Monday, March 30, 2009

Problem Solved!

I have lately despaired of the "wildlife" roaming freely through our neighborhood.
We used to think that it was so nice to have deer browsing in the front yard, squirrels frolicking in the flower beds and the occasional fox running across the street in the middle of the night. It makes you feel like you really aren't city dwelling.

However, it has become obvious that the wildlife here isn't wild, has no respect for the rest of the neighborhood, and is too stupid to reason with. It's just a free lunch all the time.

The squirrels have been discouraged from climbing up to the bird feeders and they just stay on the ground and wait for the birds to knock the seed to the ground.
The fox is very little trouble and he keeps the racoons away, so he is welcome.

The deer, however, are another matter entirely.
They are out of control. They roam the neighborhood, they feed on plants, shrubs, and birdseed, and they get hit on the road regularly.
I called the DNR to see what could be done. I have heard all kinds of stories about birthcontrol darts, traps, herd relocation, etc.
The guy that I talked to said that in the cities we are really out of luck. None of those things are viable solutions and the things that do work, like hiring a sharpshooter, are very expensive and have to be approved and funded by the city. He also said that there is going to be the contingent of animal lovers that will protest the killing of anything bigger than a fly, even when you can show them that a bullet is a whole lot more humane than being hit on the road and dying a slow death. I am also worried that one of these days someone is going to get killed be one of these brutes coming through the windshield.

The other day I saw something in the news that I thought might just solve my problem.

I don't need a real dog around here right now. I don't believe in leaving a dog in the yard full time, and having one inside doesn't help the situation.

But THIS, this may just be what we need to hunt down those silly beasties.

We just have to program it to recognize deer, and not children, dogs and meter readers, and come up with a name....

Sunday, March 29, 2009

New Again- Brad Paisley and Sarah Evans

If you can watch this whole thing with dry eyes....well, I sure couldn't.


Today Paul learned a bit about the world of the stage. Mostly that auditions are LONG and boring.
We heard at Mass, that's actually after Mass at 12:00, that Covered Bridge Theater up at Cecil Community College was auditioning for Oliver. At 3:00 this afternoon.
So we came home, pulled out one of his piano songs, and put in the DVD so he could familiarize himself with some of the music.
He is a bit young, they actually wanted kids 9 and up, but we didn't know that when we made the decision to go, and Paul REALLY wanted to do it. We asked when we got there and they said that he could try out.
Danielle and Maria Hoppel went and tried out as well. There were lots of young girls there. I was proud of them for putting it together on such short notice.
I had to leave, but Tim said he did great! He has no problem getting up and singing in front of people. He likes the idea of acting and we have known for a long time that singing is something he is going to be doing. Whether he ever does much singing on stage or not, Paul LOVES to sing!
So now we just have to wait until Friday to find out if they can use him. He will be in the Chorus if he gets in and that will be just the right amount of exposure to the theater for a good start.

On a similar note, John is going to be working on props and staging for "Hamlet". The Co-op that John did science with is putting it on. He hasn't been interested in doing any acting, but he does like the backstage art. He will be working on building sets, painting props and getting things together that the actors will use. He would like to learn to do lights someday as well. Brendan and Paul may end up being extras.

Friday, March 27, 2009

For All my Invisible Friends

Barbara had this wonderful video on her blog this morning.
It is a gift to all of you who wonder why sometimes.
Because God Sees...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tripp Update- Good News!

News from Mommy Life!

March 26, 2009

Tripp update 3/26

sun clouds.jpgIt's been three weeks since my last update on Tripp - I should have filled you in sooner. While he did have a brush with infection at the beginning of March, his team responded quickly and very aggressively and it was brought under control in about 10 days.

Thanks be to God!

The downside is that he is taking three antibiotics considered to be the last line of defense - meaning I guess that if they didn't work he would have to lose his leg. Since September, he has had a PICC line through which he administers his antibiotics daily. They arrive in a refrigerated shipment once a week. Currently, with the dosages he is taking, it takes 90 minutes for the meds to be pumped into his blood stream.

