I invite you to sign The Manhattan Declaration

The Manhattan Declaration

Theodore's Memorial Video

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Family Photograph and Birthday Greetings

Here is a photograph from Christmas Day. One can imagine the challenge of getting us all facing the camera....I am going to include this in the photographs commemorating our 20th anniversary.

Front Row: Genevieve(12) holding Bernard(11 months), Marcellinus(8), Cornelius(9), and Maximilian(6)
Middle Row: Carolyn(young), ZelieLouisa(4) held by Bernadette(18), Benedict(13), Jacinta(11), Stephen(old)
Back Row: Augustine(14), Nathaniel(16 today, 12.30.2009!), Dominick(19)

We are blessed with all of our children. Today is especially wonderful, because today we celebrate the birthday of Nathaniel, who turns 16 today. A driver's license will be following shortly, I am sure.

Thoughts While Driving Home Through Freezing Rain

"...Now he's back at home and happy
Just to see the kids.

I wish that I could really tell you
All the things that happened to me
And all that I have seen.
A world full of people their hearts full of joy,
Cities of light with no fear of war,
And thousands of creatures with happier lives,
And dreams of a future with meaning and no need to hide."

Composed by Tony Banks

In your charity of prayers, please pray for the repose of the soul of Frank P., who died on December 29, 2009. He was the father of a friend of mine.

May his soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace.

On a positive note, I now have 20 people who follow my blog!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Feast of St. Stephen

Here is a Benjamin S392 .22 cal. air rifle with a newly installed
'peep' sight. All sighted in and ready to fire!

Speaking of fire, here are the top two videos we have put on YouTube. The first shows Benedict shooting an air rifle. It has nearly 11,000 views:

Then I am in second place, with almost 6,000 views. Be vewy quiet:

Friday, December 25, 2009



Two videos for your enjoyment, Linda!

First the School room, guest bedroom, kitchen, dining room, living room:

Next, the hallway, laundry room, master bedroom with a cameo of Bernard sleeping, master bathroom, boy's and girl's bedrooms and bathrooms.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Prayer Request on the Eve of Christmas

In your charity of prayers, please pray for the father of a friend of mine, who is very sick in an intensive care unit(ICU).

My friend has always been there for me and for our family, and he is also devoted to his father. Please pray for a quick recovery, and for strength for my friend and his family as they deal with this very difficult situation.

Thank you, God bless you, and Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pentimento, Part VIII - The End of the Road?

Here are some pictures of the outside of the house after Nathaniel decorated it. Pardon my iPhone and the low quality pictures.

Here is the outside of the house:

Here is a detail of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph at the Nativity. Jesus will be lit up for Christmas.

Here is Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation, flanked by a couple of lighted trees:

A detail of The Blessed Mother, showing that Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation needs a new coat of paint:

Seeing as how this is a Texas manger scene, there just has to be a John Deere tractor close by the manger.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Beer and a Stray Dog


I drink about one beer every couple of years, and on a whim - and knowing I was not on call tonight, not driving anywhere tonight, and was a few feet away from my bed - I thought I would indulge in a bit of Shiner Bock.

I was inspired just before midnight, with the older kids milling about and helping Carolyn with putting up the permanent decorations on the walls. We haven't even begun to decorate the inside for Christmas.

Outside, Nathaniel put up Christmas lights.

Anyways, shortly before midnight, one of the kids said we should make a run to Wendy's for some hamburgers as a way to end the Friday meat abstinence. This reminded me of a song, appropriately called 'Beer Run,' which I shall include in this blog entry:


B-double E double R U-N beer run
B-double E double R U-N beer run

all we need is a ten and five-er,
a car and key and a sober driver.

B-double E double R U-N beer run

A couple of frat guys from Abilene
drove out all night to see Robert Earl Keen
at the KPIG Swine and Sworea Dance.
They wore baseball caps and khaki pants.
They wanted cigarettes, so to save a little money they bought one off this hippie that smelled kinda funny.
And next thing they knew they were both pretty hungry and pretty thirsty too

B-double E double R U-N beer run
B-double E double R U-N beer ru-unn

All we need is a ten and five-er,
car and key and an able driver.

B-double E double R U-N beer run

They found a store with a sign that said
their beer was coldest.
So they sent in Brad 'cause he looked the oldest.
He got a case of beer and a candy bar, walked over to where all the registers are
laid his fake I.D. on the counter top.
The clerk looked, and turned to look back up and stopped.
He said "Son, I ain't gonna call the cops, but I'm gonna have to keep this card"
the guys both took it pretty hard.

B-double E double R U-N beer run
B-double E double R U-N beer ru-un

oh how happy we would be-
had we only brought a better fake I.D.

