Saturday, January 31, 2009

Priest uncovering beginnings of Final Solution

With all the talk of the SSPX and the Holocaust denying Williamson, I found this article about a French priest who has uncovered the beginnings of the Final Solution. He actually interviewed survivors mostly in the Ukraine and Russia, he saw mass burial graves and has written about previously unknown sites.

Priest uncovering beginnings of Final Solution


The Associated Press

January 31, 2009

The Holocaust has a landscape engraved in the mind's eye: barbed-wire fences, gas chambers, furnaces.

Less known is the 'Holocaust by Bullets,' in which over 2 million Jews were gunned down in towns and villages across Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. Their part in the Nazis' Final Solution has been under-researched, their bodies left unidentified in unmarked mass graves.

'Shoah,' French filmmaker Claude Lanzmann's documentary, stands as the 20th century's epic visual record of the Holocaust. Now another Frenchman, a Catholic priest named Patrick Desbois, is filling in a different part of the picture.

Desbois says he has interviewed more than 800 eyewitnesses and pinpointed hundreds of mass graves strewn around dusty fields in the former Soviet Union. The result is a book, 'The Holocaust by Bullets,' and an exhibition through March 15 at New York's Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Brought to Ukraine by a twist of fate, Desbois has spent seven years trying to document the truth, honor the dead, relieve witnesses of their pain and guilt and prevent future acts of genocide.

Some 1.4 million of Soviet Ukraine's 2.4 million Jews were executed, starved to death or died of disease during the war. Another 550,000-650,000 Soviet Jews were killed in Belarus and up to 140,000 in Russia, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Most of the victims were women, children and the elderly.

Begun after Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, the slaughter by bullets was the opening phase of what became the Nazis' Final Solution with its factories of death operating in Auschwitz and other camps, all in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Desbois devotes his 233-page book, published by Palgrave Macmillan in August, to his work in Ukraine, where he says he has uncovered over 800 mass extermination sites, more than two-thirds of them previously unknown.

Since the book was written, he has expanded his search for mass graves into Belarus and plans to look early this year in areas of Russia that were occupied by the Germans.

Sometimes bursting into tears, old men and women from poor Ukrainian villages recount to Desbois how women, children and elders were marched or carted in from neighboring towns to be shot, burned to death or buried alive by German troops, Romanian forces, squads of local Ukrainian collaborators and local ethnic German volunteers.

Even then, it was methodical, Desbois' research shows. First, Germans would arrive in a town or village and gather intelligence on how best to transport the victims to extermination sites, where to execute them and how to dispose of their bodies.

'It was done as systematically as it was done elsewhere,' said John Paul Himka, an expert on the Holocaust and Ukraine at the University of Alberta in Canada, who is not connected to Desbois' work. 'You can read as they're figuring out best way to do this, the best way to shoot ... it's absolutely systematic, no accident here.'

Desbois' interviews and grave-hunting tie in to millions of pages of Soviet archives, heightening their credibility, says Paul Shapiro, of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum who wrote the foreword to Desbois' book.

Father Desbois' work is also having an impact on efforts to preserve Holocaust sites. In December, the 26-nation International Task Force on the Holocaust called on European governments to ensure the protection of locations such as the mass graves Desbois is uncovering, according to Shapiro, who helped draft the resolution.

Among Desbois' key findings is the widespread use of local children to help bury the dead, wait on the German soldiers during meals and remove gold teeth and other valuables from the bodies. His work has also yielded evidence that the killings were most frequently carried out in the open, in daylight and in a variety of ways _ shooting victims, throwing them alive into bonfires, walling up a group of Jews in a cellar that wasn't opened until 12 years later.

Desbois' witnesses are mostly Orthodox Christian, and he comes to them as a priest, dressed in black and wearing a clerical collar, taking in their pain and trying to ease their suffering. Many have never before talked about their experiences.

In the village of Ternivka, some 200 miles south of Kiev where 2,300 Jews were killed, a frail, elderly woman, who identified herself only as Petrivna, revealed the unbearable task the Nazis imposed on her.

The young schoolgirl saw her Jewish neighbors thrown into a large pit, many still alive and convulsing in agony. Her task was to trample on them barefoot to make space for more. One of those she had to tread on was a classmate.