His knee is looking great and Tripp is up and about to a limited extent. But the difficulty now is that he wakes up in the morning feeling okay, takes his meds and then begins to feel sick all day. Evenings are a little better.

The doctors are very hopeful now - for the first time since October. Three more weeks of antibiotics and the PICC line will be removed. We are hoping that he will be back to his normal self for Ben and Anna's wedding May 22. With six months and 5 operations when we only expected six weeks an one, it's been a long haul.

We will be glad to have a robust man about the house again. My Honey-Do list has grown enormously!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

March to Madness- You Decide

The guys at Creative Minority Report have opened the March to Madness Final Four to their readers.
If you want to be part of the fun, go on over there and cast your vote!
I know who I'M voting for..

March To Madness Final Four

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Feast of the Annunciation- March 25

Gospel Reading: Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there will be no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?" And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the Child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible." And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

The Annunciation
he Feast of the Annunciation, March 25, is one of the most important in the Church calendar. It celebrates the actual Incarnation of Our Savior the Word made flesh in the womb of His mother, Mary.

The biblical account of the Annunciation is in the first chapter of the Gospel of Saint Luke, 26-56. Saint Luke describes the annunciation given by the angel Gabriel to Mary that she was to become the mother of the Incarnation of God.

Here is recorded the "angelic salutation" of Gabriel to Mary, 'Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee" (Ave, gratia plena, Dominus tecum - Lk 1:28), and Mary's response to God's will, "Let it be done to me according to thy word" (fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum) (v. 38)

This "angelic salutation" is the origin of the "Hail Mary" prayer of the Rosary and the Angelus (the second part of the prayer comes from the words of salutation of Elizabeth to Mary at the Visitation).

The Angelus, a devotion that daily commemmorates the Annunciation, consists of three Hail Marys separated by short versicles. It is said three times a day -- morning, noon and evening -- traditionally at the sound of a bell. The Angelus derives its name from the first word of the versicles, Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae (The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary).

Mary's exultant hymn, the Magnificat, found in Luke 1:46-55, has been part of the Church's Liturgy of the Hours, at Vespers (evening prayer), and has been repeated nightly in churches, convents and monasteries for more than a thousand years.

The Church's celebration of the Annunciation is believed to date to the early 5th century, possibly originating at about the time of the Council of Ephesus (c 431). Earlier names for the Feast were Festum Incarnationis, and Conceptio Christi, and in the Eastern Churches, the Annunciation is a feast of Christ, but in the Latin Church it is a feast of Mary. The Annunciation has always been celebrated on March 25, exactly nine months before Christmas Day.

The Angelus

About the Angelus - History - Angelus Bells - Regina Caeli/Salve Regina

V: The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary

R: And she conceived by the Holy Ghost.

V: Hail Mary, full of grace: The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

R: Holy Mary, Mother of God: Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

V: Behold, the handmaid of the Lord.

R: Be it done unto me according to thy word.

V: Hail Mary ...

R: Holy Mary ...

V: And the Word was made flesh

R: And dwelt among us.

V: Hail Mary ...

R: Holy Mary ...

V: Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,

R: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

V: Let us pray.

All: Pour forth, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy grace unto our hearts, that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ, thy Son, was made known by the message of an Angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ, our Lord, Amen.

If You're Into That...

Here's an original take on March Madness. Madness indeed.
Love these guys at Creative Minority Report. They must spend a lot of time just sitting...and thinking...
Works for me!

March To Madness - Fatal Four

Here we go! This is what you have been waiting for, we have your final and Fatal Four.

Barack Obama, the most pro-abortion president ever, the man who suggested that preventing infanticide was an undue burden, the man who made reversing Mexico City and ESCR policies top priorities was a clear favorite for the final four and he made it.

The American Civil Liberties Union is conducting a determined and long-term campaign to remove every trace of Christianity from America's government, schools, public property, and public discourse. They are clearly one of the most destructive forces in the culture.

