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Theodore's Memorial Video

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:

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Catholic Urban Legends, Part 1

The first in a series on Catholic Urban Legends.


It is amazing what kind of crap makes it onto television.

I was on call October 31, and I had to be at the hospital at 7 a.m., even though there were no cases until 9 a.m. I live too far away to be able to stay at home until I am really needed. After changing into scrubs, I put my feet up in the operating room lounge. Before I could take a quick nap, however, my attention was caught by something on the television. The History Channel was running a marathon of shows about monsters which supposedly inhabit the earth. The format of the shows(I ended up seeing parts of more than one throughout the day) was simple:

1. Present a short history on some critter, say, The Loch Ness Monster.

2. Find some present day person who claims to have seen said Loch Ness Monster.

3. Follow supposed 'experts' as they spend vast sums of money(Your Tax Dollars At Work) trying to capture or at least photograph Nessie.

4. Get all worked up as they almost capture/photograph the monster.

5. Speculate that if only they had more money they would have been successful in proving that the Loch Ness Monster does exist.

6. Roll credits.


The episode which was on at 7 a.m. on October 31, 2009 addressed the report of giant rats living in New York City.

I think it was at the point where the rat 'experts' were 'anesthetizing' captured sewer rats by pouring isoflurane into a plastic bucket with some unfortunate rodent in it that I finally lost it. Isoflurane is a volatile anesthetic, and using it in such a manner risks killing the rat instead of anesthetizing it. I wonder how many rats just died under this treatment. The sleeping rats had little vests put on them, and the vest served as a mount for a closed circuit television. When the rats woke up, they were deployed into the sewer to photograph the giant rat. What followed was footage of a closed circuit view of the rear end of another rat.

Catholic Urban Legend

It occurred to me that there are similar urban legends in the Catholic Church; they sound very plausible until they undergo closer inspection. When the investigation of said legends end, one usually finds nothing more valuable than a rat's tail.

Today's urban legend is one which I have heard several times in my life from other men. Usually I hear about this after the other guy finds out how many children I have. The other guy then mentions how many(or few) children he has, followed by an explanation for why he doesn't have as many children as I do.

Mind you, I don't ask for this explanation.

Some of the reasons given sound very good, some sound ridiculous. The worst one I ever heard was that 'we argued so much my wife couldn't have any more children.'

'Emergency Permission'

But several times I have been told about couples getting 'Emergency Permission from the Bishop' for sterilization while the woman is delivering a child by cesarean section. The scenario follows something like this: while the belly is open, the obstetrician tells the couple that having more children would be too dangerous, and the woman must undergo sterilization right then and there. Wheels churn, and within a few moments the bishop has given permission for a tubal ligation. This happens in the course of about an hour.

Back up for a moment. This excuse is highly unlikely because it is really hard for lay people to talk to their bishop. How many lay people have spoken to a bishop - EVER? I recall once cornering our present bishop at the altar after one of my children's confirmations. My children ringed him in, cutting off escape, and he looked as if he expected martyrdom to follow. I shook his hand, thanked him and gave him a photo of our family and told him we prayed for him daily. Carolyn, on the other hand, met and spoke with Archbishop Patrick Flores in San Antonio several times while we lived there. On each occasion, I was at work, conspicuously absent from my place in a large family. I am certain the archbishop (and the rest of the world) got the impression that 'there goes a good Catholic woman, bringing her large family to Mass, while her husband is off sinning somewhere.' Whatever the circumstances, most lay people do not have easy access to the bishop.

Of course, there is an alternative to contacting the bishop which I have considered. Perhaps there is some sort of automated phone line one can call to get this emergency permission for sterilization. I doubt is exists, but if it did, I could imagine it would sound something like this:

(Ring, Ring)

"You have reached the Chancery office for the diocese of ----------- after normal business hours. If this is an emergency and you need to speak to a priest, please hang up and dial ###-###-####. Otherwise, listen carefully to the following menu, as our options have changed."

(What follows is a series of extensions to enter to reach the various ministries in the Chancery. Finally:)

"If you are in need of emergency permission from the bishop for sterilization, press 1."

(Press 1)

"Welcome to the 'emergency permission for sterilization' line. Please listen carefully to the following menu, as our options have changed.

"If your belly is open, and the obstetrician is demanding sterilization, please press 1.

"For any other reason, press 2."

(Press 1 or 2)

"You have completed the 'bishop's emergency permission for sterilization' procedure. Thank you and have a nice day."

As I said, there is no proof that such a protocol exists, yet I have heard about it more than once. I am willing to invest some of my time and a lot of someone else's money to prove or disprove the existence of this 'emergency permission for sterilization' legend. All I need are some investors, and perhaps one day I shall be featured on a show on the History Channel.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

November is All Soul's Month

This evening we went to Theodore's grave site to pray for the repose of the souls of the Faithful Departed. Here we are arriving right as the sun set. The cemetery closes at 7 p.m. or at sunset, and so we all got up from the dinner table and rushed over to make a quick visit.
I copied the criteria for obtaining a plenary indulgence for the Poor Souls from this site:

On all the days from November I though November 8 inclusive, a plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Poor Souls, is granted to those who visit a cemetery and pray even if only mentally for the departed.

Conditions for both indulgences:

1. Only one plenary indulgence can be granted per day.

2. It is necessary to be in the state of grace, at least by completion of the work.

3. Freedom from attachment to sin, even venial sin, is necessary; otherwise the indulgence is only partial. (By this is meant attachment to a particular sin, not sin in general.)

4. Holy Communion must be received each time the indulgence is sought.

5. Prayers must he recited for the intentions of the Holy Father on each day the indulgence is sought. (No particular prayers are prescribed. One Our Father and one Hail Mary suffice, or other suitable prayers.

6. A sacramental concession must he made within a week of completion of the prescribed work. (One confession made during the week, made with the intention of gaining all the indulgences, suffices.)

Here is Theodore's grave. We shall be getting a headstone for him soon. Unfortunately we can't have an upright monument, because I would prefer a Celtic cross for him. I took this picture from the head, and Marc is by his feet.

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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