irish i may

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A June Daybook

Just for today... The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window... Instant summer!... and the dog enjoying a sunny spot in the driveway.
I am take two of the kids for their learners' permits tomorrow.  
I am thinking... obsessively lately about the sale of the house.  I still have a couple of things I would like to do in the yard before our next open house on Sunday.
I am thankful for...  for our beautiful home of the last nine years...and hey, it has never looked better!
From the kitchen...  lemon bundt cake, grilled pork chops
I am wearing... Jean shorts, black V-neck t-shirt. and pink flip-flops
I am creating...  still the forest green Afghan for Rob.  Done by the end of the summer?? Here's hoping.
From the learning rooms... Summer reading list decisions
I am reading... Dune 
A few plans for the rest of the week... baseball, softball, clean out the garage, and KEEP THAT HOUSE CLEAN!                                           
One of my favorite things... Watermelon season!
And a picture thought... our favorite watermelon eating spot.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

So...What's been going on lately?

This was the question posed by an old friend and neighbor who I haven't talked with lately, but who ran into me  last week at the Pinewood Derby.  So, I casually, but inaccurately replied, "Oh, you know, a little of this, a little of that." I just couldn't bring myself to shout over the din of 50 Cub Scout families, "We're moving to Arkansas and I have 4 months to sell two houses.  What's up with you?" I thought it might be a bit much for her to process.

It has been a bit much for me to process,.  Now that we are closing in on the deadline for listing our home, the reality of having to pack and transport 8 persons' belongings is becoming a bit too much.  I have been slowly discarding books, unwanted toys and some leftover baby things, but I realized today that  I will need to empty and store entire rooms full of stuff just to get the house listed.  

Rob and I stopped by a neighbor's open house this afternoon just to get a look at something comparable in size and yard. They had the house professionally staged through their realty company and it looked great, in that "pretending-that-no-one-lives-here" way that real estate agents encourage.  We could see that we would need to pack up a number of the boys' toys and give everything a coat of paint, but we already figured on those things.  What really struck me, though, was the kitchen.  It wasn't new, but it was immaculate.  There was nothing on the counter but a bottle of dish soap and a decorative pitcher. Nothing else.  On my counter is the toaster, the blender, the standing mixer, the coffee grinder, the kitchen scale,  the bread machine, the dish drainer (full, of course), the napkin holder, the mug rack, the espresso pot, the St. Martha candle, the St. Joseph candle, the box of clementines, the basket with the bad bananas, the chipped cookie jar, the paper towel holder, the butter bell, three or four bottles of wine and the broken mug holding plastic teaspoons. Those are just the things that are supposed to be on the counter, to say nothing of the stacks of papers, the legos,  the watches, wallets and i-Pods that are left there each day. 

I am supposed to stow all this somewhere? This is the main room that we live in, and these are things that we use every day, so I am not sure how to do this yet.  We need to eat and clean and do homework still. Or, can I put the kids in storage, too? Hmmmmm...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Five Question Friday

Just for fun I am joining in on this with my friend Alicia.

1. Can you drive a stick shift?

2. What are two foods you just can't eat?

3. Do you buy Girl Scout Cookies? What is your favorite kind?

4. How do you pamper yourself?

5. What is your nickname and how did you get it?


1. No.  A friend in college tried to teach me with some limited success, but 20 years later nothing has stuck.  She was from Columbia and she said I drove like a real Ace, which she pronounced as from the Spanish something like Ass.  
Too true.

2. Can't? Nothing that I can think of.  I haven't tried insects or brains, though.  One of those may be a future #1 . There are certainly things I don't seek out, though.

3. Yes! Thin Mints are my favorite, although the troops are evenly divided between those and Samoas (or Caramel de-lites or what ever they are calling them).

4. Not much, really.  I will treat myself to coffee while I am out doing errands and  I do like a nice hot bath occasionally.  I especially like them if we are on vacation and I have access to a Jacuzzi tub.  That is a luxury that I enjoy thoroughly knowing that I have both unlimited hot water and someone else to clean it!

5. Aside from Betty already being a nickname, only the further shortening to Bet, which is only used by my husband, brother and a few friends who go back a-ways.  My husband does have a few pet names for me which he has called me since we were dating, but I don't think I will say what those are!