B-double E double R U-N-beer run

They met another old hippie named
Sleepy John, claimed to be the one from the Robert Earl song.
So they gave him all their cash-he bought em some brews.
Was a beautiful day out in Santa Cruz
They were feelin' so good it shoulda been a crime.
The crowd was cool, and the band was prime.
They made it back up front to their seats just in time to they could sing with all their friends "the road goes on forever
and the party never ends".

B-double E double R U-N beer run

all we need is a ten and a five-er
car and key and a sober driver.

B-double E double R U-N beer run
B-double E double R U-N beer run

sung by Todd Snider

There are lots of references to things Texas in that song. I personally credit Robert Earl Keen with helping me NOT take a job in Corpus Christi. That's a long story for another time.

After a few sips, I started looking around for something to marinate in the remaining beer.


We have another dog. I promised myself I would never get another dog again. This one was forced on me.

The children reported seeing a dog on our property. It was a boxer, and I did what I could to get rid of it. I tried yelling, blowing a whistle, screaming, and growling - all to no avail.

I considered other options, but kept on coming back to the 'Old Yeller' solution. It seemed so neat, so final, so - but then the children weighed in. They wanted to keep the animal.

My wife called the sheriff, who called the animal control officer. He came out and looked over the dog, but said that the county had reached its quota of dogs for the year. He would be happy to pick it up in January. He said our county, which was just south of Dallas county, had become the dumping ground for unwanted pets. With the economy taking a dive, we should be expecting more dogs roaming our property, he said.

"But what should we do with this dog?" Carolyn asked him.

"Anything you want," he said, with a smile.

Back to the 'Old Yeller' solution.

Then I realized that the best way to get rid of a dog was to embrace it fully, feed it, de-louse it, and make it a part of the family. No dog stays around our house after it gets that kind of attention from us. For just the price of a 50-pound bag of dog food, I could drive this animal out of our lives. No mess, no fuss, no worry about whatever might be downrange from a ricocheting Winchester 30-30 slug.

So, rather than terrorizing the neighborhood with firearms, I went out and bought that 50-pound bag of dog food. I also bought some of that stuff which kills ticks and fleas. I decided to do this after patting the dog on the head. I felt a lot of little knobby things all over its head, and on closer inspection I realized they were large ticks.

The children named it 'Winter,' which seemed fitting. Winter eventually passes into Spring.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Attempted Religious Humor

We are running our tails off, trying to complete the house renovation before Christmas - so we can start preparing for the birth of Christ. There will be more pictures of the house, maybe even another video tour ("Is it beautiful, Linda?). For now blogging is on the back burner.

I could not resist the title of this book as it appeared on my LibraryThing home page:

The Seven Capital Sins by Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration

Well, I thought it was funny.

Below is a picture of Bernard before he got his bilateral myringotomy and grommet insertion ("ear tubes") last Friday. He did well, although the other children expected tubes hanging out of his ear canals.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Prayer for the Dead, December 1, 2009

Fifteen years ago, December 1, 1994, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, I lost three friends and colleagues when the helicopter they were flying in crashed. The NTSB report of the incident can be found here.

I ask you to pray for the repose of the souls of:

Richard 'Rick' Elliott, Pilot
Janice 'Jan' Nowacki-Tobin, RN, Flight Nurse
Terry Racicot, DO, Flight Physician

I flew as a Flight Physician from January 1994 until June 1996, while in residency and fellowship. At the time of the crash, I was doing an 'away' rotation at the hospital where this helicopter was based. I recall hearing the helicopter lift off, and I remember thinking that I would be working a shift the next evening. There are many times I have considered that I could have been the doctor on that flight, and that I would have left behind four children and a very pregnant wife. I thank God for sparing my life then and several times since then.

Rick was also known as 'Captain America' because of his love for his country. He was an Army Veteran, as were most of the pilots, and was an excellent pilot. He also had a dry sense of humor. I recall, after a rather turbulent ride with a sick patient, that he told me something that I shall never forget. He said, while laughing, "Steve, sometimes I am just as much a passenger on this helicopter as you are." I never got that impression while flying with him. He left behind a wife and several beautiful daughters.

Jan was also known as 'Sky Princess.' This nickname was printed on the back of her helmet. She was an excellent nurse. She left behind a husband and a son and a daughter. Whenever things looked bleak, she always had a way of expressing her exasperation which I still recall, and it reminds me to pray for her.

Terry was someone I did not know well, since we never flew with another physician. I only knew the doctors who were residents with me. Usually our only contact was as we passed off the pager and the keys to the call room.

