It’s been such a long time since my last post, I think WordPress thought I’d died.  First attempt to access my blog was met with a 404 page.  Joy!

My favorite thing these days is drinking a Whiskey Sour before bedtime. Wow, that sounds like I drink one every night. My doctor would be very disappointed if it were true, which it’s not.  Really! Once a week is my goal.

A few months ago, some good friends learned that I like Whiskey Sour cocktails, and they happened to mention the name of a very fine whiskey.  Woodford Reserve – Double Oaked.  So I asked my DH for a bottle for Christmas.

What a joker he turned out to be.  Christmas morning I’m so excited to see what looks like a wrapped whiskey bottle under the tree, I get a gooey feeling in my heart for his thoughtfulness.  Can I describe the disappointment I felt when I opened my gift only to discover that the “bottle” turned out to be a single container of Amzoil?  No, I cannot. Deal with it. I did. His excuse: “It’s top of the line! You need an oil change. I’ll do it for you!”

A month later, my DH told me that Woodford Reserve – Double Oaked was ON SALE for only $44 a bottle at the local Walgreen’s Liquor store… he’d get me one.  Did I wait for him to make good on this promise? No, I did not.

I brought that bottle home in the early afternoon and looked around my kitchen, then very carefully placed it on the shelf in front of my wine glasses.  Yeah, no, I don’t have a liquor cabinet. I left the room and okay, I went to take a nap. I was tired.

Woke up later that day and wandered into the kitchen to find my bottle of Woodford Reserve sitting on the kitchen table.  What the … ! I glanced up to the shelf and to my amazement, the bottle I’d put there earlier WAS STILL THERE.  Holy moly, it multiplied!

My husband couldn’t believe I’d bought my own bottle, but could I really trust him to get it right?  Of course not. Did I return it? OF COURSE NOT.

After googling a Whiskey Sour recipe, I found it’s quite simple to make. My first cocktail was a bit disappointing, I must admit.  I followed the recipe and poured 2 OUNCES of that fine whiskey into my drink.  I’m not much of a drinker… that was way too strong for me.  So here’s my favorite no-fail way I mix a Whiskey Sour:

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Equal amount of sugar syrup (1 part sugar/1 part water, boiled & refrigerated)
  • 1 ounce Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Whiskey
  • Ice

Basically, it’s lemonade with whiskey. DELICIOUS!

When family asks what they can bring for dinner, I tell them, “Lemons.” Enough said.


Death and Taxes

— 1 —

I was deathly ill for 36 hours. I’m still confused about what happened, and why I’m still alive to write this 7QT post. We ate at a local franchise restaurant Wednesday evening that I will not name because despite my initial suspicion of food poisoning, ten hours later I was betting on influenza. Every bone in my body was under fire, and felt as if the bones were flaking apart inside my body as a dry desert wind would blow pain this way, then that way. I was unable to do anything more than sleep, dream, roll over, moan, and sleep, continuously for 30 hours. My husband brought me a cup of chicken broth sometime Thursday night, and I remember trying to take a few sips of water, but sleep is what ruled my world. Thursday, April 10, came and went without me. I woke Friday morning to the realization that I’d missed an important deadline… and it cost me $50. What the heck happened to me Wednesday night?  Was it food poisoning? Was it a 24-hour bug that decided to stay a few extra hours? A “viral syndrome” is what WebMD came up with after I listed my symptoms… in addition to several types of cancers and diseases. I’ll take curtain #1 for Viral Syndrome. It’s Friday night and the pain is nearly gone except for a twinge in my lower back. I wasn’t sleep deprived. I’ve gotten plenty of sleep this week. I was so sick I even prepared myself to die in bed. I prayed the “Act of Contrition” and was ready to leave my aching, pain-wracked body.  I’m still here, thank you, Jesus!  I’ll get to meet my 2nd grandson in two months, God-willing.

— 2 —

Near-death and taxes.  My husband would have been really mad at me if I’d died before getting our taxes done on Saturday.

— 3 —

Easter dinner. I’ve committed myself to having guests for Easter dinner. How much of the house REALLY needs to be clean?  Bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, living room.  Is it okay to keep bedroom doors closed to keep guests out?  Or is that just rude?  How much is expected of someone who knocked on death’s door a week before Easter?

— 4 —

My old XP computer was one of my favorite computers. I pulled the (Internet) plug on it today in an effort to keep it from being attacked by those nameless, faceless, evil hackers who make life hell for normal folks who just want to play a game of solitaire now and then between checking eBay and posting pictures of their food on Facebook.

