Sunday, December 31, 2017

First Lesson in the Grand Cooking School

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about my venture, The Grand Aggregation, composed of a book club, cooking school, and spa.  It's a very exclusive, private club.  It consists of myself, as the Grandmother, and my various grandchildren.  No one else is allowed in, unless invited. 

Tomorrow, the first lesson in the Grand Cooking School is to take place.  Actually, I will let you in on a secret.  The purpose of the Grand Cooking School is to teach my grandchild how to read and measure.  Besides learning fractions, she will learn how to follow directions.  Oh yeah, she'll learn how to cook, too.  If I remember correctly, children love to cook because they see the results of their work, immediately.  That's the hook--immediate reward.

Our first exericse is how to make lasagna.  Here is the recipe: 

Lasagna


INGREDIENTS

·         1 jar (26-28 ounces) spaghetti sauce
·         1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes (do not drain)
·         1/2 cup water
·         1 ounce parmesan cheese, or  (1/4 cup)
·         1Tablespoon parsley
·         1 egg
·         1 carton (8 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
·         12 uncooked lasagna noodles
·         3- 4 cups (12 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

DIRECTIONS

1.      Preheat oven to 400°F.  Combine spaghetti sauce, undrained tomatoes and water and set aside.

2.      Mix parmesan cheese and parsley in a small, deep bowl.

3.      In a small bowl, mix egg with a whisk.  Add ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese and parsley to the egg and mix well with scraper.

4.      To assemble lasagna, spread the sauce over bottom of a lasagna pan.

5.      Arrange the noodles in single layer over sauce by placing noodles lengthwise to cover the bottom of the pan. (Break off and discard ends of noodles, if necessary, so that noodles will fit flat in the pan.) Press noodles into sauce. 
6.      Spread all of the ricotta cheese mixture over noodles. Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella cheese.

7.      Top with the sauce and remaining noodles, breaking noodles to fit. Press noodles into sauce. Spread the remaining sauce over noodles. Cover with aluminum foil. (At this point, lasagna can be refrigerated for several hours or overnight.) 

8.      Bake 45 minutes (55 minutes if lasagna was refrigerated) or until noodles are tender. Uncover carefully and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Cover loosely with foil; let stand 15 minutes. Cut into serving size pieces.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Because I'm the Mommy That's Why


The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Lectio

SIR 3:2-6, 12-14

God sets a father in honor over his children; 
a mother's authority he confirms over her sons.
Whoever honors his father atones for sins,
and preserves himself from them.
When he prays, he is heard;
he stores up riches who reveres his mother.
Whoever honors his father is gladdened by children,
and, when he prays, is heard.
Whoever reveres his father will live a long life;
he who obeys his father brings comfort to his mother.

My son, take care of your father when he is old;
grieve him not as long as he lives.
Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him;
revile him not all the days of his life;
kindness to a father will not be forgotten,
firmly planted against the debt of your sins
—a house raised in justice to you.
Studium
Sirach is also known as the Wisdom of Sirach or the Book of Ecclesiasticus.   The Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures did include this book making it popular among the Jewish Christians.  But when the Jews rewrote their canon it was not included.  It can be found in Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican versions of the Bible.
It is believed to have been written in 190 BC by Jesus ben Sirach.  It is referred to as 'Sirach'.  Since it was read in the church it was sometimes given the Latin name of 'Ecclesiasticus'.
Meditation
No wonder the early Christians, and the Jews too, read and quoted this book.  It asserts the father as head of the household.  It puts in order who's who and what their responsibilities are.  
Feminists may not like the patriarchal tone of the Book, but you can't judge an era before Christ with today's eyes.  I maintain the familial order by asserting "because I'm the Mommy, that's why."
The older I get I also appreciate Sirach's admonitions to care for the elderly. Adult children caring for their parents is a relevant today as it was in Sirach's time.
Oratio
Lord, may children love their parents and grandparents.  May they honor their wisdom and care for their parents as they get older.
Contemplatio
God does not forget how you treat others.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

"Cloistered" Pizza

One of my "cloistered brothers" makes the most delicious pizza.  Here is his recipe.  It makes about 6 large pizzas.