At the top is a picture of N217MM, the primary helicopter. Below is a video of an Augusta 109 warming up and taking off in Switzerland. It took about two minutes for the engine and all systems to warm up for flight, and that gave us time to get a preliminary report on the patient we were picking up, or the accident scene we were flying to. I also had time to pray an act of contrition and the prayer to my guardian angel.

Thank you for your prayers.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pentimento, Part VII - Stabbing Westward

The renovation has hit the school room with full force; the books are all on the East side of the house. In addition to repainting, we are adding more shelves and some permanent desks to the room. Here is an interval picture of the new desk/shelving:

Apparently, my textbooks will be moved here because they do not look as impressive on the bookshelves in the living room.

Above is another look at the bookshelves, a ladder, and a green chair. Below, the guest bedroom awaits the painters.

A bit of romantic graffiti adorns the chalkboard in the school room.

Speaking of romance, since we are running out room for books in our house, we have asked for advice from our interior decorator, who has advised us on how to manage our book purchases prudently.

She advised us to only shop for books during certain periods when we are unlikely to complete online credit card purchases. This takes some sacrifice for both of us, but it makes the times we do manage to purchase books more meaningful for us as materialistic consumers.

Speaking of materialism, it is time for another musical video. This one comes from Japan, and is a tune we all recognize. It was a big favorite in the family last year, and so it will be the second video for Advent:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

St. Andrew Christmas Novena, A Chick, and a Video

Tomorrow, St. Andrew's Feast Day, begins the St. Andrews Christmas Novena.

The following prayer is repeated 15 times per day up until Christmas:

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

(It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (30th November) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.)

+MICHAEL AUGUSTINE, Archbishop of New York
New York, February 6, 1897

Just to show we have been doing something other than looking for prayers on the internet, I show you this video of Bernard at Brazos De Dios, a community of homesteaders near Waco, Texas. Every weekend after Thanksgiving they have a huge craft fair. Here we are tempted with buying chicks to start raising our own poultry.

Last year, I tried to put up a video for every day of advent. I shall do something like that this year, but more of the 'home grown' variety. There are only so many times one can see Jon Anderson in tights. So here is one of the children playing Greensleeves:

That would be Genevieve, Noisykid #7, in December 2007.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pentimento, Part VI - Floor Tiles and Friday Night Dinner

The picture above is facing South, with the morning sun lighting up the room. I love having our bedroom on the south side of the house, so that we get a lot of light throughout the day. The picture below is taken by the windows so one can see the floor and walls better. The tile is down but not grouted yet.

We anticipate being back in our bedroom by Thanksgiving.

Note the fan in action.

Below is a picture of Friday night's dinner on call at the hospital. It was the second time I had ever gone to the cafeteria, and I got a vegetarian wrap. I basically asked for everything on it, and the lady kept piling on stuff. Just before wrapping it up, she asked if I wanted some black beans on it.

"Of course," I said.

She stared at me for a second, then put some on and proceeded to wrap it up. Beads of perspiration popped out on her forehead. She called for help from a co-worker. I wandered off to grab an apple, and when I came back, it was done.

"There you go. Enjoy," she panted. Her colleague leaned over the counter, breathing heavily. He looked a little pale.

"Never again. Don't ever let him order that again," he said.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Prayer Request

This photograph depicts Saints Cosmas and Damian transplanting a leg onto a patient. Note the angels who are assisting with the surgery, and a larger angel acting as the circulating nurse.

I am sure the circulator has already called a 'time out' to verify that surgery is being performed on the 'correct patient, correct location.'

Sadly, the artist neglected to include the anesthesiologist; perhaps he was out of view, changing the CD at the moment this was painted.

Please say a prayer for a priest friend of ours who is having a surgical procedure on Monday.

Here is a prayer for those who are undergoing surgery:


I believe in You, my God, because You are eternal truth.

I hope in You, my God, all good and merciful.

With my whole heart, I love You.

I am truly sorry for all my sins because I have thereby offended You, so good and worthy of all my love.

Grant me Your help, especially now that I am about to undergo surgery.

In You I place my full confidence and trust.

I realize that You are with me and shall assist both the physicians and nurses to help me regain my health and strength.


I have not published prayers for a while, but this one certainly goes in the list of Prayers You Should Say Before You Die.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pentimento, Part V - The Saga Continues

No videos tonight, Linda. Perhaps this weekend we shall run the video camera through the rooms to give you an idea of what it looks like. Colors are a little bit off.

Is it not beautiful, Linda? It is beautiful....

This is the younger girls room. It used to be hot pink, now it is cooled down a bit.

It reminds me of Neapolitan ice cream or the color that original Bianchi bicycles were painted....

I am getting hungry.

Here is the view into the bathroom. Let's go to the bathroom, whether you think you need to or not!

