Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
March 28th, 2010


This month marks two years of blogging – who knew it would come to this? Almost 300 posts with subjects ranging all over the place. This being Lent I have given up TV which leaves more time for musing and wondering where I am going, what I’ve done, and why.

Just put up a little TED video on how to live to 100+. Much of my blog has to do with the pluses and problems of aging. Unfortunately there aren’t many people my age who follow my blog but it might be of some help to those who have to deal with, cope with, care for older folks. If you’re browsing this blog to see what old age is really  like, don’t stop here. Click on Days With My Father. This is how 98 looks and acts.   If it doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, you must have a heartstring missing.

In the past two years my own walking has become progressively worse – much slower, not nearly as sure-footed, with an occasional stagger.  My “senior lapses” and word-finding difficulties have become more frequent. At Christmas-time, for example, I tried to remember the name of my poinsettia and could only come up with forsythia and pachysandra (they had the right number of syllables and both ended with “a”) but the word poinsettia was nowhere to be found. Yesterday, saying the  rosary with a group, I couldn’t remember what day it was and what mystery we were saying. But, as you see, right now I’m pretty sharp! My blogging skills are increasing somewhat. When I forget how to embed or upload an image, it will probably be time to stop.

Early on, I thought I’d be writing about the things I wrote about all my life – mostly religion (catholicity, charismatic renewal) and science ( covering a broad range of subjects from evolution to motherhood and breastfeeding to homosexuality) and these things have indeed been frequent topics. Who could have told me I’d be taking on the Mormons? In my humble opinion, the video on my recent post on DNA and Mormonism is as devastating at it can get.

And who would have guessed I’d become so political and have so much to say about persons known as Obama and Palin, who I place at opposite ends of the poles of trustworthiness. These have been two of the most critical years in our country’s history. We went from a pro-life president to the most pro-abortion president in our history. We went from a country with the motto “In God I Trust” to a county antagonistic to any sign of religion in the public square. We went from a culture of life to a culture of death. Against the manifest will of the people, the Democrats wheeled and dealed themselves, Chicago-style, into the most astounding power grab ever!

Recent release of visitor logs at the White House revealed that Nancy Keenan, head of NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) , visited the White House ten times in Obama’s 13 months and Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards has had frequent access as well. Pro-life groups were left out in the cold. How’s that for an inside glimpse into the heart of the presidency? Now the most powerful woman in Washington is not Nancy Pelosi but Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary, who could not possibly be more pro-abortion.

Obamacare has put the health of all Americans into government hands – and we all know how efficient the government has been to date.   The issue is not really health care – it is freedom.

Here I am, getting all wound up again. My blog seems to have covered not only the daily happenings in an old lady’s life, but a national upheaval in our beloved country which I find most disturbing. Lou Pritchett, former Vice-President, Sales and Customer Development for Procter and Gamble, has written a more trenchant commentary on what has happened than I ever could. Pritchett “is one of corporate America’s true living legends – an acclaimed author, dynamic teacher…foremost leader in change management. Lou changed the way America does business by creating an audacious concept that came to be known as “partnering.” He wrote the following open letter to President Obama. He sent it to the New York Times but they did not acknowledge it.  (Hardly a surprise.)

Dear President Obama:

You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and unlike any of the others, you truly scare me. You scare me because after months of exposure, I know nothing about you.

You scare me because I do not know how you paid for your expensive Ivy League education and your upscale lifestyle and housing with no visible signs of support.

You scare me because you did not spend the formative years of youth growing up in America and culturally you are not an American.

You scare me because you have never run a company or met a payroll.

You scare me because you have never had military experience, thus don’t understand it at its core

You scare me because you lack humility and ‘class’, always blaming others.

You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned yourself with radical extremists who hate America and you refuse to publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail.

You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the ‘blame America’ crowd and deliver this message abroad

You scare me because you want to change America to a European style country where the government sector dominates instead of the private sector.

You scare me because you want to replace our health care system with a government controlled one.

You scare me because you prefer ‘wind mills’ to responsibly capitalizing on our own vast oil, coal and shale reserves.

You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist goose that lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of living in the world.

You scare me because you have begun to use ‘extortion’ tactics against certain banks and corporations.

You scare me because your own political party shrinks from challenging you on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals.

You scare me because you will not openly listen to or even consider opposing points of view from intelligent people.

You scare me because you falsely believe that you are both omnipotent and omniscient.

You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on everything you do.

