What Anthony Read Yesterday

Nim’s Island is a book I bought yesterday. For us to read in preparation for seeing the movie next weekend, the movie with Jodie Foster ( one of my favourite actors) .

Anthony read the book in the afternoon. He enjoyed it ; said it was an easy but captivating read. I hope to read it myself this week.

We pretty much love books and reading here, although right now I am finding it hard to discover a riveting book . I am reading mostly light non fiction, nothing taxing , no deep novels, no deep spiritual reading.

After “Nims Island”, I am looking for a good read, a sink-your-teeth-into read.

The kids have had their mental teeth stuck in a number of books. Anthony has been reading some of Isaac Asimov’s Robot series and Thomas some of Gibbons’ “Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire”. Alexander is currently enjoying Bram Stoker’s classic ~ “Dracula”.

I love the diversity of my kids’ reading.

Baked Pumpkin

I made this for dinner the other night. Yummy! You can see the pre and post baking pics.

Cut the top off the pumpkin, scrape out the seeds and some of the flesh. Layer thin squares of toast, chopped onion, thinly sliced cheese, salt and pepper in the pumpkin. Replace the top and bake in a slow oven 2-3 hours. Remove top, stir contents, add hot milk and serve with extra milk for bowls, to make a soup consistency. And enjoy.


Struggles With Attitudes

My Thankful Thursday post, and Genevieve’s thoughtful responses, have highlighted something for me.

My struggles with attitude.

No, don’t worry, this won’t be a post full of angst. This is not a bleeding-heart-blog. But it is a blog for pondering and sharing and some of us ( Genevieve and me ) seem to ponder best when we write. Or blog.

Thursday was my birthday. Birthdays are always bitter sweet for me. Where does the time go?

Dh and I stayed up very late, spending time together, talking together. We talked of a number of things, of this, of that, of some every day things, of important things.

And dh pointed out that I have become abrupt in my responses to our children.

Ouch and double ouch.

The super thing about being married for a long time is that we can share, honestly.Most of the time.

We can hold each other accountable for words and deeds.

Thus, dh’s words made me both wince and wonder.

I see that I am often abrupt. Partly because of my sarcastic, somewhat wicked sense of humour. Mothers aren’t supposed to use this humour on their kids, right?

But my biggest problem is probably busyness.

I get busy. I like being busy . ( What am I running away from, that I have to keep my life so busy? Or is it personality? Is busyness a problem or is it really attitude? One of my Lenten reads, Finding Sanctuary, made me feel uncomfortable when encountering my busyness and the contrast of the monastic life. ).

Regardless of the reasons for this busy life, I do know that, in my busyness, I can be abrupt. A response that could be more loving, friendly, becomes a terse shorthand answer.

In living a go-go-go lifestyle and being efficient, I forget the gentle response.

I am so not gentle.

And so, one of my attitude struggles is a struggle against abruptness and towards “yes-ness”.

I prayed about this, at Mass and at Adoration yesterday. Hoping I will be given an epiphany on how to change my response.

You can do nothing with children unless you win their confidence and love by bringing them into touch with yourself, by breaking through all the hindrances that keep them at a distance. We must accommodate ourselves to their tastes, we must make ourselves like them. ——–St. John Bosco

I suspect that change will come simply by doing – by my consciously making an effort to be less abrupt. It is the act of doing that makes us become what we are. Repeated acts of niceness, not abruptness; and, I imagine, repeatedy falling down and dusting myself off mentally, will mean that eventually yes will be a more automatic response than the terse alternative.

I’ve seen this happen in other areas of my life. I have acted as if I was what I wanted to be and over time, a change occurred. The me I wanted to be became the more natural me.

My other struggle of attitude is a body image attitude. Again. (Does this get boring? Is this a woe-is-me post? Horror. I shudder. And yet, in order to think, I write. I share. Yes, I bore…)

One would think that after losing weight, a person would be happy with their body.

Uh uh.

It seems that I look in the mirror and all I see is the back fat, the daggy arms, that horrid waist, the saggy b**bs.

I don’t expect perfection, yet I find it difficult to come to grips with a slimmer self. I look in the miror and see fat. As if I am the sum total of my looks. As if weight is the all-encompassing, most important part of a person.

Both intellectually and spiritually, I know this to be false. Yet, just as I fall back on a sarcastic, abrupt answer in default when busy, so I fall back into negative body images at milestones, at certain times in my life.

Like my birthday of last week – there comes the thought of being both fat and old.

Sad. I know that who I am is more important than how I look but the negative self talk is default mode.

Perhaps body image takes awhile to adjust to weight loss. Perhaps the living as if philosophy can be applied here, too. Live with joy in my fitter body, as though I accept my body and perhaps I will – accept my normal body, normal BMI . Not model thin but normal.

And fit.

I said recently to a friend, that I find that working on and with my kids on attitudes is of more importance than working on behaviour or on Maths. I see now that this applies to myself.

No default modes. Acting and living on purpose.

If, then, you are looking for the way by which you should go, take Christ, because He Himself is the way. ——–St. Thomas Aquinas

Cartoon courtesy of Gary Olsen, Cartoon College


Thankful Thursday

Yeah, I know it is not Thursday yet but I’m getting in ahead! Thursday’s gonna be busy for me.

And I like Ruth’s idea, from way-back-when, of hosting the occasional Thankful Thursday blog.

Today ( Wednesday posing as Thursday), I am thankful that I am an unschooler.