The girls bathroom:

Here is the older girls room. The colors are a bit off. The lower wall is a nice brown color, not black:

The iPhone doesn't do justice to the colors of the walls:

On to the master bedroom!!!!!! Purple maroon on bottom, some sort of brown on the top.

Another view. Note the scaffolding. We are really into the 'industrial waste' look in our house which was really in vogue in the early 2000's in Dallas:

Speaking of waste, here is a view of the master bathroom. Note the stark contrast between the light brown walls and the gently used stepladder in the foreground. What a statement!

As I have said before, Linda, you must come and see it in person. All of your many friends in Dallas are hoping you will be able to see the 'unveiling' before New Years!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Early Seasons Greetings, and More Bernard Photographs

Wishing all of you a blessed and happy Thanksgiving, from our house to yours....

Here is Bernard, ready to start his evening workout:

And he is off! Either that or he is going after the electrical plug. Note the rolltop desk is now re-assembled in the living room:

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pictures of Bernard

Bernard loves to be outside almost as much as he loves to be around his brothers and sisters. I took him outside to let him walk around with his walking toy, but he wanted to sit and watch the boys play baseball in the front yard. He also got a chance to sample some of the dirt and grass clippings which were nearby....

I think every time he looked back at me I got a picture of him with his eyes closed. He looks so angelic in this picture:

Several of the younger boys were outside playing their version of baseball. Their backyard baseball field is still a bit moist from all the rain we had back in October. It is time to take the plug aerator to the back yard and back field.

Maximilian has just hit the ball - and thankfully did NOT throw the bat back towards us - and is heading for first base. Bernard is trying to figure out what I am doing.

Another picture of this happy little boy. He was clapping for his brothers.

Here Bernard studies the game so he will be able to play it when he is bigger.

Since Carolyn was gone today, I had to stay up and watch Bernard. I made lentil soup and wheat bread for dinner, and broke one of the attachments on our mixer. I realized too late that there is a special attachment for making bread.

At least the lentil soup didn't turn into paste as it has on previous occasions....

Video and a Prayer Request

Bernard is working on becoming a true toddler. Watch with us:

Today is the birthday of Fr. Denis, one of my older brothers. Please remember him in your prayers on this day.

As an aside, here is a video from our All Saints Day Party. The children dress up as saints, and we have to guess who they are. This one included a dramatization:

No one was injured during the making of this video, but note that it appears as if St. Stephen's soul was caught in the ceiling fan.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Pentimento, Part IV - The End of Phase One

Phase One of Pentimento is complete. The boys' wing is complete, as is the hallway. All that is needed is some touch-up painting. The tile looks so good, I could eat off of it.

Phase Two will consist of working on the girls' rooms as well as the master bedroom. This requires that we move out of our bedroom and stay for a while in one of the boy's rooms. They will stay by the school room until the bedrooms are all complete.

Even poor Mr. Walrus has to suffer the imposition of moving....

So we have our king-sized bed in one of the remodeled rooms. Not much room for anything else, except for Bernard's crib, and a rocking chair.

Here is where our bed used to be. If you look closely, you can see why carpet was not such a good idea. Oh well, live and learn; we'll do better on our next house!

For the present, Bernard will be so close we could almost reach him without getting out of bed....

Phase Two starts proper on Wednesday; tomorrow I have to move this monster out of our bedroom. I have to remember how we got it in the room in the first place:

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Pentimento, Part III

This is for Linda to see what is going on in the house. I took some pictures with my iPhone, but Carolyn took better pictures, complete with a flash, so I trashed mine and loaded up hers.

I thank God that we are able to do this work to make our house look a little nicer, last a little longer, and make more pleasing to Carolyn. It gives me tremendous joy to make Carolyn happy.

First pictures, then a movie.

Here is a picture of the bedroom hall. You can see one of the girl's bedrooms open at the end of the hall.

Here is a look down the boy's bedroom hall, showing the wall colors:

The big boy's bedroom:

Dominick and Theodore's old bedroom, complete with TILE!! We are really excited about that:

Another shot of the same room:

The boy's bathroom:

Detail of the wall and the counter colors. A perfect match!

More of Dominick and Theodore's old room, showing more of the wall:

The little boy's room:

Another shot of the boy's bedroom, complete with Benedict and Jacinta posing. Jacinta is holding a pillow sham which matches the wall color:


As you know, Linda, you are always welcome to come and see this for yourself. Hopefully soon. Now on with the movie version of this little photo tour:

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation
Now restored with the help of some cement!

Prayer to Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Mary my mother, take my hand today, and all days.
Lead me away from all occasions of sin.
Guide me in fulfilling your last words in the Gospel,
"Do whatever He tells you."

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