— 5 —

My 19-month-old grandson’s new favorite movie (after a solid YEAR of watching “Cars” daily) is “Frozen.” At any time of the day you can say “Do you wanna build a SNOWman?” and he’ll smile and his eyes will light up with joy. It’s the darnedest thing to see! Here’s what he looks like while actually watching that scene…

— 6 —

Vice and Virtue. This was the title of one of the nightly presentations given by Fathers of Mercy missionary priest Father Wade Menezes last week at our church’s parish mission “Work Out Your Salvation.” I bring it up now because I still haven’t made a commitment on which to focus my prayer and energy. I’m sure procrastination is on the vice side, so the corresponding virtue would be… what? Punctuality?  After my mysterious illness, I’d better start getting my virtues in tip-top shape!

— 7 —

Look at the time! It’s 3:24 a.m. and I’m late for bed by anyone’s standards. I’ll need to start being punctual tomorrow. But who can blame me?  I slept for over 30 hours yesterday!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

5 tips for traveling with a toddler

On the road.Traveling with a baby is a grand adventure, and these tips are for traveling with ONE child. These tips will probably not work with more than one child in the car… of any age.

  1. Place car seat in the back seat facing the rear of the car. An adult should be seated next to the baby. This way, you can see each other and will most likely have the most upper body space for movement by the adult.
  2. Remove toddler’s socks and shoes when the toddler is in the seat. They will get the message that this is a relaxing time, no walking will be involved for awhile.  Plus, they sleep better without socks and shoes. Each time you stop for gas or food, socks and shoes are put on the toddler, and he is allowed to walk and run while holding the adults’ hand.
  3. Have a bag of toys nearby. Give the toddler ONE toy at a time, preferably a toy they haven’t seen in a while, or a new toy. Allow them to become fully bored with one toy before changing to another toy. Switch out with picture books for toddlers. If the toddler isn’t complaining about being bored or restless, leave the toddler alone.
  4. Sleeping while travelingBaby blanket should be nearby at all times. In addition to being a security blanket, an entire hour can be spent playing “peek-a-boo” in a variety of ways. Over the blanket, under the blanket, from each side, or play tent. The adult who plays with the toddler gets special treatment whenever you stop the car. In the evening, a Margarita is a great reward.
  5. Have the toddler’s bottle and/or sippy cup ready before you start the vehicle. Hydration should be encouraged, and be sure to change the diaper when you stop for gas or food.

When Holy Days Become Holidays, My Faith Suffers

I love holidays for the promise they hold within the folds of their tablecloths and traditions, but for the most part they do little to bolster or energize my spiritual nature. It’s all come down to a formula, the same frantic pace to “set the stage” for each holiday. There’s a playbook, and everyone has a copy.

Any errors are mine… I wrote this post when I should have been sleeping…

Although not a Holy Day, I think this was one of the “fire-starter” events that led to the secularization of Christmas. Take the traditional Thanksgiving dinner — turkey, stuffing/dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green-bean casserole, dinner rolls, candied yams, salad, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, whipped cream — and the assorted side dishes peculiar to your geographic location or culture. Overload. Make people think they have to do it all, and they will die trying to keep up with the neighbors (or those fanciful TV commercials).

Women, especially, feel the disconnect, as we’re the main providers of this fantastic meal. A meal that takes 20 minutes to eat, but 20 hours to prepare. (And a minimum of 2 hours to clean up if you wrangle some help.)  This doesn’t take into account the time needed to clean the house, decorate, and invite family/friends, then wait for the RSVP that folks don’t feel they need to provide a hostess any longer…. So we’ll say that generally as soon as Halloween is unplugged and the last bag of candy eaten, the holiday planning for Thanksgiving gets put in motion… with Christmas on its heels.

How many people know that most churches offer a “Thanksgiving Day” Mass or service? Do you give the excuse that you can’t attend because you’re cooking?  Perhaps this is what it sounds like to God…

Pastor: We hope you can join us in prayer Thanksgiving morning, to thank God for the blessings in our lives and home.

Us: Sorry, can’t make it this year. (As if next year will be better?) I’ve got to put the turkey in the oven and baste it every 30 minutes. There’s just too much to do to leave in the middle to go pray.

