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Papa Bene

Papa Bene

Me Elsewhere

My Book Pile

Books I've read, books I want to read

Monday, December 31, 2007

Blessed 2008!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Map Fun

Okay, this was fun. Except now you can all see that I haven't left the New England / Mid-Atlantic region (except for Canada and England).

Oh, wait! My mom was carrying me when she went to Florida, should that count??

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Book Meme

One book that changed your life: The Bible (Navarre Commentaries)

One book that you’ve read more than once: Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

One book you’d want on a desert island: The Bible (the entire Navarre Commentaries!)

One book that made you laugh: The Legend of Old Befana by Tomie de Paola

One book that made you cry: The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

One book that you wish had been written: Death at Rutherford Hall by Mary Ann Bernard (all right, I'm working on it!)

One book that you wish had never been written: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (I'm sorry, I just did not get this book)

One book you’re currently reading: Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Jan Brett

One book you're planning on reading: Cleopatra by Diane Stanley

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Funky Image Meme

I am supposed to google the answer to each of the following questions, then post an image from the first page of search results.

Age at my next birthday

Place I'd like to travel

Place I've been

Favorite food

Place I was born

Place I live

Name of past pet

Best friend's nickname

My first name

My first job

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I Am Supporting Alan Keyes for President

Visit his website and take the Pledge.

Conservative, Christian, Catholic. Experienced in federal and diplomatic service. What more could we want in a leader?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas Meme

Wrapping paper or gift bags?

If it can go in a bag and look presentable, it does. I worked for years when I was in school gift wrapping presents at gift and department stores. Ugh!

Real tree or artificial?


When do you put up the tree?

The weekend before Christmas. Ideally, it would be Christmas Eve, but we are usually busy with extended family activities that day.

When do you take the tree down?

Not before the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, after Epiphany.

Favorite holiday theme?


Favorite gift received as a child?

A diary from my godfather.

Do you have a nativity scene?

We have three. One we received from my parents when we were first married. The other two our sons can play with. BamBam loves playing with them this year.

Hardest person to buy for?

Giving Tree gift, because I don't actually know the recipient.

Easiest person to buy for?

Our sons.

Worst Christmas gift you ever received?

Ummm, pass.

Mail or email cards?


Favorite Christmas movie?

A Christmas Carol (with George C. Scott)

Going My Way

The Bells of St. Mary's

The Bishop's Wife (original with Cary Grant)

When do you start shopping for Christmas?


Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?


Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

Fudge, cheesecake, shrimp cocktail, pastries.

White lights or colored on the tree?

Flicker flames.

Favorite Christmas song?

Silent Night (but there are many, many more)

Travel for Christmas or stay at home?

Travel every other year, usually.

Can you name all of Santa's reindeers?


Angel on the tree top or a star?


Open the presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?

Christmas morning, but maybe one each for the kids before bed on Christmas Eve.

Most annoying thing about this time of year?

"Holiday music" which has nothing to do with Christ. "Step into Christmas"; "Baby, It's Cold Outside"; "Santa, Baby." Need I say more?

What I love most about Christmas?

Christmas Mass and the sense of peace. Christmas day is always so peaceful.

HT: Dawn

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Afternoon Tea

Just discovered from Celestial Seasonings: Candy Cane Lane decaffeinated tea.

Today's snack is artichoke dip baked in phyllo cups, a recipe my sister-in-law prepared as as appetizer at Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Favorite Films Meme

Go to the AFI Top 100 list and pick:

1) Your favorite five movies that are on the list. This was hard to narrow down.


North by Northwest
The Philadelphia Story

It's a Wonderful Life

The African Queen

2) Five movies on the list you didn't like at all. There were others too!

Gone with the Wind


ET - the Extra Terrestrial

West Side Story

King Kong

3) Five movies on the list you haven't seen but want to. Hmmm...

Doctor Zhivago

The Third Man

An American in Paris


Mutiny on the Bounty

4) Five movies on the list you haven't seen and have no interest in seeing. There were lots more of these!

The Godfather

The Graduate

On the Waterfront

Schindler's List

Some Like It Hot

5) Your favorite five movies that aren't on the list.


Toy Story

Toy Story 2

The Quiet Man

12 Angry Men

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Little More ...

My boys are growing! Today was check-up day.

Arch was 57" and 72 pounds. He is in the 85th percentile for weight, and off the charts for height for a nine-year-old.

