Sewing Halloween

Each year I sew Halloween costumes for my children under 13.   A mouse, a turtle, an elephant, pirates, princesses, a grim reaper, Joan of Arc, a version of my husband’s WoW character and even a Swiss Guard have appeared from under my thread and needle.  The children start thinking about their costumes in mid-summer and they play “dress-up” in them all year long.  It is one of our most loved traditions.

The children dress up and happily knock on the doors of the neighbors to score some candy, then we pack up and go to my parent’s house and then come home for some warm cider and too much sugar.  All in all a great night.  Rachel loves Halloween more than any other holiday – the social interaction is predictable and all the neighbors are happy to give her candy.

It kind of saddens me to see how controversial Halloween can be sometimes.  What was good, clean fun when I was a child has been morphed in some minds to either a celebration of the occult or a highly dangerous activity.

Food · rants · Simplicity

Food – SOLE food, frugality and where the rubber meets the road

Last Monday I linked to an article “SOLE Food: Eating organically (and responsibly) on a food-stamp budget” penned by Michelle Gienow,  which intrigued me at first because, like so many other families, we are trying (having) to trim where we can and the food budget is getting a good, hard look.  I also, like so many other moms, am concerned about the quality of the food I feed my family,  conserving the natural environment and the ethical dimension of food production.   But the “SOLE Food” article left me with bad taste in my mouth.

I suppose this is entirely my own fault.  I wanted an article, thoughtful and well reasoned by someone who is either talented at pinching a penny, a seasoned SOLE food practitioner, or at the very least someone who is somewhat familiar with both.  What I got felt more like the ramblings of a spoiled suburban mom who shops at Trader Joe’s and fancies herself environmentally conscious because she frets over how many dead song-birds her coffee represents,  gets a CSA box, shells out 7$ a gallon for milk and has the good sense to be appalled that she bought her children Chickfil-a kiddy meals.   And no, I am not exaggerating anything there.  So, yet again,  my judgment on this might be a tad harsh because of the expectations I had going in.  I am sure she is a lovely person and yes, she is at least “trying”, but it still me off a little (and really pissed off some people in her comments).

As happens every once in a while I sat down to write a response to this and ended up with multiple  tangents going off in different directions.  So I am just breaking them apart instead of sitting here with a blog with no new posts for days on end.  My thoughts meandered off into several  different directions.  First there is the thought about SOLE, what is means, what I think it should mean, where it fails and where it can be better. Children of that tangent spring their own full blown ideas:  Why we need to rethink what we think of labor, can the world be sustained by small farming and what would that mean, and why we need homemakers and how homemaking promotes a truly sustainable world. And finally I realized that I can take on the “foodstamp” budget challenge pretty much anyway I want.  First off by dumping the concept of  “Foodstamp budget” and then going ahead with just a thrifty budget  and secondly by changing the SOLE idea to more match what I think is a real-life friendly way.

So I will be popping these up as I get them complete and then linking them all back together.

In the News

My Morning News

Kidnapped Priests in both the Phillippians and in Africa – a good place for prayers.   We have five new Saints,  the Pope said,  “Jesus invites his disciples to the total giving of their lives, without calculation or personal gain, with unfailing trust in God.   -The saints welcome this demanding invitation and set about following the crucified and risen Christ with humble docility. Their perfection, in the logic of a faith that is humanly incomprehensible at times, consists in no longer placing themselves at the center, but choosing to go against the flow and live according to the Gospel.”

The Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops is currently meeting in Rome.  Of course some good messages are coming out of it already.  EWTN is reporting on the call for the African Bishops to be wary of Spiritual Toxic Waste — the loathsome moral erosion that accompanies so many otherwise good efforts to assist with real problems in less developed nations.  I think the African Synod is actually ahead of America and Europe in understanding what a culture of life means.  This article is well worth the read on that topic.  Also on social justice is this thought provoking article.

Have you heard of the Apostolic Visitation of American Women Religious?   I find it very interesting – especially how freaked out some orders seem to be and how the Church is trying to calm the waters.

Health Care

Surprise! the health care bill is going to cover abortions – so say our Bishops and raise insurance rates.   If you are surprised by this you haven’t been paying attention.  In another stunning-shocker of the blatantly obvious: patients drive up costs of healthcare. Amazingly when patients start to hop on the internet and diagnose themselves they push for unnecessary procedures and tests – but instead of claiming this as a mandate for top down management of healthcare could someone please point out that patients would be more responsible with their requests if they actually had to foot the costs for their care in a more transparent manner?

The much vaunted British system is looking — really scary,  especially if you are old, young, pregnant,  disabled,  mentally ill or have a broken arm.  But then again they are planning to fine people for tossing out stale bread and wilted lettuce – so I guess anything goes.