'You know, we were very poor, we didn't have shoes,' Petrivna told Desbois in a single breath, her body twitching in pain, Desbois writes in his book. 'You see, it is not easy to

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Until I post again, Sotto Voice at Clerical Whipsers posted about St. Brigid and part of my Celtic Spirituality post will talk about her.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Watch This Space

For now this is my placeholder for my post on Celtic Spirituality. If I get it written up. Needless to say, I loved the presentation I went to last night.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

At A Place Called Vertigo

25 random things about me meme…

It’s going everywhere. Odd that I haven’t seen it on LJ yet. Got tagged on Facebook, I’ve seen it on blogs I read here, so here’s my version. I'm not going to tag people because most everyone on my friend's list here has already done it, and if not, just do it, if you feel like it.

  1. I was very lucky that my mom didn’t miscarry me. She had surgery when she was three months pregnant and they weren’t sure if she’d carry me to term. She also believed I was a boy.
  2. I was confirmed when I was between a year or two years old.
  3. I hated the book Death Comes for the Archbishop, but I haven’t read it since I was 16 and I didn’t finish it all back then.
  4. I despise fresh tomatoes.
  5. I don’t feel like a very good Catholic most days.
  6. I often feel afraid of success and I think I often try avoid trying new things out of fear.
  7. I’m fearful of dating again because I got hurt so badly the last time I was dating someone.
  8. I have loved U2 since the 80s.
  9. All the characters in my stories have siblings. I think this is because I am an only child and when I was young, I made up an imaginary family—instead of just an imaginary friend. I think that became the basis for my story telling.
  10. I made all my sacraments at the Cathedral parish but don’t like going there anymore except for special Masses or events.
  11. Most of my adult best friends, I met online first. Some I still have to meet after how many years or months in the case of new friends.
  12. I know a lot about many things, but mostly enough to get myself in trouble.
  13. I love the smell of coffee, I love chocolate covered coffee beans, I adore coffee ice cream, I dunk my biscochitos in coffee but won’t drink the stuff.
  14. I’ve lived in the same house for almost half my life.
  15. I may be a practicing Catholic, but I don’t have a crucifix hanging anywhere in my house. I actually don’t even have one.
  16. I make a killer homemade cheesecake.
  17. I have asthma.
  18. I have a crappy stomach, that gets upset at any bad thought.
  19. I cannot live without music, but I can’t carry a tune.
  20. I like teaching 3rd grade Catechism more than I thought I would.
  21. I hate wearing shoes and socks but you should see my collection of both.
  22. My ancestors were probably Sephardic Jews
  23. Good or bad, Kit Carson married into my maternal grandmother’s family.
  24. I haven’t been out of the country before. (Juarez doesn’t count.)
  25. I’ve only been in love twice in my life.
  26. Bonus: I was in a sorority in college, Zeta Tau Alpha.
  27. Double Bonus: Flying things (birds, moths, squirrels that fly etc) scare me. yet I love dragonflies.

Dear God Hope You Got the Letter

On one of the communities I read on LJ there was a discussion about atheism and Christianity. Actually, it was a rant posted by a Christian who is tired of getting bashed by atheists-- or something to that affect. I know lots of atheists/agnostic/non-religious people, most of them are friends and some family. I've never been bashed, belittled or mocked for believing by any of them. I've never had to defend the reasons for my belief. I just find myself feeling awkward talking about my faith around them sometimes. It's obvious that my aunt is very uncomfortable by the subject of Catholicism though. But that's another post.

Also, I know people who are struggling to believe in God. I think I can understand, but in reality, I probably really can't. Believing in God is a really big thing, probably one of the hardest things for a rational person to accept. I've said more flippantly than seriously, that I'm too afraid not to believe, but I also know deep down I have a soul that was created by God. I just know it. I feel it down to the very fiber of my being. By recongizing that I believe in God, then everything else falls into place.

Recently, I've noticed that there are now two sorts of camps of non-believers: atheists and secular humanists. There was a video posted in one of the communities ( by a blogger I read as well) and in the video debate with a Catholic priest, the other debater, a woman, identified as a secular humanist. It was the first time I'd ever really heard the term or the first time I've heard someone self-identify as a secular humanist. She was really fervent about it which I find fascinating. Like many of those in camp two I've read about or see in interviews, it's like they're running away from religion and belief, yet they act just as ferverant about their non-belief it as some of the believers act in their belief. It's almost like their non-belief is their religion, which is something they're fighting againt.

I don't think I articulated any of this well, so I think I'll leave it at that for now. However,
I came across this news story tonight at CNS and thought I'd share the link. Thousands Attend Boulder Debate on Atheism and Religion. Christopher Hitchens (an atheist named Christopher. Ok, that was snarky) and Dinesh D'Sousa debated. It would be interesting to see a mainstream media report about the event.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I know this is all about squee but tonight they broke me again. If only I could cut my class in half. Then I know I could teach them something and if only I could get rid of the problem kids. I'm going to have to talk to my religious ed director tomorrow and it's time to talk to parents. I hate to do it but if it's going to make things go better for me in class, I will.