BamBam was 38" and 28.5 pounds. He made the 50th percentile for height and the 15th for weight. This is great because BamBam was a preemie and small-for-date. He has never been as high as the 15th for weight before. Last year he was at the 5th.

When Arch was a toddler, he used to streeeeetch himself up and sing "a little more - hmm hmm hmm" to make himself taller!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Pope Paul VI on the Domestic Church

CATHOLIC LIBRARY: Marialis Cultus (1974) Annotated

52. We now desire, as a continuation of the thought of our predecessors, to recommend strongly the recitation of the family Rosary. The Second Vatican Council has pointed out how the family, the primary and vital cell of society, "shows itself to be the domestic sanctuary of the Church through the mutual affection of its members and the common prayer they offer to God."[115] The Christian family is thus seen to be a domestic Church[116] if its members, each according to his proper place and tasks, all together promote justice, practice works of mercy, devote themselves to helping their brethren, take part in the apostolate of the wider local community and play their part in its liturgical worship.[117] This will be all the more true if together they offer up prayers to God. If this element of common prayer were missing, the family would lack its very character as a domestic Church. Thus there must logically follow a concrete effort to reinstate communal prayer in family life if there is to be a restoration of the theological concept of the family as the domestic Church.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Snowy Thanksgiving

We had our first snowfall of the year on Thanksgiving morning. DoorMan and Arch went to Mass, then over to DoorMan's brother's house for Thanksgiving dinner. BamBam was running a fever, so he and I stayed home. It was a quiet, peaceful day.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Book: Toy ABC

I am so proud to announce that my son's new book, Toy ABC, is available for purchase exclusively at lulu.com. You can see a preview of the first six pages there. Arch (age 9) drew a toy for each letter of the alphabet, and I scanned them into my computer and we put the book together. He made it for his little brother BamBam, age 3. Makes a great Christmas gift, if I do say so myself!

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Minivan Mania

I finally have a minivan!!!!!

This is very big for me, as I have really, really wanted one for at least three years now. Really.

My car is a goner. We scrapped it.

And all I had to do was to get stuck on the side of a road, in a park with no houses around, with my sons and four fish fry dinners in the trunk, and my cell phone forgotten on the charger at home. And it was getting dark and it was very cold, and the engine wouldn't turn over at all. God Bless stranger Beth, who stopped on her way to walk her dog, and drove back home to call my husband.

My new minivan is a lovely blue which matches Doorman's work van. When we were first married, we coincidentally had matching paint on our cars, too. How sweet!

I will say, that to temper all of this unbounded joy, I had to offer up not being able to pick out, see or test drive my van. Doorman's work van is only a two-seater (and he doesn't let me drive it anyway), so he had to do all of the driving and deciding on my new van, and all the running to the insurance company and the DMV. The first time I laid eyes on it he was pulling it into our driveway all set to go.

By the way, I should mention that new around here means "new to me." No one in this family would dream of paying retail for a brand new vehicle when you can get a used one sooooo much cheaper.

And God Bless Doorman's Mom and Dad! Although they are now with Our Lord, it was their money (which came less than three weeks ago) that allowed us to pay cash for our new vehicle. The money we got (which was a total surprise, we weren't expecting to get anything from the estate until next spring) was within $400 of what we had to pay out. God is good. As my Mom put it: the minivan is like a gift from them. Very nice to think of it that way, and remember them.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Back from Break, and So Blessed!

Well, I am back in the blogosphere, after breaking for 40 Days for Life.

I am thankful for many blessing. I'll post more later. I have a heap of stuff to get through on the dining room table, and the boys will want dinner soon (the change back to Daylight Savings Time not registering with their tummies yet!).

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Blogging Fast

As if I wasn't quiet enough, I am giving up blogging (reading and posting) for the 40 Days for Life 2007. Check back after November 5.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

That We May Never Forget...

Eternal Rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the Mercy of God, Rest in Peace. Amen.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Fruits of the Field

Okay, not my field. We stopped at a terrific farm stand on Sunday and bought a bunch of yummy fruits to can and preserve. We made 16 half-pints of jam (Fredonia grape and peach) yesterday. Tonight I am drying watermelon slices. They will (supposedly) come out like salt-water taffy. I'll believe it when I see it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Accent Quiz

Eerily accurate. I'm from Queens.

