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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.

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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