So... this was me just after receiving First Holy Communion when I was 8. I thought I'd posted this here before, but I can't find the post. I found it and yes, I should tag my posts better.

Ah, yes, the St. Francis Cathedral in the late 70's. There was an article in today's paper (maybe yesterday's) about a bit of the history and styles. Of course, the author had to break up Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop. Grr! Argh. I hated that book.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Year of Squee...

Catching up on my Happy Blog reading.

Jen at Musings from the Big U has decided that she's going to do 30 Days of Happy RCC Squee. While I tend to blog fairly frequently, I don't think I have 30 straight days of squee in me. So... I've decided to make it a year long effort. So this means, no bitching, ranting or attempts to discuss any kind of politics in here.

I actually have a comment yet to answer from a post from a couple weeks back, before Dad got sick and I burned out. I still may do that, however, I was going to preface that comment with this: I know a lot of stuff about many things, but most of what I know is enough to get me in trouble. Having said that, I'm going to remember my mission of this blog, which is to post my thoughts, reflections and feelings about being a Catholic GenXer today. That's it.

So... here's my list of things that I'm looking forward to this year as a Catholic. (I'm going to try to do this chronologically. And I'm tired, so look for links and additions later).

This week, one of the sister's from my parish is going to present an evening on Celtic Spirituality and I would like to go to that. She is the one who let me into the church to pray on the day we took my dad to the hospital and I'd like to go to this. I think it will be something worthwhile, interesting and a nice change of pace.

Feb. 2, my catechism students make their First Confessions. It's the first step in their journey to First Eucharist. Tomorrow we have one more class before the Reconciliation service and I really pray that I can help them through it all right. I have yet to prepare my own lesson for that class. I was supposed to do that today. There's always tomorrow.

Ash Wednesday and Lent. It's coming up quick. I can't believe January is almost over. One of my goals this year is to make the annual pilgrimage to Chimayo. I have never done it before in all my years living here. A group from my parish walks the nine miles from Nambe to the little village of Chimayo, which occurs during Holy Week. People walk from Santa Fe and elsewhere, but I'm going to go with a group of people I know and can feel comfortable walking with. I seriously considered it last year but changed my mind at the last minute. I didn't know many people then so I wasn't sure I was comfortable going "by myself."

Then of course Holy Week. I'm planning to attend the Easter Vigil. I experienced Mass on Holy Thursday for the first time ever last year and was blown away by it all. I actually wrote a scene for my novel based upon that experience. Good Friday services were also incredibly moving and I decided that I will never miss those two days as a Catholic ever again. I didn't attend the Easter Vigil and so this year, I plan to attend.

I believe sometime in the spring my friend Patrick, (aka Paedraggaidin) from LJ,
wants to come visit Santa Fe. I'd enjoy showing him, his sister and his new girlfriend around. I'd also enjoy meeting him in real life. He'd be the first person I've met in real life from online that I didn't know from Fandom first. I've only met people I know online because of Fandom. I suppose in some ways being involved in Catholicism related communities, blogs and forums online has been a bit like Fandom. And you know I've been quite a Catholic fangirl lately. I think my real life (non-Catholic, non-religious) friends think I'm a bit obsessed, so what else is new?

I think probably the next big rewarding event will be watching my students make their First Holy Communions. Most people of my generation joke about not receiving good CCD and I honestly can't say that my experience was bad. I clearly remember being told and understanding the significance of the Eucharist. I truly believed at 8 that I was really receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus. I also remember the sisters who taught us that we could not chew the host AT ALL. I remember being told how wrong it was to chew Jesus. I still hear the words every time I go up for Communion today. I can't recall what the sisters looked like. The wore habits, but I don't recall what order they were or who they were but I recall that. My class received on the tongue but now, I usually receive in my hands. I am actually ok receiving either way and people in my parish do both.

Come June, my biggest squee will be the city's annual Novena to La Conquistadora. I'm sure that there are many things else I'll find to squee about in the days, weeks, months ahead.

Today, we, like it seems like a lot of parishes celebrated The Conversion of St. Paul. In his homily, which I really enjoyed, but Father said something that made me smile. I'm paraphrasing badly, but essentially he said not to worry about the wrongs that people do, that their bad behavior is not our problem, it's for God to handle. That made me think about how disheartened I get sometimes when I see all the uncharitable behavior tossed around on the Catholic blogosphere. I hate seeing Catholics being unchristian and unkind to each other. All I can do is try to live as best that I can, to follow Jesus' teachings and follow the Great Commandment, by loving God with all our heard as well as loving our neighbors as ourselves.