Oprah Winfrey. Oprah runs a cult disguised as a television show. Oprah's brand of celebrity is particularly dangerous as she presents a very reasonable and charitable face to the world while championing everything but truth.

Voice Of The Faithful is out to destroy, as if it were possible, the Church. Using the defense of victims of abuse as their launching pad, they champion every kind of dissent possible while still claiming to be Catholic. For this they have earned their top showing.

Next Up. The Championship Game.

Monday, March 23, 2009

More Pictures from Yesterday...

Here are a few more pictures from our wonderful day yesterday.

Laura and Andrew made this beautiful cake! And yummy cookies....

Paul and Molly...

And I got this while we were at Mass. Paul's big hand and Molly's tiny one.

and Molly slept like an Angel...

Molly's baptismal candle...

Paul in front of the Chapel
And the lovely big sister...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A day of Sacraments

Today was such a day of Blessings!

Today little Molly Rose Cooke was baptized into the Catholic church,
and Paul received his First Communion, at the same Mass, at Cook Chapel in Frostburg.
It was a day of joy in our family.

Lisa and Michael Walk, Molly's Aunt, Uncle and Godparents.

Laura and Andrew were so happy to have Fr Ed do the honors. They have known him since they both went to college there.
Molly was good as gold!
She is such a contented baby.

A couple of days ago, I had an idea to ask Fr Jay, at our Parish, if it would be possible for Paul to receive his First Communion during the same Mass as the baptism. Fr Jay said it would be fine as long as it was OK with Fr Ed. It made such a special day for Paul, because he LOVES Molly and now they have this special bond, and because there were so many people there that he knows and cares about.
Not that he doesn't love lots of people at Good Shepherd, but they will be with him in the coming years, and he will still be going through the exercises with the class. This was special because he was able to receive surrounded by family, Merkels and Cookes. It was a beautiful day.

Friday, March 20, 2009

From the Mouth of the 'Prompter...

Barack Obama's Teleprompter Blog
This Blog is quite ingenious.
I think the Teleprompter really needs to be given more credit for the influence that it wields.
You can't always know whether the words being poured forth are of the mind of the speaker or of "The Party" that is coaching him.
The teleprompter knows...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I learned about this site for the Cause of the Beatification and Canonization of John Paul II at American Papist.
I have been waiting to hear about how the cause is coming along and I was so excited to find this site. This will be a great tool for teaching the kids about how Saints are defined by the Church.
Go check it out!

Frostburg Pictures

Here are few more pictures of the trip to Frostburg.
We got home late last night and I was SO tired! It was a long drive with a migraine, but we made it and after a good night's sleep we are all getting back into school and getting things caught up around here.
We get Lilly on Saturday and I'll post a few more pictures then.

The boys sure enjoyed getting to know Molly. (That's Pudgy the hedgehog looking on.) She is a very happy baby and loves good conversation. She just likes to look around at whatever she can see, and listen to all the goings on.

Lucy is sure growing up. This was just before Mass on Sunday.Here is Brendan hard at work. I took most of the school work with us. We are catching up on Science and Geography today.

Tim and I went out to the Savage River Lodge on Saturday night. Laura and Andrew had given us a gift certificate and we took the opportunity to get up there while we were in Frostburg. It's quite a drive, but well worth it. I would love to stay up there sometime.

Here is my picture of the Lodge as we arrived.

This is the sitting room,

And the fireplace.

The food was incredible and the atmosphere was so nice. I don't think we could have afforded it without the gift though.

Molly will be baptized this weekend. I will get lots of pictures and post them on Monday.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Speaking of Productivity...

It's been a very productive couple of days up here in Frostburg.
Laura had big plans, and we have spent the last couple of days getting things organized, cooked, boxed and sorted.
We have been rather successful, it seems to me.
We made three different types of casseroles. Turkey Tetrazini, Baked Ziti and Chicken Enchiladas.
They are now all frozen and ready for the Cookes to pull and heat for dinner, saving Laura lots of prep time in the afternoon.

