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Archive for April, 2011

Just a reminder

Of what, I have no idea.  I was looking for an old draft, and found this post, titled, “Just a reminder” — but that was all I wrote.  Reminder of what?  Go to confession?  Buy mayonnaise?  Cancel the attack?  Let out the dog?  Turn out the light?  Shear the sheep?  Change the oil?  Feed the fish?   Light a single candle?  Trim my toenails?

Well, any suggestions would be appreciated, I guess.

In the mean time, you can check out my post today at the Register:  “What I learned when my kids went to school”and also yesterday’s post at the Register, “St. Anthony Wet House:  Cruel or Kind?”  which I forgot to link to, but I’m pretty sure that’s not what I was reminding any one about.

Sorry about the low level of blogging lately.  Feeling very under the weather this week, but hope to be more lively next week!

Oh:  does anyone else routinely have dreams that you lost the goldfish?

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I’m making myself laugh today, anyway, over at The Register.

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Speaking of Dostoevsky, I just heard that my dear literature professor, Dr. Mary Mumbach, the former dean and co-founder of Thomas More College, and now dean and co-founder of The Erasmus Institute of Liberal Arts, has just been awarded the 2011 Russell Kirk Paideia Prize for Lifetime Contribution To Classical Education.

I am absolutely delighted to see Dr. Mumbach being recognized.  This is a woman who eat, drinks, and breathes literature, and who has poured her entire life into passing her love on to hundreds and hundreds of college students.  Last time I read The Brothers Karamazov, it was in her Russian Novel class . . . let’s see, about fifteen years ago, almost to the day, I think!  And here I am picking up the book for the third or fourth time.  How I would love to be able to sit in the cafeteria with a cup of coffee and have a chat with Dr. Mumbach.

Hey parents, if your kids are approaching college age, do yourself a favor and check out The Erasmus Institute, where Dr. Mumbach is Dean and professor.  It is a small, rustic, intense place, joyfully Catholic and utterly dedicated to the love of learning.  And there’s a Rome semester!  And look at this curriculum! And if you act fast, your child could have the delightful experience not only of soaking up the best of Western Civilization, but of soaking it up in a chair next to such celebrities as my own brother, my niece, and my nephew.

Seriously, my three brothers and four sisters and I, my husband, and two of my husband’s siblings were all students of the folks who founded Erasmus.  This is a good place — take a look.

One more thing:  as I write,  it occurs to me that, for some reason, I never thanked my teachers for the extraordinary education I got.  I can see much more clearly now how much love, care, and energy went into each class, and I am very grateful!  Thank you, Dr. Mumbach, and Dr. Sampo, Mr. Shea, Ms. Enos, Ms. Bonifield, and Mr. Syseskey.  Life is so much richer because of those four years.

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Guest Post: Fyodor Dosteovsky

My husband and I have started rereading The Brothers Karamazov, and are zipping through it  the blinding pace of nearly 2-3 chapters per week.  At this rate, we’ll have it finished before our kids borrow the book for college.  I thought you guys might appreciate this passage, as the monk Fr. Zosima recounts a conversation  with a famous doctor:

‘I love mankind,’ [the doctor] said, ‘but I marvel at myself:  the more  I love mankind in general, the less I love human beings in particular, separately, that is, as individual persons.  In my dreams,’ he said, ‘I would often arrive at fervent plans of devotion to mankind and might very possibly have gone to the Cross for human beings, had that been suddenly required of me, and yet I am unable to spend two days in the same room with someone else, and this I know from experience.  No sooner is that someone else close to me than her personality crushes my self-esteem and hampers my freedom.  In the space of a day and a night I am capable of coming to hate even the best of human beings:  one because he takes too long over dinner, another because he has a cold and is perpetually blowing his nose.  I become the enemy of others,’ he said, ‘very nearly as soon as they come into contact with me.  To compensate for this, however, it has always happened that the more I have hated human beings in particular, the more ardent has become my love for mankind in general.’

‘But then what is to be done?  What is to be done in such a case?  Is one to give oneself up to despair?’