And yes, Bambi makes me very happy, even though it's sad.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Who Cares About the Saints?

I just discovered this video clip on a blog I frequent and Fr. Jim Martin SJ, is one of my favorite contemporary Catholic writers right now. I really loved his book My Life With the Saints and in this video he shares one of the stories he wrote about in his book.

Thought I'd share. H/T to the Deacon's Bench for the clip. Looks like I've been visiting The Bench quite a bit lately.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ahem...I Am Not Done.

Deacon Greg Kandra, from "The Deacon's Bench" wrote a fabulous essay for America Magazine about his experience as a blogger on the Catholic Blogosphere. He talked about the very thing that annoys me about blogging and other bloggers sometimes. It was just the thing I needed to read tonight. So... go read it. I also really recommend his blog as a good one to read.

I'll never have the kind of readership he does, but this is my little corner of the blogosphere and there is no reason to run away.

Moments in Time

Yesterday there were two celebrations/protests/marches on the State Capitol. One in celebration of Roe Vs. Wade and the other was in opposition to it. There was a Pontifical Mass at the Cathedral Basilica celebrated by the archbishop, with Bishop Olmstead of the diocese of Phoenix and the bishop of the Las Cruces diocese in attendance. I didn't go and am not sure I would have gone if I could have. What I wish I had done was had the time to watch both marches, take pictures from both and put together a photo essay of both sides.

There was little coverage of either event, though the march from the Basilica to the Roundhouse made the news and not the other. There is a link here at the Journal North, but I'm not sure it's viewable by non-subscribers.

I find events like this fascinating. I love to study and capture people with the camera. In fact, when I heard Sen. Kennedy was ill again, remembering I'd photographed him once, I dug through the photographs I'd taken for my college photojournalism class and scanned them for posterity sake. I met him once. It was the year that Bill Clinton was running for president the first time, Sen. Kennedy came through on a two-day tour and I was able to get some good pictures of him on the campaign stop. It was really cool for a still idealistic, naive college student to meet and photograph someone as well-known as Ted Kennedy.
That was when I first started to pay attention to politics.

Anyway, I uploaded the Kennedy pictures and a few others. I'd forgotten how much fun I had taking pictures. When I worked at the Rio Grande Sun right out of college, I also had to take pictures with the stories I wrote. Sometimes, I really do think I should have stuck with journalism.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Might Be Done!

I'm considering throwing in the Internets! I was reading a post about the Pope quite possibly considering lifting the Excommunications on the four SSPX bishops and the article was informative and insightful, but the comments.... I'm pulling out my hair here. I know better to read comments on some boards, forums and blogs, but I did it anyway. Why is it that in those places-- doesn't matter if they're liberal, conservative, middle of the road-- the most uncharitable comments get strewn back and forth at each other? Why have I heard the most unchristian and uncharitable words thrown out at other Catholics and non-Catholic Christians?

I've been online and involved in fandom since about 1994- (midseason of Highlander: The TV Series,) when I discovered usenet and met a whole lot of cool people. I've been blogging (well at LJ since 2002) and it's been fun. I've been reading and slightly participating in the Catholic blogosphere about two years-- going on three-- as I first started doing research for my novel, which also coincided on my return to the Church and have found some really, really cool people, I think have made quite a few neat online friends, but I've encountered, well, mostly witnessed, a lot of hostility, animosity and unkind behavior from others, who are not so nice at times.

I've gotten burned out, tired of it all, and really annoyed with people, often fellow Catholics and I'm finding it best to stay away, maybe for good. There are far better things I can do with my time in the evenings-- like go to the gym-- but I enjoy being online and chatting with friends-- via blogs or IM.

I also realize that fighting, nastiness and general bitching at each other isn't just limited to the Catholic blogosphere, but it's where I've seen more of it, not less. It's a bit disheartening.

I may just take a break for a while... or just not venture far iff my blogroll here on the blog.


Since I didn't end up making this post private in the the, I just wanted to add: the lunacy also exists on the Sephardic Genealogy list I read. Heh. Sadly there I've encountered a lot of misconceptions about the Catholic church and some mildly and not so mildly insulting diatribes as well. However, right now Messianic Jews are the topic of choice in the war of uncharitable words. Oy.