We also worked on the kitchen, putting it in a more workable order for the way Laura likes to cook.
She has a baking area, and she has the cupboards and the pantry all set up for the most efficient use. We boxed up the china to make space in the upper cabinets, and moved it upstairs where it is still accessible.

Last night we went out to CeCe's Pizza. Paul wanted to make sure that we got there at least once.
Lucy thoroughly enjoyed the noodles and marinara. Paul had Pizza and was very lucky because Laura and I had quite a few quarters between us, so he got to go to the arcade.
Molly enjoyed the noise and confusion, in her own way.

The plan for the next few days is going to be getting the kid's clothes sorted and organized and to put the bathroom closet to better use.

Of course the best part about being here is the visiting.
It is so nice to have time to chat and to spend time with the girls. Molly is growing like a weed and Lucy is talking so much. Baby sisters seem to have that effect.

The cleaning continues...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Animal Farm-Thoughts on Chapter I

So this week we start our "Animal Farm" Book Study.
I hadn't read the book in years and I happened to find it online HERE.
I was so taken by it that I ended up reading the whole thing in almost one sitting!
My perspective has changed so much over the years.
I think I have always been a pretty good judge of character, but as I read the story this time I was able to recognize trends and personalities in the story, that I don't think I would have seen years ago.
For an EXCELLENT commentary go to Mommy Life and see what Barbara has to say.
Here is one excerpt that I was interested in:

Animal Farm - Chapter I by George Orwell
Note created March 7, 2009 • Last edited March 7, 2009 by

"And remember, comrades, your resolution must never falter. No argument must lead you astray. Never listen when they tell you that Man and the animals have a common interest, that the prosperity of the one is the prosperity of the others. It is all lies. Man serves the interests of no creature except himself. And among us animals let there be perfect unity, perfect comradeship in the struggle. All men are enemies. All animals are comrades."

Orwell was such a student of human nature and psychology that his writing seems prophetic, but I think that it just actually brings to our understanding the way most people react in similar circumstances.
I was especially interested in this particular excerpt because it so clearly focuses on the way a "charismatic" leader can make what is known and comfortable seem ugly and undesirable.
It's seems almost predatory. These people can seek out and convince others that they, and they alone, have the answers to a better life. They have the ability to draw others into their sphere of influence and create a sense of legitimacy by simply creating a "circle of believers" that becomes almost self-generating.
The ideas become a philosophy and the following becomes it's own entity.
It is especially dangerous in a population that has not studied or has forgotten human history.
I think Orwell's warnings need to be heeded in every generation.
I think it is possible in every generation and in every place, to fall under the influence of someone who promises a "new" way to move forward.
A better way.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Paulism

Today Paul and I took a long ride to Frostburg, just the two of us.
Tim is taking tomorrow off and he is keeping John and Brendan and they are going to find something fun to do.
I am going to be here for the weekend and Laura and I are going to do some big batch cooking and organize a few things. Actually her house looks pretty well under control, but we'll find something to do.
On the way up, Paul and I had some great conversation. If there is one thing that kid loves, it's talking.
For some reason, the subject of horses came up, and he was reminiscing about "ButterBob", the pony that we leased for awhile.
We had to quit, for various reasons, and I didn't realize how much he missed riding until he said, and I quote, "I think that's at the top of my list of personal tragedies."
It's nice to be able to have something like that at the top of the list...

So, Bill do You Know Where Babies come From?

This is definitely worth checking out.
Watch the video of our former Fearless Leader explaining that it's OK to use certain embryonic stem cells for research, because these particular embryos aren't fertilized.
Gee, this is the brilliance that brought us more sex ed in the schools. Maybe they should read their own books!
Oh, and read the transcript below the video to be absolutely certain that you are hearing what you think you are hearing.
This from the people who brought you Global Warming...

News Flash! Embryos Aren't Fertilized!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What a Beautiful Thing...