For more Five Question Friday Fun join Sarah at

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A February Daybook

Outside my window... Cold; Eighth-Circle-of-Hell cold. With six inches of fresh snow. 
I am Williamsburg with the family and possibly friends in March. One of our favorite places.
I am thinking... still about Arkansas... and everything I need to do before our move there
I am thankful for...  having my journal mailed back to me by the airline attendant who found it.  Thank you Darlene!! You are a credit to USAir!
Pondering these words...An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.- Chesterton
From the kitchen...  beef stew, and a belated cherry pie for George Washington's B-Day
I am wearing... Inspired by GW, I cannot tell a lie: my nightgown.
I am remembering...  in my prayers our godchild, Grace, who is preparing for her Confirmation.
From the learning rooms... Report due on Anne Hutchinson and Roger Williams and our home version of driver's ed
I am reading... Life Lessons from the Monastery by Abbot Jerome Kodell
A few plans for the rest of the week... Pinewood Derby!
I am hoping...  for early spring and fast melting on the ball fields, 
One of my favorite things...The tea cozy I made on our trip to Arkansas
And a picture thought... the tea cozy! Kind of gives you a warm feeling, no?

Thanks to Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook for expanding my world with this simple and wonderful exercise in appreciating all the good little things in my life.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A January Daybook

Outside my window... My birdie friends at the feeder.
I am Arkansas this weekend with my husband for his job interview at a boarding school
I am thinking... about Arkansas an awful lot lately!
I am thankful for...  a job substitute-teaching for six weeks.
Pondering these words... "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth" (Psalm 46:10)
From the kitchen...  lentil soup and homemade bread(from the bread machine, don't be too impressed)
I am wearing... jeans and a green turtleneck sweater
I am remembering...  My Dad whose anniversary was this week.  Hard to believe that he has been gone 18 years. 
From the learning rooms... now that I am homeschooling John, I can include this category: starting Henry IV this week.
I am reading... the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows  
A few plans for the rest of the week... basketball,   making candy,  more snow!!!
I am hoping...  for a little less snow, please.
One of my favorite electric throw blanket.

Thanks to Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook for expanding my world with this simple and wonderful exercise in appreciating all the good little things in my life.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Home again, home again, jiggity jig.

Our son, John, is home from boarding school. He spent the last 2 ½ + years at Immaculate Conception Apostolic School in Center Harbor, New Hampshire.  ICAS, in the old days, would have been called a Minor Seminary.  It is run by the Legionaries of Christ, of recent ill-fame, and is dedicated to the middle and high school education of boys who may be interested in the Catholic priesthood.  John felt drawn to the school as a seventh-grader and attended after he graduated eighth grade at our local public school. If he had finished at ICAS (this coming June), he would have gone on to the Legion’s novitiate to begin more formal studies in philosophy and theology. 

We did not make him come home and there were not “incidents” of any sort that propelled John to change his mind about novitiate.  This past fall John decided, in prayer, that God was not drawing him in that direction and he told us that he wanted to come home at Christmas time.  We were a little surprised, in fact, because he was quite happy at the school. 

If you know anything about the issues (understatement of the year) surrounding the Legionaries, you can guess that Rob and I had misgivings about John going on to novitiate, but we were determined to let God take the upper hand in directing John in his vocation.  Our willingness to allow him to go to Novitiate with the Legion is not a reflection of our ignorance of the unseemly past and uncertain future of the Legion of Christ. However our family’s experiences with ICAS, have been, across the board, positive.  Both John and Vince grew as students, Christians and young men at ICAS.  The learned Latin (a little), how to ski, and that they could actually sing at Mass without flames coming from their mouths.  They played hockey, visited Rome, and climbed mountains all over New Hampshire and southern Maine.  One of the greatest experiences they had was the opportunity to live and work with priests and religious brothers.  They got to know them as human beings who ate, slept, read, worked, prayed, laughed, played sports, watched movies, got tired, hungry, and irritable just like every other person they know.  But they did all these things while celebrating the Sacraments and dedicating themselves to the boys who they daily patiently and wisely formed and guided.  They were able to see the joy, the struggles, and the fellowship of religious life and to see it as a real option for their own lives.  I truly would not hesitate to send my younger sons to ICAS, if the school survives the re-formation of the Legion.  

There are plenty of stories out there of people’s bad experiences and impressions of the Legion and Regnum Christi.   I know that many were legitimately damaged by Maciel’s evil deeds and the system that he put in place to cover them.  Other folks “drank the RC Kool-Aid” and now they feel burned. Others just like to have something negative to say.  I don’t fall into any of those categories.  OK, except for the last one, but I am controlling myself. True, if you caught me privately, I have plenty to say about Regnum Christi, but my gripes don’t really benefit anybody or advance anything.  Our concern right now is for the timely and thorough reform of the Congregation. In the meantime I am grateful for the boys’ time at ICAS. 