God: It would be good to see you relax in prayerful meditation. I don’t need to hear your appreciation for all the blessings I’ve bestowed on you, but it would be so good for YOU  to acknowledgement what you’ve received. I miss my  Children; it fills me with joy when they spend time with me!

ChristmasChristmas is a Holy Day. It is the day the Catholic Church established as a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Of course it’s not the exact day in space and time. That’s beside the point. Christ’s Mass — whether it’s the Shepherd’s Mass, Midnight Mass, Sunrise Mass, is to celebrate the coming of our Savior and to wait in joyful hope for His Second Coming. Advent is the four weeks PRECEDING Christmas.  We prepare our homes and ourselves, our spiritual selves, for the second coming of the Messiah. Or at least, we’re supposed to do that. I try and I plan to pray, but life seems to get in the way and the O Antiphon prayers go unsaid each night… the Advent Candles unlit.

Marketers, corporations and businesses have shrink-wrapped Advent and Christmas into one long gooey mess between Halloween and December 24. Because the Christmas craziness starts early, by the time December 25 actually rolls around, people are taking down their tree and turning off their outside lights. Then it’s off to the next prescribed holiday, New Year’s Eve.  Hah! That’s what’s incredible. The Holy day is actually New Year’s Day, and it is called Feast of the Holy Family. But liquor companies own the New Year’s Eve mystique, so folks feel as if they need to party and drink all night long. A lot of Catholics miss this Mass because they partied too hardy the night before.

Remember the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas?” It’s rich with symbolism. It may or may not have been used in the 1300’s, but it is still a valuable lesson. The Catholic Christmas is an OCTAVE.  That’s EIGHT days. Then there’s a few more days to Epiphany, the Feast of the Magi. This is the day to disassemble the Christmas props (lights, tree, stockings, ornaments, etc), but some folks are already preparing for the next pseudo-holiday, Valentine’s Day, which USED to be called Saint Valentine’s Day. It was a day for exchanging greeting cards with loved ones.  Candy and gifts are new requirements, and the jewelry stores are on a no-holds barred campaign to sell you expensive jewelry, so watch out!

ASH WEDNESDAY isn’t a Holy Day of Obligation, but the previous night’s Mardi Gras celebrations have eclipsed the first day of Lent and its’ meaning “Man, you were created from dust and to dust you shall return.”  “Mardi Gras” means “Fat Tuesday” and got that name from over-indulging in activities which are considered sinful, such as overeating (Greed and Avarice). Folks wear a disguise on Mardi Gras to sin in secret, so as not to be recognized by Satan and the other evil spirits who wander the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Lent begins, and I try to take control of my prayer life and whip it into shape. Stations of the Cross were doable last year, and I hope to continue this wonderful prayer again this year.

MON.pieta_-150x150The 3 days of the Easter Triduum (also known as the Passion of the Christ) are the MOST HOLY DAYS OF THE ENTIRE YEAR FOR CATHOLICS, and yet there are Catholics who are not aware of this fact. More Catholics go to Mass on Ash Wednesday (NOT a holy day of obligation) and will find any reason not to attend Mass on Holy Thursday.  Good Friday is the ONLY day of the year the priest does not offer the Sacrifice of the Mass. The photo (above) is from the new movie, Mary of Nazareth.

People are basically good, but they also want to be noticed.  What better way to be noticed than by having black ashes drawn as a cross on your forehead for everyone to see? All day. All night. If ashes were distributed on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, I bet attendance would pick up.

EasterWhen I was a young girl, Easter was magical. We became a new creation. My sister and I wore new dresses, and also wore white gloves, carried white patent-leather purses which matched our new white patent-leather shoes. Going to Easter morning Mass was special. The music, the liturgy, the priest, the people! Afterwards we’d enjoy a fun Easter Egg Hunt before being called in for a scrumptious dinner.

The more secularized the holy day, the greater the disconnect. People choose the televised football game over attending Mass. They choose dinner at home with family they won’t get along with over the Eucharist–Jesus Christ–who died on the Cross to free them from the slavery of sin.

file5811249333571This all is nothing new, but it needs to be said every few years. I’ve got an idea I want to implement next year. I want to throw a “New Year’s Party” on the Saturday night before the first Sunday of Advent, which is the first day of the liturgical year, so it makes sense to me.  Hopefully it will encourage Catholics to return to a true celebration of Advent (waiting) in order to put all the other holy days back into perspective. Also, this is one event I doubt the world will blindly embrace or try to hijack.