Pope Francis


I was thinking about the Pope today as he travels around South America to some of the poorest countries in the world.  He is dropping hints about real church transformation on several social issues.  I thought about how when he was elected I was pretty cynical about any real change happening in the Church, as can be read, via this conveniently provided link .

I am surprised, and in a good way.  He is either the most politically shrewd Pope ever or really marching to his own drum, one or the other, or both.  I would like to think its genuine as many of his stand’s are progressive.  There are  non-negotiables in the Catholic faith: abortion and the death penalty. I do get it. I do not necessarily agree on abortion (if they are not allowing for contraception) but pro-life is an admirable principle to live by.  I dont expect change on these issues.

But I do believe that for the church to thrive it must evolve on contraception (common good), marriage for priests (good for recruiting), and equality in women’s roles (both holy and lay).  It goes without saying the church must change its stand on divorce, a gay lifestyle and how that impacts who can participate in the sacraments.  Those are the issues thatPope Francis dropped hints about today.  Change seems to be coming in October when the Bishops have their annual convention of sorts.

Pope Francis (still best pope name ever) has been really interesting to watch.  He has surprised everyone by being a focused and determined executive.  He has cleaned house and put everyone on the Vatican gravy train on notice.  He has fired people, demoted others and is holding people accountable for criminal behavior.  He is setting a new example of how a pope should live.  Score one for walking the talk.

Pope Francis, it seems, is not very judgey for a pope.  He appears interested in helping man more than admonishing man for his perceived sins.  I like that he told the particularly vocal American-Catholic lobby to not focus their entire effort on abortion, gays etc….

“the church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules,” he lamented. “The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all” … “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible,” he said. “The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time”

I also like that this pope is an advocate for the poor, not just praying for them but a call to arms (peaceful ones) by everyone who can, to help and be responsible for all our brothers.  He also doesn’t try to be politically correct.  He has been an outspoken critic of those institutions and people who deny the science of what we are doing to our environment.  In Catholicism there is no science/faith conflict.

And then there is the pope being human.  Living simply, moving about Rome like a parish priest.  He shows the world the true meaning of the word catholic.  It means “universal”.  It means all of God’s love for all his imperfect children.

So happy to be surprised by this pope.  He is my pope in that I was born and raised in the Catholic Church.  Its part of my cultural but I am not a club person, so organized religion is not my thing.  But I do look at the church and its teaching differently because of this pope.  I do hope that the Pope continues to transform the church.  That cant be a bad thing.


ImageIts been a hot wet summer.  All I can say is thank the gods for air conditioning.ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage


Mindfulness vs Mindlessness

lifted directly from http://www.diynetwork.com

lifted directly from http://www.diynetwork.com

Mindfulness:  Thinking (without speech) about the intent, purpose of an action, having a clear comprehension of a moment.

It is not a new idea, its has genesis in both Buddhism and western philosophy.  The difference between the two is that in Buddhism it is a unconscious faculty that you acquire on your path to enlightenment   In the western world it is a practice that requires conscious thought and has a role in the treatment of addiction and compulsive disorders.  Its the basis for meditation.

Recently, Mindful insert word here has become all the rage.  I hear about it on TV, the radio and it is a pervasive  theme on many lifestyle blogs.  I hear it most commonly as it refers to parenting, eating and consuming.  Mindful parenting.  I guess that means that you think before you beat your child, JK.  I guess it means you carefully consider your  words and actions as you parent, you parent with intent, you know what you are doing and why.  Sounds exhausting.  While some of parenting, especially when kids are in their teenage years requires thoughtful strategies to keep them alive, I find that my instincts serve me  just fine.  Granted my instincts are not only a function of my innate motherly instincts but I have the benefit of good parents to draw upon, from what I can tell, it is not that common, so I know I am lucky.

Back to mindfulness and its more contemporary context.  Mindful means you do it like Martha Stewart.  Everything thing is a graceful, meaningful action, calmly executed with a heightened awareness of what it is you are doing.   I recently read a blog post extolling the virtues of mindful laundering.  Of course it requires 500 square feet of mindfully decorated dedicated space. While folding this freak woman thinks about how lucky she is to have a family to clean up after, how lucky she is that she has clothes to wash, how lucky she is to have a machine to wash it and not have to wash the clothes on a rock. She also is continuously  trying to improve her washing and folding of her clothes by implementing new strategies??   I guess it depends on the person but I see folding laundry as a shit job that is on a continuous loop and  since its necessary, you persevere.  Why even try to make this meaningful?  I watch Real Housewives while I fold laundry.  It allows me to be brain dead, I am mindless for a moment.  I do mindful mindlessness well.