Crust

1 -  2-pound bag of flour
1/2  of a box of pancake mix
4 teaspoons of oregano
3 ounces of sugar
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
2 teaspoons of onion powder
2 teaspoons of black pepper

Mix and let it sit for about six hours.  This makes it easier to roll out and handle.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare your toppings:

Toppings

3 jars of any pizza sauce
2 tubs of your favorite cheese
5 bars of provolone cheese
2-3 whole onions
2-3 green peppers
pepperoni and hard salami

Prepare the crust: roll into pan size, handle and stretch to fit the pan.  Butter the pans well.  Butter the bottom of the crust, too.  Butter the top of the crust.  Bake the crust for 10 minutes.  Butter the top and bottom, again. Add your toppings.  Bake for about 10-12 minutes.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

There is No Rest with Vengeance

"I'm sorry to tell this, girls," says she, but there is no rest with
vengeance.  It doesn't make you feel any better, it doesn't
relieve the pain. There is only the slight satisfaction of retribution..."

These words were spoken by Molly McGill, who knows what she is talking about, for she killed her husband, who had killed their daughter.  There wasn't sweet revenge.  There was no satisfaction to speak.  The hurt remained.  The emptiness continued to dig deeper into her soul.  And for killing her husband, she was sentenced to Sing Sing Prison for life. 

That was Molly McGill's life until she was offered to be part of a government program.  "The Brides for Indians Program," in 1873, offered one thousand white women in exchange for three hundred horses.  Molly McGill jumped at the chance.  She wasn't alone.  There were other women who saw this program as a chance to freedom and adventure.  The Vengeance of Mothers by Jim Fergus is a book about the consequences of this program.  It is told through the diaries of two of the women.  Molly, I already introduced. The other lady is Margaret Kelly.  Margaret Kelly and her twin sister, Susie, are major characters in this book.  Margaret Kelly's diary speaks for the two of them. Together, the two diaries speak for all the white women.

These women may have come from unfortunate circumstances and their lives with the Cheyenne may have seemed worse, but their lives were now what they chose.  They had loved both their Cheyenne husbands and the Indian life.  They were willing to fight and kill for their new lives.

That's the basic storyline. The author, Jim Fergus, cleverly wove the two diaries together to tell the continuum story.  He tells an interesting tale.  I might say, a page-turner.  I know I stayed up too late many a night thinking I'd stop at the end of the chapter, but couldn't. 

The Vengeance of Mothers is actually a sequel to another book.  Jim Fergus also wrote One Thousand White Women.  I enjoyed The Vengeance of Mothers so much I plan on purchasing One Thousand White Women.


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Celebrating God's Sanctifying Grace

God uses all kinds of means to let us know that He's omnipresent.  Whenever we see someone helped or something happen just in the nick of time, that's His work.  I believe that's what we're celebrating on religious holidays.  Yesterday, was Christmas day.  I saw God bring my husband back to me.  I saw God helping neighbors shovel snow from the morning's snow.  I saw God give presents to express human love.

I believe these and more are evidence of God's grace working in human lives.  My feelings were confirmed when I read Brother Hyacinth Grubb, O.P. article in Dominicana.  His topic was the Puritans banning the celebration of Christmas.  The Puritans were correct in recognizing Christmas as an important holy day.  But they did not see the working of God's sacramental grace in the birth of Jesus.  Maybe they did but did not believe in celebrating it.  I guess; how could you not rejoice that your Savior was born?  Anyway, the Puritans banned celebrating Christmas.

 In the words of one preacher: “the feast of Christ’s nativity is spent in reveling, dicing, carding, masking, and in all licentious liberty. . .by mad mirth, by long eating, by hard drinking, by lewd gaming, by rude reveling!” 

Thank God I'm Catholic.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Consternation

I'll begin with a few facts.  Today is Christmas.  Hubby's persona is the strong and silent man.  Now here's the story.  I woke up this Christmas morning alone.  Does hubby have a surprise for me?