What American accent do you have?
Created by Xavier on Memegen.net

New York City. You are most definitely from New York City. Not New Jersey, not Connecticut. If you are from Jersey then you can probably get into New York City in 10 minutes or less.

Take this quiz now - it's easy!
We're going to start with "cot" and "caught." When you say those words do they sound the same or different?

Planning and Organizing

I am a great one for plans. I like planning more than doing.

I am working on Holiday Grand Plan this year. This is week #1, and we are supposed to finish our lists and clean the front porch. I am about half-way on my lists, but I see no reason to clean the porch in August for company in December. It'll probably be buried in snow anyway. And I haven't any ideas for my children's gifts yet. But I know how many to get each and an approximate budget.

I am also trying to clean the dining room this week, because it is our school room, and school starts next week.

Update: Here is a post on my dining room progress so far.

Monday, August 27, 2007

One Word, No Explanations Meme

1. Yourself: stressed.
2. Your spouse: busy.
3. Your hair: curly.
4. Your mother: home.
5. Your father: retired.
6. Your favorite item: iBook.
7. Your dream last night: none.
8. Your favorite drink: coffee.
9. Your dream car: minivan.
10. The room you are in: dining.
11. Your ex: none.
12. Your fear: failure.
13. What you want to be in 10 years: same.
14. Who you hung out with last night: family.
15. What you're not: accomplished.
16. Muffins: bran.
17: One of your wish list items: books.
18: Time: fleeting.
19. The last thing you did: ate.
20. What you are wearing: clothes.
21. Your favorite weather: autumnal.
22. Your favorite book: Bible.
23. The last thing you ate: peach.
24. Your life: full.
25. Your mood: waery.
26. Your best friend: hubby.
27. What you're thinking about right now: library.
28. Your car: old.
29. What you are doing at the moment: typing.
30. Your summer: hot.
31. Your relationship status: married.
32. What is on your TV: nothing.
33. What is the weather like: hot.
34. When was the last time you laughed: today.

Hat-tip to: Fr. Erik.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

St. Maximilian Kolbe on Indifference

The most deadly poison of our times is indifference. And this happens, although the praise of God should know no limits. Let us strive, therefore, to praise Him to the greatest extent of our powers.

– St. Maximilian Kolbe

Hat-tip to Mary.

St. Frances of Rome on Duties

It is most laudable in an married woman to be devout, but she must never forget that she is a housewife. And sometimes she must leave God at the altar to find Him in her housekeeping.
St. Frances of Rome

Dodging the Lead Bullet (So Far)

Well, so far we have managed to dodge the lead paint recalls. None of our toys are included.

But, all of this has made me reconsider where we get our toys. I have been boycotting Wal-Mart since last fall because I don't like their politics. Now it is time to add China to the list. I don't like their politics, either. It crossed my mind today that perhaps, perhaps, all this lead isn't getting into our toys on accident.

See Mattel for the latest recall info.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Update on Healthy Habit #2: Workouts

I have worked out four days a week for five weeks now. I feel terrific. I have no idea if I have lost any weight yet, but I do feel stronger in my "core." When I move I feel like I carry myself straighter and taller.

I am still in the "breaking in" phase of my workout. I am going very slowly, adding weights or reps every other week on a gradual basis until I build up to the actual workout in the The Fat-Burning Workout: From Fat to Firm in 24 Days.

Caveat: I do not recommend following the nutritional advice in the above book.

Are Parish Life Coordinators the Answer?

Father Philip Powell, OP makes an argument against so-called Parish Life Coordinators.

We are going through a major overhaul in our diocese right now, so this is timely for me. Our little city is losing three of it's current five Catholic parishes.

Hat-tip to Kelly, once again.

Physicians Getting Around Partial-Birth Abortion Ban

Best said by Kelly. This is why we need to ban ALL abortions.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Jesus Meme

I've been tagged by Muddy Mama for a meme. If you are reading this and you haven't done it yet, TAG!

Five Things I Love About Jesus:

1. He Is God
What else can I say? He loves me and He made me and He keeps me.

2. He Is Man
He became one of us because He loves us SO MUCH.

3. His Teaching Is Simple
The two great commandments. Can it get much easier? Plus, He gives us countless parables to help us figure it all out.

