Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The beginning of the end of the beginning

There is an automatic correlation between raising a CCI pup and heartbreak.
We embrace them so enthusiastically
at 8 weeks of age, eager to shape them into pups of distinction.
We get up with them at all hours of the night for the first few weeks, we endure the time when we'd like to kill them because they've eaten our favorite shoes, ruined our sprinkler systems, chewed the carpet, vomited on the stairs, just because they're so cute. We fluff up our chests with pride when we can take them to church, a mall, the library and they elicit so many comments of 'what a well behaved pup'.
Inevitably the time comes when we must part.
America's time is near, August 14.
I received in the mail today her final paper work: make sure she's had all her shots, send a couple of photos you'd like to see in the slide show (does that couple only mean two from 16 months of extreme closeness and pride???).
My heart is heavy, but in the 7 years I've been associated with CCI, I've seen miracles happen.
I love America so much, but I wish with all my heart she will grace another person's life (someone needier than I) with all the joy that she exudes. If it is not meant to be, I shall welcome her back with open arms and we will begin a new chapter of making a difference.
Here are a couple of photos of her outings the last few days - always dependable, always joyful!
God Bless America!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Yea, the breadmaker's back

This is the first batch of bread Rod's made since his accident, rosemary sourdough. Yum!

Monday, June 21, 2010

An extraordinary Exhibit

San Diego Book Arts is hosting a phenomenal exhibit at Geisel Library on the UCSD campus from now through July 4th.
This slideshow captures a few of my favorites.
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Each of the 61 entries is totally different, but equally intriguing.
I had the pleasure of attending with 3 art aficionados, but who also happen to be foodies, so we topped off our field trip with a visit to the Burger Lounge where the grass fed beef is truly mouth watering.
Our friend from Nebraska, who met us there, verifies the authenticity of the beef.

It's here!!!!

I'm so excited that my autographed copy of Mary Engelbreit's new cookbook, Fan Fare, arrived today, featuring on p. 40 a recipe submitted by yours truly.
Even 15 seconds of fame is thrilling to me:-)
Looks like lots of good recipes are included, and quotes, which I love, abound, not to mention her beloved artwork scattered throughout.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A powerful homily

We're blessed at St. James to have such a gifted homilist as Peter Hodsdon.

His sermon yesterday caused us to think about abortion in a whole new light. Christ is forgiveness and how can we, as Christians, do anything less than forgive?

The Gospel of Luke has been the favorite of many women over the years and here is a prime example of why that is the case. We are presented with the touching, poignant story of a so-called “sinful” woman who despite her life as an apparent outcast, has braved ridicule and rejection to seek forgiveness and healing from the one person she somehow knows will accept her, Jesus. She never says a word – she doesn’t have to. Her sobs, her tears, her gentle caress of Jesus’ feet as she anoints them speak volumes. Put yourself in the scene. She realizes that she has no towel, perhaps looking for something to use, anything, and in utter abandonment, uses her long hair, the very mark of a fallen woman in that era, to dry the feet of Jesus. And Jesus, moved by the woman’s humility and likewise irritated at the pomposity of Simon the Pharisee, says the words that He knows will bring peace to the woman and horrify the righteous guests. “Your sins are forgiven.” “Go in peace.”
We’re not told what the woman’s sin was – we assume adultery, of course, for what else would drive this woman to such a state? It’s interesting to bring this story into the 21st century and ask the same question. What would drive a woman to such a state? I’m not sure the answer today would still be adultery. Adultery is practically celebrated these days, especially in our overheated entertainment media.
But I think that there is one that has taken its place in our day and age – an act that despite its legality is never celebrated, and often mourned long after it is done. I’m talking about abortion. It’s interesting to see the collective tension in the Church rise at that word, and immediately the three elephants of politics, morality, and polarized thinking enter the room. I’m going to ask those elephants to leave, however, because I’m not here to discuss those points today. I’m here to talk about healing. I’m here to talk about forgiveness and new life.
About six million women in the US become pregnant every year; of these pregnancies, 1.2 million end in abortion, about 20 percent. I’m not telling this to you to shock you, but to point out that there is a very high likelihood that every adult in this Church knows a woman who has had an abortion, whether you realize it or not. There is growing evidence that despite the woman’s conviction at the time of the abortion that it was the right thing to do, many suffer from depression and related anxiety disorders for years following the event. Worse yet, women who abort their pregnancies are less likely to obtain professional help than women who have had stillbirths. My point is simple: there is a large population of women in our very real world who are in pain, who are suffering, who feel that they cannot seek help – all the consequence of a poor choice at a vulnerable moment. Their pain transfers to their spouses, their significant others, many of whom suffer beside them in solidarity. There’s an awful lot of weeping going on. So here’s the question: how can we be like Jesus to these women?
Reread the first reading. David, accused of murder by Nathan the prophet, acknowledges his deed and what does God do? He forgives David. Reread this gospel. Does Jesus shun this woman? No. Does he condemn her? No. Does he demand that she do penance? No. You can bet that this sinful woman would not have taken the immense risk she did if there was any hint of Jesus rejecting her. Somehow she knew that Jesus was a safe place to seek peace. This is the first step we need to take as well. Can we be a safe place for the woman who has had an abortion? Can we be there for her without causing additional grief and pain? I invite you to examine your emotional state, your own feelings on the matter. If a woman came to you today and divulged that she has had an abortion, how would you react? What if she wants to justify herself? What if she is depressed and angry? What if she simply needs to share?
Here are some things to consider:
 A person going through a grieving process often displays many complicated emotions. Don’t get wrapped up in the emotions. See the grieving person inside.
 Healing takes a long time, marked by many, often messy, setbacks.
 As a disciple of Jesus, make the distinction between public rhetoric and the reality of a person who is sitting in front of you in pain. Once the abortion is a reality, a done deed, what good is there in labels, party politics, and talking points?
 If the person comes from a strong religious background, understand that the shame and guilt can be doubly crippling. She can feel hopelessly condemned, to the point where she cannot imagine that she can be forgiven. Can you be the first one to say, “I am so sorry for your loss. I know it must have been difficult. How can I help you find peace?”
 Don’t try to fix the situation or force healing. Use a method that works in prison – listen, listen, love, love. Communicate compassion.
 Offer support resources. I’ll leave you with one resource to remember. There is an excellent web site called Abortion Changes This is a simple, completely non-political web site that offers resources for women who have had abortions and those who care about them. There is also a link to local counselors that requires only a zip code.
What if you know someone who you suspect is suffering from an abortion experience? Or who has confided to you in the past and you had nothing to offer? How do you approach them? Here’s a simple way. Mention that you heard a homily on Sunday about post-abortion healing and you thought of her. I have already posted this homily on my web site – Feel free to download and send it to her. Or, as I mentioned above, point her to abortionchangesyou. It’s noted in the bulletin this week. Above all, if you open the door, prepare to walk through it with her. We’re not into hit-and-run compassion!
This homily is not sponsored by a political party. There is no hidden agenda here. A number of weeks ago, I spoke about the difference between the container and the contents. This is about the content that is Jesus. Jesus demonstrates how to be in relationship with a person in intense pain. He is a safe place, he is available, he listens, he forgives, he heals, he sends in peace.
There is a difference between fighting evil -- and caring for the wounded, just as we distinguish between justice and charity. We are called to do both if we’re to be credible followers of Jesus. After all, they’ll know we are Christians by our love. And love transforms the world.