I guess our society has developed to the point that we have the luxury to think about laundry as task that warrants a higher awareness.  I guess for some people this makes them happy.  What makes me happy?  Doing my job well.  Being thoughtful mother when it counts, executing the operating tasks and processes well as they relate to making a home.   And finding joy when and where I can and trusting that joy will find me too, without trying too hard.

And all of this is not to say that I dont believe in mindful insert word here.  I do think mindful eating along with cooking is elemental to a healthy, happy person.  Mindful consuming/giving is essential as a citizen of the world.  But mindful laundry, nail care and grout cleaning, not so much.  Mindful driving on the otherhand, given the hours I clock on the road, is a practice that makes sense.

The light is really beautiful this time of year

IMG_4568 (1)

Why I did not get a pocket dog


Tevez goes for puppy stuff animals of George’s. He also goes
right for the head. The eye sockets and ears seem to be favorites. He leave the
rest of the body unscathed.

I really wanted a little dog for my birthday.  A puppy that would stay a puppy.  Something small and something I could could take care of, would need me, I could control it and it would not have any big complicated problems.  I planted the seed with the kids first.  Georgie was all over it, researching designer purse dogs on the internet.  We decided a Morkie it would be.  A Morkie is half Yorkie and half Maltese and looks like a really cute stuffed animal.

mymorkieI named the morkie that I didn’t get.  It was going to be Jacquizz which is the awesome first name of Atlanta Falcon player Jacquizz Rodgers.  Everyone thought that was a horrible name so I reconsidered and named him Sidney or Sid if he was in trouble.

Only Georgie was fully on board.  Everyone else (GM and boys) pretty much thought it was the last thing in the world we needed.  GM thought what I really wanted was a baby and that I ultimately would be disappointed in the pocket dog.  He also pointed out we have 2 1oo+ pound German Shepherds and they might eat Sidney.  That was a chance I was willing to take because I really wanted one.

Well my birthday came and went without the arrival of Sidney.  And while I was sorry I didnt wake up to a puppy, I had a really great birthday.  And there is always next year…..


If my pocket dog was a girl I would have called her Sydney.
Photo lifted from http://www.adventuredogblog.com

Easter 2013


Despite months of grim weather, this past weekend was lovely and it made us all optimistic that spring is coming, as it always does miraculously but never soon enough. The kids had Good Friday off so we had a nice relaxing weekend. GM was traveling to Argentina on Saturday so we had Easter lunch on Saturday. Eggs got dyed, lamb was barbecued, candy hidden and the weekend ended with the traditional Easter three course fondue extravaganza at an overpriced local restaurant.

This year we celebrated a milestone of sorts. There was no Easter egg hunt. There was loose talk of the kids hiding eggs for the adults but like a lot of things around here only Georgie wants to do it and we cant always cater to Georgie:) I did however hide the kid’s candy. I asked them to improvise baskets as I couldn’t find anyone’s except Georgie’s. Find the telling vessels that were offered up for the candy below.

Georgie had the fuzzy bunny and Henry used a vintage suede backpack from my college days in the early 80’s. Owen used both his beloved Yankee cap and endocrinologist’s office swag, a pancreas coffee mug. Cal used a blue jack o lantern, enuf said.

In case you were wondering

The day didnt turn out to be a total waste.

ImageIt started out with a delayed school opening.  Which I realize isn’t such a bad way to do the morning.  Its relaxed, the kids are awake and functioning, very pleasant.  We all are  night people (except GM) and combining that with adolescence, we have a house full of owls. (except GM)  But I wouldnt want them to go to school longer cuz of all their activities.  Then of course there is all that practice test taking to fit in to the day here in Fairfield County.  Day just cant be shorter.

It was an exceptionally grey day today.  Until around 5:00.  Then the sun came out and it was beautiful.  My windows are filthy.


And then there is Tevez.