4. His Church
We are the body and He is the Head. We are a part of Him. Wow.

5. His Mother
She is my mother, too. Again, wow.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Wonders of Play Dough

The boys are playing with Play Dough. They have been at it for two hours! Two hours! They never do anything for two hours.

Plus, they are outside, on the porch. I am inside, with the air conditioner on. I can see them but barely hear them. Very peaceful, by my standards.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

ClearPlay Technology

A friend in our local homeschool group alerted me to the ClearPlay DVD players available online and at Target. We got ours hooked up yesterday, and I can't recommend it enough. It uses filters (little computer programs) to skip and/or mute objectionable content on DVDs.

It is an advancement over the CleanFlicks model, which violated copyright laws by making copies of movies, editing the copies, and renting the edited version. I can see why the Federal courts ruled in favor of the movie industry on this.

With the ClearPlay player and the filter to match your DVD, you can control content on owned or borrowed DVDs. The DVD itself is not altered at all, avoiding any copyright issues. The filters give the player commands which seemlessly mute out or skip past objectionable content in playback.

Check it out!

Nun Helped Pope John Paul II Learn English

Sister M. Tyburcia Szymczak, CSSF passed away July 2. Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Olcott Beach

Olcott Beach is a lovely harbor on the southwestern shore of Lake Ontario. Eighteen Mile Creek empties into the lake here, forming the deepest natural port on the whole lake.

There is the harbor, of course, and a collection of seasonal shops right on the water. Krull Park has a beach and picnic area right on the water.

Arch and BamBam looking out at the lake from Krull Park

The old pier at Krull Park

Ice cream at Park Place on the Boardwalk.

Earthly and Heavenly Things

"I would be against choosing whether to play soccer or to study sacred Scripture or canon law. Let us do both," Benedict XVI responded. "We cannot always live in high meditation; maybe a saint at the highest levels of his earthly existence can do that, but normally we live with our feet on the ground and our eyes fixed on heaven.

"Both are given to us by the Lord and therefore loving human things, loving the beauty of this earth, is not just very human, but also very Christian and quite Catholic."

Hat-tip to Elena

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Why Latin?

“The Catholic Church has a dignity far surpassing that of every merely human society, for it was founded by Christ the Lord. It is altogether fitting, therefore, that the language it uses should be noble, majestic and non-vernacular.” (Pope John XXIII, Veterum Sapientia, 1962)

Hat-tip to Fr. Gonzales

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Veggie Tales

I have only recently discovered Veggie Tales. How can this be? I cannot recommend them enough. If you are going to let your children watch television, you can't go wrong on produce with principles.

Healthy Habit #2: Workout Four Mornings a Week

Last week, Doorman finally, finally cleared up the laundry area where my weight bench is located. It has been buried since we moved here two years ago! And I didn't use it much before that, either!

Years and years ago I began the The Fat-Burning Workout by Joyce Vedral. It is a muscle toning workout which uses small weights and can be done at home. I am going to try to work out four mornings each week.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

On the Importance of Parenting

Each man caught in the embrace of materialism is a soul in danger of hellfire, and each soul is infinitely precious to God. For those of us who are parents, the challenge is terrible indeed. We have placed in our care for a few short years precious immortal souls who belong to God, whose destiny is an eternity in and with God, and who depend entirely upon us for the formation of a way of life which will lead them surely to God. And woe to us if we fail in this charge.
-- Mary Reed Newland, We and Our Children

Healthy Habit #1: No Eating After Nine

The first healthy habit I am adopting is avoiding food after 9:00 pm. I had gotten in the bad habit of having a bowl of cereal late at night, before bed. No more. Once nine o'clock comes, no food until morning.

Screening Movies for Children

Last weekend Door Man rented Happy Feet (Widescreen Edition) for the boys. We were disappointed in it, although the boys liked it. It was only then that I remembered Steven Greydanus' web site Decent Films Guide. Greydanus is the film critic for the National Catholic Register. If I had read his review first, we would have skipped Happy Feet altogether.

One of the things I like about the Decent Films site is that you can filter reviewed films by ratings and moral / spiritual value and age appropriateness. So when I filtered for all films with a neutral or positive moral value, rated G I find 53 movies to select from. This will give us a starting place to build our queue on Blockbuster's online rental service.


Christmas time is here....

About Me

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Lockport, New York, United States
I am a Catholic wife and mother living in western New York State.

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