.

Lady Susan by Jane Austen which, remarkably, I've never read before. This is a delightful story of a devastatingly beautiful widow who is a hopeless flirt, extremely opportunistic at the expense of her marriageable daughter, and who gets her just deserts in the end. This is a book of letters which, true to the Austen style, will keep you chuckling and will not disappoint.

I Went to Vassar for This? Naomi Neale: This is not the type of book I would have typically chosen, but I was intrigued by 'Vassar' being in the title as I grew up near there, had grandparents and family members who worked there, and spent many hours walking the grounds. In fact my wedding pictures were taken on the grounds of Vassar College. Vassar is barely mentioned in this intriguing story which never stopped surprising me. The premise is of a career girl, Cathy, who after getting sacked from her high powered ad agency job, suffers an accident with the microwave in her modern day New York City kitchen and is transported back to 1959. Her flatmates are stereotypical 1950s single women who think she has suffered an electric shock and are trying to help her recover from the resultant amnesia. The story is of how Cathy fits in to her new life while trying to figure out how to travel forward in time to her old life. Of course, she gets to a point where she wonders if she would still like to go back, or if she'd rather stay where she is.

Tess of the D'Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy: An angst filled, heart and gut wrenching story, with characters both noble and despicable which traces the life of Tess, who is given more than her fair share of trials in her life. More than once, this story brought to mind Catherine and Heathcliffe of Wuthering Heights though the stories are vastly different, the emotions I experienced as a reader are very much the same. If you are a fan of Emily Bronte, you are sure to enjoy the story of Tess.

Though there are many more stories, I shall save them for another day. Perhaps I will do a regular Monday feature of Interesting Reads. Upcoming books teaser: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, Beowulf by an unknown author, Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs, Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell, and Villette by Charlotte Bronte.

*NOTE* Should I happen to convince you of the value of reading through an MP3 player for your busy life, I have one recommendation. Make sure your MP3 player will take WMA Audiobooks as most of the library's best choices are in this format, which is not compatible with iPod, and other players. My son has an RCA MP3 player and I have a Philips (similar to though not exactly like the one pictured above), neither are compatible. Some of my other children have a Trekstor which is compatible. WMA Audiobook format has the largest selection. I have to be sure to check out titles which are MP3 books, or books on CD which I load into Media Player and then onto my MP3 for the term of the library check out.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Obscure Music Friday

Again, H/T to Digi as I am stealing her idea. Since I've gotten an MP3 player, I'm enjoying some interesting music, all chosen by my dancer daughter. This is a really neat entry:

Song: Book of Right-On
Artist: Joanna Newsom
Why I like it: This song has such an interesting sound because of the combination of Joanna's voice and one of my favorite instruments, the harp. It also doesn't hurt that my daughter is dancing a small group pointe to this in competition this spring. :-)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sign the Petition to Help Block Tax Funded Abortions

The Family Research Council has put up a petition, it takes only a moment to do. Follow the link, read the alert and then click on "Act Now" at the top. It took me longer to type in this post (at 72 wpm) than it took me to sign. Hat Tip to American Papist :-)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Medical Mel'ee

Click on the title, it is a link. This is a post from that fabulous blog ProWomanProLife (in Canada)and it is regarding the use of a drug called Cytotec for inductions and for abortions. Required reading for any woman in her reproductive years, and also for any pro-life activists out there!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year!

Random thoughts to start the New Year!

Okay, I admit it, I totally caved! We ended up getting satellite service once again because it was a good deal...a "Win-Back" deal! Haha! Well, the story is that in a moment of weakness, I found a postcard in the mail from direct tv which we had years ago. If I signed up I could get a gazillion television stations for $29.95 per month plus new equipment. I refused the new equipment, if it fails, I'm happy, we'll cancel. But I love my husband, who in addition to loving me, also loves football. He has been sad and pathetic on the Sundays when his favorite team is playing, for years now. I caved, I was won back. Of course, I have an iron clamp on the the remote with children in the house, and if it comes to be an issue, I will disconnect the service in a NY minute. But hubby is happy, so for now, it stays. Funny thing is, we never watch television, even though we have it, but we did watch the ball drop on New Year's Eve. We certainly have not been missing a thing.

We have had some excitement in the Thorns household, more than expected for Christmas in a household with many children. My mom-car lost brakes, entirely gone, while my husband was driving. (God is so good that he was driving it and not me, or my 16yo learner!) Apparently the main brake line blew!

We have had exciting weather, ice and snow storms all around!

I have a new toy, a small MP3 player! I wanted this for Christmas to listen to audio books, a new passion of mine. I have discovered that you can borrow digital books from the library and put them on your MP3 player, and it is legal! Now when I am driving, waiting hours for my daughter who spends hours in a dance studio, crocheting, doing chores, or just plain bored, I can listen to the books I do not have time to sit down and read! How very entertaining! I do, of course, have music too, but not so much. All of the music has been uploaded by my teenaged daughter, the dancer, so she found some very interesting pieces of music she thought I would like. She has given me some interesting things to listen to, some nice and unusual ones too, so for Digi, I may have some more Obscure Music Friday entries to share yet!

My favorite radio station has podcasts (whatever they are, but I do think it means MP3). I am hoping I shall soon have some excellent classical music on there as well. For you classical music fans out there, this is a public radio station, no commercials and you can listen online! Enjoy!

Other than that, it is back to the grindstone for Monday. May God bless you all with a happy, healthy and joyous 2009!