I think I'm gonna dump that list. Yes, I'm interested in tracing my family tree back to Spain and yes, I believe I have Sephadic ancestry, but I'm just not really in the place in my life where I can take the time to do all the research to do it. The thing is, also the possibility of discovering I have Jewish ancestors does not change who I am or the faith I follow and believe, though, to some of the people on the list it seems like it should. That maybe a post for later.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Thomas Merton Alert

Ok, so on Facebook where I don't have Jesus friended, but I do have the Thomas Merton Facebook club friended. Today I got a heads up for this Lent and Holy Week Resource by Thomas Merton from Ave Maria Press. I picked up a nice book for Advent and Christmas with reflections from St. Francis. Sadly, I put it down after Christmas day, which is also the time I started getting lax with praying as well.

I may try to order before Lent. I think it would be nice.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Last Dad update also posted to the LJ.

We brought him home yesterday. He was feeling so much better and today he looked great. He hasn't really slept and I'm hoping that today he had some well needed sleep.

The doctor cannot explain what caused his brief illness. He doesn't believe the heart stuff is related and he doesn't believe it's serious. I mean, my dad is 80. He wants him to get an appointment with the heart docs just for a follow up. He also told him to stop taking all the other meds (pain killers and anti-anxiety pills) and just take what he needs for his diabetes and asthma, which are both fairly controlled on the meds. That was also a relief. He also told him to add low-dose aspirin, which may help with all the aches and pains. It's probably not strong enough but we'll see.

Today, after my Catechist workshop, I headed over to there to check on him. I ate lunch with him, and then I came home and slept. I think I finally allowed myself to decompress and rest. I wasn't feeling great today, but I think I knew that I had nothing much to do, so I could take time for myself and rest.

Tonight, I'll have dinner with the folks, I'll watch "Supernatural" tonight. Yay, new episode and I'm all caught up! Hee. Tomorrow, I'll take down Christmas.

Also, thanks for all the thoughts and prayers. It truly meant a lot.
Think being easily annoyed is a sin? Heh... probably not, but man, lately I'm all of the easily annoyed. I shall stay off certain forums, possibly LJ communities and away from my so-called real life best friends.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Our Lord and Savior on Facebook.

Have I gushed lately
about how much I love Father James Martin's writing at America Magazine? Well, tonight he posted a piece about getting a friend request from Jesus. As always, it's wonderful. Go read it. Then go friend Jesus on facebook.

Sort of an Update

This was originally posted at the LJ and I'll probably keep that more updated on Dad's condition and everything else right now.

I feel like I should do a brief little update. After spending the whole day in the ER, he was admitted about 5 and was sleeping when Mom and I went to check on him. He's totally out of it, dazed, delirious and agitated. They have him in the Critical Care Unit so they can keep an eye on him. He has his oxygen pumping, he's got meds going and I think he's finally settled for the night. I really appreciate your thoughts, prayers and kindness. All the tests are negative for anything... organs were fine, and the other blood work was clean, no meningitis... nothing obvious. The doctor thinks it's probably a viral infection or something respiratory, though the chest X-ray didn't show a thing. The CT scan was clear, no bleeding, no signs of any kind of a stroke. He's got equal balance and movement on both sides, so they don't think it was that, not even a mini-stroke. There are no early signs or any kinds of signs of Alzheimer's, so they're stumped right now. He was still agitated and out of it but I hope with antibiotics, fluids, a good night's rest, tomorrow he will be better.

My mother's brother and sister and their spouses have been by to see him and us at the hospital and have been very compassionate. Her family, full of drama, does know how to pull together when needed. I've talked to one of my cousins-- I have two that I've grown really close to in the last year or so-- and am grateful to have them. Tomorrow, we'll call his nieces and nephew, his best friend and anyone else I think we should call. Still, I'm hoping he will be better tomorrow and it's not a phone call of worry and fear. And I'm praying that the doctors figure out what it is. The doctor said that several people roughly his age have been brought in with something very similar, high fevers, confusion and inability to know where they are or what is going on. He also said that we haven't seen a flu outbreak hit-- they tested him for the flu and that came back negative as well. I know he had a flu shot.

The one question they keep asking is if he drinks. He doesn't. I think he might have taken so many meds that's why they ask-- Mom said he was trying to take all of them today and I've mentioned my fears of over-medication before in here. I will sit down with all the bottles of meds and write them down and bring them to the hospital tomorrow. His doctor will be back in town tomorrow as well, so maybe some of this will get cleared up.