So, now John is home, and homeschooling, at least for the time being.  He is a little bored, but September should find him in school again. I wonder if I have bitten off more that I can chew because my Latin ends at Adeste Fideles and my last math class was “Statistics for Dummies” my sophomore year of college. But I am hopeful, and John is patient.

And God is good.  And it is nice to have our boy back home for a short time before he flies the nest for good.  After all, the days are long, but the years are short.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

25 Poems of Christmas: January 6

Blessed Epiphany ! Thus we come to end of another Christmastide.  I am constantly amazed by the beauty and and perfection of the Liturgical year.  Praying the liturgy of the Hours especially transitions us so nicely in and out of  the seasons of the year. We celebrated Three Kings Day with the kids the way we usually do.  We act out the Nativity story from the Gospel of Matthew, we bless the house (this year with the blessed chalk they were giving out at Assumption Church) and we decorate our "Crown" cakes.  I make either one big bundt cake or several small ones, frost them and let the kids put candy "jewels" on the crowns.  We finished up a little late and the sugar stupor was too much for Peter.  He got up from the table with "I'm stuffed! I gotta rest!" and promptly lay down on the floor and went to sleep.

My Christmas poetry journal was fun for me even if no one else was paying attention!  I didn't quite make 25, though, only 20.  Perhaps I will see what I can do for Easter! Here is a good closer:

O Like a Tiny Cradle
by Angelus Silesius

O, like a tiny cradle,
Could thy heart become,
God would on earth again
Be born an infant son.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

25 Poems of Christmas: January 5

Sorry about this cheesy selection. It's just that it's so true!

The Month After Christmas 
or A Visit from Jenny Craig

Twas the month after Christmas, and all through the house 
Nothing would fit me, not even a blouse. 
The candy I'd nibbled, the eggnog I'd taste 
At the holiday parties had gone to my waist. 

When I got on the scales there arose such a number! 
Then I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber). 
I'd remember the marvelous meals I'd prepared; 
The gravies and sauces and beef nicely rared, 

The wine and the rum balls, the bread and the cheese 
And the way I'd never said, "No thank you, please." 
As I dressed myself in my husband's sweat suit 
And prepared to dig in to the warm brie-en-croute.

But I said to myself, as I only can, 
"You can't spend a winter disguised as a man!" 
So—away with the last of the sour cream dip, 
Get rid of the rum cake, every cracker and chip 

Every last bit of food that I like must be banished 
"Till all the additional ounces have vanished. 
I won't have a cookie—not even a lick. 
Just let me chew on a celery stick." 

I won't have hot biscuits, or pasta, or pie, 
I'll munch on a carrot and quietly cry. 
I'm hungry, no, starving, and life is a bore— 
But isn't that what January is for? 

The party is over, we are done with the riot. 
Happy New Year to all and to all a good diet!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

25 Poems of Christmas: January 2

It is the observed date of Epiphany, and we are now near the end of Christmastide.  For the Loia family it has been a most satisfactory holiday season, but I feel, like I usually do at the end of Christmas break, a little melancholy.  I don't want to take our tree down quite yet and it is still so fresh and green!  Perhaps I can convince my husband that it ought to be a Valentine's Day tree!

I hope you enjoy this poem.  It is a little longer and denser than my other selections, but it is very appropriate and moving.  It is from the perspective of one of the Magi, now an old man, telling how his encounter with the Christ Child changed him.  Once a man taking a difficult, but temporary journey he became a "stranger and sojourner' on this earth.  

Journey of the Magi
by TS Eliot

'A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.'
And the camels galled, sore-footed, 
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the 
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.

Then the camel men cursing and 
And running away, and wanting their
     liquor and women, 
And the night-fires going out, and the 
     lack of shelters, 
And the cities hostile and the towns 
And the villages dirty and charging high
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all 
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, 
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a 
     temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of 
With a running stream and a water-mill
     beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped in 
     away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with 
     vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for 
     pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no imformation, and so
     we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment
     too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say)

All this was a long time ago, I 
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This:  were we led all that way for
Birth or Death?  There was a Birth, 
We had evidence and no doubt.  I had 
     seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; 
     this Birth was 
Hard and bitter agony for us, like 
     Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these
But no longer at ease here, in the old 
With an alien people clutching their 
I should be glad of another death.