Yes, he certainly did, but not a nice one.  He was gone.  He left a note which said.  My heart is beating too fast, I drove to the hospital.

He had an A-fib episode.  This is the second one in a couple of years.  A-fib is short for Atrial fibrillation, which is an abnormal heart rhythm. And this is the second time he has sneaked off to the hospital, alone.  The first was a gallbladder attack.  I hate when he does this because I want to hear what the doctor tells him.  You really need two people talking to the doctor to remember and ask questions, never mind support.

While I was trying to decide what to do, he texted me saying that he was OK, but they wanted him to stay in the hospital for four hours.

That was a relief.

Did I mention the weather?  There was a little snow storm outside.  It wasn't bad, maybe three inches, but I shoveled it all.  And when I was just about done shoveling, hubby drove in the driveway. 

So Christmas ended good, after all.





Friday, December 22, 2017

Picky Eaters

Yes, I admit I was a picky eater.  When I was a child I didn't like eating and I hated meal times.  My parents were always after me to eat.  I swore that when I was a parent I would leave my child alone.  For the most part, I did.  They didn't have to eat what they didn't want BUT they couldn't have dessert.  I hope I made my kids' mealtimes pleasant.

Getty Image

Today, I was sorting through some old magazines to see which ones to keep and which ones to toss.  In allrecipes, February/March 2014 edition, an article on "Why kids are picky eaters (and why it's no big whoop) caught my attention.  The author attests that nature makes young children be picky about what they eat.  Afterall, in caveman days fear of different food was necessary or children would be eating poisonous berries and other dangerous things. 

My three kids from age 2-5 subsisted basically on one food:

the oldest was cottage cheese (plain!)

the middle hardly ate at all

the youngest only ate Cambell's cream of potato soup (and I always had a hard time finding it)

My grandchildren's favorite is McDonald's Chicken McNuggets.

One more story about myself.  As a child, I wouldn't eat asparagus for all the tea in China.  Once when I was a teenager, I was eating supper at my friend's house.  The green beans they served were different.  They were kind of mushy and tasted different, but they were good.  I complimented the cooking and said "I particularly liked the green beans.  They were tasty."

Everybody burst out laughing--at me!

You guessed it.  They were asparagus, not green beans.  As the article stated, "Children become more adventurous eaters at their own pace."

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Lazy Loopers and a Hungarian Vizsla

Besides learning a new area to walk in, I met the most charming dog.  His name is Tyson and he is an Hungarian Vizsla.  
  
His coat is beautiful--so soft and velvety looking.  He is a light brown.  His expression is alert with light brown eyes.  He was only a couple of years old and very playful.

The hiking group walked around Mirror Lake in Wrentham, this morning.  Then we walked to a field that had a curious sign: Flying Loopers.  It's a field for those who like to fly model airplaines. 







 No one was flying however.  We only saw Tyson and his owner.

It was a beautiful day, sunny but cold, good companionship and some new sights.  We walked 2.9 miles.

The Digital Continent

In the recent Dominican General Chapter, held in Bologna, came the term "Digital Continent."  Since the Dominicans are the Order of Preachers, the Master is giving instructions to the Dominican family to go out and preach to the Digital Continent.  From the Acts: 

The digital continent, comprising more than three billion persons connected to the internet in the world represents the new “continent of mission” for the Church, and more particularly for us Dominicans, whose mission is the devotion to the total evangelization of the Word of God. “This information explosion provides twenty-first century Dominicans with a new pulpit, allowing us to bring the Gospel to people often beyond our reach, as well as advancing causes, such as justice and peace, which are rooted in our foundational charism”.

Of course, I'm on board and have been ever since I've had internet access.  I love social media.  I have found many Lay Dominicans that I would have never met, were it not for social media.  I have met over 5000 (Facebook limit), new friends.  I have reconnected with former friends.  I  have exchanged many ideas and learned many new things.  I love learning on You Tube.  I watch the videos from Bishop Barron, Boston College and Providence College.  I thank God for this.