You scare me because you demonize and want to silence the Limbaugh’s, Hannitys, O’Reillys and Becks who offer opposing, conservative points of view.

You scare me because you prefer controlling over governing.

Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years.

Lou Pritchett

A recent CNN special revealed that Americans generally view their government as corrupt. On this rather dismal note, I begin a third year of blogging. Did I tell you I saw an opossum in my yard last week? And yesterday, two robins (or perhaps the same robin twice.) The crocuses and daffodils are blooming,  the peach tree and the lilac bush are budding, and my daughter has moved in next door. There’s a new greatgrandbaby up in New Hampshire. His name is Caleb Nicholas. It would seem life will go on, willy-nilly.

As Thomas Paine wrote, “These are times that try men’s souls.”  We obviously need serious prayer and much moral courage.

I just want to say, “Welcome into my life, such as it is. I would be pleased if we were friends.”


Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. – Psalm 68:1

March 24th, 2010



The fight will continue in the states where 38 of them have filed or are planning to file legislation that rebukes Obamacare’s “individual mandate” that requires you to purchase insurance even if you would rather pay directly for medical care. In addition, Attorneys General from several states plan to file lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the healthcare bill’s individual mandate.

And most importantly, the fight will continue at the ballot box for the millions of Americans who refuse to be ignored. In the end, it is only by repudiating those politicians who voted for the health bill in free and fair elections that we can repeal this bill and start over on common sense, market-oriented, patient-centered health reform.


The American people spoke decisively against a big government, high-tax, Washington knows best, pro trial lawyer, centralized bureaucratic health system.

In every recent poll, the vast majority of Americans opposed this monstrosity.

Sixty-six percent of Americans think the bill will make things worse or make no difference for themselves and their families (Gallup).

Forty eight percent of Americans think the plan is a “bad idea.” Only 36 percent think it is a “good idea” (NBC/Wall Street Journal).

Only 17 percent of Americans think the bill will cause healthcare costs to go down. Nearly double that think their costs would go up (Pew).

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi knew the country was against the bill. That is why she kept her members trapped in Washington and forced a vote on Sunday.

She knew if she let the members go home their constituents would convince them to vote no.

Look at what happened with House Democrats Scott Murphy (N.Y.), John Boccieri (Ohio), and Brad Ellsworth (Ind.). The Center for Health Transformation commissioned surveys late last week specifically polling their constituents. We found deep and overwhelming opposition. In Rep. Boccieri’s district, his constituents opposed the bill by a 61-33 margin. For Rep. Ellsworth, it was even worse: 63 to 30 opposed.

But all three congressmen ignored their constituents. All three chose Speaker Pelosi over their constituents.

What we saw Sunday night was a pressured, bought, intimidated vote worthy of Hugo Chavez but unworthy of the United States of America.


The Obama-Pelosi-Reid machine has combined the radicalism of Saul Alinsky, the corruption of Springfield, Ill., and the machine power politics of Chicago.

It is hard to imagine how much pressure they brought to bear on Congressman Bart Stupak to get him to accept a cynical, phony and possibly unconstitutional executive order on abortion. The ruthlessness and inhumanity of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid machine was most clearly on display in their public humiliation of Stupak when he was forced to speak out against a Republican effort to add the very language Stupak authored preventing taxpayer funding of abortion.

Democratic Congressman Alcee Hastings (who, while serving as a federal judge, was impeached and removed from the bench before being elected to the House) articulated the principles of this machine mentality on Sunday when he said, “There ain’t no rules here, we’re trying to accomplish something. . . .All this talk about rules. . . .When the deal goes down . . . we make ’em up as we go along.”

It is hard for the American people to believe their leaders on the Left are this bad.

They are.

Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) explains why he called the bill “a baby killer.”

March 20th, 2010


LET’S  C E L E B R A T E !



The year’s at the spring
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hillside’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn:
God’s in His heaven—
All’s right with the world!

— Browning

March 20th, 2010



But it will take more than “rides on Air Force One” to woo party holdouts, particularly after the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) latest score. New estimates from the CBO put the price tag of this reconciliation plan well over $1,200,000,000,000.00–most of which would be inherited by the lucky winner of the 2016 presidential election. Together with unsavory new taxes ($569.2 billions worth!), the CBO spotlights the bill’s deep gashes in Medicare coverage ($523.5 million in cuts) and confirms that married couples will still be punished with steeper insurance premiums. Believe it or not, nearly half all the individual mandates under this bill will be paid by American families earning less than $66,150 per year. The CBO also points out that a million Americans will have to get their coverage from a bankrupt Medicaid program on the brink of collapsing.