San Diego Vacation 2010

Derek is a genius!!!

look how cute sweet baby Larky is.

here's a link to see the rest, almost, of the fam enjoying the grands


Friday, June 11, 2010

Just in case you thought you missed it...

International Outdoor Knitting Day isn't until Sunday, June 13th!

You can knit anywhere as long it is outdoors and passersby are encouraged add a few rows…

Guerrilla knitters are a form of urban taggers who leave their knitting tags on lamp posts, traffic lights or any public post.

Highly recommended!

Katie, Derek, Lila, Larkin and I had such a fun time on our photo shoot with Pam Birmingham and Lyn Comunale last Monday.
We met at San Dieguito Park and spent a morning surrounded by beauty and captured by Pam's gifted photographer's eye.
She graciously sent me samples to post.

I was in awe of Pam's enthusiasm and patience and can't wait to see what Lyn creates with her talent for card making.

Another gifted former student of mine

This is a speech written by Samantha Mueller

September 4, 2001 was the first day of kindergarten at St. James Academy. I remember seeing 28 new faces and a brand new place where I was going to be spending nine more years of my life. I know that the rest of us felt the same way, too. Now it’s June 11, 2010, and we are graduating from the school we have grown to know and love as a place of great memories and friendship after nine amazing years. This class is like a family. We all know each other like the back of our hand. We care for each other as we do our families. Our class is unique. We are talented musically and athletically. We are artistic and intelligent, but there’s something else not many classes have. We have a special bond that allows each one of us to get along with each other. We accept everyone and we include everyone. We treat everyone with respect and kindness. Here are the ABCs for the graduating class of 2010.
A is for affectionate. Each one of us shows an unconditional support and kindness to each other.
B is for benevolent dictator. Mr. Keeley taught us that you can help and teach in a kind and loving way.
C is for Christ-like. We are all made in God’s image and we all strive to act like it too.
D is for devotion. This class is devoted to God, each other, working hard to achieve our goals. We strive to do the best we can and to help others do the best they can.
E is for energetic. All of us are full of life and energy.
F is for family. We cry together and we laugh together. We sing and pray together. We always care for each other no matter what.
G is for generous. Everyone serves their community and donates to others. We give donations to organizations to help those who are in need. We always try to give what we can when others have nothing.
H is for human. We are all only human so we make mistakes. Our class learned to forgive each other and to move on.
I is for interesting. Our class has so many different personalities that when they are combined together, it creates the perfect place to be happy.
J is for Jesus. Through our many years at St. James, we have grown to know and learn more about our faith. We have all grown closer to Jesus, and we understand him more because we attended mass every Friday. We have learned about our faith in religion classes since kindergarten.
K is for kindness. I know that everyone is kind but this class shows it every day to everyone.
L is for laughter. This class will always remember the many good times we had together. Whether it was in class or at a party, we always found time to laugh and have a good time, but we also knew when it was time to work.
M is for mature. I think everybody has noticed how much we have matured since kindergarten. We have grown and learned together. We have grown closer to God and our friends. We also learned more about ourselves and others through the years. We learned how to treat people and how to treat ourselves. We learned how to communicate maturely and how to share.
N is for new people. Since our class is a kind and loving environment, we have always welcomed new people. On the first day they came to school, they would be a stranger, but after the first week of school, they would be our friends.
O is for optimistic. This class is excited for our future endeavor into high school. We all have great expectations for ourselves and each other.
P is for peaceful. When it is time to pray, we all settle down and talk to God.
Q is for quality. We all give it our best shot to achieve and prosper.
R is for respect. We all show the utmost respect for each other because we are like a family.
S is for social. I think our teachers agree that our class has great social skills that enable us to get along well with others.
T is for trust. We always can count on each other. Everyone is trustworthy and keeps to their word.
