Monday, November 30, 2009

Meatloaf and Ovaltine

It's meatloaf and Ovaltine, Poison Control and bathroom behavior bartering, chards of glass and new shoes.

I was on parental-assistance duty for Thanksgiving this year while my sisters frolicked about in the Tennessee sunshine. As my sweet mother is in pain and recovering from double joint replacement surgery, and my beloved father is, well, my father, it was an interesting, although not unusual, visit. This recap is provided mostly for my sisters' entertainment, but as it's pretty amusing in general, I'd like to share with y'all a typical day at home, as a temporarily-only-child, assisting parents upwards of 65. Enjoy...

8:00 - Awake to Dad's voice-alarm booming, "Annie, get outta bed. I wanna find the list of Cool Tools judges on the computer internet service world wide web monitor machine so I can send them my garden seeder."
8:15 - Arrive in kitchen, clean Dad's sticky "Magic Juicer" slop from walls, counter, and floor, before getting my sanity-saving coffee.
9:00 - Clean bathroom number one.
9:30 - Clean bathroom number two.
10:00 - Make deal with Dad that I'll help him with the internet if he'll promise to start flushing toilets.
10:05 - Help Dad find list of judges from a DIY Network show based on the first name of a judge from a 2007 episode.
10:45 - Explain to Dad why typing "My Email" into the Google search bar is not the best way to access his Yahoo account.
11:30 - Call hospital on-call number to track down doctor on duty, on vacation weekend, because Mom might have accidentally taken the wrong mix of post-surgery pills.
11:35 - Prepare to call Poison Control before getting call back from on-call doctor.
12:00 - Make lunch for 82 million cousins stopping through to say hello.
13:00 - Go grocery shopping for weekend, fielding a question from Dad, on my cell while in the dairy aisle, about how to change font size in Microsoft Word.
14:30 - Do laundry of Mom's hospital-esque bed's 24 pillow cases.
15:00 - Buy new pair of Anne Klein shoes on Mom, as "thanks" for coming home to help.
16:00 - Fill up tank of premium gas on Dad, as "thanks" for coming home to help.
16:30 - Arrive home to living room floor of Dad's shattered glass of juice.
16:35 - Clean Dad's shattered glass of juice.
17:00 - Clean bathroom number one, again.
17:15 - Clean bathroom number two, again.
17:30 - Say hello to cousin installing a downstairs, walk-in shower in bathroom number three.
17:45 - Make dinner of World's Largest Ever Meatloaf, so the parents, and the cousins stopping through, can be fed the following week.
20:00 - Peacefully watch Forrest Gump in living room, with volume actually at a controlled level because Dad has his "audio ears" headphones on and working, while sipping Ovaltine and eating pie, being thankful I have two working legs, a place to call home, and two married parents who love me a whole lot.

It's not always pretty, and it's sometimes very messy, but that big, old, beautiful house on Summit Street with the creaky floors that is full of family love and cherished memories, will always be home sweet home.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Your opinion doesn't matter.

There was a first-of-its-kind lawsuit filed this week in Milwaukee County of lawyers fighting lawyers over an internet advertising dispute.

You can read the full story here, but basically, the plaintiffs claimed the defendants purchased the plaintiffs' names as keywords for internet advertising, without written consent. Therefore, the plaintiffs claim the defendants violated Wisconsin Statute 995.50 (2)(b) which says, "the use, for advertising purposes or purposes of trade, of the name... of any living person, without having first obtained the written consent of the person," is considered an invasion of privacy.

The defendants' purchase of the plaintiffs' names for advertising purposes is a clear-as-day violation of the statute. But after reading blogs, media stories, and readers' comments, I've noticed all of the commentary basically says the same thing: "It is aggravating for the plaintiffs, but legal in my opinion."

Hey, guess what? Your opinion doesn't matter!

The opinion that matters is that of the law. The question the court must answer is, "Did Defendants use, for advertising purposes, Plaintiffs' names without written consent?" The answer is an obvious yes.

The annoying and over-used personal opinion factor, rather than application to and interpretation of the law, leads me think about how many people apply their my-opinion-logic to their own decisions. Thank Goodness that as members of the Church, we have our own objective statutes and "laws," if you will. The "law" to guide our decision making is set forth by Christ himself, who gave the keys to the Kingdom to Peter instituting the Church, which, continues to give us authoritative moral guidance, standards, and "law," through the inspiration and cooperation of the Holy Spirit. Like it or not, it is what it is. Take it or leave it, folks.

Here's my point: It baffles me how so many Catholics choose the my-opinion-logic, rather than the Jesus-said-so logic, on moral decisions. It absolutely baffles me. That is all. Also, thank God for grace.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Clearly, I need a husband.

Disclaimer: I like slightly facetious writing. Let's review its definition before we begin.

Facetious: 1: joking or jesting often inappropriately (just being facetious) 2: meant to be humorous or funny, not serious (a facetious remark)

Ok then. So, I am currently watching a facebook message chain wherein my two brothers-in-law are fighting for the title and glory of officially being crowned my momma’s “Favorite Son-in-law.” Both of them are really great men, and their continued ambitions to earn my momma’s love are rather endearing; it’s making me think of all the reasons I need a quality husband, too.