And if you thought dealing with the IRS is a nightmare now, just wait. Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee say the agency’s tentacles will strangle families under ObamaCare. According to their report, the IRS is on the verge of an unprecedented power grab under the President’s bill. It will have the authority to: verify if you have “acceptable” health care coverage, fine you for failure to prove that you have purchased “minimum essential coverage,” and even confiscate your tax refund.

Of course, the agency will need a massive cash influx ($10 billion!) to provide this kind of surveillance. That’s why the GOP is predicting a huge increase in IRS audits and an army of 16,500 new agents and employees to hunt down taxpayers. For all the phony talk of “reducing the deficit,” Democrats are neglecting to mention the very real deficits–of money and freedom–incurred by every American if this plan goes into effect. This legislation spells a loss of U.S. life, savings, doctors, and freedom in exchange for nothing but greater government involvement in our personal decisions.

Meanwhile, President Obama is meeting with Democrats and telling them, “Our fates are tied to the health bill.” The reality is, the people whose fates are truly tied to this bill are the Americans that none of us have met. They’re the unborn, who our dollars will be directed to kill. They’re the next generation, who will survive abortion only to suffer the weight of this crushing debt. Like the great men before them, the 111th Congress will walk the long marble hallways to their seats this weekend, where the great voices still echo, “Independence forever!” Ultimately, every one of them will cast a vote heard throughout history. They will choose to pay for legislation with our country’s future or stand with the millions of us who know that “liberty–once lost–is lost forever.”

The Hill Switchboard May Be Closed, But God’s Line Is Open………. PRAY, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY

We, the people, speak to Obama — Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.


Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. — 2 Chronicles 7:14

March 14th, 2010


(No,  this is not the Plan B that is a pill you take so you won’t get pregnant if you didn’t use a condom the night before.)

This is going to be a  review of Anne Lamott’s  Plan B:  Further Thoughts on Faith because I want to pass the book on to someone I think will enjoy it.    Which means I’d better get down to it while it is still on hand.   But I’m in no mood to settle down and write anything that requires thought.   What to do?  Lamott has published a dozen or more books and has received a Guggenheim fellowship.  She has been known to advise would-be writers to write something, anything, just to get started and then to improve on it.  Hence, I’m reluctantly starting a review of a quirky, irreverent look at life and faith written by a 49-year-old single mother with dreadlocks – who turns out to be a brown-haired white lady.

She writes of her mother’s Alzheimers, her son’s adolescence, and her own personality which she claims is not right for the human condition.  The human condition, of course, is messy, and unpredictable, and dark and light, –  in fact she begins her first chapter stating that on her forty-ninth birthday she decided that all of  life was hopeless and she was going to eat herself to death.   A left–leaning peacenik who hates George Bush  she struggles with trying to forgive him as Jesus says and love him as Jesus does – but how can she cope with the preemptive strike in Iraq and the fact that children die in wars and hitting first is evil?  (Too bad the book was written before Obama came on scene.  I’d love to read her take on that!)

Lamott says church is her favorite place on earth, “after my couch in the living room.”  One day her pastor said “that Christians have a very bad reputation, with our hate and self-righteousness.   We speak in reverent terms of grace, justice, equality, mercy, and then we despise people who are also created in God’s image, who are Her children too.”  The pastor also said that if George Bush was the only person on earth Jesus would have come down and died for him.  This is not easy for Lamott to swallow, and process, and accept.

Despite the fact that her politics are not mine, her struggle with the Christian faith is real and her words honest and endearing.  And even funny.   Enjoyable and recommended.



Laughter is carbonated holiness. —  Anne Lamott

March 13th, 2010


Why would an old grammy, alone in her bed, alone in her house, get up in the middle of the night and head for her computer?  She’s looking for a connection.  She knows that, short of an emergency, she shouldn’t call people and wake them up just to chat.  Instead, she turns to the machine,  hoping maybe someone has directed an email in her direction, or perhaps it’s her turn to play a Scrabble word.    Someone  might actually be up and communicating.  Perhaps not.  There’s always email, most of it cute things, political things, or another announcement that someone in Nigeria wants to make her rich.  But some of it might actually be personal.