We left the hospital about 2:30-3:00. I dropped my mom off at home with the intention of coming back to get her about 4, but I ended up at church for some reason. I had a feeling it would be locked up at that hour. I think after the 11:30 Mass, it empties pretty quick and usually the priests will clear out, especially if it's the pastor, who might have celebrated two or three Masses already. Then at 4 people start coming again for religious ed, choir practice and teen stuff. Anyway, I pulled into the parking lot at the same time as one of the sisters-- who works with the kids. I introduced myself and told her I knew who she was though we had never formally met. She thought I'd come to hlep her with the teen stuff. I told her I'd come to sit quietly and pray. We talked about people we knew and then I told her why I was there at that moment.

I went inside and it was just me alone in this huge, beautiful church. The Christmas decor is still up, there were a few candles burning by the Nativity set that will come down tomorrow-- it's in the place where the Marian shrine is in the church usually. For just a little awhile a wave of peace came over me. I lit a couple of candles, one for my dad and another for everyone else I know who is having medical and health issues right now. When it rains it pours.

For a half an hour, I sat quietly, shared my thoughts with God, or maybe whatever other saint might listen. It was just a quiet moment. I listened to the church bells ring at three and then at three-thirty and no one came in while I was alone in there.

Those of you who regularly read this journal are all so varied in backgrounds, culture and faith and beliefs-- so hopefully this next part makes some sense. I can't explain exactly how or why I ended up back in the church of my youth-- I never stopped believing in God, but I never felt like I needed to have the church to believe. I certainly never wanted to join another religion and I never could wrap my mind around not believing in something bigger than ourselves. But lately, it has been something that has become very important to me and maybe that's why I was compelled to go to the church today. I found comfort there and later, when talking with Sister Colleen, I knew that's where I had to be at that moment. She offered me some wonderful advice. It was nice to have someone I didn't know listen to me and just be there. She picked up on a few things I said the biggest being "only child" and she knew what that meant for me. Maybe she could see something in my face but she told me that I needed to take time alone for me, that while it seemed selfish, I need to do it. And maybe perhaps I already knew this, but hearing her tell me that it was ok to take the time for myself, made me realize that it is ok and that I shouldn't feel guilty, which of course, I always do. Yesterday, I made myself sick over not being there all the time. Still, I know it isn't selfish to take care of my needs as well. She also asked me to leave her a message tomorrow or Tuesday when I know how my dad is feeling.

I am so glad that I ran into her today.

I don't know what else to say... sorry for the rambling. At this point, I think he's ok. I'll know something in the morning and will post an update. I may not answer comments now or even tomorrow but know I appreciate you all very much for your kindness, compassion and thoughtfulness.

The fever broke and by morning he was awake, alert, lively and grouchy. They moved him to a regular room. He had plenty of visitors and was doing quite well. I think he's still doing well but then about 7:00 two nurses rushed in worried because they said his heart stopped for 4. 9 seconds. There was nothing to indicate that had happened. He was eating dinner talking with my mom, me and my two cousins. Nothing! It was puzzling. Then my aunt and uncle arrived and he was fine. So, it was onto another room in the progressive care unit. He was all right last night, which puzzles me so much.

Today- Tuesday:
I haven't gone to the hospital yet. I'm so tired. I'm going to thrown on some clothes and go as soon as I finish this and my half-soggy cereal.

I'd like to see the doctor today. I suppose I could leave a message for him.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Things That Go Bump...

In the wee hours of the night, the darnedest things happen and phone calls before 7 am are never a good thing. My dad's in the hospital, he's got a fever of 102, is confused as hell and all the tests are negative. The doctors are stumped. They suspect some kind of infection and are doing an Spinal Tap or Lumbar Puncture to rule out spinal meningitis. He can't speak clearly, he is really out of it and hopefully later we'll know something.

Mom and I are at an internet cafe and a bit shell shocked. I'll post more. Prayers would be great if that's your thing,
Saving this piece by Father Neuhaus to read later. It came highly recommended from an a political savvy smart friend while we were talking on IM tonight. Or this morning. Father Z posted something about Fr. Neuhaus' conversion from Lutheranism to Catholicism. I haven't read much of his writing. I noticed at my parish library we have copies of "First Things" as well as copies of "America" on the shelves.

Tomorrow, before I take down my tree, I'll answer comments from yesterday. I got really sick today-- from family stuff, I suspect. I don't seem to be able to handle stress like I used to. It seems to manifest itself in my stomach now, instead of my shoulders, back and neck. It's not healthy to let it build and it's not healthy to feel so damn gulity either.

As of tomorrow, it's back to walking an hour a day, strength training at the gym three times a week (ok, I will build back up to this routine slowly), daily prayer and maybe writing in my newish- spiritual journal. I also have to set some limits with the parents. That will be hard.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Maybe my crappy mood is hormonal. Or maybe because of it, I just let myself go to that place where I don't like to go. I'm missing HIM again. It's been ages since I've missed him.