CRITTER KILLING: Since last winter, I’ve had this really ugly eight-legged critter living in my basement and he only comes out when I’m home alone. I’ve tried to have visitors hunt for him, but he never shows his face unless I’m alone. Sometimes I try waiting until he comes out and then calling someone to come quickly, but it’s never quick enough and he retreats into hiding again. The critter keeps getting bigger and I want him dead. Clearly, I need a husband.

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT: I am terrible with finances. I spend more than I should on shoes and sushi and not enough on paying off my car. Yesterday I got a call from Time Warner because I missed my cable and internet payment – not because I couldn’t pay it, but because I just forgot. I’ve been a Netflix subscriber for six months now, but my second rental, which was from April, is still sitting next to my DVD player. The thing is, it’s not that I’m wasteful. Rather, that it’s just me and I don’t think or care about money the same way providers do, so I don’t think about it very often. Clearly, I need a husband.

I DON’T SPEAK CAR: I know my car Bert is blue, has four doors, and is adorable. Beyond that, I’m pretty clueless. Apparently, you’re supposed to get your oil and brake pads changed regularly. So just to be safe, I took Bert into the mechanic today for an overdue oil change and to have his brake pads checked. The mechanic started talking about synthetic materials, rotors, and calibers. To me, it sounded like “I want to take your money even though your car is running just fine.” I didn’t really know any better, so I said ok. Clearly, I need a husband.

And then, of course, I could talk about all of those beautiful spiritual, vocational, Sacramental and sacrificial reasons, but regardless, my point is this: Whoever came up with that whole independent woman mantra is not my friend. I am helpless and need to be rescued – at least when it comes to critters, financial management, and cars. Clearly, I need a husband.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Jesus loves our veterans

Jesus said it best...
"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." ~John 15:13

But Ronnie did pretty well, too...
"The willingness of our citizens to give freely and unselfishly of themselves, even their lives, in defense of our democratic principles, gives this great nation continued strength and vitality. I urge all Americans to recognize the valor and sacrifice of our veterans through appropriate public ceremonies and private prayers." ~President Ronald Reagan, October 26, 1981

Ok, Ronnie. Here's mine... May our Lord protect and bless those who did, do, and will serve. May the rest of us learn a greater appreciation for the value of patriotism embodied by our veterans' true and noble love for our country. And in their honor, may we all desire and work to make the United States the land of goodness, hope, and freedom for which they fought. Amen!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


This just in via e-mail from Young Life headquarters in Colorado Springs:

Dear Annie:
You may not drive for Young Life.
We at Young Life have set a high standard regarding volunteers who wish to work with our kids. Our desire is to create a safe environment for our many activities, and provide reliable transportation to and from those events. Our driving guidelines state that you must have less than 3 moving violations within the last 3 years in order to drive. An expired or suspended license as well as a DUI will also prohibit your being able to drive for Young Life. Unfortunately, you have NOT passed these driving requirements, and may not drive any vehicle for Young Life at this time.
Even though you are not able to drive for Young Life at this time, we want to encourage you to continue living God's love in front of teenagers.
Sincerely, Young Life Headquarters

Well I have words for you, too.

Dear Young Life:
Just for the record, I do not have any DUIs. A lead foot and (unknowingly driving with a) once expired license, guilty as charged, but no DUIs. Let's just make that clear.
Thanks, Annie

The funny thing, is they have no idea how many citations I've smiled and/or cried my way out of.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Flying by faith

I’m not scared of flying – I rather enjoy it, actually – but just to be safe, I always say an act of contrition before takeoff and tell the Lord I’m ready to meet Him if it’s time.

This past weekend I made a quick trip to Tennessee to meet my new Goddaughter and celebrate her Baptism. As the plane took off, I was once again convinced I was going to plummet to my death at some point during the 1.5-hour flight.

I know the rules of physics and can regurgitate all the book answers. I even know that Lift = .5ρ2ACL (I took honors physics… and might have dated an aerospace engineer… or two). But even with that knowledge, the concept of an 80,000-pound object being suspended in thin air for hours seems contrary to everything that makes sense up in my brain – especially if I’m on that object. I don’t understand it, but I don’t have to. I just have to get on board.

From the good to the bad, there is so much in life I guess I’ll never understand. I will never be able to explain why they had to lose their young daughter to cancer, why she lost her baby, why her heart has been broken so many times, or why he can’t find a job. On the more joyful side, I can’t really explain how transubstantiation actually works, how five loaves and two fish fed 5,000, or how spit made a blind man see. My knowledge alone cannot explain a lot of things, but I don’t have to have an explanation. I just have to trust in the Lord with all my heart, and lean not on my own understanding.

God is big enough to handle our questions. Jesus hung on the cross to open our eyes to what we would otherwise never see, knowing all of the questions we would have from that great act of love, and to answer our questions; I believe there's no place he would rather have been. But when our own insight is not sufficient for the big "why?" questions we often face, sometimes it’s best to toss our lack of understanding up on a wing and prayer, trust in the Lord, and fly by faith. Whenever I do that, I seem to land safely.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not. In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6