My own efforts in the Digital Continent:

The One True Faith Blog
eLumen (Internet Lay Dominican newsletter)
Facebook:
     Give Faith A Chance
     Worldwide Fellowship of Lay Dominicans
     Dominicans
     Fr. Jean-Joseph Lataste
     Dominican Litany of Saints



Saturday, December 16, 2017

Heeding

Told you so.  I fulfilled scripture.
Everything written by the prophets is fulfilled.
Was it not necessary that One should suffer for many?
Everything written about me is fulfilled.
Amen.

I make the powerful vulnerable.
What am I up to?
I am considered a loose cannon.
I break shackles.
Take warning you who judge.

You have been forewarned.
I comfort the afflicted
and afflict the comfortable.
I accept no evildoers.
And I love the repentant.

I see the hearts of my people
and I look at their intent.
Lie down in peace and sleep.
I embrace all who love me.
Amen.

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Grand Aggregation

My granddaughters and I have formed The Grand Aggregation.  This is a group of classes, clubs, and discussions.  It started small.  At first, it was just The Grand Book Club, composed of my seven-year-old granddaughter, i.e., Grandma and Granddaughter.  But she has a sister.  Naturally, she is included.  Also any other grandchildren I hope to have.

Last week we added a cooking school.  Since I had my granddaughter for supper, she learned how to microwave chicken mcnuggets.  She also learned how to peel carrots and potatoes.  We microwaved those too, to make cooked carrots and mashed potatoes.  Mashing the potatoes with butter and milk was an experience.

And when I drive my granddaughter back and forth to school, we have discussion time.  We solve the world's problems.

So far my second granddaughter is too young to participate.  But she'll get there.
.
P.S.  Add Spa to the Grand Aggregation.  We do manicures, pedicures, and facials.  We put on makeup, too.  We experiment with different looks using make-up.  Hairstyling is a specialty.  But we don't cut hair, for that we refer to specialists.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Walking With Sticks


In my hiking group, the Trail Hikers, there are two schools of thought regarding “walking sticks.”  Many feel that “walking sticks” are very useful.  They aid in walking.

Others feel that “walking sticks” are an affectation.  More than that, they can be a hindrance.  They are something that distracts one from concentrating on their footing.  I can attest to that, so I subscribe to this opinion.  One time going downhill on a rocky terrain and using a “walking stick”, it was the stick that caused me to trip up.  It was like I had too many legs and feet.  Somehow or other, the stick was caught between my legs, or in the way of my foot, or whatever!  I tumbled down the boulder.  And I almost speared myself with that “walking stick.”  I think it did blacken my eye. 
I swore, “never again!”  I climbed back up that huge boulder and flung that “walking stick” into the netherworld.

Well, that was quite a while ago.  Yesterday, on a hike around the Blackstone River and Canal, a stick on the ground, called me by name.  I picked it up.  I was perfect for my height.  The end I used for the bottom had some sort of configuration of three branch stumps.  It’s hard to explain but picture a “hurry cane.”  It was a “hurry cane” made by nature.  I thought I’d give the “walking stick” another chance.  After all, I believe in “second chances,” and “thirds,” and “fourths”…

The walk was pleasant.  There were fourteen of us that day, eight men and six ladies.  It was an easy hike.  As we chatted and walked along, the person in front of me stopped and shouted, “Be careful—scat*!”   I did almost put my foot in it.  I didn’t want that to happen to anyone, so I took my “natural hurry cane” and using it like a hockey stick, I took a slapshot** and sent that scat* into a dead zone somewhere.

                      Maybe “walking sticks” are beneficial, after all.

Eventually, another opportunity presented itself.  This time, my slapshot** hit the scat* even further into another world.  I was feeling pretty happy about myself, the world, “walking sticks,” and even scat*


The hikers took a break at Look Out Rock.  We also ate our trail mix and drank water.  This respite was good rejuvenation before the hike back down.climbed up the rock formation and looked out.  The sight was a panoramic view of the Blackstone River winding its way through the Blackstone Valley.  Spectacular!  I took out my iPhone and took pictures.