Just Like the Guy Whose Feet Are Too Big For His Bed

I totally feel like the world is falling apart. It's not political. It's not religious. It's not romantic. And I still have no control over it.

I don't do many poor little old me posts over here, so bear with me. Lately, it's a wonder I have any readers of my LJ. It seems like I'm making lots of PLOM posts.

That's my dad and me and my great-uncle's horse. It was one of those moments I mostly remember in stories. Apparently I was scared to death of the horse. Funny, because I grew up loving horses. Though, I was never fortunate enough to own one of my own. Funny, I picked that picture to go with this post because I'm feeling very much like that little girl today. I'm very scared of what's going on with my dad. For the last couple of days, my big, strong dad, whom I've loved and admired my whole life was not the man in the picture that I always see. He's been forgetful, confused and nonsensical for the last couple of days. He ends up falling asleep in the middle of conversations. It's frustrating and making me incredibly anxious and scared.

I haven't lived with parents since I was 18 but I usually seem them every day. Sometimes, two or three times a day. Often, I feel guilty , resentful and angry. Other times, nothing but compassion. I'm often sad and moody-- when it's not hormonal like today. I'm watching my parents get old and it's wearing me down emotionally. There are times, quite a bit lately, when I want to run away and not deal with my dad. There are times, when we have great days, wonderful conversations and it feels like it did when I was a little kid. The last time I remember having a good day with him was for the feast of the Immaculate Conception. We went to Mass and dinner after.

He's not really sick. His diabetes is under control. He has aches and pains. The thing that worries me most is his Asthma and probably COPD. I really suspect he's not getting enough oxygen and not sleeping. I know when I don't get enough sleep, I feel sluggish, forgetful and off, so I imagine for him the symptoms are much more pronounced, most espeically because he's oxygen dependant. His doctor doesn't believe there's any kind of dementia or Alzhiemers but still, I worry and fear the latter. One of my dear friends is dealing with the latter in her mother and so I know what she's going through and I fear it tremendously especially how he's been the last couple of days-- well few weeks-- I guess.

None of this is under my control and it's wearing me thin. He wants me there all the time. I feel guilty if I do something fun or planned. The thought of doing something that I want or like to do, is something that I just can't even fathom right now. I'm a selfish person-- I'm an only child. It goes with the life-- but I just can't imagine pursuing a particular dream right now. It's probably not something meant for me, only God knows that I think, but I'm having trouble accepting that.

I'm really not looking for accolades. God knows I don't know how to ask for help and I know that while I'm "woe as me", this is nothing compared to what my mother is feeling right now. In the last few years, we've grown closer. Mom and I were always friendly to each other on a basic level, but we also fought like cats and dogs that often I just avoided her. But she's struggling too as she watches the man she married 43 years ago drift away from the man she married. My heart aches and I can't run away.

Gacked from the headlines

Interesting opinion piece in the Seattle Times, have you seen it yet, Jen? In comments, my favorite words are brandied about... "Cafeteria Catholic" about the two authors. I am a firm believer in the separation of Church and State and I hate it when the lines get blurred. Catholic Bishops have an obligation to teach the faith to Catholics, but should also remember that not everyone in this country is Catholic, or even Christian and for those reasons I think they should not overstep their bounds. Certainly speak up and discuss those issues they feel are against Catholic teaching and are immoral but don't cross the line. I still find the Catholic and Mormon support of Prop 8 distasteful. I don't care how a private person voted, though I think it's shameful for anyone to deny civil rights to a group of people based on sexual orientation through the voting booth or by any other mechanism, but that members of my church acted so publicly fight for it, left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

If we were a theocracy, then this would be moot. Lately, it seems as though the lines have be muddied. JMHO.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I really wanted to post about the Epiphany tonight, but I think I'll do that tomorrow. If my wise men were traveling throughout the house they could officially arrive at my nativity set, but as I don't do that, they're already there bringing gifts to the baby Jesus.

There was a really cool special on PBS about the Wise Men or Three Kings. I think it was best special I've seen about them. It was called the Mystery of the Three Kings.
It beat anything I've seen on the ever-annoying History channel. Here's more info.

I also have yet to do the house blessing for the new year.

Waiting For PIllowcases to Dry

So, lately, (again) I've been revising my novel, my second one. To say it's Catholic is an understatement. Of course my main character spends the first half of it declaring how much of a heathen she is, she constantly gives her twin brother grief for being a priest and while she knows she knows she's not really a heathen and while her brother's vocation brings her pride, she won't admit it. It's not till she moves to Europe with her fiance and ends up in a country with an atheist majority that she rediscovers her faith, though I don't think she ever really lost it.