If email doesn’t come through,  then maybe some of her peeps are up to something interesting.  She can look in on other peoples lives on Facebook.  She finds that a friend has had a new book published and is rejoicing in its coverage.  An acquaintance has cut the hair of all four of her kids.  A newly discovered blogger has written a convincing review of Twilight in which she calls it a misogynistic piece of hardboiled crapola.  A couple tells of their life in a Mongolian yurt in the wilderness of Seldovia, Alaska.  They have broadband.  They have a child.  They have no toilet.

It was on Facebook that I first learned I was expecting a new greatgrandchild!  One day Jason announced he had heard his baby’s heartbeat for the first time.  Later there were photo’s of the very pregnant mother.  A few days ago – behold – 9 lb 2 oz naked baby boy in living color!  They live hundreds of miles away and I would have missed all this were it not for Facebook.  An auntie comments: “The baby is so freaking adorable!”

Grandchildren may not be inclined to write regularly to grandma, but if they write to the world at large on Facebook grammy can get a peek into their lives, their friends, their travels, their troubles.

I played Scrabble with brother, Ernie, on Facebook.  First I was ahead, then he Bingo’d and was in the lead; then I Bingo’d and was ahead.  We were neck and neck until he finally beat me by 6 points.  I complained on Facebook and said I needed ice cream.  He responded that the ice cream was on him.  Hardly great drama but it is the stuff of family relationships.

I rarely tweet but I have one good friend (a priest) who has chosen Twitter to keep up with his world and I stop by occasionally to say hello.  Boy, is that man’s plate full.  He gives his followers a good inside look at the busy life of a priest.  One day Father Joe reports he is nursing a cold and he tweets: “Food offerings for Father in the last week: chicken stew from Rosalinda; chile and spaghetti from Marta; ham dinner from Mary Ellen. Good!”  Another day: “Called to hospital this evening. Could have used Polish and Apache languages. What a diocese! Holy Hour. Knights of Columbus met tonite.”  I understand totally why he tweets – it’s a quick, easy way to keep in touch – just a few keystrokes and it’s done — and I think how nice it is  that his parishioners can log on every day “just to see what Father is up to.”   The people love and appreciate a good priest.

Jennifer at Conversion Diary has an insightful blogpost about the time she gave up her computer for a week and what she learned:

The same force that drives people to slot machines is what drives me to my computer. I realized that when I mindlessly get online, every time I click it’s like pulling the lever on a slot machine and hoping to hit the jackpot. I’m hoping to hit a virtual jackpot — a blog post that changes my life, an email that blows me away, a hilarious video on YouTube, etc. And the truth is that there’s enough stuff online that if I clicked on enough links or spent enough time on email I would get that payoff I’m looking for. But, just like with slot machines, I need to be careful about spending endless amounts of time just sitting around pulling the lever.

Like Jennifer, I could spend endless amounts of time just surfing around and exploring.  It’s hard to call it time wasted – but there could very well be better ways to spend our precious time. There’s a thing called balance that we should be striving for.   On the plus side, I have to say that I am happy to be able to dip in the lives of my siblings, children, grandchildren and friends,  to see what they are complaining about, where they are going, what apps they are playing.   Sometimes I comment. Sometimes they respond.

For old folks who have access to a computer, I’d suggest they be shown how to visit their family-in-a-box, those relatives and friends who email or blog or use Facebook or Twitter.  For sure, they’d rather have real people actually present but they can enjoy being “in touch on line” when being physically  in touch is not happening.  To my mind, people who share their daily insights, struggles, and problems on the computer are more real than the fictional characters in a soap opera.  If there is no family in the house, the “family-in-a-box” is next best.  Linked in is much better than left out.

Personally, I  am blessed with siblings, offspring, and friends who I see fairly often, and I am so grateful for that!  Nevertheless, there are bloggers that I have never personally  met but  have learned to love because of the beauty of their spirit.  It gives me great pleasure to know that they exist–and if I, in my limited browsing, have found these few, the chances are that there are millions more out there, loving their fellow man and living lives that give glory to God.


Reach out and touch someone. — AT & T

March 8th, 2010


There are over 700 dead so far in the Chilean earthquake and they’ve had 90 after shocks, including two over 6.0.    Europe is  suffering a major storm with many deaths and a million power outages.  I just heard about a girl whose innards were sucked out through her anus by a pool drain.  I mean, some people have trouble.     My two little lumps seem so insignificant in the overall picture.