Somewhere, near the end of the trail, I realized something.  My “natural hurry cane” was gone.  I must have left it behind on Look Out rock.  “Oh well, I didn’t spend a money on it.  Maybe I’m just not meant to have a “walking stick.”  It’s not meant to be.”


But I have to admit; it was a damn good stick for slap-shooting** scat*.


* SCAT = Animal feces.
** Slapshot = A slapshot (also spelled as slap shot) is an ice hockey term for one of the hardest hits one can perform. It has four stages which are executed in one fluid motion to make the puck fly into the net:
  1. The player winds up his hockey stick to shoulder height or higher.
  2. Next the player violently "slaps" the ice slightly behind the puck and uses his weight to bend the stick, storing energy in it like a spring. This bending of the stick gives the slapshot its amazing speed. Just like a bow and arrow, the stick's tendency to return to being straight is transferred to the puck, giving it much more speed than just hitting it alone could.
  3. When the face of the stick blade strikes the puck, the player rolls his wrists and shifts his weight so that the energy stored in the stick is released through the puck.
  4. Finally, the player follows through, ending up with the stick pointed towards the desired target.
The slapshot is harder than other shots and, because of the violent motion involved.

God Leads Me into Temptation?

I've been saying this for years!  Actually, a friend called my attention to it.  She was first, then I thought about it and agreed.  I'm talking about the "The Lord's Prayer," or "The Our Father." 

She said it always bother her that we prayed:

Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.                                                                   
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.


I understand that this wording is only in English.  Other languages say the equivalent of protect us, or keep us away from, temptation.  Now, I read that our Holy Father agrees.  He asks for a better English translation.  

The sooner, the better.





Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Splitting Hairs

This morning a story that was related by Lee Strobel in his book The Case for Faith, caught my interest.  The author tells the story of a molecular biologist, Michael Denton, giving an example of facts misleading to incorrect conclusions.

The story is about a murder.  The man accused was Ronald Williamson.  The case against him:

  •           a witness who saw Williamson talking to the victim earlier in the evening of the murder
  •           an admission by Williamson that he had a dream of killing the victim
  •           four of Williamson's hairs were found on the victim's body.
The jury found Williamson guilty, but he wasn't.  After spending twelve years in prison, nine on death row, an analysis of DNA proved that Williamson was innocent.

What about the hair?  Hair evidence isn't conclusive.  It's "scientifically unreliable."  

Note this:  at the writing of this book, hair evidence has been used against eighteen death row inmates who were eventually declared innocent.

Not only is this a grievous example of miscarriage of justice, it also is an example of how science can be wrong.  It can be unreliable.  It can be unreasonable.  It is not to be taken as absolute Truth.

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Christmas Sweater

https://www.uglychristmassweaterparty.com/

Back when I was first made, I was quite the catch.  My brother and sister sweaters were not snatched up as quickly as I.

I was beautiful.

My holly berry red was brilliant.  My accouterments were a wonder to behold.  I was decked out with santas, sparkles, stars, ribbons, angels, and bells that tingled and tassels that begged to be yanked.  And they were too!  Although that was always a surprise!  Strangers would come up very close to me and pull on my tassels and ping my bells.  At first, I was taken aback by this sudden invasion of my personal space, but I understood.  Who could resist the allure of my Christmas spirit?

Every year I was worn for the Christmas season.  I didn’t mind only being worn for such a short time because the happy feelings were kept within me.  I basked in that Christmas warmth for the rest of the year.

This December, when my bureau drawer was open, the conversation was lively:

Mom, have you any Christmas sweaters?
Oh yes, and turtlenecks and tunics and cardigans and pullovers…
Wow! Look at this sweater.  It even has shoulder pads!
Yes, that one is my favorite, too!  Isn’t it beautiful?

I practically visibly wiggled with delight, as I was held up for display.

May I borrow it?
Of course.
It’s just perfect for the contest we’re having at work.
A Christmas sweater contest?
Yes, who has the ugliest Christmas sweater.  This one will win for sure!