This looks wonderful! There are so many people praying and the music is beautiful.
What a great way to do the family Rosary...
For more information on the project go to THIS page.

Well, Imagine That...

for details on the bill, see the post "A Dangerous Time" below...

controversial bill that would change the way the Catholic church governs itself has been pulled and a public hearing planned Wednesday on the issue postponed until its constitutionality can be determined.

The hearing had been expected to draw hundreds of people, many of whom where angry about what they view as the state's inappropriate and perhaps unconstitutional incursion into church affairs.

At a press conference this morning at the legislative office building, Tom Gallagher of Greenwich, who has long advocated that lay people be given greater responsibilities within the church, said he has asked Rep. Michael Lawlor and Sen. Andrew McDonald, co-chairmen of the legislature's judiciary committee, to put off the hearing until Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has reviewed the matter.

Lawlor and McDonald agreed. "At the request of the proponents who are advocating this legislation, we have decided to cancel the public hearing for tomorrow [and] table any further consideration of this bill for the duration of this session,'' the lawmakers said in a joint statement. (Hartford Courant)

Monday, March 9, 2009

More Molly...

We have had the pleasure of spending time in the company of the lovely Molly Cooke.
She has taken the family with her baby wiles.

She has EVERYONE wrapped around that sweet little pinky. Uncle Kevin just can't resist her.

John came in this morning to ask when we will have a niece around again. I was glad to be able to tell him that we will have Lilly on Wednesday. These girls are addictive!

Here's Paul chillin' with Molly and watching TV. He sat there with her for a long time!

And I just thought this was too cute not to post. This is Lucy "washing her hands" at the little play sink.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Dangerous Time...

Well, it's not a time to rest friends.
Gird your loins because this is just the first of many attempts to muzzle and deconstruct The Church. Well, the Church doesn't belong to the bishops, or to the Pope, or to the parishes, or to the people. The Church belongs to Christ. It is His, and always has been.

Statement of the Diocese of Bridgeport
on Proposed Legislative Bill # 1098 / 2009

u Diocesan Statement

This past Thursday, March 5, the Judiciary Committee of the Connecticut State Legislature, which is chaired by Sen. Andrew McDonald of Stamford and Rep. Michael Lawlor of East Haven, introduced a bill that directly attacks the Roman Catholic Church and our Faith.

This bill violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. It forces a radical reorganization of the legal, financial, and administrative structure of our parishes. This is contrary to the Apostolic nature of the Catholic Church because it disconnects parishes from their Pastors and their Bishop. Parishes would be run by boards from which Pastors and the Bishop would be effectively excluded.

This bill, moreover, is a thinly-veiled attempt to silence the Catholic Church on the important issues of the day, such as same-sex marriage.

The State has no right to interfere in the internal affairs and structure of the Catholic Church. This bill is directed only at the Catholic Church but could someday be forced on other denominations. The State has no business controlling religion.

The Pastors of our Diocese are doing an exemplary job of sound stewardship and financial accountability, in full cooperation with their parishioners.

For the State Legislature — which has not reversed a $1 billion deficit in this fiscal year — to try to manage the Catholic Church makes no sense. The Catholic Church not only lives within her means but stretches her resources to provide more social, charitable, and educational services than any other private institution in the State. This bill threatens those services at a time when the State is cutting services. The Catholic Church is needed now more than ever.

We reject this irrational, unlawful, and bigoted bill that jeopardizes the religious liberty of our Church.

We urge you to call and e-mail Sen. McDonald and Rep. Lawlor:

Senator Andrew McDonald:
Capitol phone: (800) 842-1420; Home phone: (203) 348-7439

Representative Michael Lawlor:
Capitol phone: (800) 842-8267; Home phone: (203) 469-9725

We also ask you to come to Hartford this Wednesday, March 11, to be present at the public hearing. Details on bus transportation will be available on Monday. If you would like to attend, contact your Pastor.

It is up to us to stop this unbridled abuse of governmental power.

It is time for us to defend our First Amendment rights.

It is time for us to defend our Church!