U is for unbelievable. Our class is unbelievably talented in all aspects of life.
V is for vivacious. We are all lively and animated.
W is for wonderful. This class is everything one could ask for and more. We go beyond expectations.
X is for extra memorable. I know we will always remember our class because we shared great memories that we will cherish forever, and I know that we all will keep in touch during our high school years.
Y is for young. We are still young and can’t wait to see what the future will bring.
And finally, Z is for zest. Everyone in this class is fun to be around. We all like to be together.

Now that our time here at St. James Academy has ended and we all will go our separate ways, I hope and think that we will all remember our time at St. James Academy. Most of us have spent the majority of our lives here. I think we can all say that it has been a very positive and uplifting experience because we have learned that we can always make good friends that love us for who we are; God is always there for us no matter what, and that this class in inseparable. We are together for life, and we will not forget each other. We will always remember our special class. Thank you

I'm in awe of her talent and wish her continued success in high school.

I consider it such a privilege that I was able to teach at a school that instills a love of God, family, and mankind and provides a place to practice each on a daily basis.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

If you love baseball like I do, read this

What an Umpire Could Teach BP

by Jon Meacham Newsweek, June 04, 2010
Baseball, the late Bart Giamatti once said, is a tragic undertaking. “It is designed to break your heart,” Giamatti, Yale president and baseball commissioner, wrote in an essay titled “The Green Fields of the Mind.” “The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.”

Of all sports, I think, baseball most resembles life. The seasons are long; defeat is familiar; repetition often, but not always, makes you better. And it is not necessarily fun all the time: our colleague George F. Will wrote a splendid book on the game with the telling title of Men at Work.

A drama that played out last week in Detroit is that rarest of public moments: one in which everyone involved acted with grace, giving the country an example not only of sportsmanship but of how to conduct oneself in politics, in business, in journalism, and in daily life. Armando Galarraga was on the mound for the Detroit Tigers, who were playing at home against the Cleveland Indians. As the innings passed, Galarraga put down batter after batter, and with only one out to go in the ninth, he was on the verge of pitching a perfect game—one in which no player on the opposing team ever reaches base, either with a hit, a walk, or on an error. Cleveland’s Jason Donald hit an infield grounder and, to most eyes watching, the throw to first for the final out beat the runner. Perfection was, it seemed, achieved.

The eyes that mattered, however, saw things differently in that split second. The umpire, Jim Joyce, blew the call, ruling the runner safe. Galarraga missed out on one of sport’s greatest accomplishments. The umpire made a mistake. “I just cost that kid a perfect game,” Joyce said afterward. There was no malice, no agenda, just plain human error. There was no appeal, and that was that.

Except it wasn’t. The next day, after the umpire had realized his mistake and apologized, admitting forthrightly that he had been wrong and was sorry, he and the pitcher met at home plate. The Tiger fans cheered Joyce as he and Galarraga stood together; Joyce was visibly moved by the pitcher’s grace, and the crowd’s. He had made a human error, but by acting like a gentleman, he emerged from what he referred to as his Warholian “15 minutes of fame” as a principled man.

The contrast with the head of BP, Tony Hayward, could hardly have been starker. “You know, I’d like my life back,” Hayward said last week (he later apologized). Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal rightly excoriated Hayward, and now comes what we might call the Joyce test: will Hayward and those most directly engaged in the spill and its implications move forward with candor and clarity? Hayward has blown much so far, from the initial explosion to the early reaction to his unfortunate remarks. He needs to keep saying the company is sorry, and press on to undo—or at least contain—the untold damage the leak is causing. He and BP can only be parts of any solution, not the whole thing: as Sharon Begley writes in this week’s cover, the potential toll of the BP disaster is nearly incomprehensible.

This and a few other articles in this week's Newsweek is causing me to reconsider letting my Newsweek subscription lapse.