[and Fr. Zosima responds:]  No, for it sufficient that you grieve over it.  Do what you are able, and it will be taken into consideration.  In your case, much of the work has already been done, for you have been able to understand yourself so deeply and sincerely!  If, however, you have spoken so sincerely to me now only in order to receive the kind of praise I have just given you for your truthfulness, then you will, of course, get nowhere in your heroic attempts at active love; it will all merely remain in your dreams, and the whole of your life will flit by like a wraith.  You will also, of course, forget about the life to come, and you will end by somehow acquiring a kind of calm.

I’m also reading Jurassic Park.  How about you?  What book is currently lulling you to sleep or keeping you awake all night?

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I think you’d be surprised at how long I thought about whether today’s post at the Register should be titled “The Communion of Virtual Saints” or “The Virtual Communion of Saints.”  The good news is, I managed to sneak in a Blazing Saddles reference, thus keeping pace with my goal to bring, however tangentially, more fart jokes to the Catholic blogosphere.

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cruel defeat for you all.

There were 116 entries, and nobody guessed it!  Are you ready?  Inside the bag was . . .

mix for making homemade vanilla ice cream.   How can I be sure?  After some deep cleaning, we noticed a carton which was split open, from which a stray bag might reasonably have been separated.  The box held most of the pieces of an ice cream maker, as well as other little similar bags holding ice cream-making things, like rock salt.  Also in the box were instructions (for an ICEE machine, but still).  Also a piece of wood, and a blue sweater.

So I was fairly sure that I was dealing with something edible, so I opened the bag and smelled and tasted the contents.  Yep, that’s what it was:  ice cream mix.  We actually went so far as to use the ice cream maker one time, and I remember the powdery, gritty texture of the mix and the odd, buttery smell.  I did a dramatic Geraldo-esque video of myself opening it up, but my newly teenaged daughter just couldn’t resist turning the camera on herself from time to time, and the end result was not especially intelligible.  Also “Panic In New York Detroit” (definitely panic in somewhere!) was playing in the background for some reason, and drowned out most of what I was saying.  (I was saying, “Oh, it’s ice cream mix.”)

So.  Now what?  I may have missed a few, but here are the guesses:

Iocane powder
zombifying neurotoxin powder called Tetrodoxin
instant chai
masa harina
Cocaine (5)
priming sugar for beer
Jell-o
beer bread mix
powdered milk
wheat flour
dough
instant mashed potatoes
cornstarch and water
rice flour
embossing powder for rubber stampers
cake mix (including Easy Bake) (16)
plaster of paris for hand/foot print, stepping stone, or misc. craft (19)
muffin or scone mix (4)
arrowroot (3)
potato starch
pancake mix (5)
salt
tapioca flour or tapioca (2)
cremains (2)
diaper dust
clay powder
gum arabic
reagent powder for chemistry kit
laundry detergent
drink or lemonade mix (2)
guilt
grout powder
chickpea flour
onion powder (4)
bubble gum kit mix
bulk vitamin C
pizza dough  mix
brownie mix
muffin streusel
anthrax
soy flour
Barkeeper’s Friend
flea powder
baby formula
silica powder
xanthan gum
wall paper paste
sand (from craft kit, ant farm, or Sinai Desert, or rock polishing kit) (8)
Moon Sand
magic ecumenical fairy powder
vanilla pudding (5)
ice cream smoothie

I think that last one comes the closest, don’t you?  And so . . .

I’m happy to announce that the winner of our stupid contest is Elaine Miletic!

Congratulations, Elaine!  Please email me with your shipping address, and I will get your two-year subscription to Faith and Family set up!

And to everyone else, you won’t come away empty handed.  To you, I impart this valuable piece of advice:  making homemade ice cream once every thirteen years is about right.

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7-year-old son:  BANG!  BANG!  BANG!  I’M A ZOMBIE KILLER!
5-year-old daughter:  Well, I’m not a zombie.
7-year-old son:  Wait here, I’ll get my other gun.

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Also, my post is up at the Register:  Pro-Life Euphemisms:  What Do You Think?

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Also, last day to enter in the contest! Email your answers to simchafisher@gmail.com (sorry, I can’t seem to get WordPress to make that a live link).  I have to say, I think I figured it out from other clues around the house . . . and  NO ONE HAS GUESSED IT YET.  So go ahead and make a second guess, if you like.  If no one guesses it, I’ll just figure out some silly way of choosing a winner tomorrow.

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