Why? Read Genevieve’s post and smile at children learning and enjoying learning, at choices in education, at collaborative learning.

At unschooling.

I was feeling guilty about our Easter Octave – work stuff for me, for the kids a little bit of writing and lots of Guitar Hero, Singstar, some reading, friends over. But an unschooler shouldn’t feel this guilty for not doing-school!

Genevieve’s blog post reminds me that joy is important, too – something I can forget when I am busy…

We are seeking joy and thus, a school week of a bit of reading, a bit of writing, French class, work, lots of fun and play and friends, is cool.



Glimpses of our Easter table.

Glimpses of our Easter and of dh’s birthday.
The Easter Vigil. Mass on Easter Sunday night. Prayers. Many, many, yummy chocolate eggs. Hot cross buns. Time with family. With friends. Music.
And workouts.
Yes, Easter workouts. Grabbing time to work out makes me a cooler person. I hope. Nicer. I hope. Healthier. More fit. More fun. Puts an added smile on my face.
What workouts? Aerobic weight training and step aerobics. Weight training ~ light weight high rep. Kickboxing.
Working off chocolate and tiredness .Working out to look and feel better, to be better. Even at Easter.
As a fellow poster says in her avatar, on the Ya-Yas fitness forum ~ What can I say, life is my catwalk. I want to be a”hottie”senior citizen.
Happy Easter season!

Holy Saturday and the Fat Free Vegan

(A weird juxtaposition of post topics in my recent blog titles. )

Today we are looking forward to the Easter Vigil at church tonight and we start the Regina Coeli. Prayed from Holy Saturday to Trinity Sunday, in place of our usual praying of the Angelus.

I woke up feeling fantastic , it has been over a month since I last felt really well- the prayers of Good Friday, the Stations of the Cross and the three o’clock Passion helped me Find Sanctuary. Eating less yesterday, because of Good Friday’s fast and abstinence, was also great for me. I feel fitter and my abs feel flatter.( Am I the only auburn haired blonde? I mean, really, this blend of the religious with diet and body image is very Clueless…lol!).

Visited the fitness forum this morning and found a link to yet another cool blog, the
Fat Free Vegan. Yummy recipes. Maybe I can feel this great all the time, by following the advice of writer and food anthropologist Michael Pollan — Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Okay, maybe I can only do this 50% of the time but at least I like the sound of the tag line!

Some recipes from the vegan blog, ones I want to try ~

Penne Arrabbiata
Enchilada casserole


Good Friday and an Early Birthday Present

We picked up son Nick from the airport, went to “live” Stations of the Cross and Reconciliation at our parish. It was super – Fr. looked great in a purple cope, members of Youth Group acted out parts of the Stations, the Stations were the more traditional Stations that my dh likes, we sang the Salve Regina ( my fave).

I worked out to yet another FIRM workout – 55 minutes of step aerobics and weight training. Hey , it’s fast and abstinence from food and meat, not workouts, isn’t it?

Nick won’t be here for my birthday next week so he gave me an early present – a kitsch coffee mug, a 1950s housewife pic on the mug, with the words domestically disabled emblazoned on one side and on the handle.

Now, is that a hint? Surely not! Surely my sons know that I am a domestic goddess?

Thankful Thursday

Today is Holy Thursday. Maundy Thursday. A good day to take five minutes to reflect, to think about five things for which we are thankful. Or grateful. Or happy about.
My list ~
1. Maundy Thursday at church tonight. The word Maundy is derived through Middle English,
and Old French mandé, from the Latin mandatum, the first word of the phrase “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos” (“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you”), the statement by Jesus in the Gospel of John (13:34) by which Jesus explained to the Apostles the significance of his action of washing their feet. The phrase is used as the antiphon sung during the “Mandatum” ceremony of the washing of the feet, which may be held during Mass or at another time as a separate event, during which a priest or bishop (representing Christ) ceremonially washes the feet of others.
2. The Chrism Mass of last night. The use of oil in ritual is ancient and widespread. There are many references to it in the scriptures, as in Psalm 33 (“ sacred oil on the head flowing down Aaron’s beard to the collar of his robe”); “Christ” literally means “Anointed One”; the oil of chrism is used in coronation ceremonies.In the Catholic tradition three different oils are used – chrism for baptism, confirmation and ordination as well as for consecrating churches and altars; the oil of catechumens, as the name suggests, for baptism; the oil of the sick in the sacrament of anointing the sick.The Chrism Mass at which the oils are blessed and the chrism is consecrated (because chrism is used in the rites which impart a sacramental character) takes place in the cathedral towards the end of Lent so that they will be ready for the Easter sacraments.

3. I am feeling well – or at least, not unwell. A major breakthrough. I have had a difficult Lent, health-wise.

4. My dh and sons. And our parish. My family has been super, picking up the ball when I have been sick, helping in our parish with stuff for Palm Sunday and the Easter Tridium. And we are lucky to be given the opportunity to help out, to serve in our parish , hopefully giving back a little for the abundance that we have received.
I sound quite gentle and pious, don’t I? Well, the next “thankful” item will change that perception ~ see, it really is all about me ( as one of my pyjama tops says…)!

5. A FIRM workout today. Weights and cardio, with step aerobics. Yay! I love to workout.

[The above pics? William Blake’s Holy Thursday ( 1794) and the FIRM workout “Complete Aerobics and Weights” (2003).]