What! ????
Surely they jest!
Moi?  Ugly?
Young people nowadays have no taste, whatsoever.  Tsk.  Tsk.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

By the Highway

What worked then, doesn't work now.  No. That's not right.  My tastes have changed. I've matured.

Whatever.

I use to meditate by using my hands and saying the mantra: "All is passing.  God alone abiding.".  I'd sweep my right arm out--"All is passing."  Then I'd take my hand on my outstretched arm and bring it to over my heart and say--"God alone abiding."

But a revert to Catholicism via Buddhism taught me his technique.  He envisions that he's sitting next to a highway watching the cars zoom past:  zoom, zoom, swish, swish...   Once he's calmed, he looks down the highway to a car on the horizon and watches it come closer, closer, closer and closer until it reaches him.  He keeps his eye on it as it is in front of him.  He sees who's in the car.  He's there, too.  He watches it pass him.  He watches it go on, and on, and on, until it's just a dot on that horizon. He's gone off too.

Perfect.  All is passing.  I watch the cars.  Just like my friend. All is passing, passing, passing...all is passing and passing...

That's it.

Then I'm finished, I end with God alone abidingAmen.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Compassion Above Judgment

I can't get over this sermon by the pope, Saint Leo the Great.  He begins by quoting the Lord:

Unless your justice exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

St. Leo asks, "How can justice exceed?"  He then offers this as an answer, "...compassion is more than judgment."

The saint then explains that since we are made in the image and likeness of God, and to work towards perfection to be more like God, then:

With strict vengeance removed and the cessation of all punishment, the guilty man was restored to innocence, and the end of wickedness became the beginning of virtue.

Isn't this starting all over?  Giving someone another chance?  Would not the man work hard to stay away from wickedness?  After all, he would know the consequences. 

This would be the wisdom of the drunk, the voice of experience, the hope of the Christian.

Proof of God


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Lament

Let me feel Your Presence, my God.
     When I take offense
     When I am wounded
     When I am sad
     When I am afraid
     When I am angry
     When I am uncomfortable
     When I am confused
     When I fell all alone.

How long will the world turn to evil?
     Why do people chase money
     Why do people chase power
     Why do people chase sex
     Why do people chase celebrities
     Why do people chase fame
     Why do people chase riches
     Why do people chase lies
     Why do people chase the worthless?

Many pray for better times.
     We pray for an end to violence
     We pray for an end to division
     We pray for an end to sickness
     We pray for an end to hate
     We pray for an end to jealousy
     We pray for an end to inequality
     We pray for an end to our waiting.

Friday, November 24, 2017

You are All in All

Lectio:
1 COR 15:20-26, 28

Brothers and sisters:
Christ has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 
For since death came through man,
the resurrection of the dead came also through man.
For just as in Adam all die,
so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,
but each one in proper order:
Christ the firstfruits;
then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ;
then comes the end,
when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father,
when he has destroyed every sovereignty
and every authority and power. 
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 
The last enemy to  be destroyed is death.
When everything is subjected to him,
then the Son himself will also be subjected
to the one who subjected everything to him,
so that God may be all in all.

Studium:

The Catholic Study Bible says that Paul's first letter to the church of Corinth gives us the best picture of what it was like to be an early Christian. Here Paul is answering a question.  What will happen when I die?  A question for all times.  Paul reiterates what Jesus has done: born like us, lived like us, and even died.  However, He rose from the dead. Paul could throw them a question. What more proof do you want? 
     Paul continues on to describe the end of time.  Since God was the beginning, He will be there at the end.  Everything will be as it was meant to be. Everything will acknowledge God, and rightly so since God is All.


Meditatio:

I can't get this song out of my head.  This reading is expressed in this song by Dennis Jernigan, "You Are My All in All."  

You are my all in all
Seeking You as a precious jewel
Lord, to give up I'd be a fool
You are my all in all

 Oratio:

Lord, I believe You are my All in All.  I believe everything the Creed says.  You proved that You love us.  How could I not adore You?

Contemplatio:  

Lord, You are my All in All.

The Third Death

Today as I was praying and walking through the cemetery , I came across a gravestone that I couldn't see due to the overgrown bush ...