There are probably others like me, who, when they discover a strange lump in their body, immediately think “Is it malignant?”  Does it threaten my life?  What am I going to have to undergo because of this?

So I found this little lump, very small, movable, non-tender, in my neck,  under my chin, just to the right of the trachea. A recent repeat thyroid ultrasound had come back “no significant change; no need for biopsy; repeat in 2-3 years.”  But it didn’t cover the area of the lump.  My internist seemed unimpressed and said we’d watch it – maybe I’ve always had it  — come back in two months.  By the time I returned to him in two months I had found another lump, this time in my right cheek.    Very small, pea-sized,  hard, non-tender.  He referred me to an ENT specialist.

My sister was kind enough to take me to the ENT man,  just in case I might need  moral support or a biopsy.  She’s a nurse and old, too, like me,  and very nice.  The ENT man looked first in my ears (E), then my nose (N), then in my mouth (T).  His considered opinion was that I probably had a blocked salivary gland (did you know we have hundreds of little salivary glands in our mouths?)  Nothing to worry about.  He likewise seemed unimpressed with the under-the-chin lump but offered no explanation for it.  However, with two doctors so nonchalant, I’m willing to live peaceably with them unless they somehow act up.   We’re in “wait and see” mode.

And that’s the story.

Strange coincidence: When I told my son about my cheek lump he informed me that he had had a similar one “forever,” also in his right cheek.   When I told my daughter about it, she said she had once had cellulitis in her right cheek, and had to eat sour candies to prompt her salivary gland to secrete.   You don’t suppose we have a familial right salivary gland lump chromosome, do you?

It makes one wonder.

As an afterthought: 

The following video of an  ABC report  by John Stossel on Obama’s health care reform bills  worries me considerably more than my lumps do.    When I discovered the lumps I  was able to see two doctors quite promptly without any trouble.   Hopefully I will not be around when the time comes that some government bureaurocrat gets to decide whether I need to see  a doctor, whether I need a referral to a specialist, whether I can wait six months, or whether I am valuable enough to society to be worthy of any care at all.

And, Congressman Mike Rogers of Michigan:


But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. — Isaiah 53:5

March 4th, 2010


This came today via email.  I couldn’t resist it.

Written by an Australian Dentist

To Kill an American

You probably missed this in the rush of news, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper, an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American.

So an Australian dentist wrote an editorial the following day to let everyone know what an American is . So they would know when they found one. (Good one, mate!!!!)

‘An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish , Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani or Afghan.

An American may also be a Comanche, Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, Seminole or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.

An American is Christian , or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in
Afghanistan . The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses.

An American is also free to believe in no religion.. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

An American lives in the most prosperous land in
the history of the world.
The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence , which recognizes the God given right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.

An American is generous.. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return.

When Afghanistan was over-run by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country!

As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan ..

The national symbol of America , The Statue of Liberty , welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These in fact are the people who built America

Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11 , 2001 earning a better life for their families. It’s been told that the World Trade Center victims were from at least 30 different countries, cultures, and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.

So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo , and Stalin , and Mao Tse-Tung, and other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world… But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself . Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.

Seven-year-old Anthony Gargiula sings the National Anthem.

March 3rd, 2010


The First Telegraph

If you click Library of Congress you can see a larger version of Samuel Morse’s first telegraph message on 24 May 1844 from the Supreme Court room in Washington to his assistant in Baltimore.  And if you look carefully you can see the raised dots and dashes that made up the message. Below them are  letters: W h a t  h a t h  G o d  w r o u g h t,  written by the person who decoded the message.   Nowadays we think this method of delivering a message speedily quite primitive.   At the time it seemed almost miraculous.

Here is another  remarkable delivery, born March 2, 2010.


Men – and women – may play their roles, but in the end we can only echo  Samuel Morse and exclaim in amazement:       WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT!


What hath God wrought!  — Numbers 23:23

March 1st, 2010


Absolutely fascinating! Here is the real skinny on how to live to 100 or longer. It’s not easy to live to 100 – we are not really genetically programmed to live that long – but we are programmed to live longer than we do. Dan Buettner tells about peoples with the highest percentage of centenarians–in Sardinia and Okinawa, for example, or the Seventh Day Adventists. What do they do different than most of us? Meet a granny holding her greatgreatgreatgrandchild and a 97-year-old doctor still doing open heart surgery.


The length of our days is seventy years–or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away. — Psalm 90:10

“Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.” Yahweh, Isaiah 65:20