Belmont Abby’s efforts to not be forced to cover ABC are heartening — and I love Archbishop Chaput having his say,  “It’s one of the great ironies of the moment that tiny Belmont Abbey would have the courage to challenge Caesar over its right to be faithfully Catholic in its policies, while so many other American Catholics seem eager to give Caesar honors.  If you stand up to evil, you may lose. But if you don’t stand up, you will lose..”

Have you gotten your flu shot and your Halloween Pumpkins?

Dang it is cold today, maybe all the global warming stuff is a touch over-rated.  The energy crisis has been delayed.   NASA is going interesting things on the moon.   Babies shouldn’t watch TV — did someone pay for that to be researched?  It seems like a no brainer.    Is email going the way of the letter and will technology save classical music?

World News:
Islam isn’t so much Arabic anymore. A quote from Golda Meir comes to mind when I read this story : “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”  Netanyahu has some strong thoughts -considering the US’s new “smart diplomacy”  I can understand his concerns — if he had any doubts the way the US news reports the issue should be confirmation enough.

Mexico has so many problems:  How many Mexicans does it take to drill an oil well? Our southern border destabilizing is troubling enough without the dollar teetering as well.   Russia has some interesting things happening – totally my gut feeling, but Russia  seems to be gaining momentum –  now if they stop aborting their children they might well be the next empire.  At any rate Oregon is co-operating in fighting terrorism with the Russians.

Family and  home: An interesting aritcle about marriage and women’s desires – though the title “What Does Woman Want” is causeing problems for my grammar brain – can I get an article in there please or maybe make the whole thing plural?   Alton Brown rocks –  Good eats is really ten years old? Apparently you can get a ticket for catching a Great White Shark in Oregon.  I didn’t know we even HAD Great White Sharks.  The boys are impressed; I am rethinking my enjoyment of coastal waters.  Arizona says social workers can not threaten families to coherce them into cooperation with a social services investigations.   Eating Organically on a Food-Stamp Budget — a very interesting little article — now I would like to see her do the same thing on a real economy budget  instead of the somewhat bloated max foodstamp allotment.

Liberty: Free-speech gets ever more nuanced.  Preserving native languages in Oregon intrests me.  Life News is reporting praise for the New York Times while I appreciate that they are being honest enough to confront the violence that is abortion — it isn’t as though those murdering unborn children aren’t aware of  what they are doing.

In the News · Uncategorized

My morning news

Funny: A couple of “yobs” thought they were attacking a pair of cross-dressers and end up getting a just beating at the hands of the “cage-fighters” in fancy dress.    Since I don’t think young men should be wondering about beating up the mentally ill I like that these boys bit off more than they could chew, but the fact that it was captured on those ubiquitous British street safety cams seems sort of “Brave New World”ish to me.   — Daily Mail

Touching: A mother hears her baby’s voice and renews her fight for life while in a coma. — Daily Mail

Smart: Who would have thought?  Science is great for the questions of how, where, and when but why is frequently a theological question.  Theology and science are no more enemies than hammers and saws — different tools, both needed for well constructed thoughts.  — Zenit

Dumb: Obviously if children just get more instruction on how to use condoms they will stop contracting STDs.    — CNA

Heroic: Catholic sisters save their “flock” of 320 school children from a Tsunami with smart thinking and quick on the foot action.  —CNA

Tragic: A brave priest is gunned down in Mexico by drug cartels the Church struggles to help stop the escalating violence in Mexico.  — Christian Science Monitor

Interesting: I want to hear more of this from politicians:   “I see a country where more children grow up with security and love because family life comes first. I see a country where you choose the most important things in life – the school your child goes to and the healthcare you get.”  -David Cameron   –Daily Mail

Health care: The problems in our health care system are so complex that one bill won’t even being to address them and any bill that tries is destined to make the problems worse.   This article at NPR talks about differences in doctor’s practices and the results for patients – true is the conclusion that more care is often not better, but I wonder what conclusions the average NPR reader will draw from that fact.  — NPR

Sick: Someone please feed that girl a sandwich and while we are at it put away the Photoshop.  Bad enough that our culture defines beauty as flawless face atop a 13 year old boy’s body, but when even the models aren’t “prefect” enough we have a problem.   —Shine

Reason #546 to homeschool: A sick child sent home with total strangers?  wow.  And a local story too.  — KATU

Paisley, Oregon: Don’t worry if you don’t know where it is.  Not many people do.  –-OPB

Off the Grid: This sounds really interesting.  Solar panels have some issues, but I would love to be able to lower my energy-cost and be less dependent on the “grid”.  — OPB

Homeschooling: An interesting little about the economy driving some parents to homeschool. —  Greenville Online