I just wonder if my journey back to the church mirrors some of what my character is experiencing?

I don't profess to be the next great Catholic writer, but I am writing about Catholic characters and Catholic culture. I hope in a realistic way. I'd like to think they're human. They definitely sin, they fight, they love, they make mistakes. They're flawed. None of them are perfect.

Just because it is a "Catholic" story, my story is not G-rated by any means. It's not squeaky clean, nor is it scandalous. I think it's just based in reality. It's just every time I sit down to revise or reread particular scenes, it amazes me just how much Catholicism has influenced the story.

I don't think that this is unique to my writing though. It's obvious that even in my first novel, my Catholic upbringing has influenced my writing, which makes me think about how Catholicism influences other writers, artists, musicians. I am working my way to that post I've wanted to make...but not tonight.

cross-posted to the writing blog.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Half Way There

Tonight I had a happy moment following my Catechism class. My students make their first confessions in four weeks and I think they are ready. We have one more sacramental class before that night but I feel like we've achieved something already. It amazes me how bright they are. They are getting the concept of sin-- mortal and venial. Most of them know their prayers. They have trouble with the Hail Mary, but they all know the Our Father, most know the Glory Be and they all pretty much know their prayer of sorrow. It's the one I don't know. I wish they could learn the Act of Contrition but apparently, it's too difficult to learn. Grr. I like it better.

It's truly a wonderful journey that I am making with these children. I'm blessed that I'm doing this with them. I want to grow in my spirituality and my faith and by leading them on this journey, I am doing that. There is still so much that I want to learn and so much I know I can teach the children, but I am now at a point where I know that I finally believe that I can do this. It's taken me awhile to gain the confidence in myself but it is a big responsibility and I just want to do right by them. And I hope that I am blessed to be able to do this for years to come.

Right now my words and thoughts are a bit jumbled but I wanted to post a little something about how I was feeling tonight after my class. I'll probably come back and revise and add to this post later. Meanwhile, I have a lot to prepare for Saturday's class, so we'll see how I feel after that class.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

It Was Just That The Time Was Wrong

It's snowing again. Yesterday it was 50 degrees and most of the snow melted. Today, there was about an inch or two on the deck outside my bedroom. I really want to stay home, hide away from the real world and watch Supernatural. Besides, Dean now believes in God, it could be my spiritual experience for the day especially since I don't want to go to Mass. If I miss the 11:30 I could still go to the 5:30.

I also really want to take down all the Christmas decor. Now it's not making me happy. It's become a big pain in the you know where. My house is too little for a huge Christmas tree.
Ok... enough complaints, time to take a shower.

Friday, January 2, 2009

If You Don't Know Me By Now...

Suddenly, I get why jealousy/envy is a huge sin. Still, it's not an easy one to avoid.
And no, I haven't watched the Seven Deadly Sins on History channel. It happens all too often in real life to know what it is that I don't need a dumb TV show to tell me.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Jolly Old St. Nicholas

Remember I posted about the grinchy priest in Italy who ruined Christmas for many children by saying Santa wasn't real? Well, proof he exists (or at least St. Nick.) This was at my parish. See, he's real. And that means Rudolph is real too. Hee.

I think it's better to celebrate and acknowledge St. Nicholas rather than the commercialized Santa Claus, but still, I don't think little kids should have their childhood beliefs quashed like that.

Also posted to the LJ.

Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God

Happy Solemnity of Mary, Everyone!

This was the prayer we prayed at our parish today at Mass and I thought I'd share on this first day of the new year.
Act of Dedication to Mary, Peacemaker of the Americas.
Blessed Mary, you who carried the
Source of all Peace beneath your heart
and nurtured our Lord Jesus Christ into

Convince our hearts of the call to unity
and peacemaking
in our world today.
Give us a passion for the unity and well
of those entrusted to our care.
Give us a world wide awareness
of the pain of people hurt by war
and a firm determination to work and
pray for lasting peace

Heal those wounded in the past year
by violence, terrorism and death,
by expulsion from their homelands,
by the ravages of natural disasters.
Bring them home to a sense of peace and
the New Year.
Let the ongoing wars of our times
find their solutions
and finally come to the peace you have

You who gave birth to the Savior of the
give birth to peace
in this time, in this hour, in our hearts,
our homes, our families, our city and our weary world.
We rededicate ourselves this new year
to be peacemakers
under your patronage,
Santa Maria De La Paz

Here's a nice post at the Western Confucian about Mary, the Mother of God.